One of the big reasons is the return of Coachella. A number of bands, artists, and DJs are scheduled to perform at the high-profile music festival in Indio, California — including Billie Eilish, Orville Peck, Baby Keem, Omar Apollo, The Hu, Girl in Red, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — over the course of two weekends also have dates in the Valley before, after, and in between their Coachella appearances.
You’ll details about each of their respective gigs below in our rundown of the biggest concert in metro Phoenix in April, as well as info about such local festivals as PHXLIGHTS: Altered Orbit, Country Thunder Arizona, and KUPD’s annual UFest.
Other highlights include shows by the Alan Parsons Live Project, Haim, Rob Zombie, Poppy, Deftones, Ace Frehley, Los Tigres del Norte, and Spiritualized. (And for even more live music happening in the Valley in April, check out Phoenix New Times’ concert listings.)
PHXLIGHTS: Altered Orbit at Phoenix RacewayBack in 2015, Phoenix Lights debuted as a UFO-themed EDM festival. It took a break due to the pandemic, but now it's back as a reimagined concept. Presented by local promoter Relentless Beats, PHXLIGHTS: Altered Orbit will feature sets by GRiZ, RL Grime, Liquid Stranger, Zomboy, Rusko, Flosstradamus, Champagne Drip, Jantsen, Smoakland, Leotrix, Proper., and SAAS. The two-day event takes place on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, at Phoenix Raceway, 7602 Jimmie Johnson Drive in Avondale. Gates open at 7 p.m. and basic general admission is $65 per person each night or $129 for the entire weekend. Jennifer Goldberg
Billie Eilish at Gila River CasinoIf it seems like you've heard the name Billie Eilish a great deal the past few years, that's only because you have. From sweeping the Grammys in 2020 to winning an Oscar recently for performing the theme to No Time to Die, the pop singer-songwriter has been all over pop culture and social media. Her career arc has been rising steadily for seven years. When she was just a fresh-faced 14-year-old, she and her older brother, Finneas O'Connell — a singer-songwriter and producer in his own right who has collaborated extensively with his sister — uploaded the short but catchy tune "Ocean Eyes" to SoundCloud. It quickly gained momentum, and despite having few songs to her name, Eilish promptly began developing a dedicated following.
Its success pales in comparison to that of “Bad Guy,” Eilish’s breakthrough single from her 2019 debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The track rocketed to the apex of the Billboard Top 40 charts, got constant radio airplay, and earned her an armful of Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year. Her 2021 follow-up, Happier Than Ever has also been a runaway success, resulting in numerous sold-out dates on her current tour. That includes her two-night stint at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, on Saturday, April 2, and Monday, April 4. Tickets for both concerts, which start at 7:30 p.m., are only available on the secondary market. Carolina del Busto and Benjamin Leatherman
Sepultura at The Nile TheaterPortuguese for "grave," Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band formed in 1984 that has managed to stay relevant for nearly 40 years thanks to the band's openness to adapting and evolving with the sounds of heavy metal as they shift. Over the years, the band has combined elements of thrash, groove, death, alternative, industrial, and even nu-metal into its arsenal. Though its only consistent member has been bass player and backing vocalist Paulo Jr., Sepultura has consistently released a new album every few years since its early days. The band's most recent album, Quadra, was released in early 2020, the concept of which was based on Quadrivium, the four arts — arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The band divided the 12-track album into four sections of three songs and played a different kind of metal for each section. Sepultura’s latest tour comes to The Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street in Mesa, on Tuesday, April 5. Sacred Reich, Crowbar, and Art of Shock open the 6 p.m. show. Admission is $25. David Fletcher
Country Thunder Arizona 2022 at Canyon Moon RanchAfter two years of pandemic-related delays and postponements, followed by a rare fall edition last October, Country Thunder is back to its original spot as a springtime event. The 2022 edition of the annual four-day country music festival, which draws thousands to the grounds of Canyon Moon Ranch, 20585 East Water Way in Florence, will feature such superstars as Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Riley Green, Chase Rice, Tracy Lawrence, and controversial artist Morgan Wallen. Others scheduled to perform during the fest, which runs from Thursday, April 7, to Sunday, April 10, include Gabby Barrett, Sawyer Brown, Randy Houser, Lindsay Ell, Michael Ray, Jameson Rogers, Hardy, MacKenzie Porter, and Blanco Brown. General admission is $150 to $175 each day or $245 for the entire festival. Benjamin Leatherman
Baby Keem at Marquee TheatreAfter releasing his mixtape, The Sound of Bad Habit, in 2018, rapper Baby Keem's profile has only continued to grow, including landing on XXL's Freshman Class in 2020. He's collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Travis Scott, and his cousin Kendrick Lamar. He's currently on tour in support of his debut studio album, The Melodic Blue, which brings him to Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, on Friday, April 8. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are only available through resellers. Ashley-Anna Aborenden
Rob Zombie at Arizona Bike WeekIt seemed for a while like Rob Zombie was taking his film career more seriously than his music. However, his career as a gruesome horror amateur hasn't exactly elevated him to the level of George A. Romero or John Carpenter. Still, his yen for gory (albeit campy) schlock has helped made him a metal and hard rock icon over the past three decades and his influence has crossed over into other genres, inspiring up-and-coming rappers like Lil Uzi Vert and Rico Nasty. Zombie’s most recent album, 2021’s The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, even topped Billboard's Top Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts shortly after its release. He’s set to perform at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 8, during a headlining concert at the annual Arizona Bike Week. Tickets are $56. Matthew Keever
Lil Durk at Arizona Federal TheatreRapper Lil Durk has been the longest-lasting champion of the drill scene that came out of Chicago. His latest album, 7220, released in March, gives us a new chapter in the legacy of the Chicago MC. The drill scene was a sound of the youth of Chicago and many of the artists that came out of that scene were very young when they found themselves in the public eye. At 29, Lil Durk has more years in the game than most his age. The 18 songs featured on 7220 offer a slew of first-rate features (like Future, Gunna, and Summer Walker), including a surprising appearance by country music star Morgan Wallen (who was embroiled in controversy after being caught on video using the N-word) on the track “Broadway Girls.” (The rapper stated on a recent episode of The Full Send Podcast that he doesn’t believe Wallen is racist.) It’s just one of the ways Durk continues flexing on the world. His tour in support of 7220 will hit Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Friday, April 8. The gig starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $39.50 to $79.50. Jeff Kinni and Benjamin Leatherman
Los Tigres del Norte at Arizona Federal TheatreThis San Jose-based group of brothers are one of the largest and most beloved musical ensembles to come out of the Mexican norteño genre. Over the last four decades, Los Tigres Del Norte has released more than 50 albums, selling over 30 million copies, and have contributed greatly to the modernization of corridos, the classic Mexican ballad. Whether they sing songs of lovers torn apart by family quarrels, songs of heartbreak, or the ballads of those caught up in the illegal drug trade, everyone inside Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, will be singing along to Los Tigres during their concert on Saturday, April 9. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $82.50 and up. Julian Hernandez
Ministry at The Van BurenOne of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s, Ministry came to life as a synthpop band in Chicago's underground music scene. Ministry's first album, With Sympathy, was praised by Rolling Stone for its catchy dance tracks. The album has since been disowned by bandleader Al Jourgensen, who felt pressured by his record label to match the then-popular sound of the new wave. Ministry's subsequent work would never again be so bright. By the time Ministry released The Land of Rape and Honey in 1988, the band's sound had become darker, heavier, and angrier, and it never went back. Last year, Ministry released its 15th studio album, Moral Hygiene, which showed that time has done little to dampen their harsh and combative sound. Speaking of harsh and combative sounds, Ministry will have opening support from Corrosion of Conformity and Melvins when they roll through the Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Tuesday, April 12. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $39.50 in advance, $42 at the door. David Fletcher
Poppy at Marquee TheatreThe Los Angeles-based artist/actress Poppy built up her oddly cute “robotic” persona with a series of YouTube videos in 2014, eventually making her way into music. With a wide range of styles including bubblegum pop, reggae, and even “music to sleep to,” Poppy’s newest musical venture is heavy metal. Teaming up with NYC rock group Blame Candy for her band, the 27-year-old has fully embraced her darker side. Her latest album, Flux, came out last year and offers more of an organic sound than her previous release, 2020’s I Disagree. She’s scheduled to perform at Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue in Tempe, on Wednesday, April 13, with support from gender-bending musician Mz Neon. Doors are at 7 p.m. and general admission is $27. Cameron Martinez
Apocalyptica at The Van Buren
The deep, cavernous sounds of the cello are perfect for heavy metal. They can be dark and brooding. They provide a nice, long bass sound that's a perfect backup to songs about sadness and destruction. They can also give a band that extra foundation underneath the sounds of guitars and drums to create more energy in a song. The cello can be found in the discography of almost all the great rock and metal acts. Metallica, System of a Down, Arcade Fire, Nirvana — they all have at least one song that uses the massive string instrument. The trend is so popular that cello metal has become a subgenre. The undisputed pioneers of the genre are Apocalyptica, the Finnish orchestral rock group of classical musicians with a special love for metal who turned something they did for fun 29 years ago into a trend. Their success has earned them chart-topping songs and albums, and they've been able to perform and collaborate with some of the biggest rockers and metalheads. Apocalyptica’s latest tour comes to the Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Friday, April 15. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and Lacuna Coil opens. Tickets are $36 to $60. Danny Gallagher
Alan Parsons Live Project at Celebrity TheatreAlan Parsons became a household name around the world via the succession of gold and platinum albums that began with Tales of Mystery and Imagination in 1976, which were credited to The Alan Parsons Project. Although his partnership with co-founder Eric Woolfson ended in the ’90s, it did allow for us to finally enjoy the music the duo made in concert, starting with a 1995 European tour. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you ... The Alan Parsons Live Project. “I do wish we’d done it sooner; the circumstances weren’t right,” Parsons told Phoenix New Times in 2018. “Eric wasn’t interested in touring, and it was only [when] we parted company after making the Freudiana album [a rock opera about Sigmund Freud] and all the legal wrangles that ensued after that, that we decided to put another band together to support another album that year called Try Anything Once [Parsons’ first solo album].” The project brings its prog-rock masterpieces to Celebrity Theater, 440 North 32nd Street, on Saturday, April 16. Start time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $125. Serene Dominic
Spiritualized at Crescent BallroomIn 1997, Radiohead released its career-defining album OK Computer, but as important as that album was, it was not the album NME named album of the year. That honor went to the English space rock band Spiritualized for its album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Critics praised the album for its bright, weightless, and visionary approach to space rock, which had previously been defined by the thunderous guitar of Marc Bolan of T. Rex or the dark and heavy soundscapes of Pink Floyd. While those bands had foregrounded the subject of space, Spiritualized chose to foreground the texture of space in defining its sound. Through the years, Spiritualized has incorporated more sounds into its overarching style, such as gospel music on Amazing Grace or pop on Sweet Heart Sweet Light. The band will release its latest album Everything Was Beautiful on April 22 and are scheduled to perform at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, a few days prior on Monday, April 18. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $37 to $47. David Fletcher
Orville Peck at The Van BurenMasked country singer Orville Peck's 2019 debut LP, Pony, is a sprawling outlaw rhapsody, nodding at everyone from Elvis and Johnny Cash to The Velvet Underground and X. On Pony, Peck presents a vast, intersectional landscape for listeners to get lost in, one that he produced and assembled almost entirely by himself. Peck has played in many bands over the years in a variety of capacities. But with Pony, he finally had the reins from top to bottom. The album was an enormous hit, both critically and commercially, and earned Peck an appearance on Jimmy Kimmell and slots at festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach.
His upcoming follow-up, Broncho, is set to be released in early April and will be “anchored in country,” Peck says, but will also include tips of the hat to bluegrass, country rock, and psych. He’s released singles from the albums in “chapters,” including dropping “Daytona Sand,” "Outta Time,” "C'mon Baby Cry,” and "Any Turn" in February. You’re very likely they’ll be included in Peck’s setlist when he performs at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Tuesday, April 19. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $38. Ashley Naftule and Benjamin Leatherman
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Marquee Theatre
Australian thrash/psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard perpetually live in studios and on the road. With 20 albums in 22 years, headline festival appearances around the globe, and international critical acclaim, they've certainly made fans of all types. They’re also quite prolific and aren't content letting things get stale, as evidenced by the fact they put out two albums each year. Case in point: In March, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released Made in Timeland, which consists of a pair of 15 minute-long tracks, and are about to drop a double album Omnium Gatherum. These collections of new songs should fit in perfectly alongside those older tunes in the band’s raucous and unpredictable live shows. In fact, it's probably a pretty safe bet that those devoted fans present at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, on Tuesday, April 19, will treat them with the same enthusiasm reserved for prior material. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and experimental pop artist SPELLLING shares the bill. General admission is $40 and balcony access is $62.50 to $72.50. Jeff Strowe
The Hu at The Van BurenThe members of The Hu are badasses. That much is clear. Combining traditionally Mongolian sounds — throat singing and the two-stringed morin khuur horsehead fiddle — with the bass, beats, and production techniques of modern rock, the four-piece band from Ulaanbaatar has a distinctive beefy sound that lends itself to energetic fist-pumping. The Hu were recently featured on Metallica’s special 30th anniversary Black Album reissue covers project, for which they covered the legendary band’s “Through the Never.” They're making an appearance at both weekends of Coachella this year, but in between, they'll tear up the stage at The Van Buren, 401 West Washington Street, as part of their Black Thunder Tour. The show starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, with an opening set by The Haunt. Tickets are $30 to $129. Brendan Driscoll
Animals as Leaders at Marquee TheatreWhen guitarist Tosin Abasi first burst onto the metal scene in 2009 with the self-titled debut from his group Animals as Leaders, he was the primary creative force behind the instrumental project. While he had outside assistance from Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor on drum programming and production, the record turned ears thanks to Abasi’s vision of blending Meshuggah-style, polyrhythmic metal riffs with a technicality that aped shred greats like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. More than a decade later, Abasi has shared magazine covers and stages alongside his aforementioned guitar heroes and is considered a contemporary leader in today’s instrumental rock guitar scene.
The most recent full-length studio album from Animals as Leaders, Parrhesia, was released on Sumerian Records last month. Abasi describes it as the band’s most human record to date and relates to the existential challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and “how human behaviour changes in aggregate when there’s uniform fear, or the need for co-operation in the face of a threat.” Their tour in support of the release is scheduled to come to Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, on Thursday, April 21. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are $25-$45. Jason Roche