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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Orville Peck, Girl Talk, Conan Gray

Orville Peck is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 19, at The Van Buren.
Orville Peck is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 19, at The Van Buren. Julia Johnson

No matter what kind of music you're into, this week in Phoenix, there's a show for you. Masked country singer Orville Peck is taking the stage on Tuesday night for a sold-out show at The Van Buren. Other notable concerts happening from Monday, April 18, to Thursday, April 21, include performances by metal band Code Orange, Australian rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and mashup master Girl Talk. The Mongolian band The Hu and singer-songwriter Conan Gray are also in town after their Coachella sets.

Details about each of these shows and events can be found below. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, visit Phoenix New Timesonline concert listings.



click to enlarge Hardcore punk band Code Orange. - JIM LOUVAU
Hardcore punk band Code Orange.
Jim Louvau

Code Orange

Monday, April 18
The Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
Code Orange has carved a path over the last fourteen years that few modern bands have taken. Beginning in 2008 as Code Orange Kids, the Pittsburgh outfit has two Grammy nominations under its belt and several mainstream hits, including “Let Me In," an intro song for WWE wrestler Bray Wyatt. The band’s most recent single, “Out for Blood,” is reminiscent of early 2000s nu-metal, which is fitting, since the band just completed a tour with Korn before embarking on a headlining tour of its own. But blending elements of metallic hardcore, industrial and alternative metal is what Code Orange does so well, garnering a large fan base as varied as its sound. And that fan base will be storming the Nile Theater in Mesa on Monday night for what is sure to be an unforgettable performance. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. with opening sets by Loathe, Vended, and Dying Wish. Tickets are $26. Justin Criado
click to enlarge Bedroom pop singer-songwriter Conan Gray. - BRIAN ZIFF
Bedroom pop singer-songwriter Conan Gray.
Brian Ziff

Conan Gray

Monday, April 18
The Van Buren, 401 West Washington Street
YouTuber turned singer-songwriter Conan Gray not only creates bedroom pop moody enough to earn the distinction of being “Gen Z's favorite sad boi,” according to Rolling Stone, the 23-year-old artist’s performances tend to be both dramatic and stylish. Just ask anyone who saw his Coachella debut this past weekend, when Gray wore a flowing hot pink outfit designed by Valentino that wowed the crowd and earned him kudos from Vogue. Will Gray’s outfit be just as stunning when his tour in support of Superache, his third studio album, comes to the Van Buren this week? That remains to be seen (although he has a penchant for beaded vests and frilly blouses). What you can expect is a set filled with his poppy-yet-melancholic tracks from all three of his albums, including 2020’s critically acclaimed Kid Krow. Pop singer Bülow will also perform. The sold-out concert is at 8 p.m. and tickets are only available through resellers. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Jason Pierce of Spiritualized. - SARAH PIANTADOSI
Jason Pierce of Spiritualized.
Sarah Piantadosi

Spiritualized

Monday, April 18
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
In 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, a few days prior. The gig starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $37 to $47. David Fletcher
click to enlarge Australian thrash/psych-rock band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. - JASON GALEA
Australian thrash/psych-rock band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Jason Galea

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Tuesday, April 19
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue
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 for their show on Tuesday will treat them with the same enthusiasm reserved for prior material. Doors open at 7 p.m. and experimental pop artist SPELLLING shares the bill. Tickets are $40 to $72.50. Jeff Strowe
click to enlarge METAL BLADE RECORDS
Metal Blade Records

DragonForce

Tuesday, April 19
The Nile Theatre, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
DragonForce, the London sextet that's been around since 1999, waves high the banner of power metal. But they take "epic" to a whole new level. On the metal scale of 1 to 11, they're more Tufnel than Tufnel himself. Lead guitarist Herman Li, originally from Hong Kong, likely has the fastest hands ever to have touched an Ibanez. Most DragonForce songs clock in around the seven-minute mark because Li solos for about three minutes. And we're not talking gratuitous jam band improv solos; we're talking complexly structured and fully composed. Most lyrics of DragonForce songs are positive, upbeat messages. Think Shakespeare's Henry V pre-battle pep talk, and you get the idea. They’re also like Dethklok on happy pills. Co-founder Sam Trotman — who also plays guitar — writes most of the band's songs, every one of them a rousing, triumphant marathon. Like a Rocky training montage on fast-forward, it is all so utterly ridiculous that it becomes enjoyable. Their concert at the Nile in Mesa starts at 6:30 p.m. and Firewind, Visions of Atlantis, and Seven Spires share the bill. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Linda Leseman
click to enlarge David Foster brings his repertoire of hits to the Valley this week. - DAVID FOSTER
David Foster brings his repertoire of hits to the Valley this week.
David Foster

David Foster

Tuesday, April 19
Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, Mesa
Songwriter, producer, and composer David Foster is a modern-day musical Midas. He's collaborated with, produced for, and written for most of the world's one-name divas at one point or another: Whitney, Chaka, Barbra, Madonna, and, most prolifically, Céline. He's credited in varying roles on songs as timeless as Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real" and Houston's "I Have Nothing" and "I Will Always Love You." Yet Foster is remarkably unburdened by the reputation. He’s both self-effacing and charming, even joking about being known for making what he calls "schlocky and schmaltzy" music. So when Foster comes to the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center on Tuesday, the 16-time Grammy winner will spend the evening playing some of his greatest hits and telling stories about each songs and the artists and moments behind them. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $36 to $86. Celia Almeida
click to enlarge Masked country singer Orville Peck. - JULIA JOHNSON
Masked country singer Orville Peck.
Julia Johnson

Orville Peck

Tuesday, April 19
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Masked 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 Kimmel Live! and slots at festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach. His just-released follow-up, Bronco, is “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 returns to the Valley. The show is at 8 p.m. and tickets are only available on the secondary market. Ashley Naftule and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Chelsea Cutler is touring in support of 2021's When I Close My Eyes. - REPUBLIC RECORDS
Chelsea Cutler is touring in support of 2021's When I Close My Eyes.
Republic Records

Chelsea Cutler

Wednesday, April 20
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
Not long ago, Connecticut-born electronic singer-songwriter Chelsea Cutler was just recording cover songs in her room and posting them online for someone to stumble upon. By 2017, Cutler had been featured on tracks by musicians like Kasbo, Kidswaste, and Louis the Child, and was getting signed by Ultra Records. Since then, Cutler has put out three hit singles that made it on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Chart and released a pair of albums on Republic Records (2020’s How to Be Human and last year’s When I Close My Eyes). Fresh off an epic performance during the first weekend of this year’s Coachella, she’ll roll into the Valley this week with indie folk/pop artists Adam Melchor and Rosie for a show at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $29.50 to $49.50. Jacob Vaughn
click to enlarge Gregg Michael Gillis, better known as Girl Talk. - JOEY KENNEDY
Gregg Michael Gillis, better known as Girl Talk.
Joey Kennedy

Girl Talk

Wednesday, April 20
The Van Buren, 401 West Washington Street
Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, wasn’t the first DJ to pioneer the mash-up, but he definitely helped popularize the art form. Girl Talk started back in the early 2000s when Gillis was earning his degree in biomedical engineering. Although influenced in part by early mash-ups, Gillis was more inspired by the concepts of appropriating art as done by the group Negativland and almost a reaction against some of the more pretentious side of the noise scene he embraced as a rebellious teenager. By taking popular music of all stripes and weaving it together in unexpected but curiously logical ways, Gillis has mastered the art of a kind of composition in which existing, familiar fragments of songs are recontextualized to make a new song. In effect, it brings together ideas of Brion Gysin's cut-up technique with the remix and collage. Over the past two decades, Gillis has released eight albums and dozens of remixes, all while getting asses moving on dance floors and at music festivals around the world. He’ll likely do the same during his gig this week at the Van Buren, which starts at 8 p.m. Rapper Hugh Augustine opens and tickets are $27 to $30. Tom Murphy and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge J.D. Andrew (left) and Billy Bob Thornton (right) of the Boxmasters. - ACTION ENTERTAINMENT COLLABORATIVE
J.D. Andrew (left) and Billy Bob Thornton (right) of the Boxmasters.
Action Entertainment Collaborative

Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters

Wednesday, April 20
The Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
A sad part of being a major celebrity and starting a rock project on the side is that people will show up out of nowhere to see your band and ignore your music because they just want to see "you." Sometimes the music somehow ends up overshadowing the celebrity and the band becomes noteworthy in their own right. The Boxmasters, actor Billy Bob Thornton's off-and-on musical project with guitarist J.D. Andrew, reach that early stage of notoriety years ago, but that still shouldn't diminish the fact that his Boxmasters are making ace country-fried rockabilly. Imagine if Conway Twitty and the Kinks at their most mod got stoned one night in the '60s and decided to record four albums out in Bakersfield. Thornton brings the band to Arizona for mid-week performance at the Rhythm Room. Doors are at 7 p.m. and Fran Moran and the Nervous Wrecks open. Tickets are $50. Craig Hlavaty
click to enlarge Rapper Freddie Gibbs. - JAMES “JMP” PEREIRA
Rapper Freddie Gibbs.
James “JMP” Pereira

Freddie Gibbs

Wednesday, April 20
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street
With his deep-voiced delivery, rough-hewn honesty, and laid-back swagger, rapper Freddie Gibbs offers the perfect amalgam of his Midwest roots and latter-day L.A. residence. As Gibbs' 2010 single "The Ghetto" declares, he was raised in "the ghetto, the ghetto-ghetto" (in case there was any question) of Gary, Indiana, where corrupt cops, neglected schools, and a horrendous murder rate left few options for the young and impoverished. His rap career came as an afterthought, initiated while Gibbs was supplying drugs to the regulars at an area recording studio. A hasty deal with Interscope brought him to the West Coast, but the cash-strapped label ultimately dropped Gibbs and he had to claw his way to notoriety through mixtapes and word of mouth. Gibbs self-released his debut album ESGN in 2013 and followed it with Piñata, a collaboration with famed producer Madlib, which charted on the Billboard 200 and was cited as one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014. He’s released several more solo and collaborative albums since then (including 2020’s well-received Alfredo with The Alchemist) while largely focusing on the hip-hop subgenre of cocaine rap. His latest tour comes to Celebrity Theatre on Wednesday. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $25 to $125. Chris Martins and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Matt Garstka, Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders. - COURTESY OF SUMERIAN RECORDS
Matt Garstka, Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes of Animals As Leaders.
Courtesy of Sumerian Records

Animals as Leaders

Thursday, April 21
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
When 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 behavior 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 hits the Marquee this week. Doors are at 7 p.m. and admission is $25 to $45. Jason Roche
click to enlarge Mongolian folk rock and heavy metal band The Hu. - E. ALTANKHUYAG
Mongolian folk rock and heavy metal band The Hu.
E. Altankhuyag

The Hu

Thursday, April 21
The Van Buren, 401 West Washington Street
The 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.” Between weekends at this year’s Coachella, they'll tear up the stage at The Van Buren this week as part of their Black Thunder Tour. Pop/alternative band The Haunt opens. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $30 to $129. Brendan Driscoll
click to enlarge Singer-songwriter Scott H. Biram (a.k.a. the "Dirty Old One Man Band"). - CHRISTOPHER CARDOZA
Singer-songwriter Scott H. Biram (a.k.a. the "Dirty Old One Man Band").
Christopher Cardoza

Scott H. Biram

Thursday, April 21
Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
Somewhere among country, folk, blues, punk, and even metal exists Texas singer-songwriter Scott H. Biram. A cult figure for years, Biram benefited from the music world’s fascination with Americana and folk in the 2010s as peddled by far less salty acts like the Lumineers or Mumford & Sons. But where those radio-friendly artists are easily digestible, Biram unapologetically sings, screams, and stomps about the uglier side of life. In other words, this is sweaty, grimy stuff from the nation's underbelly that, perhaps unfortunately for listeners, never gets within a football field's length of the Grand Ole Opry. All the better for fans, who can catch Biram in an intimate setting like Tempe’s Yucca Tap Room on Thursday night. Punkers-turned-Americana artists Chip Hanna (formerly of U.S. Bombs and T.S.O.L.) and J.D. Pinkus (onetime bassist for Butthole Surfers) are also on the lineup. Tickets for the 8 p.m. gig are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Arielle Castillo
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.