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Best Phoenix Concerts This Week: Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Kurt Vile

Pearl Jam is scheduled to perform on Monday, May 9, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Pearl Jam is scheduled to perform on Monday, May 9, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. Danny Clinch
This week’s concert offerings in metro Phoenix will feature a few big shows. Legendary bands Coldplay and Pearl Jam, who both have sold a gazillion records and created numerous hit songs, are both due in the Valley on Monday and Thursday, respectively.

Other highlights of this week’s live music calendar include performances by alt-rock godfathers Violent Femmes, New Zealand rocker Kelsy Karter, soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones, and alt-country stalwart Kurt Vile.

Read on for details about each of these shows and other “can’t miss” concerts happening from Monday, May 9, to Thursday, May 12, or click over to Phoenix New Timesonline listings for more live music happening this week.
click to enlarge Alt-country artist Kurt Vile. - ADAM WALLACAVAGE
Alt-country artist Kurt Vile.
Adam Wallacavage

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Monday, May 9
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
Alt-country stalwart Kurt Vile is coming off the release of a new album titled Watch My Moves, and his band The Violators are scheduled to perform at the Van Buren at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 9, with special guests Chastity Belt. Vile's woozy take on Americana has been described as “mellow,” “laid-back,” “sonically rich” and “whimsical.” If there’s anything that can definitively describe Vile’s music, it’s "easy-going." Much like Vile himself, who's a modern-day John Mellencamp for those raised on Dinosuar Jr. He knows the merits of flannel-clad folksiness, but also knows when to bathe listeners in feedback — often and ultimately for his ears first and foremost. Tickets are $30 in advance, $33 at the door. Vincent Arrieta
click to enlarge You've waited a long time to see Pearl Jam. - DANNY CLINCH
You've waited a long time to see Pearl Jam.
Danny Clinch

Pearl Jam

Monday, May 9
Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, Glendale
It's a familiar story by now: Pearl Jam were scheduled to come to town in April 2020, but then the pandemic happened. But the wait is nearly over, and Eddie Vedder and the rest will be at Glendale's Gila River Arena in May to promote the band's most recent album, 2020's Gigaton. Expect to hear several cuts from the release – including "Superblood Wolfmoon," "Dance of the Clairvoyants," and "Quick Escape" – as well as a collection of Pearl Jam’s greatest hits. All tickets previously purchased for the original 2020 show date will be honored for the new date, but if you don't have tickets yet, they’re available for $103 and up. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. and Puralone opens. Jennifer Goldberg
click to enlarge Founding fathers of folk-punk, Violent Femmes - ZACK WHITFORD
Founding fathers of folk-punk, Violent Femmes
Zack Whitford

Violent Femmes

Tuesday, May 10
Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
The Violent Femmes' debut self-titled album, released in 1981, catapulted them into success and onto college dorm room radios everywhere. They shaped an entirely new genre of music back then — messy punk, folky roots, and radio-friendly pop, all the while appealing to the hazy-eyed stoner. They may never ride the same wave of popularity quite like they did with "Blister in the Sun," but with the lawsuits and arguments they've seen since, they're probably OK with putting that to bed and just playing music. And so are we. Doors are at 7 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $55. Diamond Rodrigue

Kelsy Karter

Tuesday, May 10
The Underground, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
"Pop punk is dead." That's what New Zealand rocker Kelsy Karter says after being asked how she'd define “punk” in 2022, especially given the recent newfound popularity of pop-punk. “This resurgence of ‘punk’ in the mainstream, everything is cyclical," she says. "Once something becomes trendy, it means it’s dead. It means it’s on its way out already, because something else is going to come along." Karter, who has made a career in the pop-punk world, is planning to take her sound in a different direction, leaving behind the pop-punk tag that so many have associated her with. “I’m kind of reinventing my whole sound for the next album. It’s a fine line because I don’t want to preview too much and spoil everything, but I also want to give fans something new to be excited about,” Karter says. She’s currently touring the States, including a stop in the Valley on Tuesday at the Underground in Mesa. She’ll mainly play songs from her 2020 album Missing Person, but also plans to sneak-peek the new sound she’s teasing. The gig starts at 7 p.m. and general admission is $13. Karter is also offering a $50 VIP add-on that includes a meet-and-greet, photo op, and early entry into the venue. Justin Criado
click to enlarge Guitar virtuoso Ottmar Liebert. - MATT CALLAHAN
Guitar virtuoso Ottmar Liebert.
Matt Callahan

Ottmar Liebert

Wednesday, May 11
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
Born in Germany to a Chinese-German father and a Hungarian mother, Ottmar Liebert began his love affair with the guitar at the tender age of 11. By the time he was 18, he was educated as to the many ethnicities of music, and he began traveling as a musician throughout Europe and Asia before settling in the United States in the 1980s. His tastes always veered toward the erudite and artistic, but it wasn't until forming the funky, folk-jazz ensemble Luna Negra in 1988 that he finally found a venue for his discerning craftsmanship. Liebert is an eternal student, always seeking musical enlightenment through the honing of his skills. His expansive discography includes more than 30 different albums, including 2019's Fete. His current tour brings him to (where else?) the Musical Instrument Museum on Wednesday evening for performances at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $44.50 to $49.50. Abel Folgar
click to enlarge The current lineup of Wishbone Ash (from left): Joe Crabtree, Mark Abrahams, Bob Skeat, and Andy Powell. - MANNIE GROVE
The current lineup of Wishbone Ash (from left): Joe Crabtree, Mark Abrahams, Bob Skeat, and Andy Powell.
Mannie Grove

Wishbone Ash

Wednesday, May 11
Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road
Though not as well known among classic rock aficionados in the United States as their home base in England or even Europe, for more than five decades prog-rockers Wishbone Ash have carved out their own place in rock history and attracted some very, very rabid fans. Known as pioneers of the “twin guitar” sound that would later influence groups like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, their best-known album is 1972’s history and war-themed Argus. A military connection also features – at least visually – on their most recent record, 2020’s Coat of Arms. The current Wishbone Ash lineup includes original member Andy Powell (lead vocals/guitar), Bob Skeat (bass), Joe Crabtree (drums), and new guitarist Mark Abrahams. Their current tour is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Argus and comes to the Rhythm Room on Wednesday. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $32 in advance and $37 at the door. Bob Ruggiero
click to enlarge Chris Martin and the gang will be in town on Thursday. - JAMES MARCUS HANEY
Chris Martin and the gang will be in town on Thursday.
James Marcus Haney

Coldplay

Thursday, May 12
State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale
Metro Phoenix often gets overlooked by concert tours, so we were delighted to learn that Glendale is one of just 11 U.S. stops for Coldplay's latest world tour. The British superstars are touring to promote Music of the Spheres, their album that came out in October 2021. H.E.R. will be the opening act. When the band announced the shows last fall, they also revealed a plan to reduce the tour's carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent compared to their last world tour. So you can listen to Chris Martin and feel good about your environmental footprint. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are officially sold out, but we've seen them as low as $32 on the secondary market. R&B act H.E.R. opens. Jennifer Goldberg
click to enlarge St. Paul and the Broken Bones are headed to town on May 12. - LIVE NATION
St. Paul and the Broken Bones are headed to town on May 12.
Live Nation

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Thursday, May 12
The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street
For the better part of a decade now, St. Paul and the Broken Bones have been darling children of vintage soul enthusiasts. Formed in Birmingham, Alabama, the Southern blues outfit has written three records’ worth of retro gospel, complete with a pristine brass section. Vocalist Paul Janeway’s soulful vocals – which have been favorably compared to those of James Brown – helped catapult the band into the hearts of countless listeners. See them perform at the Van Buren in downtown Phoenix on May 12. R&B/soul artist Danielle Ponder opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Matthew Keever

Steve Hackett

Thursday, May 12
Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street
Genesis, in their Peter Gabriel-fronted, "classic" iteration, was possibly the most creative, intellectually stimulating, and inspired band of the entire first wave of British progressive rock. Guitarist Steve Hackett played no small role in developing the sound of those records. His flare for pioneering unique techniques (two-handed tapping, off-kilter effects) inarguably changed the way the guitar has been approached for decades while fueling the rock side of Genesis' prog. Since the first lineup of Genesis imploded, Hackett has spent his time releasing a mountain of criminally underrated guitar records (Voyage of the Acolyte is considered a forgotten masterwork by many). He did a brief stint collaborating with Steve Howe of Yes in the '80s with the short-lived GTR. But most recently, the guitarist took the time to rerecord and revisit a slew of early Genesis opuses in a light he deems more fitting for the ideas and concepts found on those hallowed tracks. He’s scheduled to perform at the Celebrity Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets are $37 to $100. David Von Bader
click to enlarge Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn. - BOB DORAN/CC BY 2.0/VIA FLICKR
Legendary singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn.

Bruce Cockburn

Thursday, May 12
Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard
Bruce Cockburn has to be the most hot-and-cold songwriter operating today. On one hand, there are songs about sunrises, horses running across golden plains, the mysteries of life, and spiritual awakening. And on the other, Cockburn fires off songs about narco-politics, human rights, religious flaws, and environmental degradation. He is not a man to hold back his feelings, ideas, and thoughts — no matter how unpopular or unusual. In fact, lyrics have always been Cockburn's strong suit, consistently offering striking visual images, thought-provoking nuance, and pointed allegory. Musically, Cockburn typically meanders though loosely assembled styles and genres that call on Irish brogues, Native American spirits, Middle Eastern Sufis, Southern blues, American folk roots, and idiosyncratic jazz. Cockburn's arrangements are creative and cunning, shifting from numbers interspersed with carefully placed instrumentation or backup vocals and harmonies to stripped-down, barren, and raw orchestrations. He can rock as hard as The Who, shuffle at a whisper, or take on laid-back folk instrumentals à la Leo Kottke. Cockburn kicks off a two-night stint at the MIM at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night. Tickets are $44.50 to $54.50. Glenn BurnSilver
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.