The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Weekend

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 21, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 21, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Ray Yau
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Clear your schedule for this weekend, y'all – a lot of things are going on.

For starters, 420 is on Friday (which means plenty of marijuana-themed events and shows) followed by Record Store Day on Saturday (which means plenty of deals and exclusives at local music emporiums).

Plus, a ton of big concerts will be happening around the Valley the next few days and nights.

Friday evening will be especially busy, as Odesza will have an enormous show at The Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, KUPD will present its annual Ufest over in Mesa, and Cradle of Filth will invade The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix.

The rest of the weekend is just as packed and will includes gigs by Vance Joy, No Volcano, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Dixie Dregs, and one-man band That 1 Guy.

Details about each of these shows can be found in the following rundown of the best concerts in the Valley this weekend. And for even more music events happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 21, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.EXPAND
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 21, at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
Ray Yau

Saturday, April 21
Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale

If the collected works of rapper Prof could be equated to one literary classic, it would be The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. His songs are ribald, frequently funny first-person narratives, chock full of double entendre, wild diversions, and unexpected poignant moments.

Most of all, it’s interesting. In “Gampo,” the opening track from his 2011 album of the same name, feature Prof’s attempt to get a new word — representing a shady type of character — into the vernacular. (Yes, you can find “gampo” in the Urban Dictionary now.) It also evokes odd visuals with rhymes like, “like a samurai on a llama ride down a water slide” and is a bit of an anthem for a country that elected Donald Trump president.

Prof has worked with Brother Ali and Atmostphere but also with swag rappers like Riff Raff, rapping with the sensibility and composure of the former and the humor and irreverence of the latter, all the while sporting remarkable flow that operates anywhere from slow and sung to rapid-fire spitting.

He's currently touring in support of his newly released album, Pookie Baby, and will visit Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale this weekend for a gig. Mac Irv, Cashinova, Willie Wonka, and Everyday Affiliates will open. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Jesse Sendejas Jr.

Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of Odesza.EXPAND
Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of Odesza.
Tonje Thilesen

Friday, April 20
The Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler

Odesza is a production duo hailing from Seattle that set out to make electronic music that isn't necessarily following in the traditional EDM mold. Inspired by indie rock but utilizing software in writing and production, Odesza's music recalls the early era of M83.

Comprised of Harrison Mills (a.k.a. Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (a.k.a. BeachesBeaches), the duo have a self-described “mutual love of catchy and beautiful-sounding music” and create bright, delicate, and intricate soundscapes using electronic and live instruments both in the studio and during their gigs. Their appearance at last fall's Lost Lake Festival, for instance, saw them perform alongside a pair of horn players and a drum line equipped with LED-lit kits while surrounded by a wall of light.

Needless to say, we're guessing that their gig this weekend at The Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler will be just as memorable. Jai Wolf and Yahtzel will open. Tom Murphy

Sevendust is scheduled to perform at this year's Ufest.
Sevendust is scheduled to perform at this year's Ufest.
Chris Baird

KUPD's Ufest 2018
Friday, April 20
Riverview Park in Mesa

Never underestimate the power of heavy music here in the Valley. Case in point: KUPD's U-Fest. The long-running annual concert festival is a huge draw each year, and brings in some big names in metal and hard rock to perform in front of thousands of amped-up kids and rock fans.

This year's lineup includes groove/thrash metal act Five Finger Death Punch, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, alt-metal band Sevendust, and metalcore group Bad Wolves.

Be sure to pack some sunscreen to go along with your black shirt, and get ready to have your eardrums hammered by crushing chords, pounding drums, and guttural screams. Exactly what you are looking for at a metal show, right? Jason P. Woodbury

Danny Kiranos (a.k.a. Amigo the Devil)
Danny Kiranos (a.k.a. Amigo the Devil)
Courtesy of The Oracle Management

Amigo the Devil
Friday, April 20
Nile Theater in Mesa

If you never met him, you might mistake Amigo the Devil for a monster. The 30-year-old murderfolk maudit's most popular song is called "Perfect Wife." With gallows humor to make Marshall Mathers wince, it details gruesome spousal abuse that escalates until the wife rifle-blasts her husband. Two other beloved anthems are "Dahmer Does Hollywood" and "The Recluse," which was originally titled "Ed Gein." The latter opens his 2013 self-released Diggers EP by loosely sketching the necrophiliac Wisconsin serial killer who once made a belt out of human nipples. Think Johnny Cash at his blackest, mixed with Father John Misty, if he exhumed graves at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

"Everyone has morbid thoughts, but there's a very large gap between having insanely sick thoughts and actually doing them," says the Miami-raised Devil, born Danny Kiranos. "But these people exist, and I'm fascinated by them. I'm sure as hell never gonna know what it feels like." We certainly hope not.

You can catch Kiranos performing this weekend in Mesa during a gig at the Nile Theater's coffeehouse. Start time is 7 p.m. and tickets are $15. Jeff Weiss

Progressive metal legends King's X.
Progressive metal legends King's X.
Courtesy of BLK Live

King's X
Friday, April 20
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Simply put, King's X is a marvel. The progressive metal trio has been hanging around the margins of hard rock for nearly 40 years; next year marks the 30th anniversary of Gretchen Goes to Nebraska ("Summerland," "Over My Head"), one of the pivotal albums of the high Headbanger's Ball years.

Though never quite breaking through to a mass audience, the band didn't have to make the kinds of compromises that go hand-in-hand with reaching such a level – such as dumbing down its intensely spiritual lyrics – and has never disappointed its intensely loyal following.

And the trio – which consists of Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor, and Jerry Gaskill – continue to blow audiences away with searing sets that show how little drop-off in quality there's been from their 1988 debut Out of the Silent Planet to today – i.e., none.

Pouring blues, funk, prog, and the Beatles into a metallic drill-press and doling it out one steamroller riff at a time, King's X puts on a clinic in sleek, soulful hard rock. And their performance at BLK Live in Scottsdale of Friday night should be a full-on doctoral seminar in the same. Chris Gray

Everyone's going to be celebrating Record Store Day on Saturday.
Everyone's going to be celebrating Record Store Day on Saturday.
Deegan Lemieux

Arizona Record Label Fest
Friday, April 20
Crescent Ballroom

The countdown to Record Store Day is on. Annually, that’s the day to score specially offered music releases and merchandise at participating record stores. To fuel the energy for the shopping extravaganza, a group of Valley-based record labels have teamed up to throw a pre-party.

The Arizona Record Label Fest includes five bands and one DJ representing labels President Gator, Slope, Dirty Water, No Affiliation, 80/20, and Cactus Man, who will take the stage to rep their labels and show their skills. Styles will range from local masters of video-game music, Minibosses, to Moonlight Magic, who keep things mellow with their swanky lounge tunes. Mean Motor Scooter, First or Last, Bear Ghost, and DJ Gila Man complete the lineup.

See what some local labels have to offer at 7 p.m. on April 20 at Crescent Ballroom. Tickets are $5 to $7. Amy Young

Cradle of Filth invades downtown Phoenix on Friday night.EXPAND
Cradle of Filth invades downtown Phoenix on Friday night.
Courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

Cradle of Filth
Friday, April 20
The Van Buren

Dani Filth has been doing Cradle of Filth with various lineups since the early '90s. Blending King Diamond, Edgar Allan Poe and Hammer horror films, the band from England is meant to be a serious form of metal and classical music.

It’s touring off last year's Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay, which happens to be album No. 12 for the band. This is definitely metal meant to push buttons, especially to those easily offended by dark imagery. Think of it as an extension of the line that Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Venom started in the late '70s. Deck yourself in all black and have some ghoulish fun. Eric Grubbs

Australian-born indie pop singer Vance Joy.EXPAND
Australian-born indie pop singer Vance Joy.
Justin Bettman

Vance Joy
Saturday, April 21
Comerica Theatre

From Australia comes Vance Joy, an on-the-cusp indie pop singer-songwriter who's got a knack for the ukulele. Look no further than his single "Riptide" for clarification on the matter. It's a bright and sunny number that will remind you of a blue ocean and palm trees if you close your eyes and just press play. The aforementioned song has surely caused a riptide on the charts, peaking at No. 6 on the Australian ARIA charts and No. 1 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart.

His latest album, Nation of Two, is proving to be just as popular. Buoyed by the success of such hit singles as "Lay It on Me" and "We're Going Home,” it's topped the charts in his homeland (natch), as well as cracking the top 10 of Billboard 200. As his fellow Aussies might say, good on ya, mate. H. Drew Blackburn

No Volcano are back with a reflective record.EXPAND
No Volcano are back with a reflective record.
Mike Dee

No Volcano (Album Release Show)
Saturday, April 21
Valley Bar

No Volcano plays the kind of rock ’n’ roll that musical pontificators claim fell off the face of the earth decades ago. But it’s never really gone away. The music moves you physically. It jingles and jangles like ’70s post-punk and ’90s alternative, with lyrics that aren’t condescending or pretentious.

Just as impressive as the band deftly overcoming personnel changes is the rate at which No Volcano release new material. They’ve dropped three full-length albums since 2016. Most major-label bands can take two or three years to come out with new material, and local musicians can take even longer, thanks to a lack of time, money, and resources.

No Volcano work hard to balance everything that comes with making music. The band will celebrate the release of their latest album, Envy in the Valley, with a party at Valley Bar on Saturday, April 21. The Father Figures, Shovel, and DJ Jazzmaster Jax will open. Jason Keil

The members of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.EXPAND
The members of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
Ray Yau

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Saturday, April 21
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s backstory is incredible: Seven of the Chicago brass band’s nine members are sons of jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran, best known for his work in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, and as a founding member of Chicago free-jazz collective Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. But unlike Sun Ra or AACM, whose structures were loose, HBE makes funky, tight instrumentals, which draw from the New Orleans brass band tradition but infuse the sound with skippin’ hip-hop rhythms.

On their 2009 debut album, HBE showed incredible dynamic range. Songs like “Jupiter” are soft and focused but contain so much texture and variation that you can just see these dudes in the basement working it out over and over again. There’s an intuitiveness to the arrangements, which comes from sharing the same blood and fire. A track like “War” arrives in a burst of brass. You can almost feel your hair knocked back by the blast.

In late April, the ensemble will make their way to thT@e Valley to perform at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, which is a makeup date for its previously canceled show that was originally supposed to take place in January. Randall Roberts

The Dixie Dregs back in their heyday.EXPAND
The Dixie Dregs back in their heyday.
Courtesy of MSO PR

Dixie Dregs
Sunday, April 22
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

The Dixie Dregs have long occupied a special niche in music. For while their name, their affiliation with Capricorn Records, and the era of their heyday immediately brings to mind the category of “Southern Rock,” this mostly instrumental group actually incorporates plenty of jazz, classical, and even prog rock into their music.

Initially formed in 1970 as Dixie Grit by Morse and bassist Andy West, they changed their name to Rock Ensemble II and then Dixie Dregs in 1974. By the next year, the lineup had included Morse, West, Steve Davidowski (keyboards), Rod Morgenstein (drums), and Allen Sloan (violin).

It’s this group taking the stage on the band's current Dawn of the Dregs reunion tour, which marks the first time that the classic mid-‘70s lineup have played together in more than four decades.

Understandably, the audience is a bit different these days, but guitarist Steve Morse has no remorse about the reasons some come to see the band on the current 33-date tour.

“There’s something special about revisiting the music that was happening in your life when you’re going through a lot of changes. We played at or near a lot of colleges, and people want to relive that,” he offers. “And to that end, the tour is wildly successful. Except this time around, people aren’t spilling beer on you or the air is so thick with smoke and people aren’t whooping and hollering!” Bob Ruggiero

The Dixie Dregs back in their heyday.EXPAND
The Dixie Dregs back in their heyday.
Courtesy of MSO PR

That 1 Guy
Sunday, April 22
Valley Bar

Think one-man band: cymbals on the elbows, drum on the back, horns under the arms, and tambourines on the knees, creating a cacophony of sound designed to annoy passers-by. Now, try to envision That 1 Guy, a.k.a. Mike Silverman, as he takes the one-man band concept to a whole new level with the wide-ranging sounds created on his homemade Magic Pipe.

In fact, this 1 Guy sounds like a handful as he drifts through prog-rock overtures, funk dance grooves, avant-classical passages, and mind-melting free jazz expressionism. While Silverman does have set songs, his background practically dictates a need for improvisation and "going off on sonic adventures."

"The idea of being a one-man band was always in the back of my mind," he says. "When it finally became time to give it a try, it was basically me just figuring out how I could do it as a bass. I had a very percussive style on the upright bass beyond what the instrument was normally capable of. I pushed the boundaries of the instrument itself, but I wasn't satisfied with the sonic range I was getting out of it. I wished I could build an instrument that covered more ground and allowed me to be more dynamic and have a greater sonic range." Glenn Burnsilver

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