Justin Timberlake is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.EXPAND
Justin Timberlake is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, May 2, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Ryan McGinley

The 11 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Justin Timberlake fans of the Valley, we hope you've been saving up your energy. You're going to need it to squee your hearts out during his big concert at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday night.

Timberlake will be in town in support of his latest album, Man of the Woods, and will perform what should be an epic concert. According to recent set lists, it will span 27 songs, including four covers that will be sung around a campfire. Seriously.

J.T.'s show isn't the only high-profile concert happening in the Valley this week as The Lawrence Arms, Gordon Lightfoot, TesseracT, Los Lobos, Fu Manchu, Joey Bada$$, and Plain White T's all have performances scheduled in the coming days.

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

The members of pop-rock band Plain White T's.EXPAND
The members of pop-rock band Plain White T's.
Courtesy of Hollywood Records

Damian McGinty
Monday, April 30
The Listening Room

If you tuned into the third season of Glee, you might've witnessed the talents of Irish-born singer Damian McGinty. If not, it's worth seeking out any of the 18 episodes where he played foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan, especially the one where he sang “Bein' Green," the melancholy tune made famous by Kermit the Frog. McGinty impressed Glee fans and critics alike with his vocal range and talents performing the song, which one writer described as a "simple, clear-voiced ode to being an outsider [that] rang true and was hauntingly beautiful.”

The 25-year-old has been wowing folks with his talents for more than a decade now, whether it was from winning the Oxygen reality competition program The Glee Project (which earned him the aforementioned role as Flanagan) or during his four-year stint as a teen with touring vocal ensemble Celtic Thunder. His self-titled solo EP from 2012 was also a modest success, ranking on the iTunes top 10 and topping the charts in his homeland.

This week, McGinty will perform a solo show at central Phoenix venue The Listening Room on Monday evening. Tickets are $35 and the gig gets going at 8 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

Irish-born vocalist Damian McGinty.
Irish-born vocalist Damian McGinty.
Courtesy of The Listening Room

Fu Manchu
Tuesday, May 1
The Rebel Lounge

Officially, the term "stoner rock" has yet to gain entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, so for the definition of the phrase, look no further than Fu Manchu.

Yet, like so many genres, the name hardly fits the sound. Pink Floyd is stoner rock, while Fu Manchu storms in – all heavy, sludgy, psychedelic, and fuzzy – with plenty of searing guitar riffs and a propulsive bottom end.

Rising out of the late-1980s Orange Country punk scene, Fu Manchu evolved by slowing the tempo (while retaining the intensity) and adding heavier elements. Instead of two-minute, 13-second thrashers with vocalist Scott Hill screaming his vocals, the band allowed the songs some flow, adding lengthy guitar interludes, and spacey jams and "thickening" the sound in the manner of bands such as the Melvins, Helmet, Black Sabbath, and Soundgarden.

Occasionally, those riffs turn into spacey interludes that slow the songs even further. Tracks like "Saturn III," from The Action Is Go, along with "Dimension Shifter" and "Last Question" certainly add a stoner element to the music. Glenn BurnSilver

British progressive metal band TesseracT.EXPAND
British progressive metal band TesseracT.
Steve Brown

Cigarettes After Sex
Tuesday, May 1
The Van Buren

Cigarettes After Sex’s influences are a lot like the band’s lyrics: worn right on their sleeve. The group’s skeletal arrangements and intimate production make you feel like you’re in the room with them while they’re playing. It’s the kind of vibe that The Cowboy Junkies perfected on their classic The Trinity Session LP. You can also hear traces of other slowcore and dream pop icons Mazzy Star, Low, and Cocteau Twins in gorgeous guitar licks and hushed vocals. But one major influence on the Brooklyn ambient pop group’s sound isn’t so obvious: They’re huge fans of Aphex Twin.

Cigarettes After Sex are a band who care deeply about creating a sense of space and place in music. Eschewing the studio, most of the band’s recordings have been done live. They recorded their debut EP, I, in a stairway at the University of Texas.

“It made everybody play different,” says Cigarettes After Sex founder and songwriter Greg Gonzalez. “We’re in this huge, echoey stairway, and we had to play a lot slower or else anything you’d play would come out messy and you couldn’t understand it. It basically forced us to play slow.”

That slowness is the band’s signature. Anchored by a steady yet subtle rhythm section, Gonzalez’s androgynous voice purrs in your ear while plangent guitars, keyboards, and tambourines drop in and out of the mix. Ashley Naftule

Legendary singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.EXPAND
Legendary singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.
Courtesy of Danny Zelisko Presents

Wednesday, May 2
Club Red in Mesa

Progressive rock isn’t just about musty Yes double albums and ELP rereleases. The genre, as prog-metal at least, is not only alive and breathing but downright youthful, as evidenced by English quintet TesseracT.

Going through five vocalists in a decade hasn’t deterred these earnest noodlers, who have consistently produced performances at once meditative, metallic, and almost counterintuitively groovy. With Daniel Tompkins at the mic, the quintet has spawned several albums, including 2015's Polaris (a collection straddling slap bass–spiked syncopation reminiscent of The Beyond and headphone-ready, Talk Talk-ish introspection with equal conviction) and this year's Sonder.

On all of their releases, TesseracT parades their formidable technical prowess as a unit rather than disconnected solo shredders and, though Tompkins’ timbre lacks the dimension of his predecessor, Ashe O’Hara, they remain vibrant, boundary-testing torchbearers. Paul Rogers

Dream pop band Cigarettes After Sex.EXPAND
Dream pop band Cigarettes After Sex.
Ebru Yildiz

Los Lobos
Wednesday, May 2
Musical Instrument Museum

Is any band in America more revered or respected than East Los Angeles roots vatos Los Lobos? The core members of this American musical treasure — David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Steve Berlin, Louis Perez and Conrad Lozano — have produced 19 albums and played everywhere from an Angeleno quinceañera to Farm Aid to the White House.

Their sound spans virtually all aspects of American music, from blues, zydeco, soul, and kick-you-in-the-head rock and roll to various Latino styles, including cumbia, norteño, and Tex-Mex. Critics turn handstands whenever they drop an album, and their fans follow them like Deadheads.

It's ironic that one of the most important acts of the late 20th century is best known for its cover of "La Bamba." Their first truly significant album, 1984's T Bone Burnett-produced Will The Wolf Survive?, asked the question, and these guys answer in the affirmative every time they step onto a stage. Viva Los Lobos. William Michael Smith

Joey Bada$$ performs in 2017.EXPAND
Joey Bada$$ performs in 2017.

The Garden
Wednesday, May 2
The Rebel Lounge

Twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, who comprise the two-piece Orange County-based band The Garden, deliver a delicately balanced attack while properly embracing the constraint set by being just bass, drums, and vocals, and they do it with an aplomb that belies their tender age. Shears and Shears are definitely skilled on their instruments (Wyatt plays bass and sings and Fletcher plays drums and makes faces) and truly play some of the best genre-bending music out there right now. If you had to define The Garden, you might call them post-post punk or new post-punk, but even then, it's not really accurate.

The Garden has distinct qualities of punk, New Wave, no wave, (a dash of) glam, and fair amount of teen angst, even though the Shears boys aren’t teenagers anymore and refer to their sound as "Vada." Raised in a musically forward-thinking home (Dad Steve Shears drums for So-Cal punk heroes Shattered Faith and roadies for X), the twins seem to be extremely comfortable following any musical whim, although their talent and keen eye for fashion, irony, and sarcasm have shaped their musical output in a way that even the most jaded music reviewer would be reluctant to call their music "whimsical." Call it "Vada," we suppose, whatever the hell that means. Tom Reardon

The current lineup of Los Lobos.EXPAND
The current lineup of Los Lobos.
David Alan Kogut

Joey Bada$$
Wednesday, May 2
The Van Buren

Brooklyn rap traditionalist Joey Bada$$ has had a helluva career thus far. Since breaking out in 2012 with his "Survival Tactics" single and subsequent, acclaimed 1999 tape, Joey's throwback sensibility has served to remind the populace that fashion has a 20-year cycle. A worthy champion of East Coast, true-school nostalgists, he's carried on the New York tradition with conviction, delivering mathematical, multisyllabic rhymes over jazzy beats between his two full-lengths and an EP. The effect — perhaps by design — is that his songs take on a timeless quality. Todd Hamm

Justin Timberlake
Wednesday, May 2
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Whether he’s bringing sexy back or has his dick in a box — two unrelated events — Justin Timberlake is easy to love. The pop icon built his current success on the foundation of his early career, during which he acted on shows like The All-New Mickey Mouse Club and served as one-fifth of the ’90s boy-band phenomenon NSYNC.

Timberlake’s new tour is in support of his new release, Man of the Woods. It’s yet another effort that has proved that his fans love him. It debuted at No. 1, falling into that top spot just like his last three full-lengths did. On this newbie, the cover features a less flashy J.T. The singer sports a beard and dark suit against a stark and snowy background. But don’t worry; he hasn’t gone full emo. There are plenty of jumpy pop-meets-R&B tunes — like the opening track, “Filthy,” and “Wave,” to name a couple.

Timberlake is getting roots-y, and it’s not just the REI-approved wardrobe. The native Tennesseean sings tunes like “Montana,” “Flannel,” and “Livin’ Off the Land.” In addition to guests like Alicia Keys, Timberlake’s new one features a duet (“Say Something”) with country superstar Chris Stapleton. Bring it on down to Justinville for a weeknight show filled with new tunes and fan favorites. Amy Young

Oh, brother: Fletcher and Wyatt Shears of The Garden.
Oh, brother: Fletcher and Wyatt Shears of The Garden.
Cara Robbins

The Lawrence Arms
Thursday, May 3
Crescent Ballroom

The Lawrence Arms started in 1999 when former members of the Broadways, Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan, decided to do a more melodic punk band focused on often startlingly detailed and personal but emotionally vibrant music that didn't wax into the melodramatic mode of turn of the century emo.

The band's earliest releases came out on respected indie label Asian Man Records, but it was 2002's Apathy and Exhaustion that propelled the group into a higher echelon of the public consciousness. Famously kicked off the Warped Tour in 2004 for making remarks critical of the festival from the stage, the Lawrence Arms continue to make poignant, melodic punk records informed by a sharp sense of humor even to this day. Tom Murphy

Orange County-born stoner rock band Fu Manchu.EXPAND
Orange County-born stoner rock band Fu Manchu.
Andrew Stuart

Gordon Lightfoot
Thursday, May 3
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

There are two kinds of people in this world: Gordon Lightfoot evangelists and people who've never actually bothered to listen to him. His champions include Bob Dylan, Vincent Gallo, and the entire nation of Canada. Even his most recognizable hits, "Sundown" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" run rife with darkness. "10 Degrees and Getting Colder" is a tale about what are perhaps the last minutes of a hitchhiking failed country singer.

Quit the ironic snickering and head down to your local record store to raid the dollar bin ($10 will grab you most of his catalog) or head to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to check out Lightfoot’s gig on Thursday, May 3, in the Virginia G. Piper Theater. You can thank us later. Nicholas Pell

Orange County-born stoner rock band Fu Manchu.EXPAND
Orange County-born stoner rock band Fu Manchu.
Andrew Stuart

Plain White T's
Thursday, May 3
BLK Live in Scottsdale

Your favorite Chicago alternative rock/power pop boy band with a predilection for singing to girls named Delilah is returning to the Valley for a gig. It's been a few years since their 2015 studio album, American Nights, was released, but the love song-cooing band are reportedly working on new music.

In the meantime, Plain White T's have been touring and reminding everyone why they are still around after almost 20 years of making hits like “Hey There Delilah,” “1, 2, 3, 4,” and “Rhythm of Love.” Keeping their classic sound mixed with some high-energy bangers, this is sure to be a concert that will not disappoint. Aria Bell

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