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Earl Sweatshirt is scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 28, at Club Red in Mesa.
Earl Sweatshirt is scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 28, at Club Red in Mesa.
Courtesy of We Care a Lot PR

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix in April 2019

Think last month was jam-packed with big shows? Well, April’s concert calendar is going to give it a run for its money. The next 30 days and nights in the Valley will be loaded up with gigs by notable names and influential artists, blockbuster tours, and even a festival or two.

That includes visits from numerous artists and acts that are scheduled to be at this year’s Coachella. And thanks to the fact it happens to take place over the course of two weekends over in California, many on the lineup have also scheduled performances here in Valley before, after, and in between their appearances in Indio.

Other highlights of this month’s concert calendar include shows by Earl Sweatshirt, Whitey Morgan, Passion Pit, Indigo Girls, Ben Kweller, DMX, The 1975, Sofi Tukker, and Quinn XCII.

Details about each of these shows can be found below in our list of the best concerts happening in April 2019 in the Valley. And for even more live music happening around town in the weeks ahead, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

Dilly Dally — their bite is worse than their bark.
Dilly Dally — their bite is worse than their bark.
Courtesy of Partisan Records

Dilly Dally
Monday, April 1
Valley Bar

The Toronto-based Dilly Dally begin their newest album, Heaven, with light and sparse piano notes under the heavy whispers of vocalist and guitarist Katie Monks. That's until Monks' whispers turn up and her voice breaks as she begins the chorus. Nearly four years after the release of their debut album, Sore, Dilly Daily are back on tour for Heaven after nearly calling it quits in the aftermath of their last major tour. Dilly Dally come to Phoenix with fellow Canadian alternative rockers Chastity. Julian Hernandez

Why Bonnie serve up indie pop that's perfect for your summertime soundtrack.
Why Bonnie serve up indie pop that's perfect for your summertime soundtrack.
Courtesy of Ticketfly

Why Bonnie
Tuesday, April 2
The Rebel Lounge

As summer approaches in the Valley, it's important to update all your playlists as you plan for road trips to Lake Havasu and watering holes around Sedona. The Austin, Texas, indie-pop quintet Why Bonnie are the perfect addition to your night drive-home tunes, with the soothing voice of Blair Howerton over sun-soaked keys and guitar. Joining Why Bonnie for their night at The Rebel Lounge are locals Proteens and Dovi, both serving up tunes worthy of any summer playlist. Julian Hernandez

Americana songstress Ruby Boots.EXPAND
Americana songstress Ruby Boots.
Aly Fae

Ruby Boots
Tuesday, April 2
Valley Bar

Bex Chilcott, who performs under the name Ruby Boots, feels like writing songs was something that was given to her. She’d left a troubled home in Perth, Australia, at age 14, and about eight years later, she learned how to play guitar while working on a pearl farm and living on a houseboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Over the past 15 years that she’s been writing and singing primarily Americana and country songs, Chilcott has busked around Europe and the U.K., going back to Perth before finally landing in Nashville, Tennessee, where she’s lived for the past two years. Chilcott says her songwriting style has changed over that time.

“You do get to process a lot of the pain through your art,” she says. “As a result of all that early kind of intense pain, you hopefully become some kind of empathetic and compassionate human that can see the world through a broader view and really understand different people’s way of life and how they feel because you’ve been through a bunch of stuff yourself.” Take “I Am a Woman” from her new album, Don’t Talk About It, which was released in February on Bloodshot Records, for example.

“Not because I’m writing about my own experience, but because I’m writing about fucking everyone’s experience, and it causes a lot of pain, and it’s both an extremely painful song, and a sad song at the same time, and an extremely empowering and powerful song at the same time,” she says. “I wouldn’t shy away from writing about that place, because I think that drives a message that needs to be said.” Jon Solomon

Musical genius and pillars of stone go together hand in hand.EXPAND
Musical genius and pillars of stone go together hand in hand.
Emma Swift

Robyn Hitchcock
Tuesday, April 2
Musical Instrument Museum

This year marks the 40th anniversary of The Soft Boys’ debut record, A Can of Bees. If the record is unfamiliar to you, that’s understandable — they were a relatively short-lived band hailing from Cambridge, England, and their second LP, 1980’s Underwater Moonlight, is more popular anyway. You may be more familiar with their leader, renowned singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock.

While The Soft Boys’ legacy is something that music fans will continue to discover, Hitchcock, who turned 66 years old on March 3 and currently calls Nashville, Tennessee, home, has continued to carve out a sizable niche in the world of psychedelic rock as a solo artist and member of several other projects over the last four decades. Currently on tour with just an acoustic guitar, Hitchcock visits the Musical Instrument Museum in early April. Tom Reardon

The post-hardcore heroes of Dance Gavin Dance.EXPAND
The post-hardcore heroes of Dance Gavin Dance.
Lindsey Byrnes

Dance Gavin Dance
Wednesday, April 3
The Van Buren

Since 2006, post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance have been providing angsty music that continues to live on the playlists of misunderstood high school students. Over the course of nine albums, we’ve heard the band’s distinct style evolve. Oddly timed riffs come off more groovy than heavy with a hardcore growl. Songs like “Betrayed by the Game” air anger, as clean vocalist Tilian Pearson sings, “I rain destruction in the fight of my inner feels / Remove the tricks of the trade / You’re just alone on the stage.” Sing along when Dance Gavin Dance come to The Van Buren in early April. Periphery, Don Broco, Hail The Sun, and Covet will open. Lindsay Roberts

Liza Vitale of Terror Jr.EXPAND
Liza Vitale of Terror Jr.
Neil Favila

Terror Jr
Friday, April 5
Crescent Ballroom

Liza Vitale and David Singer-Vine, the duo behind the pop group Terror Jr, are producing radio-ready melodies with lyrical complexity that isn’t always present at the top of the charts. Vocalist Vitale’s bubbly, almost conversational approach to her singing masks the messages she brings forth in her songs. Whether it’s society’s pressure on women to conform in “Loner,” or unrealistic beauty standards in the era of moneyed social media on “Pretty,” Terror Jr deliver catchy hooks with substance. Julian Hernandez

Blues legend Buddy Guy.
Blues legend Buddy Guy.
Paul Natkin

Buddy Guy and Jimmie Vaughan
Friday, April 5
Celebrity Theatre

At 82 years old, blues legend Buddy Guy is one of the last of his kind. He's a virtuoso of guitar and demands his audiences pay attention during his performances (he's been known to, playfully but seriously, tell a crowd to "shut the fuck up"). And Guy deserves our full attention. The eight-time Grammy winner is one of Rolling Stone magazine's best guitarists of all time and has influenced some of music's most iconic players like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. He’s currently touring alongside blues-rock legend Jimmie Vaughan, who will join Guy during his Celebrity Theatre show in April. Diamond Rodrigue

The Rebirth Brass Band ain't just for New Orleans tourists.EXPAND
The Rebirth Brass Band ain't just for New Orleans tourists.
Ian Frank

The Soul Shabang
Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6
Crescent Ballroom

Need some rhythm in your life? Head down to Crescent Ballroom on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, for The Soul Shabang. The venue is closing down Second Avenue for two nights so you can move to the beat. The B-Side Players will pay tribute to the legendary Curtis Mayfield on April 5 while Louisiana’s own Rebirth Brass Band will blow their horns. A traditional New Orleans crawfish boil will also help feed your feet. The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra headline the festivities on April 6 along with Seattle's own The Dip and Son Led from Havana. Jason Keil

Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival.EXPAND
Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Lights 2019
Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6
Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler

A word of warning, Earthlings: Thousands of strange and colorful beings will descend upon a remote area of the southeast Valley in the very near future. Is it an alien invasion? Nope, just an alien invasion-themed dance music party. Phoenix Lights, the annual EDM festival inspired by the legendary local UFO fly-by of Arizona, returns this weekend for its fifth edition. And it's going to involve some close encounters of the raging kind.

Phoenix Lights 2019 will invade the Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler on Sunday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, and (much like in previous years) offer two days of performances by superstar DJs and electronic dance music artists, as well as an otherworldly atmosphere. This year’s lineup is headlined by Grammy-nominated producer Kaskade, bass oddity Excision, progressive house practitioner Arty, and Dirtybird Records founder Claude VonStroke. Other artists scheduled to appear include Big Gigantic, Dirt Monkey, Shiba San, Black Caviar, Doctor P, Cookie Monsta, Lane 8, Decadon, Minesweepa, and many more.

Performances will take place on three different stages situated around the Park at Wild Horse Pass, which is located near 48th Street and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in Chandler. Befitting the extraterrestrial theme, mockups of crashed UFOs and alien-like artworks will also be located around the park during Phoenix Lights. You can also expect to see plenty of weird beings as well. Benjamin Leatherman

Los Tigres Del Norte
Sunday, April 7
Mesa Amphitheatre

This San Jose, California-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 have 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 in Mesa Amphitheatre will be singing along to Los Tigres. Julian Hernandez

The members of California Guitar Trio (from left): Hideyo Moriya, Bert Lams, and Paul Richards.EXPAND
The members of California Guitar Trio (from left): Hideyo Moriya, Bert Lams, and Paul Richards.
Patty Urlaub

California Guitar Trio
Sunday, April 7
Chandler Center for the Arts

Created in 1991 after taking part in Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists, the trio of Paul Richards, Bert Lams, and Hideyo Moriya form a rare musical partnership that reaches across various genres without any type of prejudice. During the trio's live sets, they go through tunes as diverse as Ennio Morricone’s theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Beatles’ “Get Back,” Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor,” and Radiohead’s “Daydreaming” without (literally) missing a beat. In fact, that musical eclecticism that has kept them going for almost three decades, attracting fans from various walks of life while allowing the musicians to share the stage with Tito Puente, King Crimson bassist Tony Levin – who has produced some of their recordings – John McLaughlin, and numerous others.

The secret behind the trio's success seems to be the fact that they're able to surprise audiences wherever they go – one night, they might play a straight classical set, while during another gig they might do an effects-laden take on Pink Floyd's "Echoes." Also unlike most other groups, they do allow fans to tape their sets – but not for commercial use – so you don't have to worry about having your camera confiscated at the door. Ernest Barteldes

This Wild Life
Sunday, April 7
The Rebel Lounge

What started as a pop-punk band complete with wild guitar solos and fast-paced drums became two guys with acoustic guitars. As This Wild Life, Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso play a refreshing take on acoustic-fronted pop music. They’re known to do the occasional cover from early 2000s pop-punk, but really shine on their composed duets. When the two harmonize on “Westside” or “Fade,” you might begin to wonder how they haven’t hit it big on the radio yet. Julian Hernandez

Quinn XCIIEXPAND
Quinn XCII
Ashley Buenrostro

Quinn XCII
Tuesday, April 9
Comerica Theatre

Ever since he dropped his 2015 debut, Change of Scenery, fans have been telling Quinn XCII that his music has helped them get through their lowest moments. “As more of [the messages] came in, it was as if the door was knocking on my brain and saying, ‘Why am I not speaking on my own struggles?’ Everyone’s telling me it helped them so much. The fans really gave me courage to [speak up more] as well,” he says.

Quinn (real name Mikael Temrowski) evolved quickly from being a dorm-room producer to a bona fide indie pop star. He's built his career on affectionate, catchy, and youthful songs. His latest album, From Michigan With Love, is the furthest he's waded into adulthood.

"With the exception of maybe two or three songs, the whole project theme is mental health," he explains. "The title is kind of me saying, ‘Here’s 12 songs of me talking about stuff that I went through back home growing up in Michigan, and how all of it has kind of not stopped following me — even with moving to L.A. and having a little bit of success in my career.’" Writing an album that he felt adequately addressed the importance of emotional and mental health tested him as a songwriter.

“The last year and a half spent working on this record, there were a lot of ups and downs with it," he says. "I got in my head a little bit about what I wanted to talk about, and I wanted to maintain momentum from the first record." Ben Wiese

Danny Dempsey (left), Austin Getz (center), and Casey Getz of Turnover.
Danny Dempsey (left), Austin Getz (center), and Casey Getz of Turnover.
Courtesy of APA Agency

Turnover
Tuesday, April 9
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Steeped in the background and history of emo music, the Virginia group Turnover have taken the lyrical qualities of the genre alongside bright guitars and upbeat melodies. On their 2017 album, Good Nature, vocalist Austin Getz’s voice floats over echoed and punchy guitar. On “What Got in the Way,” a traditional emo heartbreak ballad becomes a bright and sunny day as Getz slips in a familiar pop sound. Joining Turnover is the Baltimore hardcore group Turnstile. Julian Hernandez

Toubab Krewe
Wednesday, April 10
Last Exit Live

Toubab Krewe are neo-griot-funk from Southern freak zone Asheville, North Carolina. Their name admits they're tourists ("Toubab" = white dude) and their sound can be described as "Jampire Weekend."

Blending Mali soul and Afrobeat with bluesy desert surf-twang, Caribbean scratch, and zydeco bounce, Toubab Krewe surround it all with occasional floating ambiance. And sometimes they do it all in one song, like "NTB." On others, like "Fire," they play a dubby-lover's rock. Their hometown-recorded Live at the Orange Peel (2009) is a fan favorite; for street cred, they recorded "Moose," a fervent spoken-word ode to Hendrix, with the Last Poets' Umar Ben Hassan. They've dominated Bonnaroo (of course) and many other festivals.

Does it all seem a bit like Caucasian exoticism? Here's my reason for enjoying the band: They remind me of when '80s Australian punks would try different rhythms and genres while bashing out raw party music. There aren't any songs quite like that in TK's set, but the band's willingness to rip it up with tasty new sounds reminds us that innovation should always keep you physically, as well as culturally, moving. Chris Estey

Lincoln Durham is a one-man musical dynamo.
Lincoln Durham is a one-man musical dynamo.
J. Trevino

Lincoln Durham
Wednesday, April 10
The Rebel Lounge

"Anything goes" should have been the catchphrase for Lincoln Durham, one of the most unpredictable one-man bands around. He might throw in occasional odes to girls named Clementine and shed a little ever-loving light, but it definitely isn't in an old-fashioned gospel kind of way. He prefers a more tortured brand of roots rock.

Sure, Durham bangs a bass drum like all the other one-man bands, but he does it while grinding out stomp-rock blues on everything from a tattered-up Gibson to a homemade cigar-box guitar with some empty suitcases, beat-up mandolins, and blown-out harmonicas thrown in.

Durham is the first to admit he's more than slightly obsessed with Tom Waits. Everything Waits does confuses, frightens, intrigues and enlightens him, he says. Add to that a little Son House, Fred McDowell, and of course, rooting around in attics for $50 one-stringed abominations (the cheaper the better), and the Durham sound was born. Sonya Harvey

Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, the artists behind Sofi Tukker.EXPAND
Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, the artists behind Sofi Tukker.
Toma Kostygina

Sofi Tukker
Thursday, April 11
The Van Buren

Last year, Sofi Tukker's insidiously catchy single "Best Friend" became a major hit after being featured in a commercial for the iPhone X, including hitting number one on Billboard's dance charts. The duo behind the song — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — often blur the lines between live and recorded sounds during performances. They sing live and play bass and guitar onstage, but the rest of the sounds are programmed, and some sections of their sets are reserved for choreographed dance routines.

"At first, we tried to do everything," Hawley-Weld says, "trying to trigger every beat and play every part. But we realized that's not really the point. There's a performance art and interactive element that also really matters to us: It's bringing the music to life, trying to embody the music through movement, and really focusing on connecting with the people who showed up." In other words, they care more about shared experiences than wowing with their motor-function skills. Howard Hardee

Dierks Bentley is one of the nightly headliners of Country Thunder this year.EXPAND
Dierks Bentley is one of the nightly headliners of Country Thunder this year.
Melissa Fossum

Country Thunder 2019
Thursday, April 11, to Sunday, April 14
Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence

The big names of contemporary and throwback country music are once again rounding up at Canyon Moon Ranch in Florence for the annual Country Thunder music festival. Over 100,000 country and western fans are expected to the festival grounds from Thursday, April 11, to Sunday, April 14, for 10-gallon headliners such as Trace Adkins, Brett Eldredge, Tim McGraw, Clay Walker, Chris Stapleton, and homegrown star Dierks Bentley. In addition to country stars taking the main stage, Country Thunder 2019 also offers retail vendors, partner activities, on-site bars, a food court, and additional entertainers and a side stage featuring local country bands. Lauren Cusimano

The 1975 time-warp into Phoenix on April 15.EXPAND
The 1975 time-warp into Phoenix on April 15.
Courtesy of Live Nation

The 1975
Monday, April 15
Comerica Theatre

The 1975 are returning to Phoenix to kick off their latest North American tour in April. Along with opening act Pale Waves, they'll be celebrating their latest album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships.

With over 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, the English group is one of the most popular contemporary pop-rock bands. Their albums and singles regularly reach No. 1 on the U.S. and U.K. charts, thanks in no small part to their approachable sound and the rock star/heartthrob image of lead singer Matthew Healy. The tracks off the band's self-titled debut album were rock tunes, featuring breezy guitar riffs and lyrics about love and relationships.

Their more recent music has become poppier in nature, favoring sentimental, '80s-power-ballad synths on tracks like "Somebody Else" (they cite John Hughes as a primary influence) and even a tropical beat their newest track, the bizarrely-titled "TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME." Even more oddly-titled was their last album, 2016's I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It (okay, dude). Douglas Markowitz

DMX returns to Phoenix in April.
DMX returns to Phoenix in April.
Mika Väisänen

DMX
Thursday, April 18
The Van Buren

It's only been a couple of months since DMX's release from prison after serving a one-year sentence for tax evasion, but X looks like he's ready to make us lose our minds again. He's announced a 20th-anniversary tour for his now-classic 1998 album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, coming to The Van Buren in Phoenix on Thursday, April 18.

X's debut album launched him into the spotlight with the singles "Stop Being Greedy" and the ever-hype "Ruff Ryders' Anthem."

When the New York-raised DMX lived in the Valley, he gave us some memorable moments. He's been arrested multiple times in Maricopa County for doing over 100 mph on the highway, and he once barricaded himself in his home after police showed up with a search warrant after an earlier visit found dogs in poor conditions. X last performed in Phoenix (his former hometown) in 2016, just months before he would be sentenced for tax evasion. No support has been announced for the tour. Julian Hernandez

Indie singer-songwriter Ben Kweller.
Indie singer-songwriter Ben Kweller.
Kevin Baldes

Ben Kweller
Thursday, April 18
Valley Bar

Ben Kweller, now 37, was born in San Francisco but grew up in Texas. His teenage rock trio, Radish, caught national attention when they signed to Mercury Records in the late 1990s. Their only record for the label, Restraining Bolt, was put out as the major labels finally gave in to the alternative rock sound and focused on Creed and Matchbox 20. Radish disbanded and Kweller decided to move to New York and start a solo career.

With a string of heralded solo records on which he bounced between fuzzy pop rock and country, he was busy. His 2012 release, Go Fly a Kite, was nominated for a Grammy in the Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package category. But in 2013, he and his family almost died while sleeping in a cabin in New Mexico. Kweller’s wife, Liz, woke him up in the middle of the night saying something was wrong. Turns out, the entire family was suffering from acute carbon monoxide poisoning.

“That changed everything,” he says. Being on pure oxygen for 24 hours saved them. But the experience created a big fork in the road for Kweller. He put music on hold. But when his friend Anton Yelchin died in a vehicle accident in 2016, Kweller decided to get back into music full time. With a full tour devoted to his new album, Circuit Boredom, on deck, Kweller looks forward to making more new music and even reissuing earlier solo albums and Radish material through Noise Company. Eric Grubbs

Hip-hop legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.EXPAND
Hip-hop legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Courtesy of Luckyman Concerts

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Thursday, April 18
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Ohio rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are a fractured bunch. Since the mid-’90s, when N.W.A.’s Eazy-E first co-signed their melodic, rapid Midwest sound, the collective have shed and re-added members with a dizzying frequency. Although it can be hard to keep track of which Bones — including Krayzie, Wish, Flesh-N, Layzie, and Bizzy — constitute Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at any given point, what’s remained consistent is the crew’s sonic density. Established on early hits like “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “The Crossroads,” Bone Thugs’ signature sound has carried the group through numerous reunions and reconstitutions.

While 2013’s The Art of War: World War III found the group incorporating new stylistic elements, original members Bizzy and Krayzie’s 2017 record New Wave, released under the stripped-down Bone Thugs moniker, is the one that hints toward future glories. Featuring collaborations with Stephen Marley, Bun B., Yelawolf, and Jonathan Davis of Korn, it finds the duo exploring Auto-Tuned reggae on “Coming Home” and summer-jam funk on “Fantasy.” It’s not likely to achieve the chart heights of the group’s classic material but should add a few followers to the band’s fervent cult-fan base. Jason P. Woodbury

Zeds Dead doing their thing.EXPAND
Zeds Dead doing their thing.
Benjamin Leatherman

Deadbeats 420
Saturday, April 20
Rawhide in Chandler

Genreless music formed by heart-stopping beat drops and deep bass repetitions is the name of the game for electronic music group Zeds Dead. Since their latest album, Northern Lights, came out in 2016, the duo has been touring the globe bringing electrifying dance anthems to the masses. Zeds Dead's latest venture is Deadbeats 420, an electronic dance music festival coming to Chandler this 4/20. Troyboi, Liquid Stranger, 1788-L, and Blanke will share the stage for a night of gritty harmonies in the desert.

Deadbeats, Zeds Dead's independent record label, is hosting this event along with more than 15 others in North America and Europe this year. For each show, a new interactive design will artistically draw the space together and create a new platform for creativity. In the past, there were arcade machines, graffiti walls, and a skate park.

Deadbeats 420 will be at the Rawhide Event Center in Chandler, the usual haunt for Relentless events. General Admission tickets cost $45 and the Frontlines VIP pit passes, which include access to the pit, a commemorative lanyard, and express entry into the venue, are $85. This is an 18-and-over event, and fair warning to all you, um, cannabis enthusiasts looking to attend: While it may be 4/20, you may not want to try to smuggle anything in. Megan Marples

Los Straitjackets
Tuesday, April 23
The Rhythm Room

Fans of Los Straitjackets may have first come for the novelty, but they’ve stayed for the sound — a furious instrumental assault of twangy surf, hard rockabilly, and psychedelic garage. Oh, the Nashville, Tennessee, band still sport the Mexican wrestler masks and Chuck Taylors, and they still know a marketing angle. (Can you say “a wipe-out instrumental cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’”?) But despite being packaged with luchador trading cards, the shtick takes on albums like 2009’s The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets and 2017’s What's So Funny About Peace Love And…, which feature a mix of instrumentals both subdued and lively. And believe us, they’re a lively bunch, particularly their ultra-energetic track “Kawanga!” If you can’t dance to Los Straitjackets, get out of the way, or prepare to be surf-punk body-slammed. Roy Kasten

Working-class country crooner Whitey Morgan.EXPAND
Working-class country crooner Whitey Morgan.
Marc Nader

Whitey Morgan
Friday, April 26
The Van Buren

If Waylon Jennings didn't exist, then Whitey Morgan wouldn't either. The same could be said for Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash, not to mention Buicks, twin fiddles, and class struggle. The mold should have been broken with the passing of honky-tonk's golden age, but, somehow, against all the corn pone that still fuels much of the revivalist scene, Morgan is absolutely in that mold. With a rich baritone that stands up to Dale Watson and a hard-as-forged-steel band that stands up to pure shuffles and trucker stomps, Morgan is a heavyweight, hard-country hitter. Tom Murphy

Psychedelic rock band Blac Rabbit.
Psychedelic rock band Blac Rabbit.
Angel Boyd

Blac Rabbit
Friday, April 26
Last Exit Live

Twin brothers Amiri and Rahiem Taylor have a lot in common as co-frontmen of the Brooklyn-based psychedelic rock band Blac Rabbit. They often double each other's guitar riffs for a monophonic effect, and it's difficult for new listeners to tell their singing voices apart. They are musically intertwined — inseparable even.

All of which makes sense, given their shared DNA. But they have their differences. "Our songwriting styles are so oddly similar, but you can still tell if Rah wrote a song or if I wrote a song, even if you don't put vocals over it," Amiri says. "I think that Rah is more lyrically introspective. He's been through a lot of emotional wounds and stuff. It comes from a place of old-soul wisdom, and I think my lyrics are a little more lighthearted. Personality-wise, he's a little bit more introverted than I am."

Though both men sing and play guitar onstage — backed by Patrick Jones on drums and Josh Lugo on bass — the Taylor twins assume complementary roles in the studio. Rahiem plays drums, bass, and guitar; Amiri plays guitar and keyboards. At this point, the Taylor twins aren't best known for their original music: YouTube videos of them performing spot-on renditions of mop-top era Beatles songs such as "We Can Work It Out" and "Eight Days a Week" on the New York City subway have garnered millions of views. Howard Hardee

Getting down in the wave pool at Big Surf in Tempe during Wet Electric.
Getting down in the wave pool at Big Surf in Tempe during Wet Electric.
Benjamin Leatherman

Wet Electric 2019
Saturday, April 27
Big Surf in Tempe

Pool parties are a quintessential springtime activity in the Valley. Ditto for outdoor music festivals where big-name artists and hitmakers perform in the great outdoors for thousands of fans. And then there’s the event that combines the two: the annual Wet Electric at Big Surf in Tempe.

Every April, the electronic dance music extravaganza, which features all the hallmarks of both a DJ-powered pool party and festival rager, takes over the iconic water park and transforms it into a one-day haven of beats and bass. As such, the main stage at Wet Electric is set up in the middle of Big Surf’s Waikiki Beach wave pool, which becomes an enormous dance floor as EDM fans move to the music and splash about as numerous world-renowned DJs and producers perform.

The lineup each year features close to a dozen heavy hitters from the dance music world, including those of both nationally-known and local variety. The 2019 edition of Wet Electric will he headlined by RL Grime and Benny Benassi and will also include sets from What So Not, Bonnie X Clyde, Bruno Furlan, Slumberjack, Sonny Fodera, Taiki Nulight, Tails, VNSSA, and Will Clarke. Benjamin Leatherman

Earl Sweatshirt
Sunday, April 28
Club Red in Mesa

It took years for Earl Sweatshirt to be ready for a new album. The rapper, also known by his birth name, Thebe Kgositsile, dives deeper than ever into the troubles of living under the spotlight on his latest release, Some Rap Songs, his first album in years. As detailed in probing stories from Pitchfork and The New Yorker, he's still trying to distance himself from his time in Odd Future after being thrust into the public eye during the now-infamous "Free Earl" campaign run by the group's fans.

Now, after a successful set at Camp Flog Gnaw in Los Angeles last year, Sweatshirt is finally going back out on the road. He's just announced the "FIRE IT UP!" Tour, which starts in New Orleans in March, finishes in Atlanta in May, and will stop at Club Red in Mesa on Sunday, April 28.

Kgositsile's newest tour sets out to separate Earl Sweatshirt from his performer persona, highlighted by his choice to present his tour under his birth name. He's bringing along a cadre of talented rap game up-and-comers, including fierce Atlanta rapper Bbymutha, HOG SLAUGHTER BOYS buddy and mid90s star Na-Kel Smith (whose debut solo project Twothousand Nakteen dropped in January), Liv.e, MIKE, and Black Noi$e. Julian Hernandez

Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.EXPAND
Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.
Courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Passion Pit
Tuesday, April 30
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

Nothing places your heart on your sleeve like naming your electro-pop band after the public cubbyholes where teenagers go to feel each other up. Indeed, the lyrical themes of Passion Pit, spun by vocalist and lyricist Michael Angelakos, draws on teenage angst and adolescent sexual appetites. Angelakos originally crafted the band's debut EP, Chunk of Change, as a belated Valentine's Day gift for a former flame, but the project quickly caught on. Passion Pit's debut EP and Manners followed suit with even more personal odes to inner turmoil, secret addiction, and death fetishes. Troy Farah

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