Things to Do

The 30 Best Concerts in Phoenix in April 2019

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
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.

click to enlarge Dilly Dally — their bite is worse than their bark. - COURTESY OF PARTISAN RECORDS
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. - COURTESY OF TICKETFLY
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

click to enlarge Americana songstress Ruby Boots. - ALY FAE
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

click to enlarge Musical genius and pillars of stone go together hand in hand. - EMMA SWIFT
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

click to enlarge The post-hardcore heroes of Dance Gavin Dance. - LINDSEY BYRNES
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

click to enlarge Liza Vitale of Terror Jr. - NEIL FAVILA
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

click to enlarge Blues legend Buddy Guy. - PAUL NATKIN
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

click to enlarge The Rebirth Brass Band ain't just for New Orleans tourists. - IAN FRANK
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

click to enlarge Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
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

click to enlarge The members of California Guitar Trio (from left): Hideyo Moriya, Bert Lams, and Paul Richards. - PATTY URLAUB
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

click to enlarge Quinn XCII - ASHLEY BUENROSTRO
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

click to enlarge Danny Dempsey (left), Austin Getz (center), and Casey Getz of Turnover. - COURTESY OF APA AGENCY
Danny Dempsey (left), Austin Getz (center), and Casey Getz of Turnover.
Courtesy of APA Agency
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
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Phoenix New Times Music Writers