The 10 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Iceage is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 17, at The Rebel Lounge.EXPAND
Iceage is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, April 17, at The Rebel Lounge.
Christian Freidlander
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Couldn’t find the means or money to make it to Coachella this year? No sweat, y’all. Thanks to the Valley’s proximity to Indio, California (the home to the high-profile music festival), several of the bands playing this year’s Coachella are coming to Phoenix to perform during the gap between weekend one and weekend two.

In other words, Coachella is coming to you (minus all the trendy fashion and overpriced amenities). Acts such as The 1975, Iceage, Sales, and Dennis Lloyd all have shows booked over the next several nights at various local venues, most of which are included in our list of the best concerts in Phoenix this week.

Other highlights of this week’s concert calendar includes shows by DMX, Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Wayne “The Train” Hancock.

Details about each of these shows can be found in the following list. And for even more live music happening around the Valley, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

The 1975 time-warp into Phoenix on Monday night.EXPAND
The 1975 time-warp into Phoenix on Monday night.
Courtesy of Chuffmedia

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 on 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

See John Vanderslice this week at Valley Bar.EXPAND
See John Vanderslice this week at Valley Bar.
Sarah Cass

John Vanderslice
Wednesday, April 17
Valley Bar

For those unfamiliar with John Vanderslice, who turns 52 in May, the longtime Bay Area-by-way-of-Florida musician and songwriter’s music is a treat for the ears and brain. His incredibly smart lyrics can put a smile on one’s face or tug on one’s heartstrings, and they’re on full display on his 11th studio album, The Cedars, released on April 5 via Native Cat Recordings.

As a guitarist and keyboardist, Vanderslice is more than adequate, but where he really excels is in arranging and mixing his songs so that every instrument — no, every sound — is in the right place. If you like well-arranged indie rock with a soulfully elegant pop sensibility, you’re going to love him whether you’re in your car, at your house, or at the show.

The list of clients Vanderslice has worked with at his Tiny Telephone Studios, which has locations in San Francisco and Oakland, is impressive — The Mountain Goats, St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney, Spoon — but he’s not just into working with big-name artists. Tiny Telephone is a studio where anyone with a band can afford to record, and Vanderslice aims to keep it that way as long as he can. Tom Reardon

Jordan Shih (left) and Lauren Morgan (right) of Sales.
Jordan Shih (left) and Lauren Morgan (right) of Sales.
Courtesy of APA Agency

Wednesday, April 17
Crescent Ballroom

The Orlando, Florida, duo of Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih are making deeply personal and reflective pop. Both guitarists who were once stuck in office jobs that stifled their spirits, Morgan and Shih create calm and soulful guitar melodies full of tenderness. Once performing with programmed drums, Sales has come to life with their rotating crew of tour drummers who punctuate the force behind Morgan’s true to life lyrics. “Outta sight, outta mind / You’ll ignore all the signs / How do you like me now,” sings Morgan over a introspective bassline. Julian Hernandez

The musicians of Iceage.EXPAND
The musicians of Iceage.

Wednesday, April 17
The Rebel Lounge

Iceage began a decade ago in Copenhagen as a gaggle of 17-year-olds. That youthful exuberance and cutting angst proved the foundation of 2011’s excellent New Brigade. Yet beyond that moroseness lay an emotional and sonic depth that perpetuated this precise pastiche of hardcore and noise. That grit and prowess fully blossomed with 2013’s You’re Nothing – with Iceage streamlining its bag of musical tricks – and 2014’s Plowing Into the Fields of Love, a nuanced spin on punk that belied their 20-something status.

It’s this year’s Beyondlessthat finds Iceage exploring new territories with unrivaled vigor. All but gone is the one-dimensional nihilism dominating that early catalog. The 10-track LP brims with a savvy and confidence forged by 10 years spent crawling around the big, scary world, picking up ideas and new passions while shuttering deadweight. Whether it’s the driving rhythms of “Hurrah,” the sax-powered alt-rock jam “The Day The Music Dies,” the swampy, Nick Cave-esque masterpiece “Catch It," or the vaudevillian oddball "Showtime," Iceage hums with life. A raw stream of vigor runs through their collective bloodstream, powering the members to drill deeper into the musical unknown. With Beyondless, Iceage haven’t simply matured – they’ve rounded out raw integrity with playful heart and boundless charisma. Chris Coplan

Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones is their name, upbeat rockabilly is their game.
Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones is their name, upbeat rockabilly is their game.
Courtesy of Atomic Music Group

Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones
Wednesday, April 17
The Rhythm Room

Individual music tastes tend to vary wildly from person to person. That said, it's pretty impossible to resist the charms of the jangling country subgenre of rockabilly, particularly the effusive version performed by Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones. The New York group present original roots music with an upbeat flair and have released a few albums in recent years, all featuring similarly cheerful titles like Love You to Life and Luck Maker. Be sure to bust out your finest gingham dress, poof up that pompadour, and channel the great Wanda Jackson for a fresh night on the town during the band’s show on Wednesday night at the Rhythm Room. Taylor Estape and Liz Tracy

Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox return to Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday.EXPAND
Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox return to Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday.
Braverijah Gregg

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox
Wednesday, April 17
Mesa Arts Center

Scott Bradlee, a jazz pianist who's been recording vintage-style cover tracks from his basement apartment, takes today’s pop hits, puts them in a time machine, and sends them back to the present from the Golden Age of swing, jazz, and soul. You’ll recognize the lyrics, but the song itself is a whole new tune. Whether you've stumbled across his addictive YouTube channel or are intrigued by the twists Bradlee puts on your favorite radio hits, his unique set is worth checking out.

“This is going to be a trip back in time,” Bradlee says. “If you imagine back in the 1940s, the Golden Age of Hollywood and going to a New Year’s Eve party with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, that’s what our show is. It’s a variety show. We have multiple singers and emcees, a tap dancer, and incredible musicians.”

Postmodern Jukebox started in Bradlee’s living room in Queens, where it has remained since 2013. As a kid, Bradlee was naturally drawn to older styles of music like jazz, swing, and Motown, but he didn’t have many peers who shared his interest. Since they were all listening to the pop tracks on the radio, he thought it'd be interesting to join that conversation by taking the contemporary songs they played on repeat, and transforming them into older styles to sound like the kind of music he loved. Michelle De Carion

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

All aboard Wayne "The Train" Hancock's Americana express.EXPAND
All aboard Wayne "The Train" Hancock's Americana express.
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records

Wayne "The Train" Hancock
Thursday, April 18
The Rhythm Room

Wayne "The Train" Hancock is not your typical country music singer, nor is he a backwoods, tobacky-chewin' redneck. His style of music is unique. It's a quality ode to an era when musicianship, tradition, and stories of old-time America ruled all the jukeboxes in every single country joint.

His music transcends cultures and the bullshit of politics, inviting everyone to throw down a hillbilly boogie. His disposition is often reminiscent of a grown-up Dennis the Menace, wearing classic Chuck Taylors with greaser cuffed jeans. This Dennis, though, has an affinity for tattoos, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and probably an occasional shot of whatever whiskey you've got handy.

Hancock is a mad scientist of Texan swing, an alchemist mixing honky-tonk, traditional country, and rockabilly swag. He's worked on his musical amalgam since the early 1990s. You can compare him to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and Jimmie Rodgers, but Hancock is always original and never a rip-off. This sonic sorcerer's powerful potion will be in full effect this week when he rolls into the Rhythm Room. And all the cool cats are likely to come out to party on his high rollin' train. Lizzie Rae

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