March is getting off to a big start with a week of high-profile shows and music events. Besides the return of M3F and the latest Full Moon Festival, the seven-day stretch from Monday, March 2, to Sunday, March 8, will see bands like Beach Bunny, DragonForce, and The Wood Brothers performing around town.
Other highlights of this week’s concert calendar include country superstar Blake Shelton bringing a few of his friends (including Trace Adkins and Lauren Alaina) to the Valley for a gig while Devon Allman and Duane Betts carry on their fathers’ blues-rock traditions.
Speaking of legacies, some of David Bowie’s backing musicians will celebrate the late legend’s greatest hits at the Mesa Arts Center on Wednesday night. If that weren’t enough, DJ/producer Sango will lay down beats at Crescent Ballroom, and Yacht Rock Revue will sail the seas of soft rock at The Van Buren.
Details about each of these shows can be found below. For even more live music happening around the Valley this week, hit up Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.
Beach BunnyTuesday, March 3
The Rebel Lounge
Pop-punk outfit Beach Bunny’s happy-actually-pretty-sad spirit is on full display in the recently released Honeymoon, their first full-length effort. The opening track “Promises” is meant for blaring with the car windows rolled down, windblown hair and all, screaming about an ex. Vocalist/guitarist Lili Trifilio’s vocals guide the production, set to lyrics less optimistic than Beach Bunny’s melodies suggest. At the top of the chorus, she sings: “Part of me still wants you.” A few bars later: “Part of me still hates you.” Despite covering lyrically gray areas, the songs on Honeymoon are so colorful and energetic that you might find yourself smiling at the melancholy, dancing through it all, and hollering the lyrics (in no particular order). Catch them in concert on Tuesday night at The Rebel Lounge. Field Medic and Indigo De Souza open the 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $14 in advance, $17 at the door. John Amar
A Bowie CelebrationWednesday, March 4
Mesa Arts Center
David Bowie played with some pretty remarkable musicians throughout his career. For the fourth year in a row, many of them will celebrate The Thin White Duke with A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour. The show features veteran musicians from Bowie's many backing bands, including the Spiders From Mars keyboardist Mike Garson, who leads the tour along with guitarist Gerry Leonard and others. They’ll celebrate the hits you remember from the radio, like "Rebel, Rebel" and "Fame," as well as deeper cuts from Bowie's extensive catalog, although each show's setlist is said to vary. Wednesday’s show at Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theatre starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27 to $52. Diamond Rodrigue
The Wood BrothersWednesday, March 4
In addition to his duties with avant-jazz-funk band Medeski Martin & Wood, Chris Wood has been half of the Wood Brothers, the folk act that pairs him with his older brother, vocalist/guitarist Oliver. Appropriately, this side project allows Chris to show, well, another side of himself. Rather than clone the jazzy vibe of Chris’ longtime group, the Wood Brothers serve up a bluesy blend of Americana and folk that's naturally boosted by genetics. Oliver plays acoustic and electric guitars while Chris mans the upright bass (multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix rounds out the trio). They’ve released eight studio albums since the act’s formation in 2014, including this year’s Kingdom in My Mind. They’ll be in town on Wednesday night when their current tour swings through Crescent Ballroom. Birds of Chicago open the 8 p.m. show and tickets are $30 to $40. Tom Murphy
Blake SheltonThursday, March 5
Gila River Arena in Glendale
When he's not hosting The Voice, appearing on talk shows, or showing up in the tabloids with Gwen Stefani, country big-timer Blake Shelton tours and records music constantly. The most recent addition to his lengthy discography is last year’s Fully Loaded: God's Country, a compilation of previously released material and several new songs (including the chart-topping title track). Shelton’s latest visit to the Valley happens on Thursday night when he performs at Gila River Arena. Fellow country music starts Trace Adkins, Lauren Alaina, The Bellamy Brothers, and John Anderson share the bill. The concert starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $44.25 to $104.25. Jeff Strowe
DragonForceThursday, March 5
Club Red in Mesa
DragonForce, the London sextet that have been around since 1999, wave high the banner of power metal. But they take “epic” to a whole new level. On the metal scale of 1 to 11, they're more Tufnel than Tufnel himself. Lead guitarist Herman Li, originally from Hong Kong, likely has the fastest hands ever to have touched an Ibanez. Most DragonForce songs clock in around the seven-minute mark because Li solos for about three minutes. And we're not talking gratuitous jam band improv solos. We're talking ones that are complexly structured and fully composed.
Most lyrics of DragonForce songs are positive, upbeat messages. They’re also like Dethklok on happy pills. Li's speed and precision make him the real-life Skwisgaar Skwigelf, and his video game-inspired guitar effects sound like Pac-Man munching on amphetamines. Experience DragonForce live on Thursday night at Club Red in Mesa. Unleash the Archers and Visions of Atlantis open the 6 p.m. show. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Linda Leseman
SangoThursday, March 5
As for DJ/producer Sango, staying close to the roots of his craft is how he stands out. Born Kai Wright in Seattle, Sango sticks to the basics while incorporating trends to curate a dance-floor environment that gets bodies moving. Being himself onstage is working out for him. Since 2010, he's released a total of 16 EPs and two albums. Along with DJ'ing, Sango also has racked up production credits on singles by Tinashe, Bryson Tiller, Smino, and Mick Jenkins. His beats capture the essence of '70s and '80s soul, hip-hop, funk, and dance. Shuffling through his most recent release, 2018’s In the Comfort Of, you can feel yourself swaying to a mixture of soothing vocals, carefully constructed beat production, and a flow from song to song that allows you to play the entire album without skipping tracks. Experience his artistry live on Thursday night at Crescent. The show starts at 8 p.m. with support from Savon and Waldo. Admission is $22. Cristina Jerome
The Allman Betts BandFriday, March 6
MIM Music Theater
Devon Allman met future bandmate Duane Betts in 1989 on a bus that was taking the group that their fathers belonged to – a little act called the Allman Brothers Band – on a reunion tour. The then-teenagers bonded not over a mutual admiration for the Southern rock of their dads, but rather heavy metal bands like Megadeth and Testament. It took years for Allman to come around to the searing blues-rock of his lineage as he evolved through a solo career and leading bands like Royal Southern Brotherhood.
After inviting Betts to open on a 2018 tour with the Devon Allman Project, they formed their own act. Down to the River, the Allman Betts Band's 2019 LP, runs the gamut of Southern rockers (“All Night,” “Southern Accents”), love songs (“Shinin’,” “Try”), sweeping rock and soul epics (“Autumn Breeze,” the title track), and nostalgia (“Good Ol’ Days,” “Long Gone”). Allman sings most leads, and both he and Betts do have vocal resemblances to their forebears. They’re scheduled to perform back-to-back shows at the Musical Instrument Museum on Friday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $48.50 to $63.50. Bob Ruggiero
M3F 2020Friday, March 6, to Sunday, March 8
Margaret T. Hance Park
Generally thought of as one of the coolest festivals in metro Phoenix thanks to its relatively tasteful lineup, M3F 2020 will attempt to outdo the excellence of its previous editions with a heaping helping of indie artistry and just a dash of electronica. Bon Iver and RÜFÜS DU SOL will headline the three-day event. Other high-profile acts playing the festival include Stick Figures, The Growlers, LANY, Local Natives, San Holo, Greensky Bluegrass, and Sofi Tukker. Local acts like Wyves and Shady Gnomes are also scheduled to perform, and, as always, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to local charities such as Phoenix Children's Hospital and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona. Gates open at 1 p.m. on Friday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $80 to $85 per day or $155 for the weekend. VIP tickets are $190 for either Friday or Sunday only. Douglas Markowitz
Full Moon Festival: WormholeSaturday, March 7
If sci-fi has taught us anything, it’s that strange and unusual things can often be found after going through a wormhole. Anyone who enters the Full Moon Festival: Wormhole on Saturday, March 7, in downtown Phoenix will discover a similarly surreal scenario. A psychedelic playground of colorful and unique thrills will dominate the interior and exterior of The Pressroom in downtown Phoenix during the latest edition of the semi-regular DIY art and music party. Expect trippy visual displays, astounding art cars, immersive environments, weird characters, and the works of numerous local artists. Local bands like Divided Minds, Radiofix, Headspace, and Harper and the Moths will perform, and a few dozen Valley DJs will hold it down on multiple stages. The 18-and-over event runs from 8:40 p.m. to 3 a.m. Admission is $20 to $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman
Yacht Rock RevueSaturday, March 7
The Van Buren
A band named Yacht Rock Revue are coming to downtown Phoenix music venue The Van Buren, which is hundreds of miles removed from any actual yacht clubs. That shouldn’t dissuade you from attending their gig on Saturday night, as the Atlanta-bred tribute band have the '70s and '80s light rock vibe down pat. Beyond playing everything from Michael Jackson to Kenny Loggins, Yacht Rock Revue have played with a handful of icons, too, including John Oates and Eddie Money. If it’s good enough for those legends, it’s good enough for us. The show sets sail at 9 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $43. Jesse Scott
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.