April was a great month for concerts in Phoenix. Give credit where credit's due -- Coachella's proximity had a lot of great acts like Broken Bells, Sleigh Bells, Lana Del Ray, and others coming through the Valley. If you missed any of these shows, that's really too bad, but you can always live vicariously through New Times' photographers. Here is the best of what they captured in April.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Cyclefest at WestWorld 4/4/14
"Iconic rocker Joan Jett played a solid set of old favorites and new tracks as she and the Blackhearts got the party started Friday night during Cyclefest at WestWorld in Scottsdale.
"The band hit the stage before Southern headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd and from opening song "TMI" from 2013's Unvarnished, it was apparent that Jett was not only confident in new material but she was out for blood." --Jim Louvau, read the full review here.
PHX AM After Party: Death Allah-Lahs, and More The Pressroom 4/5/2014
"The PHX AM After Party, sponsored by local board shop Cowtown Skateboards, is always an interesting happening. Over the years, the company has put together some of the more eclectic shows to hit the Valley in celebration of one of the better skateboarding contests in the country.
"It is a veritable amalgamation of skateboarding and musical talent, fantastic for people watching, and always on the cutting edge of what is über-cool. This year's party, which took place Saturday night at The Pressroom, was no exception. It was stellar from beginning to end.
"There was a definite buzz in Phoenix for the past few days about this show. Detroit's proto-punk phenomenon, Death, was the headliner, and while there was plenty to be excited about when it came to their first ever Arizona appearance, the entire show was a very pleasant surprise, even down to the venue itself." --Tom Reardon, read the full review here.
Sleigh Bells, Ejecta Crescent Ballroom 4/9/14
"On their way to Coachella, Sleigh Bells dropped by Phoenix for their first show in the Valley in three years. The gig sold out and the place was packed full of girls dressed like rock stars. It was one loud, flashy roller coaster ride -- packaged perfectly for a venue like Crescent Ballroom, but there were some downsides.
"Alexis Krauss and the rest of Sleigh Bells came on like a flash flood. Krauss tore across the stage in a studded jean jacket accented with cheetah print. She appeared and acted more like an MC than a singer, channeling Lauryn Hill more than Lana Del Rey, if that makes sense. It was more powerful for Krauss to dodge around with the mic held rapper-style than to hold still in front of a mic stand. Plus, the full band made the sound seem entirely fleshed out." --Troy Farah, read the rest of the review here.
Lana Del Ray Comerica Theatre 4/15/2014
"Thousands of fans packed a sold-out Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix Tuesday night to catch a rare performance from singer Elizabeth Grant, a.k.a. Lana Del Rey, in between her Coachella stops. With no opening act, Del Rey hit the stage around 8:30, with opener 'Cola.'
"As an artist, she is truly an enigma, and pending a record that is anywhere close to the genius that was her debut record Born to Die, she could be one of the most important artists of this generation. Though Grant and her Lana Del Rey persona historically have never been on the same page in a live setting, on Tuesday night, they seemed to be on at least speaking terms." --Jim Louvau, read the full review here.
Lorde, Lo-Fang Comerica Theatre 4/17/14
"'I'm terrified of being an adult,' Lorde told a packed house toward the end of her concert Thursday night at Comerica Theatre.
"Given the way the 17-year-old songstress' debut album, Pure Heroine, dominated the latter half of 2013, and given her lyrics -- coolly defiant celebrations of suburbia, rejections of pop culture excesses -- you can see why the dominant narrative (and by that I mean a 17-year-old wary of the spotlight her expert songwriting propelled her into) surrounding her is so pervasive. Her biggest hit, 'Royals,' an inescapable song of the summer, contains lyrics famously derisive of the wealthy lifestyle music stars love to brag about -- 'I've never seen a diamond in the flesh,' 'We'll never be royals / It don't run in our blood.' In the same song, she offers an alternative. 'Let me be your ruler / You can call me Queen Bee.' --David Accomazzo, read the full review here.
Off!, Cerebral Ballzy, and NASA Space Universe Crescent Ballroom 4/22/14
"Holy punk rock, Batman!
"So, like many of you -- some who have earned it, some who have not -- I am not easily impressed these days. Whether you call it 'jaded' or 'been there, done that,' it really doesn't matter, as long as you call it like you see it, with honesty and conviction. If I can do those things for you, dear reader, it is all good.
"So here is what I saw and heard.
"Tuesday, April 22, saw Off!, Cerebral Ballzy, and NASA Space Universe bring the awesome sauce to Crescent Ballroom. The cool kids who were there are going to lord this one over you if you weren't, and that's just the way it goes with these types of things. If you sat home and wrote a college paper, for example, you missed out." --Tom Reardon, read the full review here.
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