The 12 Best Concerts in Phoenix This Week

Daymé Arocena is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 19, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Courtesy of Montuno
Daymé Arocena is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 19, at the Musical Instrument Museum.
David Byrne fans of the Valley, this is the week that y'all have been waiting for quite patiently. The Talking Heads co-founder's long-awaited show is on Thursday night at Mesa Arts Center, and he'll likely burn down the house (metaphorically speaking, of course).

It's not the only highly anticipated concert in the Valley this week, however. Cuban-born vocalist Daymé Arocena, post-punk act The Soft Moon, and indie-rock band The War on Drugs are all scheduled to perform at local venues in the coming days.

Other notable shows happening this week include gigs by Dale Watson, Twiztid, Bebel Gilberto, Dustbowl Revival, Hot Club of Cowtown, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

In other words, it's going to be a great week for concerts in the Valley.

Details about each of these show can be found in our rundown of the best concerts in the Valley this week. And for even more music events happening around town, check out Phoenix New Times' online concert calendar.

click to enlarge Luis Vasquez of The Soft Moon. - DENNIS SHOENBERG
Luis Vasquez of The Soft Moon.
Dennis Shoenberg
The Soft Moon
Tuesday, April 17
Valley Bar

Catholic guilt is a powerful thing. Look no further than the Soft Moon’s latest album to see the power of shame and self-recrimination. Band founder Luis Vasquez revealed in interviews that he called his latest record Criminal because of his own feelings of guilt that were inspired by growing up in a Catholic environment. Listening to the harsh, deeply personal lyrics of songs like “Choke” and “Like a Father,” it sounds like Vasquez is using his music the way medieval flagellants used whips and flails: to scourge himself for his sins.

This turn to the personal marks an interesting evolution for Vasquez’s work. Starting off as a lo-fi, gothic instrumental band, the Soft Moon’s post-punk sonic palette has expanded with each new release. But on Criminal, Vasquez goes beyond the emotionally reserved insularity of his past records, injecting his vocals with some real bite and bile. He’s embraced his inner Trent Reznor, giving Criminal an industrial kick that makes it a delightfully uneasy listen.

“I am the stranger living in my skin,” Vasquez croons on the album’s opening track. If Vasquez is guilty of anything, it’s identity theft. On Criminal he’s become a whole new person, and this stranger is out for blood. Ashley Naftule

Dale Watson
Photo by Leann Mueller
Dale Watson
Tuesday, April 17
Rhythm Room

Dale Watson is about as country music as it gets. Dapper in classic western attire, complete with Stetson, big belt buckle, and boots, his shock-white pompadour and rich, deep tenor lend an air of authenticity. There’s a reason he’s often referred to as the “real deal.”

Yet, despite the obvious associations, Watson says he is not a country artist. He's separated himself from the so-called country music that is clogging up the airwaves. He calls himself an Ameripolitan, an artist playing music in the four traditional country music senses — honky tonk, rockabilly, Texas swing, and outlaw country.

“Ameripolitan is a new genre that had to come about because the music we make doesn’t have a home in country music,” Watson says. “They put us in the same category as novelty music or something like that. They think it’s retro.”

Retro, perhaps, yet no matter what he calls it, there is no denying the appeal of his music. There is a down-home, down-to-earth, real-life feel to Watson’s songs. These are not written by some suits sitting in an air-conditioned room in Nashville, but rather a man living on the road, going to real places with real people and real situations. Glenn BurnSilver

click to enlarge The Hot Club of Cowtown swings into the MIM on Wednesday. - COURTESY OF THE KURLAND AGENCY
The Hot Club of Cowtown swings into the MIM on Wednesday.
Courtesy of The Kurland Agency
Bebel Gilberto
Tuesday, April 17
Crescent Ballroom

Bebel Gilberto is considered by many to be at the forefront of modern Brazilian music. Though she was actually born in New York City, she was born into all-star lineage, her mother being Brazilian singer Miucha and her father Joao Gilberto, considered by many to be the "Father of Bossa Nova." But the influence of NYC is very much alive in her music too, as is that of Europe, and basically every other far-flung place Gilberto has ventured throughout her life.

Hers is a varied and eclectic blend of traditional bossa with modern sounds like pop, dance and electronica, and all of it melds together over the constant underlying currents of romance and sensuality. Sounds good, right? Well, it is. Unfortunately, you won't get to see that for yourself live, which you can do on Tuesday at the Crescent Ballroom. Christopher Lopez

click to enlarge Twiztid's Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child. - COURTESY OF ADRENALINE PR
Twiztid's Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child.
Courtesy of Adrenaline PR
Tuesday, April 17
Marquee Theatre in Tempe

As the first major artists from Psychopathic Records who weren’t Insane Clown Posse, the Detroit rappers in Twiztid were collectively known as ICP’s “baby brother band” from 1997 to 2012. They wore the makeup, threw all of the Juggalo hand gestures, and said things like “whoop whoop” and “fam” — even stating in 2010 that they were happy to be “the best number two in the business.”

Things have changed a little since then: In 2012, Twiztid split from Psychopathic and went its own way — sort of. The band may be on its own Majik Ninja Entertainment label now, but it’s still part of the old crowd, performing at events like the Gathering of the Juggalos and JCW Wrestling.

Still, it can only be healthy for Twiztid’s members to get out and spread their wings. The group plays the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday night and the show is likely to be wild, sweaty, goofy fun. It's also going to be loaded up with openers as Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Gorilla Voltage, Poizonous Logik, Diva Deville, and Tr3ypound Mag are all scheduled to perform prior to Twiztid's headlining set. Brett Callwood

The multitude of musicians making up the Dustbowl Revival. - COURTESY OF TALLEY MEDIA
The multitude of musicians making up the Dustbowl Revival.
Courtesy of Talley Media
Dustbowl Revival
Tuesday, April 17
Musical Instrument Museum

"My tastes have always been a little schizophrenic," says Zach Lupetin of the Dustbowl Revival. "I love traditional blues, swing, and New Orleans jazz band stuff, but I'm also a huge Wilco and Nirvana fan. I like to say that we appeal to free-spirited nerds who can reference 10 different genres in a short period of time."

While Lupetin's musical leanings are many, his career focus is singular. Last year marked a decade for the group that he started with the help of a quirky Craigslist ad. "I moved out to L.A. from Chicago about 10 years back," Lupetin says. "I put up a kind of tongue-in-cheek posting that turned into a meetup of a bunch of like-minded folk and jazz musicians who helped me expand some of the stuff I was writing, and it became a full-time eight-piece about six years ago.”

After assembling a large aggregation of players and cultivating the eclectic cabal, the ensemble released their first album, The Atomic Mushroom Cloud of Love, in 2008. The band, which now plays as many as 200 shows per year, followed their debut with You Can’t Go Back to the Garden of Eden in 2010. In 2011, the act, now known simply as the Dustbowl Revival, put out an EP, Holy Ghost Station, and then their Carry Me Home CD in 2013. The outfit found a bigger audience in 2015 when the video for “Never Had to Go,” from With a Lampshade On, starred band fan Dick Van Dyke and became an internet sensation. Nick Hutchinson

click to enlarge The War on Drugs comes to Phoenix in April. - COURTESY OF ATLANTIC RECORDS
The War on Drugs comes to Phoenix in April.
Courtesy of Atlantic Records
The War on Drugs
Wednesday, April 18
The Van Buren

The War On Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel seems uprooted from a more careful and considerate age, but his sprawling, texture-rich songs have resonated with modern audiences like few other rock acts in recent memory. Already famous for the painstaking process he uses to construct both songs and albums, lyrically Granduciel turns that same exacting gaze onto human relationships in a manner that has already earned him all the comparisons to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen any songwriter needs in one lifetime.

Though it would be wrong to call any War On Drugs song “typical,” they generally bloom from the ground up and float off in unpredictable but exhilarating directions. As polished as Granduciel’s work feels — breakout 2014 single “Red Eyes” is a fine example, or “Holding On” from last month’s A Deeper Understanding — it’s beyond rare to encounter an artist whose music feels this transcendent and down-to-Earth all at once. Believe the hype. Chris Gray