A growing number of local music venues have returned to active duty with varying degrees of COVID-19 protocols in place. Some require masks. Some gently recommend them. Others still have given up on even trying to persuade their customers to go ahead and throw a mask on now that Gov. Doug Ducey has lifted the face mask mandate.
We’ll cover safety protocols for each show listed here.
You’ll also notice that there are no big arena shows or concerts at Ak-Chin Pavilion to be had. It takes some time to roll a major tour out with all that production and planning.
But we do have one big outdoor festival this month at Big Surf Waterpark — Pennywise headlining Punk in the Park. And Relentless Beats will stage their first non-pod events of 2021 at Rawhide Event Center.
Most shows here are local. It doesn’t take a ton of planning to commit to playing at a club just down the street. But that does not mean your bandmates won’t find some excuse for showing up two hours late.
You’ll also find more tribute acts than we would tend to highlight in our monthly picks at azcentral.
That’s because there’s only so much going on right now, and if you want to see a show, there’s clearly something to be said for the prospect of Yachtley Crew working their way through all of the sweetest yacht-rock classics of the ’70s and ’80s while dressed like proper yachting folk.
The lead singer for Slipknot and Stone Sour is touring in support of last year’s “CMFT,” is a solo debut whose title is short for Corey Taylor with two rather obvious modifiers in the middle. Kerrang! responded with “Will such an eccentric listen be for everyone? Probably (k)not. But, right now, you’d be silly to not let yourself get caught up in it.” He’s joined by Cherry Bombs.
Details: 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, May 17-18. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $25-$104 for a pod of 2-6 people. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This is a dine-out concert in the Marquee Backyard. Masks and social distancing required except when in your pod or at your table.
The Black Moods
These Tempe rockers landed four songs from their latest album, “Sunshine,” in the Billboard mainstream rock Top 30 — “Bella Donna,” “Bad News,” “Whatcha Got” and “Sunshine.” That’s the most Top 40 entries any Valley act has managed on that chart since Gin Blossoms’ quadruple-platinum breakthrough with “New Miserable Experience.” That may be why it feels more like a greatest hits collection than a proper album – in a good way, its pop sensibilities firmly rooted in ’90s alternative with occasional nods to the classic-rock icons those ’90s alternative superstars so clearly meant to channel. They’re joined by Wyyves, Sliced Limes and Real Fakes.
Details: 7:15 p.m. Friday, May 21. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $20-$30. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This limited-capacity event is standing-room-only on the floor with limited seating on the balcony. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
The Motley Crue singer brings Kickstart! The Rock Show to Big Surf with fellow metal legend Lita Ford of the Runaways and an opening set by local TV star Wade Cota, an “American Idol” finalist. The show name, of course, is a reference to the Motley Crue classic “Kickstart My Heart,” just one of four Top 40 singles that made the “Dr. Feelgood” album a six-times-platinum triumph and the Crue’s best-selling album of all time.
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 28. Big Surf, 1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe. $45-$125. 480-994-2297, bigsurffun.com. Face masks recommended; temperatures will be checked prior to entry.
Punk in the Park
The inaugural Punk In The Park – Arizona will celebrate the return of live music to Big Surf Water Park. Headliners Pennywise are by Face To Face, Strung Out, Good Riddance, H2O, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Bombpops and Slaughterhouse. The water park itself is closed through the end of 2021.
Details: 2 p.m. Saturday, May 29. Big Surf, 1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe. $45-$99. 480-994-2297, bigsurffun.com. Face masks recommended; temperatures will be checked prior to entry.
The Originals — a Reel Big Fish Cover Band
You have to admit, the Originals is a pretty funny band name for a tribute act. And a sense of humor is important when you’re paying tribute to an act whose sense of humor is such a big part of what made them stand out on the crowded ska scene of the ’90s. Their Facebook page invites you to “relive all of those amazing shreds, Hawaiian shirts, and mutton chops once again with a band that enjoyed the music as much as you did.”
Details: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $15-$25. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This limited-capacity event is standing-room-only on the floor with limited seating on the balcony. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
Big Bagg Fest
Zo Ent and Synergy Jazz Records Present Big Bagg Fest with Moneybagg Yo and Rockstar Rodie in a full-capacity indoor concert. The Memphis rapper recently dropped “A Gangsta’s Pain,” his first release to top the Billboard album chart. His best-known hits include “All Dat” (which boasted a feature from Megan Thee Stallion), “I 2 3,” “Me Vs. Me” and “Said Sum.”
Details: 7 p.m. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. $55-$255. 602-267-1600, celebritytheatre.com. Masks are optional, but strongly encouraged. Social distancing is encouraged in common areas like restrooms, lobbies, bars and concession stands but apparently not in the theater itself.
Fisher x Chris Lake
Fisher and Chris Lake join forces at the first non-pod event Relentless Beats has done this year at Rawhide, an event billed as Under Construction. The two collaborated on the Grammy-nominated “Losing It,” which topped the U.S. and Australian club charts and was named the third best Dance/Electronic track of 2018 in Billboard, which noted “You couldn’t go to a dance music festival in 2018 without hearing this song’s booming bass drop and catchy vocal some 50 times.”
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30. Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W. North Loop Road, Gila River Reservation. 480-502-5600, relentlessbeats.com. Masks are required at all times per Gila River community mandate.
Fishbone never lucked into the kind of mainstream breakthrough they deserved. And yet, their pioneering blend of ska-punk, P-funk, reggae, soul and heavy metal made enough of an impression that “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone” featured an A-list of fans who did enjoy that kind of mainstream breakthrough. Ice-T, Gwen Stefani, Flea, George Clinton and Perry Farrell, the Jane’s Addiction frontman who put them on Lollapalooza in 1993, are a few of the high-profile names that turn up in that fascinating documentary. They’re joined by Ozomatli, 2 Tone Lizard Kings, Wade Cota and Jerusafunk.
Details: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 30. Big Surf, 1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe. $45-$100. 480-994-2297, bigsurffun.com. Face masks recommended; temperatures will be checked prior to entry.
These Southern rock hitmakers boogied their way out of Jacksonville, Florida, in the post-Skynyrd ’70s, going double platinum with their second album, “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” thanks in large part to a title track that even now remains their mainstream calling card. They’re joined by local Southern rock revivalist Christopher Shayne and the roots-rocking husband-and-wife duo Megan and Shane.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 30. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $25-$65. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This limited-capacity event is standing-room-only on the floor with limited seating on the balcony. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
Hailed by Elton John as no less than “the greatest songwriter on the planet,” Wainwright is here for a socially distanced event titled Oh Solo Wainwright: An Evening with Rufus. The son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle of the McGarrigle Sisters, Wainwright earned his latest Grammy nomination for last year’s “Unfollow the Rules.” Clash Magazine said that the album “feels like a gentle stroll through the various stages of Rufus’s career; far from creating the impression of Rufus covering his own back catalog, the effect is like a timely reminder of everything that’s wonderful about Wainwright.”
Details: 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St. $55-$75. 480-499-8587, scottsdaleperformingarts.org. Face masks and a social distance of six6 feet required. Timed entry to the theater and spaced seating to ensure that social distance.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers
This year marked the 25th anniversary of “Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy,” Roger Clyne’s major-label debut at the helm of his previous band, the Refreshments. He and that band’s drummer P.H. Naffah launched the Peacemakers in 1998 and hit the ground running the following year with a debut called “Honky Tonk Union.” Clyne is in the midst of working on the Peacemakers’ first album since 2017’s “Native Heart,” of which he told us, “I’m sitting on about 10 or a dozen songs that we have demoed for ourselves.”
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $50. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This is a limited-capacity, standing-room-only event. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
Tru Vonne is a local electronic R&B artist whose sound has earned comparisons to Shiloh Dynasty and H.E.R. A guest appearance on WOLFZiE’s “Homebody Friends” led the website you’re reading to rave “Tru Vonne sings the hell out of… an atmospheric electro-soul ballad called ‘You.'” A Girl Called Scot and Lane Lines open. Lane Lines made our 2020 year-end album list for “fleshing out her bittersweet delivery with a lush, angelic wall of harmonies” on “Cancelled Plans.”
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. Free. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com. Masks required. Socially distanced, limited capacity.
This Canadian duo rose to fame on the club scene in 2017 on the strength of a remix for the Martin Garrix/Dua Lipa dance hit “Lonely People” and “Body,” a platinum breakthrough that picked up Dance Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards, which honors Canadians artists. They’re joined by Cheyenne Giles at the Sunday Drip by the pool at Club Maya.
Details: 12 p.m.Noon Sunday, May 2. Maya Day & Nightclub, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale. $50. 480-625-0528, mayaclubaz.com.
Camille Sledge release show
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra’s Leader of Rituals is releasing the first of seven solo albums that grew out of timea time she had to work on music while reflecting on the world around her during the pandemic. The music she found herself writing was shaped as much by the sense of connection she felt after spending more time with her kids to the anger, fear and anxiety that came with attending a Black Lives Matter protest.
“It softened me a lot,” she says. “I felt now is the time to make an album full of love and make it beautiful, but at the same time, still edgy, because I have that about me.”
That result is “Streetlights and Lullabies,” a hip-hop album produced primarily by the singer’s husband, William, with a lot of soul that balances harsh reality with sweetness and a love of life.
Details: 7:30 p.m. //Sunday,// May 2. The Nash Under the Stars at the Arizona Jewish
Ring Finger No Pinky
Last year’s “Chlorine Bomb” offered a gritty, cathartic escape from the pandemic blues with a five-song collection of soulful garage-punk anthems that probably peaked on “Dog Days,” where they sneak up on the raw side of a ballad. Griffin Brown is the kind of lead singer who can’t quite decide if he’s going for wounded or bored when he’s probably both, which is exactly what you need to navigate the nuance of a world-weary lyric as dispirited as “Feeling trapped in my walls is taking its toll.” They’re joined by Veronica Everheart.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday, May 7. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $12-$15. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com. Masks required. Socially distanced, limited capacity.
Re:Sound Music & Friends
Re:Sound Music & Friends returns to active duty with their first event in 14 months to celebrate the local electronic label’s first release since the pandemic started with a rooftop party at the Cambria Hotel in downtown Phoenix. All three artists from the EP — HoodyHoo, [BRKT] and Michael Hooker — will be on hand to DJ as guests enjoy a breathtaking view of the Arizona sunset and dance under the stars.
Details: 6 p.m. Saturday, May 8. From the Rooftop at the Cambria Hotel, 222 E. Portland St., Phoenix. $15-$300. 602-675-3500, eventbrite.com.
Billing themselves as no less than “the titans of soft-rock,” America’s favorite yacht-rock revivalists will revisit the yacht-rock classics of the ’70s and ’80s in their matching yachtsman garb. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the yacht-rock terminology, think Toto, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Christopher Cross and Michael McDonald.
Details: 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 7-8. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $30. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This is a limited-capacity, standing-room-only event. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
Banana Gun EP release show
These Tempe rockers had barely finished recording an EP titled “Rules” with producer Bob Hoag at his Mesa studio, Flying Blanket Recordings, when COVID-19 shut down all the music venues they would typically have played to draw attention to the new release. Last summer, Kevin Loyd said they had a big release show and some touring. “And those dreams get squashed,” he said. “So we had to adapt.” They livestreamed a release show and shot their first official music videos. But this is their first chance to have the party they deserve with an opening set by fellow Arizona favorite decker.
Details: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 7-8. Last Exit Live, 717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix. $15-$30. 602-271-7000, lastexitlive.com.
Tempe Sour CD release show
These Tempe rockers are celebrating the release of “Grasshopper,” their follow-up to 2017’s “Greatest Hits” — which, to be clear, was not a greatest hits collection. Singer-guitarist Shane Scott says, “We were hoping for a fat fun and high-energy album and we think we nailed it.” Tempe Sour got together in 2015, when as they describe it on their Facebook page, they “harvested the dregs of the Tempe music culture and quickly distilled a uniquely sour blend of classic yet vibrant rock and roll.” They’re joined at this early show by fellow Tempe rockers Ghetto Cowgirl.
Details: 3 p.m. Saturday, May 8. Yucca Tap Room, 29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe. Free. 480-967-4777, yuccatap.com.
Strangelove — The Depeche Mode Experience
As the band name would suggest, this is a tribute to Depeche Mode, with an opening set by Spiritual Suicide. The set list spans the catalog. And according to the Strangelove website, “No detail of STRANGELOVE’s presentation has been overlooked. The visual presentation with stage set pieces and in-show costume changes reflect different eras of Depeche Mode’s story.”
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 14. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $25. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This is a limited-capacity, standing-room-only event. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
The Irie release party
These local reggae-rock sensations are celebrating the release of “Can’t Get Enough,” a four-song follow-up to last year’s “Coming Down.” Much like that first EP, their second effort is a winning blend of laid-back reggae grooves and soulful pop hooks brought to life by a singer whose expressive vocals make the most of the material, whether promising “We gon’ get it ’til the break of dawn” or telling you to call him Donnie Darko and James Franco in the same song. They’re joined by ZeeCeeKeely, Chad Rubin, Highest Conspiracy.
Details: 6:15 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe. $20. 480-829-0607, luckymanonline.com. This is a limited-capacity, standing-room-only event. Masks required except when actively eating or drinking.
Blossom release party
This fast-rising DJ/producer — born in London, raised in Phoenix — has been billed as “a vivacious human dynamo… captivating her audience with her cheery demeanor and catchy house beats” and “Arizona’s very own powerpuff girl” by her management team, Relentless Beats. She’s releasing an EP titled “Super Bad” that’s guaranteed to keep the dancefloor packed and moving at a party with openings sets by Animate, Pr!ce and Lance Fairchild. It follows the “Big Shot” EP, on which she set the tone with “Big Shot,” a track that more than lived up to the promise of guest rapper TT the Artist’s refrain, “I’m the life of the party.”
Details: 9 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Shady Park Tempe, 26 E. University Drive. $15; $10 in advance. 480-474-4222, facebook.com/ShadyParkTempe. Mask required. A disposable mask will be provided if you don’t have one.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.
Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/music/2021/05/01/top-phoenix-concerts-for-may/4880968001/