Thursday, September 8, 2016

Old Heads vs. Young Bucks: Hip-Hop’s Dilemma

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Pete Rock is the latest old head to go after the young bucks of hip-hop. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Pete Rock is the latest old head to go after the young bucks of hip-hop.

The hyper-American culture of hip-hop has been around for a whopping 40 years, and has gone through countless changes. We’ve heard party music heavily focused on seconds-long drum breaks propelled by two turntables and a DJ, to boom-bap beats, heavy dark samples and witty MCs rhyming about the “trife” life, to extremely melodic and catchy beats paired with rhymes that at times are clever, but at most are one dimensional.

Different times saw different mindsets, different work ethics and different inspirations. Yet, can these disparate minds and styles continue to create simultaneously as the genre itself begins to have a real human history? Can pivotal members of the culture (the old heads like Pete Rock) who have honed in their craft and who represent the old-school exist alongside rappers whose sole purpose is to make cash (the young bucks like Young Dolph) in rap.

In a perfect world, yes. But nothing’s ever easy in hip-hop.

It is good old ageism that’s not allowing old heads and young bucks to happily co-exist? A recent clash between the two suggests no way. The 44-year-old Pete Rock, who’s been creating hip-hop since the late ’80s and is one of the most influential hip-hop producers on earth, went after 26-year-old rapper Young Dolph on social media.
Rock reacted on Instagram to Dolph shooting a music video in which he spit the line “I had he had “cocaine running though my vain” with a child beside him. The clip prompted Rock to say “we have to raise our children better than this.” And he called Dolph “hot garbage.”

Dolph took to Twitter, insulted Rock, and said the cocaine bit was a nod to his parents being crack addicts and being born with crack in his system.
Rock shot back, taking a stand against “mumble rappers” and said “Y’all don't care about the culture, so why are you in it?"

Rock has a point. Many new rappers claim they don't like older hip-hop, that it doesn't resonate with them and it's not a culture they want to be in. In fact, rapper Lil Yachty said in a recent Billboard interview that he couldn’t name five tunes by Tupac Shakur or The Notorious B.I.G., two of the most influential MCs in hip hop.

Everyone should know where they came from.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

El Divo Will Never Die

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Juan Gabriel: Dead at 66. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Juan Gabriel: Dead at 66.

Mexican singer and songwriter Juan Gabriel died from a heart attack at the age of 66 in Santa Monica, Calif. on earlier this week, just two days after his last concert. Gabriel, known for his poppy love ballades, rose to stardom in the early '70s with his hit song No Tengo Dinero, fame that came with a turbulent start.

Born Alberto Aguilera Valdez in Parácuaro, Michoacán on Jan. 7, 1950, the tenth child to farm working parents. At only three months old, his father attempted to commit suicide after losing control of a fire on his property, which spread to other land around him. He was later admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

With not only the looming problem crated by the damage his father had made but also internal family problems, Gabriel’s mother move the family to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. At the age of five, he was sent to a boarding school where he spent the next eight years of his life. This was a seminal part of his life as he had to mature quickly and learn to take care of himself with out the help of his family.

At the age of 14 he return to live with his mother. He began to sing with his church’s choir and there he realized that that was what he wanted to do. Gabriel began to travel around Mexico in his late teens to find gigs to sing in or recordings that needed backup vocals. He would be luck to find a couch to sleep on, but more often then not slept in bus and train terminals. His big brake came in 1970 when RCA Records signed him and produced his first album El Alma Joven.

From that point on, Gabriel went on to have a successful career with many beloved hit songs. His flamboyant and bright personality both on and off stage made him and his music stand out and can be compared to that of Elton John or David Bowie. However, what made Gabriel different from John or Bowie was that although he was always creating a new sound with his music, he was never afraid to create music in old and loved genres from mariachi to samba and most recently Mexican banda and never failed to impress.

On the day following his death, fans of all ages flocked to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay homage to the late great singer and even sing some of his songs together. A showing that really encompasses the career that Gabriel was able to have; that spans generations and with lyrics that still resonates with the listeners of today not only in Mexico and Latin America, but also all over the world.

That is why, like many other artist this year that have passed away, the music of Juan Gabriel will move on and, in essence, he will live on. El Divo de Juárez nunca morirá.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Win Tickets To See Colvin & Earle

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Local fans of Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle, rejoice! The solo artists have banded together and are stopping by our beloved Rialto Theater (318 E. Congress Street) on Sunday.

Here's a little about the duo from the Rialto's website:
Grammy Award winning singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle have announced a special run of tour dates together this September. "Songs and Stories, Together Onstage" features the two esteemed artists sharing the stage for a rousing night of song swapping, duets, storytelling and stellar guitar playing. The evening promises to be a rich and inspiring musical experience as these two long-time friends and mutual admirers share music from their extensive catalogues as well as some of their favorite songs by other classic songwriters.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Win Tickets to See Black Bottom Lighters at the Rock

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM

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Black Bottom Lighters are playing a the Rock (136 N. Park Avenue) on Friday, Aug. 19. After that band performs, Spahn Valley Ranch hands featuring Sean Raines from We Killed The Union, Jimbo from Border Town Devils and other special guests will take the stage. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Want a pair of tickets? Enter your contact info below and we'll be in touch the day of the show.

Fill out my online form.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Win Tickets to the Beach Blanket Be-Bop at the Gaslight Music Hall

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Good news if you've been meaning to check out the Gaslight Theatre's new sister-site: The Gaslight Music Hall (13005 N. Oracle Rd #165) is giving away tickets to see its summer musical revue the Beach Blanket Be-Bop show for each of its remaining performances. 

Enter below to win a pair of ticket to the performance of your choice. We'll get in touch with the winners for the Aug. 18 show the day of the performance, and the rest of the winners on Monday, Aug. 22.

Not lucky enough to win (or in need of more tickets than we're offering)? Tickets are available for purchase on the Gaslight Music Hall's website

Fill out my online form.
Hair goals. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Hair goals.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Last Hurrah

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 8:32 AM

The twilight of summer is here (womp womp).

Upsides? Walking out the front door will soon no longer feel like accidentally opening a pre-heated oven. And hey, here's a list of five awesome events to attend before the onslaught that is the first week of school descends upon our once empty, tranquil desert streets.  

1) Silversun Pickups at the Rialto
Although ideally we'd rewind back about a month and blast these driving rhythms through an iPod stereo on some beach in Mexico, we'll just have to enjoy them now at the Rialto when Silversun Pickups roll through on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. Full of sway-worthy, 90s-esque complex sound, the Pickups are the perfect act to celebrate the angst that comes with the last days of summer. Check them out here.    

2) Open Studios Under the Full Moon
The Metal Arts Village's (3230 N Dodge Blvd) monthly gathering of booze, food and art is happening this Thursday, Aug. 18 starting at 6 p.m. Wander around and meet local artists doing what they do best, followed by some food truck fare and perhaps a summery Hef from Tucson Hop Shop. Family friendly and free, check out the Facebook event page for more details.

3) Twilight Bicycle Mural Tour | COX Plaza Dance Party
This one's for the bikers and dancers out there looking for one more night of empty streets and breathable dance floors. The tour will start at MOCA (265 S Church Ave) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 and will officially set off at 7:15 p.m. After a 2-hour, flat ride showcasing some favorite murals in the area, (and for the non-cyclists among us) the night will end with a dance party at Cox Plaza with DJs BayBay Ruthless + Illslur. Tickets are 5 bucks or free if you're a MOCA member. Here's the info.

4) Wild Style at the Loft 
This month's Staff Selects takes us to the hip-hop glory that was 1980s New York City, a docudrama that features the graffiti, freestyling, scratching and breakdancing that exploded onto the city scene on the heels of a new artistic culture. Even the actors were taken right from the neighborhoods featured in the film. The flick airs Sunday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Loft (3233 E Speedway Blvd). You can take a look at the trailer before heading out. 

5) Brew-HaHa Comedy Showcase
Coming in hot a few days after the first day of school, the Brew-HaHa Comedy Showcase at Borderlands Brewery (119 E Toole Ave) is promising an "amazing" show, with plenty of beers on tap just in case the laughs don't land for everyone. The latter shouldn't be too much of a problem with headliner Monte Benjamin at the comedy helm, with local AZians Randy Ford, Charles Engle and Dan Thomson also on the bill. The show, on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m., has a $3 cover, here are the deets. 

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Kurt Vile Talks Inspiration, Family and the Quests of Songwriting

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 1:40 PM

  • Marina Chavez/Grandstand Media & Management

Kurt Vile is riding a bit of a high. After a rigorous year of touring behind 2015’s b’lieve i’m goin down…, the Philadelphia-based musician and his band, The Violators, had been feeling a bit of the tour blues—that zombie-esque state where “you hit a wall and things just sound the same,” as he puts it. A big push into musical festivals, the bread-and-butter of indie rock acts during the summer months, was tempered by a much smaller and simple show that revitalized Vile the night before we spoke.

“We came back to a club, and played Norfolk, Virginia—NorVa, of all places, [where] years ago I opened for Flaming Lips there—and everything was perfect. Everything clicked with the stage sound or whatever.”

There’s a brightness to his description that touring musicians can appreciate, as those moments when it all comes together, much less comes flooding back, is a rare and pleasant thing. Vile is a musician’s musician as well, having bridged that divide between those who can really play and those who can really write. Even after being asked about that sunburst-finished Fender Jaguar in the “Pretty Pimpin” video, Vile can expound on its genesis and his reasoning behind that instrument (influenced by a combination of Violators guitarist Rob Laakso, indie rock band Swirlies, Spacemen 3’s The Perfect Prescription and a love of pre-CBS Fender guitars) at will. It’s hard to imagine the removal of Kurt Vile, the guitarist, from Kurt Vile, the songwriter, but he jokes about each medium growing in kind with the experience he’s gained.

“These days, I can really play guitar from all this touring, so I can pretty much shred the guitar—I’m officially a really good guitar player,” he jokes. “I’m also proud of all the songs I’ve written and I feel like my songwriting is always getting better all the time and that’s always a quest of its own. It’s fun because there’s no rules really, but I’m always influenced by classic things and I’m always trying to stand out. You’ve got to find your little nook to do it in, a little different than anyone else.”

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saturday Sun Link Shindig: Free Rides, Concert and Activities

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM

  • Bill Morrow/Flickr

Celebrate Sun Link's second anniversary this Saturday. 

The streetcar is offering free rides all day this Saturday, July 23 sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, Fourth Avenue Merchants Association and Main Gate Square.

KXCI and Main Gate Square are also offering a free concert with Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments.

At 6 p.m. board the streetcar at the Avenida del Convento stop and enjoy live music all the way to Main Gate Square where there will be festivities and more music. 

Since July 2014, the streetcar has given rides to more than two million passengers. Whether it's your first on the link or your 100th enjoy your Saturday with live music and fun. 

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Staff Pick


In adjacent apartments that resemble broom closets with windows, three young, ambitious neighbors come together to discuss,… More

@ Live Theatre Workshop Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sundays, 3-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 25 5317 E. Speedway Blvd.

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