It really does seem like everyday there's an announcement for a great concert coming to Tucson. I was buried in deadlines and didn't even have a chance to mention that De La Soul and Public Enemy are on a bill at AVA in May (with Ice Cube and LL Cool J, who are less interesting to me personally).
However, sometimes you put something out to the universe and then you get exactly what you wanted. For me, it was the opportunity to see the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion again in Tucson, and thankfully, now they're coming to Club Congress on June 18.
Tucson and the Blues Explosion go way back, and there was a stretch where you might just run into the band playing in some storefront on Congress (this actually happened to me once, strangely). The group has a live album recorded at Club Congress and the Downtown Performance Center (the excellent Controversial Negro). So when it looks liked the band were skipping town for a Phoenix gig, I was hurt. But now all is well and I look forward to the opportunity to hear the words "BLUES EXPLOSION" yelled at me two dozen times over the course of a summer evening. Tucson can again be NUMBER ONE.
BONUS: A very odd performance of "Afro" on some sort of British version of Club MTV in 1994, complete with theramin solo:
British folk-rockers Mumford & Sons have announced a June 5 show at Phoenix's Desert Sky Pavilion.
This marks the band's first Arizona show since starting their tour for their latest record, Babel, which dropped last September. The London four-piece has since been touring much of the states and Europe, with the majority of their shows selling out.
Tickets for the Phoenix show can be picked up through an invitation system at a Facebook event page posted by Stateside Presents. There, you can register for an invitation, which will allow invitees to buy the tickets on April 2. Michael Kiwanuka and the Mystery Jets will be the supporting acts.
Considering that Mumford & Sons have been playing sold-out shows for most of this tour, it'd probably be a good idea to grab tickets as soon as possible. Good luck!
The Mavericks brought a rousing good time to the Fox Theatre on Thursday, March 21. Was it reckless, too?
Less than a minute into the opening song, “Back in Your Arms Again,” the single from the Mavericks' 2012 release, In Time, as most audience members leapt to their feet, clapping and dancing, Fox Theatre security, in vivid stop-light yellow shirts, caused an attention-grabbing ruckus, rushing to either end of a center orchestra row, with flashlights blazing. All eyes turned from the stage.
Malo quit playing and the band stopped half a beat later. “I need you to get out of the room,” Malo hollered to the hapless security men. “I need you to get out of the room or I'll stop playing.” The crowd seemed stunned into silence and Malo went on, “I need people to be able to get up and move around.” as the audience caught on and began cheering he shouted the last words “... and do whatever the fuck they want!”
Emphasis there on "sounds": the sample that plays when you load up QOTSA.com is a loop of what sounds like people flailing at their instruments — though, in my estimation, it's more likely to be a short, short segment of what a new tune on the forthcoming ...Like Clockwork album, which is set to have a slew of guests.
Elton John will also appear on the new Queens Of The Stone Age album. Other guests confirmed to appear include Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan, Nick Oliveri and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. The band will be playing a number of festivals this summer, including Benicàssim in Spain, and Download in the UK.
I'm f—king pumped.
This week we’ve been introducing you to the bands playing at this year’s Festival en el Barrio, and local act Sun Bones (formerly known as Boreas) is one tenth of the significant talent slated to take the stage on March 24.
It’s clear that Sun Bones already have their hometown’s endorsement - they won Up-and-Coming Artists of the Year at the 2012 TAMMIES - but members Evan Casler, Sam Golden, Bob Hanshaw and Seth Vietti have musical influences that extend far beyond the borders of the Old Pueblo, naming Radiohead, Paul Simon, Animal Collective and the Beach Boys as musical muses on their website.
I just locked in to headline the White Party T Dance in Palm Springs on Sunday March 31st! Get ready to dance! Go to jeffreysanker.com
— Carly Rae Jepsen (@carlyraejepsen) March 18, 2013
The White Party is classified as "largest gay dance music festival in the world," by promoter Jeffrey Sanker. It takes place March 29 through March 31 in Palm Springs, Calif., where Jepsen will be the closing act on Sunday.
Icona Pop and Carmen Electra are two other acts that will perform at the dance party. Several other popular musicians such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Ke$ha have been a part of the event in the past.
For more information on the event, click here.
Whatever Prince does these days, it seems like his goal is to do it in the most frustrating manner possible. Even the act of illustrating this blog post somehow was a hassle. No photos on the wire service we use, basically zero embeddable video on YouTube (unless you want to see Prince talk about chemtrails on the Tavis Smiley show), so here you go. Dave Chappelle's impression of Prince.
So, a rumor has been going around that Prince is playing four shows in two nights at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on April 30 and May 1. As someone who would very much enjoy the opportunity to see the legendary musician in such a small venue, I've spent a significant amount of time investigating the possibility. Any news from the Marquee? No. The promoter that books the venue? Nope. Prince himself? Of course not.
Instead, on some sort of Prince related live webcast, his new protégés 3rd Eye Girl (sigh) announced a west coast tour, which apparent does in fact include those four shows in two nights. However, that information can be basically verified no one else at this point, so you'll have to take Dr. Funkenberry's word for it. He is a doctor, so that helps.
More news as we get it, including maybe how to get tickets, unless that distribution method happens to be passes dropped from a helicopter or something. That's basically what I'm assuming at this point.
A few thoughts on the last full day of SXSW, Saturday, March 16, a couple of days removed.
*Someone at SXSW has a real sense of humor; they booked New Orleans bounce star Big Freedia at twelve noon on an upper stage of the Convention Center, backed up with free Bloody Mary’s. Big Freedia is generally going to be the last act up in any given evening, and in fact was the last act, at 1 a.m., on a stage somewhere in Austin later that evening. But, it was perversely perfect: Big Freedia’s insanely in your face persona and messaging (“Ass Everywhere,” basically), brutally simplistic grooves, and booty shaking dancers was in fact the perfect way to rouse a sluggish crowd up for the final day of the festival after several days of ever-increasing burn-out. But really, check out Big Freedia on video to get the full effect. This is what they warn you about in church: the libido run wild, all eyes on the booty, lasciviousness as a POV. Really, really.
*Detroit’s The Sights distilled that city’s rich musical history - punk and garage rock, soul & R&B and girl group pop - into a perfectly balanced guitar-bass-drums-sax-keys + two back-up singers set that suffered only for being booked at 1 in the afternoon after 4 days of music. Great stuff; catch them in a smoky club sometime for the full effect.
*I found myself talking to a gent that turned out to be Kevin Godley of 10CC and Godley and Creame fame, in town to pitch some sort of audio device to the accumulated masses of musicians. He was a delightful gentlemen, with eyes that actually twinkled, and more proof that you can run into just about anybody, randomly, at SXSW and have some sort of pleasingly off the cuff exchange.
*Back at the Convention Center, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell and Sly Stones’s cute-as-sweet potato pie daughter (sporting a pink ‘fro) indulged in a free-floating mutual appreciation society, obstinately on a panel discussion about the History of Funk (there’s a film coming out), but really just an excuse to give each other props about how funky they all are. Which is perfectly true, of course: if this wasn’t the funkiest panel in history, I’ll turn in my Funk Card and retire.
*Other than a brief early foray out to see the wonderfully off the wall, absurdly high energy Brazilian electro/hip hop combo Bonde Do Role, the rest of the night belonged to Tucson, and Tucson stepped up and blew the house down. The full band showcase was at the Speakesy, right in the middle of downtown, and it was a night to treasure. Getting there a little late I missed Andrew Collberg (sorry man, that’s twice at the Festival!) as Chicha Dust were laying into their first number, and they had the crowd from the get-go. If you haven’t seen Chicha Dust - fronted by Gabriel Sullivan and Brian Lopez, and featuring several of the Old Pueblo’s best players - well, your loss. Using the basic template developed in Peru in the 1960s of mixing cumbia with American psychedelic and surf music and localized sounds, Chicha Dust have very quickly developed into one of Tucson’s best live acts, and the Austin crowd was completely bugged out. Following Chicha Dust was left to Tesoro, who more than stepped up and delivered a set of incredibly high energy, passionate Flamenco-rock that took the room energy even higher, before giving the stage back to Gabe Sullivan and his huge Taraf de Tucson collective. Taraf’s big-band mix of cumbia, Balkan and spaghetti Western themed rock pretty much blew the crowd down, playing to a ever-more-packed dance floor that had been filled to capacity for hours already. Fortunately, one of Tucson’s only acts capable of following Taraf, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, were on next and somehow managed to take it up to an even higher level of intensity. Sergio and his band of ringers really brought it all to a sustained crescendo, playing a show that would be hard for anyone at the Festival to follow, one of the only real positive ways of looking at the last hour, when headliners Giant Giant Sand didn’t appear in any form that the crowd was clearly expecting.
You may have already heard it by now: for whatever reason, Giant Giant Sand mainstay/front man/singer/songwriter Howe Gelb wasn’t present in the club, instead Skypeing himself in via video link to a huge screen over the stage for a very short short set while Gabe Sullivan and Brian Lopez (on guitar) and Sergio Mendoza (on drums) did their best to follow along on stage. It was...odd, and clearly very disappointing for a good size crowd who had come to see Giant Giant Sand play the heavily coveted, Festival final, 1 p.m. on Saturday night time slot. Gelb has made a career out of defying any expectations and always finding a new approach to his music, band concept, etc., and this was certainly another dramatic deviation from any expectation. Howe is, of course, free to follow his own path where-ever it may lead. Beyond that, whether it was wise or satisfying or any number of other possibilities is for the audience to decide for themselves, but there’s no denying that there were a lot of disappointed folks that wanted to finish off the Festival with one of Tucson’s longest running and most legendary acts, but left perplexed and not at all happy.
None of which, ultimately, took the edge of of what came earlier, and it was a night when Tucson stepped up and delivered an evening as full of joyful good vibes, fabulous musicianship and showmanship, originality and communal camaraderie as I saw all week. In truth, it was the best set of back-to-back-to-back shows I saw all week, and once again made me proud to be a Tucsonan. Am I perhaps a bit biased towards the hometown bands? Sure I am, but the astounding outpouring of energy directed towards the stage from hundreds of non-locals speaks for itself. Tucson stood and delivered and left a huge impression on crowds who had already been impressed for for or five days straight.
Tucson rocked and Austin rolled. Score a big one for the hometown team.
- Carl Hanni
I'm not sure how this came about, but college-rock legends Dinosaur Jr. (playing Exile on Congress Street Apr. 20) have "remixed" (or so they say, it sounds more like a cover to me) the new Phoenix (playing AVA Apr. 9) single, "Entertainment". Apparently, Phoenix's Thomas Mars is a fan, so there you go. As strange as this development is, it's an enjoyable version of a song I liked already, so why ask questions, right?
When you think of a music festival, you may think of an outdoor music event with lots of loud music, drinks, and dancing. Larsen, however, , transforms noisy venues into tranquil environments with her tender, soothing melodies, allowing her rhythmical lyrics to come to life.
Larsen is not only a musician; she is also a writer and a poet. Her debut album, Quiet at the Kitchen Door, was released on Dec. 6, 2011 with a much deeper cause then just to sell CDs.
According to a biography about the singer on Air Play Direct, “Larsen doesn’t want to wait until the end of her career to speak up for what she believes in. And she doesn’t want to say she’ll give money when she has enough, when she is famous enough, when she herself is secure enough.”
Larsen will be performing from 1:05 to 1:35 p.m. on El Presidio Stage. For more information on the festival, visit their webpage here.