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FREE FOLK TIMES 23

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association (TKMA) calls the Tucson Folk Festival, which they'll present this weekend in its 23rd annual installment, "one of the largest free festivals in the United States," and who are we to argue?

You can read more about the fest--which this year will feature headliners Marley's Ghost, Ruthie Foster and Billy Jonas among its 100-plus acts, over two days, Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4--in the City Week section. But for those of you for whom two days of Folk Fest activities just aren't enough, we thought we'd tell you how to maximize the folkitudinousness of your weekend.

The night before the festivities officially begin, the TKMA will play host to a pre-festival fundraising party featuring seven of the local performers scheduled to perform at the Folk Fest, playing short preview sets. The event will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, May 2, at the Old Town Artisans Courtyard, 201 N. Court Ave. In order of appearance, here's the schedule: Roth D'Lux (7 p.m.), Sabra Faulk (7:30 p.m.), Amber Norgaard (8 p.m.), Namoli Brennet (8:30 p.m.), Leila Lopez (9 p.m.), Courtney Robbins (9:30 p.m.) and The Determined Luddites (10 p.m.).

As with the Folk Festival itself, all ages are welcome. Admission is $3, and a Mexican-food buffet will be offered for $5. For more information, point your Web browser to TKMA.org.


CHILDLIKE TUNES--IN HELL!

Is it just me, or did the local group Flagrante Delicto kind of pop up out of nowhere fully formed? Usually, when a local band starts playing shows, they're still trying to get their performance legs (or the members have already attained them while playing in previous bands), but the first time I ever caught Flagrante Delicto--which was pretty soon after they started playing out in clubs--they already had their thing down pat. What exactly that thing is ... that's a thornier proposition.

The band will release their debut album, Piss and Ink (Medical), this week at a CD-release party, and I'd be willing to wager that it's no accident that the album's title rhymes with "kitchen sink." While the group swipes elements from other sources, like any current band must, the sum of those parts adds up to something unique. (If the group has a modern stylistic counterpart, it's Philadelphia's Man Man.) There's a dark, carnivalesque element throughout Piss and Ink that evokes Mr. Bungle and Tom Waits in equal parts; the sardonic-voiced vocals (which are doled out somewhat sparingly) and avant-garde complexity will have you digging out your Zappa albums for A-B tests; and a certain playful, twisted, almost childlike vibe suggests the album could double as the soundtrack for an animated Disney flick coming soon to a theater near you--provided you reside in hell.

It took me a while to pick up on that last element. I was too caught up in the creepiness of songs, like the ominous-sounding "Perilous Depths," with its cha-cha percussion, accordion, baritone sax and lyrics ("I wanna mix my blood with your blood / I wanna mix my sweat with your sweat") to realize that the lines that follow those are an homage to, or parody of, Nelly: "It's getting hot up in here / I'm gonna take my clothes off, baby." In context, the song goes from creepy to hilarious in a matter of seconds and makes you rethink other unsettling sentiments expressed earlier in the album--like, say, "I fucked a clown today," from "Elephant Carousel," one of the skronkiest reggae bastardizations you'll ever hear.

Lots of songs contain verbally nonsensical call-and-response chant-along sections along the lines of, "Yadda yadda yadda / Da da da" (which is the sum of the sung lyrics from opening track "Ellipsis") and sometimes play off of familiar passages: When they sing, "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," in "Perilous Depths," it's followed by, "Take a swig and pass Flagrante some."

The nine-song album, which was recorded in Chicago by Rob Kleiner over five days earlier this year, is capped off by "Autodidactoid," which starts off as a synth-y funk vamp complete with a gravel-treated falsetto (somehow not an oxymoron here) before things turn typically weird. Piss and Ink is an auspicious debut, to be sure.

The release party for Flagrante Delicto's Piss and Ink takes place at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, May 2. The show starts at 8 p.m., and the bill also includes openers Chris Black with Vicki Brown, Calle Debauche, You Apart, ... music video? and Tine, which features Dawn and Kee, formerly of Sugarbush. Ruby Jets will host. Admission is free. For further details, call 622-8848.


WOODSTOCK LOOK-BACK

The Tucson Folk Festival isn't the only music fest going down this weekend. For the third consecutive year, Westward Look Resort will be the site for the Weststock Music Festival, which doubles as a benefit for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to aid breast-cancer research. Five local acts will be performing, with Woodstock-era songs sprinkled liberally throughout their sets, and there will be a beer-and-wine garden, along with cookout concessions.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, and in order of appearance, here's what you can expect on the musical front: The Rowdies (6 p.m.), 22 Black (7 p.m.), The Wayback Machine (8 p.m.) and The Power of Three (9 p.m.). Additionally, Amber Norgaard will perform between band sets, and the whole shindig will be hosted by KWMT FM 92.9 The Mountain's Jennie.

Admission is $25 at the gate for open lawn seating, with $5 from each ticket sold going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Room packages are also available. Westward Look Resort is located at 245 E. Ina Road. For more info, call 297-1151 or head to WestwardLook.com.


SPARSE AND SPARE

New York City singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia returns to town this week in support of her 2007 collaboration with drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power, Bill Callahan), You Follow Me (Fat Cat). The album is a sparse, indie update of traditional Americana, which Annie Holub, in a Weekly review, called "erotic and narcotic in (its) withholding of volume."

Opening the show is Seattle-by-way-of-North Carolina singer-songwriter David Karsten Daniels, whose latest album, Fear of Flying, was released earlier this week, also on Fat Cat. Fear of Flying is a start-to-finish lovely mix of spare, intimate folk-pop tunes and the occasional fleshed-out, lush pop-rock song, such as "Martha Ann," a catchy full-band affair that sports a winning male-female vocal duet. If you're planning on attending this show, by all means, get there early enough for Daniels' set.

Nina Nastasia and David Karsten Daniels perform at 9:45 p.m., Monday, May 5, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is $8. For further details, call 798-1298.


GOT BEARD?

ZZ Top, those sharp-dressed, cheap-sunglass-wearin' standard bearers of facial kudzu, bring their patented, gritty Texas blues-rock to town this week at AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, on Wednesday, May 7. The show begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $35-$85, available in advance at avaconcerts.com or (877) 840-0457.


ON THE BANDWAGON

Other acts worth checking out: Thrones, the solo project from Joe Preston (Earth, Melvins, Sunn O))), High on Fire) at Solar Culture Gallery on Tuesday, May 6; Cross Canadian Ragweed and Stephen Ashbrook at Club Congress on Monday, May 5; Carrie Underwood and Josh Turner at the Tucson Arena in the Tucson Convention Center on Friday, May 2; Stitch Hopeless and the Sealegs, The Wrecking Dead and Wolfman and the Nards at the Surly Wench Pub on Friday, May 2.

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