Are Tucsonans ready for the latest buzz band from across the pond? Of course we are! As the summer heat all but suffocates us, we always can use some diversion.
Scotland's Glasvegas—coming to America after recently touring the United Kingdom with U2 and Kings of Leon, and after attracting major attention at summer festivals—apparently have been anointed heirs to the throne of cool. The combo, in fact, won the most promising band award from England's legendary NME last year.
It's hard to argue when you get a whiff of Glasvegas' trademark reimagining of rock 'n' roll snarl, leavened as it is with doses of shimmering guitar, distortion, feedback, vaguely disaffected vocals, thick dialect and liberal application of dark glasses. The Glasglow-based band—three guys and a gal—work the same dark, indie-rock territory as have bands from the Velvet Underground to Interpol and Doves, but with added elements of rockabilly, doo wop and pop from the 1950s and '60s.
A debut album, titled simply Glasvegas, was released about 11 months ago in the U.K. and stateside this past January. The record has been gathering attention as it snowballs through the year with singles such as "Geraldine" and "Daddy's Gone."
Glasvegas will play Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., following an 8 p.m. set by opening act Ida Maria, who is also no slouch at modern-rock drama. Tickets cost $16 for general admission. Call 740-1000 for more information.
Jazz fans are bound to revel in the meeting of trumpeter Rick Braun and Tucson-born bassist Brian Bromberg, scheduled for this Friday at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa. Although the concert is being billed as a "straight-ahead" jazz event, Braun and Bromberg have experience in funk, fusion and smooth jazz, leading me to believe this is the jazz concert of the summer—one that might have something for everyone.
Braun and Bromberg are mainstays at the Tucson Jazz Society's annual New Year's Eve concerts, and will be back to ring in 2010, too, we're told. But why wait until then?
Sponsored by the TJS, this summertime summit will feature a backing band that includes pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts, tenor sax player Greg Fishman and other local jazz all-stars. The opening act is the Tucson Jazz Institute's Ellington Big Band.
The society is calling the concert the TJS Celebrity Jazz Benefit, since proceeds will go toward bolstering the society. The curtain rises at 7 p.m., Friday, July 31, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. Of worthy note at this time of year: The concert will be held in the resort's new air-conditioned pavilion. There are even dinner and room specials associated with the concert.
Tickets will set you back $25 for general admission, $20 for TJS members, and $10 for students and members of the military. You can get prime seats for two by the bandstand for $175 general admission, or $150 for members. For more details, consult (800) 595-4849 or www.tucsonjazz.org.
Three acts from the well-regarded independent label Park the Van Records are touring together and will appear Tuesday at Club Congress.
Park the Van has been in existence for about five years, getting their initial start releasing records by Dr. Dog, and expanding to develop a modest but impressive roster of acts. The current tour will showcase the talents of Tucson alt-country-pop hallucinators Golden Boots; Floating Action from Asheville, N.C.; and New Orleans' Generationals.
Park the Van calls our homeboys Golden Boots "an alt-alt country band from deep in the American Southwest, home to open spaces, Roy Rogers and the hydrogen bomb." Tucsonans have grown to adore the low-fi psychedelic cowboy pop of this act, and Park the Van jumped on the bandwagon by releasing Golden Boots' latest album, Winter of Our Discotheque, this past January.
In case you're wondering, Floating Action is the project name for the work of musician, songwriter and producer Seth Kauffman. The Generationals are a duo of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, who trade in 1960s-style sugary pop.
The show will begin about 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. Tickets are $6 at the door. You can call 622-8848 for further information.
The Southern California ska-punk band Reel Big Fish, which has attracted frenzied audiences since the mid-1990s, will headline a ska celebration this coming Wednesday at the Rialto Theatre.
A total of four bands will take the stage that night, but the highlight for this listener promises to be the re-emergence of the English Beat, the multiracial Birmingham band that brought the sound of ska to middle-class American kids in the 1980s. (More on that in this week's music feature.)
Also on the bill: Supervillains from Orlando, Fla., and Tucson's up-and-coming Man Overboard, winners of a 2007 Battle of the Bands at the University of Arizona. This concert starts at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Rialto Theatre. Tickets cost $21 in advance, and $23 on the day of the show. Call 740-1000 for more details.
Something of a legend in the Tucson music community, the country-punk act Gila Bend doesn't play much anymore. Fronted by the frenetic singer and guitar slinger Loren Dircks, the band plays so infrequently that its gig this weekend is being billed as a reunion.
I didn't know they broke up; I just figured Dircks has been playing gentleman farmer in Oracle and was now emerging from of his shell of civility to get the party re-started. In any case, these guys put the twang in punk, overdose country with metal, and know the difference between redneck and rowdy—but ain't afraid to play both sides of the fence.
When it comes to Gila Bend, it's hard to match the following description from the august publication known as Tucson Weekly: "Try to hear this mix of music in your mind: Quiet Riot and Hank Williams Sr. and The Blasters. If you can do that, you've got an idea of what the full-bore rockabilly-country-metal of Gila Bend sounds like." Yeah, what they said.
Another local music legend is The Sand Rubies, czars of desert rock, authors of many a sharp-dressed album and adored by at least dozens. They've been purveyors of fine tuneage for some 20-plus years and are still going strong. They'll be on the bill, too, as will the Americana-singing women of the Silver Thread Trio. To sum it up, a right-homey old-school Tucson music hoedown awaits.
All this will go down around 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. You can get in for $5. 798-1298 is the number in case you need it.