Sunday, Nov. 6, marks Tucson's celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Thousands of folks of all stripes will descend upon downtown to march in the 24th annual All Souls Procession, a massive parade to remember and honor departed loved ones.
But once dusk hits, and the urn is burned, what happens next? There are at least two downtown options to keep the Day of the Dead spirit alive, so to speak.
The bigger and more-traditional of the two is Calexico: Dance of the Dead, the annual performance for which the titular band pulls out all the stops, and welcomes lots of guest musicians—among them this year are Sergio Mendoza, the Silver Thread Trio, Salvador Duran, Mariachi Aztlan, the Pride of Arizona Marching Band and others.
Calexico: Dance of the Dead gets started around 8 p.m. on Sunday at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are $20 for general admission ($22 on the day of the show), and $32 for reserved balcony seats ($35 on the day of the show). All ages are welcome. For more info, go to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
If you've spent too much dough making your All Souls costume, but still want some post-parade fun, Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., has got you covered with a pair of appropriately spooky performers: Tucson's own devil-may-care The Mission Creeps, and Northern California-dwelling The Voodoo Organist (aka Scott Wexton), who plays all varieties of creepy music including nods to horror-flick themes, brimstone hymns, soul and garage rock.
This one also starts at 8 p.m., and admission is free, but you must be 21 or older. Head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848 for more information.
If you simply can't wait for the Rialto show to happen, or you'll miss it for some reason, check out the theater's screening of Flor de Muertos, a locally produced film that features tons of performance footage from the Calexico et al. concert that followed the 2009 All Souls Procession, and loosely examines border issues, on Saturday, Nov. 5. Showtime is 8 p.m.; admission is $10; and all ages are welcome.
Similarly, if you're looking to get the Dia de los Muertos party started a day early, The Voodoo Organist will be performing another free show on the eve of the Day of the Dead celebration—that's Saturday, Nov. 5—on the Hotel Congress patio. Showtime is 8 p.m., and admission is free, but you must be 21 or older.
In the year or so that followed the belabored release of its 2009 album, The World Awaits, local duo Ryanhood found itself not only continuing to tour and perform at a frenetic pace (averaging 130 shows a year); the band was also trying to sell itself to label bigwigs to take its career to the much vaunted "next level"—just as it had done for the five years previous.
After six full years of endless travel and shaking the hands of suits, a funny thing happened: Ryanhood got burned out.
"We hit a wall," says Hood in a press release. "It had become all about the promotion and the sell, and we couldn't remember what we even had to offer." The future of Ryanhood was up in the air.
Ryan Green and Cameron Hood, who have known each other since high school, decided to take a sabbatical of sorts, and relax at home with friends and family. But then another funny thing happened: Hood and Green began to get inspired again, and new songs started to come to mind. So did money, about $10,000 of it, raised via a Kickstarter campaign to fund the album.
The band used to money to hole up in the studio of their friend Ryan Alfred, who, according to the press release, "helped steer the band away from a mentality of pop perfection, and toward emotionally real and captivating performances."
As usual, they've succeeded. The album, After Night Came Sun, opens with "Second City," which itself opens with a typically virtuosic run on either mandolin or guitar by Green, before crashing into a sort of pop version of an old English folk song—except that it's about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, using an event of massive destruction as a metaphor for the rebirth that can follow. On "I Didn't Put Anything Into Your Place," a midtempo ballad, Green and Hood trade lines before merging into their patented lovely harmonies. "The Meaning in Me" begins as a ballad of desperation before blowing up into a chorus of Arcade Fire-style transcendence.
Ryanhood celebrates the release of After Night Came Sun with a performance at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, Nov. 4. Silver Thread Trio opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 on the day of the show. For further details, check out rialtotheatre.com and ryanhood.com, or call 740-1000.
MORE 'LUZ DE VIDA'
Speaking of release shows: Thanks to all who made the release party for local compilation Luz de Vida—whose proceeds benefit the Tucson Together Fund, for the victims and families of the Jan. 8 shootings—such a phenomenal success.
This week brings two more opportunities to catch some of the acts that contributed to the album, and, yes, to pick up a copy of the limited-edition vinyl version of the album, or the 37-song download version (included with purchase of the vinyl).
This evening, Thursday, Nov. 3, at Main Gate Square on University Boulevard: HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS (7 p.m.), La Cerca (6 p.m.) and Al Perry (5 p.m.) will all be performing for your listening pleasure.
And at Bookmans, 6230 E. Speedway Blvd., on Saturday, Nov. 5, catch performances by Howe Gelb (12:30 p.m.), Tracy Shedd (11:45 a.m.) and Silver Thread Trio (11 a.m.).
The performances are free and open to those of all ages. For more info, look for Facebook pages for both events, or check out musicagainstviolence.org.
With a "Best New Music" tag and an 8.4 rating from Pitchfork for his debut album, The Year of Hibernation (2011, Fat Possum), 22-year-old Boise, Idaho-based Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon, will bring his ethereal bedroom pop to Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., for an all-ages show on Saturday, Nov. 5. Gross Magic opens at 9 p.m., and admission is $10; solarculture.org; 884-0874.
The name Lucky Tubb may sound like a hokey attempt at honky-tonk authenticity, but it doesn't get more authentic than being the great nephew of country legend Ernest Tubb, which is what Lucky is. Along with his band, the Modern Day Troubadours, he'll perform a set of tunes that evoke his famous relative as part of the Rialto Theatre Cabaret Series, in which the curtains at the back of the theater are drawn in order to make the space more intimate, next Thursday, Nov. 10. Opening the show is a new local supergroup called Honkytonk Underground, which includes Mike Hebert, Tommy Larkins, Larry Lee Lerma and Connor Gallaher. For each show, the band will be joined by a handful of guest singers, in this case Al Perry, Ned Sutton, Chuck Wagon and Emilie Marchand. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m., and admission is $5. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St., and more info is available at rialtotheatre.com or by calling 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Boots Electric (Jesse Hughes from Eagles of Death Metal) at Club Congress on Friday, Nov. 4; Greensky Bluegrass and Oakhurst at Plush on Friday, Nov. 4; Ra Ra Riot, Delicate Steve and Yellow Ostrich at Club Congress on Tuesday, Nov. 8; Maria Muldaur at the Plaza Palomino Courtyard on Saturday, Nov. 5; Mzekala 20th anniversary concert at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Saturday, Nov. 5; The Smiths and Morrissey tribute band Still Ill at Club Congress on Saturday, Nov. 5; Alesana, A Skylit Drive and others at the Rialto Theatre on Monday, Nov. 7; Mayday Parade and others at The Rock on Sunday, Nov. 6; Tera Melos and Man Jr. at Solar Culture Gallery on Wednesday, Nov. 9; 400 Blows, The Bennu and The Black Jackalope Ensemble at the Red Room at Grill tonight, Thursday, Nov. 3; Josh Gracin at The Maverick on Tuesday, Nov. 8; Daughtry at AVA at Casino del Sol on Friday, Nov. 4; Judy Collins at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Friday, Nov. 4; Shark Pants and Underground Railroad to Candyland at the Red Room at Grill on Saturday, Nov. 5; Delta Nove at Plush next Thursday, Nov. 10; Sex Church, JJCVN and Standard Deviance at the Red Room at Grill on Tuesday, Nov. 8.