STUFF TO READ AND DO
Before we get started here, I'd like to call your attention to a couple articles about musical events that appear outside of the music section this week.
Be sure to check out Eric Swedlund's story about Stunning Tonto Records and the Stunning Tonto Forever release party happening at Plush on Friday, Feb. 8.
And when you're finished reading that, check out the Pick of the Week in our City Week section. The Rialto Theatre Foundation—which, we should all remember, is a nonprofit—is throwing a fundraising party featuring Grupo Fantasma, as well as an after-party with music by Brownout, and that one goes down on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Hopefully, after you've read about them, you'll feel compelled to check them out. Both should be a blast.
MUSIC IS MEDICINE
Kudos to Susan Holden for keeping the Rhythm and Roots Concert Series going. Her husband, Jonathan Holden, began the series in the mid-'90s, booking acts that he loved and wanted people to hear, at venues all over town, but that otherwise may not have come through Tucson to perform.
Jonathan passed away on Jan. 17, 2012, and no one could have blamed Susan if she had decided to scrap the remaining shows in that season's schedule. But not only did she decide to finish out the shows Jonathan already had booked; last week's performance by the Desert Rose Band at the Fox Tucson Theatre was the first show of a full slate of shows Susan has booked for another concert season. Jonathan's motto was "Music is medicine," and we hope it's working that way for Susan.
So, the shows: Blues singer Johnny Rawls will be at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino on Saturday, Feb. 23; Western music legends the Sons of the Pioneers will perform at the Berger Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 3; singer-songwriter Steve Forbert—the show I'm personally most excited about in the series—will be at the Plaza Palomino Courtyard on Friday, April 5; Chris Brashear with Peter McLaughlin and Todd Philips will appear at the Plaza Palomino Courtyard on Saturday, April 6.
And, this week Rhythm and Roots brings to town the Paul Thorn Band, whose namesake bandleader is a hell of a songwriter in the literary tradition, possessed with a delightfully gravelly, soulful voice, and a formidable guitarist. Meanwhile, his band cranks out some killer, rockin' Southern blues to accompany him. Following 2010's critically acclaimed Pimps and Preachers, his most recent album of new, original material, Thorn took a detour last year with the release of What the Hell Is Goin' On? (both on Perpetual Obscurity), his first all-covers collection, which features his take on tunes by Lindsey Buckingham, Allen Toussaint, Free, and Eli "Paperboy" Reed, among others.
The Paul Thorn Band performs an all-ages show at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are $18 and available at rhythmandroots.org; they'll be $20 on the day of show. Use that same website for more info.
ROCKS AND ROCK
In case the traffic jams, the dreadlocked masses, and the scent of patchouli hadn't tipped you off yet, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is in full swing, and each year local venues and promoters hold shows and events catered to that demographic. Here's a look at some of the more promising ones, whether you're hawking rocks or not.
Club Congress will host El Tambó – Cumbia Sound Clash Gem Show Party, which looks like a blast, this weekend. The event will feature performances by Chicha Dust, a local all-star-loaded band featuring Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan, Winston Watson, Geoff Hidalgo, Jason Urman, and Efren Cruz Chavez, that performs its own brand of psychedelic cumbia; the high-energy Vox Urbana, who perform what can only be described as garage cumbia; and DJ Dirtyverbs, aka Logan Phillips, a poet and spoken word artist who co-founded the multimedia performance collectives Verbo*bala and Sonidero Verbo*bala.
El Tambó begins at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. Admission is $5.
The following night, Congress will feature That 1 Guy & The Magic Pipe Present: An Evening of Musical Magical Wonder... The Likes of Which Ye Haven't Yet Seen, which is basically a complicated way of saying that a dude who goes by the moniker That 1 Guy (ne Mike Silverman) will be coaxing sounds and songs, with the help of some serious looping-pedal action, out of some wacky homemade instruments including, most famously, his Magic Pipe, which merges organic strings with electronics. If you've never seen the guy do his thing, it really is something to behold.
That 1 Guy performs at Club Congress on Saturday, Feb. 9. The show starts at 7 p.m. with an opening set by Wolff and Tuba (an offshoot of Drums and Tuba). Advance tickets may be purchased for $10 at hotelcongress.com/club; they'll be $12 on the day of show. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St., and you can call 622-8848 for more info.
Local world beat dance band Baba Marimba will take the stage for a Gem and Mineral Show Concert at Solar Culture Gallery at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. The group performs music from regions as far flung as Brazil, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. Admission to the all-ages show is $5. Solar Culture Gallery is located at 31 E. Toole Ave., and more information is available at solarculture.org or by calling 884-0874.
Meanwhile, next door to Solar Culture, the Galactic Center, at 35 E. Toole Ave., is home to the Temple of Eden, a nightly gathering that features live music, DJs, dance performances, an art show including live painting, workshops, films, "sweet love vibes" and much more. It runs every night through Friday, Feb. 15, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $5 per night, or $20 for a weekly pass. For more info check out templeofeden.com or call (831) 331-1468.
And, of course, the traditional Gem & Jam Festival, now in its seventh year, will take place at The Slaughterhouse, 1102 W. Grant Road, from tonight, Thursday, Feb. 7, through Saturday, Feb. 9. The event is a multimedia extravaganza featuring live music (The Bennu, 8 Minutes to Burn, etc.); DJs (Corbin Dooley, the Electric Feel DJs, etc.); tons of art including live painting by Alex Grey; gem, jewelry, and art vendors; and lots more. Admission is $35 per night. For more information head to slaughterhousetucson.com.
"GEORGE WINSTON FRONTING TORTOISE"
Blues Control's latest album, Valley Tangents, is likely the only album ever released by Drag City to appear on Billboard's New Age chart. But don't let that new age tag fool you. The keyboard-heavy duo's music is constantly evolving and encompasses everything from jazz fusion to post-rock to patches of noise. Imagine George Winston fronting Tortoise ... or something to that effect.
Blues Control headlines a show at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 14, at Topaz, 657 W. Saint Mary's Road. Also on the bill are Sleep Like Trees, Ohioan, and Sutcliffe Catering Co. Admission is a donation to the bands (suggested donation at Topaz is usually $3 to $5). For more information check out topaz-tundra.com.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Brazilian Carnaval featuring Batucaxé, DJ Toni Limon, and Grupo Axé Capoeira at El Parador on Saturday, Feb. 9; Mardi Gras with Jazz Telephone and Tom Walbank at Sky Bar on Tuesday, Feb. 12; the Sadie Hawks and Bradford Trojan at La Cocina next Thursday, Feb. 14; Tommy Emmanuel at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 12; God Des & She at New Moon Tucson on Friday, Feb. 8; B.B. King at the Event Center at Casino del Sol on Wednesday, Feb. 13; Whole Lotta Zep at Boondocks Lounge on Saturday, Feb. 9; Triple Double Band at The Hut on Friday, Feb. 8; Stone Sour, Papa Roach, and Otherwise at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 12; Sabra Faulk and the Angel Band at Abounding Grace Sanctuary on Saturday, Feb. 9; TV Mike and the Scarecrows and Golden Boots at La Cocina tonight, Thursday, Feb. 7; Music and Mayhem Benefit for korylaos.com featuring Jon Russell at Runway Bar and Grill on Saturday, Feb. 9; Second Saturdays Downtown featuring Pavlo, Silverbell, and lots more in downtown Tucson on Saturday, Feb. 9; Mellow Bellow, Housebroken Deadbeat, and Secret Highway Secrets at La Cocina on Friday, Feb. 8; Top Dead Center and Xtra Ticket at Boondocks Lounge on Sunday, Feb. 10; Jazz Guild Jam featuring Tony Frank and guests at Elliott's on Congress on Monday, Feb. 11 (and every Monday evening); Joe Peña at Cafe Passe for Songwriter Thursdays tonight, Feb. 7, and every Thursday in February (except Feb. 14).