THEY'VE GOT SOUL, BUT THEY'RE NOT SOLDIERS
It's become something of a sport in recent years to bash the bands that KFMA 92.1 FM has brought to town for its annual KFMA Day. The formula has seemed to be: Get a big-name headlining act, then fill out the rest of the schedule with acts that have had a minor hit from their just-released first album. (I'm making this a bit facile, but you get the point.) Last year the headlining act was a past-their-prime Incubus; the year before that it was, ahem, Sublime With Rome; and the year before that it was freaking 30 Seconds to Mars. To their credit, the station brought in Metallica once (and nearly derailed the booking in the process by announcing it earlier than the band's management wanted them to), which was quite a coup, even if it was an odd choice for a "modern rock" station. But that was a long time ago. And the station has gotten good enough at branding the event that it's gotten to the point where the actual acts performing sometimes seem inconsequential. The kids just seem to love the idea of frying out in the sun all day amongst thousands of their peers while listening to songs they've heard on the radio.
Which brings us to this year's KFMA Day, which takes place at the Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way, on Saturday, May 4. While I've never been much of a fan of this year's headliners, I seem to be in the minority: Kudos to KFMA on booking The Killers, a band that tons of people love, and who are actually currently relevant, having released their acclaimed and long awaited latest album, Battle Born (Vertigo), last year after a four-year wait.
And a lot of the rest of the lineup is pretty damn good, too: Cake shows are always good fun; like 'em or not, Bad Religion have earned their street cred by lasting almost 35 years; Minus the Bear seem to have rediscovered their guitars on last year's Infinity Overhead (Dangerbird), a step in the right direction after their flirtation with synths on 2010's Omni, even if it's not among their best efforts. The rest of the lineup is rather lackluster IMHO, aside from Fidlar, who open the fest with a dose of potent garage punk.
Here's the lineup for Saturday: Gates open at noon, then it's Fidlar (12:45 p.m.), Dead Sara (1:35 p.m.), Middle Class Rut (2:35 p.m.), Black Veil Brides (3:35 p.m.), Minus the Bear (4:45 p.m.), Bad Religion (5:55 p.m.), Cake (7:10 p.m.), and The Killers (8:35 p.m.).
Further props to the station for continuing to keep ticket prices reasonable over the years. Discounted tickets may be long gone, but even if you buy them now, online at kfma.com (where you'll also find a list of dos and don'ts that's like the War and Peace of rules), they're still only $39 plus service charges.
SONGS FROM THE HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY
When Father John Misty performs at the Rialto Theatre this week, it won't be his first solo performance in Tucson. Though he left Fleet Foxes just last year to perform as Father John Misty, Joshua Tillman has been performing solo shows for years, even before he joined that band, and released several albums before and during his stint with them. He opened a show for David Bazan, for example, at Solar Culture Gallery in 2007.
But with the release of his widely praised 2012 Sub Pop album Fear Fun, Tillman skipped the performance arts spaces and went straight to the theaters. Amazing what a name change can do.
Well, that and a really good album. If his material released as J. Tillman echoed the melancholy musings of the likes of Nick Drake, Fear Fun soaks up everything from the vintage Laurel Canyon sound to a neo-gospel vibe (perhaps that "Father" in his moniker was no accident), twangy country nods to yacht rock.
There are some harmonies that remind of his Fleet Foxes days, but they're used sparingly and don't overwhelm. Further, Tillman has blossomed into a fine songwriter and lyricist: On "Nancy From Now On" he sings, "Pour me another drink and punch me in the face / You can call me Nancy."
He's also a riveting, somewhat enigmatic performer: Dudes may find his trademark dancing style a bit awkward, but the ladies understand.
Father John Misty performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, May 3. Fur Family opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 on the day of show. For tickets or more information call 740-1000 or head to rialtotheatre.com.
REMIXES TO BURN
Local funk-rock-reggae jam ensemble 8 Minutes to Burn is heading out on tour soon, and to get word out about it, they've done something pretty cool and unusual (around these parts, anyway).
The band issued a new single earlier this year: "Electric Li-ion," a slinky tune that seems to merge all of the band's influences into one song, was recorded live in December of last year at the Bisbee Royale. Along with the release, the band announced a remix contest in conjunction with 8M2B Productions, local-centric online radio station AZOverload.com, and KXCI's Electric Feel DJs. The band made available 16 tracks to DJs and producers, and asked them to create an EDM remix out of them on a deadline. AZOverload.com played the tracks and had listeners vote for their favorites, narrowing the field down to the top five.
Tonight, Thursday, May 2, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., is the culmination of the contest. After an hour-long set by Zero Zero at 7 p.m., the top five remixes will be played and the audience will vote to decide a winner. Once a winner has been determined, 8 Minutes to Burn will perform a 20-minute set including "Electric Li-ion" and the debut of another new song from their forthcoming Electric Li-ion album.
Club Congress' usual Thursday night dance party, the Optimist Club, begins once the band's set is over. Admission to Opti Club is $3, or free with your Opti Club card.
Admission to the 8 Minutes to Burn Remix Party is $5, and you must be 21 or older. For more information check out hotelcongress.com/club or call 622-8848.
SONGS FROM THE NEW JACK SWING HALL OF FAME
Tucson Weekly editor and noted '90s R&B enthusiast Dan Gibson would have my head if I didn't mention that Teddy Riley & Blackstreet Featuring Dave Hollister (yes, that's how it's being billed) will be performing in town this week. Ostensibly, that means that only half of the original Blackstreet will be in the house, but when one of those guys is Riley, one can hardly complain.
If you're not familiar, Riley is a singer, songwriter and producer who, in the '80s, as the frontman for trio Guy, and in the '90s and onward as the leader of Blackstreet, pretty much singlehandedly invented the new jack swing sound, merging traditional R&B tunes and soul vocals with more current hip-hop beats. It's no overstatement to say he changed the very face of R&B music forever.
Teddy Riley & Blackstreet Featuring Dave Hollister peform at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 5. All ages are welcome and tickets are only $9.83. For tickets and more info head to rialtotheatre.com or call 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Here's a look at some other fine stuff happening around town this week: Voodoo Glow Skulls, Left Alone, Bangarang, and For or Against at The Rock tonight, Thursday, May 2; The Manhattan Transfer at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Wednesday, May 8; Jalph and G.A.G. Present: Three-inco De Mayo featuring Jivin Scientists, Cash Lansky, Dream Sick, Honor Roll Gang, Algae and Tentacles, an L.A. Looks reunion and more at Hotel Congress on Friday, May 3; The Missing Parts, The Underscore Orkestra, and Le Chat Lunatique at Plush on Friday, May 3; Rising Appalachia and Ohioan at Solar Culture Gallery on Saturday, May 4; Week of Wonders, Best Dog Award, Womb Tomb, and Secret Highway Secrets at The District Tavern next Thursday, May 9; Brit Floyd: The World's Greatest Pink Floyd Show at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Tuesday, May 7; Songs From the Abyss puppet show at Solar Culture Gallery on Tuesday, May 7; Indigo Kids CD-release party with Ephewe and Ill Literates at Club Congress on Wednesday, May 8; Cinco de Noise with Cats in a Bowl (final show), Algae and Tentacles, Jokeharmonica and more at Tucson Live Music Space on Sunday, May 5; Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Friday, May 3; Deschtuco and La Cerca at La Cocina tonight, Thursday, May 2; Cadaver Dogs at Surly Wench Pub on Saturday, May 4; The Black Moods at The Hut on Friday, May 3; Blighter, Down on Knees I'm Weak, Godhunter, Why Bother, Unfortunate Sircumstances at Tucson Live Music Space on Tuesday, May 7; Black Cherry Burlesque at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, May 3.