DEATH TO FALSE METAL
Despite releasing one of last year's best-reviewed albums, it's been a rough year for Baroness, the (mostly) Savannah, Ga.-based band currently celebrating its 10th year.
Yellow & Green, a double album sticking with the tradition of naming the band's albums after colors (Red Album came out in 2007, Blue Record in 2009), was released in July 2012; less than a month later, a bus crash in Bath, England, left nine people hospitalized, including at least three band members. Two of the band's members, both of whom had suffered broken vertebrae, quit the band shortly thereafter. Frontman John Baizley, who suffered a broken arm and leg in the crash, performed a solo show at Austin's South by Southwest in March, and soon after that, a tour, with a new rhythm section, was announced.
That tour brings Baroness to The Rock this week.
Yellow & Green appeared on lots of best-of lists last year, and just about every metal-specific list. But Baroness is not your average metal band. Or, at least, they're not what we've come to expect from a modern metal band: no double bass drums, no growling, no speed contests on the fretboard. Baroness favors actual songs, with actual hooks, and they're not afraid of getting a little weird, mixing in elements of prog, post-punk, Southern rock. They're not much more metal than, say, Queens of the Stone Age, who don't normally get classified as metal. Which is to say, if you're not a metal fan, but you do like smart hard-rock bands like QOTSA, don't let the metal tag throw you off. Baroness is killer.
It's not likely you'll ever get to see them again at a venue as small as The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., so take advantage when they play an all-ages show there on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Royal Thunder opens. Advance tickets are $15 and are available at Bookmans and ticketforce.com. For more info head to rocktucson.com or call 629-9211.
HE WRITES THE SONGS
In 2006, NPR released a list of 10 people it bestowed with the title "The Best Living Songwriters." Behind Bob Dylan (#1), Tom Waits (#2), Paul McCartney (#3), all the way down at #10, was David Dondero. He was the only guy on the list who required something of an explanation of who he actually was: "This guy is barely a blip on maps to even the remotest of musical landscapes. But I keep pushing him and hoping he'll be recognized for the brilliant artist he is."
Back when Dondero was a regular visitor to Tucson, in the late '90s and the aughts, I did the same, writing about him almost every time he played in town, hoping people would give enough of a shit to plunk down a few bucks and give the guy a chance. Here's an excerpt of something I wrote almost a decade ago: "Dondero is a troubadour whose confessional songs reflect his travels -- life and death, love and loss, sleeping wherever the hell you can find a few hours of peace, and if you're lucky, having a few bucks in your pocket to buy a sandwich. When you first hear his sublimely quivering voice, you might be tempted to think he's ripping off Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, but the truth is, in fact, the opposite; Oberst has admitted as much, saying 'It was hearing (Dondero's) voice that made me comfortable with my own.'"
Dondero has two new albums on the way, both partially funded via a Kickstarter campaign: Golden Hits Vol. 1 is a double album in which he re-recorded songs from his catalog with just his voice and acoustic guitar using a single mic, with no overdubs. This Guitar, expected to arrive in November, contains 11 new songs. I only had a chance to listen to it once, but on first listen, it sounds fantastic.
Dondero will be spending a little bit of time in Tucson around his show here this weekend. He'll be making a music video with Nadine Roselle Ruiz-Carlson, who recently directed the excellent new Pork Torta video.
Do yourself a favor and go see David Dondero on Saturday, Aug. 24, on the Hotel Congress Plaza, 311 E, Congress St. Amy Rude opens at 8 p.m. and admission is free. For further info head to hotelcongress.com/club or call 622-8848.
PEOPLE YOU KNOW, BANDS YOU MIGHT NOT
Saturday brings with it the chance to check out a couple of new local bands with familiar faces — alas, they're playing at two separate shows.
Though they've already played a few shows, I haven't had a chance to catch The Sundowners yet. But with a lineup that includes Joe Pena (Greyhound Soul), Van Christian, and Betsy Scarinzi (Silverbell), they're most certainly worth checking out. They'll play a 7 p.m. show on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Exo Roast Co., 403 N. Sixth Ave. No word on cover charge (a call to Exo went unanswered), but if there is one, it'll be cheap. That number is 777-4709.
When guitar genius Jesus Acedo, founder of Black Sun Ensemble, passed away in March, the band's remaining members — Eric Johnson (bass, guitar, keyboards), Scott Kerr (drums, percussion), and Joe E. Furno (flute) — decided to keep playing music together under a new name, Cobracalia. They added percussionist Carl Hall and Fonda Insley, who helps out on percussion and coordinates routines with her belly dance ensemble, to complete the lineup.
In a note to Soundbites, Johnson writes, "We will be doing some new music, all instrumental, with an emphasis on electronica, space rock and Middle Eastern influences — a little bit of everything. We have been trying to find a way forward since Jesus Acedo died in March — basically, this is what we have come up with."
Catch Cobracalia's debut Tucson performance at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Aug. 24. They'll start off the night at 9:30 p.m. and will be followed by Mellow Bellow and D. Hall. Admission is $5. Check out plushtucson.com or call 798-1298 for further details.
YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW
Local acts: Keep your eyes on these pages for information concerning The Great Cover-Up. It's coming soon.
In the meantime, there is but one remaining rule concerning which bands can and can't be covered at the Cover-Up: No Beatles. But if you need a Beatles cover fix, look no further than Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave., at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, when the Wayback Machine presents "The Beatles Show."
According to a press release sent to us, "True to their nature, this will be anything but a tribute show. If you're looking for costumes, classics or note for note renditions you may be hugely disappointed. (The band has been informally referring to the gig as Note For Note ... NOT!)"
The night will be split into two sets, one acoustic, the other electric, and should be lots of fun.
As for cover charge, the band writes: "All you need is love ... and $7!" Head to boondockslounge.com or call 690-0991 for more info.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Opening night of Hoco Fest at Hotel Congress featuring Howard Jones and Men Without Hats next Thursday, Aug. 29; Ted "The Ann Coulter of Butt Rock" Nugent and Laura Wilde at the Fox News Headquarters, er, the Fox Tucson Theatre on Wednesday, Aug. 28; Local Love presents Metal Fest II with Evasion, Light Her Up. Hillbilly Bo, Scorned Embrace, Solace in Nothing, Eight Legged Horse, and Endless Endeavor at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 24; benefit for horse rescue group H.E.A.R.T. featuring the John Coinman Band at The Maverick on Sunday, Aug. 25; Victoria Munoz Memorial Concert featuring the Figueroa Blues Band and Justin Valdez y Los Guapos at The Rock on Saturday, Aug. 24; End of Summer Hootenanny featuring Skip Heller, Hank Topless, and Al Perry at the Hotel Congress Plaza on Friday, Aug. 23; Sleep Like Trees, Forest Floor, and Algae & Tentacles at The HangArt on Saturday, Aug. 24.