Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lil Peep Passes Away Before Show at The Rock

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 1:22 PM

New York native Gustav Ahr, better known by his alias "Little Peep" passed away in Tucson on Wednesday night at the age of 21. - PINTEREST
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  • New York native Gustav Ahr, better known by his alias "Little Peep" passed away in Tucson on Wednesday night at the age of 21.

The rap genre lost one of its up-and-coming artists on Wednesday.

Fast-rising rap artist Gustav Ahr, or "Lil Peep" passed away before his show on Wednesday night at The Rock, with the exact cause of his death still under investigation.

The 21-year-old New York artist was pronounced dead at 9 p.m., according to the county's medical examiner, with The New York Times reporting that the rapper died from overdosing on the anti-anxiety medication, Xanax.

Lil Peep was best known for his songs "White Wine," "Benz Truck," and "The Way I see Things," which have gone viral on YouTube, with upwards of 12 million views per track.

Ahr was born on Nov. 1, 1996, and took to recording tracks after dropping out of high school, making music through online sites like SoundCloud and YouTube.

He released his first mixtape, Lil Peep Part One, in 2015—with his debut album,. Come Over When You're Sober released on June 2.

Ahr was known for the multi-instrumental aspect of his work, playing trombone and tuba on many of his tracks, and frequently described the close relationship he had with his mother, Liza, in many of his songs.

In all, Ahr released four mixtapes, one album and six EPs in his brief career, having been described as "The future of emo," by music magazine Pitchfork.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deer Tick Blows the Roof Off at 191 Toole

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Deer Tick lead guitarist Ian O'Neil, left, and singer John McCauley perform the first of two sets at 191 Toole on Monday night. - CHRISTOPHER BOAN | TUCSON WEEKLY
  • Christopher Boan | Tucson Weekly
  • Deer Tick lead guitarist Ian O'Neil, left, and singer John McCauley perform the first of two sets at 191 Toole on Monday night.

It was a night to remember inside a half-packed 191 Toole on Monday night, as college rock favorites Deer Tick shredded through a two-set masterpiece.

The Providence, Rhode Island-based quintet—touring in support of their new double EP (Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)—brought their typical punch-drunk energy to the Old Pueblo, blasting through two sets of music, as part of their Twice is Nice Tour, to the small but thoroughly energized contingent.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night though came not from the band itself, however, but in the dry whit and charm put forth by standup comic Solomon Georgio.

Georgio's opening set revolved was a self-effacing monologue about the struggles of growing up as a gay man in a immigrant family, hailing from Ethiopia, mixed in with stories about his personal life.

His routine drew wild applause and laughs from the crowd, before yielding the stage to the main act—who started the evening with an all-acoustic set.

The band tore through their first set, playing a mixture of new songs from Vol. 1 and peyote and whiskey-soaked classics, from albums of yole.

Singer John McCauley bounced between his stool and the keyboard nestled into the far-righthand corner of the stage in the opening set, providing the dulcet tones that we've come to love over the years.

The band was tight all night, wasting no time between songs, and making the most of their time on stage, hitting all the high notes and low-tempo valleys in-between.

A new perspective

It was my first time seeing the band in five years—since seeing them shortly after the release of Divine Providence—a college radio favorite full of songs about drunken debauchery and youthful dumbassery.

That show, in which Deer Tick was the opening act for Athens, Georgia heavyweights The Drive-By Truckers, had a completely different vibe—with McCauley and company toeing the line between drunken discord and beautiful harmony, with several screw-ups in between.

There were no such mishaps Monday, showing the strides the band has taken in its maturation since that night a half-decade ago in Washington D.C.

Leaving on a high-note

It's clear that this iteration of the band is much more focused on music, and less on the self-destruction they were known for during the War Elephant and Black Dirt Sessions albums of a decade or so ago.

It's all the better, to be honest, as they performed at a meteoric level on Monday, leaving the crowd in a sober stupor, after an electrified second set that hit on a lot of the band's greatest hits.
Perhaps the highlight of the night for me was hearing them play an old-time classic, "Baltimore Blues No. 2," from War Elephant, that I used to play the cover off of when I was a college radio DJ in Fort Collins.

That song, about my de facto hometown (I was born in Annapolis, Maryland), was wonderfully performed on Monday, with McCauley hitting his notes perfectly, as a chorus of imitators lovingly belted out the lyrics in the peanut gallery.

The final song of the night, fittingly enough, was a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Joe Cocker's "You are So Beautiful," a fitting end for an awesome night of rock music.

It was a beautiful night for jangly guitars and raw energy—it was a perfect rock and roll night in the Old Pueblo.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Pixies Still Fly At Lost Lake

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 3:00 PM

  • Jeff Gardner
When the crowd cheers at the intro of every song, you know the band is doing or did something right. In this case it’s both.

From blistering noise-rock to sweet and sentimental ballads, Pixies’ show at Lost Lake spanned their entire career. There was so much music for them to cover they rarely had time to speak between songs; in fact they didn’t at all. There wasn’t a single non-musical word spoken the entire show. This may have given a feeling of disconnection from the audience if it weren’t for the crowd singing along to every word.

This standoffishness does however, fit the lunacy of their music: they don’t take their songs too seriously, so why treat their concerts any different? Besides, when you’re a band that large and influential, and with so many classics in your repertoire, you don’t have time to talk, nor is talking necessary.

Not to say the songs were uninteresting or the same as they’ve always been: frontman Black Francis sang most songs with a different pacing and inflection than what listeners are used to on the albums. Not only did this make their classic hits sound fresh, but it caught the audience off guard and had them listening for the changes to come. If the audience was sitting down instead of thrashing about, they’d be on the edge of their seats.

So in the end, you’re left with a great band playing the hits, and an eager crowd of thousands singing along and not wanting it to be any other way.

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Run The Jewels Put Meaning Behind The Mania At Lost Lake

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

  • Jeff Gardner
Even the security guards volleyed beach balls when Run the Jewels took the stage. And they definitely did take the stage—by force. The hip-hop duo’s presence and energy was unsurpassed the entire festival weekend. That combined with eye-rattling bass and some of the catchiest hooks in modern rap made an explosive concoction rarely heard outside of the classic hip-hop of the 90s.

But it was more than rambunctiousness and fun, another similarity RTJ has with the 90s golden age is being hip-hop performers with a message, like Public Enemy and Nas. Throughout the night the duo (Killer Mike and El-P) discussed losing a loved one, following your dreams, and suicide prevention.

“If any of you ever lost anyone you care about,” El-P said. “Close your eyes during this next song and pretend they’re standing next to you.”

However this consciously-charged delivery wasn’t too much of a break from the norm for the rappers, considering just last year Killer Mike opened for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

A Run the Jewels live show can be rowdy inspiration to anyone: aspiring musicians, depressed youth, even middle-aged adults who’ve lost their groove will start rocking again when they see two rappers, both 42, dancing their asses off on stage.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Chance The Rapper Does First Show As Grammy Award Winner At Lost Lake Festival

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 9:00 AM

  • Jeff Kravitz for Lost Lake Festival
Chance the Rapper’s Twitter video of him helping his 2-year-old daughter learn to count went viral just a few days before his performance at Phoenix’s Lost Lake Festival on Friday. The video might evoke a sense of nostalgia or familiarity for most parents, if he weren’t using his three recently awarded Grammy’s for the counting lessons.

In his first performance as a Grammy-award winning artist, Chance was his signature self: big and bold, but also humble and sending praises up for all the blessings coming down.

Of course, Chance wasn’t alone onstage, but he also wasn’t playing with just any old band––he was joined Nico Segal and the other members of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. When Chance asked the audience if they knew which song was the only one off their debut album, Surf, to have a music video, the crowd screamed “Sunday Candy” in excitement.

The song’s smooth, impossible-not-to-sing chorus and fun verses (there’s a line about Chance putting 50 rolls on his plate at Christmas dinner) came early in the set, despite it being such a show-stopping number.

Between other songs, Chance mentioned that he was leaving for a vacation soon, and that this would be his last performance of 2017. He thanked the audience, thanked his loved ones, thanked God. Then, he closed out his set with “Same Drugs,” a song about growing apart from the people in your life with heavy allusions to the movie Hook, and is way more touching and way less weird than it sounds on paper.

As he was the last performer of the night, the audience held out hope for an encore, and didn’t stop applauding until Chance came back onstage to do “Blessings,” a powerful, gospel-y, track from 2016’s Coloring Book, which just won a Grammy for best rap album.

Rap fan or not, religious or not, maybe even a Chance the Rapper fan or not, between the rapper's nonstop smiles, a spectacular light show, and two separate confetti/streamer shoot-offs, the whole production was hard not to enjoy, and had most people counting their blessings.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Danny Brown Embraces The Dissonance At Lost Lake

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM

  • Jeff Gardner
Danny Brown is hip-hop’s punk phase: a complete rebellion from the genre’s norms and style. Not only was his gold chain replaced by a grungy The Police t-shirt, but Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” played for his arrival onstage. This isn’t to say he wasn’t rapping—he certainly was, with fantastic delivery and sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking word play.

The most impressive aspect is Danny’s ability to rap consistently at all, considering the frantic and frenzied nature of many of his songs. From wild, blaring horns to broken, lonely electronics, most musicians wouldn’t even know when to start singing in the first place, let alone unleash line after line of chaotic poetry.

To truly understand a Danny Brown concert, look no further than his most recent album, Atrocity Exhibition. Right from the title (a Joy Division reference) you can expect depictions of horror, addiction, and madness. And these were all in his set. Though perhaps the most disconcerting aspect wasn’t the atrocities he sang about, but how much fun he had doing it. From call-and-response singing with the crowd, running amok on stage, and sticking his tongue out like a mocking demon, Danny was as much of an entertainer as he was an antagonist.

Here’s a man who will treat a downward spiral like a rollercoaster ride and laugh the whole way through.

“Funny how it happens
Who ever would imagine
The joke's on you
But Satan’s the one laughing”

— from Danny Brown’s “Ain’t It Funny”

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Noname Keep Things Light–Even When They Get Heavy–At Lost Lake

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 11:30 AM

  • Emily Dieckman
The drummer playing for rising star rapper Noname was wearing a shirt that said “Wonderful Noise,” and that served as a prophecy for the set he was about to be a part of. Fatimah Nyeema Warner, widely known by her stage name Noname, struck a balance between meaningful and fun at her Friday night performance at the Lost Lake Festival in Phoenix.

The 26-year-old rose to prominence after being featured on Chance the Rapper’s 2013 Acid Rap, and the July 2016 release of her debut album Telefone received wide acclaim. The album is so-titled because the songs are inspired by telephone conversations the Chicago native has had throughout her life. On Telefone, the conversational songs open-ended, vulnerable and thought provoking.

But, even in a setlist that featured songs like "Casket Pretty," which touches on themes of police brutality and the fear of learning about a loved one’s death, she spent most of her time onstage smiling. She joked about how sad her music was, introduced the audience to all of the band members on stage with her, and even slapped a beach ball back into the crowd when it bounced its way onto the stage.

At one point, she started rapping, “fuck bitches and get money,” and encouraging the audience to join her. Her shifting of the phrase to “love women and get money” was met with huge applause, and a further shift to “fuck niggas with no money” received even bigger cheers.

As the sun set over her performance, the lyrics to "Yesterday," which she’s described as being a blueprint for Telefone, left the audience glowing in the warmth of Phoenix’s golden hour and in the light of Noname’s words.

“When the sun is going down, when the dark is out to stay, I picture your smile like it was yesterday."

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

TSO Presents 007-themed Show Next Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:44 PM

  • Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Hilary Kole grew up watching the James Bond movies. Who didn’t grow up watching James Bond movies?

However, the vocalist also created the iteration of the “Music of James Bond” event she’ll be performing as a part of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s SuperPops! Series, which is something fewer people can lay claim to.

“People have a really deep connection, especially over the last 40 years, to these movies and what they mean,” she said. "It kind of unites everyone, as far as you could be 20 or you could be 80, and you’re a Bond fan.”

She first performed a version of the James Bond show with the Charleston Symphony, and when she realized how much the audience connected to it (and how much fun she had) she wanted to do more. She developed a new arrangement with the arranger, wrote all of the in-between segments (she shares facts about the franchise and actor throughout the show) and started performing it.

“I’m always looking for new, fun things,” she said. “To me, it’s always my job to entertain the people who are coming, but to do it at the highest musical level possible.”

Her favorite part, she said, is getting to sing so many different kinds of music over the course of one show, from Louis Armstrong to Shirley Bassey to Adele.

“You have 60 years of some of the biggest starts in the world kind of giving their talent to the Bond franchise,” she said. “The truth is, it really is all about the music.”

The Music of James Bond will be performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, with Scott Terrell conducting and Hilary Kole on vocals. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, both at the Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are available on the TSO website for $15 to $78.

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