Music

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Tour Diaries: XIXA Day 8: 'Gabe Heard and Saw Me Reset My Knee From Across the Room.'

Posted By on Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 10:47 AM

Day 8

Limitations of the human body and the Road.
The Knee. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • The Knee.

Touring, although adventurous and fun, can be hard on the human vessel. In any "normal" daily routine, one hopes not to fall ill from any number of things. Out here, it's important to stay as healthy as possible.

To start, you're far from home. Add to that strange food and food-handling practices and there's cause for worry. Then, the sheer physical burden that comes from shlepping your own gear, when you don't have a full crew.

I'm my case, even though my mind thinks I'm a kid, my body has other ideas. I blew my right knee out, doing nothing Rock 'n'  Roll, like stage diving or performing. I simply stood up wrong and dislocated my right knee—um, the most important knee, my bass-drum knee.

Gabriel heard and saw me reset my knee, from across the venue. It was nausea inducing, to be sure.

He was horrified.

It was a reckoning of sorts, I suppose. I'm OK with the body faltering, but when the brain goes?
Kill me, already.

Then, Gregory Houston had the misfortune of making direct contact with 240vac. Dodgy venue power was at fault. (Insidious, hidden, dangerous.)
Gregory Houston, nearly electrocuted. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Gregory Houston, nearly electrocuted.

Now, Greg is a big man, that may have saved him, because he fell straight to the ground, had that not happened, he may not have been so lucky.

See, high-voltage electricity doesn't turn you loose, it hangs on.

OK, off we go, 380km to Switzerland.

Stay tuned.

Old-man knee ...

-Winston Watson | Nürnberg, DE

The number 6 just follows us. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • The number 6 just follows us.

We keep it Smokey. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • We keep it Smokey.

Go here to read Day 7 of XIXA's tour dairies.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

HoCo Fest Labor Day Weekend Schedule Unveiled Today

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 4:23 PM

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Make your reservations now: Hotel Congress today released the schedule for the annual HOCO Fest running Wednesday through Sunday over Labor Day weekend.

With a lineup of nearly 60 bands, the festival offers everything from local favorites to what are sure to be some diamonds in the rough. HOCO Fest offers not only music, but a series of events focused on food and music.

Lando Chill will take to the stage Wednesday, Aug. 30 to charm the audience with his lyrical hip-hop and mellow vibes touching on themes of race and gender. Chill just released his second album The Boy Who Spoke the Wind in July.

The Mexico Institute of Sound brings a blend of traditional Mexican instrumentals with DJ electronica from Mexico City to Tucson on Friday, Sept. 1. DJ/producer Camilo Lara was tapped to supervise the soundtrack for Pixar’s latest creation, Coco, about a 12-year-old boy and his magical guitar in a Day of the Dead tribute, set to release Nov. 22.

That same day, Tucson’s very own Orkesta Mendoza—led by Sergio Mendoza, who has frequently collaborated with Mexico Institute of Sound—offers pysch rock-infused mambo inspired by legend Pérez Prado. The band is known for its showmanship in crisp matching suits and intricate big band sounds. The show comes on the heels of a months-long European tour.

Lee Fields and The Expressions will travel from New York City to deliver some soul on Sunday, Sept. 3. Sampled by several of today’s hip-hop artists, Fields’ sway is something hips can’t shy away from. A 50-year career hasn’t slowed as the band returns from a European tour.

Community radio KXCI will broadcast live from the station's new satellite studio inside Hotel Congress with an open house Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check out the station’s new digs and donate your favorite CDs and album to help pack their playlists.

HOCO Fest will also give festival goers a tour of Tucson intoxicants to the first 300
arrivals each day, featuring Arizona wineries, Four Peaks Brewery, mezcal and more.

Two fairs will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Maynard’s plaza with vintage clothing and record vendors.

And if that’s not enough, the after parties will keep you satisfied ’til sunrise with electronic music brought to you by Threshold by Ascetic House.

Check out the full list of artists and events on the site.

Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 7: Memories of Dylan and Meeting Former Czech President Václav Havel at Gunpoint. Also, Sold Out Show!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM

Day 7:

Ostrava, Czech Republic to Nürenberg, Germany.

Gabriel at work, with a bunch of our close friends. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Gabriel at work, with a bunch of our close friends.

We played the Colours of Ostrava Festival last night to a packed house full of people of all ages.
For me, this was one of those moments when I was glad I became a musician and not a pilot. The first time I came to the Czech Republic was in 1993, with a singer/songwriter with a pretty big following, worldwide.

Václav Havel.
  • Václav Havel.
I met Václav Havel three times, and once was held at gunpoint by his Secret Service men. Havel saw what was happening, and called them off. He gave me a big hug and kissed both my cheeks and said it was good to see me again. The man I was working for looked up from his famous Ray-Bans and cracked a rare, brief smile. Havel was huge fan of my boss's work. Haha. Thanks, dude.

So, yeah, I've been lucky enough to have been to the Czech Republic many times since. This time with XIXA, my T-town homies. It was spectacular. There's something about this country and what has been through that makes me keep coming back.

Ok, enough for now, we just crossed into Germany, where I can understand and speak the language. I need to work on my Czech.

Thanks for coming along.

Stay tuned.

Wir fahr'n, fahr'n, fahr'n auf der Autobahn...

-Winston Watson
I Somewhere in Germany... 

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

In The Flesh: DJ Shadow and Mophono at The Rialto—Masterful Visuals and Sonic History Lessons

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 11:30 AM

DJ Shadow at Rialto Theatre, Tucson, on  Wednesday, July 19. - MARGARET HARSTAD
  • Margaret Harstad
  • DJ Shadow at Rialto Theatre, Tucson, on Wednesday, July 19.

DJ Shadow with Mophono
Rialto Theatre
July 19

Appealing to the psychedelic purple chakra and the primal red root at once, Mophono and DJ Shadow took us on a rollercoaster of the mind, through moody, soul-deep bass, melodic jazz and classic hiphop. All the elements were masterful—the cuts, the breaks, the scratching and the samples. Two turntables and hardly any microphone had us alternately listening hard and pounding our fists in the air. And the themes Shadow tackled were heavy—namely the aural and visual manipulation of time. From his scratch solo right after, "This is a story about being free" to the remixes of each classic Endtroducing track, to his shirt which read "We're never going back," the legendary DJ demonstrated mastery over this key component to our world, both rhythmically and conceptually. The paired, projected visuals were, of course, time-lapse photography. Shadow also played with space, creating aural (paired with visual) topographic maps of oscillating reverberations, ably set in motion by collaborator and opener Mophono, who took us back to the Silver Apples conception of electronic music with spinning magnetic sound. From the atomic beats and melodies to their limitless molecular combinations, Shadow's show tackled nothing less than the act of creation itself.

DJ Shadow at Rialto Theatre in Tucson. - MARGARET HARSTAD
  • Margaret Harstad
  • DJ Shadow at Rialto Theatre in Tucson.

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Tour Diaries! XIXA in Fun, Fun, Fun on the Autobahn. Detained!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 9:32 AM

Show. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Show.

Day 6 (or so):


July 19. Day off (not really). Travel Day.
Autobahn signs. Gregory mit dem Scheiße Polizei... - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Autobahn signs. Gregory mit dem Scheiße Polizei...


Today's adventure takes us from Offenbach, Germany to Ostrava, Czech Republic. In order to do that, we had to drive the Autobahn.(11+ hours)

Contrary to popular belief, the Autobahn isn't a free-fire zone, where one can act like Mario Andretti and just haul ass and go speedy crazy. There are rules and what are called control zones.

The best rule I observed while driving here is that people stay to the right, except to pass. A concept that completely lost in the U.S.

In the free zones, it's not uncommon to see Porsches, Ferraris and Lambos fly past you, like you are standing still. The wake turbulence is something to be felt, for real.
Gregory mit dem Scheiße Polizei ... - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Gregory mit dem Scheiße Polizei ...


Since our vehicle is big, heavy and slow, we keep it to the right. But, we had the misfortune to pass cars in a no passing zone. Our lighting designer, Gregory Houston also doubles as our TM (tour manager).  He was driving when we blew through a no passing zone. Enter die Deutsche Polizei. They pulled us over, gathered our passports and detained us for a bit. They demanded cash for the infraction; 95€.

Highway robbery, yes, but legit.

It felt like a shady shakedown, but after some quick research, we found it was legit.

Ouch.

Once inside the Czech Republic, Gregory and I had to deal with a Czech policeman who seemed to be more curious than concerned about us.

More showing of passports.

I spoke what Czech I know to him, and he, of course, spoke perfect English (most EU residents do, when they don't, it's usually because they don't like you.)

We were set free and hurled down the motorway toward our destination, safe, a little tipsy, and sound.

Stay tuned.

—Winston Watson I Somewhere inside the Czech Republic

Mugging. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Mugging.

Winston, always the gadget man, tour electrician. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Winston, always the gadget man, tour electrician.


Go here to read Day 5 of XIXA's tour diaries.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 5: Winston Watson Weighs In on Some Stinks!

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Check in daily to keep track of XIXA's on-the-road shenanigans—the dirt, grime, and glory, and all the hangovers and warts—from the Tucson band's current Bloodline swing through Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and beyond. Today's entry by drummer Winston Watson.

Monday, July 15:
Day 5

Tour smells.

The sights, the sounds, the-smells of a hard-working rock band on the road.

Airplanes. "All train compartments smell vaguely of sh*t." - Al Pacino, Glengarry Glenross. It's true of planes, add jet fuel, add bad, stale food to that, and airports and you have an olfactory nightmare.  

Venues.
If the venue is a club, add all the above scents, plus eau de vomit. Moving on to ...

Diesel.
It's everywhere. Especially on you. 

Funk. In an all-male environment, funk happens. You can imagine for yourself. So, when one catches just the scent of a woman, it's heaven.

Hotels. Ooof. I could go on, all day. Anything below 3 stars and you are guaranteed 2. Mold and mildew.

Finally, there's home. The best part of Tour Smells. Makes all the above worth it. Stayed tuned.

—Winston Watson I Somewhere in Germany

Random road shots: 
Tonights venue. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Tonights venue.

Tour coach, diesel. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Tour coach, diesel.

Venue. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Venue.

Go here to read Day 4 of XIXA's tour diary.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 4: Rock 'n' Roll Tuning Tricksters

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Check in daily to keep track of XIXA's on-the-road shenanigans—the dirt, grime, and glory, and all the hangovers and warts—from the Tucson band's current Bloodline swing through Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and beyond. Today's entry by Jason Urman.

Greg and Hikit reppin' our favorite record store, Tucson's Wooden Tooth Records. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Greg and Hikit reppin' our favorite record store, Tucson's Wooden Tooth Records.

Sunday, July 16:

The first show of a Europe tour always has its intrigue, especially at a festival. Limited time generally leads to a frantic load-in and quick line check. Then bam! You're on.

n the confusion, sometimes you miss things. In my case, I fell victim to an old rock 'n' roll trick that while amusing, is most problematic. My NORD Electro 3 synth had been tuned down half a step, most likely by the previous user. Guess who plays the melody on the first song of the set?
Surprise!!

Live music, baby.

-Jason Urman
| Berlin, DE

Fifth-floor view of the bad boys. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • Fifth-floor view of the bad boys.


Go here to read Day 3 of XIXA's tour diaries.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 3: Germany, White Dreads, and the Calm Before the Storm

Posted By on Sun, Jul 16, 2017 at 7:34 PM

The boys backstage. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • The boys backstage.
View from the afternoon jog. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • View from the afternoon jog.

Saturday, July 15:

So I'm sitting here, backstage at the Transit Festival. The festival grounds are in Germany, about as far northeast as you could possibly go before touching Polish countryside. I've been to a lot of places ... but I've never been here. It seems like a dystopian hippy commune. The people are nice and friendly. I see a lot of hemp, Tevas, and dreadlocks (on white people—which, we can all agree, is a different type of dreadlock). The festival is humble in size and, consequentially, the ideal candidate for our first show—you see, we haven't been together on the same stage since our spring tour ended in mid-April. We will have to work out the kinks as we go.

It's the calm before the storm now. Gabriel Sullivan and Hikit Corbel (our French bassist) are re-stringing their guitars. I'm at the same table, writing this diary entry on my iPhone because my computer is being a punk-ass bitch. It's quiet. The festival continues outside. But we've chosen the serenity of our backstage room, to accomplish these tiny tasks at hand; the tasks that occupy 99% of our job. The festival goers oblivious to the sonic assault that we will soon unleash up them. Yessir ... it is quiet now. But, not for long ...

—Brian Lopez I Germany

We may have stayed here. - XIXA
  • XIXA
  • We may have stayed here.

Go here to read Day 2 from XIXA's tour diary.

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