Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Laser Stranger Things at the Flandrau Planetarium

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 1:07 PM

If you've been watching the third season of Stranger Things, you should know that the Flandrau Planetarium is doing a laser Stranger Things show. Like in Freaks and Geeks when Lindsay and her friends go to a Pink Floyd themed laser show in the episode "The Garage Door."

It might seems strange that the Flandrau Planetarium would be hosting a Stranger Things show, but laser shows have been popularly shown in planetariums since the 70s, frequented by psych and prog rock fans. A laser show is then well-paired with the retro stylings of Stranger Things.

Lay back in the reclining seats to become part of an immersive laser show experience, surrounded by colorful lights and hypnotic sound. Maybe they'll even play "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash.

  • Courtesy Arizona Daily Star
Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for kids 4-17, and free for kids 3 and under.

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XOXO: Where to Rock Wednesday, July 17

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 9:34 AM

2nd Saturday, Tucson, AZ, Oct. 2017. Joe Fanning, Gary Mackender, Les Merrihew, Karl Hoffmann, Björgvin Benediktsson - THE CARNIVALEROS TRIO
  • The Carnivaleros Trio
  • 2nd Saturday, Tucson, AZ, Oct. 2017. Joe Fanning, Gary Mackender, Les Merrihew, Karl Hoffmann, Björgvin Benediktsson

Come see the motley crew that oversee this zydeco-tinged, accordion-fueled Tex-Mexican bacchanal on occasion splinter-o . The Carnivaleros Trio are at Public Brewhouse tonight starting at 7 p.m. Details here.

Travel “Past the Guards of the Mausoleum” with Los Angeles, alt-rock/ synth-poppers Part Time while they share their “Visions of the Future" at Club Congress tonight. They will perform along with “The King Of Endicott” experimental/performance artist Gary Wilson starting at 7 p.m. Details here.

“Pisces poppers” Mesquite, indie/ambient trio Moontrax and singer-songwriter Chelsea Trejo converge at Wooden Tooth Records at 7:30 p.m. Details here.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

XOXO: Where to Rock, Tuesday, July 16

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 1:11 PM

It's a testament to the power of social media. While studying classical clarinet at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cody Carson asked All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth if he could sing “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” at their upcoming House of Blues gig via a YouTub e video. Gaskarth agreed.

Fast forward and now, despite guitarist Dan Clermont’s recent hiatus from the band following allegations of sexual assault,
the symphonic rockers Set It Off dance the “Lonely Dance” at 191 Toole this Tuesday. They are flanked by post-hardcore four-piece Emarosa and pop punks Broadside. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Details here.

Steff Koeppen has a “Way With Words.” Her chill, electro pop provides the musical soundtrack for the Go For Launch Party: A celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon at Sky Bar. The event is put on in collaboration with Novaspace, Spacefest and the University of Arizona Moonfest. The space-themed fun starts at 6 p.m. Details here.

The sulfuric vapors will seep up through the crevices from the underworld at Club Congress for a night filled with metal. Hailing from the Black Hills of South Dakota,
Souls with perform along with Arm’s Reach, Hellhook, Realize and Slow Descent starting at 7 p.m. Details here.

Traveling from the Lone Star State,
Punk With A Camera and Sad2 lock horns with locals Bleach Party USA, Pretty Ugly and Gutter Town for an all-ages diversion. Or is it subversion? The doors open at 7:30 p.m. at Blacklidge Community Collective. Details here.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Gentlemen Afterdark Land On Stranger Things Soundtrack

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 10:04 AM

Gentlemen Afterdark tie-up Alice Cooper. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Gentlemen Afterdark tie-up Alice Cooper.
Hearts pounding—having just sprinted the half-mile from the neighborhood 7-Eleven back to a rented band house, near 22nd Street and Alvernon Way—they arrive in a panic, rooster manes disheveled after a routine beer run gone awry. Brian Smith, then frontman for Gentlemen Afterdark, explains, “We got hassled for how we looked, of course. This pair of rednecks in a small pickup truck chased us home, hell-bent to cave our skulls in.”

The saga continues: “When we got there, Winston [Watson], the smallest kid in the band, pulled out this authentic looking BB gun pistol and ran out the door screaming bloody murder. Out on the street he took this hilarious cop stance with legs apart and pointed the toy gun, his elbows straight, at those rednecks in the pickup. They freaked and ducked and skidded the hell out of there.”

This and so many incidents similar served as inspiration for “Open the Door." A song recorded 36 years ago—now enjoying an uncanny resurgence after finding placement on the season premiere of Netflix’s Stranger Things, starring Winona Ryder and David Harbour. And this season is red-hot. The third installment of the nostalgic horror series is the new Netflix four-day streaming champion; 40.7 million households watched over the long Fourth of July weekend.

Truth being stranger than fiction. Who would’ve ever imagined?

Gentlemen Afterdark—this arresting combination of New York Dolls glam/punk, ‘80s New Romanticism and the trash and grit scrapped from the sidewalks—were led by singer Brian, his brother Barry Smith on keyboards and violin, guitarist Robin Johnson, bassist Fred Cross and Winston Watson behind the drum kit.

Dancing on the crumbling precipice of fame, in 1984 they were vaunted by People magazine as “Stars of the Future.” The piece included a quote by rock legend Alice Cooper, a mentor who had taken the Gents under his wing.

“They reminded me of when I was young.” Cooper quipped, “I told them to have my daughter back by 7:30 p.m.”

In spite of such accolades Gentlemen Afterdark struggled to safely traverse the intersection where art and commerce converged.
Gentlemen Afterdark - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Gentlemen Afterdark

Produced by Cooper and Dick Wagner, “Open the Door,” written by Robin and Brian, is from their 1983 EP. Originally self-released on vinyl, recorded at Vintage Recorders (Phoenix) in sessions which Barry Smith describes as being tense:

“[We were] young and hungry—pop music was exploding in all directions: Rap, post-punk, new wave. New sounds and energy were badly needed. But tension came from musical culture clashes. They wanted us to go with a safe sound of much of the pop music back then.”

Low on self-confidence, a shaky-voiced Brian found himself facing his musical idol through the studio glass, toiling to lay down the vocal track.

A now-sober Brian says, “My voice sounded so constricted here. I was so fucking terrified because, well, that was Alice Cooper. And Dick Wagner, who played guitar with Lou Reed. Those guys wrote 'Only Women Bleed' together. But my band was amazing, they were so young and gifted."

But what does this triumph mean to you now? “It’s very cool,” Barry says. “It comes at a perfect time...Gives a certain spiritual boost to my confidence.” Kid brother Brian says, “It is hard to get my head around the idea of that terrified voice now soundtracking a Winona Ryder scene in an episode of one of the most popular TV shows on earth. But I am really grateful for the song placement. There is something about this song, this sound of kids trying to find a sound. That struggle sounds pretty damn interesting now."

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

XOXO: Where to Rock, Tuesday, July 9

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 12:07 PM

“The man, the myth, the ivory-tickling legend,” Nick Letson performs poolside at Hotel McCoy. Details here.


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Saturday, July 6, 2019

In The Limelight | Birds and Arrows

Posted By on Sat, Jul 6, 2019 at 11:18 AM

...all that remains is the debris trail. - XAVIER OMAR OTERO
  • Xavier Omar Otero
  • ...all that remains is the debris trail.
Like Aves filling their four-chambered hearts with joy, soaring where the clouds of emotion no longer obscure the clear sight of the soul, Birds and Arrows shoot bolts of deliverance with courage as they move forward.

They formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2007. After releasing four full-length albums and critically-acclaimed EPs—this husband and wife duo's songs appear on compilations with Jeff Tweedy, Yo La Tengo, Ryan Adams' Whiskeytown and the mythic Big Star—having outgrown their genesis as a quiet folk act, Andrea and Pete Connolly came to shed their skin under the desert sun, peeling away the old atop metamorphic rock, to allow further growth.

Recorded in Tucson’s Dust and Stone Studios, produced by Gabriel Sullivan, Arbitrary Magic (Baby Gas Mask Records, 2018) marks a sea change in vision and attitude.

“Yes, Arbitrary Magic was a departure. But, true to all of our biggest influences,” says Andrea Connolly. “I’d say this is our new direction—finding a balance between energetic, hard hitting Rock ‘n’ Roll and melodic, harmony based song craft.”

Recently, Birds and Arrows premiered their latest video, “Animatronic Heart,” to a small but enthusiastic crowd. Outfitted with knee pads and a heart shaped pendant dangling from a chain around her neck, frontwoman Andrea Connolly, with drummer Pete Connolly’s relentless poundings—and guitarist Ben Nisbet sitting in—utterly demolished Wooden Tooth Records.

Andrea Connolly says of the video, directed by Tyler Lidwell, “As far as ‘Animatronic Heart’ goes—that song was influenced by taking care of Pete's dad, the last few years.” A significant factor behind the couple’s decision to relocate to Tucson. “It's a pretty heavy subject about life, aging and our interconnectedness.” In comparison to the seven other rollicking tracks on the album, “Animatronic Heart” is the exception. “So, to add some levity, we thought it would be an interesting/humorous juxtaposition to have the video reference a classic action movie, like Terminator 2.”
Here is the other side of the coin.

When asked if politics ever seep into the lyrics of Birds and Arrows songs, Andrea Connolly is quick to rebound. “Yes, definitely. ‘Overloaded’ is very political. Influenced by all the shit that is happening along the border. As is, the song ‘Stay Down.’ It’s about violence against women. It’s hard to not let all that come through in our writing. If at times, on this record, we seem a little pissed off...It’s because we were.”

Catch Birds and Arrows on Saturday, July 20th at Che’s Lounge.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

XOXO: Where to Rock This Weekend, July 5 to 7

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at 4:37 PM


Friday, July 5

From Athens, Georgia, these pedal-steel drenched indie rockers recently released a new mini-documentary, 10 Years On The Road. “Touring can be a pretty grueling thing. It can really take its toll on you. But at least we’re getting paid in life experiences,” said guitarist Carter King, leaning into the sacrifices that come with touring life. Futurebirds are at The Boxyard. With Daddy Banjo & Banjolina Jolie, Chardonnay Sunset and Dirt Friends.

Distilled through a mix of ’70s bong water, the proto-metal of Sabbath and the biker rock of Steppenwolf and infused with a lyrical bent su used with the fantastical (grim reapers, extraterrestrials, Godzilla, tattooed vampires, etc.),
Blue Oyster Cult’s self-titled debut album (Columbia, 1972) quickly established these Long Islanders as radio-friendly heavy metal pioneers. Appearing in various guises over the years, the band has maintained a relentless touring schedule that delivers classics to diehard fans and, as vocalist/guitarist Eric Bloom puts it, “teenagers with green hair.” At the Rialto Theatre. Grungy hard rockers of Limbo wait, in neither heaven nor hell, with crossed fingers.

As the low-watt drone of swamp coolers wears on, acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter/ storyteller Kevin Pakulis and his Band offer relief. At Monterey Court.

Whiskey and donuts? Yes. Hosted by DJ Nic, Beatz & Sweetz finds DJ Hart and Lance Fairchild spinning a baker’s dozen of fresh house music. At Batch Cafe & Bar.

Enjoy jazz in the glorious twilight, outdoors. This installment of Friday Night Live! Free Concert Series finds Phoenix’s What’s The Big Idea pushing boundaries at Main Gate Square.

While Natty & The Sunset’s melodic folk illumes indoors at The Parish.

Showcasing some of the Old Pueblo’s top and up-and-coming turntablists, Funk Yo House Fridays goes off at Irene’s Holy Donuts.

Emo Night at Club Congress features Taking Back Harambe, Stripes and Divy.

Commingling Americana, folk, old-time country and blues, singer/songwriter Lisa O’Neill performs music for catharsis and communion. At Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.

Celebration of Life features DJs Metric Tones, Tell Your Girl, Atom Energy, Lunarfluxx and SkrUb spinning in a benefit rave in memory of Jordan Palmer. At Bar Passé.

Saturday, July 6


In much the same way that savory menudo is doled out after a hard day’s night of drinking, Pedro y Los Líricos return to Exo Bar to serve up rancheras, cumbias y norteñas, caliente y picante.

L.A. indie poppers Raised on TV despondently lug The Off The Couch Summer Tour into Sky Bar.

Playing a mix of original compositions and covers (from Johnny Cash to Katy Perry), Cameron Hood, one half of award-winning alt-folk duo Ryanhood, performs in the courtyard at Mercado San Agustin.

During the mid-2000s, this Bay Area electronic producer/DJ made his mark blending hip-hop with sinister bass lines. He remains on the forefront of the overriding EDM culture running rampant: Dubstep and bass music. Resonance Monthly: July Edition welcomes Antiserum. At Gentle Ben’s. Oblivion, Alex the Lad, CRISHXN and Isiah Haji lend support.

Escape the heat. Head north. Friends of Catalina State Park presents Music in the Mountains Concert Series. Guitarist Loren Dircks (Gila Bend) joins singer-songwriter Eric Schaffer—backed by the former Sidewinders’ rhythm section of Ken Andree and Bruce Halper—for acoustic/ electric sets of folk, rock and a smidgen of country. Eric Schaffer & The Other Troublemakers perform on the western slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

From Culiacán, Sinaloa, grupo norteño Los Nuevos Ilegales are at Club 4th Avenue.

An extravaganza awaits. Queerella D. Vil hosts Vamp drag show. At 191 Toole. With a performance by The Clunt and more.

Project Atlas: Independence Day Weekend is manned by a crew of AZ house music specialists: DJs Alex Anders, ZAW, H.R. Guerin, Lance Fairchild and Macefacekilla (Icehause recording artist). At Solar Culture Gallery.

Tucson’s longest running alternative club night, Opti Club, presents The Official 4th of July Fireworks Afterparty. At Club Congress. “Free, like America.”

“All grit and no quit,” is the mantra this Texas rising star has used to propel his career from the perilous roughstock events of the rodeo circuit into the fickle arms of the music industry. Josh Ward with Scottsdale’s Harry Luge and The County Line are at The Rock. Put your boots on and stomp around in the red, red dirt.

Sunday, July 7


From Murfreesboro, Tennessee, this chart-topping country singer’s first record purchase was Keith Whitley’s L.A. to Miami (RCA, 1985), followed by albums by Randy Travis, Tracy Lawrence and Brooks & Dunn. “I’ve always loved country music, and I really liked singing it as a kid. So I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I just kind of always knew.” Chris Young was truly “Raised On Country.” At AVA Amphitheater.

Banjos, mandolins and ukuleles shall waft through the night air.
Wally Lawder & The Stragglers offer their unique blend of folk, Americana and a pinch of something else. At Monterey Court.

Spinning R&B, hip-hop and rap from the ’90s and early 2000s,
DJs Mijito and Plastic Disease preside over After Dark. At Bar Passé.

Featuring the sonic alchemy of
Jillian Bessett, Samantha Bounkeua, Vicki Brown and Julius Schlosburg, Loops: An Exploration of Solo Loop Music takes place at Che’s Lounge.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

XOXO: Where to Rock Thursday, July 4

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 1:59 PM


While the fireworks on A-Mountain once again threaten to ignite invasive plant species ablaze, DJ Herm spins pool-side at Hotel McCoy. Details here.

This innovative trio's repertoire fuses traditional with unconventional elements—Radiohead and Pink Floyd interpretations—into a modern jazz format. Phoenix's What's The Big Idea perform as part of the Lookout Tucson Jazz Concert Series. At Westward Look. Sparks are sure to fly. Details here.

Finally, spinning house, DJs Atom Energy and Lunarfox take you Deeper. At Bar Passé. Details here.

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Art Walk Sundays

Join us for our weekly wine and cheese party at Madaras Gallery. Diana Madaras will attend as… More

@ Madaras Gallery Sundays, 1-4 p.m. 3035 N Swan Rd

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