XOXO: Mark Your Calendars

click to enlarge XOXO: Mark Your Calendars
Submitted photo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform at the Rialto Theater on August 7.

Mark your calendars…

Thursday, Aug. 4

A veritable pop punk panacea, the Back For The Attack Tour pairs kings of the downside Less Than Jake and bold-as-brass pop punks Bowling For Soup at the Rialto Theatre. With special guests Doll Skin and Cliffdiver. As body temperature gradually creeps up with the gloaming, Night Fever adds fuel to a slow-burning fire. DJ Hot Leather Disco spins rare disco cuts and spicy Italo-disco at Spaghetti Club. A local musical institution that has seen many incarnations over the years, Wayback & Friends travel through time at Tap & Bottle Downtown. 

Friday, Aug. 5 

Born in Mumbai, India, Aki Kumar’s music-loving parents weaned their son on a regular diet of rock ‘n’ roll, pop, Indian classical and Bollywood film scores. As a young boy, Kumar’s father gave him his first harmonica. In 1998 Kumar left his native homeland for the United States, enrolling at San Jose State University. It was there, while hanging out in nightclubs and bars by night, that he became enamored with the blues. After earning his degree, he settled into a comfortable career in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, until kismet intervened. Kumar dedicated himself to music after an unanticipated round of layoffs claimed his job in 2013. Initially, when he began performing he was inspired by Little Walter’s Chicago-style blues so Kumar played it straight. Even so, unable to leave his Indian roots behind, eventually he began to incorporate his native sounds into his oeuvre. The result was magnificent. Kumar’s 2016 release “Aki Goes To Bollywood” and 2018’s “Hindi Man Blues” are considered ground-breaking albums, garnering critical acclaim. KXCI 91.3 FM presents the 9th Annual House Rockin’ Blues Review, an annual fundraising event, featuring The King of Bollywood Blues Aki Kumar at El Casino Ballroom. Kumar is joined by very special guests Heather Hardy & The Dusty City Blues Band. This Los Angeles EDM producer and DJ quickly gained recognition in 2016 for his unique house style when he won Insomniac’s Discovery Project by submitting a mix and his original track “Claude von Deeper.” Bringing you the world’s most forward-thinking producers and DJs, Relentless Beats presents Kyle Walker at Gentle Ben’s. Ekonovah provides support. The release of 2020’s “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” an album DownBeat magazine hailed “as a distinct statement in the jazz world,” secured Benny Benack’s international reputation as a swaggering young talent with the voice and musical chops to back up the hype. In the first of a two-night engagement, Postmodern Jukebox crooner, New York City jazz trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III reunites with renowned trapsman Arthur Vint at The Century Room. Spinning vinyl platters from across the jazz spectrum, DJ Ambient calls the tunes for Late Night Lounge at The Century Room. From the border metropolis of Tijuana, the progeny of pianists, at 8 years old Vanessa Zamora began studying piano; adding guitar and drums to her class schedule by age 9. Later, while attending Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara her avocation became a career path. With songs about psilocybin, bad friendships, transcendence and fantasy, velvety-voiced Mexican singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Vanessa Zamora rides a countercurrent of quirky, melancholic pop. She makes landfall at Club Congress with backing from Tucson dreampopper CAZO and Polaco. DJ Humblelianess, La Reina of Tucson’s legendary Latinx dance party sin fronteras, presides over El Tambó. At Hotel Congress Plaza. Chasing the ephemeral, that inner spark generated by infectious rhythmic patterns that inform the way your body interprets beats, DJ Groovehaus lords over Disco Night at Spaghetti Club. Despite the naysayers, who over the years have heralded rock ‘n’ roll is dead, Rock Revival 2022 sees Method to Madness, Love Elixir, MJM Rhythm Junkies and In Certain Truth attempting to resuscitate the hypoxic body of rock ‘n’ roll back to life at Chicago Bar. On the heels of their debut release, purveyors of fine roots rock and Americana, Barnaby and the Butcher perform selections from “Boilermaker” at R Bar. Resident DJ HumpHouse leads generation cool with an old school twist at Club Congress. Camp Groundworks, an all-ages festival, features performances by Sundressed, Commoner, Cherry Avenue, C U Soon, The Reverent Marigold, Gnoolie, Ricky Truly, Finn Thompson, Treasure Mammal, Bat Population, Closet Goth, Kulululu, Los Velvets, Coffin Hotbox, Noface and more. This annual fundraising event takes place Aug. 5 and 6 at Groundworks.

 Saturday, Aug. 6

Showcasing some of the Old Pueblo’s country music notables, Country Fest finds The Bayou Bandits, Andrew Deering, The County Line and Billy Gunz circling the wagons to make common cause at the Rialto Theater. Forged in fire, Friends in Hell began to coalesce in 2019 after a period of strife where every member of the band was seemingly passing through their own personal hellfire. These hip-hop tinged metalcore mavens released their debut EP “They Follow Me” in 2020. Together with By The Gods, Headhunt and Adan Robledo they form an impenetrable phalanx at 191 Toole. Taking listeners on a journey of heartache and hope, with plenty of hot guitar picking to spare, country-tinged rockers Armando Moreno & The Revival join forces with OnesAll, a family of musicians who specialize in funk, rock and pop hits at Club Congress. Having cut their teeth playing clubs on the Sunset Strip, Hollywood’s Falling Doves are on a mission to single-handedly revive rock ‘n’ roll. Equal parts glam and garage, these leather jacket clad rockers put forward their latest release “Here we F*#!!@ng Go” at Monterey Court. Alt-rocker Courtney McKenna rounds out the lineup. New York City jazz trumpeter and post-Sinatra crooner Benny Benack III returns for the second of a two-night engagement at The Century Room. DJ Nada serves saucy platters of Disco Al Dente at Spaghetti Club. For your listening and dancing pleasure, Zona Libre perform on the outdoor stage at St. Philip’s Plaza. Like a diamond in the rough, folk singer-songwriter Stephanie Farney retells stories old and new at MotoSonora Brewing Co. Cuing up today’s hottest jams, turntablists Bex & Halsero drop incendiary napalm bombs on the dance floor. Embrace the heat at Hotel Congress Plaza. A night of hard-hitting and heavy covers is set to unroll when Drop D — with special guests The Crown Syndicate and State of Mind — take to the stage at Encore. Resident DJ Posi plays all the latest jams at Club Congress. Reflecting the cultural amalgamation that takes place in the borderlands, Rastas presents Noche de Crossover, a bilingual evening of Rock en Español and classic rock, at Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon & BBQ.

Sunday, Aug. 7

Borrowing heavily from isicathamiya — a traditional music born of suffering in the mines of South Africa where black workers toiled — Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s philosophy remains as much about preservation of musical heritage as it is about entertainment, same as it was in the early 1960s when the group was founded by Joseph Shambalala, then a young South African farm boy turned factory worker. Within the context of this music — brimming with rich harmonies and cadences — this critically acclaimed vocal group found a connecting thread and has manifested a transcendent musical spirit that resonates with audiences worldwide. Arizona Arts Live presents an evening with Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Rialto Theater. NoethenButJazz is a quartet that features Tucson jazz icon vocalist/trumpeter Cass Preston — recipient of Tucson Jazz Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award — and Mark Noethen on piano. Their repertoire encompasses everything from blues to zydeco. They perform at Monterey Court. Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation presents Znora. With a setlist overflowing with danceable covers and soulful original material they are next to stoke the fire for Congress Cookout at Hotel Congress Plaza.

Monday, Aug. 8 

After years of session work and international touring with Al Stewart, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Steve Martin and others, saxophonist/flutist Bryan Savage is now climbing the national smooth jazz radio charts as a solo artist. Savage performs as part of the Friday Night Live concert series at Maingate Square.

Tuesday, Aug. 9

Featuring keyboardist Andrew Hannon, bassist Cat Ripley and drummer Martin Tiernan, Beyond Words is a progressive fusion ensemble led by guitar virtuoso Pete Fine. They perform two sets at Hotel Congress Plaza.

Wednesday, Aug. 10

In pursuit of redemption — or merely to cash in on the ten-cent container refund on a pile of beer cans amassed in the backyard — specialists in high octane countrified Americana and twang-pop Mark Insley and the Broken Angels spill out gut wrenching truths upon the threshing room floor at Monterey Court.

Until next week, XOXO…