Kathleen Grace

The Flesh Eaters: You never expect the punks to get old. Look at old Johnny Rotten; he's now a bloated carcass of self-parody and hollow rhetoric. It's sad how we no longer think of most punks in that spindly, post-glam detached way, where context was everything and suburban boredom and bratty "fuck you" retorts were still kinda new pop cultural ideas. But somehow the Flesh Eaters avoided that bizarre, turn-to-Republican-grandpa thing. Sure, they may have the wrinkles, the floppy fringes, the gray hair, the AARP cards, but motherfucker can they kick out the beatdowns (and the tender moments too!). Led by punk author/actor/singer Chris Desjardins (dear God, we were reading him in Slash Magazine when we were 11! And remember Divine Horsemen?), and his voice don't age, the ugly beautiful croon continues to jerk and slink over punchy, sonic gris-gris of sax-and-guitar-led drone and distortion and hoodoo melody. This version of the outfit hitting Tucson—in support of their spanking new album out this month, I Used to be Pretty (Yep Roc)—features the classic 1981 all-star lineup of The Blasters' Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman, John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake from X, and Steve Berlin from The Plugz and Los Lobos. The new tunes sound timeless too, where songs as vituperative soliloquies and literate shout-outs to death and love and narcissism and temptation can still win new fans while pleasing the old punks. It's staircase-tumbling racket, to be sure, filled of punchy polemics, tortured blues and wrecked heart. Note that one of the most unsung guitarists ever and now Tucson resident Kid Congo Powers (The Cramps, Nick Cave, The Gun Club) will be spinning records between sets. Jesus, like a night at The Masque. With The Mission Creeps and Kid Congo Powers at 191 Toole. Thursday, Jan. 17. 8 p.m. $22. 21+ —B.S. Eliot

Kathleen Grace's voice is like pitched woodwind. Capable of strength and breathiness, she's a genre-melder, can solo atop well-executed calypso or country, jazz or blues. This Old Pueblo native cut her teeth singing with My Morning Jacket, David Piltch (KD Lang), and most recently James Taylor pianist Larry Golding. With Golding, Grace enlists her supple instrument to harmonize and call-and-respond—it's an emotionally rich chemistry that mercifully sidesteps cliché and sentimentality. The unforced elegance in Grace's phrasing and rhythmic underpinnings of jazz reflect the vocalist's philosophy to "let the deepest truths of freedom, listening and trust" guide her sonic choices. What she lacks in carnality, Grace makes up in precision and groove. And in the tradition of Tucson's own Linda Ronstadt, she tackles sacred classics like the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" and in no way embarrasses herself. With Larry Goldings, Monday, Jan. 14, Club Congress, 311 East Congress St. Doors 7 p.m. $35-$45. 21+. —B.S. Eliot

Kristin Chenoweth: Long before she won a Tony for her role as Sally in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, or earned a Tony nod for originating Glinda the good witch in Broadway's Wicked, Chenoweth was belting out hymns in her Oklahoma Southern Baptist gospel choir. As she matured, opera training ensured her ingénue soprano stay perfectly honed, clear as bells. In fact, she's such a gifted singer that while still a master's student in vocal performance, she was offered and turned down a Metropolitan Opera House scholarship (that's a huge deal)—because she'd already landed a starring role in New York City. In the last quarter century, Chenoweth has brought her light, humor and unparalleled "good girl" voice to Broadway, Hollywood and TV. Her benevolent presence and wholesome-y vibe lend themselves to children's programming like Sesame Street and PG-13 fare like Glee. In her Tucson debut, Chenoweth will sing music spanning her career, backed by the Tucson Symphony. Kristin Chenoweth with the Tucson Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. $56-$200. All ages. —B.S. Eliot

El Ten Eleven: If ambient electronica helps fill up and envelope existing spaces, El Ten Eleven overlay those spaces with graph paper, and then proceeds to conjure geometric shapes all over reality. Two men are responsible for generating rhythm, melody and the resulting sonic geometry. They have been honing their challenging hybrid of electronica/anti-rock over the last 16 years. They're cagey too: For one thing, they play a dual-necked guitar, one strung as electric guitar, the other as fretless bass. Who does that? Also, they employ lots of looping and ear-bender digital feedback. In short, this Silver Lake duo can generate copious walls of noise, but to anticipate the complex intersections and harmonics of each brick of that wall ain't so easy, and that musical/emotional challenge distinguishes them from, say, Air or those pesky math-bros Built to Spill. Theirs is conceptual and lovely, where tiny twinkling pinpricks of light can become vivid, pulsing constellations. With Rob Crow and Joan of Arc. Saturday, Jan. 12. 191 Toole. Show at 8 p.m. $13. 21+. —B.S. Eliot

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