A REGGAE HISTORY LESSONThe casual reggae fan has maybe five or so reggae albums in his collection: a few Bob Marley compilations (Legend being the first), Peter Tosh's Legalize It and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. But true-blue reggae fans have cause for celebration this week, as The Melodians are hitting town for a little history lesson.
Regarded as one of Jamaica's finest rocksteady groups, the vocal trio cut tracks for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One label and Duke Reid's Treasure Isle imprint, and worked with such noted producers as Sonia Pottinger, Leslie Kong, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Harry J, and Byron Lee. It was their work with Kong that brought them the most notoriety, scoring hits with "Sweet Sensation" (covered by UB40 on their breakthrough Labour of Love album) and the classic "Rivers of Babylon," which was included on the soundtrack album for The Harder They Come (see above).
The trio made a few attempts at a comeback in recent years, but suffered a setback in January 2006 when Brent Dowe suffered a fatal heart attack. Still, the two remaining founding members, Tony Brevett and Trevor McNaughton, have soldiered on: The Melodians are touring to celebrate their 40th anniversary and are slated to release a new album on Universal/New Door sometime this year.
Experience a slice of reggae history when The Melodians perform at Twelve Tribes Reggae Shop, 345 N. Fifth Ave., on Wednesday, July 18. The Melodians will be backed by the Yellow Wall Dub Squad, and Phoenix's Mighty 602 Reggae Band will open. Doors open at 7 p.m. Pick up advance tickets at Twelve Tribes for $18; they'll be more at the door. For more information, call 620-1810.
RELEASE REDUXTwo local releases will be feted with the requisite CD-release parties this week.
Electronica trio Musica Obscura is in the midst of the rather lofty project of recording and releasing 12 EPs. This week marks the release of the third in that series, Window Knees, and to celebrate, the group will perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., tonight, Thursday, July 12. Oddly, they'll be the first of three acts performing, starting at 9:30 p.m. Music Video will follow, and The Mighty Six Ninety will take the headlining slot. Cover is a fiver. Call 798-1298 for more info.
Although they played a release party at Skrappy's a while back, '80s hardcore revivalists The American Black Lung and their second album, Sudden Departure of Vultures (Uprising), actually dropped earlier this week, on July 10. To mark the occasion, the group will again perform at Skrappy's as part of Gnarwhal Fest, on Tuesday, July 17. The bill also includes Inferis, Comadre, Graf Orlock, Battlefields, Rosetta, Blues, Alarm, Monarcs and SDA. To accommodate all that rock, the all-ages show will start at 5 p.m. Admission is $10. Skrappy's is located at 201 E. Broadway Blvd. For further details, call 358-4287.
MUSIC TO BATTLE LOU GEHRIG'S DISEASEA handful of performers will gather this week for a benefit for the ALS Association of Arizona. ALS is short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that causes the loss of ability to move and speak--better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The event is being held in honor of Darryl Turner, a woman suffering from ALS, and the lineup of participating acts looks like this: Namoli Brennet, Love Mound, The Year of Acceleration, Shelly Trujillo and comedy troupe Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed.
The ALS benefit show takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 13 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is a requested donation of $5. Questions will be answered by calling 622-8848.
STILLS, HOLD THE CROSBY AND NASH, ADD THE MASONHere's one for the baby boomers: This week the Fox Tucson Theatre plays host to a double bill of Stephen Stills and Dave Mason.
Stills' resume is ridiculously impressive. He was a founding member of Buffalo Springfield and wrote that band's signature tune, "For What It's Worth," which is still held up as one of the quintessential protest songs (and was, of all things, the basis of a Public Enemy track a few years back). He then went on to become one-third of Crosby, Stills and Nash (and a quarter of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), one of the finest harmony groups of their era, for which he penned such classics as "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Carry On" and "Find the Cost of Freedom." He later embarked on a solo career, finding chart success with the rather creepy fuck-'em-if-ya-got-'em ditty "Love the One You're With." He's also often overlooked as a master guitar player: Rolling Stone ranked him No. 28 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Opener Mason first made his name as a founding member of Traffic, for which he wrote the classics "Hole in My Shoe," "You Can All Join In" and "Feelin' Alright," which would become his signature song and has been covered by countless artists, most notably Joe Cocker. He went on to a solo career in the '70s and was met with varying degrees of success, scoring biggest with his self-titled debut solo album in 1970 and his 1977 soft-rock hit, "We Just Disagree."
Stephen Stills and Dave Mason perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $111, $55.50 and $47.50 at the venue's box office and foxtucsontheatre.org. For more info, call 547-3040.
PLUSH PRESENTSThe term "art rock" usually implies music that is pretentious and inaccessible, but Chicago's dramatic, organ-fueled Oh My God is the exception to the rule. The Tucson favorites return to town this week in support of Fools Want Noise (Split Red), a new album released last month. Also on the bill are locals Chango Malo and The Provocative Whites. It all goes down at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. Admission is $7. Call 798-1298 for more details.
Also performing at Plush is Portland, Ore.-based The Prids, who will appeal to fans of the gothy element of such '80s bands as Joy Division, Siouxie and the Banshees and The Cure. Early Black and Found Dead on the Phone open at 9:30 p.m., next Thursday, July 19. Admission is $5. That number again is 798-1298.