Casey Neill's name might not necessarily ring a bell down here in the Southwest, but in Portland, Oregon, he's somewhat of a big deal, playing a Brit-influenced form of folk punk for around two decades now that likely fits well among the earnest apt-to-protest crowd—he does have a song called "Dancing on The Ruins of Multinational Corporations," after all. Even if you don't find yourself doing a lot of marching these days, Neill's songs still have a lot of earnest appeal, falling somewhere in between the worlds of R.E.M., Joe Strummer's later stuff and a less weird Hold Steady. Want to hear some well-told, well-performed songs of people down on their luck? You'll be into Casey Neill and his band, the Norway Rats (not to be confused with Mouserat, clearly). Neill takes the stage at Solar Culture, Sunday, April 20 at 8 p.m. No clue on the price, since it's not seemingly listed anywhere, but it can't be too expensive, I imagine. More info (sorta) at solarculture.org.
Are you ready for some fiddling?! The Celtic Fiddle Festival, which is not a multiday Coachella type event for fans of the bow and string, but actually three very talented fiddlers accompanied by a guitarist, hits Berger Performing Arts Center (1200 W. Speedway Blvd.) on Thursday, April 17 as part of the In Concert series. Although it reminds me more of those Guitar Gods tours that inevitably feature Joe Satriani, there's a little bit of a festival element to the show, as each fiddler (from Ireland, Kevin Burke; Christian Lemaître from France; André Brunet from Quebec) gets a solo turn on the stage before the three close the show with a collaborative jam. These guys have seriously legit resumes for this sort of thing, as they've each played with big-time groups and racked up a ton of critical acclaim, plus you get to hear a variety of styles reflecting the Celtic traditions of the regions each fiddler came from. I frankly don't know that much about traditional Celtic music, but our Arts Editor and resident expert on such matters, Margaret Regan, is excited for this show, so if reels and jigs are your thing, you should be as well. The show's at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $18-$20 and available at inconcerttucson.com or by calling 1-800-595-4849.
This might not have been particularly fair, but I always thought of Bombay Bicycle Club ... well, I didn't think much of them at all. They seemed to skip around from one type of populist British indie rock music to another, following the trend of the moment relatively well, but never really stood out. Once I heard "Carry Me," the first single from their latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow, I was sold on BBC's new genre of choice, a modern white British dude take on recent era electronic-focused R&B with a few rock touches. To my ears, this seems to be the style that works best for the band, creating an album I've listened to more already than the other three they've put out in the last five years. Should be a fun show in between the band's two Coachella appearances. Tickets for the 7 p.m. all-ages show with Royal Canoe opening are $18. More info at hotelcongress.com or 622-8848.
Waka Flocka Flame somehow ended up in album/label purgatory for the last year or so, as the world waits for Flockaveli 2, the follow-up to 2012's Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family, but the Atlanta-based rapper has stayed busy, releasing mixtapes including last month's Re-Up. While the rumor was that Waka was going to take a turn towards EDM (he toured with Steve Aoki recently), Re-Up features Waka still in aggressive, yelling club banger mode, essentially what made him famous on tracks like "No Hands." Sure, there's a slower, more introspective track with an R&B hook ("Ghetto Child"), but if Mr. Flame's Rialto show on Sunday, April 20 will be the intensely gritty experience you'd expect from him. It'll be an interesting show on 4/20, at very least. General admission tickets are $25 for the all-ages 8 p.m. show. More info at rialtotheatre.com or 740-1000.
On the other side of the hip-hop spectrum, southern rap trio Cunninlynguists might have an uniquely terrible name (I grimaced just typing it out), but they have a lot of famous friends willing to appear on their latest album (one of many ... did anyone know these guys have so many releases?), Strange Journey Volume Three. With guest spots from Del the Funky Homosapien, local hero Murs, Aesop Rock, Masta Ace and others, combined with the soulful, sample heavy production, it's a smart, albeit sort of retro record that shows off the group's creativity and desire to tell stories with each track, even if that story happens to be about dick pics and bad decisions ("Drunk Dial"). Miss the sounds of semi-backpacky rap groups like Dilated Peoples? You'll want to pick up tickets for Cunninlynguists (sigh). The 18 and over show is Wednesday, April 23 at Club Congress. Doors are at 7, with tickets $14 in advance, $16 day of show.
We covered a bunch of this week's shows in our April concert preview a few weeks ago, so if you're interested in reading about Joe Ely, OFF!, Frank Turner, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and more, head online and catch up.
Speaking of the Blues Explosion, they'll be playing an in-store at the Zia on Speedway as part of the Record Store Day festivities on Saturday, April 19 at 4 p.m. The band will have an exclusive 12" single on sale as part of the annual event as well as an exclusive re-release from Spencer's former band, Pussy Galore. In the timeless words of the 1994 JSBX track "Sweat," you'll have a chance to feel "the sweat of the Blues Explosion." Or something like that. Sounds like a good time all around.