P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. hit town, R.I.P. Bobby Womack


Nothing says America and freedom and whatever like rock and roll, so thankfully, there are a few options out there Friday night to see some music after you've had hot dogs off the grill this Fourth of July.

Complete with a promise of fireworks at midnight, Club Congress is hosting a show billed as the 4th of July Rock N Roll Riot, which will also serve as a farewell party for local comedian/DJ/man-about-town Marques Emanuel (who's packing up for New York City, apparently). For the music portion of the evening's entertainment, David Slutes and Clif Taylor's Silverfox and the groove-oriented-post-punk stylings of Pork Torta. Admission is free for the 10 p.m. show. More info at

Not too far away, at the former Dry River Collective spot at 740 N. Main, Amen Dunes are headlining an all-ages show with Ohioan and Night Collectors. Amen Dunes is essentially a solo project of Andrew McMahon, but seems to expand its scope each album with this year's Love, a great psych-art-folk-pop record that should appeal to fans of Will Oldham's recent work and early Mercury Rev, although neither comparison really quite captures what's going on. I'm not entirely sure how the songs on Love will translate live, but that's part of the fun of it, right? There's a $5 suggested donation for the 8 p.m. show, with more info at


Speaking of rock, if you enjoy the kick-you-in-the-teeth sounds of bands like the Dead Boys and the MC5, you'll want to check out Portland's P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. (no, it's not an acronym; yes, it's a pain in the ass to type) on Tuesday, July 8 at the District. Formed by members of other Portland garage rock/punk acts like Pierced Arrows, Poison Idea and the Weaklings, the band has toured everywhere, playing VFW halls (no joke, they're playing two back to back before hitting Tucson) and the like, released eight singles and is getting ready to put out their second album Another Day in September. It's real loud and fast rock music with two guitars and angry bursts of energy in each song. It's great stuff that manages to sound like everything you like, but remains original enough to still be interesting. Free Machines, Thunders and Pop Gestapo open the show and, of course, there's no cover. Check with the bar to see what time the show starts, but I'd imagine 10 p.m. is a safe bet. More info on P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. at and the District's Facebook page is worth a follow, if only sporadically helpful on the info front, but hey, that's part of the charm.


I feel strange even writing about Burning Palms, since they're officially Joshua Levine's beat around here, but it should be noted that the tribalish low-fi band is playing an album launch party Friday, July 5 at Flycatcher. The band are as much as an experience as a musical act in some ways, so the show reflects that, with art by Laura Hines, food trucks, surprise guests and "tunes" by The Resonars' Matt Rendon and Secret Machines' Joshua Levine (hey, I knew if I mentioned Burning Palms, he'd show up somehow). The show's at 9 p.m., $5, and more info can be found at the Facebook event page (


Two other shows this week by people and bands we've written about quite a bit in, but that certainly deserve a mention: Sun Bones and Laura Kepner-Adley play Flycatcher on July 4 (busy night!) at 8 p.m. for a $5 cover and Chicha Dust take over the corner of Che's floor at 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 3 for a free show. See one! See both! You can't lose and it's a reminder that even during a slow week concert-wise, there's still great stuff happening nearly every single night. It's a great time to be a music fan in Tucson, I think.


Related to local music in almost no way whatsoever (and I realize writing that is a signal for some of you to grumble online, sorry), but the death of Bobby Womack on Friday, July 27 at the age of 70 seems worth noting in this space. Although hanging out with Damon Albarn and performing on Gorillaz's songs in recent years gave Womack a boost in publicity, he never seemed to the same recognition in life that Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield did by dying earlier, but I'd match his 60 year career in music up against any soul musician (even with years taken away by drug addiction), mostly for what he did with his own songs, the guitar work he provided to albums by Aretha Franklin and others, and his incredible touch on tracks he covered like his absolutely perfect version of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." I thought I knew a lot about soul and R&B when I started a gig at Warner Music Group ages ago until one of my co-workers, David Gorman, shoved a bunch of Bobby's music into my hands. His music has been a gift to me every since. RIP, Bobby Womack and thanks.

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