Vaxed, masked, and ready to rock... Adelante!

Camille Vivier
Perfume Genius performs the lush, romantic pop of Set My Heart On Fire Immediately at Club Congress on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Mark your calendars…

Friday, Sept. 10

Born Marco Cardenas in Nogales, Mexico, this Phoenix-based rapper’s smooth R&B infused Latino hip-hop owes a debt of gratitude to Roger Troutman (of Zapp) and his trademark use of the talk box. In 1997, as a member of Nastyboy Klick, Cardenas’ worked with his idol. Their single “Down for Yours,” featuring Troutman, hit No. 10 on the Billboard charts. MC Magic—flanked by Lil Rob and Jay Roxxx—brings old school rhythms and rhymes to the Rialto Theater... After recognizing the common threads that connect all of humanity in the stories of the patrons that she served, this native Phoenician found the inspiration to finish writing her critically acclaimed debut album Honest Life (2016), while tending bar at a tavern outside of Seattle. Singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews lays a beautiful bouquet of Old Flowers upon the Club Congress stage. With L.A.-by-way-of-NYC songwriter Johanna Samuels ...

Saturday, Sept. 11

Banned from mainstream radio for making harsh socio-political commentaries, in 1988 this pioneering rapper was still living with his parents when N.W.A’s debut, Straight Outta Compton, was rocketing toward double-platinum success. The opening track, “Fuck tha Police,” a dissent against police brutality and racial profiling, reflected the rising anger of urban youth. Despite a lack of airplay, the controversy generated by N.W.A’s lyrics led to mass appeal. After breaking with N.W.A, Ice Cube continued to hit hard, pulling no punches. Pitchfork declared 1991’s Death Certificate as Cube’s “most important album, and one of the most essential works in rap history.” In a 1991 interview with the L.A. Times, Cube declared, “‘The American Dream’ is not for Blacks. Blacks who (still believe in that dream) are kidding themselves. What I try to do is tell the kids the brutal, harsh truth.” To many critics, however, Death Certificate was merely “the rankest sort of racism and hate-mongering,” as Billboard editorialized. Fast-forward to 2021, after the murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd (and numerous others) by police ignited historical protests and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement in the ongoing fight for racial justice, this rapper/actor/filmmaker’s work remains “an honest expression of black rage,” and, sadly, is as relevant as ever. Ice Cube sounds off. At AVA Amphitheater... Formed in 1989, this band’s name was “handed down” to them by Albert Collins, on a night when the mojo hung heavy in the air. Frontman Scotty Morris recalls his encounter with the blues legend after the show. “He signed my poster ‘To Scotty, the big bad voodoo daddy.’” Like Manifest Destiny, an unstoppable seed was planted. “I thought it was the coolest name,” Morris told the Napa Valley Register. “I didn’t really have a choice.” Taking musical cues from Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, these waggish hepcats credit their rise to stardom to the 1996 indie film Swingers, which launched the careers of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau and placed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on the crest of the swing revival of the 1990s. Since then, the band’s music has appeared in countless films and television shows. They’ve rocked throngs at Super Bowl XXXIII and played for three U.S. Presidents. “Go Daddy-O!” Twenty-five years strong, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Rattle Them Bones. At Fox Tucson Theatre... The mystery remains. Just who is Malaa? First breaking onto the EDM scene in 2015 with a low-slung club banger, “Notorious,” this balaclava-wearing French producer of hard-hitting ghetto/tech/future house tracks prefers to let his music define his identity. Malaa collides and bounces. At Encore. With Toronto producer/songwriter Madhouse...

Tuesday, Sept. 14

With a homespun mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, at the age of 13, Sven Gamsky began recording all of the parts to his “psychedelic dream-pop” while cloistered in a garage. Viral sensation Still Woozy reaches into his “Goodie Bag.” At Rialto Theater. Digital artist Loveleo opens... Wrought of heartbreak and upheaval, the stripped raw, grungy punk rock of this Nashville power trio are “perfect anthems for a generation still learning to harness the power of resistance.” Led by spitfire Alicia Bognanno, Bully recites “Poetic Trash.” At Club Congress. Indie folk/dream poppers Lightning Bug kick things off...

Wednesday, Sept. 15

“Songwriting is a mysterious thing,” says this Rock & Roll Hall of Famer. “Sometimes it feels a bit like consulting the oracle.” The Associated Press hails his 15th studio recording, Downhill From Everywhere, as “timeless.” “There’s a deep current of inclusion running through this record,” he explains. “Opening yourself up to people who are different than you, that’s the fundamental basis for any kind of understanding in this world.” With a sense of urgency, he broaches matters of concern: Clean air, fresh water, racial equity, democracy. “I see the writing on the wall,” the 72-year-old ponders. “I know there’s only so much time left in my life. But I now have an amazing, beautiful grandson, and I feel more acutely than ever the responsibility to leave him a world that’s inhabitable.” Acclaimed singer-songwriter, Jackson Browne performs at Tucson Music Hall. Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson joins the tour... On September 16, 1810, the father of Mexican independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary, rang the church bells in Dolores, summoning his parishioners. There he delivered a now famous speech, El Grito de Dolores. Signaling the beginning of an 11 year war, El Grito was not only a call to arms against Spain but a cry for racial equality for indigenous and mestizo peoples. To commemorate this historic event, featuring timeless works by Mexican and Latin American composers, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra will perform a special Mexican Independence Bicentennial Concert. Maestro José Luis Gómez conducts. At Fox Tucson Theatre...

Thursday, Sept. 16

Tumbling through a thick fog of gnarled distortion, envision awakening in a dreamscape where there are no boundaries, no jagged edges, where old societal rules no longer apply. Delivered in a voice that ranges from a highly expressive croon to an uncanny quaver, Perfume Genius’ 5th album, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, examines the concepts of masculinity and traditional roles, irreverently authoring his own. “I wanted to feel more open, more free and spiritually wild,” says Mike Hadreas. “I wrote these songs as a way to be more patient, more considered. To pull at the chaotic threads hovering around me and weave them into something warm, thoughtful and comforting.” The staggeringly fantastic indie pop of Perfume Genius permeates into every part. On Club Congress Plaza. Staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop, L.A.’s Hand Habits lend support... In 2006, this band of Maryland pop-punks—after landing on bills with bands like Plain White T’s and Amber Pacific—scored their first record deal just months shy of their high-school graduation. The future looked bright. Fast forward to 2017. After a dozen years on the road, their seemingly boundless energy had been replaced with burn-out. Leaning more towards alt-pop, Last Young Renegade was a departure. “The fan response wasn’t what we were used to.” In an interview with Kerrang, singer Alex Gaskarth reveals, “Our hearts weren’t in it.” They weren’t ready to pull the plug. Instead, they pressed the hold button. “The year off was a great reminder,” guitarist Jack Barakat reflects. “I realized that I was taking it for granted.” Alex adds, “Despite all the pressure, expectation and turmoil that comes with this life, things still feel as good as they did when [we] first embarked on this journey, seemingly.” Plagued by postmodern anxiety, All Time Low pump out their energetic, punk-glazed confection. At Rialto Theater. Tempe alt-rockers The Maine open... Simply unforgettable. “I am California. Can’t you see? Wherever you roam, you’ll always want me.” Seattle’s The Stranger appropriately dubbed this modern-day troubadour, “The lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg.” John Craigie carries on the legacy of classic singer-songwriters. At 191 Toole. Backed by the poetic and contemplative folk of Daniel Rodriguez...

Until next week, XOXO...

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