XOXO: Mark your calendars

Where God and the Devil shake hands. The week ahead sees Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, The Psychedelic Furs, Maxim Lando, Skillet, Isaiah Rashad, Candlebox and others performing at a venue near you. Read on.

Mark your calendars… 

Thursday, Oct. 14 

Tabbed a “country and Americana cult hero” by Rolling Stone, this raspy-voiced, Texas songwriter’s truth-filled songs have been recorded by country heavy-weights: George Strait, Lyle Lovett, The [Dixie] Chicks, The Highwaymen, and others. For all that, he’s never quite fit in. “The guys who’ve ‘made it’ from Nashville can’t hold Robert’s guitar pick,” producer Lloyd Maines told Rolling Stone. “He never conformed to the business norm. He really wanted to stay true to what he was doing, and to his fans.” For Robert Earl Keen “The Road Goes on Forever.” At Rialto Theater... True story: After a ghost caused a Hotel Congress room recording session to come crashing to a halt, Limbeck returns. At Club Congress... 

Friday, Oct. 15  

Dubbed “The Springsteen of the Southwest,” by the Asbury Park Press, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers joined legends Alice Cooper, Linda Ronstadt, Buck Owens, Glen Campbell, Stevie Nicks and Waylon Jennings when they were inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2019. Heady stuff, to be sure. But, just what was Clyne’s early motivation to pursue a career in music? “It was to meet girls,” Clyne told The Arizona Republic. “I was painfully shy and there was a band that needed a singer.” He used his experience performing in the school choir to land the gig. Moreover, he found something else. “I stood in front of a microphone and went, ‘Wow, this is a new kind of power.’” At that moment a metamorphosis took place. Straddling the fence, with one dusty Converse sneaker smeared with the grime of rock ’n’ roll, while the other remains stuck on the sharp leaf-tip spines of an agave plant, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers’ trademark mariachi horn-laden sound was tailor-made for a fiesta. At Rialto Theater. With The Jons... Fuck Your Expectations. True to the title of their full-length release, AG Club came together in the Bay Area (2017), inspired by their predecessors (alt. rap collectives like Odd Future and A$AP Mob). Their mission: To make genre-less hip-hop that differed from everything that was coming out. “We make shit that we like to listen to,” they said, in an interview with i-D. “…and we listen to a lot of shit, so we make everything.” But, are they ready for world domination? Their attitude is affirmative. “We want to take over every form of media from music to TV, film and fashion. We want to be the group that came in and changed everything forever.” Tall order. They also want an AG Club Meal at McDonald’s. Not your average hip-hop group, AG Club know no bounds. At 191 Toole. With Payday, Sam Truth and ICECOLDBISHOP... Recorded in Louisiana with Grammy nominated musician Tab Benoit, the vast majority of this record is live in the studio. This collection of thoughtfully penned songs began to coalesce in the pre-pandemic world, in early 2019. “I had no idea they would take on a whole new and more poignant meaning as time went on,” Alastair Greene reflects. The New World Blues (2020) is a reflection of current times “and has equal parts light and dark.” A mainstay of the Southern California music scene for close to three decades, bluesman Alastair Greene masterfully bends strings. At Monterey Court... 

Saturday, Oct. 16 

Bred in the London underground, during a time of mass unemployment, where Dickensian working-class politics slammed into visions of Orwellian dystopia, Richard and Tim Butler witnessed the complicated birth of punk and the experience seeped into the leaching pool of their influences. “I had never seen anybody with that much confrontational in-your-face charisma. It was mind-blowing,” says Richard Butler of Johnny Rotten. Embracing the three chord revolution, soon after the Butler’s formed a band. “Music was the only way out,” Tim Butler emphasizes. Awash with dissonant guitars, brash outbursts of saxophone and Richard Butler’s snide growl, The Psychedelic Furs emerged onto the London scene in 1977, far too melodic to be punk. It wasn’t until the release of a more poetic second album Talk Talk Talk (1981)—coinciding with the advent of MTV and lush videos directed by Tim Pope—that The Furs hit their stride. The album spawned “Pretty in Pink.” With the power of a seismic shift, the song resonated far and wide, inspiring John Hughes’ 1986 film of the same name, becoming a pop anthem for outsiders everywhere. Fast forward to 2020. After a storied career, with nothing left to prove, post-punk/new wave survivors The Psychedelic Furs are touring in support of Made Of Rain, their first studio album in almost 30 years. At Rialto Theater... Emanating from the Montreal loft scene where all-night parties were de rigueur, David Carriere recalls, “I was listening to a lot of Indian music and Riley [Fleck] was learning how to play afrobeat drums, but we all liked ’70s and ’80s radio pop, like Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders, Blondie.” At once danceable and dreamlike, Pitchfork calls this weirdo pop band’s latest sun-drenched album, I Feel Alive, “a fitting soundtrack for the sort of glamorous melancholy that reliably passes for depth.” Tops performs “Ballads & Sad Movies.” At 191 Toole. With Tiberius B... Equal parts speaker-abusing distortion and glitchy 808 drum machines, this L.A. indie rock duo’s stadium-size anthems are “unapologetically big, booming, and primed for festival singalongs across the globe.” The Score shoot for the stars. At Club Congress. With Cemetery Sun and Stereo Jane... 

Sunday, Oct. 17 

At 16, pianist Maxim Lando came to prominence when he appeared alongside Lang Lang, performing the part intended for Lang’s injured left hand, at Carnegie Hall’s Gala Opening Night (2017). In his New York debut, the New York Times noted the pianist displayed “wild-eyed danger.” Now, just 19 years old, Lando has been awarded the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award (2020) and performs with orchestras of renown around the world. In a program that features compositions by Bach, Liszt, Ravel, and Vine, pianist Maxim Lando performs the first in-person concert of Arizona Friends of Chamber Music’s 2021-2022 season. At Holsclaw Hall... From Memphis—a “place of good abode”—this band’s style has been described by press as nu metal and symphonic metal. John Cooper’s idea is “to unite individuals spiritually and socially.” Rock ’n’ roll, from its inception, has been associated with youthful revolt and transgression. The burning question. How do sex and drugs fit in with Christian rock? Cooper told HM, ”We don’t engage in those sorts of things. Whether it’s language or alcohol or all the other things that happen at rock shows.” After having sold over 12 million albums worldwide and two Grammy nominations, mastering their formula, on their latest studio album, Victorious (2019), Skillet deliver another set of high-minded rock anthems. At Rialto Theater. With Adelitas Way...  

Monday, Oct. 18 

Briefly entertaining ambitions of becoming a preacher until his stepbrother lent him a copy of OutKast’s ATLiens, shifting his mindset, this Chattanooga hip-hop star began rapping in 10th grade. Delivered in an often nostalgic tone, Isaiah Rashad’s lyrics touch on topics of depression, drug addiction and family. In an interview with Vice, Rashad revealed that at 19, he had attempted suicide a few times before “chickening out.” Earlier this year, after a tumultuous period in near-poverty that included a stint in an Orange County rehab facility, Rashad released The House Is Burning (2021). Pitchfork opined, “That is Isaiah Rashad in microcosm: Someone whose unassuming affect obscures ghastly scars, who’s walked through hell and returned with a shrug.” From a different pulpit, Rashad spreads the good word. Rashad told GQ that he wants listeners to walk away thinking, “‘Damn, he’s giving me stuff that’s going to help me during my day when I’m going through my own shit.” Isaiah Rashad: Lil Sunny’s Awesome Vacation Tour wheels into town. At Rialto Theater... 

Tuesday, Oct. 19  

Re-emerging after 18 months of pandemia, Candlebox frontman Kevin Martin spoke with Aftershocks TV about what it has been like to tour once again. “The venues aren’t at full capacity, so that’s a little odd. But the audiences are great; people are showing up. That’s all you can really hope for.” With the spectre of COVID-19 looming in the back of his mind, Martin adds: “The weirdest thing, really, is just that you can’t really escape into the music. The thought is always there.” The impact of safety protocols has impacted every aspect of life on the road. “So, we wear masks everywhere,” he explained. “We don’t go out. We play the show, we hang out in the dressing room, shower, clean up, whatever, [then] we go straight to the bus and head to the next town. So we’re being as overly cautious as we can.” Yet, the band has encountered some criticism. “We’ve had people yelling at our crew onstage, ‘Take your fucking mask off,’” Martin says. “I haven’t worked in fucking 18 months. Can I have a moment to make some money, please?” Multi-platinum artists Candlebox tour in support of Wolves (2021), their seventh studio album. At Rialto Theater. Flanked by The Dead Deads and Whole Damn Mess... In addition to being a multidimensional artist and painter, classically trained Yaqui guitarist Gabriel Ayala’s résumé includes performances for a U.S. President and the Pope. At Hotel Congress (plaza)... 

Thursday, Oct. 21 

For the past decade, these idiosyncratic indie rockers have sharpened their teeth on the gritty Phoenix music scene. Their latest album, Soars Era (2021), melds the other-wordly sounds of Baroque and chamber pop with psychedelic and punk. Perennial outsiders Emby Alexander remain true to the DIY ethos. At Club Congress. With Soda Sun... 

Until next week,  XOXO...

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