XOXO: Mark your calendars

Where we’re all just a few stars apart. This week, Kronos Quartet, The Beach Boys, Diplo, Jimmy Eat World, REO Speedwagon, Porter Robinson, Grouplove, Joyce Yang, San Holo and more perform in The Old Pueblo. Read on.

Mark your calendars… 

Thursday, Nov. 11 

Oscar-nominated filmmakers Sam Green and Joe Bini collaborate with Grammy-winning contemporary classical minimalists Kronos Quartet to create a stunning multimedia performance piece: A Thousand Thoughts. The show integrates live music and narration with archival footage and interviews captured on celluloid with prominent artists—Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man and Terry Riley—to tell the story of this truly groundbreaking string quartet. At Centennial Hall... “I’m from, what one might say is, the ultimate road family,” says Lukas Nelson, eldest son of country icon Willie Nelson. “I’ve never been anywhere longer than three months, and suddenly here we are, the four of us together.” Early in the pandemic, the death of a dear family friend became the guiding presence for the new album. “I found a love of looking at the stars...and I made a vow not to stop looking up at the stars every night for the rest of my life.” Nelson reflects, “It felt like her spirit was writing it with me.” Country rockers Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real remind us that we are no more than A Few Stars Apart. At Rialto Theater... With a tongue-in-cheek obsession with horror movies and cartoonish violence, UK psychobilly pioneers The Meteors do unspeakable things. At Club Congress... Led by 84-year-old musical director László Veres, the 36th annual Arizona Symphonic Winds Veterans Day concert, A Musical Tribute to Our Veterans, Past and Present, perform a program of patriotic favorites. At Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium... 

Friday, Nov. 12 

With a gift for capturing the humanity of downtrodden characters—those who are broke, who toil at dead-end jobs, whose youth withers and dies along with their dreams—Slaid Cleaves may be “Americana’s most underappreciated songwriter,“ according to Rolling Stone (the equivalent to the Bible for music junkies). Now three decades into a career, like a Ghost on the Car Radio, Cleaves occasionally wrestles with cynicism. He ruminates: “At this point, I’ve had no real national success. No impact on the culture, as my heroes had. The music that I love just doesn’t seem relevant to mainstream culture.” Undaunted, with little interest in what mainstream culture has to offer, Cleaves finds hope. “But those feelings are quickly overcome by gratitude,” he explains. “I’m making a living as a musician, and making a meaningful connection with people. What could be better than that?” Esteemed singer-songwriters Slaid Cleaves & Robbie Fulks bring their stories to life. At 191 Toole... Teeming with fresh-faced exuberance and brilliant vocal harmonies, their music has come to epitomize 1960s California surf culture. Musical prodigy Brian Wilson produced and co-wrote many of their most enduring tracks—utilizing fabled studio musicians the Wrecking Crew’s talents extensively on classics such as “Help Me, Rhonda”, “California Girls” and “Good Vibrations”—to become an indelible part of the American songbook. The Beach Boys—sans Brian Wilson—play the hits. At AVA Amphitheater... Spotlighting Grammy-nominated classical pianist Joyce Yang, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra performs Scheherazade. Composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888, the symphonic suite is based on One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folktales compiled during the Islamic Golden Age. At Tucson Music Hall... Focusing attention on improvisation, Navajo-Ute flute master R. Carlos Nakai says of his process as a composer, “I build upon the tribal context, while still retaining its essence. Much of what I do builds upon and expresses the environment.” Featuring percussionist Will Clipman and multi-instrumentalist Amo Chip Dabney, the world renowned R. Carlos Nakai Trio performs selections from Nocturne (2020), his latest release, and a vast catalogue of recordings. At Hotel Congress (plaza)... 

Saturday, Nov. 13 

Like the hallucinogenic moonflower whose delicate white petals slowly blossom in the gloaming, the fifth annual DUSK Music Festival returns to downtown on Nov. 13-14 at Jácome Plaza. On Day 1 of the intergalactic mashup of arts, gastronomy and cutting-edge music, you can catch highly sought-after superstar DJ/producer Diplo, trailblazing alternative/indie rockers Jimmy Eat World and London-based deep house DJ/producer Duke Dumont. With Blu Detiger, Justin Martin, Pauline Herr, Tank and the Bangas, VNSSA and more. See duskmusicfestival.com for full details... With roots in the Protestant church—guitarist Zack Greene previously served as a worship minister in a Tennessee church—these Nashville indie-folksters’ band name is an allusion to St. Francis of Assisi, a nature-loving friar who is believed to have preached a sermon to a flock of birds in Umbria during the Dark Ages. “Part of the reason that we like St. Francis is that he’s a religious figure who really doesn’t like religion,” says Dani Greene. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, Birdtalker make a sacrament out of enshrouding life’s dividing lines. At 191 Toole. With Reuben Bidez... Propelled by four Top 40 hit singles “Keep On Loving You,” “Take It on the Run,” “Don’t Let Him Go,” and “In Your Letter,” 1980’s Hi Infidelity sold over 10 million copies, rising to become the band’s most successful album. REO Speedwagon croon the power ballads. At Tucson Music Hall... On “Freedom”—the lead single from She Ought To Be King (2021)—singer-songwriter Lisa Morales rails against injustice. “Women and children can no longer be abused. We can no longer turn the other way...African Americans can no longer be treated as if they don’t belong. Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans are Americans. LGBTQ are to be respected,” Morales says. “It’s a very simple message. Love one another, be kind, do the right thing, be honorable, and help one another.” From the painted desert skies of her native Tucson, Lisa Morales is coming home. At Hotel Congress (plaza)... Dark and edgy, this Detroit-based producer’s pounding basslines and dark house beats transport listeners through a portal to “Escape Reality.” Slashing a path forward in the world of EDM, Masteria just “Can’t Stop.” At The Rock... Wildside: The Ultimate Tribute to Mötley Crüe revel in the heady days of The Sunset Strip. At Encore... 

Sunday, Nov. 14 

DUSK Music Festival rages on. Genre-cross pollinating EDM artist Porter Robinson, alt. indie-pop rockers with a collectivist bent Grouplove, and English dance/electronic record producer/singer-songwriter SG Lewis headline day 2. At Jácome Plaza. With John Summit, Mob Rich, STRFKR, and Yolanda Be Cool and many more... Gaining prominence as a child actress, Jenny Lewis semi-retired to form Rilo Kiley with fellow former child actor Blake Sennett, in 1998. The band released four studio albums. Despite having their songs frequently appearing on hot television shows (Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., Grey’s Anatomy, Orange is the New Black) they imploded in 2014, driven apart by “deception, disloyalty, and greed,” according to Sennett. Undaunted, Rabbit Fur Coat (2006) marked the launch of Lewis’ solo career. A record she describes as “a kind of soul record,” features contributions from Conor Oberst, M. Ward, James Valentine (Maroon 5), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and The Watson Twins. Released in 2019, her latest album, On The Line, is a “ smart, swaggering break-up album from a major talent,” according to The Daily Telegraph. Jenny Lewis goes down the “Rabbit Hole.” At Hotel Congress (plaza)... 

Monday, Nov. 15 

Emerging from the City of Brotherly Love’s punk scene in 2011, these “Philly coffee shop rockers” quickly left the grit and anti-authoritarian ethos behind and crossed into the next dimension, where punk goes pop. On Umbra (2021) they have juxtaposed the sonic sheen of pop with stories that at core are wicked, vindictive and sexualized. Frontman Collin Walsh explains. “It’s the cold feeling of internal conflict, the bargaining, and the wickedness that exists within a space otherwise covered in light. That’s the concept.” In a gradation of shades, Grayscale detonate “Dirty Bombs.” At 191 Toole. With Girlfriends, Cemetery Sun and Young Culture... 

Tuesday, Nov. 16 

When she is not touring with Alice Cooper, this world-class guitar assassin is on the road leaving a debris trail, miles long, in her wake as a solo artist. Nita Strauss attempts to control chaos. At Encore... On their new single, “Intruder,” with stabbing, angular guitar attacking, these L.A.-via-Australia post-punkers dove headlong into the often grisly mythology of the City of Angels, “looking for a sound that echoes the spirited past of the city we’ve found ourselves living in.” Death Bells search for New Signs of Life. At Club Congress. With Provoker and The They... 

Wednesday, Nov. 17 

In 2014, Dutch DJ/producer Sander van Dijck began to change the way people view EDM with the release of Cosmos EP followed by a hook-laden remix of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” (which remains in the zeitgeist with over 232 million views on YouTube). Named Breakthrough Artist of the Year (2019) by International Dance Music Awards, San Holo drops tracks from his second studio album BB U OK? At Rialto Theater... With a vintage sound that hearkens back to the rich timbres immortalized on the Stax Records imprint of the 1960s, soul singer Bobby Oroza of Finland will make you a believer. At Club Congress. With Brainstory and DJ Herm... 

Thursday, Nov. 18 

The Washington Post said of jazz guitarist Mike Gellar’s debut album Perdido (1998): “Yet for all the versatility and technique Gellar displays, what ultimately sets the album apart is the great delight he takes in playing jazz with musicians he admires, an enthusiasm that colors every performance.” Jazz guitarists Mike Gellar and Howard Alden are at Westward Look Resort... 

Until next week, XOXO...

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