XOXO: Mark Your Calendars

click to enlarge David Huckfelt - COURTESY
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David Huckfelt

Mark your calendars…

Thursday, Feb. 17

Storm Large has the word “lover” emblazoned across her back in big, gangland-style lettering. When asked why, in an interview with Philadelphia Magazine, the six-foot blonde says, “It’s rough looking. But inside I’m all mushiness and the most sentimental, sweet, sad little thing. So it’s a perfect metaphor.” Full of punk rage and mischievous banter, this tempestuous chanteuse made her mark as co-lead vocalist with Pink Martini. Now, fronting a rock-ribbed new band, Large rips out pages from the American songbook to set them on fire, writing new anthems as a soul-stirring rock goddess. Storm Large & Le Bonheur. At Fox Tucson Theatre…


Obsessed with horror and science fiction, the Koffin Kats’ early songs began to coalesce in the dankness of their parent’s basements. Like many bands that came before, their salad days were spent playing gigs for beer or gas money in local bars, dreaming of life on the road. Eventually, hard work paid dividends as they clawed their way out of the Midwest. Following “A Path to Wickedness,” Detroit psychobilly trio the Koffin Kats declare that it’s officially Party Time in the End Times (2017). The Reztones open the show. At 191 Toole…

Slumber drunk, inspired by grunge, these 20-something alternative rockers drip with ‘90s angst and sheets of sopping guitars. Droll make a big noise. At Club Congress. With Space Junk and Deep Stay

Accompanied by a gathering of angels — Joe Novelli, Sara Louise Mohr, Ely Llyan, Thøger Tetens Lund, Daniel Thomas, and Bill Hustad — “Sinner,” Joe Peña supplicates with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. With special guest Little Cat. At Tap & Bottle (downtown)…

Purveyors of the blues, The Porch Rockers do just that. At The Gardens at Bear Canyon


Friday, Feb. 18


Yum Yum Bedlam. With lyrics that center on the mythology of the Dark Carnival—a metaphoric limbo where the dead are judged by entities—in 1989, the ICP emerged from the darkest depths of the Dertroit underground to a world that had yet to imagine the impact that hardcore hip-hop would come to bear on pop culture. Shunned by MTV and banned from radio airwaves, their would-be career was seemingly beset by doom. Haloed in the uneven light of excess and sheer chaos, Insane Clown Posse present Big Hair Hard Rock Heavy Metal Head Bang. Tucson may never be the same. At Rialto Theater…

In an interview with Fifteen Questions, Los Angeles-based DJ/producer Noizu recalls his humble beginnings. “My first studio was pretty basic, I had an iMac with Pro Tools and a bunch of plugins. It was nothing special, but was perfect for what I needed starting out.” After being asked by DJ Snake to remix his smash “A Different Way,” in 2017, Noizu’s career has springboarded. Noizu brings his latest house banger “Mi Corazon” to Gentle Ben’s. With locals Low Audio, Lunarfluxx, and Travatli

HipHop Jazz Fusion Night features wordsmiths Aske, Cash Lansky and Pheo delivering their stylized rhymes with live backing from the Freddy Walker Jazz Band. At Thunder Canyon Brewery (downtown)…

Maestro José Luis Gomez introduces the music of Ulysses Kay. The nephew of New Orleans jazz trumpeter King Oliver, Kay was born in Tucson in 1917. A prodigy, he studied piano, violin, and saxophone at the University of Arizona and the Eastman School of Music before finishing his education in Rome after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. Kay is recognized as one of the leading black composers of classical music in the 20th century. In a program featuring works by J. Strauss, R. Strauss, Ravel, Ellington, and Kay, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra presents Duke Ellington Harlem. The first of two performances. At Tucson Music Hall…

Jensen (Berlin), Interceptor, Baseck (Los Angeles) and Mr. & Mrs. Ambiance (Mexico) drop distorted rave beats and electro to shake your electric derrieres. At The Rock… Led by his seven-string guitar, the Howard Alden Trio perform jazz and swing. At Hotel Congress (The Century Room)…

Speakeasy features the music of The Senators and the artwork of Margarita Brosova. At Habitation Realty…

Beautiful Strangers, Liz & Pete explore Americana both old and new. At Westward Look Resort…

The George Howard Motown & Soul Review
. Music for the Soul Dance Party. At The Gaslight Music Hall (Oro Valley)... 


Saturday, Feb. 19


Founded in the late 1940s as a gospel quartet, The Oak Ridge Boys’ signature four-part harmonies have spawned dozens of country, gospel and crossover hits. By the late ’60s, more than 30 members had come and gone. Even now their enthusiasm hasn’t waned. “When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with [the] boys,” says lead singer Duane Allen. A turning point came in 1975, when the Oaks were opening for Roy Clark. Despite their gospel sound having a distinct pop edge it ruffled some purist’s feathers. In a statement, tenor Joe Bonsall recalls Clark’s manager coming backstage. “He told us we were three-and-a-half minutes away from being a major act. But we had to start singing country songs.” They took his advice. Thirty-one studio albums and 56 singles later, the Oak Ridge Boys present Front Porch Singin’ (2021). At Fox Tucson Theatre…

Ready for round No. 2? Ardent defenders of a cult. In 2020, as the pandemic spread, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope reached a painstaking decision. Refusing to risk “even one Juggalo life,” they canceled the Gathering Of The Juggalos, their annual family reunion. Now, the Insane Clown Posse return to working that Old School Heat. At Rialto Theater…

Manifesting one of “the most heartfelt and evocative sounds imaginable,” according to Roots World magazine, Small Island Big Song is a live music/film project. Featuring over 100 artists, elders, and grassroots musicians from 16 island nations—recorded in nature, using traditional instruments and native languages—to create a contemporary musical statement of regions on the frontline of cultural and environmental challenges. Yoyo Tuki (musician) reflects: “In our globalized, computerized world, music can bring us awareness of who we are, our history, our values, and our connection to nature. I bring what my grandfather poured into me.” Small Island Big Song reunites distant yet interconnected musical traditions. At Centennial Hall…

Over the course of his life, guitarist Leo Kottke overcame a series of personal obstacles—including partial loss of hearing resulting from a mishap with a firecracker and a prolonged bout with hand tendinitis caused by his aggressive picking style—that nearly ended his musical career, only to emerge as a celebrated virtuoso on his instrument. The New York Times says of Kottke, “His fingerpicking [is] a beautiful machine, full of syncopation, sliding and open-string voicings, with small dissonances and backward-sounding phrases.” His latest studio album Noon (2020), is a collaboration with bassist Mike Gordon of Phish
. Leo Kottke gets Peculiaroso. At Berger Performing Arts Center…

Rising like a thorny peyote cactus in the arid sand, Los Esplifs’ debut album Estraik Back (2021) stays true to the weather-beaten spirit of the desert Southwest, with a psychedelic bent. Percussionist Caleb Michel recalls a moment when the doors of perception opened wide. During a performance at Phoenix’s Rebel Lounge the concept of unity in diversity manifested. “Saul [Milan] and I are brown, the rest of our band is whiter, and we’re playing this super Afro-Latin music [sung in Spanish] to a predominantly white audience. To his elation, “everyone was dancing hard to our music, getting down, and really enjoying it.” That’s the takeaway. Michel explains, “What matters most is inclusiveness.”
Los Esplifs pound out lo-fi techno-cumbia. At Club Congress. With Los Velvets and Earthsurfaceopen. At Club Congress…

Recognized for his superb musicianship—having been honored in numerous international competitions, including the Andrés Segovia Competition, the José Ramírez Competition, and Spain’s prestigious Francisco Tárrega Competition—this Grammy-winning classical guitarist was inducted into the Guitar Foundation of America’s Hall of Fame in 2018. Tucson Guitar Society presents
David Russell. In the first of two performances. At Holsclaw Hall…

Experimental fusion band
Aztral Folk meld everything from gypsy jazz to Mexican folk. At Lost Barrio Woodshop…

With a long shared history, Americana duo Barnaby & The Butcher play both originals and classic covers. At MotoSonora Brewing Company…

Something young, something old. Tucson reggae institution
Neon Prophet and newcomers ZeeCeeKeely pop things off. At Chicago Bar…

Insomniac? Resident DJs spin EDM from midnight until 5 a.m.
Galactic Knights. At Solar Culture Gallery…


Sunday, Feb. 20


They are a rarity whose music is able to cross genres. The band settled on the name Coheed and Cambria during a 1998 trip to Paris. Co-opted from the pages of The Amory Wars, a science fiction series written by frontman Claudio Sanchez, whose storyline forms the basis for the group’s albums. The Unheavenly Creatures Coheed & Cambria bring The Great Destroyer Tour to the Rialto Theater…

David Huckfelt presents Pale Horse & Rider Hootenanny. With Billy Sedlmayr and Howe Gelb. At Che’s Lounge…

Featuring vocalist Julie Buck, the Wholly Cats Swing Band perform music from the Great Swing Era. At Monterey Court…

Playing classic and modern country crafted especially for western dancing, Mamma Coal—backed by Alvin Blaine, Steff Koeppen, Arthur Vint, and Thoger Lund on bass—kick-up a dust. At The Maverick…

Bad News Blues Band stoke the fire. Congress Cookout. At Hotel Congress (plaza stage)…

From Albuquerque, psychedelic, heavy desert rock trio Red Mesa is on The Path to the Deathless. At Club Congress…


Monday, Feb. 21


From Denver, indie-pop rocker Paul Dehaven dons his Pink Kimono. Sci-Fi Country and Abe’s Bones share the stage. At Club Congress…


Tuesday, Feb. 22


Dubbed “masters of soulful folk” by Paste magazine, brothers Chris and Oliver Wood pursued separate musical careers for 15 years before forming The Wood Brothers. “My brother [guitarist Oliver Wood] came to this band from the blues and gospel world, and my history was all over the map with jazz and R&B,” says bassist Chris Wood, who first rose to fame with Medeski Martin & Wood. “The idea for this group has always been to imagine what might happen if Robert Johnson and Charles Mingus had started a band.” During the recording of Kingdom In My Mind (2020), they were looking for a philanthropic organization to support. “We came across this group called Thistle Farms, which was based just down the street from our studio,” says Oliver. “Their goal is to help women who have been victims of sex trafficking or prostitution or addiction to get off the street and into safe housing where they can participate in therapy and job training.” The work they were doing was so inspiring. We teamed up with them to donate a portion of ticket sales from all our shows. It’s our way of using what we’ve got to do whatever good we can in the world.” The Wood Brothers pay it back. At Rialto Theater…

Recreating the sound and flamboyance of the late Freddie Mercury, Brian May of Queen says Gary Mullen bears “more than a likeness.”
Gary Mullen & The Works present One Night of Queen. At Fox Tucson Theatre…

Telling stories full of heart, humor, and hope, it’s David Wilcox’s authenticity and humanity that critics praise. “I started to write songs because I wanted to find a way to make my life feel as good as I felt when I heard a great song. I don’t think I’d be alive now if it had not been for music.” Rhythm & Roots presents singer-songwriter
David Wilcox. At Hotel Congress (plaza stage)…


Wednesday, Feb. 23


Performing a program that features works by Schubert, Mozart and Dvorák. Arizona Friends of Chamber Music presents the Goldmund Quartet. At Leo Rich Theater…

Midwest indie-rockers, Motherfolk perform “serious songs from goofy people.” At Club Congress. With Wheelwright

Roman Catholics are not the only denomination razzed about tipping the chalice. Nationally acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Don Armstrong & The Whiskeypalians like their folk music straight with no chaser. At Monterey Court…

For those who feed off of the night. Last Night’s Makeup presents Crush: An evening of house and disco. At The Jackrabbit Lounge…


Thursday, Feb. 24


In 2015, the handwritten manuscript containing the lyrics to “American Pie” was auctioned at Christie’s for $1.2 million. “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie.” Legendary singer-songwriter Don McLean drives his “Chevy to the levy” one more time. With special guest multi-platinum British folk rocker Al Stewart. At The Fox Theatre…

Rejecting the idea of conformity. In a mashup of sweaty-palmed teen angst and slinky R&B, Belaganas (Phoenix) + No Suits (L.A.) are making their own lanes. At 191 Toole…

In their debut performance, The Morpholinos—Nick Augustine, Karl Hoffmann, Gary Mackender and Neil MaCallion—present “An evening of Tallsome Tales.” With an opening set by Don Armstrong, Liz Cerepanya, Petie Ronstadt, and Dan Davis. At Monterey Court…

Nanda Zip, Anchorbaby, CLASS, and CMG do unspeakable things. At Hotel Congress (plaza stage)… Reggae rockers Desert Fish are at Chicago Bar…

Since the Tucson Rodeo’s inception in 1925, this annual celebration of cowboy culture has been an eagerly anticipated event. After the last bull bucks, the Billy Shaw Jr. Band will take you on a wild ride. La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. Feb 24-27. At Tucson Rodeo Grounds…


On the horizon:  Created by surfers during the 1950s who wanted something to do during the downtime when the waves were low, skateboarding emerged as a truly American cultural phenomenon. Along with skate legends and pros, contests, vendors, food trucks, and rad shit popping off everywhere, Teenage Bottlerocket, Dead Fucking Last, Urethane, Go Betty Go, Change Today and many others provide the banging musical soundtrack for this annual festival in honor of the skateboard. Drop into the bowl for SkaterCon 6. Saturday, Feb. 26. At Santa Rita Skatepark…


Until next week, XOXO… 

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