XOXO: Mark Your Calendars

click to enlarge XOXO: Mark Your Calendars
Big Head Todd & The Monsters are rooming the countryside and stopping in town on Nov 17th.

By Xavier Otero

Tucson Local Media

Mark your calendars…

thursday, nov. 17


While attending the University of Colorado in 1987, Todd Mohr, Brian Nevin and Rob Squires dropped out of college and began touring as Big Head Todd and the Monsters in a mustard yellow 1977 Dodge van christened “The Colonel.” Traveling throughout the Rocky Mountain region and American West they put 400,000 miles on the old Dodge before their breakthrough 1993 album changed the game. Upon its release “Sister Sweetly,” the bands third studio album, soared to No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker list and remained on the charts for over a year. A short time later “The Colonel” retired. Mohr hit an impasse when their record label wanted to make a video for hit single “Bittersweet,” to air on MTV. At the time MTV was a star maker. Videos that went into heavy rotation often served as a launching pad to stratospheric stardom. Bullheadedly, Mohr declined. “Most of the groups that were making it didn’t really have a lot of substance, I felt our band had more to offer,” Mohr reflected. “That (decision) probably cost us a lot in terms of celebritydom. But, in the end, it probably prolonged our career.” The band never reached such rarefied heights again. Still roaming through the countryside, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, this time with a newer van, make a stop at the Rialto Theatre. Engagers in suspicious activities, Tucson’s The Jons open the show… Guided by the spirit of David Bowie, slasher flicks and Dionysus — the ancient Greek god of wine, ecstasy and wild frenzy — Los Angeles snuff metal/gothic electo-poppers Patriarchy explore the dark side: Sex, power, subversion, and death. Frontperson/filmmaker Actually Huizenga — grand-daughter of physicist John R. Huizenga, a key figure in the Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bomb — states, “Patriarchy” is a word I would like to destroy, yet make my own. We live in a patriarchy. So why not grab it by the balls and fuck it? So that’s what I’m doing. Even if it disrespects and discriminates against me.” Huizenga concludes, “It is all a matter of how you choose to look at these things.” Patriarchy cast aside the principles of the status quo at Club Congress. Electronic provocateurs Glacier.Wav and Street Fever lend support… Like a “Diamond in the Rough,” folk singer-songwriter Stephanie Farney — finding inspiration in artists such as Hozier, Ben Howard and Shakey Graves — retells stories old and new at Tap & Bottle Downtown…


friday, nov. 18

Recognized as one of the finest folklórico programs in the nation — under the artistic direction of José Luis BacaBallet Folklorico Tapatío presents ¡Puro Tapatío! A gala celebration commemorating the troupe’s 25th Anniversary. With special guests Mariachi Pueblo Viejo at The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall… Accompanied by trombonist Max Goldschmid, pianist Jonathan Eldridge, bassist Colin McIlrath, and trapsman Arthur Vint, New York City saxophonist Gabriel Evans presents his whimsical take on early calypso, hot jazz, and mid-century exotica. In the first of two nights, the Gabriel Evans New York Calypso Orchestra perform at The Century Room… Igor Yuzov grew up in Russia when xenophobia spurred the Kremlin to ban rock music in 1985. But the intoxicating lure of forbidden fruit was just too great. In 1995, Yuzov claims that the spirit of Elvis Presley came to him in a dream, directing him to start a rock ‘n’ roll band, thus sealing his fate. As soon as it became possible, Yuzov left Russia for the California shore. Arguably, “Better Than Sex,” the Siberian surf-rock of the Red Elvises will have you “Grooving to the Moscow Beat.” Followed by Tucson’s longest enduring Latinx dance party sin fronteras, El Tambó. DJ Humblelianess leads the Sonido Tambó crew. It all takes place on the Hotel Congress plaza… “Take a chance on me.” Playboy Manbaby’s Robbie Pfeffer lords over his ABBA Dance Party at Club Congress… Music and art collide together when The Freezing Hands and The Websites provide the soundtrack to the Chris Mitchell art unveiling at Habitation Realty…


saturday, nov. 19

After finishing high school Lainey Wilson left her small farming community in the rearview mirror, driving off to “Redneck Hollywood” in pursuit of her dreams. For a time, she lived in a camper trailer outside of a recording studio in Nashville. To help her make ends meet, the owner of the studio paid Wilson’s water and electricity bills. “(That experience) taught me that this thing was not going to be easy. It taught me perseverance,” Wilson reflected. Ten years later — blending traditional country with a modern take on a retro flare — Wilson has won over legions of fans with “Bell Bottom Country,” her second studio release. One of the brightest rising stars in country music, Lainey Wilson — with support from Mamma Coal — is at the Rialto Theatre… Conjuring an ancient sonic vibration, over the span of 30 years R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman have documented their sweeping, improvisational new age sound on five studio recordings. The trio’s oeuvre includes two Grammy nominated albums: “In a Distant Place” with Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog and “Dancing into Silence.” Nakai, Eaton and Clipman present Spiral Rendezvous, their 2022 release, at The Sea of Glass Center for the Arts… Born out of a mutual love of traditional folk music and shanties, The Longest Johns are a Bristol, England, a cappella folk quartet. Since their formation in 2012, they have gone from singing sea shanties — a work song once commonly sung to accompany rhythmical labor aboard merchant sailing vessels — in a kitchen to touring the world. Jonathan Darley attributes the rise in popularity of sea shanties, in part, to the pandemic. “These feelings of lockdown, stuck in a situation that you don’t want to be in. That’s led to this moment where, suddenly, everyone’s like, ‘I understand this now.’” With their third studio album, “Made of Ale Sessions,” The Longest Johns hoist a pint to the working class at 191 Toole. Tucson’s eclectic folk duo RISO opens the show… With a taproot anchored deep in the arid soil of Tucson, The Black Supersuckers, as they were originally named, came into existence when a group of punk rock loving high school friends — Edward Daly aka Eddie Spaghetti, Dan Bolton, Ron Heathman, Dan Siegal, and the late Eric Martin — banded together in late 1988. Frustrated with the limitations of the local scene, they moved to Seattle in 1989. There they truncated their name and started to gig, perfecting a hard rocking, cow punk sound that soon drew the attention of Sub Pop Records. Now, with over three decades spent promulgating “The Evil Powers of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” the Supersuckers continue to pledge allegiance to “sex, weed, and Satan with a wink and a nudge” at House of Bards… As we move closer to the winter solstice — when the inescapable low-watt drone of swamp coolers begins to wane throughout the trailer park, ice cold cans of cheap beer being the only constant in an unmerciful desert wasteland — acclaimed Americana singer-storyteller Kevin Pakulis and his Band — keyboardist Duncan Stitt, bassist Karl Hoffmann and drummer Gary Mackender — perform Pakulis’ first two solo albums “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and “Mockingbird Radio” in their entirety — on the Hotel Congress plaza… Sunny and the Whiskey Machine dispense a mixture of bluegrass, country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll into a concoction they call “SoulGrass” in the beer garden at MotoSonora Brewing Company… In the mood to dance? Resident DJ Posi plays the latest club bangers indoors at Club Congress while DJs Bex & Halsero detonate sonic bombs, keeping the dance floor radiating heat outdoors on the Hotel Congress plaza… With a portion of the proceeds donated to feed Tucson homeless during the holiday season, Danksgiving features performances by ZeeCeeKeely, Flowmads, Black Salt Tone, Cash Lansky, Freddie Jay, Funky Bonz, Los Streetlight Curb Players, Jahlos and The Rebels, Baja Caravan, plus a turkey dinner plate, at the Chicago Bar…


sunday, nov. 20

From Worcester, England, Dave Mason rose to fame with the English rock band Traffic. Over the course of an illustrious career, in addition to enjoying success as a solo artist, Mason recorded with legends on several classic albums: The Rolling Stones’ “Beggars Banquet,” George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Venus and Mars,” Jimi Hendrix’s ground shifting “Electric Ladyland,” and that is just the short list. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Dave Mason — with special guests Al Stewart and Tom Rush — take to the stage at The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall… Over the course of a storied career, AmoChip Dabney has worked with the legendary Sun Ra and his Omniverse Arkestra, Zydeco’s Queen Ida, Cyril Neville of the Neville Brothers Band, and many others. Currently performing with his own band, The Amosphere stoke the coals during the next installment of the Congress Cookout on the Hotel Congress plaza… Equally adept at performing on both woodwind and brass instruments, musical wunderkind Max Goldschmid hosts a Sunday night jazz jam session at The Century Room…


monday, nov. 21

Over the course of a “Decade of Contempt” this Denver trio’s unrelenting sonic assault — blunging together cheerless layers of blackened doom, sludge, death and black metal — has evolved into what has been described as “a crushing, cataclysmic monstrosity embroiled in dissonance and feedback,” forever etching their name in the annals of the metal underground. “Lamenting A Dead World,” ORYX — with special guests Demon Grass, Thra, and Pale Hearse — run riot at Club Congress…


tuesday, nov. 22

During the early ’80s guitarist Jeb Lipson — along with vocalist/bassist Jacob “Jack” Martinez and drummer Johnny Ray — formed The Onlys, here in the Old Pueblo. They made the rounds at the local watering holes of the day — places like Nino’s Steakhouse, Jack’s Pub and Club Europa — that took a chance booking bands that were pushing something new. Laying claim to a ferocious post-punk sound The Onlys attempted to capture lightning in a bottle. “We had gone as far as we could go in a small market like Tucson,” Lipson recalled. In 1985, The Onlys moved west where they crashed on Howe Gelb’s floor in West Hollywood until they found an apartment. Since those heady days, in addition to starting a family, Lipson has established himself as a sought-after LA sideman, a studio producer/engineer, a songwriter — penning songs with Solomon Burke Jr. and others — and a solo artist. His latest album “Reclamation” incorporates a lifetime of diverse influences into a mellow Americana reminiscent of early folk-rock artists of the 1970s. Lipson is thrilled to bring his music home. The enterprising brain trust at Hotel Congress presents Songwriter Saloon: A monthly round-robin singer-songwriter showcase. The inaugural event features performances by romantic folk stylist Julio Lopez, singer-songwriter Roux originally from the Louisiana bayou, St. Louis folk artist Tim Leavy, and LA singer-songwriter Jeb Lipson at The Century Room… From the outset this Los Angeles duo — guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Allen Spunt — attempted to update the spirit of early punk and hardcore by enveloping their songs in washes of gritty ambient texture — think My Bloody Valentine remixing early Hüsker Dü — to arrive at their experimental noise-laden rock sound. No Age is at Club Congress. No Stones and Class kick things off…


wednesday, nov. 23

As addictive as brain teasers and video games, replete with unexpected surprises and challenges, the Annual Critter Round-Up finds Golden Boots, Shooda Shook It and Kulululu shelter farm animals from predators, metaphorically, of course, on the plaza at Hotel Congress… Following in the tradition of Louis Armstrong, Sydney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton and other early jazz innovators that came out of New Orleans and Chicago in the early 20th century, the Mysterious Babies perform at The Century Room…


Until next week, XOXO…

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