XOXO: “Rockin’ in the Free World,” safely...

Eli Brownell
Modest Mouse brings their blend of indie rock and pop to the Rialto on Monday, Sept. 20.

Mark your calendars…

Thursday, Sept. 16 

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... Plagued by postmodern anxiety, All Time Low pump out their energetic, punk-glazed confection. At Rialto Theater. Tempe alt-rockers The Maine open... “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... If you haven’t got tickets for these shows, what are you waiting for? 

Friday, Sept. 17

Raised in St. Louis, Shawn Barker was first moved by the almighty spirit of music while singing in the church choir. After cutting his teeth performing in coffee houses and such, in 2004, Barker auditioned for the Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet—a dramatization of a momentous jam session at Sun Studios where Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash shared a microphone. Director Floyd Mutrux said of Barker, “We have 100 people who can play Elvis, but we only have one that can play Johnny Cash.” Bearing a striking resemblance and a spot-on baritone voice, The Man In Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash celebrates a beloved musical icon. At Rialto Theater... As for the future, these “Supermagical” indie rockers “plan to tour until their van dies again, like it did in Michigan that one time.” Wildermiss make a stop at Club Congress. Adopted Tucsonans Birds + Arrows add formidably to the line-up... EDM artist Jace Mek brings his imaginative sound design, savage drum patterns and intensive approach to house music to Gentle Ben’s...

Saturday, Sept. 18

It’s not easy being a Tejano superstar. As a youth, the “King of the Accordion” began performing in cantinas, under his parents’ supervision, to contribute to the household. Perseverance and his prodigious talent soon paid off. As a teenager in the early ’60s, Ramon Ayala hewed a distinct sound with singer/bajo sextist Cornelio Reyna, catapulting folksy conjunto music into the mainstream. Not unlike the subject matter germane to hip-hop, Tejano wordsmiths spin rough-and-tumble tales of booze fueled romps, two-timing lovers, bullet-riddled revenge and odes to narcotraficantes. Folktales became real life in 2009, when Ayala (and band members) were caught up in a raid by Mexican troops—that left three gunmen dead—at a lavish party hosted by the Beltran-Leyva drug cartel where the band was hired to perform. Ayala and crew were detained, questioned and then released; officials found no grounds for charges. But, what a story, eh? Master acordeonista Ramón Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte play the hits. At AVA Amphitheater... Local Love, a showcase for homegrown talent, features Nocturnal Theory, Then When, Black Cat Bones and The Dark End Of The Street. At Rialto Theater... Revel in an evening of Spanish, classical, and Flamenco music with two accomplished guitarists, Ismael Barajas & Domingo DeGrazia, performing in concert. Una Noche de Guitarra at Sea of Glass - Center For The Arts... 

Sunday, Sept. 19

In 2010, double bassist Patricia Day filed a lawsuit against Barbie™, the subject of numerous controversies since Mattel introduced the doll in 1959. Rockin’ an ornately painted upright bass, ’50s pin-up hair and makeup, sleeve tattoos and pencil skirt, Day alleges that Mattel created Hard Rock Cafe Rockabilly Barbie in her likeness, without her authorization. The case settled out of court. Hell Yeah! Danish rockabilly punks HorrorPops Kiss Kiss Kill Kill. At 191 Toole... In the musical hotbed of Austin, if you can bring it, word gets around fast. The unbridled talent and unique sound Ruthie Foster possesses—her soul-stirring voice and mastery of blues guitar—has led to her duetting with Bonnie Raitt, standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at NY’s Beacon Theater and trading licks with Susan Tedeschi. Three-time Grammy nominee and winner of the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award Ruthie Foster marches to the beat of her drum. On Club Congress Plaza... 

Monday, Sept. 20 

“I like indicas,” Jeremiah Green specified in a High Times interview, offhandedly. The drummer started smoking to alleviate depression. “It’s like cheap therapy.” Before cannabis he was on antidepressants. “I was acting hella weird,” Green explains. “I ended up in the hospital.” Green chose to leave the band. Frontman Isaac Brock recalls, “When he got back, he was getting super-high.” Which affected his meter. “It was never right.” Brock continues, “Then he got super-good at weed smoking, master-expert level. [Now] he can walk on tightropes and do trigonometry and shit.” Modest Mouse exhume The Golden Casket. At Rialto Theater. Indie rockers, The Districts open... 

Tuesday, Sept. 21

Originally formed in Phoenix, these heavy metalists’ eleventh studio album, Ritual, mashes up political and religious themes. “Bow down to the greatest corrupter. Evil in place of power.” Preparing to unleash a metallic ceremony of the highest order, founding member Max Cavalera enthuses, “Let’s get ready to pit and destroy this fucking place.” Soulfly hit it hard. At Encore… Striking out on his own, after the demise of Toy Soldiers, Ron Gallo left Philadelphia to make a name for himself in Nashville. “When I was in Philly, I would just sit in my apartment and feel stuck,’’ Gallo told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “When I moved to Nashville, it all just kind of clicked.” He resurfaces with a new album, Peacemeal (2021), foregoing previous genre-bending exploits for a decidedly lo-fi pop/hip-hop approach. At the outset of his tour, Gallo tweeted, “Excited to see if bathroom [sic] venues still have no soap or paper towels.” Hailed by NPR as an “insurgent poet and rock ’n’ roll disruptor.” Ron Gallo proclaims that “All The Punks Are Domesticated.” At 191 Toole. Described by the New York Times as “Stereolab gone Nashville,” indie folkster Becca Mancari shares the bill... Originally from the Mesabi Iron Range of northern Minnesota, and a member of the Anishinabe Nation, this seven-time Native American Music Award winner has been dubbed “the Neil Young of the Native rock world.” Keith Secola and The Wild Javelinas recite from the “Book of Life.” On Club Congress Plaza...

Wednesday, Sept. 22 

“In the summer of ’07 I was sure I’d go to heaven.” Lucy Dacus was 13, when she attended Bible camp. On “VBS,” from Home Video (2021), she sings, “In the evening everybody went to worship and weep. Hands above our heads, reaching for God.” Aside from the sermons preaching abstinence alongside the “slightly erotic God-loving songs” at worship times, her foremost remembrance is of her first boyfriend. In a Rolling Stone interview, Dacus expands, “He was into Slayer, and a stoner, and I told him that if we dated, he’d have to stop smoking weed.” In the outro to “VBS,” Dacus concludes, “You said that I showed you the light. But all it did, in the end, was make the dark feel darker than before.” Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Lucy Dacus delivers emotional knockout punches. At 191 Toole. With the “Healthier Folk” of Palehound Riders... Reverberating and surreal, Aestheticadelica (2020), TV Girl’s latest release, bestrides the shadowy, transitional state between wakefulness and sleep—where it’s not uncommon to perceive the sensations of floating, spinning or falling. Hypnagogic electronic popsters, TV Girl ease into dream state. At Club Congress. With Dallas indie pop artist Jordana... 

Thursday, Sept. 23 

“Honky-tonk ain’t what it used to be. Somewhere along the way the lines got blurred.” Guitars ablaze, Ryan Chrys & The Rough Cuts dole out their Southern fried, honkyfied, backseat rhythm & blues for mass consumption. On Club Congress Plaza. With a set of psycho post-country damage by Hank Topless... 

Until next week, XOXO...

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