Mark your calendars...

Thursday, May 31

click to enlarge Julia Jacklin
Julia Jacklin

On The Thread That Keeps Us, longtime engineer Craig Schumacher worked with the band to create an aesthetic that is at once earthy yet spiked with multibursts of distortion. "There's a little more chaos and noise in the mix than what we've done in the past," commented Joey Burns. Creating a duality, to powerful effect, of both dream state and nightmare. Calexico returns to The Rialto Theater with Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin... Perhaps, best known for playing a fictional version of himself on The Office, and erstwhile member of '60s pop rockers The Grassroots, this actor/folk rock musician is out in support of his latest musical offering: While the Young Punks Dance. Creed Bratton at 191 Toole... Garage rock revivalists Peach Kelli Pop bring their badassery to the Club Congress stage. With jangle popsters Nanami Ozone... Singer-songwriter/guitarist Joe Peña (Greyhound Soul/The Sundowners) bares his soul solo at Mercado San Agustin... Multi-instrumentalists Mik & Scott do their funky thing at Sky Bar... Matt Rendon—record producer, Resonar, one-man band—can now add DJ to the list when he spins "only the good God almighty knows what," as part of Wooden Tooth Records last Thursday of the month residency at Che's Lounge...

Friday, June 1

Mystifying Oracle DJ/producer Ghastly will "Crank It," thumping house/dubstep, at The Rialto Theater on Friday, June 1... Redefining folk in North America, Carnaval: The Tour aims to reclaim the spirit of Carnaval, an inner space where tradition and rebellion coexist, through solidarity and celebration. featuring sounds of Making Movies, Alex Cuba and Las Cafeteras. Friday, June 1 at Club Congress... Freddy Parish plays old time country/folk at Sierra Bonita Vineyards Tasting Room... It's Friday Night Live at Main Gate Square with the avante jazz of Purple Spectre... Like to dance to cumbia? Get your fix when Vox Urbana sets Cans Deli en fuego... Jumping off the blacklight poster, Velvet Panther runs wild at Owls Club... On "The Mountain" singer Vasanta Weiss uses metaphor to spread a message of inspiration. Southbound Pilot (swampy blues/roots/jazz) debut at Crooked Tooth Brewing... They are often referred to as the "Founders" of hardcore punk. D.O.A. at 191 Toole with MDC...

Saturday, June 2

From L.A., melodic psychedelic rockers Wand consciously manifest at 191 Toole. With C57BL/6... Metal Maniacs rejoice. Metal Fest 13 will wreak havoc at The Rialto Theater. Featuring Sacred Groove, Mr. Wiley, Tribulance, Exit Dream, Push, Pyrotechnica and Creating The Scene... Desert reggae/party rockers Rilen'Out! hold a memoriam for their homie Samantha Cravens. With Heroes Reunion and Lift'DD at The Rock. Donations will go toward a memorial fund in her name... Cameron Hood, half of indie folk duo Ryanhood, strums at Borderlands Brewing Co... Their music was played on the Space Shuttle Discovery. Not many can make that claim. Guitar duo Reno del Mar featuring violinist Beth Daunis at Sand-Reckoner Vineyards... "I grew up in Arizona, and didn't always love the desert. The last couple years I've traveled and whenever we came back, I finally understood why people think it's magical." A night of bluegrass, folk & country featuring Phoenician Rising Sun Daughter (Grace Rolland of Run Boy Run) and guitarist Clay Koweek. At Exo Roast Co... Hey, they have a sense of humor. A groovy night of "Adult Contemporary Music" will take place at Sky Bar with Shooda Shook It, United Snakes and The Rifle... A fun robot themed fundraiser for the Ei-Robot: An art project for Burning Man 2018 and the crew of humans that will build and maintain it. Six local DJs spin. It's a dance party. Calling All Robots: Save the Humans! at 3113 Art Collective...

Sunday, June 3

An evening under the stars awaits when Tucson Pops Orchestra presents Star of the Future: Cellist Sophia Rightmer & Tribute to Leonard Bernstein. László Veres at the podium. At the Demeester Outdoor Performance Center... Full of personality, Natalie Pohanic's voice will charm and entertain at Public Brewhouse... Her late father's influence has left an indelible mark. This is evening is not just an homage to her father, but to her own contributions to that legacy. Carla Cooke: The Ultimate Sam Cooke Experience makes a stop at Monterey Court...

Monday, June 4

click to enlarge Lié - COURTESY

All-female dark punkers Lié (Vancouver, British Columbia) "will make you have an identity crisis and rethink your entire existence." With Egrets on Ergot (experimental death rock) at Cans Deli... Texas death metalists Cryptic Void will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger at Spark Project Collective. With Apocalypse Noise Syndicate, God Awful Noise, Heinous and Magguts...

Wednesday, June 6

Phil Alvin of The Blasters said it best: "Petunia and the mother****ing Vipers are one of the best bands in the world today." See for yourself. Roots rockers Petunia & The Vipers (Vancouver, British Columbia) debut at The Flycatcher. With cowpunk legend Al Perry... Interpreting the music of Son House, Skip James and Robert Johnson, country blues guitarist Christopher "T." Stevens is at Public Brewhouse...

Thursday, June 7

Staying true to roots and dancehall sounds, reggae artist Collie Buddz hits The Rialto Theater. With Nattali Rize... Mexican rockeros Enanitos Verdes are at AVA Amphitheater with Hombres G... "We had so much negative criticism. Like being pretentious for constantly making concept albums," said Alan Parsons. Altering their prog rock formula, in 1982, Eye In The Sky (Arista) peaked at number 7 on the Billboard charts. Celebrating 25 years since the album's release Alan Parsons Live Project plays The Fox Theatre...


click to enlarge Natalia LaFourcade - C. ELLIOTT PHOTOGRAPHY
C. Elliott Photography
Natalia LaFourcade

Beneath three beams of light, masterfully fingering a classical guitar, she retold a centuries old tale. [Translated from Spanish] "I don't know what the flowers contain/Llorona, the flowers of the cemetery/When they are moved by the wind/They look like they are crying." "La Llorona" is a Mexican folk song about a weeping woman, trapped between this world and the afterlife, forever searching for her lost children. Opaqued in urban legend is how Natalia Lafourcade opened her concert, Sunday, May 20, at The Rialto Theater.

Accompanied by a quintet, this Multi-Grammy Award Winning artist performed selections from Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de Los Macorinos, Vol 1 and 2. Lafourcade's seventh and eighth studio albums in collaboration with Los Macorinos. Los Macorinos are the guitar duo who backed legendary Costa Rican singer Chavela Vargas until her death in 2012. Recognizing that her younger audience may not be familiar with traditional sounds, Lafourcade expanded, "I wanted the music to sound made in Mexico. I wanted to connect to my roots."

Early in the set, "Mexicana Hermosa" and "Tu Me Acostumbraste" featured melodic passages and guitar runs reminiscent of Trio Los Panchos—predecessors to Los Macorinos—and a romanticism that left those of us who attended the concert solo longing for the girl they so intensely miss. "Tú me acostumbraste/Porque no me enseñaste/Cómo se vive sin ti."

A lovely ode to solitude came in "Soledad y El Mar, which followed by "Que Sacado Con Quererte" a lamentation with a hue of bitterness. And the heartache of remembrance in "Hasta La Raíz," Lafourcade sang, [translated] "When I wrote your name in the sand.../When I look at the sky in the cruel form of a gray cloud."

The whimsical cadence of the music belies the sorrow and resignation of her lyrics in "Lo Que Construimos." Creating rich imagery reflecting Latin American folk traditions, Lafourcade walks metaphorically with the dead. [Translated] "You are a ghost, with me walking/But, do not believe that it was not worth it/Do not think that you are not important/On the contrary, I love you with all my soul.../But what we built, it is finished/The wind now sweeps it away." At the outset, Lafourcade's voice was restrained. But, turned into an impassioned wail by the song's end, as guitars and trumpets traded solos.

An acoustic set featured ballads "Amor, Amor De Mis Amores" and "Amarte Duele" before the uptempo pop rock anthem "En El 2000." In which an empowered Lafourcade comes into her own declaring her badassery. [Translated] "I am no longer.../The childlike creature, the innocence is over."

A genial performer, Lafourcade interacted often with the audience. In one exchange, she announced that they were dedicating the evening's performance to the children who are separated by distance from their families in different countries. The audience rose to cheer as a child who had arrived only a few months prior ran from the wings onto the stage.

One of Lafourcade's recent successes is "Recuérdame" from the soundtrack to director Lee Unkrich's Coco, a colorful film about an aspiring musician (Miguel) desperate to prove himself despite his family's disapproval, who finds himself trapped in the Land of the Dead.

"Duerme Negrito," pays homage to the work ethic of the Mexican people with an allegory about a mother who toils in the fields to provide for her young child out of love. Followed by another poignant moment which arrived in the sultry "Soy Lo Prohibido." Lafoucade purrs, [Translated] "I am that vice of the flesh/Which you now can't get rid of/I am the sin that gave you a new illusion about love/I am the forbidden."

Before the penultimate song, "Ella Es Bonita," with pixieish charm Lafourcade declared, [translated] "Except the one who stole my boyfriend. Fuck her." Afterwards, the band exited the stage.

The near capacity audience shouted out, "Otra, otra," succeeding in summoning Lafourcade back for one more. "Partir De Mi," a song written for her friend Emmanuel del Real Díaz from Café Tacuba who was expecting the birth of a child, closed the show. She gracefully thanked the audience for accompany her on her journey. "Me llevas en tus memorias y me llenas hasta el fin."

Born into a musical family—her father a Chilean musician of note and her mother an accomplished pianist—her musical inheritance is considerable. But it's Natalia Lafourcade's ability to tap into universal themes—the passion of love and the cruelty of heartbreak—that has brought her greatest success.


Country singer Brantley Gilbert pulls the Ones That Like Me Tour into the AVA Amphitheater on Thursday, June 14... Brad Paisley will play AVA Amphitheater on Sunday July 8... And, rapper Pitbull will spit at AVA Amphitheater on Thursday, July 19...

Until next week, XOXO...

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