Thursday, Aug. 16
Self described vatos tristes from the barrios of San Diego, Beach Goons learn to live "Without U" at 191 Toole. With King Shelter and Super Whatevr... Chanteuse Louise Le Hir and band perform French psych-pop influenced Americana at Tap + Bottle Downtown... It has been said that this Phoenix emcee is "The world's most reluctant rapper." Mouse Powell busts rhymes at Club Congress. With Tucson hip-hop institution Jivin' Scientists and activists/radicals Ojalá Systems... Dream poppers Mute Swan kick off a West Coast tour with Portland's Candace (psychedelic shoegaze with a dash of country) at Cans Deli... EDM artist Isiah Haji drops "Bombs" at Aloft... Are you fond of the taste of "lizard-flavored folk 'n' roll?" Bryan Thomas Parker & Friends dishes at Crooked Tooth Brewery... Acoustic blues guitar prodigy Roman Barten-Sherman takes you on a trip through the delta. At Agustin Kitchen...
Friday, Aug. 17
From Nogales, embodying the multiculturalism of the borderlands by being able to rock in both English and Spanish, Latin rockeros The Jons return to Club Congress with the mysterious Simon Holmes... Sam & Dante perform at Sand-Reckoner... A benefit to celebrate the life of Paul "Robo" Rowe takes place at The Rock. We Are 138 features Douglas Beat Market, Blacklidge, The Endless Pursuit, Scar Eater, Bordertown Devils, Evasion and The Diversion Program... "Shake, shake, shake/shake your booty" with Funky Bonz at Monterey Court... "Amor Eterno?" cantante Carlos Daniels pays tribute to Mexican icon Juan Gabriel at The Rialto Theater. With Mariachi Luz De Luna and DJ Herm... Date night? Guitarist Gabriel Naim Amor plays Parisian jazz at Sierra Bonita Vineyards... The Determined Luddites are at Borderlands Brewing Company... From Peñasco, Sonora Agua de Coco and Tucson's Vox Urbana throw down heavy cumbia, salsa, son cubano y mas to make your booty quake. At Cans Deli... Wax nostalgic when DJ NoirTech and DJ Plastic Disease spin new wave/punk/rock for Dirty Dancing '80s Dance Party at Surly Wench Pub... Like EDM? WrD spins house, Kami and H.R. Guerin explore heavier house vibes, Asylum throws down trap and dubstep and WØLFBYTE drops heavy bass bombs at Solar Culture...
Saturday, Aug. 18
In July, this Grammy-nominated songsmith was forced to reschedule tour dates due to illness. He's back. An Evening with JD Souther at The Rialto Theater... Are you into breakbeat, house and electro? Take a Field Trip. Aylen, Subset, Elliot Tierney and Aemdi will be crushing turntables. With visuals by NoctiVision. At 3113 Art Collective... Public Brewhouse is turning 3. And, they're celebrating with live music by Cameron Hood, Kevin Pakulis, Little Cloud, and Christopher "T" Stevens... Award-winning singer-songwriter John Coinman waxes at Monterey Court... The We Got EZ benefit features: Fatskins, The Besmirchers, Thug Riot, Bowcat, The Galoshes, Upstart 33 and The Shivers pounding the stage at The Rock... Fake Friends, LAXX's latest is making waves on the bass music scene. Experience the buzz at Gentle Ben's...
Sunday, Aug. 19
The '80s. Relive the decade that refuses to die when the Best In Show Tour featuring Rick Springfield, Loverboy, Greg Kihn and Tommy Tutone stops for water at AVA Amphitheater... Juju Fontaine, Bad Dad Jokes and BTP & Friends are at Cans Deli...
Monday, Aug. 20
His lyrics reference pop culture's obsession with social media and texting. Yet, the music is pure 1970s yacht rock. Paul Cherry is at Club Congress with the Others...
Tuesday, Aug. 21
Poster child for the Red Dirt country scene Cody Canada And The Departed pull an "All Nighter" at 191 Toole. With Drew Cooper... Used To Yesterday is sweet jangle pop that could have come from the Paisley Underground movement of the 1980s. From Los Angeles, twee poppers Smokescreens are at Club Congress with The Molochs and Hannah Yeun. At Club Congress...
Wednesday, Aug. 22
A salvo of "68 Guns" will break the still of the night when Welsh alt-rockers The Alarm blaze into 191 Toole. With The Rifle... Alternative folk rockers Parsonsfield "Let The Mermaids Flirt" with them at Club Congress with special guests... From Portland, Volcanic Pinnacles get experimental at Cans Deli. With Leo and the Libra (experimental), Lasiodora (prog/metalcore) and ¡Baptista! (stoner rock)... From L.A., '80s glam/metal legends Faster Pussycat are still jotting down numbers from the Bathroom Wall. At House of Bards... Arizona Friends of Chamber Music present pianists Gary Steigerwalt & Dana Muller. Side-by-side this husband and wife duo apply their four hands to the works of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Ravel and Tucson composer Daniel Asia. At UA Holsclaw Hall...
Thursday, Aug. 23
Desert rocker Rich Hopkins and the Luminarios are at Tap + Bottle Downtown...
Like short blast of melodic pop punk?
Yeah? Then check this out: Big Bad celebrate the release of "It's What We Have to Do, and We Can Do It Together." With Sorrytown (Las Cruces, alt-rock/punk), Medvedi (El Paso, post-punk) and Her Mana (emo/math rock) on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Cans Deli...
In The Flesh...
ZoSo: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience
At The Rialto Theater, Aug. 11
"It's been a long time since I rock and rolled...Yes, it has."
Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, there emerged a mythic band from the UK: Led Zeppelin. For 23 years, ZoSo have provided a ticket to board a time machine—back to an era in rock history that defined glamour and excess—for all who dare climb the "Stairway to Heaven."
During their 90-minute set, ZoSo took the audience on a trip "Over the Hills and Far Away," to "California" and "Kashmir," through "The darkest depths of Mordor" and back.
The attention to detail is impressive. Yet, it's more than verisimilitude: Vocalist Matt Jernigan's lion's mane, kimono shirt and bell-bottomed jeans that epitomize Robert Plant. Or employing vintage instruments: A Ludwig Vistalite drum kit or Gibson EDS-1275 doubleneck guitar. It's the musicianship—from guitarist John McDaniel's spot-on rendition of Jimmy Page's complex solo on "The Song Remains the Same" to drummer Bevan Davies' savage barehanded drum pounding, as the mighty John Bonham once did, during "Moby Dick"—that truly captures the magick of a band who decades after their heyday still inspire zealotry.
As an impressionable teen, I recall seeing an iconic photo of Jimmy Page in Rolling Stone. Page seated in a dressing room—pouring a fifth of Jack Daniel's down his gullet—prepping for the show. The caption read, "Nectar of the Gods." Imagine? And, although, ZoSo are not the real deal. They came crashing down with the fury of Thor's hammer.
The Rialto Theater, Aug. 2
A serpentine line of concertgoers twisted along the Congress Street sidewalk. For the faithful, waiting in line, a small impost. Beach House would soon take to the stage. It was a sold-out show.
Here are some highlights:
The house lights faded to black. Rising from fog, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally manifested. They were accompanied by a trapsman, touring drummer James Barone.
Now center stage, Legrand fingered the mesmeric motif to "Black Car." Her voice melancholic. As Scally and Barone fleshed out the underpinning, nebulous projections, like inkblots from a Rorschach test, created spectacle—The womb of all theatre.
Dark energy fields abounded. Like "L'Inconnue," a bewitching song which eerily references a 19th-century death mask of an anonymous woman found in the river Seine, a presumed suicide. The mortician, so taken by her serenity in death, preserved her expression in plaster.
Fleeting stars flashed cold red. Beach House reached full potency on "Dark Spring." At the song's apex, with star death ringing, Scally spun an inescapable web of feedback. And like a proper shoegazer should, he stared down at his brogues, guitar wailing.
"Lemon Glow" followed, the first single from 7 (Sub Pop). A record in which beauty is hidden beneath the loam.
"Ok, were gonna go back in time a little bit," said Scally, before Legrand's organ transported us with "The Traveller." Throughout the evening, Beach House dug deep into their catalog, travelling as far back to 2010s Teen Dream.
The crest of the swell broke on "Space Song." Blue like Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, Scally's kaleidoscopic riff provided foil for Legrand's lamentations. "Tender is the night/For a broken heart/Who will dry your eyes/When it falls apart/Will everything fall back into place?" Afterwards, they exchanged repartee with the audience. "You doing OK?" Someone yelled back, "It's hot in here!" And it was. "You guys got water, ice cubes?" No relief in sight, it soon got hotter. Barone launched into "Woo," killing from the downbeat. Joy spread throughout the venerable theater.
Before the final pairing of the show, Legrand queried with irony. "Are you ready to rock? All the cliches, right?" Ultraviolet light set a somber mood for "Wherever You Go"/"Walk in the Park." Tension mounted, like a jet powering towards takeoff, Scally's slide guitar fluttered, the band gradually achieved flight.
With roots in the UK shoegaze movement of the late 1980s, Beach House inherited genes from bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star. Even at their quietest, Beach House thrums with intensity. Scanning the audience, of mostly Millennials, no doubt remained. This velvety, ethereal sound, blurred with indistinction, inspires devotion.
Starry, starry night, it was, indeed.