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Thursday, Nov. 1

"She puts that beat in my chest." Country band Rascal Flatts returns "Back To Life" at AVA Amphitheater... Londoners Kero Kero Bonito are at 191 Toole. With Tanukichan... This country outlaw says, "I am a sinner to my core." Aaron Lewis pays it forward at The Rialto Theater... Reveal: A Show of Debut Burlesque Performances takes place at Cans Venue & Lounge... From Oakland, Le Fomo bring "gender transgressions, dirty riffs, electroclash beats, melodramatic belting, dissonant melodies," a swath of fur and a dash of dark sparkle to Owls Club. With Snack Birdy... Blues singer/violinist Heather Hardy and Alvin Blaine are at Tap + Bottle... On Ojos Del Sol, eclectic indie folk artist Luz Elena Mendoza seduces with bicultural storytelling that evinces a faith that transcends religiosity. Y La Bamba mystifies at Club Congress. With Winter and Weekend Lovers...

Friday, Nov. 2

Indie rapper Tech N9ne slams out of the underground into the future. At The Rialto Theater with Dizzy Wright, Futuristic and special guest Krizz Kaliko... Tucson by way of Durham, North Carolina's Birds and Arrows drop their latest, Arbitrary Magic (Baby Gas Mask Records). Bear witness as they transform from a lovelorn folk duo into one of hard hitting rock 'n' roll badassery on the plaza at Hotel Congress. With The Rifle... Mashing together dance, funk, improvisation, rock and beams of light, aiming at creating a mood altering experience, 191 Toole is the site for Spafford–Night 1... Gary Mackender and the motley crew that comprise Carnivaleros are celebrating 17 years of keeping dance floors packed. A noble cause, indeed. At Monterey Court... Former Tucson poets Hannah Ensor, Shelly Taylor and Meg Wade read at Exo Roast Co... Club Sanctuary presents Vampire Ball 2018 featuring Mexican neuropunks Hocico. At Cans Venue & Lounge. DJs Plastic Disease and Black Flagg spin... An evening of stars and beautiful music awaits at Sky Bar with Joe Peña and the Miss Olivia and the Interlopers Trio... Shit Knife serrates at the District Tavern. With Shovel and Sherbet and Champagne... Folkie Natalie Pohanic is at Saint Charles Tavern... These first-generation New Yorkers were weaned on a diet rich in heavy metal, psychedelic funk and soul. Combo Chimbita bring Afro-Caribbean percussion laden "tropical futurism" to Club Congress. With multimodal activists Ojalá Systems...

Saturday, Nov. 3

Night of the Living Fest VI runs Saturday, Nov 3-5. This year features March Fourth, Tweak Bird, Tight Fright, Treasure Mammal, Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, Golden BooTs, The Exbats, Aztral Folk, Asian Fred, The Pangs and more at Mercado San Agustin Annex... After catching the attention of Quincy Jones, this Italian jazz cantante went onto take first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival vocal competition in 2011, propelling her career. Chiara Izzi performs at UA Stevie Eller Dance Theatre... Wet Paint 3: Graffiti Expo features DJs Gonz, Low Gravity, Aske and Smash Lames. Live set by Native4Lyfe. At Studio Space Tucson... The electro-funk therapy continues with Spafford–Night 2 at 191 Toole... Jacob Acosta Band is at Saint Charles Tavern... Metallists As I Lay Dying are at The Rock. With Kingdom Of Giants and Within the Ruins... Febbo & Fuentes entertain at Hurricane Records... Grindcore, "caveman electronics" and unadulterated noise collide and recoil in a collaborative set from Transient and Bastard Noise at Club Congress. With locals Woundvac, Realize and others... Love grows with gratitude. And, perhaps a little barley and hops. Crooked Tooth Brewing celebrates its second anniversary with The Bumble Buzz, Leila Lopez and Little Cloud... Club Congress hosts Cheap Thrills: The Official Comic-Con After Party with Psygoat, The Exbats and DJ Nullus... Cuba Libre Latin dance night happens at La Cocina... Rising from the ashes of tragedy, these reggae rockers have transformed in the the years following the death of Brad Nowell. "We have been blessed to have the majority of our songs leave a positive impact on listeners and establish a firm fan base," says Marshall Goodman. Long Beach Dub Allstars take you on a journey through the "Wonders of the World" at The Rialto Theater. DJ Jahmar International spins...

Sunday, Nov. 4

"Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies." Hotel Congress hosts this colorful annual event: Face Paint Town features face painting along with purveyors of heartland alt-Americana The Artisanals. Hot Club of Tucson, Mike Herbert Prison Band and DJ Buttafly also feature prominently on the bill... After the catharsis of the All Souls Procession, "The world's most punishing metal band," Power Trip unleash their fury at Club Congress. With Glacial Tomb and Tucson's Get A Grip... Whether it's by the shimmer of refracted light from a disco ball or the stark luminescent glow of street lamps, this Long Island band's self-titled album explores the many ways people discover who they are (or dream of being) under the cover of night. Mr Twin Sister comes "Out of the Dark" on the plaza at Congress. With Sateen and GSA...

Monday, Nov. 5

Drawing inspiration from the old-time music festivals of the American South, folkies Donna the Buffalo bring their "Funky Side" to 191 Toole. With modern-day protest singer Raye Zaragoza

who asserts that "hate can't be the face of the American dream..."

Tuesday, Nov. 6

After a spending his youth ensconced in the Pentecostal Church, on Other Arrangements this hellfire and brimstone folkie wrote a collection of pop and love songs he devilishly calls "gospel sex music." Parker Millsap rocks a little, with "Sinner" Joe Peña, at Club Congress... From Baltimore, trans-apocalyptic galaxy rock duo Darsombra is at Galactic Center... "Ghost," from Big Machine Hi-Octane, takes a sobering look at suicide. "I tried it once before but I didn't get too far/I felt a lot of pain but it didn't stop my heart/And all I really wanted was someone to give a little fuck/But I waited there forever and nobody even looked up." Alt-rockers Badflower are at The Rock. With In Lessons, Cement Shoes and The Abstract...

Wednesday, Nov. 7

Singer/guitarist Chris Vos attributes their meteoric ascent from obscurity to scoring three triple-A hits in less than 18 months to "our desire to write the best songs and make the most honest music that we can." Sage wisdom. Raw and righteous rock 'n'rollers The Record Company "Give It Back To You" at 191 Toole. With Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear... Droll, Kryge and Dayak are at Cans Venue & Lounge... Outlaw balladeer and quotidian fairytale cantor Buck Meek and harpist Sun Riah entertain at Exo Roast Co... Promulgators of doom, Atala, Mother of Thousands and Via Vengeance extinguish the last vestige of hope at Club Congress...

Thursday, Nov. 8

This soul/R&B artist has worked with James Brown, almost married Otis Redding and dropped acid with George Clinton. And as if that weren't enough, as the the late George Jones said, Bettye LaVette is "truly a singer's singer." LaVette, featuring Evan Mercer on keyboards, holds court at The Rialto Theater... Suicide Forest, Vouna, Shadows of Algol and Azfarat are at Cans Venue & Lounge... And, Dust & Stone Review features Billy Sedlmayr, Inez and Crystal Radio at Club Congress...

Hot Wax...

click to enlarge Roman Barten-Sherman - COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo
  • Roman Barten-Sherman

Roman Barten-Sherman & Tom Walbank Searching the Desert for the Blues. 15-year-old wunderkind Roman Barten-Sherman's slide guitar playing and voice are imbued with all the pain and longing you would expect a seasoned bluesman would accrue over the course of a hardscrabble life. On his fourth album, Searching the Desert for the Blues, Barten-Sherman is not travelling alone on this preternatural pilgrimage. He is accompanied through the cerulean valley by harmonicist, collaborator and mentor Tom Walbank.

XOXO caught up with Barten-Sherman for a brief Q&A.

What drew you initially, and keeps you rooted, to the blues?

Blues is a super broad genre. The music that I've loved all my life is pre-war rural blues. The stripped down nature of this music showcases not only raw human emotion but also intense musical artistry of the voice and acoustic guitar. I was introduced to this music at a very young age by our Bisbee neighbor Ben Todd, who gave me cassette tapes of material ranging from Mance Lipscomb to prison work songs. What has kept me immersed is finding great musicians, like Tom Walbank, to collaborate with and the deepness of the genre that allows for endless discovery.

What is the story behind the original composition "Swamp Cooler Blues"? The whole album was recorded at Exploded View Microcinema on a scorching July day. In the midst of doing some instrumental improvisation the swamp cooler turned on. When we were going over the tracks, both Tom and I really liked how the song turned out. So, for a title Tom suggested "Swamp Cooler Blues" due to the noticeable presence of the swamp cooler on the track.

At 15, what is your day-to-day life like? I am currently a junior at University High School. I have been lucky enough to meet great musicians at school (some of which will be playing with Tom and me at the show on Saturday) that I like to hang out with. We started an old-time stringband. That's been a blast! I also love spending time walking around downtown Tucson, and being with my two manx cats Hollis and Thelonious.

What is on the horizon for Roman Barten-Sherman? Since meeting one of my musical heroes, guitarist Craig Ventresco, I've really gotten into early jazz. So expect a project involving that on the horizon. Also, in the summer I'll be playing the Silver City Blues Festival, going to Europe and doing some shows with Lonesome Shack. I'm super excited!

This young bluesman and his mentor are driven by the same longing that compelled Orpheus on his ill-fated journey through the underworld—facing Charon the ferryman, the three-headed watchdog Cerberus and Persephone, goddess of Hades—in an attempt to retrieve his beloved, Eurydice. Belief, suffering, damnation and redemption, being cornerstones of the blues, inform every note on this gloriously raw and honest recording.

Roman Barten-Sherman & Tom Walbank celebrate the release of Searching the Desert for the Blues on Saturday, Nov 3 at Exo Roast Co.

On The Horizon...

With studied precision and an expressiveness that simply can't be taught, one of the world's leading violinists, Midori, performs Friday, Nov. 2 at the Tucson Music Hall. She joins the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for a special program that features the works of Brahms, Strauss and Dvoák. With José Luis Gomez at the podium... Downtowners, take heed. Armory Park is the site for this year's Dusk Music Festival. Featuring Dillon Francis, Phantogram, Cold War Kids, A-Trak, Big Gigantic, Jai Wolf, Kyle, Cherub y mucho mas. Nov. 10-11. See www.duskmusicfestival.com for full lineup... Finally, iconic Atlanta emcee Gucci Mane, Carnage and Smokepurpp have banded together for The Unusual Suspects Tour. At the Tucson Convention Center Saturday, Dec. 1...

Until next week, XOXO...

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