TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT: You can go a couple of different ways this evening: with the positive vibes of reggae or the ragged echoes of oldies.
Pato Banton and The Reggae Revolution stir it up at The Paragon, 144 W. Lester St., this Thursday. Banton got his initial break when he performed in a contest in his native England. Ranking Roger and David Wakeling of the ska/pop band English beat were judges in the talent contest, which Pato (born Patrick Murray) won.
Roger and Wakeling had Banton contribute the dub-wise reggae of "Pato and Roger A Go Talk" on the '82 English Beat album Special Beat Service.
A couple of years later Banton came to the attention of UB40 and contributed two tracks to their '85 album Little Baggariddim, including "Hip Hop Robot," an early hip hop/reggae crossover tune.
From there, he's gone on to release four solo albums, the latest of which was Universal Love in 1992.
Tickets to see Pato Banton and The Reggae Revolution are $12.
STOP CARRYING ON ALREADY: Alan Parsons and Kansas are also in town tonight. Parsons is, without question, a creative studio person. He has worked on a few albums you've probably heard tell of, as either producer or engineer: The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, Al Stewart's Time Passages and Paul McCartney's Wildlife and Red Rose Speedway.
He also had a bunch of hits with his Alan Parsons Project in the late Seventies and early Eighties: "Time," "Eye In The Sky," "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You," etc.
He's touring the U.S. for the first time (his Project was a studio band) in support of his The Very Best-Live album. It was recorded last summer when Parsons toured Europe. Anyone familiar with his work wouldn't expect a really high-energy disc from Alan, but here he sounds as if Jim just shot him with the tranquilizer gun on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Expect to sleep well during his show here.
You may not get to nod off until after Kansas has performed, however. As a young lad I was taken to a Kansas concert by some former friends. I had fallen in with a fast crowd with low morals and bad taste in music. Several of the young women in that crowd had gone "all the way" and owned Boston and Foghat albums--that's how despicable these people were.
Anyway, the show opened with Kansas hidden behind a giant red velvet curtain which opened slowly as they cranked out the opening strains of "Carry On Wayward Son." The whole show was an onslaught of pretentious, overblown "arty" rock anthems and power ballads. I'm starting to get a headache remembering all of this, so I'll just tell you that tickets are a mere $27.50 for these two cutting-edge artists performing at the Tucson Convention Center Arena, 260 S. Church Ave.
IT'S IN THE NAME: The punk band once known as the Descendents, now calling itself All, plays Club Congress this Friday, July 28.
As the Descendents they missed the punk-pop explosion into mainstream radio and music stores. As All, they're trying to catch up with a major label deal with Interscope and perseverance.
"In terms of the new punk rock movement," drummer Bill Stevenson says in the latest issue of Alternative Press, "I consider this to be a trend just like any other, and it's a trend in which we aren't really a part. Our music is a part (of the trend) because it's being delivered through this fashion-vehicle second generation, but our band is not (part of the trend) because we have no image."
All ends an evening starting with Shovel and Dirt Clod Fight. Admission is $3.
THIS IS THE END: The era of the Downtown Performance Center comes to its conclusion with three shows: Skankin' Pickle, Dave's Big Deluxe and Blink on Friday night, Avail with J. Church and Quincy Punx on Saturday and Teeth, P.S. 9, Casey Tripp and Yellow Brick Roadkill on Sunday, July 30.
ROCK NOTES: Dread Zeppelin returns to The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Saturday, July 29 for another night of dance and silliness. Just in case you don't know, this Zeppelin performs tunes of Led to a reggae beat with a bloated Elvis impersonator doing his best to imitate The King. Tickets are $8 each.
His press bio includes a resume with a recommendation written by country outlaw hero Billy Joe Shaver. That right there is enough to convince me that Todd Snider is cool, but you may want a little more information.
Billy Joe has this to say about Snider's Songs For The Daily Planet album: "It is one of the few things on this earth that's worth more than what you pay for it."
The Memphis-based singer/songwriter pens clever, literate lyrics that make fun of slackers (the two-steppin' "My Generation--Part 2"), examine greed (the Rolling Stones-country kick of "Easy Money"), laments the decimation of the environment (an anthemic "This Land Is Our Land") and touches upon child abuse with thoughtfulness ("You Think You Know Somebody").
The album also includes "Alright Guy," a funny song-story about trying to be good, the stone cold beatnik groove of "Joe's Blues" and the cynical, Dylanesque "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues."
Snider is, by turns, a folk singer, country rebel, jazz man and heartland rock and roller.
Admission to the concert at The Rock on Tuesday, August 1 is five bucks.
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