HELP HAITIANS, UNLICENSED RADIO
On the heels of a local benefit show a few weeks ago to raise funds for the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti comes another one this week. While the first show was organized by a local musician who happens to be the national co-coordinator of the Alliance for Global Justice and who had recently been part of a delegation in Haiti, this one is being organized by a 12-year-old boy.
Aodhan Lyons, whose uncle is Haitian and who lost five members of his family in the quake, decided to take action after seeing footage on TV, according to a press release. Lyons is lending a hand as his bar mitzvah project, and he's getting support for this week's benefit concert from Interfaith Community Services, Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance, several Tucson synagogues and churches, the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation and the Red Cross, who will collect the money raised for victim aid and rebuilding efforts.
At press time, acts were still being lined up, but organizers have already confirmed Spirit Familia, the Triple Double Band and the Japanese drumming ensemble Odaiko Sonora.
The World Music Benefit Concert for Haitian Relief Efforts takes place at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 18. Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 for adults, or $10 for students and seniors. For more information, head to foxtucsontheatre.org, or call 547-3040.
If you've been an adventurous music fan in Tucson for a spell, you might remember a nonlicensed radio station by the name of Radio Limbo, which broadcast at 103.3 FM. When that station fizzled out after several years of the best damn radio I've ever heard (you haven't really lived if you never heard Action Chat, a show in which two gay men discussed action movies), Free Radio Chukshon was born.
Originally broadcast via the Internet (where you can still stream it or listen to archived shows at freeradiochukshon.org), the freewheeling station eventually took to the dial at 90.9 FM. A few weeks ago, it changed frequencies in order to provide more coverage—and that new frequency is 103.3 FM, Radio Limbo's old one. Full circle, people. (FRC broadcasts from 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m., Sunday.)
Aside from letting you know about the station itself, I'm also calling to inform you that, just as Radio Limbo used to do, Free Radio Chukshon will be holding a benefit show this week to help cover the station's operating costs. The lineup is headlined by the great Al Perry and will also feature Golden Boots and Cadillac Steakhouse; FRC DJ Pierre Camembert will spin punk tunes between acts.
The Free Radio Chukshon benefit show takes to the stage at The District Tavern, 260 E. Congress St., around 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13. Admission is a suggested donation of $5, but no one will be turned away. For further details, head to freeradiochukshon.org, or call 791-0082.
REGGAE WITH A HINT OF GYPSY
The next several weeks are loaded with new local releases and the shows that accompany them, but this week, we've got just one such release to tell you about.
There just aren't many reggae bands playing around town. The first name that comes to mind is, of course, Neon Prophet, who have been plying reggae in Tucson for almost a quarter-century. But the second name to hit the brain these days just might be Planet Jam, who have been gigging consistently for several years now.
The band's co-founders, singer/guitarist Marius Todirita and bassist/singer Kacy Todirita, met while busking on the streets of Italy. Kacy, whose last name was Armstrong in those days, was traveling across Europe with some friends, while Marius, who was drafted into the Romanian Army during the 1989 revolution, was still living there, illegally, according to the band's MySpace bio. Years later, the pair met up in Tucson, eventually adding Steven Abramson on keys and Kini Wade—whom you might know as a bartender at Plush—on drums. Thus began Planet Jam, who this week release a new CD, Word Sound Power.
Planet Jam doesn't play straight-up reggae; instead, they infuse it with strains of various types of world music, most often Eastern European gypsy music. In other words, Bob Marley this ain't (although he does get a shout-out on "Even Higher"), even if they address similar political and sociopolitical issues.
"Disobey," which opens the album, contains some of that gypsy flavor in the form of a keyboard melody that runs between the song's verses. "Crying Wolf," which places gypsy accents over a cool, Caribbean-inspired vibe, is a pop-reggae tune that features searing guitar-key runs that mimic the sound of dual lead guitars. "Conscious Revolution" is as much jazz as it is reggae, with some delightful playing from Abramson; the music has a slight Steely Dan feel to it, though you'd sure as hell never catch the lyrics "nothing can stop the conscious revolution" coming out of Donald Fagen's mouth. Meanwhile, "The Riot," which features a killer chorus that somehow reminds of '80s British pop, is the most fun song on the disc, even as the lyrics are about tearing down Babylon.
Planet Jam celebrate the release of Word Sound Power with a performance tonight, Thursday, Feb. 11, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Top Dead Center and the Determined Luddites get the night rolling at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call 623-3200 for more info.
FEEL (AND HEAR) THE LOVE
For those so inclined, there are several Valentine's Day-themed shows happening around town.
Dianne Schuur once sang around Tucson in a band led by keyboardist Jeff "J.D." Daniel (and which also featured Brian Bromberg on bass). This week, the pair returns to Tucson at the Valentine's Homecoming Concert, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Westin La Paloma Resort Ballroom, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive. See City Week for more info.
On a similarly jazzy note, the Tucson Jazz Society presents a Sweetheart Valentine's Dance at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. The show will feature American Idol vet Crystal Stark backed by the 16-piece Big Band Express. Tickets are $20 for TJS members and $25 for everyone else; VIP couple's tables are available as well. For further details, or to order tickets, head to tucsonjazz.tix.com, or call 903-1265.
Jazz-blues singer/pianist Lisa Otey presents a Valentine's-themed take on her Hot Love cabaret show at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Temple Lounge at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. The show pairs sexy songs with a decadent dinner provided by Gallery of Food. In addition to Otey, performers include Diane Van Deurzen, Regina "The Queen" Wills, Todd Luethjohann, Burney Starks and Mark Rosenbaum. Tickets are $30 (and do not include drinks or tip), available at lisaotey.com. Call 370-5912 for more info.
(Otey and Van Deurzen will also be performing at a benefit for Beowulf Alley Theatre at Club Congress tonight, Thursday, Feb. 11. Head to hotelcongress.com for more details.)
Finally, the second installment in a monthly series of multimedia performances hits The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13. A Pre-Valentine's Day Look at Love will be headlined by Amy Rude's Heartbeast and will also include a spoken piece by Colleena Candelabra, a reading by Stephanie Balzer, a multimedia ritual spell casting by Simon Donovan and Chris Danowski, and a performance by improv dance group Movement Salon. After the performances, there will be a viewing of several short films. The entire program is dedicated to the topic of love. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 882-0204.
ON THE BANDWAGON
There's way more going on than we have space to tell you about, so be sure to check out our club listings. In the meantime, a few notable highlights: an incredible double bill of soulful gospel blues with Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb at the Berger Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 12; Al Di Meola at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, Feb. 18; Les Claypool at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 16; Baraka Moon at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, Feb. 12; Dave Mason at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Feb. 12; the Holy Rolling Empire, Transfer and Ethos at Plush on Saturday, Feb. 13; Raashan Ahmad and Coolzey at Solar Culture on Wednesday, Feb. 17; Hairsprayfireandgirls at Che's Lounge on Saturday, Feb. 13.