by Jim Nintzel
If you were there last year, you know what it's all about: A new festival, right in the heart of Barrio Viejo, with Calexico and a whole bunch of special guests, including Robin Hitchcock and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. Gene Armstrong sums it up this week:
If you were among the couple thousand lucky souls to attend last year's Festival en el Barrio Viejo, featuring Calexico and friends, you may still be aglow with the memories of good cheer, fellowship and amazing music under the springtime sun.
We're excited to report that the event will return for a second, bigger and better iteration this Saturday. Calexico again will play host, and this time around, bands from out of town—albeit bands with notable Tucson connections—will join in the fun. Legendary English rocker Robyn Hitchcock, who might as well be named an honorary Tucsonan, will be there, as will the volatile Southern California Latin-funk-reggae ensemble B*Side Players.
I'm especially looking forward to The Baseball Project, an all-star group that features Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate); Linda Pitmon (Golden Smog); Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows); and Peter Buck (R.E.M.). Their two albums—including the recent Vol. 2: High and Inside—are terrific, among the best indie-rock releases of the last five years.
Want more? The show also will feature local heroes Gabriel Sullivan and Taraf de Tucson, the Silver Thread Trio, Al Perry, Kiss and the Tells, Los Gallegos and Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School.
A benefit for community radio station KXCI FM 91.3, the Festival en el Barrio Viejo will happen between 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 26. You can enter at the corner of Cushing Street and Meyer Avenue, just south of the Tucson Convention Center. Advance tickets cost $22, or $19 if you are KXCI member. On the day of the show, expect to pay $26 at the gate. Call 740-1000 for more information.