Well, this is it, people — the weekend we've all been waiting for. In case you're Tommy (i.e., deaf, dumb and blind), this is Day of the Dead weekend, which brings with it not only the world-famous All Souls Procession, which takes place on Sunday, Nov. 3, but lots of satellite events as well (not to mention plenty of great shows not associated with the procession).
We've highlighted two of the biggest in our music features this week — Dance of the Dead, the official All Souls after-party at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday; and the ambitious, DIY, loaded-with-awesome-stuff Night of the Living Fest taking place at Old Tucson Studios on Saturday, Nov. 2 — but there are lots of other, mostly smaller events in conjunction with the Procession proper. Here's a little info about a few of them.
If your ears (and liver) can handle it, I'd recommend that the best way to kick off your weekend is to head to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. The club will be hosting the All Souls Procession/Night of the Living Fest Kickoff Party, which is essentially a mini festival in itself.
Headlining the event will be Weird Womb, a four-piece that grew up in Tucson but recently relocated to New York, and has been generating a fair amount of buzz lately in outlets like SPIN, CMJ, and Brooklyn Vegan, garnering comparisons to Richard Hell and The Replacements. In August they released a killer three-song 7-inch called "Ruined by the '90s," and before that, in June, they played a show at Shea Stadium with Japanther. It seems pretty safe to say that their star is rising.
But Weird Womb is far from the only reason to check out the show. Also playing that night are psychedelic folk-poppers Dream Sick, who are currently at work on their third full-length; the good-time pop-rock foursome The Electric Blankets, who seem to continue to get better with every show and each new release; Prom Body, aka Sleep Like Trees' Michael Fay, who recorded everything himself on the fantastic debut album Creep the Strange, and who has since put together a fine band to play the songs live; psych-dream-pop trio Best Dog Award; glam-pop supergroup Silverfox, which includes guitarist Clif Taylor and Congress' own David Slutes; the ramshackle-but-precise punk of Womb Tomb; and the primal, minimalist blues of Katterwaul, Brittany Katter's (Kiss and the Tells, Fell City Shouts) solo project.
The shindig kicks off at 6 p.m., and admission is free, but you must be 21 or older.
On the actual day of the All Souls Procession, Sunday, Nov. 3, Congress will transform itself into Face Paint Town. Starting at 2 p.m., those not-so-artistically-inclined can stop in to get their faces painted by pros while taking in live music by The Mission Creeps, The Modeens, Aotearoa, and the Early Black. All ages are welcome and admission is free.
Get more information on both of these events at hotelcongress.com/club or by calling 622-8848.
Similarly, Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 E. Toole Ave., will play host to an All Souls Procession Pre-Party starting at noon on Sunday, Nov. 3. The microbrewery has created a special beer for the occasion: 50 percent of the sales of Las Almas, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, will benefit Many Mouths One Stomach, the organizers of the procession. Live music will be provided by Jazz Telephone from 3 to 5 p.m. (As it turns out, the brewery's tasting room makes for a fine listening room as well, and Don Jennings, onetime host of "Locals Only" on KXCI, is doing a bang-up job booking it.) More info is available at borderlandsbrewing.com or by calling 261-8773.
SAY IT SO
In the last couple years, Ryanhood, the acoustic-pop duo that ascended to the highest ranks of Tucson bands (how many local acts can sell out the Rialto Theatre, as they have?), went quiet. Or, perhaps dark is a better word. Were they still together? No one seemed to know, and when Ryan Green (one half of the duo along with Cameron Hood) released an album with his new band, The Great Collision, it seemed like it might be another nail in the Ryanhood coffin.
As documented in an open letter posted on the band's website (ryanhood.com), just when it seemed like the band was doing all the right things and catching all the breaks to, well, break out, everything fell apart.
They'd released a record, Forward, that got a great response and garnered them some opening dates for Jason Mraz. They spent the next three years touring and shuttling back and forth from Tucson to Los Angeles, where they were recording their follow-up album with Grammy-winning producer Ross Robinson, who had worked with everyone from Korn to The Cure. The recording was a difficult process for a lot of reasons, but they emerged with The World Awaits, by far their most ambitious work yet, full of the types of big arrangements they were hoping for. (But they went $10,000 in debt releasing it.) They won a contest to be the local opening act at the now-infamous student-run concert at Arizona Stadium headlined by Jay-Z, which was expected to be their biggest live show to date, as the audience was projected to be 17,000 people. (But the doors opened late, which meant they played in front of only a few hundred people. Plus, as the open letter says, "We'd beefed up our merchandise for what we thought would be an audience of 17,000 and as a result, went another $6,000 into merchandise debt.") They wrote a cute little ditty to Ellen DeGeneres, who heard it and tweeted about it, which led to a call from her staff about an appearance on her daytime talk show. (But during a break in filming, most of the show's staff was replaced. When they contacted the show once production started up again, as they were told to do, no one on the new staff knew who they were or what they were talking about.)
As they write on their website, "piece by piece, the house of cards fell."
But this sad story has a happy ending. The letter ends with some very good — and surprising — news. Not only will Ryanhood be performing its annual year-end Rialto show this week; they've also quietly recorded a new album. The appropriately titled Start Somewhere was recorded in the same fashion as their debut album, Sad and Happiness, which was released a decade ago — two guitars, two voices, and not much else. You can call it a comeback if you like, but Ryanhood, who have been here for years, will release Start Somewhere at that show this week.
An Evening with Ryanhood begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. There's no opening act; instead, they'll be playing two sets, both combinations of the full-band and duo formations. Copies of the new album will be available for purchase. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 on the day of show. For further details check out rialtotheatre.com or call 740-1000.
ON THE BANDWAGON
The Fish Karma Jazz Trio, Al Perry, and Hank Topless at Toxic Ranch Records tonight, Thursday, Oct. 31; Paul Oakenfold at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Nov. 1; Black Cherry Burlesque at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Nov. 1; The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band and Hank Topless at Club Congress on Saturday, Nov. 2; Copper & Congress and Hello Dollface at Hotel Congress on Saturday, Nov. 2; Bryan White at The Rock on Saturday, Nov. 2; Vince Gill: Chasing Rainbows Gala benefit for the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 3; Koffin Kats at Surly Wench Pub on Sunday, Nov. 3; Peach Kelli Pop at Tucson Live Music Space on Sunday, Nov. 3; "Fly Solo" with Tristin Tucci, Mari Morton, M.A.R.C., and Logan Greene at Maker House on Monday, Nov. 4; Pacific Mambo Orchestra featuring Tito Puente Jr. at the Fox Tucson Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 5; Riff Raff at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 5; Gramatik, heRobust, and Ex Mag at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 6; An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt at the Fox Tucson Theatre next Thursday, Nov. 7; Geographer and Royal Bangs at Solar Culture Gallery next Thursday, Nov. 7; "Party With Your Friends Tour" with Hoodie Allen at The Rock next Thursday, Nov. 7; Mountain Sounds, Sun Bones, and Valise at Plush next Thursday, Nov. 7; Baauer, DJ Mustard, and S-Type at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, Nov. 7; Jonathan Batiste and the Stay Human at Club Congress next Thursday, Nov. 7, and Friday, Nov. 8.
R.I.P., Lou Reed. Thanks for changing everything.