MOORE GENRESNot unlike former Austonian (is that what they call them?) and Tucsonan Teddy Morgan (who's soon to split for Nashville, and damn, do we wish him the best), Ian Moore made his name as a hot-shit blues guitarist in Texas before branching out into, well, pretty much everything he could get his hands on.
His press kit flaunts his appreciation for everyone from the Beatles to Willie Nelson, Spiritualized to Marvin Gaye, Prince to Palace, and it's true that his recent albums have genre-jumped so much that they're impossible to categorize. But on his recent live DVD, Live From the Cactus Cafe (2003, Hablador), he resembles no one as much as Jeff Buckley conjuring the soulfulness of Van Morrison (OK, so at least it's a grand attempt).
Moore introduces "Today" by saying, "This is a long one. This is one of our epic acoustic songs. I'm kind of modeling this after early Genesis." You can't hear the laughs, but only hope they were there.
It's a mighty shrug-off of what turns out to be pretty magical. "Lay me in flowers, magnolia petals New Orleans-style / Yeah, and play me a funeral procession / Second-line rhythms, won't you walk me that mile?" are the first lines of a death march that eventually reaches some semblance of transcendence. Six-and-a-half minutes in, he launches into "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" like he just can't help himself--it's less a musical choice than a necessary exorcism of what one guesses is the fear of death: a reconciliation with mortality. His falsetto just before the song ends, at the 15-minute mark, is chilling.
Expect to see all facets of Ian Moore when he performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Advance tickets are available for $11 at the venue's box office, all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com and by calling 321-1000. For more information, call 733-6262.
NORTHERN INVASIONThough they're touring on the re-release of their eponymous debut album--originally only found on the shelves in record stores in their native Canada--it's The Constantines' 2003 album, Shine a Light (Sub Pop), that blew me away (enough so that it made my Top 10 list from last year). I even went back and bought the debut 'cause I loved Shine a Light so much, but wasn't really that impressed. (Most people seem to love it, but ... )
And most people seem to also describe them as Bruce Springsteen fronting Fugazi, but I tend to think that's just lazy journalism. Yeah, the comparison is apt in places, but singer/guitarist Bry Webb sounds as much like Joe Strummer or Spoon's Britt Daniel--and, for that matter, himself--as often as he does The Boss, and the arrangements of the songs on Shine a Light are far more inventive than the standard influenced-by-Fugazi fare.
And did I mention the fact that they exude a sexy-ass vibe that Ian MacKaye probably couldn't make heads or tails of? When The Constantines opened for The Weakerthans--no slouches themselves--at Skrappy's in September, they absolutely slayed.
The Constantines perform at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, May 11. Chango Malo and Manifold open at 9 p.m. Admission is $7. Need more info? Call 622-8848.
FREEDOM KICKS?Every time I go to South by Southwest, each March in Austin, I come back raving about a band I didn't know about before I got there. In 2002, that band was Brooklyn's French Kicks.
On the recommendation of an old friend I hadn't seen since high school, I caught their set, which combined post-punk dissonance with a distinctly mod jumpiness, and obviously, it won me over. I was an instant fan; they were that good.
Though I haven't heard their new album, The Trial of the Century, which drops next week on Star Time, early reviews have it as a toned-down, keyboard-oriented move towards a prettiness that was before more implied than obvious. I somehow trust the evolution.
Also on the bill are fellow Brooklynites Ambulance LTD, who excel at dosing '80s shoegaze atmospherics with glorious hooks and the occasional detour into Stranglers-influenced swagger (the truly great "Primitive [The Way I Treat You]").
And, if we're really lucky, On the Speakers will grace us with their presence in the opening slot. The band was mighty impressive a couple weeks ago, opening for the Sleepy Jackson at Club Congress. (Read a review of their EP in the April 22 edition of the Weekly.)
This fabulous triple-bill goes down at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 10 at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. All ages are welcome and admission is $7. Call 884-0874 for further info.
THE MOSE KNOWSWe're not exactly sure whether Mose Allison falls under the category of bluesy jazz or jazzy blues, but we do know he's a legendary figure who still puts on a hell of a show.
The only artists that resemble Allison--Georgie Fame comes to mind, and we love him, too--came after him, marking him as a bona fide original. No one who attempts what he does, to this day, sounds as damn cool as Mose, with his sing-songy but lazy vocals and distinctive piano plunking. Others have either tried to duplicate or reinvented his songs (The Who's masterful cover of "Young Man's Blues" is probably the best known example of the latter, but everyone from Van Morrison and The Clash attempted the same), but Allison remains a true American original that continues to inspire.
Mose Allison performs two shows at Belushe's, 1118 E Sixth St., on Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13. Both shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the venue for $20. For further info, call 903-9039.
CONGRESS RAPRapper Brother Ali's debut album, Shadows on the Sun (2003, Rhymesayers), flipped the lid of just about anyone who cared to hear, pairing Atmosphere producer Ant with Ali, whose rep comes mostly from his gift for freestyle and his kick-ass live shows. The result was one of last year's most praised hip-hop albums. To tide the faithful over 'til the next one, the Champion EP, which carries a full eight tracks of new stuff plus a remix of the title track, hits stores this Tuesday.
To sweeten the deal, Vast Aire, arguably the better half of the lauded--and seemingly defunct, though especially in rap, you never know--Cannibal Ox occupies the middle slot, and Immortal Technique and Omni open.
The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $14 at All City Records & Clothing, Zia Records and all Ticketmaster outlets. They'll be $16 on the day of the show. For more information, call 622-8848.
MEDIOCRE MOSHWhile I'm all for the day-long, get-sunburned-and-drunk rock show known as KFMA Day, I have to step up to the plate to say that this year's fest is one of the lamest line-ups yet.
Seriously, when Pennywise and Lit are vying for the best band on the bill, you gotta know something's wrong.
Maybe I just have a low tolerance for pre-packaged rebellion, but The Offspring headlining? And Puddle of Mudd before them? Dudes, last year, you had AFI and Foo Fighters. Is that really the best you can do this time around? Papa Roach? Kottonmouth Kings?
Oh, well. Never mind. I'm sure the kids'll have a blast anyway. Any excuse to get drunk and mosh, I suppose. Have fun, y'all.
KFMA Day begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, at the Pima County Fairgrounds (take Exit 275 at Houghton Road off Interstate 10). All ages are welcome and tickets are available in advance for $32.50 at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com or 321-1000. For more information, log on to kfma.com.
INSERT DICK JOKE HEREComedian/actor/songwriter Andy Dick generally generates one of two reactions from people, which is to say people either love him or hate him.
Though I think he sometimes flogs a dead horse, I fall into the former, citing his stint on NewsRadio and The Andy Dick Show as proof enough. And, hell, the guy's lucky to be alive after all he's been through, let alone still be funny. (Have you ever noticed how many funny people aren't funny once they're clean and sober? I'm not condoning substance abuse, mind you; I'm just sayin' ... )
Anyhoo, if you're a fan of Mr. Dick's escapades, you can catch his musical duo, Sonic Sub Division (his partner in crime is guitarist Mark Foster) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tix are available at the venue for $10; they'll be $12 at the door. Following Sonic Sub Division, old-school Tucson favorite Spyder Rhodes makes a grand return to the club's DJ booth; he'll be there every Saturday. Call 622-8848 for more information.