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Music editor Stephen Seigel has ventured temporarily to far-off lands. In his place, I will be your server. Here are today's specials.
KING WITHOUT A CROWN
Are you ready, Tucson music fans, for the world's only Manhattan-raised Hasidic Jewish reggae star?
While Matisyahu's unique job description sounds more like the long-winded setup for some bad humor, the artist born Matthew Miller is no joke.
Since he hit the scene in 2004, Matisyahu has released five albums. They provide proof that he can bring the noise in credible fashion—he even enjoyed a Top 40 hit with the song "King Without a Crown."
He's got the goods in terms of rapping and toasting, usually about spiritual matters, while his music often rides a gorgeous and crucial irie groove.
On the cusp of turning 30, Matisyahu has a new album, titled Light, due in stores Aug. 25. Produced by David Kahne, it shows him expanding his musical horizons; not only is there hard-core dancehall on the recording, but also some ska-spiced new wave, Middle Eastern and ambient influences, pop-rock and strummy acoustic folk.
To promote the new recording, Matisyahu has just embarked on a huge summer-long tour. The jaunt brings him to Tucson for a concert next Thursday, June 11, that will feature opening sets by the incredible Dub Trio (also Matisyahu's backing band) and soulful Somalian rapper K'naan. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets cost $26, and you can obtain more information by calling 740-1000.
IS YOUTH WASTED ON THE YOUNG?
It may be hard to believe for those of us who listened to legendary punk band Youth Brigade back in the day, but that group from Los Angeles formed 29 years ago this summer.
Composed of brothers Mark, Shawn and Adam Stern, Youth Brigade was one of the most popular bands to come out of the Southern California punk-rock scene of the 1980s. That the group did not reach the popular heights of some of its contemporaries—Social Distortion, Bad Religion, The Offspring, etc.—may be attributed more to the fact that the Sterns refused to go commercial and stayed true to their DIY roots.
The band has broken up and reunited (more than once), and its members have dabbled in other styles of music, but Youth Brigade is back in action: These guys are on the road again, not to mention recording material for a new album and compiling a box set for their famous boutique label BYO Records.
Youth Brigade will play on Saturday, June 6, at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St. The show will start about 9 p.m. Also on the bill will be the band Killroy (also from Los Angeles), as well as local acts Bricktop, The Besmirchers (see Rhythm & Views for Carl Hanni's take on their new album) and U.T.A. Admission is $10. Call 622-3535 for the lowdown.
QUENCH YOUR THIRST FOR TEXAS BLUES
Tucson is supposed to become quiet, hot and dry during the summer months, but an early and raucous monsoon of music is scheduled for this weekend downtown.
Texas blues guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek and Louisiana-born guitarist/vocalist Bnois King have been enjoying a successful musical partnership for some 20 years, despite (or perhaps because of) their differing styles.
Kubek's electrifying blues-rock approach and King's jazz-inflected R&B groove provide contrast, but they also complement each other. Kubek has explained the relationship thusly: "I pull the blues out of him, and he pulls the jazz out of me. Bnois knows so much about jazz, it's amazing."
Kubek and King have been through Tucson a few times and likely have built a modest local following. They'll return to town to perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 6, in the green and cool surroundings of the courtyard at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave.
Advance tickets cost $17 at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors and Enchanted Earthworks; they'll be $20 at the door. You can also get them, as well as additional information, by calling (800) 594-8499.
YUMMY LADYFINGERS AT THE RED ROOM
We know folks from New Jersey and New York usually visit Tucson in the winter, but Adam Weiner—who splits his time between the neighboring states—must not be your typical snowbird, because he is coming by during the hottest time of the year.
Truth be told, singer-songwriter Weiner will playing a gig as his alter-ego, Ladyfingers. And it should be well worth the trip, at least for those who attend the show.
Ladyfingers' music is a sometimes jittery, occasionally jaunty and often dark concoction into which is mixed lo-fi rock, doo-wop, rockabilly, punk and Weimar-era cabaret music. Weiner describes his music as a blend of "wiggy theatrics and self-deprecation." A spin of Ladyfingers' excellent new album, Open Your Robe, may have listeners recalling Tom Waits, the Cramps, Leonard Cohen, Ween, Hasil Adkins and Cab Calloway.
Open Your Robe was released in May on vinyl and as an MP3 download that you can capture at www.ladyfingers.org. There is a suggested donation, but you are encouraged to pay what you can.
We've been assured that Weiner's live shows are a rush of nervous energy and dark humor. He'll play a piano-based set at 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, at Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St. Admission is free. Call 623-7621 for more info.
NAUGHTILY NAMED BAND RETURNS
Contrary to rumors, we at Weekly World Central don't love the Toronto-based band Holy Fuck simply because of its naughty name, although it does have a certain subversive, 13-year-old Beavis and Butt-head appeal.
This assaultive electronic rock combo plays arrestingly cool compositions for dancing to the apocalypse—dizzying in a slamming psychedelic sort of way, but also capable of slicing off your skull at the ears. The group has been through Tucson more than once in the past couple of years, playing with such artists as Super Furry Animals, El Ten Eleven and A Place to Bury Strangers; they're still on the road promoting their amazing 2007 album, LP (which, by the way, was one of my Top 10 favorites for that year).
Holy Fuck returns to play Monday, June 8, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., with opening acts Crocodiles (a rising-star fuzz-and-feedback band) and Tucson's ... music video? The show will start at 9 p.m., with tickets setting you back $10. Need more information? Call 798-1298.
BITE-SIZED GIG ALERTS
Two years after its last Tucson appearance, the blues and Americana treasure David Bromberg Band will return to play at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at the Rialto Theatre. Reserved-seats cost $23 to $39; 740-1000.
Another favorite in these parts, the electronic pop-folk act Helio Sequence, stops by Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, June 9, for a gig with Reuben's Accomplice and The Static Session. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show cost $10; 622-8848.
Also at Congress, honorary Tucsonan Jonathan Richman returns to the stage with longtime drumming cohort Tom Larkins for a gig, with Tucson's Lemon Drop Gang opening at 7 p.m., Friday, June 5. Tickets cost $10 in advance, or $12 on the day of the show.
Philadelphia punk band Witch Hunt, touring behind its third album, Burning Bridges to Nowhere, will play at 8 p.m. Friday, June 5, at Dry River Collective, 740 N. Main Ave. Admission is TBA.