23 SONGS, ONE CRANKY COMPUTER
It's been a full three years since we last got product (as those in the music biz call it) from the Distortionists. Following a 13-song demo the band gave away at shows, the group put out its first official release in May 2008—a five-song EP that came packaged with a coloring book called Coloring the Distortionists (self-released). Since then, the band has slimmed down to a trio from its former four-piece incarnation; the group now consists of Taylor Hardy (drums, vocals, theremin), John Hayes (bass, vocals, banjo) and Mike Panico (guitar, vocals, flute). And this week, the band is releasing its first proper full-length, the 23-song The Mark Side of the Dune (self-released).
This is the part where I should be able to tell you about the album—what it sounds like, which songs are my favorites and why, which ones don't work so well for me and why—but there's an issue: A copy of the CD was dropped off for me just prior to my deadline, and guess what? It won't play in my computer. The darn thing just keeps spitting it out like a Westerner getting his first taste of durian. Bummer.
But for those of you who have never heard the Distortionists, I can tell you they're a tight little good-time punk band that doesn't take itself too seriously. One glance at the song titles—which include "Kick You in the Face With My Size 10 Buster Browns," "Don't Eat Paint" and "Count Crackula"—could tell you that. Whether they're awesome or not ... well, you'll just have to check 'em out this week to find out for yourself.
The Distortionists celebrate the release of The Mark Side of the Dune with a free CD-release show at Sky Bar, 536 N Fourth Ave., on Friday, May 13. Loren Dircks and Gila Bend and Fish Karma and the Love Generation open at 10 p.m. For more info, call 622-4300.
If jokey punk rock isn't your bag, fret not, music-lover: There are myriad other options on Friday, May 13, which just happens to be the busiest music night this week.
The ongoing Live at the Red Room series continues at the Red Room at Grill. If you haven't been keeping up, the intimate venue has been holding shows featuring all-local lineups that get recorded for future release as a live compilation. This week's installment boasts three female-fronted acts: Kiss and the Tells, the Lemon Drop Gang and Talk2Strangers. At a future date, all three bands will reconvene to play at the same venue for the CD-release party.
Music should begin around 10 p.m., and all ages are welcome. The Red Room at Grill is located at 100 E. Congress St., and the number to call with questions is 623-7621. Admission is free.
Phoenix band What Laura Says will fete the release of a new 12" called Talk (Sundawg) with a show at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday. Sharing the bill with the piano-poppers will be Black Carl and Mik Garrison. Cover is $5, and music begins at 9:30 p.m. Head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298 for more info.
Her profile may not be what it was 20 or 25 years ago, but the gifted singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked continued to release critically acclaimed albums long after MTV stopped playing her videos (or any videos, for that matter). More importantly for those planning on seeing her perform this week, she still puts on a hell of a show.
Michelle Shocked will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Suite 147 at Plaza Palomino, at Swan and Fort Lowell roads. Advance tickets are available for $20 at Antigone Books, all Bookmans locations and Grey Dog Trading Company; online at rhythmandroots.org; or by calling (800) 594-8499. For more information, call 319-9966.
Club Congress will feature two shows on Friday, May 13—an early show and a late one.
Best known for his 1998 hit "Lullaby," Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins will perform at the early show at 7 p.m. Admission is $15, and you must be 21 or older.
The mostly instrumental Los Angeles duo El Ten Eleven, which sounds as if it has at least twice as many members as it actually does, is a Tucson favorite, and will perform at the late show. Find out why when El Ten Eleven performs at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday. Stareater opens the 18-and-older show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, or $10 on the day of the show. Head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848 for more info about either show.
Weed-friendly Houston rapper Devin the Dude has worked with the likes of Dr. Dre (who put him on the hip-hop map by giving him a guest spot on Dre's 2001 album), De La Soul, Nas, Xzibit and Raphael Saadiq. His latest album is the acclaimed 2010 release Suite #420 (Koch), which was released on April 20, natch. He'll be at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, along with openers the Coughee Brothaz, who kick the night off at 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets to the all-ages show are $17; they'll be $19 on the day of the concert. For more 411, check out rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
SECOND SATURDAYS TURNS 1
Second Saturdays, the monthly downtown street festival that's got a little something for people of all ages, celebrates its one-year anniversary on Saturday, May 14.
Among the entertainment lined up for this special installment is a screening of the Disney classic Fantasia (at the Cricket Kids Area); I Dream in Widescreen: BFA Thesis Films From the University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television (Fox Tucson Theatre); live performances by the Michael P Big Band, Determined Luddites, Chillie Willie Groove and youth graduates of community music school MyTown Music (all at the Scott Avenue Stage).
This is, of course, in addition to all the usual street performers, which include stilt-walkers and living statues, as well as vendors. And, for the first time, a new venue, Soul Celebration, at La Placita Plaza, will take part in the festivities.
Second Saturdays runs from 5 to 10:30 p.m., and all ages are welcome. For more information, head to 2ndsaturdaysdowntown.com.
We told you several weeks ago about the release of Can We Get Together? (Coseismic), a compilation CD featuring 26 local acts that benefits the Tucson Together Fund for victims of the Jan. 8 shootings.
On Sunday, May 15, four of the acts that appear on the CD—Beyond the Firewall, Chorizmex, Wax 78 and The Terrifix—will perform at a show called "Tucson Getting Together" at DV8, 5851 E. Speedway Blvd., with half of the proceeds collected at the door being donated to the Tucson Together Fund. The show begins at 9 p.m., and cover is $5. For more information, call 885-3030.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Border Action Network Spring Fundraiser featuring Rich Hopkins and the Casa Maria Band, the Amosphere, Poi-Zen Fire Troupe, Puppet Muzik and Mariachi Herradura de Tucson at Hotel Congress on Saturday, May 14; Leon Russell at the Fox Tucson Theatre tonight, Thursday, May 12; Brandi Carlile at the Rialto Theatre tonight, Thursday, May 12; S. Carey and Other Lives at Club Congress on Wednesday, May 18; Dan Zanes at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, May 15; Voodoo Glow Skulls and Mandorico at The Hut on Wednesday, May 18; Bone Thugs-n-Harmony at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, May 17; Jeff Dunham at AVA at Casino del Sol on Friday, May 13; Caribbean World Beat Festival featuring Richard Noel and Sticks and Fingers at Solar Culture Gallery on Saturday, May 14; Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers at Plaza Palomino on Saturday, May 14; the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock: Hell Hath No Fury Tour featuring In This Moment, Straight Line Stitch and System Divide at The Rock on Saturday, May 14; Above and Beyond at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, May 18; Tuvan throat singers Alash at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, May 13; Skip Heller and Al Perry at Plush on Sunday, May 15.