FINDING WHAT'S MISSING
If you traversed the Fourth Avenue underpass in the months following its opening a couple of years ago, chances are you've heard The Missing Parts. That's where I first encountered them, a virtuosic four-piece playing largely improvised instrumentals of indiscriminate origin, standing out among a sea of haggard buskers bashing out Dylan and Skynyrd tunes.
That's where they began, making stuff up as they went along, until skeletons of songs were formed—and, eventually, filled out. In short, they became a real band.
Not too long after that, they began playing gigs at local clubs and released a debut album, Folk Music From an Undiscovered Country, last year. This week, they're back with the self-released follow-up, Sueños.
With a somewhat unusual configuration—Juarez-born violinist Oliver Blaylock (the band's de facto leader), lap steel guitarist Douglas Francisco, acoustic guitarist Paul Wright and cellist Brian Hullfish—the band is able to explore so many genres on Sueños that it's dizzying. They've kept to their street roots, playing acoustic instrumentals only occasionally punctuated by a holler or a scream. But as far as the music goes, the best, and most-pithy description lies in the title of their first album: Folk Music From an Undiscovered Country goes a long way in describing exactly what it is the band does, though it doesn't quite cover it all.
Yes, there's a good deal of folk music on Sueños, but it's not just folk music, not even just world-music-inspired folk music—far from it. Listen to a Missing Parts song, and you'll find yourself transported from folk to klezmer to gypsy jazz to chamber music to classical; hell, you could say there are some proggy folk moments on Sueños, and you wouldn't be wrong. It also seems apparent that, though most of the songs are very tightly composed and performed, The Missing Parts still leave room for improvisation within them—another nod to their beginnings.
The Missing Parts will perform a free CD-release show on Saturday, June 4, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., in conjunction with the gallery's community art opening, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Expect them to play during the opening, but at 9 p.m., they'll take the stage for the official show. Immediately following the concert, they'll embark upon their third national tour. For more information, head to solarculture.org, or call 884-0874.
ONE NIGHT, TWO LEGENDS
Two legendary musicians whose pedigrees couldn't be more different drop into town on the same night this week, Friday, June 3.
Dick Dale has certainly earned the nickname the King of Surf Guitar. The genre pretty much didn't exist until he came along in the late 1950s. He's now in his 70s, but it's tough to find anyone playing surf-guitar tunes with as much fire and grace. Countless generations of musicians have been influenced by his staccato style and reverb-drenched sound, as it continues to be "discovered" by teens shredding in their basements today. The inclusion of his version of "Misirlou" on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, in 1994, sure didn't hurt matters in that regard.
But part of the fun of seeing Dick Dale live, in addition to his guitar-playing, is his stage persona. The guy is no modest wallflower; he introduces songs with a boastful confidence—usually in the third person. ("Back when Dick Dale was born in Boston, in 1937... .") It may be a little off-putting at first, but consider the contributions Dale has made to popular music, and it's pretty easy to grant him his bragging rights.
Dick Dale performs at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., on Friday, June 3. Doors open at 7 p.m., and you can pick up advance tickets for $25 at Zia Records, Bookmans and the venue. For further details, go to huttucson.com, or call 623-3200.
Neil Innes, meanwhile, may be one of the more unsung legends of the last five decades. (Admit it: You don't know who he is, do you?)
The British Innes was a founding member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (later shortened to the Bonzo Dog Band), an irreverent group that formed in 1962 and went on to become one of the most successful acts of their time to combine comedy and music. Their only hit song, "I'm the Urban Spaceman," was co-produced by Paul McCartney, and the title of another of their songs, "Death Cab for Cutie," clearly shows they were an inspiration to future musicians.
After hooking up with a couple of other bands that didn't make much of a splash, Innes became an unofficial member of Monty Python, writing and performing in sketches for the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV show. He appeared on a pair of live albums from the troupe, including Monty Python Live at City Center, on which, as the folk-singing character Raymond Scum, he uttered the immortal words, "I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn." He had small roles in Jabberwocky and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and wrote the songs for the latter. He later joined with Python's Eric Idle to create the spot-on Beatles parody group the Rutles ("the prefab four"), who were "mockumented" in the 1978 film All You Need Is Cash.
Since then, he has participated in a number of Rutles- and Bonzo-related reunions, composed songs for children's TV shows, formed a new musical-comedy collective called the Idiot Bastard Band, and performed as a solo artist—which is what he'll do when he arrives at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, June 3. Doors open at 7 p.m., and advance tickets are $10. They'll be $13 on the day of the show. For more 411, head to hotelcongress.com, or call 622-8848.
On Saturday, June 4, La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave., in Old Town Artisans, will play host to the national kickoff event for the Tequila Party, a Latino get-out-the-vote movement meant to counteract the ghostly white Tea Party. The event, which is free and runs from 6 to 10 p.m., will feature performances by Mariachi Luz de Luna, Cuba's Duo Libre and Aztec dancers, as well as several speakers. For more info, check out lacocinatucson.com and tequilapartytour.com.
Following an extended hiatus, beloved local band Tesoro, which performs flamenco music with a rock flair, returns to local stages this summer starting with a double-bill with world-music ensemble Spirit Familia at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, June 3. Music starts at 9:30 p.m., and the cover charge is $5. For further details, point your browser to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.
Just a month after the Tucson Folk Festival, the operation behind the annual shindig, the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, has started raising funds for next year's event. Starting Sunday, June 5, the TKMA will host a monthly open-mic night, hosted alternately by TKMA'ers Ron Pandy and Eb Eberlein, on the first Sunday of every month at Frog and Firkin, 874 E. University Blvd. Music goes from 6 to 9 p.m. There is no cover charge, but donations to TKMA will be accepted. For more information, call 623-7507.
Future Self (Barsuk), the debut album by Spokane, Wash.'s The Globes, will appeal to listeners of Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse, Built to Spill and Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as locals Seashell Radio, who will open for them at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., next Thursday, June 9. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free until 9 p.m., and $3 after that. Call 622-8848 for more details.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Sammy Hagar and the Wabos with Hurtsmile (featuring Gary Cherone, who replaced Hagar in Van Halen) at AVA at Casino del Sol on Saturday, June 4; Hed to Head Tour featuring Mushroomhead and Hed PE at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, June 9; Chris Burton Jacome Flamenco Ensemble at the Plaza Palomino courtyard on Saturday, June 4; Little Brave at Plush on Sunday, June 5; DJ Irene at Club Congress on Friday, June 3; Luis Miguel at AVA at Casino del Sol on Friday, June 3; Redlight King at The Rock on Friday, June 3; HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, Caught on Film (featuring Chris O'Gorman, formerly of The Year of Acceleration) and the Early Black at Plush on Saturday, June 4.