OUR HOUSE, IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR STREET
There are tons of big-name shows coming to town this week, but here are a couple interesting things that might have passed under your radar.
House concerts – which are exactly what that sounds like: a concert that takes place at someone's residence as opposed to a normal venue – are de rigeur in most cities these days, but for some reason Tucson seems to be a bit behind that trend. This week one of Americana's most underappreciated singer-songwriters arrives in town to perform just such a show.
Will Johnson has released solo albums; fronted the fantastic bands Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel; was part of the famed Undertow Orchestra with the late Vic Chesnutt, Mark Eitzel, and David Bazan; and was one-quarter of New Multitudes, a project that put music to previously unpublished lyrics by Woody Guthrie, along with Jim James, Jay Farrar, and Anders Parker. And yet, somehow his own compositions, as great as they are, have largely remained unknown by most music fans. He is a songwriter's songwriter, but that doesn't mean his music won't appeal to the casual fan. I can't think of a better introduction to Johnson and his vast catalog of great songs than to check him out at the first stop of his Western States Living Room Tour, which will take place at a local home at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. Tickets are $15 in advance at undertowmusic.com. These shows are selling out quickly and only 35 tickets for the Tucson stop will be sold, so act quickly.
While the term "YouTube sensation" kinda makes me cringe, there is no other way to describe the co-ed pop duo Pomplamoose, whose inventive videos started going viral soon after the group formed in 2008. Those videos, which featured both original songs and covers ("September" by Earth Wind and Fire was a particularly popular one), showed the songs being performed live, using multiple split screens to show all the instruments being performed at once. Add to that the beguiling voice of singer Nataly Dawn and, well, the numbers speak for themselves: As of this writing, Pomplamoose's YouTube channel has racked up over 87 million views.
In January, Nataly Dawn released her debut solo album, How I Knew Her, on Nonesuch Records, and this week she arrives to perform songs from it on Tuesday, April 9, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The 18-and-over show starts at 7 p.m. with an opening set by Lauren O'Connell. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of show. For more info check out hotelcongress.com/club or call 622-8848.
VINYL HUNTERS UNITE!
Calling all record-collecting nerds! From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, Hotel Congress will be holding the Spring Congress Record Fair to soothe your music-buying needs. Zia, Bookmans, and a host of private dealers will be on hand offering tons of vinyl and other goodies to sate your sundry needs. Think of it as a kick-ass pop-up record store, if you must, but if you're a voracious consumer of music, especially of the vinyl variety, you won't want to miss it. Admission is free.
Later that night Club Congress will be hosting a show featuring Dick "King of the Surf Guitar" Dale, along with openers The Mission Creeps. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and is open to those 21 and over. Advance tickets are $20, and they'll be $23 on the day of the show.
If you're looking for a way to kill time in between the record fair and the show, starting at 6 p.m. the Hotel Plaza will be holding an Art Mart which will feature dealers of goods of all variety – "the ultimate swap meet, flea market and street fair all in one," according to Congress' website.
Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. For more info about any and all of these events head to hotelcongress.com or call 622-8848.
A FESTIVAL YOU DON'T HAVE TO LEAVE TOWN FOR
As if there weren't enough musical events happening around town right now, consider this: The Way Out West Fest, an all-DIY musical festival now in its third year, featuring both local and national bands, hits town this weekend. The action will take place mostly at The District Tavern and the relatively new The Junxion Bar on Friday and Saturday, with opening and closing "ceremonies" happening at Tucson Live Music Space (TLMS) on Thursday and Sunday. First, a quick look at the lineups:
The Pre-WOW Fest Show starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Thursday, April 4, at TLMS, 125 W. Ventura St., and will feature performances by Family Thief, Horror Squad, Logan Greene Electric, and No Radio. Admission is a $6 donation or free with a WOW Fest wristband.
Similarly, the Post-WOW Fest Show begins at 7:30 p.m. at TLMS on Sunday, April 7, and will feature performances by Apathy Cycle, Harry & Friends, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Babysitter, and Drizzle. Again, admission is a $6 donation or free with a WOW Fest Wristband.
Both of the TLMS shows are open to all ages, but the action on Friday and Saturday is open to those 21 and older only. Your best bet is to buy a $20 wristband today, which entitles you to entry to all shows, drink specials at the bars and, if you buy early enough, a free WOW Fest 7-inch single from Jailhouse Records. As of Friday, April 5, passes will go up to $25 (still a bargain). Single-day passes will be available as space allows, but will not include drink specials. Here's what you wristband-holders have to look forward to:
Friday, April 5, at The District Tavern: Man Bites Dog (9:15 p.m.), Tenebrae (10:05 p.m.), Symbol Six (10:55 p.m.), Street Eaters (11:45 p.m.), The Resonars (12:35 a.m.).
Friday, April 5, at The Junxion Bar: Hip Don't Dance (8 p.m.), Moonraker (8:50 p.m.), Horror Squad (9:40 p.m.), Pu$$y Cow (10:30 p.m.), Signals (11:20 p.m.), Gentlemen Prefer Blood (12:10 a.m.), Bobby Joe Ebola (1:05 a.m.).
Saturday, April 6, at The District Tavern: Best Dog Award (3:35 p.m.), Black Sparrow Press (4:25 p.m.), American Lies (5:15 p.m.), Blackdots (6:05 p.m.). Following a break for dinner and such: Payoff (9:15 p.m.), Holding Onto Sound (10:05 p.m.), Fort Worth (10:55 p.m.), Free Machines (11:45 p.m), Lenguas Largas (12:35 a.m.).
Saturday, April 6, at The Junxion Bar: From Scars (4 p.m.), Occult Books (4:50 p.m.), Bad Cop/Bad Cop (5:40 p.m.), Harry and the Hendersons (6:30 p.m.). Go eat some food and take a shower 'cause you stink, then: No Radio (8 p.m.), Pokedasquid (8:50 p.m.), Success (9:40 p.m.), The Scarred (10:30 p.m.), Uncommonmenfrommars (11:20 p.m.), Shell Corporation (12:10 a.m.), Lariats (1:05 a.m.).
The District Tavern is located at 260 E. Congress St., and the phone number is 792-0081. The Junxion Bar is located at 63 E. Congress St., and the number is 623-5869. For lots more details about the Way Out West Fest head to wayoutwestfestaz.com. If you have questions, email the organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FUNDING THE FOLK
Of course, the WOW Fest is but one of many festivals happening this spring, including (pimp alert!) the Weekly-sponsored Exile on Congress St. on Saturday, April 20, and the 28th Annual Tucson Folk Festival, which will take place on five stages in downtown Tucson on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5. After all these years, the Folk Fest remains free of charge to all attendees, and the only way to make that possible is to hold fundraising events throughout the year. This week the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association (TKMA), which organizes the fest, holds its final fundraiser for the 2013 edition.
The TKMA Spring Fundraiser will feature live music from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, at La Cocina at Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave. This year's lineup looks a li'l somethin' like this: El Trio Frio (Duncan Stitt, Johnny Strasser, and Marx Loeb (noon), Arnold Klingenfus Ensemble (1 p.m.), Don & Victoria Armstrong (2 p.m.), Sabra Faulk (3 p.m.), Way Out West (4 p.m.), Buffelgrass (5 p.m.).
All ages are welcome, food and a full bar will be available, and admission is a $10 donation at the door. For further details head to tkma.org. The number at La Cocina is 365-3053.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Check out our listings sections for more info about appearances by Robert Earl Keen, Devendra Banhart, Widowspeak, The Wombats, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Gwar, Igor and the Red Elvises, Arlo Guthrie, Local H, Kottonmouth Kings, and many more including Monster Pussy's cassette-release show (and penultimate performance) with The Sadie Hawks and Burning Palms at Solar Culture Gallery next Thursday, April 11.