Good luck trying to figure out what to do this Friday night. First, there's the electric full-band Brian Lopez show at Congress (more on that in our cover story by Linda Ray), although you do have another opportunity to see him the next night in an intimate Copper Room show. However, even if you delay seeing Lopez for a night, there's still a choice between seeing Cat Power at the Rialto, a solo Album Leaf show at Exploded View, or a concert by buzzy rock act Royal Blood at the Rock.
First, in an effort to help you make an informed decision, let's talk about Cat Power. Chan Marshall, who is Cat Power basically, has a complicated history with our city, starting with an in-store in 1996 at the long-departed Sound Addict record store which was cancelled at the last minute (not the only cancelled Cat Power date in Tucson, by far, for a variety of stated reasons), but continuing with a once-planned residency at Solar Culture and Marshall telling our alt-weekly cousin in Kansas City that she eventually wants to move here. Some of her shows have been trainwrecks, some totally transcendent, Tucson's the first stop on the tour, and she doesn't seem to have anything new to promote (her website seems dedicated to her 2012 album "Sun," which flipped her soul-influenced material of previous albums into moody electronica), so who knows? She's an incredibly talented musician who has put out some amazing music over the last 20 years or so, including 2006's "The Greatest," which is still one of my favorite albums. Doors are at 7 p.m. for the all ages show (on Friday, Sept. 26, in case you forgot). Tickets are $32 for the general admission floor, $40 for a reserved seat on the balcony. More info at rialtotheatre.com.
So, the Album Leaf at Exploded View. This might seem like a strange pairing, especially considering the Toole Avenue joint is not a big place, but there's a new documentary out ("Beyond There") chronicling the group (well, it's basically one guy, Jimmy LaValle) and their first tour of China and other parts of Asia. The film will be shown and LaValle will perform a live solo set of his post-rock/electronica/found sound music. Tickets are $20 for the 7:30 p.m. show, which should be an unforgettable experience. More info at statesidepresents.com. An interesting note: the other Arizona date for this Album Leaf film/concert tour? A stop in Yavapai County, at Paolo Soleri's experimental city Arcosanti.
LIVED IN BARS
British rock duo Royal Blood are having a moment right now. They have the endorsement of Arctic Monkeys, they've been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize (given to the best album from the United Kingdom plus Ireland) and they played all of the UK's big music fests this summer. Do they merit the hype? Depends on your take on mainstream rock with a touch of garage. Yep, there are big riffs and hooky choruses, but yeah, there are songs that sound like the last round of rock revivalists like Jet and the Vines. Overall, these guys know what they're doing and play this style of music better than anyone else out there right now, but your personal mileage may vary. Royal Blood play the Rock (still on Friday) as part of some KFMA promo for $10.21. Doors for the all ages show are at 8 p.m. More info at rocktucson.com.
Blitzen Trapper often get lumped into some Americana/alt-country/Paste magazine type bullshit mini-genre, but that's wildly unfair to the a-little-bit-of-everything aspects of what the Portland band's been doing for over a decade. Each album, they seem to get a little weirder, and on the band's latest, last year's "VII," I wouldn't even know where to start describing them, although the group seems somewhat obsessed with trying to sound like Stevie Wonder at times and frontman Eric Earley claims that the music of Joe Walsh was a big influence. Ok, sure. Blitzen Trapper come through town relatively often, but they always put on a solid show. Cassorla opens the all-ages show on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at Club Congress. Tickets are $19. More info at hotelcongress.com.