Although it's theoretically for students, I'm not sure anyone's going to try to stop you if your college days are behind you from seeing Aloe Blacc at a free "Welcome Back!" show on the UA Mall this Friday, Oct. 3. Aloe's still riding high off the success of "The Man," a song you've probably heard in the background of a million sports montages and "Wake Me Up," his collaboration with Avicii, but once upon a time, he was a hip-hop guy with an interesting take on Bill Withers-esque soul with a touch of social commentary, but his major label debut "Lift Your Spirit" polished his songs to an uncomfortable amount of sheen (at least for my taste). But, hey, as music programmed for college students goes, this is a pretty solid show. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. with openers Luna Aura and Tyler Ward going on first and Aloe Blacc scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m. More info at facebook.com/events/823979230954346.
WHICH WAY TO AMERICA?
I'm not sure why but I'm a little stunned that Shonen Knife is still a thing in 2014. Not that I'm not excited to hear their super charming Japanese take on punk live at the Flycatcher on Monday, Oct. 6., however, since they're still incredibly charming. Their new album came out in April ("Overdrive") and, like their idols the Ramones, it sounds nearly exactly like every other album in their catalog (and they have a lot of albums, wow). The last original member of the group, singer/guitarist Naoko Yamano, was asked by the Japan Times a few years ago why the band is still drawing in new fans and her response perfectly captured the group's appeal: "Our music is always very happy and our melody lines are very pop and simple; anybody can memorize them easily. And the lyrics are unique and fun. I think that's the reason." In the meantime, I'll be listening to their cover of "Top of the World" from the Carpenters tribute that came out ages ago. Acorn Bcorn open the 21 and over show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Two other shows at Flycatcher worth mentioning (not counting Cymbals Eat Guitars, which Eric Swedlund wrote about on The Range this week): Said the Whale on Friday, Oct. 3 and Lily Kershaw on Saturday, Oct. 4. Said the Whale are a Vancouver based indie pop-rock act whose newish album "hawaiii" sounds like Spoon, the New Pornographers and Vampire Weekend at times. Their songs are universally hooky with memorable melodies galore, but you'll probably most likely recognize the band from their song "I Love You" appearing in a T-Mobile ad earlier this year. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door for the 21 and over show.
Los Angeles' Lily Kershaw does the female folk-pop singer-songwriter thing really well, recalling a less-affected Jewel or Sarah McLachlan, with emotionally resonant songs performed well. Tickets for Kershaw's show with Taylor Berrett opening are also $10 in advance, $2 more day of. More info on any of those shows at theflycatchertucson.com (which isn't working exceptionally well while I'm writing this) or statesidepresents.com for the latter two.
MEMORIES CAN'T WAIT
Living Colour have been doing the reunion thing since 2001, reforming after a six year hiatus, and they're on the road now celebrating their 30th anniversary and the forthcoming release of their new album, "Shade," which the band's promotional material says "is the sound of a band coming to terms with its shadows and light." Regardless of the new material, what these guys did to hard rock music in their 90's heyday and each band member's incredible talent (seriously, each of them are about as good as it gets) make this show in a venue far smaller than they deserve absolutely worth seeing. Living Colour play a 21 and over show at the Rock on Wednesday, Oct. 8 with Powdered Wig Machine opening. Tickets are $21. More info at rialtotheatre.com.