Mark your calendars...
Thursday, March 29: Shifting his voice effortlessly in and out of falsetto, on "Women and Wine," blue-eyed soul/folk rock singer-songwriter Martin Sexton toes the line. "Like the mist of morning, my dream remains ... Hanging in the burnt fields ... The flames hiss a chorus of your disdain." At 191 Toole. With Chris Trapper. The New York Times calls Trapper's songwriting "classic pop perfection..." Arizona Friends of Chamber Music presents Beethoven's full-scale piano trios: Opus 1 No. 2, Opus 70 No. 2 and Opus 9 "Archduke." Performed by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han and violinist Philip Setzer. At Leo Rich Theater. Freddie Parish croons his lonesome country at Tap & Bottle Downtown.
Friday, March 30: With roots in Arizona, this off-kilter L.A. hip-hop trio's first two albums, Live From the Dentist Office and Floss, were literally recorded afterhours in their producer's grandfather's dental office. The lyrics to "Oh Shit!!!" demonstrate their sense of comedy. "I say this ain't jazz rap/This that spazz rap/This that raised by the internet ain't had no dad rap." Injury Reserve with Lando Chill at Club Congress... Also at Hotel Congress, welcome in spring as Michigan Rattlers recount folktales punctuated by countrified rock, out on the patio. With Ivan Denis. This fiery Mexican American conguero's 2011 release with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Chano Y Dizzy! (Concord Picante), pays tribute to the primary architects of Latin jazz: Conguero Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Join Grammy Award winner Poncho Sanchez at The Rialto Theater... KXCI 91.3 FM and The Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation present John Primer & Bob Corritore. This two-time Grammy nominated Chicago electric blues guitarist and blues harmonicist are out on the road with a smokin' hot all-star band... At The House of Bards. Tucson deathcore collective Decayer celebrate the release of their new EP, The Agony Cycle, with a plethora of guests. At The Rock... They say dancing is better than therapy. DJs Eliogold, Justin Silva, Elektra Tek and NoodleBox spin at La Cocina... Like an apothecary, DJ/producer Aaron Triggs is known for compounding hip hop with UK grime. The future bass of Bleep Bloop will bump at 191 Toole. With Woolymammoth.
Saturday, March 31: World renown electronic musician Steve Roach and Galactic Center curate Sonic Bloom: An electronic/ambient/experimental music series. Launching with Mark Hosler (Negativland), Jeff Greinke, Nathan Youngblood and Will Merkle. At Galactic Center... In 1985, the AIDS epidemic was widely misunderstood. Dionne & Friends (including Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight) recorded "That's What Friends Are For" to help raise awareness and funds for the American Foundation For AIDS Research. Dionne Warwick plays The Fox Theatre... Tribe Vibes: A Jazzy Afrocentric Conscious Rap Jam features performances by Miss Olivia and The Interlopers, DJs Alias, Herm and Phatsoul. At La Cocina... The warehouse at 3113 E. Columbia Street is the site where psy/tech/funk wizard Hedflux and cerebral psy/glitch producer Sixis spin into the night... Sonoran Dogs, a consortium of local bluegrass, newgrass and Americana veterans, hold court outdoors at Club Congress... Punk rock en Español with Nogales' La Merma. At Studio ONE: A Space for Art and Activism... With six albums to their credit, desert blues powerhouse Greyhound Soul will electrify Che's Lounge.
Sunday, April 1: In the early '90s this DJ helped shape the Chicago rave scene. An evening of EDM awaits with Miles Maeda at Galactic Center. With Jeremy Sarcoz and Edward Navarro.
Monday, April 2: "Big Red Arthur," the anchor track from Bitch, Don't Let Me Die!, voids "a rock-opera bombast that is reminiscent of Radiohead sodomizing David Bowie." Electric Six with Northern Faces. At 191 Toole... For the uninitiated, Thor & Friends is a minimalist avant-chamber ensemble. The core trio, perform on mallet-struck instruments: Marimba, xylophone and vibraphone that ex-Swans percussionist Thor Harris hands shapes in his woodshop. At Flycatcher. With Norm Westerberg (Swans)... Portland's Roselit Bone are best described as a mashing together of Marty Robbins and The Cramps. Got your attention? At Owls Club.
Tuesday, April 3: This world-renowned guitar monster has played with Marilyn Manson, KD Lang, Rob Zombie and Lynyrd Skynyrd. John William Lowery aka John 5 and The Creatures, shred at 191 Toole. Her 2017 release, Not Dark Yet, a potent album of duets with little sister Allison Moorer, features covers by Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Merle Haggard and The Killers. Out on a solo trek, Shelby Lynn pulls the tour bus into The Rialto Theater. With Tucson-based singer-songwriter Rebekah Rolland, building worlds from dust and clay.
Wednesday, April 4: Similar in ways to the powerful herbicide used to eliminate forest cover by U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Legendary West Coast surf punks Agent Orange will ravage 191 Toole. With primitive pilgrims of punk, The Atom Age... While Delta Bluesman Christopher T. Stevens keeps it real at Tap & Bottle North.
Thursday, April 5: Notorious for blowing out speakers at his early shows, guitar paragon Dick Dale is set to wipe out at 191 Toole. The swell has picked up and the waves are going to be mighty. With blues badass Tom Walbank... Out on tour in support of their their 2018 release, Thread, Red Sun Rising bring their post-grunge to Club XS... "Sweet Child O' Mine" mariachi style, anyone? Yes. Metalachi rocks at Casino Del Sol... Also, country superstar Clint Black is "Killin' Time" at Casino Del Sol. Thøger Lund, Naim Amor and Gil Rodriguez play jazz classics. At Exo Bar... Hey, Bucko! serenade with their sun-baked spaghetti westerns at Tap & Bottle Downtown... Kicking off four days of heaven on earth for diehard fans of The Nashville Network: It's time once again for Country Thunder 2018. Featuring Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, Lauren Alaina, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Big & Rich, Tracy Lawrence, Brett Young and many more. This annual festival is held in Florence. Check out www.countrythunder.com/az for all the details... Finally this week, pop icon Janet Jackson, "Ms. Jackson if you're nasty," brings her State of the World Tour to the Tucson Convention Center.
Belinda Esquer has a new album: The Girl. "This collection of songs highlights the moments that have positively contributed to my evolution as an artist," says Esquer. She spent years being overly critical of herself, never quite feeling good enough. This time in the studio this burgeoning talent transcends the past. "In the process of recording The Girl, I began to understand and accept myself, just as I am. Women musicians have more pressure to look and act a certain way ... and are scrutinized even more so." Shunning attitudes previously encountered by male counterparts, Esquer chose to rise above. On "Ray of Sunshine" she found her muse in a dark place. "I was going through a tough time ... longing to be happy again. Most of my upbeat songs usually come from a sad place." Recorded at Waterworks Recording by venerable producer Jim Waters, The Girl marks a fresh departure from her previous work. A gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Esquer typically writes all the lyrics and music. This time around bassist Jon D'Auria contributes to the process. She adds, "My songs have always been about other people." This album, Esquer's third, revels in the beauty of self discovery and is an unabashed celebration. The Girl is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play.
The six tracks on Pieces, Jaca Zulu's new album, act as a guided journey down the rabbit hole of love and back into the light. With a wicked downbeat groove and funky recurring wah-wah guitar riff—think cinematic soul from a '70s film soundtrack—"BRKN" is a standout. "This track came about after a relationship of mine had ended." Wise beyond his years, Zulu adds, "The excitement of vibing with someone fills the emptiness. But you can't rely on others to become fulfilled." In the chorus he sings, "Trying to fit each other's pieces...what we bring ain't what we leave with." Like blending different flavors of shisha—in this case, soul and R&B with experimental hip hop—and adding heat and running the vapor through the water basin of a hookah, Zulu's flow is smooth like the bluish-gray smoke that is exhaled. The beat is composed from samples by Norwegian producer Ralph Myerz. Zulu writes all lyrics and music. For beats and production he teamed up with Rubix, Thew Beats, Fase, RND1, and Yshwa for this project. Zulu tells it straight. "I've thought about giving up on a music career at different times in life." Prone to being his harshest critic, it was the process of creating that rekindled the fire. "The songs on Pieces brings back my love...and have inspired me to keep goin' on my path to reach for success so much more." Jaca Zulu celebrates the release of Pieces, with a little help from Jae TIlt, RND1 and Woodrow, Saturday, March 31 at Club Congress.
ON THE HORIZON...
Carlos Arzate celebrates the release of Camaleón with special guests Salvador Duran and Buyepongo on Friday, April 6 at Club Congress... Lastly, The Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee—his first studio album in seven years—features contributions from luminaries Afrojack, Avicii and Emeli Sande. Wyclef Jean's Carnival Tour makes a stop at The Rialto Theater on Friday, April 6.
Until next time, XOXO...