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Tucson sounds: Weekenders Unite

A guide to Tucson's live music

When you’ve been away for a while in the documenting-local-music game, the thing is that the music keeps happening (thank the gods.) So while it may be hard to get back in the habit of going out to live events (though I’m doing my best to do exactly that) it isn’t too hard to jump in and find reasons to write about it all. 

That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’re going to have some tough decisions to make about where to spend your Friday and Saturday nights this weekend. So choose wisely. 

Friday, May 20

Bort! Bort! Bort!

First, but hardly least is this month’s Habitation Speakeasy entry, which pairs something Old School with something new as Tucson OGs and one of the most fun bands in local rock history, the Pork Torta, join forces with Borts Minorts, featuring Speakeasy organizer, long time Borts fan and all around local nice guy John Sweeden guesting on guitar.

Habitation Speakeasy w/ Pork Torta & Borts Minorts - 6 pm at Habitation Realty at 641 N. 10th Ave., north of Downtown

These Boots Are Made For Listening!

Meanwhile, not far away, what may be the record release party of the month is happening over at Floor Polish, as Golden Boots unveils their long-awaited latest effort “Liquid Ranch” (soon to be reviewed in these very pages.) As if the Boots alone weren’t enough of a draw, the fabulous Phoenix desert noir crooner Lonna Kelley opens the show along with Super Squishee and DJs Desert Deer and Stainless Space.  

Golden Boots Record Release Party w/ Lonna Kelley, Super Squishee, DJ Desert Deer & DJ Stainless Space - 7 pm at Floor Polish 930 N. Stone Ave., north of Downtown.

For those who give a funk

It’s a funk show…but it’s a book release…but it’s a DJ party…I guess it’s one of those things where you just need to go and figure out what to call it later. Arizona funkster and now author Zackey Force Funk unveils his journey from a self-described teenage criminal growing up in this state to his spiritual and personal awakening as a parent and a Long Beach neo-funk pioneer. DJ Eddy Funkster, DJ Hump House, and longtime Tucson favorite DJ Herm are going to be spinning at this Hotel Congress event and a copy of the book comes with admission. 

Zackey Force Funk (Book Signing and DJ Party) - 7 pm at Hotel Congress

All That Jazz

The Century Room at Hotel Congress has been classing up Downtown for a few months now and Friday night is no exception with a performance by Max Goldschmid Quartet.

Max Goldschmid Quartet - 9 pm Century Room at Hotel Congress

Dark Entries

If your idea of a great night out is a little bit involves blacklights and bewitchment, absinthe and abstraction, elegant dance moves and one hell of an eyeliner game, there is indeed a DJ night for you. And sorry about clove cigarettes not really being a thing anymore. I swear to goth one of these days I’ll put on a crushed velvet baby doll dress and a pair of docs and show up to do the old school Fineline shuffle like I did in my misspent youth. Maybe even a cape. Ok, I’ll probably actually do that one Fineline reunion night with the other Gen X goths, but it’s the thought that counts. Meanwhile, you’ll be in fine company at the Surly Wench’s Danse Macabre night, featuring DJS Sado_Naut & Vamp Feline with the best of modern and vintage industrial, EBM, goth and dark dance music.

Danse Macabre night at Surly Wench - 9 pm Surly Wench Pub (Downtown)

Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid

OK, now to come clean on where I’ll actually be on Friday night. It’s kind of out of character for your friendly neighborhood local music champion and evangelist of Downtown live shows. But it’s also pretty cool in its own right. And, anyway, it’s something I promised to Mario.

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I’m going to see a Genesis tribute band. Seriously. 

You see , on my late love’s ever-shifting more or less 100-album “Top 10” list, one of the albums that was consistently actually in that 10 was the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis record “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” — to the point that he once confused a high school English teacher with a handwritten recitation of the lyrics that nearly prompted a welfare check due to their utter weirdness. So when it was recently announced that Montreal group the Musical Box were coming to the Rialto on their Lamb Lies Down tour, the usually cover-band-averse Mario was insistent that we go. 

The only Genesis tribute act to be granted active support and endorsement by members of the real band, the Musical Box are not so much a “cover band” as a reenactment troupe, executing faithful recreations of original tour performances straight down to the intricate costumes and meticulous staging that Gabriel’s stage shows with the band once entailed. It is, in other words, the closest thing to going back to 1976 and seeing the live show. 

And, in spite of my longterm bellyaching about most popular prog classics being “nothing more than performative wankery” I never did have an argument with anything I heard on “Lamb.”

And, anyway, I promised Mario. Since he can’t go (unless he can, somehow, because who knows what ticketing policies are like in the afterlife?) he’d probably really dig if some of you went too.

The Musical Box performs The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - 7:30 pm Rialto Theatre (Downtown)

Saturday, May 21

Band kids have more fun

If you've never been to a MarchFourth show, you're not just missing a modern gonzo cabaret marching band (though you ARE missing that, of course.) You're missing indoor fireworks, jousting on stilts, aerial arts, a full horn section, weird percussion, hula hoops, possibly flaming hula hoops, more stuff on stilts, weird circus-y steampunk costumes and antique instruments and more hula hoops, and probably more jousting and feeling like you're an audience member in a live performance of Moulin Rouge that might also be part of a Portlandia skit. Anyway, we get that there are other things to do this Saturday night, and all but...life is a cabaret and it's possible that you should just come to the cabaret.

MarchFourth Marching Band plays the Rialto Theatre at 8pm. Jimmy Carr & the Awkward Moments open

A Light in Dark Times

More than a decade has passed since what's been dubbed the "Tucson Shooting" — the Jan. 8, 2011, mass shooting targeting U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in which 6 people were killed and Giffords and dozen of her constituents were injured. In the time since, such incidents have sadly not become more rare and the survivors of violence and homicide grow in number daily, here and across the country. And while music alone is not a lasting solutions to systemic problems, it's pretty damned good at helping us process feelings of rage and loss and helplessness and despair and overwhelm and the sorts of things survivors feel in at least some small way every average minute of every average day of the rest of their lives. If music can raise some money in the process, so much the better. That was the idea behind the first Luz de Vida compilation, organized in the wake of the Giffords tragedy and it's what fuels Luz de Vida II, a follow up compilation released by Fort Lowell Records late last year and formally celebrating its vinyl release this Saturday at a live show on the Hotel Congress Plaza. The event features a number of Fort Lowell Records recording artists including La Cerca, Naim AMor, Soda Sun, Tracy Shedd, Kitimoto, Young Mothers and JPW and benefits local nonprofit Homicide Survivors, Inc. 

Luz de Vida benefit concert for Homicide Survivors, Inc. , 7 pm at Hotel Congress

Sunday, May 22

Sunday's Best

Are you heading out to see live music on a Sunday? See you at Che's. 

Who's playing? Doesn't matter, since it's the Sunday patio show at Che's. The SUNSET is playing in the sky over the stage and you can buy beers without leaving the patio. Anyway, whoever it is is going to be great since Jill Brammer and crew are no slouches when it comes to booking. And it's the SUNDAY show at Che's so EVERYONE is going to be there, only it's early and you can still get home in time to go to bed early and be clear-headed and relaxed for work tomorrow. So, see ya there?

P.S. It's Barnaby & the Butcher this week, a duo so nice they got a pair of local microbrews crafted in their honor. And they'd be amazing even if it wasn't the Che's Sunday patio show. 

But it IS.

So, see ya there.

Check Your Local Listings...

Friday, May 20

  • Habitation Speakeasy w/ Pork Torta & Borts Minorts - 6 pm at Habitation Realty
  • Barnaby and the Butcher - 6 pm at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort 
  • Golden Boots Record Release Party w/ Lonna Kelley, Super Squishee, DJ Desert Deer & DJ Stainless Space - 7 pm Floor Polish
  • Leila Lopez - 6pm Button Brew House
  • Zackey Force Funk (Book Signing and DJ Party) - 7 pm Hotel Congress
  • Max Goldschmid Quartet - 9 pm Century Room at Hotel Congress 
  • Danse Macabre dark music dance Party - 9 pm Surly Wench Pub 
  • The Musical Box performs The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - 7:30 pm Rialto 

Saturday, May 21

  • Eugene Boronow - 6 pm La Cocina
  • Febbos Fuentes - 7 pm Moto Sonora Brewing
  • Weird Science 89s Dance Party - 9 pm Surly Wench
  • MarchFourth Marching Band w/ Jimmy Carr & the Awkward Moments - 8 pm
  • Luz De Vida Benefit Concert w/ Tracy Shedd, Soda Sun, La Cerca, Naim Amor, Kitimoto, Young Mothers and JPW - 7 pm Club Congress
  • The Bennu w/ Legion of Mario - 8 pm 191 Toole

Sunday, May 22

  • Barnaby & The Butcher - 7 pm Che's Lounge

Monday, May 23

  • Club Whutever - 9 pm Hotel Congress Plaza

Tuesday, May 24

  • Hail the Sun - 6:30 pm 191 Toole
  • Aly & AJ - 8 pm Rialto

Wednesday, May 25

  • Little Cat - 6 pm Crooked Tooth
  • Yngwie Malmsteen -7:30 pm Rialto

Thursday, May 26

  • Naim Amor - 8 pm Tap & Bottle
  • Barnaby & The Butcher - 7 pm Monterey Court
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