The Meat Puppets are staging a reunion of the original lineup for the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremeony Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Celebrity Theatre.
For the first time since Dec. 31, 1995, we’re told, “Derrick Bostrom will sit down and straddle a drum kit, look to his left and eyeball Curt Kirkwood, look to his right and catch a glimpse of Cris Kirkwood, count off, and the universe will once again reverberate with the glorious strains of the legendary and time-honored Bostrom/Kirkwood/Kirkwood manifold musical chops. Speeches? Maybe. Goofs and grins? For sure. Heroic musical moments? Always possible.”
The induction ceremony will also feature performances by fellow 2017 inductees the Gin Blossoms and Nils Lofgren. Even the mayor will be there.
Here’s a look at the Hall of Fame induction and other local music picks, including AJJ celebrating the 10th anniversary of their iconic “People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World.”
I don’t know much of anything about these guys. Except that they’re launching a two-week tour that takes them to Washington state and back, at which point they’ll be playing an all-ages homecoming show at the Trunk Space on Sept. 7.
It’s all in apparent support of “The Welcome Mat,” among the more intriguing local albums I have heard in recent memory, owing greatly to the charismatic baritone of a singer known only as Francis.
It doesn’t hurt that he applies that voice to lyrics as poetic as “I see your thoughts, they’re racing / Growling like that freight we threw stones at / In perfect places, till home became strange to us.” And that’s just the opening line of the opening song.
On “Brother/Sister/Brother,” he ends a heartfelt tribute to his siblings with “Brother, sister, no one gets our incest jokes / Maybe we’re the crazy ones.”
And on “Paycheck Song” he sums up the futility of working your whole life to earn a paycheck in the hope that one day, when you’re too old to have the kind of fun you could have had when you were young and working hard, you can at last enjoy “a quiet, happy ending with all the time and money that I can finally spend.”
When they get back from this two-week tour, they plan to “hunker down and keep writing.”
Also playing: Pro Teens, Kolezanka, Max Knouse.
Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $10; $8 in advance. valleybarphx.com.
This is what I had to say about “Don’t Let It Be” when it finished one spot behind Kendrick Lamar on my albums of the year (so far) list:
“These local punks set the tone with the scathing political satire of ‘You Can Be a Fascist, Too,’ a track they first shared in the wake of November’s election because as they noted on Facebook, ‘We feel like every societal catastrophe deserves a proper theme song.’
“From the call-and-response of ‘I am right / I am correct’ to the skronking No Wave sax and Robbie Pfeffer’s unhinged vocal, it’s the perfect introduction to an album that makes its way through such obvious highlights as the sax-fueled ‘Last One Standing,’ a spirited working-class anthem called ‘Cadillac Car’ and ‘Don Knotts in a Wind Tunnel.’
“They bring the party to a close with the hilarious, inflammatory social commentary of ‘White Jesus,’ on which Pfeffer takes a page from Randy Newman’s playbook, assuming the role of the character he’s setting out to criticize. ‘I wanna worship a straight American Jesus,” he sneers, “who looks just like we does / And hates foreigners, too.’ The sad part is, that character is not alone.”
Which is to say I highly recommend you grab a copy of their album at their show this weekend at the Trunk Space if you don’t already own it. They’ll be joined by Treasure MammaL, Twin Ponies, PRO TEENS, the Linecutters, Elna Rae and sunlaand.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. $10; $8 in advance. thetrunkspace.com.
It’s taken some serious effort to get to the level where Brooklyn-based Royal Potato Family Records was willing to take a chance on Sedona rocker Brandon Decker’s vision.
And that made this feel like as good a time as any to anthologize the journey he’s been on these past few years by gathering a handful of his strongest tracks onto a retrospective fleshed out with two new recordings.
Asked why he decided to go that route rather than recording an entire album’s worth of new material, the bandleader laughs.
“Man, I’d guess at least part of the answer would have to be I’ve laid well into six figures on the line, not to mention everything I have energetically, the last five years while independently releasing a handful of records and touring 150-plus dates a year,” he says, “which, perhaps surprisingly, has in no way been a lucrative endeavor.”
After releasing the “Snake River Blues” EP last fall and signing to Royal Potato Family, the idea was to get a project going right away.
“So we came home and prepared these songs,” he says. “But I don’t feel apologetic about what we’re offering here.
“Coming from my little mountain town, trying to build something national, I have never had a team to help share my music such as I do now and I also feel that none of my six studio records have really gotten the ears they deserved, so it’s a chance to recap for a new, larger audience who’s never heard decker. while also offering some new material.
“I’ve literally been in a perpetual album release cycle since 2009. And I do them like a small label without a small label budget. It felt like a reasonable time to recap rather than doubling down again six months after ‘Snake River.’ ”
As to how he went about deciding on which songs from those six albums to include?
“Some were obvious selections like ‘Patsy’ and ‘The Holy Ghost.’ But I wanted, despite this being a compilation, for it to be a collection that flowed nicely together like our albums do. Most of our records have been concept records to an extent so I wanted this to still feel cohesive.
“Every album kind of runs its course and we and the fans inevitably end up vibing and connecting with different songs for different reasons in the live setting. So I kind of chose songs that had had their day as one of the pivotal live songs for their particular album era.”
It also works as a companion to the “Snake River Blues” documentary Matty Steinkamp put together chronicling the making and promoting of that last EP, which as Decker says, “offered a peak at the stupidity/insanity we’ve been up to for a decade.”
The new recordings — an anti-Trump rocker with heroic guitar work titled “Matchstick Man” and a medley of the Stooges’ greatest hit, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and the Doors’ “Five to One” — definitely seem to qualify as “bonus” tracks.
Also playing: Wyves and Harrison Fjord.
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $12; $10 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
These post-punk revivalists titled their new EP “Devil on My Shoulder” because as CJ Jacobson says, “Honestly, I think everyone has a little ‘devil on their shoulder’ from time to time. We all deal with temptation every day. The song is about enjoying things you know you’re not supposed to enjoy and how quickly things can crash and burn around you when you do.”
They’ve taken to calling their sound “post-punk death disco.
As Jacobsen explains it, “That’s what the reviews called it when they heard it. I admit our style has definitely gotten a bit dancier, though, and I’m happy that it’s being noticed. We were calling it goth/pop/funk before they starting throwing those words around! I like the ring to ‘death disco.’ ”
As to how this new effort compares to the music on “Strawberry Lashes,” Jacobson says, “This record sounds more mature. ‘Strawberry Lashes’ is broken-hearted high-school kid in comparison. We’re growing and writing about the crazy world around us now. Back then I was just focused on nursing my broken heart.”
I’ve only heard the lead single/video, “What Are You Afraid Of?,” but it made our playlist of the month’s best singles, where I hailed it as their “darkest foray into Bauhaus-flavored post-punk waters.”
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $12; $10 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
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School of Rock is celebrating five years in the Valley, where it now has three locations (Scottsdale, Gilbert, Ahwatukee) with a weekend packed with free events, free rock band classes and free food.
The celebration kicks off Saturday with open houses at all three Valley locations. Guests can tour the school, enjoy free rock band classes and see local talent play. The Scottsdale location will also have a water slide and Short Leash Hot Dogs.
The celebration culminates on Sunday with a free all-ages concert at the Wasted Grain in Scottsdale. More than 20 artists will perform, including School of Rock students and their instructors’ bands.
“Having a goal like performing on stage allows the musicians to work towards a common goal and feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s over,” says Megan Baskerville, General Manager of the three valley schools, whose band, Aunt B, is among the acts performing. “The thrill of making an audience go nuts is something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives and we love being able to share it with the local community.”
Here’s a list of the artists taking part, in order of appearance: Phoenicia, Camden Creel, Plants After Dark, Hector Rodriguez, Don’t Tell Mom, Gavin Torel, Aunt B, Will Kessler, 3 Nations, Casey Campbell, Constellations, Break-Catch Up, Not Confined, Vedder Ellis, Good Boy Daisy, Sophia Rowan, Sugar Skulls and Zane Mertel.
Details: 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. Wasted Grain, 7295 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale. Free. 480-970-0500, schoolofrock.com.
Although his own material is well worth seeking out, Chartrand is known on the local scene as something of a master of the tribute show. This time, he’s saluting Steely Dan with members of Bad Sneakers.
“Steely Dan is one of those bands for me,” he says. “I have distinct memories of hearing that music for the first time as a kid and thinking it was some of the coolest music I’d ever heard. Of course, I had no idea what they were singing about, so I was immediately mesmerized. They had a cerebral jazz approach to pop with the backbone of a rock band. There was nothing really like it.”
He’s known the members of Bad Sneakers since around 2009, when they met at Voce Lounge in Scottsdale.
“I was blown away,” Chartrand recalls. “I’ve been asking Matt Goodman and Mel Brown to do something together for ages, and a couple months ago we did a night at the Rhythm Room where some of the members of Bad Sneakers backed me up on my original stuff and then I got to sing some Steely tunes with them.
“This upcoming Valley Bar show will build on that idea and feature some original tunes (new and old), as well as a bunch of my favorite Steely Dan tunes. Also on the bill is my good friend and local singer/songwriter Kyle Phelan. Highly recommended for Steely fans!”
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $5. valleybarphx.com.
Two of the members – Austin Carson and Nick Hanson – had been playing together in Combust, but after parting company with their drummer, they decided to relaunch the project with a new name and new music.
“Combust was really our first actual band,” says Carson. “And we felt like those two years of being Combust was us learning to write songs and how to be in a band. We learned what to do and what not to do, but even though we still feel we have a lot of growth ahead of us, we finally feel we’re headed towards the right direction.”
That new direction is less punk and more groove-based than what these guys had been doing in Combust.
“The Combust EP had punk influences all over it and we never really felt we wanted to be a punk band,” Carson says. “I love punk but we’ve never wanted to be a certain genre. Combust songs were all so fast-paced, tight, and just followed the verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. We just knew we wanted to try and challenge ourselves and write more groove-oriented riffs but still rock.”
“Your Own Design,” the single they’re releasing at this show, was recorded with Matt Aldawood producing and Nate Vanderpool of Sunday at Noon on drums. The track has a robotic groove that Carson says has led to them joking that it sounds “like robots having sex.”
The song will also be included on a forthcoming EP that Carson says their hoping to release by late fall.
Also playing: Phantom Party, Bad Funk and Ben Anderson.
Details: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1. Pho Cao, 7436 E McDowell Road. $5 donation. 480-947-2608, phocaoaz.com.
Yeah, I know this one is in September, but it never hurts to plan ahead.
This is the first big local show at the Van Buren. And for anyone who likes a little taste of reggae in their local rock, it’s hard to top — combining the talents of Fayuca and Black Bottom Lighters. It also features an opening set by local hip-hop hero Mouse Powell.
Fayuca cite RX Bandits and Sublime as inspirations. Toss in Operation Ivy, the SoCal punk of Bad Religion and the Clash of “Sandinista!,” and you have a pretty good idea what Fayuca is likely to bring to the stage.
Three years ago, their “La Venganza,” a Latin-tinged spy-rock instrumental, was selected as the theme song for “Matador,” a series by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez on the El Rey TV Network.
This will be their sixth night in a row of live performances, so this is some finely tuned, road-tested musical chemistry.
Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 3. The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix. $15-$33. thevanburenphx.com.
The shows below this point already happened but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read about these artists just to see if you might want to see them next time. They’ll be back. They’re local.
As their Facebook bio frames it, “Wild Earth is a project that desires to inspire love & connection with the Creator & advance the kingdom with the tangible love of Christ.”
It doesn’t take a real close listen to the lyrics to pick up on that. In one of the most contagious tracks, “Of Peace,” for instance, the chorus hook is “Make us instruments of peace.”
This party celebrates a second album titled “Holy Fools,” which they’ve been working on for a year and a half, in Phoenix and Nashville, with good friend/producer Dan Parker.
“If you listen it’s no secret that our faith is the main theme with our pop/alt rock sound,” says Micah Bentley. “And our hope is that anyone would find this album enjoyable and thought-provoking.”
Bentley cites Mutemath, Foster the People, The 1975 and Death Cab for Cutie as helpful frames of sonic reference, and I’m pretty sure I also hear some Snow Patrol. It’s all very heartfelt in a way that resonates, thanks in part to their effortless command of instantly engaging pop hooks.
Also playing: Lovkn and Future Soul.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11. Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. $8; $6 in advance. valleybarphx.com.
Drummer Russ Martin says these local indie-rockers are extremely proud of “Summer Camp.” Their first album, “Space Whales,” he says, “was a culmination of a line-up change and being a little guarded emotionally.”
This effort, on the other hand, is “the result of playing together longer and trusting each other with our own vulnerabilities. There is a moment when you are on your tiptoes and your lips are just above the waterline. We would like to think that ‘Summer Camp’ captures the emotion of that next critical step towards the deep end.”
Highlights range from the emotional urgency of a lead track titled “Life in Limbo” to the bittersweet “Bad Acid” and the roiling guitars and tortured vocals of the final track, “Grin Reaper.”
Also playing: Celebration Guns, Sun System, Soft Deadlines and Broken Girls from Affluent Backgrounds.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11. Last Exit Live, 717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix. $5. 602-271-7000, lastexitlive.com.
This show celebrates the video premiere for “Killed Someone” inspired by the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” whose title refers to the 13 reasons why a high-school girl committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances brought on by classmates.
As singer Jordan White explains, “It’s about your actions affecting people in ways you aren’t aware of. It modestly touches the subject of suicide and the band wanted to create an opportunity to open dialogue and by not glamorizing the subject.”
The song’s hard-rocking chorus explores the emotional fallout of a breakup, making the most of White’s urgent delivery as she sings, “I never knew what love was ‘til you held me in your arms / ‘til the moment you were gone / It’s all fun until you can’t take anymore / Run baby run / Bet you didn’t know you’d kill someone.”
And the video matches White’s intensity.
This show, which features Civil Youth, Alien Atmosphere, Bombtrack and Plush, is also a tour kickoff for Jane N’ the Jungle.
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Rockbar, 4245 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale. $10. Rockbarscottsdale.com. 480-331-9190
The Redemptions are celebrating the release of “The Worst. Summer. Ever.” by holding what they’re hyping as “a classy, dignified beach party … at a dive bar,” where they promise a kiddie pool beach and snowball fights. Yes, snowball fights.
The album includes the five songs on their EP “Broken Hearts and Shattered Glass,” four new full-band songs and three solo acoustic tracks of new material.
Bandleader Anthony Fama says, “With ‘Broken Hearts…,’ it was really about just the idea of having a band in a room. No real focus on production or recording craft, just engineered to the band sounding good in a room.
“With ‘The Worst. Summer. Ever.,’ I really wanted to focus on the studio as part of the composition rather than just a tool to capture it. So, you’ll hear all four songs sound, sonically, very different.
” ‘Rain’ is a straight, clean recording. ‘Call It’ is really bright and compressed. ‘But Anyway’ plays with different layers of noise to create mood. And ‘Sail’ is purposefully lo-fi and dingy sounding. Different ways to utilize the studio to affect the context of the song.”
Fama pronounces the project a complete success “in the Zen sense that just the action itself is the reward.” That said, Fama adds, “if I were a nitpick, there’s definitely a lot I would change. But I’m a firm believer in done is better than perfect.”
The acoustic tracks, Fama says, were initially intended to be skeletons for the band to record over later to try writing in the studio. “But we kind of liked the idea of a little something extra on the CD,” he says, adding that those songs are “a bit of a departure from what you may be familiar with. I’ll just end that there.”
Also playing: The Apaches, Phantom Party and Darkness Dear Boy.
Details: 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Rogue Bar, 423 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-947-3580, facebook.com/theroguebar.
This is a new project led by Matt Marcus of Soul Country, who says he was inspired to do a live recording while attending Desert Trip, the classic-rock festival held on the site of Coachella last fall.
“Seeing Neil Young and Paul McCartney, especially, playing a huge variety of different types of songs,” he says. “This show combines songs I’ve written over the last 20 years, though many of the songs are new, and range across numerous styles of music.”
He’d been performing with the rhythm section, Mike Brown on drums and Sean Paulsen on bass, in Soul Country, but wanted to branch out and work with new musicians.
“I started looking for new projects on Craigslist, and met up with Jacob Morales,” he says. “He had an ambitious project he was working on to record 100 cover songs in his apartment in one year. The project fell through, but I sent him some of my songs and he loved them. So we kept going.”
The lineup was complete with the addition of Black Bottom Lighters guitarist Phil Keiser. They’re bringing extra firepower for the live recording, including Jay Melberg on keyboards, Kyle Scarborough of Banana Gun on sax and vocals, Justin Stewart of Rose Colored Eyes on lead guitar, Francisco Briseno of Cisco & the Racecars on banjo, Scotty Lewis and David Levin of Romen Buffalo on dobro and acoustic guitar, Ryan Stillwell of Black Bottom Lighters doing a freestyle on one song, and possibly Curtis Gripe off Ghetto Cowgirl on drums.
“It’s ridiculously ambitious,” Marcus says, “trying to capture many sounds.”
Details: 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13. Last Exit Live, 717 S. Central Ave., Phoenix. $5-$20. 602-271-7000, lastexitlive.com.
These Phoenix blues artists are celebrating the release of “Fun Guy,” a 14-song album of rocking blues, with JC & the Juke Rockers opening.
Thomas “DaGerm” German says the album “takes you on a journey through the blues using a modern take on life in 2017.”
The Thermal in the band name, German says, refers to the hot air rising up out of his harmonica, while the Blues Express is meant to represent the trains that took all of his idols north to Chicago in the ’40s and ’50s.
Their other primary songwriter is Paul “Lord Ramsdell of the Ivory Keys” Seymour, who contributed four songs to the album and co-wrote another two tracks with DaGerm while contributing piano, B3 organ, flute, flugelhorn and trumpet.
The other members on the album include Scott Obrand (guitar), Jack Means (drums), Tommy Feigenbaum (bass on eight tracks), Dok Washington (bass on six tracks) with special guest Scott Lewis (slide dobro on 2 tracks).
Details: 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13. Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $5. 602-265-4842, rhythmroom.com.
These local heroes are launching a tour to honor the 10th anniversary of “People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World” at the venue that started it all, the Trunk Space, with four sold-out shows in four days.
To complete the mood, they’ll be performing the entire tour as the original two-person lineup of Sean Bonnette on acoustic guitar and Ben Gallaty on standup bass.
“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since our first decent record came out,” says singer/guitarist Bonnette when asked about his feelings on the anniversary.
“I distinctly remember when we found the album title in Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Hocus Pocus.’ We were in a daze driving overnight from Phoenix to L.A. to play a show. I called Asian Man (Records) and left Mike (Park) a message that morning. It felt dramatic. Why didn’t I just email him?”
“People Who Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World” was AJJ’s second album, released long before their name was shortened from Andrew Jackson Jihad to the less controversial AJJ (a move that somehow proved more controversial than their former name).
The album deals with one of Bonnette’s central lyrical themes: human duality and the struggle between good and evil. The anti-folk sound of the album, which put the duo on the map in cities that would constitute a huge commute from the Trunk Space, has been described as “sad in the key of happy” and “Neutral Milk Hotel on meth.”
Asian Man Records is releasing a limited-edition picture disc to honor the occasion.
AJJ’s latest album, the brilliantly titled “The Bible 2,” was released last summer and featured one of the year’s more entertaining music videos for “Goodbye, Oh Goodbye.”
Details: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 16-19. The Trunk Space, 1124 N. Third St., Phoenix. Sold out. thetrunkspace.com.
The Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony will honor the Meat Puppets, the Gin Blossoms, Nils Lofgren and the Celebrity Theatre. The show will feature live performances by each of the artists and presentations by guest speakers. This is the first time these three acts have shared a bill.
This month marks the 25th anniversary of “New Miserable Experience,” the jangle-rock triumph that took the Gin Blossoms from Long Wong’s to the mainstream.
In looking back on the album earlier this year, Rolling Stone wrote, “Produced by the late John Hampton, who engineered albums by Alex Chilton and the Replacements, ‘New Miserable Experience’ took its cues from Chilton’s Big Star and Paul Westerberg’s alt-rock progenitors, who also recorded at Ardent. Like those groups, the Gin Blossoms excelled at marrying world-weary lyrics with ebullient melodies. Superficially, the songs on New Miserable Experience were windows-down, carefree anthems, but underneath they exposed heartache, longing and despair.”
Led by Curt and Cris Kirkwood, the Valley’s own Meat Puppets were plucked from the ranks of respected cult icons in the early ’90s by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who had them join him on the set of “MTV Unplugged” to dust off three songs from “Meat Puppets II.” The Kirkwoods went their separate ways in 2002 but reunited in 2006 and have since released four albums, including 2013’s “Rat Farm,” on which they effortlessly live up to their legend.
Along with his work as a solo artist, the Chicago-born Nils Lofgren may be best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band since 1984. He also played in Crazy Horse and fronted Grin. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014. So what makes him local? Lofgren and his wife have lived in Scottsdale since the ’90s.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. $15-$45. 602-267-1600, ext. 1; www.celebritytheatre.com.
The only flamenco repertory company in Arizona has promised “a full-sensory music and dance experience from a diverse troupe of artists with global experience.”
Director Julia Chacón toured as a soloist with international flamenco groups for more than a decade. Her choreography was performed in the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Opera House and she’s been featured on the Travel Channel and in national dance publications.
A Phoenix native, Chacón returned to the Valley in 2013. Supported by top Arizona musicians, Inspiración Flamenca features Greek pianist Ioannis Goudelis, who has opened for Stevie Wonder, and Misael Barraza, an internationally award-winning guitarist who has performed in Europe, Latin America and North America.
The company explores themes of individuality, loss, love and friendship through the lens of flamenco.
“Flamenco is a strong, assertive art that transcends boundaries,” says Chacón. “It tells stories of suffering, loss, love and celebration. Life experience is the essence of flamenco.”
A staple of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Live & Local series, Inspiración Flamenca garnered standing ovations from full houses the last two years and is the only local dance company to be presented as part of the center’s programming in more than a decade.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale. $15-$22; $12-$19 in advance. 480-499-8587, scottsdaleperformingarts.org.
Last month, these musicians whose Facebook page sums up their music as “Old School Sexified Jewish Folk Funk Dinner Dance Music,” released “The Heirophant,” a 15-track journey that features their fusion of klezmer, funk, cumbia, bossa nova, mambo, samba, free jazz and tape sampling.
“We intended that the album would give a cinematic sensation of traversing through a plethora of human experiences: psychedelia, sexuality, quixotic hallucinations, depression, jubilation, existentialism, societal and cultural examination,” Jessie Demaree and Chris Del Favero explained at the time.
“Through this sound alchemy, we decided on the title of ‘The Hierophant,’ which in tarot terms reflects a vessel by which humans may receive inspirations of the divine and unknown. Whether or not people resonate with all of the esotericism, they could at least feel really sexy and want to dance to it.”
This show welcomes them back from their first East Coast tour, which took them to Boston with stops in New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Kansas City, Chicago and Nashville.
Midway through their travels, clarinetist Jessie Demaree said, “There have been a lot of memorable moments, a lot of firsts for the band. We all attended my friend’s cabaret show in Hot Springs for our bassist Bailey “Bagel’s” 21st birthday. Today (7/31) is our trumpeter Torrey “Magic Man Toto’s” 25th birthday.
“We have met some amazing new friends and fellow funkensteins on our way eastward, and members of the band have been able to visit friends/family we haven’t seen in a long time. We are heading up to Pleasant Lake by Syracuse tomorrow to relax and film some footage for a future project.”
Also playing: The Myrrors and Sunn Trio.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $10; $7 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.
Is the late great Sharon Jones the undisputed Queen of Soul?
That’s what it says on Crescent Ballroom’s website. And they’ve put together quite a bill to honor Jones’ legacy, with Hot Birds & the Chili Sauce (who reunited just to play this show), Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, the Geibral Elisha Movement, Ndgo Sista and a strictly Daptone DJ set by Pickster One.
In addition to saluting Jones’ work, the local all-stars plan to dip into the Daptone Records catalog for source material from Budos Band, Antibalas, Sugarman 3, Menahan Street Band and more.
Andria Bunnell of Hot Birds & the Chili Sauce reunited her fellow bandmates who hadn’t played a show together since 2014 when the Sail Inn closed its doors for the occasion, saying of Jones, “She was really the inspiration for creating the band in the first place.”
That was 2009. And at the time, Sharon Jones wasn’t nearly as popular as she became later on.
“A lot of people didn’t know who she was,” Bunnell says. “I was constantly telling people, “Have you heard of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings?! Wait, you haven’t?! What?! Why?!’”
Bunnell laughs, then says, “I couldn’t believe they weren’t already so huge because I feel they singlehandedly brought back that style of music, which was so important to me. I grew up listening to that style of music. So that was the reason I created Hot Birds, not to copy them exactly but because it brought me that love of that style. And I was like ‘How come people don’t play music like this?’
“That was the concept behind Hot Birds, let’s do the rare groove stuff, let’s do the B-sides, let’s do all the stuff that nobody ever covers. And then we always did a couple of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ tunes as well, which was great because we loved to talk about them and say “Hey, if you don’t know who these people are, you need to know who they are.”
It was her dream, she says, to one day open for the Dap-Kings, “which unfortunately never happened. But we did get to open up for the Budos Band, which was pretty spectacular.”
When Jones died last November, Bunnell says, “it was one of those celebrity deaths where it’s kind of surreal for you because you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m really mourning for somebody I didn’t even know.’ But I felt a real profound loss when she passed.”
Bunnell immediately knew they had to get together for a tribute at some point but wanted to give it some time. “I was finally talking to people in PAO,” she says, “and said ‘I really want to do a tribute but how do we want to do this?’ And they were the ones who were like ‘Why don’t we cover Daptone, too, so we can add more of the repertoire, since we’re an Afrobeat band, we could do Antibalas. There’s so much of that catalog that’s amazing.”
All proceeds benefit two charities, the Lustgarten Foundation and the Joy Bus.
The Lustgarten Foundation, which does research into pancreatic cancer, was recommended on the Daptone website. “The other is an awesome local charity,” Bunnell says. “What they do is they make healthy meals for cancer patients and deliver them to their homes, where they also spend time with the patient as well. So it’s a really cool charity.”
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Ave., Phoenix. $8; $5 in advance. 602-716-2222, crescentphx.com.
This 2016 Arizona Blues Hall of Fame inductee is releasing a new CD. In more than 30 years of playing the blues, the harmonica-playing bandleader has worked with Luther Allison, Chico Chism and Buddy Reed.
Details: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19. Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $8. 602-265-4842, rhythmroom.com.
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