Wavelab Studio is teaming up with Club Crawl® to host a showcase at the Hotel Congress outdoor stage.
Craig Schumacher, owner of Wavelab Studio, is also the producer and engineer for beloved such as Neko Case, Calexico and this year’s headliner (playing at the Rialto Theatre), DeVotchKa. In fact, it was Schumacher who pursued DeVotchKa and got the group to come to Tucson to be part of Club Crawl®. Having just purchased the building that houses his studio at 111 S. Sixth Ave., Schumacher is fervent about taking a role in downtown’s development: He wants to help shape the vision for our city center.
“I am committed to the music scene here and the vitality of downtown more than ever,” he says. That means a lot coming from a guy who has operated one of the nation’s most-respected recording studios, located downtown, for the past 20 years. During Club Crawl®, he will be performing with three of the five bands that are on his showcase: Copper and Congress, Greyhound Soul and Ferrodyne, of which Schumacher is a permanent member.
Schumacher is also busy teaching recording techniques at Scottsdale Community College and is in the middle of producing for the Dry River Yacht Club at the college’s studio. At his suggestion, the band will open for DeVotchKa at the Rialto Theatre. Dry River Yacht Club is a feisty nine-piece ensemble that combines folk, rock and world rhythms into a concoction that is tied together by the sensuous vocals of the one-name-only Garnet. The seven-song EP is already a favorite on KXCI FM 91.3, but if Schumacher can put his magic touch on their new recording, this band is likely to attract audiences around the world.
Also coming down from Phoenix will be Black Carl and their desert soul sound. Their 2009 album, Borrowed, clearly defines their style: soul and funk music with an edge of rock ’n’ roll, all of which is carefully sewn together by the rich vocals of Emma Pew. It’s a retro sound emanating from the 1960s and early ’70s, when the great soul and funk artists of the day, such as Otis Redding, James Brown and the Meters, heavily influenced rock bands. But the sound of Black Carl is also refreshingly new; you get the sense that they are not trying to copy anyone. The band followed up Borrowed with three seven-inch records: The Chariot, The Hanged Man/The Magician and The Fool. Black Carl will perform on the Bud Light Main Stage at 11 p.m.
Headlining the My 92.9 stage at midnight will be The Far West. The Los Angeles band is rapidly becoming one of the hottest Americana acts on the Left Coast. Their sound is part Byrds, part honky-tonk and a whole lotta Texas roadhouse. Lead singer Lee Briante has a voice reminiscent of John Prine, and he is backed by a tight four-piece band. But the real magic of the Far West is the wealth of songwriting that comes from Briante and bassist (and founding member) Robert Black. Songs such as “Bitter, Drunk and Cold,” “Bound to Lose” and “Not Far to Fall” are three of the 14 originals that fill their self-titled debut CD. This will be the third time the band has played in Tucson in the past year and a half. Band members have been to Club Crawl® before—as music fans. Tucson is becoming a home away from home for the group. As Briante puts it, “We love the town, and the people have always been great to us. We can’t wait to get back for Club Crawl®.”
Also playing the My 92.9 stage and making an encore Club Crawl® appearance will be rockabilly band Mad Max and the Wild Ones featuring a father (Mad Max) and his three sons (the Wild Ones). They last played Club Crawl® in 2010, when many in the audience believed they stole the show. Duke Maxwell is the lead singer and the youngest brother, and last time they played, he was only 10 years old. Two years later, with many more miles under his belt, the 12-year-old is starting to tear things up. Wyatt is the oldest son and perhaps the most talented. He is being recognized as one of the hot new rockabilly guitarists, somewhat in the vein of Brian Setzer. He also tours with Wayne “The Train” Hancock as his lead guitarist. Mad Max and the Wild Ones are currently recording new material. By the looks of it, they will do nothing but get better with age.
There will be plenty of chances to dance at the Fall Club Crawl®. The event has always been about live music, but several venues this year will concentrate on dance music. Club Congress will have the Hood Internet; read Gene Armstrong’s feature elsewhere in this issue. Traveling with them are Body Language, an electro pop quartet from Brooklyn, N.Y., that combines dance, funk, soul and a hint of pop; Kid Static, a hip-hop and soul artist from Chicago; and dance-band Oscillator Bug.
If that isn’t enough for you, several DJs will be on hand to play dance tunes. The Playground will feature DJ Table Manners downstairs from 8 to 11 p.m. Then DJ Nature takes the party to the rooftop from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
O’Malley’s, the Fourth Avenue nightspot, will also be a mecca for DJs. First up, at 8 p.m., is DJ MGM. From 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., the Powerhouse DJs will be setting up shop. Known as DV-DJs, they specialize in mixing music videos to keep the party going. DJ Knoccout spins from 10 to midnight, with DJ Soo handling the chores from midnight to 2 a.m.