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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    On the Tucson track


    If you were on Fourth Avenue this past weekend, you were probably paying attention to friends you haven’t seen all summer, that giant resurrected tiki head, and those 2 a.m. munchies — you know, the important things in life. Amidst the hazy fun, Fourth Avenue had some high-quality events that you might have missed, so here’s a basic rundown of last weekend’s best in music and art.

    Thursday brought the indie cowboy band Fruit Bats to Plush. They played with Death Vessel and Tucson’s own Golden Boots. Over the hum of bar conversation and clanking glasses, the Fruit Bats churned out feel-good, foot-tapping tunes fronted by The Shins’ keyboardist Eric D. Johnson.

    The Fruit Bats’ performance was a little lackluster compared to Wildlife’s stellar review their new album The Ruminant Band last week. Admittedly, the Fruit Bats’ attempt at appearing to be from the south instead of Seattle was charming. It’s hard not to like these strapping young farm boy lookalikes who harmonize unabashedly happy lyrics like “”What a day for sunshine! What a day for blue skies!”” and play crowd pleasing alternative country, INXS and Bob Dylan covers.

    Overall, the concert seemed like the result of The Shins going on a road trip to Austin to try out for a rodeo while listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin. The scenery may have been nice — even handsome drummer Graeme Gibson appeared to have spent a good portion of the show checking out his reflection x a nearby window. But after a while, I got bored with the faux western novelty and started wondering to myself, “”Are we there yet?”” 

    Later in the weekend, Candelabra Gallery held an art exhibit in honor of Michael Jackson: “”On The Wall: Interpretations of a Pop Icon.”” The art show, which was unintentionally scheduled for Saturday, Jackson’s birthday, set the tone for the King of Pop to go out in style. Fourteen visual artists participated in the event while DJ Matt Elliott had people dancing to underground disco music and, of course, classic Jackson hits. A projector outside looped supersized music videos on the side of a tall building behind of the gallery.

    Though there was a sentimental feeling to the show, there was definitely no sap involved. Some of the art was reverent, but some of it affectionately poked fun at Jackson.

    Paired next to a candy machine filled with “”Michael Jackson Bizzaro Trading Cards”” was another, filled with wasabi peas and French peanuts, and labeled “”Lil’ Michael’s Nut O-Plenty,”” with Jackson 5-era Michael’s sweet face beaming at hungry patrons.

    Colleena Hake, the owner of Candelabra, created a technically amazing piece entitled “”Disembodied Glove,”” with the help of Mat Bevel, a prominent local artist who specializes in kinetic sculpture. The piece was a sculpture/machine combination that enabled a sequin-gloved hand to wave back and forth as if saying “”goodbye”” with no power input.

    Not only was the juxtaposition between machine parts and sequin glove visually interesting, the inspiration for the piece was touching.

    Hake said she was inspired by the incident in the late ‘80s, during which Pepsi commercial pyrotechnics burned Jackson’s scalp and he supposedly waved to fans while being taken to the hospital. She was amazed how he was a performer even when he was in pain, and said that in her piece he would always be waving. When asked about the coincidence of the show being scheduled on his birthday, she smiled and said that it was meant to be.

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