Mdou Moctar

S&S Presents

Mdou Moctar

Crook & The Bluff

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

8:00 pm

$13 ADV / $15 DOS

This event is 21 and over

Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar
In the crowded scene of Tuareg guitarists, Mdou Moctar stands apart from his peers. Playing in the repertoire of desert guitar popularized by groups like Tinariwen and Bombino, Mdou is pushing the boundaries of the genre with a unique personal sound. With versatile compositions and genre defying albums, Mdou’s music has been an underground success with an international following, set on redefining the sound of the desert.

Mdou Moctar hails from a small village in the Azawagh desert of Niger, a remote region steeped in religious tradition. As a child, he taught himself to play the a homemade guitars, cobbled together out of planks of wood. It was years later before he found a “real” guitar, teaching himself in secret. In an area where guitar music was all but prohibited, he quickly rose to the status of local celebrity amongst the village youth.

In 2008 he traveled to Nigeria to record his first album “Anar.” A psychedelic reworking of the Tuareg sound, the electronic tracks featured innovative pitch bending synths, drum machines, and autotune. In 2010, he teamed up with the label and collective Sahel Sounds, releasing his first international album, “Afelan.” In 2015, he co-wrote and starred in the first ever Tuareg language film, “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It,” a Saharan remake of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” In 2017, he again shifted gears to another sound with “Sousoume Tamachek,” a mellow blissed out recording evoking the calm desert soundscape, tackling religion, spirituality, and matters of the heart.

In the past years, Tuareg rock music has gotten faster. There is a preference for this new style, both in the raucous weddings of Agadez and in Berlin rock clubs. The wavering guitar solos, rapid fire drums and heavy distortion has become characteristic of the contemporary sound. Mdou takes on this challenge, but with an ear towards tradition. Rooted in traditional, with borrowed polyrhythms of traditional « takamba » and lyrics sung in the style of old nomadic poets, his guitar playing is wild and unrelenting, equal parts nomadic bard and Eddie Van Halen. Mdou Moctar and his band have toured Europe and North America, playing sold out shows from small DIY rock clubs in Portland to New York City’s Lincoln Center. His music has been featured in the BBC, The Guardian, Pitchfork, New Yorker, L.A. Weekly, NPR, Rolling Stone, Les Inrocks, and his film continues to be screened at film festivals around the world. From underground star of Niger to international film star, Mdou Moctar has undoubtedly one of the quickest rises to success.
Crook & The Bluff
Crook & The Bluff
Awe-inspiring landscapes, towering, monolithic formations, a powerful, indomitable spirit, an unpredictable and mysterious character. All of these elements, characteristics of the American West, are ever-present in the music of Crook and the Bluff. A blend of blues, western, rock, and psychedelica combined into a soundscape that evokes images of a dark western film, complete with heroes and villains, love and loss. Known for their dynamic performances and commanding aura, Crook and the Bluff's unholy joining of western pyschedelia and dirty, desert blues, influenced by the vast and beguiling wilderness of their desert home, can only be fully experienced live.

Crook and the Bluff, formed in 2013, explores numerous themes in their music, equipped with an arsenal of songs depicting lust, love, malevolence, curiosity, and desire. Storytellers at heart, Crook and the Bluff provides listeners with a spectrum of sounds, including dark, western ballads about love and revenge, groovy dance numbers that force audiences to move, and droning, hypnotic pieces about the efficacy of licking toads. Equal parts musicians and mad-scientists, the band surrounds themselves with an array of amplifiers, instruments, and electronic effects to create new and fascinating sounds, with the purpose of captivating listeners until the last note. This armory of equipment, and the mesmerizing sounds created by it, has led many fans to describe the band as “the Pink Floyd of the American West”.

Featuring a standard rock formation, with two guitars, bass, and drums, Crook and the Bluff creates music that is anything but standard. At the forefront is the booming baritone and piercing falsetto of lead singer Kirk Dath. Principle songwriter, and founding member, Dath is the voice that guides listeners through melancholic love stories, or ushers them across the river Styx with whispers of absolution. Using carefully-honed lead guitar, Ryan Arnold provides depth and drama to the music, employing both ferocious, bone-cutting solos and rich, nuanced tapestries of sound. With the intensity and focus of a surgeon, Kevin Schultz controls the low-end with lyrical bass lines and heavy doses of fuzz, while Darren Farnsworth, the well-oiled engine of the group, provides both propulsion and momentum on the drums.

Crook and the Bluff is a band more at home on the road, driven by a desire for travel, adventure, and discovering the undiscovered. Seasoned performers in the local scene of their hometown of Salt Lake City, Crook and the Bluff consistently travels throughout all of Utah, as well as the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and California. As frequent headliners at festivals, including Craft Lake City, Escalante Music Festival, Utah Arts Festival, and MGME, and openers for national acts, including Wovenhand, Murder By Death, and Jamestown Revival, Crook and the Bluff always delivers their music with passion, intensity, and precision that leaves audiences in awe, and aching for more.
Venue Information:
Urban Lounge
241 South 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102