In the late '80s, before marketing types had invented terse buzzwords such as "alternative" or "college rock" to encompass anything outside the mainstream, Concrete Blonde's videos were played alongside those of Jane's Addiction, Living Colour and Faith No More on shows such as MTV's metal-centric Headbangers Ball. In 1990, the band further confounded matters by fusing a gothic aesthetic with swampy roots music to produce its best album, Bloodletting. In subsequent years, Concrete Blonde stepped away from the shadowy side and incorporated elements of Mexican folk into its sound before breaking up in 1995. Though the act has since reformed and released albums again, singer and bassist Johnette Napolitano is touring as a solo act in support of her latest album, Sketchbook 2. Still fascinated with the more lurid imagery of Catholicism and Mexico, her most recent releases are moodier and more dreamily atmospheric than those of her old band. Always an eerily charismatic performer, Napolitano will be sure to darken the Walnut Room's doors.
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