WAITING ON YOU
We've got a great week of music ahead of us regardless of your personal taste — something for everyone, as the saying goes. But a few quick reminders before we dive in.
Because musicians tend to be a bit slackerish, the deadline for submissions to perform at The Great Cover-Up, for which local acts perform brief sets of covers by a particular artist, all in the name of charity, has been extended. All submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. The 15th annual Great Cover-Up will take place at three different venues from Thursday, Dec. 12, through Saturday, Dec. 14. If you're interested in participating, head to greatcoveruptucson.com and read through what's there before filling out the submission form and sending it along. Thanks for all the great ideas so far, and please keep 'em coming!
And, don't forget that both the Tucson Film and Music Festival and Southwest Terror Fest, which were covered in these pages last week, both kick off tonight, Thursday, Oct. 10. Southwest Terror Fest is at The Rock for the next four nights, while TFMF runs at various venues for the same four days.
HURTIN' ME, HURTIN' YOU
Regular readers of The Range, our blog, may have read this item recently, written by Bill Sassenberger, about the impending closure or relocation of his Toxic Ranch Records, located at 424 E. Sixth St.:
"A few of you may have heard, but we've been given notice from our landlords (owners of Caruso's) that we need to vacate the building by the end of this year. They supposedly have plans to expand their restaurant and evidently we are in their way. We are considering a re-location to a smaller, more affordable space, but after some major personal changes in the last two years, and declining foot traffic, and the gentrification of downtown Tucson it may make sense to call it quits and convert to an online-only business. Instead of crying about it, we have remodeled the space to better accommodate live music and plan on a series of in-store performances, to celebrate our 22 years of supporting underground music before we are officially given the boot. Look for updates on coming live events. And would it kill you to drop by and pick up that record, T-shirt or other gimcrack you've had your eye on before it's too late?"
The store has officially begun its final run of in-store performances. The "Toxic Ranch Matinee Shows" will run each Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The all-ages shows run $2 each, and if you purchase something, that $2 is taken off the price.
Last week's inaugural show featured Al Perry, Barely Bipedal, and the Dusty Buskers. Here's a look at the remaining shows: The Besmirchers and Pop Gestapo on Thursday, Oct. 10; La Cerca and Ocean Void on Thursday, Oct. 17; Sex Prisoner and Territory on Thursday, Nov. 7; Cactus Raats and Freedom Assault on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Get in there, see a show and drop some cash while you still can. Call 623-2008 with questions.
The last time country-folk-rock troubadour Steve Earle had a show scheduled in Tucson was July 4, 2011. That show did not happen. Why? Because we were in the midst of the Sound Strike boycott, for which musicians decided to skip Arizona due to the passage of SB 1070, and Steve Earle decided to be a part of it, after he wasn't a part of it. Or something.
Here's his official statement at the time:
"It is with decidedly mixed feelings and a fair amount of regret that I have decided to postpone our concert that was to be have been at the Rialto in Tucson on July 4th. I am doing this out of respect to the boycott of Arizona that many artists are participating in to support those Arizonans who are opposed to the passage of SB 1070 and any other legislation that discriminates against Mexican-Americans.
"I apologize for confusion caused by my original acceptance of the offer from the Rialto and this reversal of course. When SB 1070 first passed I enthusiastically joined with those who were boycotting the state. However after a Federal Court enjoined implementation of the bill I was under the mistaken impression that the boycott had been called off and I was surprised that the announcement of my appearance was treated as some sort of statement about the boycott.
"I look at this as a postponement because I have very warm feelings towards my fans in Tucson and towards the Rialto who are kindred spirits. I also want to do more research about the boycott and its effects because as someone who supports the immigrants rights movement I am not convinced that it is useful to continue to stay away from progressive fans in the state. I respect those among my fellow artists who have chosen to play Arizona at the same time speak out against SB 1070 as well as those who have supported the boycott. This is going to be a long tour and I expect to get to Tucson at some point in the not too distant future."
Apparently, it took him over three years to do his "research," because Steve Earle and the Dukes are scheduled to return to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Oct. 12. The Mastersons open the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $23 to $35. Buy tix and get more info at 740-1000 or rialtotheatre.com.
Few performers in the history of rock 'n' roll have had a career like Leon Russell, one of the most consistently overlooked and underrated singers, songwriters, and arrangers around. If you're not familiar with him, I could spend the entirety of this column explaining why I believe this is the case, but I suggest you do a little reading and then head to go see him at the Rialto Theatre this week.
OK, just a short list of artists the guy has collaborated with over the years: the Stones, Elton John (who worships Russell), Phil Spector, the Byrds, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Burton, Glen Campbell ... you get the idea. And that's not even mentioning his solo albums, which, at their peak, are sublime.
Get a taste of living history when Leon Russell takes over the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St., on Monday, Oct. 14. The all-ages show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $28 in advance, $30 on the day of show. Tickets and more info at 740-1000 or rialtotheatre.com.
Oh hey, look, it's another living musical legend coming to town this week!
When traditional, acoustic blues was down and out, Taj Mahal came along to help save it. But he didn't stop there. While most bluesmen are content to play the blues, Mahal extended his tentacles into just about every form of world music known to man, then mashed it all up into one big savory delicacy. The blues has never been quite the same since.
"World Blues with Taj Mahal," which also features performances by Vusi Mahlasela and Fredericks Brown (a band featuring Taj's daughter Deva Mahal), hits the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. All ages are welcome, and tickets range from $34 to $65. For more info call 547-3040 or head to foxtucsontheatre.org.
THE OTHER KIND
The almighty Burger Records is bringing back the traveling rock show it calls the "Burgerama Caravan of Stars" this week. If you're a fan of garage rock, psychedelia, British Invasion-style rock, etc., you should really hit up this show. The Caravan this time around features Cosmonauts, Gap Dream, The Resonars (fresh off their first U.K. tour), Curtis Harding, and Together Pangea. You may not like all the acts on the bill, but it's pretty likely you'll love at least a couple of them.
The "Burgerama Caravan of Stars" pulls into Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15. It's a 21-and-over show, but admission is free. Get your questions answered by heading to hotelcongress.com/club or calling 622-8848.
SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS
Many years ago, mostly out of curiosity, I attended a Dogstar show at Club Congress. Dogstar, in case you don't remember (and hopefully you don't) featured Keanu Reeves on bass, and it was one of the most annoying shows I've ever been to. The band wasn't awful, just awfully bland, cranking out a generic take on the alt-rock of the day. And every time Keanu made even the slightest gesture, or smiled, hundreds of women in the place screamed. Loudly. It's an experience I hope to never relive.
I mention this because the band Wicked Wisdom, fronted by Jada Koren, is playing at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., this week. Apparently they play "very aggressive heavy metal," but that won't be the draw here. That would be the fact that Jada Koren is the alter ego of actress Jada Pinkett Smith. I have not listened to their music, but I feel my work here is done.
Wicked Wisdom performs an all-ages show at The Rock next Thursday, Oct. 17. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $18 in advance. Head to rocktucson.com or call 629-9211 for more info.