The doors open at 1 p.m. with the show starting at 3, but you should probably come early to get tattooed and pierced. I recommend spinal piercing. The two headliners are scheduled for hour-long sets, with the rest of the bands being allotted 20-or 30-minute sets. Save yourself $5 by getting tickets in advance for $21 (they're $26, of course, at the door). Tix can be had through Ticketmaster, www.sfx.com, or by phoning 321-1000, as well as at the TEP box office on the day of the show. Dress warm.
CULTURE SHOCK: Sunday, June 17 sees the arrival of Norwegian melancholic popsters Poor Rich Ones at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Also appearing will be former Tucsonans Carissa's Wierd. Fans of Craig Wedren's vocals in the D.C. band Shudder to Think will be enticed by the similarly appealing falsetto of Poor Rich Ones vocalist William (last name omitted due to consonant overload). The Norwegian Grammy for best rock was awarded to Poor Rich Ones for their previous album From the Makers of Ozium, and their U.S. debut, 2000's Happy Happy Happy, was nominated in the category.
Carissa's Wierd plays earnest pop that sounds as if it may have come from the Louisville indie explosion of the early '90s. The group moved out of the confines of the Old Pueblo to Olympia, Wash. in 1997, and was serendipitously befriended by Modest Mouse lead singer Isaac Brock. Since then, it has toured with Modest Mouse, and it appears likely that Brock may put out its next recording himself.
Be there at 9 p.m. to catch all the action. Cover is only $5, and what the hell else are you doing on Sunday night? Contact 884-0784 for more info.
Also at Solar Culture this week is difficult-to-describe art-rock combo Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, on Tuesday, June 19. Emerging from the ashes of San Francisco's notorious cabaret/puppet/hard groove theatrical band Idiot Flesh, SGM was formed when frontman Nils Frykdahl wanted to try working with other performers, including renowned violinist Carla Kihlstedt, whose appearance alone rates forking over the $5 cover. As should be expected, SGM has a theatrical bent to all that it does (in the tradition of Idiot Flesh) and of course, the band comes replete with enough bizarro shtick to keep P.T. Barnum himself entertained. The SGM phenomenon ("band" seems inadequate) must be seen and heard to be believed. Be there Tuesday when they drag their knuckles through Solar Culture, and expect the unexpected. Local champ Cortex Bomb opens the 9 p.m. show, and again, getting in the door will only make you $5 poorer.
BUENA VISTA SOLO CLUB: The fourth annual Plaza Palomino Courtyard Concert Series continues this Saturday, June 16 with a performance by Cuban master of the laud (a cousin of the lute) Barbarito Torres. Best known for membership in the acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club, Torres' professional career began in 1970. After playing in the Cuban Army Marching Band, and then the army's jazz combo, Torres began touring around Cuba and jamming with various practitioners of his favored style, musica guajira, which translates loosely to Cuban "countryside blues." He then played with the legendary "Queen of Guajira" Celina Gonzalez, and formed his own group, Piquete Cubano, before becoming involved with the BVSC after settling in Havana. Torres, having never heard of BVSC impresario Ry Cooder, went to the first session on a lark after seeing advertisements. He soon realized that Cooder was onto something big.
At the time, Torres was also recording with another outfit that went on to hit it big in the States, the Afro-Cuban All-Stars. He anticipated, however, that the All-Stars would meet with more success than would the BVSC, because "(the All-Stars record) was, in a lot of ways, a better record." Of course, BVSC went on to greater accolades as documented in the film of the same name. Who knew?
Come hear Torres perform his lauded laud at Plaza Palomino, at the intersection of Ft. Lowell and Swan roads. He'll be performing material from his new album, Havana Café, and fans of that ambling, buoyant-yet-haunted blues-inflected Buena Vista Social Club sound will not be disappointed. The show starts at 8 p.m. sharp, and costs $25 in advance. Tickets are available at Antigone Books, Brew and Vine, City Grill, Hear's Music and Enchanted Earthworks, or by phone at 297-9133. It's an extra two bucks for door admission on the day of the show.
IDLE WORSHIP: The "original" cyberpunk (tee-hee), Billy Idol, rolls into Tucson on Sunday, June 17, for an event billed as "an evening with Billy Idol and legendary guitarist Steve Stevens." What, Billy ain't legendary? Or is it just implied? Whether said evening includes dinner and a kiss goodnight remains to be seen. Billy & Co. can be found at the Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St., at 8:30 p.m. Added bonus: If you skip 311 at KFMA Day, and happen to have another $35 burning a hole in your pocket, you can catch both shows!
It's been a long time since Idol's reared his spiky locks, most likely because he was laying low after 1995's embarrassing attempt at trend-surfing, Cyberpunk. Back this time with a nugget-packed greatest-hits collection (and a killer appearance on VH1's Storytellers series), Idol will rock the Rialto for a somewhat dear $35. Of course, his new cover of Simple Minds' high school anthem "(Don't You) Forget About Me" makes the separation of you from your hard-earned dough a little easier to take. Look to www.sfx.com, Ticketmaster or the Rialto box office (on the day of the show) for tickets.
NEVER A DUL MOMENT: As my own mother can attest, the dulcimer/folk instrument subculture/festival circuit is fascinating and fun for fans of the hauntingly beautiful dulcimer, a Scotch-Irish stringed instrument that has a minor-key melancholic sound reminiscent of the bagpipe, at least to me, anyway.
This weekend sees the arrival of the second annual Southwest Dulcimer Festival, June 15-17, at BeanTree Barn, in Dewey, 17 miles outside of Prescott. The event includes a full schedule of workshops for both varieties of dulcimer (hammer, a larger, more percussive dulcimer; and mountain, a lap-played, smaller instrument), jam sessions, catered food and featured performances from Tucson's Stefan George, Robert Force of Washington state, and event organizer Anna Duff, among many others.
Registration for the entire conference costs $80 and includes all the workshops, performances and food for the three-day event. Single-day registration is available for $30 on Friday, $40 on Saturday and $20 on Sunday. If you're merely interested in the evening concerts, admission is yours for only $10 per night. Billy Idol, take note.
Contact Anna Duff for registration and other info, at 520-720-4965, or at www.dulciannna.com. Camping and RV parking will be available. Remember, as festival performer David Schnaufer says, "The only thing I like better than the sound of a dulcimer is the sound of two dulcimers." Now multiply that by 50 or so, and you get the idea.
LOVE FLOWS BACKSTAGE: Like a bird on a wing, pop-country legends The Bellamy Brothers flow into Backstage bar and grill, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, on Wednesday, June 20..The Bellamys are touring in support of a 25-year greatest-hits collection (which is only volume one of two, if you can believe that) which also includes, of course, two new songs and some live cuts as well as studio hits.
Fans of Kenny Loggins if he were genetically blended with the Mavericks will enjoy, but admit it, the real reason you'll want to go is to hear their smash '70s radio staple "Let Your Love Flow," the melody of which you're probably hearing in your head as you read this. For more info, including price, call 733-6262.
THE BOOKING OF REVELATION: Old-school hardcore label Revelation Records, the name in wallet-chain rock for nearly two decades (remember Gorilla Biscuits?), is opening the Second Seal on our asses (OK, the biblical metaphor is a bit overextended) on Sunday, June 17 with the arrival to Tucson of its new signee Fall Silent, and then again on Thursday, June 21, when Drowningman stürms through town. Both shows are at punk venue Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway Blvd. The ticket price is not available at press time.
Each band plays fairly traditional yell-rock/hardcore, with Drowningman occasionally finding a melody the way a blind squirrel finds an acorn. If you like it loud and angry (and hot, baby), then Skrappy's is the place to be this upcoming Sunday and Thursday. Remember, it's the yelling that makes it special.