ON YOUR KNEES: That chill in the nighttime air these days can only mean one thing: the dog months of summer have finally passed us by, and it's officially fall in Tucson, a season which lasts for about a week or so around these parts. Along with it, though, comes Tucson Weekly's annual Fall Crawl, a celebration of local and regional bands that will draw upwards of 10,000 folks to the downtown/ Fourth Avenue section of town on Friday, October 4. It's one of those rare occasions when, with the streets filled with Tucsonans hungry to expand their musical horizons, our fair burg feels as big as it actually is.
As long as you're at least 21 years old, and can prove it with a valid ID, a mere five bucks garners you access to more than 100 bands, on 21 stages, provided you pick one up in advance at any Zia Records location. But be warned, if you sit on your ass till the event rolls around, you'll have to pay $7 for the very same wristband, available at most participating venues on the night of the Crawl. And that's assuming you'll even be able to get one, as the suckers seem to sell out every year.
Check out the handy pull-out section of this week's print edition of The Weekly for a complete rundown of participating acts and venues, as well as a map of the area for those who don't make it downtown on a regular basis (shame on you).
Most of all, have a blast and be careful. We'll see you there.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS: And while we're on the subject of Fall Crawl, the event's primary organizer, Jeb Schoonover, will be celebrating his big Four-Oh with a helluva fun shindig at Vaudeville Cabaret the night prior to the Crawl. Apparently, when you're a mover and a shaker the likes of Mr. Schoonover, the big names come out to play/pay tribute; thus the night's decidedly rootsy lineup of performers will include Teddy Morgan, Mark Insley, Bill Barron, Hank Topless, Mike Hebert, Chris Gaffney and Mike Barfield. Here's hoping Jeb's sufficiently enough recovered to make sure Fall Crawl goes off without a hitch.
Jeb's 40th Birthday Party kicks off at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 3, at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St. For more info call 622-3535.
Then, two days later, on the night following Fall Crawl, Vaudeville itself celebrates its own birthday. The Vaudeville First Year Anniversary Party will include belly dancing and performances from Al Perry, Al Foul, Morgan City General, Capoiera, Jesse and Joey and Tom Walbank, and will be hosted by Faith Michaels. If Noel's not dancing on the bar by the end of the night, we'll demand our money back.
It all goes down at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, at Vaudeville. See above for address and phone number.
DREAM ON: In 1982, a group of scrappy young Los Angelinos released a landmark recording that, like their primary influence, the Velvet Underground, never shifted a lot of units, but had a direct and profound impact on all who were lucky enough to hear it. The Dream Syndicate's The Days of Wine and Roses (originally released on Slash, now available in expanded form on Rhino) consisted of somber, creepy ballads, dissonant guitar rave-ups, and songs that shifted dynamically between the two. At the time of the album's release, the Dream Syndicate were somewhat puzzlingly lumped into the burgeoning L.A. Paisley Underground scene, a loose conglomeration of bands like Rain Parade, The Three O' Clock, and The Bangles, which hearkened back to a time (the '60s and early '70s) when sunny pop tunes had a legitimate place in the cultural zeitgeist. But the Dream Syndicate never really fit in; they were always a bit too dark, and way too noisy for the clean, shimmering guitar sound that characterized the movement. And they were also easily the best of the crop.
In the ensuing years, the Dream Syndicate released a handful of worthwhile full-lengths and EPs, but none quite lived up to the potential of The Days of Wine and Roses, which still easily ranks as one of the best rock albums of the '80s. The band eventually called it quits in 1989.
But bandleader and primary songwriter Steve Wynn went on to a lengthy solo career, again chock-full of fine albums, but none that really showcased just how friggin' powerful the guy could be. That is, until his last release, Here Come the Miracles (2001), a two-CD tour de force that is, without question, his best solo album to date. Recorded here in Tucson, at Wavelab, and including contributions from Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), John Convertino (Calexico), Chris Cacavas (Green on Red), Chris Brokaw (Come), and Linda Pitmon (Zuzu's Petals), Miracles is the album Wynn had been trying to make ever since the Dream Syndicate's debut. Touted at the time of its release as Wynn's Exile on Main St., the analogy isn't far off base, as it included dirty swamp-blooze, cinematic epics and full-on straightforward rockers, all imbued with a slightly off-kilter quality that kept you guessing what would come next.
For the past couple weeks, once again Wynn and his bandmates have been shacked up at Hotel Congress and holed up in Wavelab, creating their next batch of literary, sonic madness. While they're paying for the studio time, the rooms have been provided free-of-charge, with a hitch.
Wynn and Co. will repay the debt to the hotel by performing a free show at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, October 6. As an added bonus, Chris Cacavas and his band will provide opening duties, at 9 p.m., with a set of his own excellent songwriting and performing skills. Do not miss this show! Call 622-8848 for more information.
ON THE BANDWAGON: Over the years, British bluesman John Mayall has run a revolving-door school of sorts for up-and-coming musicians. Perhaps you're familiar with a few of his former students; Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, John McVie, Andy Fraser and Mick Fleetwood have all graduated from the University of Mayall over the years. In other words, Mayall plays with no one but the best.
Check out the latest incarnation of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers when they perform on Sunday, October 6, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Deacon and Dean open at 8 p.m. Advance tix are available for $15 at the Rialto Box Office and all Zia Records locations. They'll be $17 at the door. Questions? Call 740-1000.
Comprising pianist John Einweck, drummer Dave Jeffres and bassist Adam Levy, The John Einweck Trio will celebrate the release of their new fine new CD, Live at Sullivan's, with a performance at--you guessed it--Sullivan's Steak House, 1785 E. River Road, at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 6. Admission is free. For more info call 299-4275.
And finally, a quick notice that the Nels Cline Singers show, originally scheduled for Sunday, October 6, at Solar Culture, has been cancelled. It should be re-scheduled at some point in the future; we'll keep you informed as we get details.