ALL THE RAGE: Following a month or so of sitting dormant, City Limits will finally open its doors in the former Backstage location, at 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, this week. The space was purchased by locally based, regional concert promotion company Cal Productions, and will operate as home base for most of Cal's Tucson bookings from here on out.
The original opening date was pushed back because the new owners had to install a pair of fire exits following the Chicago and Rhode Island nightclub disasters. According to a press release from Shawn Hungate, president of City Limits and Cal, the new fire exits were initially approved by fire inspectors, but not by the building inspector, thus postponing the club's opening. (In recent weeks, Cal Productions shows have been moved to other venues, such as the Rialto Theatre and The Rock.)
And while we're more than thrilled to have yet another live venue operating in town, and optimistic at the varied bookings the club has scheduled so far--coming attractions include George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Phil Vassar and a KXCI benefit featuring Michelle Shocked--we're a bit loathe to announce that the inaugural band to headline the venue's ample stage is, ahem, Nonpoint, who abandoned the sinking rap-rock ship just in time to catch a seat on the rage-rock lifeboat.
Openers for the show are Hotwire, whose RCA debut, The Routine (out May 6) is one of the strongest entries in the violent-rock book I've heard in a while: It's both smart and intense in a Deftones sort of way (though they don't sound much like the Deftones) and actually makes you want to fuck shit up, as opposed to merely trying to convince you that you're supposed to want to fuck shit up while listening to it (the problem I have with most of this stuff); British band Skindred, whose radio-ready style of rap-rock is more influenced by dancehall reggae than hip-hop--sorta like a less threatening Bad Brains for nu-rockers; and the unfortunately named Slaves on Dope, who sound like every other nondescript hard rock band these days.
Oddly, Cal has another, similar-minded show scheduled for the same night, all the way across town, at the fairgrounds. The headliner for that one is Disturbed, a band that actually gained credibility in some circles for covering Stone Cold Steve Austin's pro wrestling theme. (I swear to God that the first time I ever saw Disturbed on TV, during one of those concert specials MTV airs in between lame-ass dating shows and The Real World-Road Rules Challenge, I actually thought that someone had made a Spinal Tap-style pseudo documentary, updated for the nu-rock Y generation, but nope--it was just live Disturbed concert footage. One of the most unintentionally hilarious things I've ever seen.)
Also performing on the bill are Taproot, who have a special place in my heart for dissing Fred Durst, who discovered them; Chevelle (Helmet + Tool + some lame emo band with too-slick production = Chevelle--the math could be worse); and Unloco, who I've never heard, but I have seen them compared to, er, Disturbed. They're currently all over rock radio with that "Failure" song the kids love so much.
Likely realizing they were splitting their audience--both shows essentially appeal to the same crowd--Cal will grant anyone with a ticket stub from the Disturbed show free entry to the Nonpoint one at City Limits
Nonpoint, Hotwire, Skindred and Slaves on Dope will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in an all-ages show at the newly opened City Limits. Advance tickets are available at all Zia Record Exchange locations. For more information call 733-6262.
The Music as a Weapon 2 tour, featuring Disturbed, Taproot, Chevelle and Unloco, hits town at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road. Advance tickets are available at all Zia Record Exchange locations. For more information tune into KFMA 92.1 FM or log onto www.calproductions.com.
BANHART ATTACK: If you're heading out to the Angels of Light show at Club Congress on Sunday, be sure to get there early. (Or, alternately, if you're going to see Bright Eyes at the Rialto the same night, pray it ends early enough to cross the street to get to the Congress show in time to see the opening act. For details, see the articles in this section on both shows.)
Angels of Light labelmate Devendra Banhart's debut album, Oh Me Oh My -- The Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit (2002, Young God) is one of the most bizarre albums released on a legit label since Secretly Canadian picked up The Danielson Family.
Lo-fi by necessity (he had no idea they'd ever see the light of day), the album consists of 22 songs of hypnotically finger-picked acoustic guitar, Banhart's multi-tracked vocals, and not much else. But it's his voice--a high-pitched warble so reedy that you'll be reaching for the treble knob on your stereo almost instantly--and his more-is-more lyrical approach (come to think of it, not so much unlike Conor Oberst's) that has people taking notice. And take notice you will, whether you find Banhart completely unbearable, or curiously beautiful in an outsider/Daniel Johnston sort of way. I fall into the latter category and completely with agree with a statement at the end of his bio: "Listen once you'll be startled; listen twice you'll be hooked."
Devendra Banhart opens for the Young Gods around 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. For further details call 622-8848.
SENSITIVITY TRAINING: Singer/songwriter Mason Jennings' third album, Century Spring (2002, Architect), is a collection of reaffirmingly uplifting, literate tales sung over a pleasant-if-bland backing of acoustic pop/MOR rock. While his approach might be a little too feel-good for some--the album's opening cut's first lines, sung completely earnestly are, "I thought I could live forever here on my own/It seemed things were so much better out here alone/A lonely dreamer, a non-believer/Now I'm living in the moment with the friends I love" ("Living in the Moment")--it will likely appeal to fans of sensitive-boys-who-wear-Birkenstocks, like John Mayer and Jack Johnson, with whom Jennings has toured as opener.
Mason Jennings performs on Tuesday, April 15, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Truck-driver Jesse Stanley and Friends start things off at 9 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $6. Questions? Call 884-0874.
PHOTO OP: We're currently in the process of compiling a database of photos of local bands to run in future issues of The Weekly's music section. That's where you come in. If you're in a local band, we'd love to use your current press photo to help draw attention to your gigs. You can get it to us one of several ways: send a jpeg by e-mail to email@example.com; or send it by snail mail to PO Box 27087, Tucson, AZ 85726, attention: Michaela Steed/music photos; or drop it by our offices, at 3280 E. Hemisphere Loop. Even if you think we might still have one, 'cause, like, you sent one a couple years ago or something, you are highly encouraged to get us a new one, 'cause we probably, like, lost it or something.