Unfortunately, I missed 'em.
But even after they left, people were still talking, enough so that a friend foisted a CD on me to listen to. The disc, last year's self-released Worried Blues, is split between songs written by singer/guitarist Mario Matteoli and some guy named "Traditional" (a damn fine songwriter, I might add). There's a bluegrass feel throughout, with "Another Song, Another Drink" evoking the high lonesome side of that equation, while "Worried Man Blues" is one of several entries in the let's-show-off-our-speed category. The ones that fall into the latter category are more speedy and energetic than trad bluegrass, recalling the speedgrass of Split Lip Rayfield and their brethren. It's a nice merging of respect for the tradition, while still tossing a little steamy spunk on the fire. And I can see why so many people were talking: The disc is fine 'n' all, but I'll bet they play this stuff even harder and faster live. Get yer drink on, kiddies.
The Boys returned in March to hunker down and record at WaveLab, and this week they're back to film a video during their show at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Saturday, June 28. Teddy Morgan and Dave Gonzalez open the show at around 9 p.m., and cover is $7. For more information call 622-3535.
GOT YER DEVOTCHKA: Another pack of out-of-towner, veterans-of-WaveLab pass through town this week. Denver's DeVotchKa's second album, Una Volta, was released earlier this year on indie label Cicero, and it sees the band taking a slightly different direction than on its 2002 debut, Supermelodrama. Whereas the first album showcased a bunch of white guys playing world music of all types way more convincingly than they should be able to, the new disc adds touches of Radiohead-ish Brit-pop, without the electronic and claustrophobic baggage. Oh, and they slay live.
DeVotchKa performs along with opener Sun Zoom Spark at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 27, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For further details call 798-1298.
JETT PACK: Courtney Love, eat your heart out: Joan Jett has been way more kick-ass than you for decades now, and she doesn't even have to try.
At the tender age of 15, Jett was playing clubs with the now-legendary Runaways, who were that rare band that appealed to the once-divisive punk and hard rock camps. She went on to produce the Germs' classic G.I. album, before scoring mega-hits with her covers of "I Love Rock and Roll," "Crimson and Clover," "Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!)," and "I Hate Myself for Loving You." Along the way she's also penned a classic or two herself, the punk sing-along anthem "Bad Reputation"--which still sounds as fresh today as when it came out in 1980--among them. And the years have also brought her much adulation from the riot grrrl scene, as evidenced by her taking over vocal duties for Seattle punks the Gits, whose frontwoman, Mia Zapata, was murdered in the early '90s. As Ali G. might say, "Respect!"
Opening for Jett are The Motels, who notched hits in the '80s with the ballads "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer."
Joan Jett and The Motels perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.etix.com. For more 411, call 883-0100.
NO DOZE: Now in its fourth decade as the leading force in country-swing, Asleep at the Wheel makes a local appearance this week. While more than 80 musicians have passed through the ensemble's ranks over the years, it is still helmed by the distinctive voice of Ray Benson, who's been there from the start. (Benson has also just released a jazzy singer/songwriter album, Beyond Time [Audium] which features guests as diverse as Dolly Parton, Stanley Jordan and Delbert McClinton.)
Asleep at the Wheel performs at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Tickets are $22 at the door. For more info call 733-6262.
SHAKE YOUR JOHNSON: Indie rock royalty hits town this week in the form of Beat Happening and Dub Narcotic founder and K Records honcho Calvin Johnson. (Kurt Cobain didn't have a tattoo of the record label you founded, now did he?) Johnson has put together an indie supergoup of sorts for his current album and tour. Billed as Calvin Johnson and the Sons of Soil, he of the low monotone will be joined by Kyle Field (Little Wings) on bass and vocals, Adam Forkner (Yume Bitsu) on guitar, drums, trumpet, vocals and keyboards and Jason Anderson (Wolf Colonel) on guitar, keyboards and drums.
The show will be opened by local wackos Sugarbush, who, as previously written in this column, have been handpicked by Johnson to open a series of shows on the tour.
It all goes down at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 27, at Captain's Table, 101 W. Fifth St. Cover is five bucks. If you need more details, you can just suck it.
CUT THE CRAP: Finally, we all know that the TAMMIES are awarded to dozens of musical acts, voted by you, as the best our humble burg has to offer. But what about the really awful bands that will never get the chance to take one home?
Club Congress is now taking submissions for the CRAPPIES, a show dedicated to finding Tucson's worst band. It can either be a pre-existing band or one put together especially for the show, which is slated to take place the night before the TAMMIES, on Aug. 6. (If the club doesn't receive enough entries to make the deadline, the "awards" will be pushed back to sometime in the fall.) If you're interested, contact Kris Kerry at 628-8655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.