This year's event is set up sorta like our Club Crawls, in that you pay a flat fee for a wristband that entitles you entry to six different venues on Congress, each with its own fine schedule of (mostly) musical acts--not to mention the requisite costume contests.
Here's a schedule of what your wristband'll do fer ya, by venue, and in ascending order of appearance:
The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.: a joint performance from singer/songwriters Teddy Morgan and Cathy Rivers (8 p.m.); a rare outing from The Hacienda Brothers, which features Morgan, Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzalez (9 p.m.); veteran San Diego roots-rockers Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs (10 p.m.); costume contest (11 p.m.); and headliner Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar and shill for Nissan Pathfinder (11:30 p.m.).
Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., will feature three different stages: the Club Congress stage will host surly Lotsaslavians The Zsa Zsas performing a special set of spooky favorites (11 p.m.), which will be briefly interrupted at midnight for a costume contest. The VIP Stage will be home to everyone's favorite modern-day vaudeville act, Austin's Asylum Street Spankers (9 p.m. to midnight). And, the Outside Stage in the hotel's parking lot will be occupied by pyro performance artists Flam Chen (8:30 p.m.), local eclectic pop-rock combo The Jons (10:30 p.m.) and the madcap mayhem of thee mighty Chango Malo (11:30 p.m.).
Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St.: Texas Trash and the Hangovers, whose name says all you need to know (8 p.m.); costume contest (9 p.m.); the rockabilly noir of The Last Call Brawlers (9:30 p.m.); the glorious spectacle of trashy riff-rockers Whiskey Bitch (10:30 p.m.); and the local king of rockabilly, Al Foul (11:30 p.m.).
7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St.: local guitarriffic psych-pop trio Yellow Cabs (9 p.m.); costume contest (10 p.m.); the full-on rawk assault of Great American Tragedy (10:30 p.m.); and Molton Leather (11:30 p.m.), who crawl out of their caskets to perform the least holy of metal tunes only on special occasions like this one.
The Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St.: Brit bluesman extraordinaire Tom Walbank and a few of his friends (9 p.m. to 1 a.m.).
Sharks, 256 E. Congress St.: classic rock and Latin jazz from Los Nawdy Dawgs (8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.); and rock en español courtesy of El Ultima Tren (10 p.m. to midnight).
It all goes down on Friday, Oct. 31. Wristbands for the event may be purchased in advance for $10 at the Rialto and all Bookman's locations. They'll be $15 at the door. For more information call 740-1000.
ALL'S PHAIR: Liz Phair is performing in town this week in support of her self-titled sellout album (I don't remember the last time I got to call an artist a sellout without being sarcastic), and the show should make for an interesting sociological study of sorts.
If you missed Annie Holub and me trashing her recent career choices (Tucson Weekly, July 3), let me explain. Phair began her career as a foulmouthed but unflinchingly honest chronicler of what it was like to be a twentysomething indie rock chick in the '90s via her masterful lo-fi debut album, Exile in Guyville (1993, Matador). Ten years and a pair of hit-or-miss albums later, she enlisted the geniuses who masterminded Avril Lavigne's debut to help her record Liz Phair (2003, Capitol), her desperate attempt at teen-pop stardom, despite the fact that she's middle-aged and seems to have lost any semblance of what made her interesting in the first place. The craziest thing of all is that it appears to be working, as "Why Can't I?," the album's first single, is inescapable on Top 40 radio and VH1.
Which begs the question: Which Liz Phair are people expecting when they get there? Will City Limits be packed with aging indie rockers eager to hear the old stuff played live, or will the teenyboppers and secretaries who had never heard of Phair prior to 2003 be there to hear the Hit? It'll likely be a mix of both and should make for some prime crowd interaction.
Incidentally, we highly recommend arriving early to catch Wheat, who will open the show along with Katy Rose. The Massachusetts trio's much-delayed and highly anticipated new album, Per Second Per Second Per Second Every Second--the follow-up to 1999's superb Hope and Adams (Sugar Free)--is set to finally drop on Columbia on Nov. 4. If you dig the likes of Pinback, don't miss these guys.
Liz Phair, Wheat, and Katy Rose perform an all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Advance tickets are available for $15 at the club and all Zia locations, online at www.calproductions.com, and by phone at 1-800-514-ETIX. For further details, call 733-6262.
ON THE BANDWAGON: If the closest you've come to witnessing a live MC battle is renting 8 Mile, your chance to see one in the flesh comes this week in the form of Mic Fights #6, an ongoing diss contest with beats that pops up at Skrappy's periodically. Sixteen emcees will square off in an elimination competition that will see the imperious rapper Calliz attempt to defend his crown.
Mic Fights #6 takes over Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. For more info call 358-4287.
If you missed Denali's recent performance at Solar Culture, fret not, young introspective one; the band is taking advantage of a night off from unlikely opening duties for The Deftones by stopping by Plush to cast their spell once again. The group's excellent new album, The Instinct (Jade Tree), just hit stores on Oct. 28.
Denali takes the stage at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Sunday, Nov. 2. Camp Courageous opens at 9:30 p.m. Questions? Ring 'em up at 798-1298.