AWE-INSPIRING ANNIVERSARYAt press time, we're still recovering from Club Congress' 20th anniversary blowout, which almost impossibly managed to surpass all expectations. Kudos to all involved, especially organizers David Slutes and Luke Knipe, who somehow put together this once-in-a-lifetime event pretty much double-handedly. (There was a reason we spotted Knipe sleeping on the floor at the after-party.) The events at Congress and the Rialto provided us with an amazing survey of Tucson music, past and present, allowing us to hang out with old friends and witnessing bands we thought we'd never get to see again. Not to get all sappy or anything, but it truly was a magical event--one for the ages.
Props also to those acts who donated the money from their merch sales to hurricane relief. And god bless Tom Walbank, who we're pretty sure only moved from his post outside the hotel lobby, where he solicited funds for the Red Cross, once the entire weekend--and that was to perform his set on Saturday night.
Walbank is also behind a hastily organized benefit show for victims of Katrina taking place tonight, Thursday, Sept. 8, also at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Details were still being ironed out as we went to press, but we can tell you that Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors will perform (natch); DJ Carlos will be spinning delta blues, and the event will be headlined by Giant Sand (with John Convertino on drums). Things kick off at 7 p.m., and you can call 622-8848 for updated info.
RUN, DON'T CRAWL--YET, ANYWAYWristbands are now on sale for the Budweiser- and Weekly-sponsored Fall Club Crawl, set to take over downtown on Saturday, Oct. 8. We can hear you: "Why are you telling me about this now? Can't I just get my wristband at the Crawl?" Well, yes, you can, provided they don't sell out (which they may). But don't forget that you'll save a couple bucks by heading down to CD City, 2890 N. Campbell Ave., and picking them up in advance; they're $8 now, and will be bumped up to $10 on the night of the event.
But the best incentive to pick 'em up soon is that the first 2,000 people to purchase wristbands will receive a free copy of Club Crawl Volume 2, a local comp CD that, if we do say so ourselves, is pretty darn awesome. "How awesome?" you ask? Well, frankly we're getting a little tired of all your questions, but since we're in a good mood, we'll tell you that the CD comprises 17 tracks by the likes of The Jons, Electroshockbox, Nowhere Man, Is to Feel, The Sweat Band, Amy Rude, Campo Bravo, Loveland, Tom Walbank, The Wyatts, Andrew Collberg and Greyhound Soul, plus previously unreleased songs from Mankind, George Squier Orchestra, Al Foul and Los Gallegos. Act now, and we'll toss in the original 7" version of Al Perry's "Little Bird" (on CD for the first time), which just happens to be Soundbites' favorite version of our favorite Al song, ever. Succumb!
A POCKETFULThe Posies had the distinction of being a Seattle band in the '90s that performed songs having very little to do with that whole "grunge" thing the kids loved so much. Instead, they favored classic power-pop, and the dual singers/guitarists/songwriters Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow wrote some of the finest songs in the genre of that era (see also Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend). After a string of almost uniformly killer albums, the band called it quits in 1998. Stringfellow and Auer both released solo albums and stood in for the missing members of a reformed Big Star (who are about to release a new studio album, 27 years after the last one), while Stringfellow also became a touring member of R.E.M.
But 2000 saw a spate of activity in the Posies camp: Geffen issued a best-of compilation; a four-disc box set of outtakes and rarities was released; and lo and behold, the duo played some acoustic shows as the Posies once again. And earlier this year, a full-band version of the Posies released their first studio album in seven years--Every Kind of Light (Rykodisc), which has received decent if unenthusiastic reviews.
Never mind that. For those of us who never got to see the band the first time around, this week's Tucson appearance has been a long time coming. Here's hoping they dip heavily into that excellent back catalog.
The Posies perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Sunday, Sept. 11. The Deathray Davies open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance at virtuous.com. For more information, call 798-1298.
ON THE BANDWAGONHas it really been a month since the last Bloat Records shindig at Club Congress? Apparently so, and this time around, it comes in the form of a pep rally for the ladies of Tucson Roller Derby, in anticipation of the upcoming championship match on Sept. 17, which will see the VICE Squad duking it out with Furious Truckstop Waitresses for season bragging rights.
The rally, though, hits Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and will feature live sets from Sonic Titan, The Knockout Pills and Al Foul, plus emcee Serge, giveaways and the infamous Smack Rack (that's a spanking rack for you L7s). Admission is $5, and the number to call for more 411 is 622-8848.
Bargain show of the week: Pittsburgh trio Modey Lemon pull into Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., in support of their third album, The Curious City, released last month on Birdman. Not as art-damaged or abrasive as previous releases, City features quirky songs that you can hum along with--songs with actual melodies. Tasty stuff. The Sweat Band and The Gentry open the Friday, Sept. 9 show at 9:30 p.m. Cover is a paltry four ducats. Questions? Ring 'em up at 798-1298.
L.A. singer-songwriter Keaton Simons has done the nearly impossible: garnered airplay for "Currently," a song from his self-released double-disc set, Exes and Whys (2005), on Clear Channel-owned The Mountain (FM 92.9). The 27 songs on the album veer from Cracker-esque roots-pop to slow-burning bluesy grooves, all performed in a winsomely soulful voice, some more successful than others. While some of the tracks here fall into bland AAA territory, there's a good single-disc album among the duds. That's what skip buttons and CD burners are for, I suppose.
Catch Keaton Simons on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. I'Kona and Leila Lopez open this all-ages show at 8 p.m. Admission is $10, and that number again is 622-8848.
Show to catch if you wanna feel cultured: Karashay combines Tuvan throat singers Chirgilchin with didgeridoo master Stephen Kent, which, if you're into that sorta thing, is sort of like topping your favorite flavor of ice cream with a giant pile of steamin' hot fudge--in other words, it's really good. This one goes down at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets for this all-ages show are $15. For more info, call 740-1000.
A couple things come to mind when discussing The Seatsniffers. First, the obvious: What a horrible name. Second, and far less obvious: With a sound based heavily in American roots music of all varieties--rockabilly, Bo Diddley grooves, swampy bayou rock, you get the idea--you'd never guess they were Belgian, so authentic is their execution. Seriously, they do this stuff better than most Americans can muster. See for yourself when they nose their way into Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Al Foul opens at 9 p.m., and cover is a fiver. Call 622-3535 for further details.
CORRECTIONSIn last week's Soundbites I mentioned that the Dave Matthews Band have never performed in Tucson, which is incorrect. Thanks to Don Jennings, who wrote in to tell me that he and about 500 other Tucsonans saw the band play at The Rock in 1994.
Also, the music of Elton John has never been performed at The Great Cover-Up.