MONDAY, MONDAYTouring bands often save their weekend nights for bigger cities, like Los Angeles, leaving lesser burgs like Tucson stranded with weeknight shows. But even by that general rule, Monday, March 6, is an unusually busy night in T-Town.
You've, of course, got the Electric Six, She Wants Revenge and Rock Kills Kid show at Plush, which Gene Armstrong writes about in this issue. But you've also got other options: The Gourds at Vaudeville Cabaret and the Ska Brawl Tour at City Limits.
The Gourds, from Austin, Texas, are perhaps best known for their bluegrass cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice," which was largely, inexplicably credited to Phish in the Napster days of yore. That song, even though they didn't write it, is somewhat emblematic of much of The Gourds' oeuvre. The band deftly combine all flavors of Americana and alt-country (and they're the rare case in which the "alt" is at least as important as the "country"), and reflects them through a prism of pop culture savvy. Thus, you get a song like "My Name Is Jorge," from 2002's Cow Fish Fowl or Pig (Sugar Hill), which, over an earthy, four-chord acoustic jaunt, tells the story of a fruit peddler who claims at the beginning of the song that what his customers do with the fruit he sells them "ain't of my concerns," before recounting his experiences with some of his most famous customers: "I once sold me an apple to William S. Burroughs / He shot up his dope, his Wine sap, his girl / And I sold me a lemon to Henry S. Ford / But he brought it back, I said, all sales are final ... And I sold sugar cane to Harvey Oswald / He didn't shoot Johnny but I think he's involved." As lyrically deft as the song is, it's also catchy enough to be entirely enjoyable even if one didn't know who Burroughs, Ford and Oswald were.
Hyperliterate hillbillies The Gourds have, since 1997, released a new album every year, the latest of which is Heavy Ornamentals (Eleven Thirty, 2006). They'll be in town to promote it on Monday, March 6, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Tucson's Will Elliott opens at 9 p.m. Cover is $8. For further details, call 622-3535.
For those who think ska should have been no mere passing fancy, lifestyle encouragement arrives this week in the form of the Ska Brawl Tour. The headliners are The Toasters, who bridged the gap between second- and third-wave ska bands when they began, in the early '80s, and are arguably the most important American ska band ever (even though singer Rob "Bucket" Hingley is a British expat). Also on the bill are Westbound Train and Tucson's Troy's Bucket, who kick things off at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 6, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Tickets are $10 in advance at the venue's box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. For more information, call 733-6262.
VINYL FETISHYou may know her as one of the founding members of the Tucson Suffragettes, "Madame" from Calexico's "The Battle of Cable Hogue," a filmmaker who's directed documentaries about Giant Sand (Drunken Bees) and lowrider bicycle culture (Low Y Cool), or even as "that French woman who sells roses at downtown bars." But, this week Marianne Dissard spreads her musical wings for the release of the first musical artifact to bear her name.
Demo: Entre Deux is a limited edition 7-inch vinyl-only EP with four songs. While Dissard wrote the French lyrics, Calexico's Joey Burns composed the music and plays guitar and bass on the recordings, while her husband, Naim Amor, produced it. It serves as an appetizer of sorts: Dissard, Amor, Burns and John Convertino are currently at work on a full-length.
The same night, Naim Amor releases his own limited-edition vinyl-only platter, the Exsanguine LP.
At the record release party, 9 p.m. Friday, March 3, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., both Dissard and Amor will perform live sets. In between, Al Perry, Carl Hanni and Amor will DJ. As a further kiss-off to CDs, a vintage Fisher-Price turntable and records will be given away, and anyone dressed head-to-toe in vinyl gets in for free. Everyone else will have to pay $5. Things get spinning at 9 p.m. Call 622-8848 for further details.
BRING YOUR BEADSDespite the fact that much of New Orleans is still in ruins following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Mardi Gras marches on this week, both in New Orleans and Tucson. KXCI's Fifth Annual Mardi Gras Dance Party will feature Grammy-nominated Louisiana blues-rock guitar master Sonny Landreth. Landreth's signature guitar style simultaneously combines slide and fretted notes, which provides an uncommon depth and complexity in sound. He got his start playing behind accordionist Clifton Chenier, and has performed over the years with Allen Toussaint, Jimmy Buffett, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, who said of Landreth, "He's probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also probably one of the most advanced." Last year, Landreth released Grant Street (Sugar Hill), his first live album, which contains no overdubs.
The Mardi Gras Dance Party takes place on Friday, March 3, at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. Doors open at 7 p.m., when Louisiana dinners prepared by The French Quarter will be available for purchase. Free dance lessons begin at 7:45 p.m., and Tucson's Dr. Mojo and the Zydeco Cannibals open for Landreth at 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $20 for the general public, $16 for KXCI members, at Antigone Books, Hear's Music and KXCI, by phone at 623-1000, ext. 13, or online at kxci.org. Admission will be $3 more at the door. For more info, call 623-1000.
BACK IN THE DRUNK TANKAdmit it, you've missed them: After almost two years, one of the best excuses to get shitfaced in Tucson, The Hillwilliams, are reuniting this weekend. The band--singer-guitarist Scott Lema, bassist-singer Jim Cox and drummer Matt Shannon--broke up in May 2004, when Lema relocated to Wisconsin. We're assuming he's back visiting for the weekend, which shouldn't leave much time for band practice--not that they ever practiced much, anyway.
The hootin' and hollerin' goes down around 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at Che's Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave. As always, there's no cover charge. Call 623-2088 if you must.
ON THE BANDWAGONRockabilly kings The Reverend Horton Heat return to town this week, with the explosive Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers in tow, in the opening slot. This one-two punch hits City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. Advance tix are available for $15 at the venue's box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or by phone at 321-1000. They'll be $20 on the day of show. For more details, call 733-6262.
Back on the road promoting 2004's It's Deeper Than Most People Actually Think ... (Funhole), Dynamite Club brings its avant-jazz spazz-punk to town on Sunday, March 5. They'll be at the new local venue Dry River Collective, 657 St. Mary's Road, which hasn't provided us with any further info. (Hey, Dry River folks, e-mail us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, woncha?)
Finally, Nimbus Brewing, 3850 E. 44th St., has a pair of shows featuring a pair of blues legends. First up is longtime Tucsonan and current NYC resident Sam Taylor, who will perform on Friday, March 3. Cover is $5. Then, on Tuesday, March 7, Savoy Brown, fronted by British guitar virtuoso Kim Simmonds, will hit the Nimbus stage. Cover is $15. Doors for both shows open at 7:30 p.m. For more info, call 745-9175.