DOG DAYS OF MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENTFor those of you who are relatively new to the seasonal sensation we call summer around these parts, let us tell you: Things used to be a lot different around here. Talk to anyone who's weathered upwards of five of 'em, and they'll regale you with tales of the things people used to resort to in the name of entertainment once triple digits hit. There was the annual Bonfire of Endurance; the contests in which participants would see just how long they could remain in the sweltering sun without rehydrating before passing out (recommended to those with generous health-care policies only); and the dreaded Concrete Slab o' Doom.
But live music? Well, live music was almost unheard of. Before all the lovely population growth and before students actually took summer school because they wanted (for some ungodly reason) to graduate in four years, Tucson was a virtual ghost town each summer. So, consider the riches you've experienced musically this summer, and consider this week somewhat of a throwback, a celebration of those achingly boring summers past.
While that's not to say there's not a show here and there worth attending this week, there are also likely no dates you've had circled on your calendar for the past few months in gleeful anticipation. Here, then, are some of your options in an uncharacteristically dry week (pun barely intended).
WITNESS ALL THE PASTY WHITENESSIn attempt to re-create the idyllic California summer he never had as a kid, Al Perry brings us a now-annual event in which the local master of the surf guitar turns Club Congress into an approximation of a good ol' fashioned beach-blanket party. Al Perry Presents Surfin' Safari Friday means sand, surf boards, beach balls and the opportunity to see your favorite downtown hipsters dressed in beach gear. In addition to a live set from Mr. Perry himself, you'll be treated to musical performances from Shrimp Chaperone, Big Galoot, Fukuisan Go! and tunes spun by none other than DJ Hot Rod Ron, for whom this extravaganza is doubling as a going-away party. (OK, so he's only moving to Phoenix, but still ...)
The party kicks off at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 28, and admission is a mere $4--or free to anyone dressed in bikinis, board shorts or wetsuits. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St., and you can call 622-8848 with any questions you might have.
SOUTHERN SINGERSFans of the late, great Trailer Bride might want to check out what that band's frontwoman, Melissa Swingle, has been up to lately. She's joined forces with Laura King, former drummer for fellow Chapel Hillians (Chapel Hillbillies?) Grand National, to form the indie-blooze-punk duo The Moaners, who will headline a gig at Plush this week. Last year, the twosome released Dark Snack, which was produced by Southern Culture on the Skids wildman Rick Miller, and put out on the esteemed Yep Roc label. While Soundbites' copy of Dark Snack (great title, by the way) must have gotten lost in the mail, reviews have it at least on par with the best of Trailer Bride's work, even as Swingle has traded in her moody country despair for a stripped-down, raw blues approach.
We did, however, receive a copy of ... Until the World Is Beautiful, the second album from Portland, Ore.-via-the Midwest quartet The Prids, released on Five03 Records. While their press kit is littered with comparisons to Interpol, Joy Division and New Order (and these days, whose isn't?), and there is a decidedly post-punk feel to much of their album, we hear echoes of The Cure, engaging male-female vocals and a distinct economy of sound that feeds into that whole tension-and-release thing (i.e., taut verses, catchy choruses). And bass, lots of bass. Not so much of the booty-quaking variety, mind you, but just the right amount to make things a bit gloomy. Call it music to take bad drugs to.
Opening the show is Tucson's own LemonMan, whose love of all things bubblegum and psychedelic should at least lighten things up a bit.
Things get started at 9:30 p.m., on Friday, July 28. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St., and cover is $6. Need more info? Call 798-1298.
BLUES RELEASEIt seems like just yesterday that Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors were heading to Memphis, Tenn., to represent Arizona in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, yet things are already getting underway for the preliminaries for next year's event. Here's a press release we recently received from the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation:
"The Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation is seeking entries for its Blues Challenge, a sanctioned preliminary to the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. This event is open to bands of three or more members and will be held on Sunday, Sept. 17 (preliminaries), and Sunday, Sept. 24 (finals), at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress (St.) in Tucson. 1 p.m. until we finish. $5 cover charge.
"The winner of the competition will be entitled to represent the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation in the finals of the International contest, held in Memphis in February 2007. The winner will also receive $2,000 in expense money for traveling to the International contest.
"Any musicians who have not been on the final ballot for a W.C. Handy Blues award and who have not participated in a previous International Blues Challenge are eligible to compete in the Blues Challenge. Musicians who have previously participated in a International Blues Challenge may be a peripheral member of the current band.
"To enter the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Challenge, the band should submit an official application form and a short audition tape or CD. The deadline for entries is Aug. 25. The application forms and contest rules may be obtained by accessing the SABHF website at www.azblues.org."
ON THE BANDWAGONWhen they started out in Bremerton, Wash., 13 years ago, the Christian-oriented pop-punk band MxPx was something of an anomaly. In recent years, they've become a bit more secular, and these days, they're acknowledged as progenitors of a burgeoning scene of like-minded acts. They'll play an early all-ages show at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., tonight, Thursday, July 27. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. with openers Transition, Whole Wheat Bread and Arlington View. Advance tix are available at the venue's box office for $6, which is how much you'll pay at the door, too. Questions? Ring 'em up at 740-1000.
Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, hosts a pair of country shows this week. Terri Clark hits the casino's Diamond Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, while Clay Walker will perform there at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 3. Tickets for either show are available for $30 in advance via all Ticketmaster outlets, the casino's box office, www.desertdiamondcasino.com, or by calling 321-1000. Tickets purchased on the day of the show will run $35, but the casino is offering a special rate of $40 for tickets to both shows, as long as they're purchased in advance. For more info, call 323-2799.