ARTHUR, HE DOES AS HE PLEASESFace it: Arthur Vint is a lot cooler and more accomplished than you were at his age.
It has often been said over the years that Tucson has a drummer shortage, but the few drummers we do have are hella good--which means that Tucson drummers often find themselves as members of as many bands as their schedule will allow. Usually that means two or three--but Vint managed to raise the bar far higher. In seventh grade, he formed his first rock band, in which he played covers with a couple of eighth-graders ("We were really terrible, but then again so is everyone's first band," he wrote me in an e-mail), and later that year released his first solo album, Liceboy.
Early in high school, he released two more solo albums, both under the alias Artgr, and played in the marching band. ("I hated marching band more than anything I've ever experienced in my entire life. I didn't understand the competitive factor in marching band, and I still don't.") He later auditioned into two years of All State Orchestra, two years as principal percussionist of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra and was a member of the Arizona All State Jazz Band last year.
Oh, and his own band, the Afrobeat combo Afrodelic Stegosaurchestra, won the Arizona Daily Star's Battle of the Bands for high school students last year, too. Somehow, along the way, he's managed to perform regularly with Andrew Collberg, tour with Naim Amor and Marianne Dissard, perform as a founding member of the Very Large Ensemble and hold down standing gigs at venues as varied as Hotel Congress and the China Rose.
Did we mention he's also a member of the Arizona Jazz Academy?
OK, we'll stop before you start hating the guy. (If you know him, you know it's impossible to hate him anyway.)
Vint is soon heading off to college at William Paterson University, in New Jersey, and a group of his pals--most of whom he's performed with in the past--will team up to provide him a proper send-off this week (and you can bet he'll be found pounding the skins for a good portion of the night). Performers include the Afrodelic Stegosaurchestra, Amor, Dissard, Matt Mitchell, Ian Stapp, Mike Moynihan, The Ad Nauseum Project, Sleep Like Trees, Rory O'Rear, Low Ones, Serpe, Jeremy Michael Cashman and a few special guests.
The event, billed as "Arthur's Last Waltz," kicks off at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Your $3 admission goes straight into Vint's college fund. Call 622-8848 for more information. Best of luck, Arthur.
NO LONGER BASHFUL ABOUT THE BANDITOne of my favorite things to do when I've had one or two too many cocktails is to come up with ideas for short stories, screenplays, songs, novels and essays--most of which are never pursued. Recently, on one of these occasions, I made a list of places throughout my life that I was told to avoid; the idea was that I would expound on what happened when I went to those places. I would explore the idea of the forbidden, and the perceptions that people had of places they were afraid to experience versus the reality of what those places actually were. One of the places on my list was The Bashful Bandit, which I've still never visited.
You see, when I first moved to Tucson, in the late '80s, the Bandit was a biker bar, described to me as a place that was off limits--unless I wanted to end up in the hospital later that night as a result of looking at the wrong dude the wrong way. It all seems rather silly now, but it's true that back in those days, the motorcycles in the parking lot outnumbered the other vehicles by about 5-to-1. Still, I'll never know whether the reality of the Bandit in those days lived up to its reputation. A few years ago, I read an article in one of the daily papers that, while acknowledging the rough-and-tumble days of yore, explained the Bandit is a much friendlier place these days. I have to confess that I was a little disappointed.
Now comes word that the Bandit is experimenting with live music. Last week, the bar featured a four-band bill that included everyone from headliners Great American Tragedy (who would seem to fit right in among bikers) to neo-folkie 5ft2 (who, like me, likely would have gotten his ass kicked there in the late '80s).
This weekend, the bar plays host to the year-and-a-half-old local band Affirming the Consequent, whose press kit describes them as "Tucson's only gothic jam band" and cites Pearl Jam, Tool and Jane's Addiction as influences. Their debut CD, The Hell Chart (self-released), was recorded in a single day with noted local producer Jim Waters. The press kit claims he sought them out after reading a review that described them as "what The Cure would sound like if Johnny Cash was their singer."
I'm not sure if the CD I'm listening to is by the same band that garnered those descriptions, but frankly, I don't hear anything resembling Johnny Cash or The Cure, and I'm only getting traces of that goth thing. What I hear is a decent, straightforward rock band that sometimes gets a bit jammy. Of all the bands mentioned above, Pearl Jam and Tool seem to come closest, but even those are fairly off the mark. With a few darker exceptions, the album largely contains sometimes-funky blues-rock grooves with tuneful vocals on top--just the kind of band that would sound right at home at the Bandit.
Affirming the Consequent share a bill with Gaza Strip, Mercury Transit and New Mexico's 25/7 at 9 p.m., Saturday, July 28, at The Bashful Bandit, 3686 E. Speedway Blvd. Admission is free. Call 795-8996 for more info.
HEALING THE I-10 RIFTA couple of months ago, we told you about an ongoing series called Hands Across the Gila: The Big Merge, which is a cultural-exchange program of sorts between Tucson and Phoenix. Here's the gist: Phoenix sends two of its bands down here to perform with two of our bands at Club Congress on a Friday; then, the following night, the same bands play at Modified Arts in Phoenix. Seeking to expose new bands to each city, and to abolish the snarkiness between the two, the event is a uniter, not a divider.
This week brings the second installment in the series. The 520 will be represented by the stylish lads of The Year of Acceleration and the bash and pop of The Deludes, while in the Phoenix corner, we have the punctuation-hating What Laura Says Thinks and Feels ("sort of a folky and somewhat bluesy approach at the Brit-pop style," sez Congress) and Source Victoria, who apparently don't perform live very often (again, Congress: "part alt-rock, a little pop and very dreamlike").
The Big Merge resumes at 9 p.m., Friday, July 27. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. And best of all ... there's no cover: It's Free Friday. For further details, call 622-8848.
ON THE BANDWAGONThe master of the goodtime zydeco dance party, Buckwheat Zydeco returns to town this week to perform an all-ages show at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, July 27. Dr. Mojo and the Zydeco Animals open at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $20 at the venue's box office, at www.rialtotheatre.com or by calling 740-1000--the same number to call with questions.
The party posse known as Gravy Train!!!! bring the sweat and the sex to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Opening the all-ages show at 9 p.m. are Sugar and Gold and Tucson's own Thee Okmoniks. Tickets are $7 in advance, $8 at the door; 622-8848.