STEVE PLAYS HOOKYOur esteemed music editor, Stephen Seigel, is taking a much-needed vacation and will return to these pages next week. In the meantime, let us examine the opportunities for live music during the coming eight days.
IT'S NOT EXACTLY A NEW WAVE REVIVAL, BUT ...Some titans of melodic post-punk pop will visit Tucson in the next week.
Perhaps most exciting is the appearance by the English pop act Squeeze, responsible for momentous '80s hit singles such as "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," "Up the Junction," "Cool for Cats" and "Another Nail in My Heart," as well as smooth-croon classics "Tempted" and "Black Coffee in Bed." Ah, memories.
The band almost always has been anchored by the impeccable tunesmith team of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, masters of insanely catchy numbers about trouble in domestic paradise and endless pithy couplets that cut to the bone. Now in their mid-50s, each has enjoyed thriving solo careers--Difford's new album, The Last Temptation of Chris, is especially good--but they are best when teamed up.
Squeeze counts among its inspirations classic pop-rock acts such as the Beatles and the Kinks, while contemporary acts such as Razorlight, the View and Fountains of Wayne are known to boast of Squeeze's influence on them.
In addition to Difford and Tilbrook, the current Squeeze also features bassist John Bentley (who played on some of the band's best albums) as well as drummer Simon Hanson and keyboards player Stephen Large--the latter two members of the Fluffers, the band that backs Tilbrook in his solo pursuits.
Four classic Squeeze albums--Argybargy, Sweets From a Stranger, Frank and Ridiculous--were reissued last year, receiving the deluxe, re-mastered, expanded-edition treatment. And, released this past April, the 19-track CD Five Live documents the highlights of Squeeze's 2007 tour--but it is unfortunately only available as an import.
Swedish-by-way-of-New-Orleans, smoky-voiced singer-songwriter Theresa Andersson, whose style melds jazz, girl-group pop and Americana, will open the show for Squeeze. Her excellent new album, Hummingbird, Go!, was released this week by Basin Street Records.
The show starts at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets cost $31 for general admission or $36 for reserved balcony seats. Call 740-1000 for more information.
New Zealander Tim Finn is another bona fide new-wave hero of mine--first with the arty but commercially savvy Split Enz, which he co-founded with brother Neil in the 1970s and then left in the mid-'80s for a successful solo career. Briefly, he joined with Neil in the mega-selling pop group Crowded House, and later in the Finn Brothers. I think there was a Split Enz reunion somewhere in there as well.
In recent years, Finn's gone back to making sterling solo records, the most recent of which is The Conversation.
Finn will play at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. It'll be an intimate, ticketed event for grown-ups, and not simply because Finn has been seen lately sporting a rakish gray beard and locks. Serious nightclub action starts a couple of hours later. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show. Call at 622-8848 if want to know more.
DOWN WITH OBDSome of the most adventurous and joyous sounds in contemporary Celtic music issue from the justifiably acclaimed Old Blind Dogs, a Scottish group that's no stranger to Tucson audiences.
OBD are touring to support their newest CD, Four on the Floor, which we are told continues their habit of respecting traditional music--but not too much. Although the band has been going at it some 18 years, they still look like (and play like) fiery young lions.
Sole remaining original member and fiddle-master Jonny Hardie nowadays works with Fraser Stone, who plays percussion, and Aaron Jones, who sings and plays guitar and bouzouki. The latest news is that longtime piper Rory Campbell has left the group and will be replaced by Alistair Hutton.
Although blind, these old dogs must have a keen sense smell, since they'll find their way back to the Old Pueblo to perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Rialto Theatre. Seats are reserved, and purchased in advance, they cost $20 general or $18 for seniors. At the door, they'll set you back $23. Call 740-1000 for more info.
This appearance, by the way, will mark Old Blind Dogs' first in Tucson in many years at a venue that sells beer--which means something to some fans, we know.
THROWING MUSICOne of my favorite female voices in alternate rock is that of Kristin Hersh, former singer and guitarist with Throwing Muses and now a busy rock 'n' roll mom with an active solo career that takes many different turns. The always-inventive 42-year-old Hersh is perpetually throwing new music at us, such as the aggressive 50 Foot Wave or her current project, Shady Circle.
Hersh and Shady Circle will perform next Thursday, Sept. 11, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Opening act Willard Grant Conspiracy will hit the stage at about 9 p.m. All ages will be admitted. Admission is $12; call 884-0874 for further details.
AT THE CASINOSThe Anselmo Tori Valencia Amphitheater (aka AVA) at Casino Del Sol will present no less than three promising concerts this week.
Perhaps the most interesting is that of one of Phoenix's most famous residents, Alice Cooper, who is truly becoming a master of all media.
Not only does the legendary shock rocker own a successful Phoenix restaurant (Alice Cooper's Town Sports Bar and Grill); he just saw the release of the new CD Along Came a Spider (a concept album that tells the story of a spider-obsessed serial killer) and the reissue in paperback of his book Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's Life and 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict.
And then there's his nightly syndicated radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper (broadcast in Tucson on KLPX FM 96.1), which is always interesting. How he finds time for golf is a mystery--welcome to my scheduling nightmare!
Anyway, Alice will play Tuesday, Sept. 9, at AVA, with Warrant opening the show at 7:30 p.m. Lawn tickets go for $20, and the reserved seats start at $37.50.
Alan Jackson, the chart-topping country superstar (with the luscious blond moustache) whose pace never seems to have flagged in a career that has lasted 18 years, is touring to support his latest album, Good Time. Jackson plays AVA at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 11. Tickets cost $49.50 on the lawn, and they start at $75 for the reserved seats.
Finally, the classic funk band War is slated to play hits such as "Low Rider," "Why Can't We Be Friends," "Cisco Kid" and "Spill the Wine" at Saturday, Sept. 6, at AVA. The show will start at 8 p.m. with opening acts El Chicano and Malo. Lawn tickets cost $20, and reserved seats start at $35. In case you're wondering, AVA is located at 5655 W. Valencia Road. Call (800) 344-9435 for information.
Over at Desert Diamond Casino, where Interstate 19 meets Pima Mine Road, one of the most powerful female rock voices of the 1980s, Pat Benatar, will return to Tucson to play a show with her husband and longtime guitarist, Neil Giraldo. They'll perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7. Advance tickets cost $27. Wait until the day of the show, and they'll be $32. Call 321-1000 to buy them.
MORE CHOICE GIGSThe above suggestions are merely the tip of the musical iceberg. You might also want to consider the following shows:
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., will host a fundraiser for the legendary Tucson fantasy park Valley of the Moon at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 5. Among the acts on indoor and outdoor stages will be Carlos Solorzano, Los Hombres, Kevin Pakulis, the Wayback Machine, Bad New Blues Band, the Right Thing, the Hounds and Cosmic Slop. Suggested donation is $5; kids 12 and younger get in free.
If your taste runs a little harder, check out the punk and hard rock of American Black Lung and the Holy Rolling Empire, two rising-star Tucson acts, who will play Friday, Sept. 5, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. A third act, Juarez, will open the show at 9:30 p.m. Cover is just $5. (Mr. Seigel mentioned this gig in this space last week, but we didn't want you forgetting.)