BRACE YOURSELVES FOR THE ONSLAUGHTSpring and fall are traditionally the heaviest seasons for bands to release new albums, which means they're also the heaviest seasons for those bands to hit the road to promote them.
Welcome, then, to what feels like the first week of a very heavy touring season.
HEY, DID YA HEAR ABOUT THAT ELECTION THING COMING UP?Billed as the Go Vote 2008 Concert and Festival, two of Arizona's biggest acts will team up at the Rialto Theatre to perform at a benefit for the re-election campaign of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Headlining the event is Tucson's Calexico; the show marks the kickoff date for a month of shows in the U.S. and Europe. They will be performing in town for the first time since the release of Carried to Dust, their subtle but brilliant new album, which was released on Sept. 9.
Preceding Calexico will be Jim Adkins, the leader of arguably the biggest current band to hail from Arizona, Mesa's Jimmy Eat World, whose latest album is 2007's Chase This Light. Jimmy Eat World haven't performed in Tucson in more than three years; Atkins will perform the band's music with some friends at this show.
Also on the bill are Tucson's Mariachi Luz de Luna, who will no doubt perform alongside Calexico, as they typically do when the two share a bill. Don't call for my head if it doesn't happen, but word on the street is that there will be some other musical collaborations during the night.
Prior to the show, a chunk of the Rialto parking lot will be devoted to information tables set up by political, civic and community groups in an effort to encourage concert-goers to get engaged and educated about the political process. Food from Hotel Congress will also be available for purchase.
Gates to the all-ages festival and concert will open at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, with the show itself kicking off at 8 p.m. Reserved balcony seating for the show is already sold out, so here are your remaining ticket options: general admission for $25; student general admission with ID is $15; or, for $75, there's the VIP package, which includes a rooftop reception at Hotel Congress with members of Calexico, Jim Adkins and Giffords, along with music by Grupo Sonido. The package also includes a reserved lower-balcony seat, a signed concert poster, a Calexico wall calendar and Jimmy Eat World collectors'-edition vinyl.
Buy your tickets at the event Web site. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. For more information, call 740-1000.
TWO REALLY BIG SHOWSA couple of the biggest acts in indie rock will make their way to town this week for shows on consecutive nights at the Rialto Theatre.
When Vampire Weekend first (and most recently) performed in Tucson, just more than a year ago, the band hadn't released a single song. But the buzz had already hit the street, so their show at Solar Culture Gallery was performed before a packed house. Since then, the group have released their self-titled debut album, toured all over the world and endured the sort of backlash that only indie-rock geeks could spawn.
Why? Good question. Perhaps because indie-centric music fans hate to see a band get that big, that quickly; or maybe it's because the group's members graduated from an Ivy League school and appropriated sounds found in African music, which got them branded as "phony" and "entitled."
But taken on its own merits, Vampire Weekend's debut album is an almost undeniable pleasure, with deceptively simple pop songs about things like punctuation, which have garnered comparisons to Paul Simon's Graceland for their African influence.
Let it go, people. Yes, they're huge; yes, they went to Columbia University; yes, they write songs about punctuation. But none of those things make them any less great.
Vampire Weekend, along with the acclaimed British dance-pop outfit Hot Chip and Drums of Death, will perform at the Rialto at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23. Tickets for the all-ages show are $24 in advance, or $25 on the day of the show.
The following night belongs to Kentucky's My Morning Jacket, whose first few albums were glorious exercises in Neil Young-influenced country-rock, but who have recently expanded their scope and gotten far more experimental. With 2005's Z and 2008's Evil Urges (which sandwiched the live collection Okonokos, from 2006), the band have veered off into neo-psychedelia, reggae, prog-rock and funk, and have expanded their fan base considerably. Considered one of the best live bands currently in action, their performance at this year's Bonnaroo festival has become the stuff of instant legend.
They'll hit the Rialto stage at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 24. Tickets are $34 in advance, or $36 on the day of the show.
The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. Tickets for both shows may be purchased at the venue's box office, Zia, Bookmans, online at the Rialto Web site, or by phone at 740-1000, the same number to call for more info.
HELP THE TOUGH GIRLSTucson Roller Derby will be holding two events this week to benefit the Tucson Saddletramps' travel fund.
First up, at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., is the Tucson Roller Derby Band Benefit, which will feature live performances from Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, RCougar and Winelord. Admission is $5, and you can call 622-8848 for further details.
Then, at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 24, at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St., comes Derby-Okie, billed as "Kamikaze-style karaoke." Audience members can bid to make their favorite rollergirl sing a song of the bidder's choosing, and as a press release for the event states, "counter-bidding and mayhem ensues." Donations are suggested; for more info, call 622-3535 or head to the Roller Derby Web site.
GET YOUR GHOUL ONThough it's free for the public to enjoy and participate in, the annual Dia de los Muertos All Souls Procession most definitely carries overhead costs to organize and conduct. So, this week will bring a fundraising event to help the cause.
Many Mouths One Stomach, the organization that organizes the parade each year, will present Ms. Spyder's Combustible Tea Party, a night of music and performance art featuring Flam Chen, The Mission Creeps, Verbobala, DJ Metrognome, Dave's Magical Brownies and Tucson PuppetWorks with The Floating Widget and the Long Haul Puppet Theater.
It all goes down at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, at Nimbus Brewing Company, 3850 E. 44th St. Admission is $10, with $2 off for anyone in costume. For further information, call 745-9175.