SATURDAY IS THE NEW WEDNESDAY
While there are certainly a lot of exceptions to the rule, touring acts tend to hit Tucson during the week, just prior to the weekend or just after it, saving their weekends for shows in larger markets. Thus, it's often a burden for 9-to-5 music-lovers to see bands they'd like to see.
However, there's a positive aspect: It leaves the locals to play weekend shows. And when our local scene is as vibrant as it is now, that can be a very good thing.
Just as last Saturday was chock-full of nifty local music events, so, too, is this Saturday, Aug. 6.
Saturday is the new Wednesday, people. Dig.
GRUNGE ALL ALONG
Gaza Strip dropped its latest album, Makes No Sense, last week at a CD-release party that drew 125-plus people. Unfortunately, we hadn't received a copy in time to give it a listen beforehand. But the band has another show scheduled for this weekend, and we've now got the CD in our hands. Let's check it out, shall we?
The first time I encountered Gaza Strip was at a live performance in 2006, the year after the band formed. I wrote in these pages of the performance: "Gaza Strip have obviously studied their Nirvana and Pixies textbooks, but seem to have skipped the chapters about incorporating hooks into their songs." It might not have been very nice, but it was honest.
Then the band released its debut album, All About the Lincolns, in 2008, and I was confused. There were some highlights and some lowlights, but I got the overwhelming feeling that this was a band that hadn't figured out exactly what it was yet: Many of the songs on Lincolns fell into the territory of comedy-rock, while others seemed to be perfectly earnest.
On Makes No Sense, Gaza Strip—whose current lineup is Keith Lamott (vocals, guitar), Geremy Cady (vocals, guitar), Daniel Brelsford (bass) and Levi Misner (drums)—finally seems to have figured out what it wants to sound like: a pretty decent, straightforward alt-rock band that occasionally veers into the realm of the fungible hard-rock bands that populate the airwaves on KFMA.
Makes No Sense is a huge improvement over Lincolns. For starters, the sound quality—which was seriously lacking on Lincolns—far surpasses that of the debut, thanks, no doubt, to the fact that Sense was recorded in an actual studio, OG7 Studios, with Nando Rivas.
While lyrics on the new album are sophomoric every once in a while, they no longer seem like jokes. On "B-Word," for example, a girl is called "you bitch!" On Lincolns, this would have passed for juvenile comedy, and that would be it. But as the song progresses, we find out why: "I gave that bitch my fucking virginity!" While I'm not condoning going around calling women bitches, there's enough emotion in the song to render it believable, and understandable.
Perhaps best of all, the bulk of the eight songs on Makes No Sense sport decent hooks. The propulsive opening (title) track comes equipped with a nifty guitar lead that borders on spy-theme fare, as well as a memorable chorus. And although "Cat N' Mouse" can't resist slipping in a pussy joke, its call-and-response vocals and guitar upstrokes lend it a winning Meat Puppets-esque quality.
"Look at Me" and "I Dunno" don't leave much of an impression beyond their grunge-by-the-numbers riffs, while "Sex M'Now" demonstrates that the band is still listening to Nevermind 20 years after its release. That said, it's a pretty good Nirvana song.
It's also a pretty good indication that Gaza Strip finally knows what type of band it is: Turns out they were grunge all along.
Gaza Strip performs along with Whiskey Knuckle and Despondency Denied at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St., on Saturday, Aug. 6. Music begins around 9 p.m. The cover charge was unconfirmed at press time, but we were assured it will be somewhere between free and $5. Call 622-3535 for more info.
A HEALTHY DOSE OF GOOD MEDICINE
After making a couple of stops in other Southwest locales, The Good Medicine Show and Folk Revival stops at Plush on Saturday.
The revival is a revue that highlights some of the acts currently on the Bisbee-based label Old Bisbee Records, and this weekend's show will include (in order of appearance) Celtic 'n' bluegrass favorites The Dusty Buskers, who will also be hosting the proceedings (9 p.m. and between acts); Stuart Oliver and the Desert Angels, led by the Old Bisbee co-founder, and whose brand of Americana tends toward the ethereal (9:30 p.m.); the folk-funk of Dylan Charles and the Border Crossers, led by the other label co-founder (10:30 p.m.); and the '70s-inspired funk of Kate Becker and the Zodiacs (11:30 p.m.).
It all goes down at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Aug. 6. A $5 cover gets you a night-long dose of medicine. For further details, call 798-1298, or head to plushtucson.com.
THE RIALTO GOES SMALL
In case you haven't stopped by in a while, you might want to know that the smoking alley at the Rialto Theatre has been revamped and repurposed as an outdoor patio, complete with tables, chairs and a bar. This means that in addition to the (mostly touring) acts that play the theater's stage, we're going to start seeing smaller (and local) shows at the venue, too.
How do you make a 1,400-plus venue intimate enough to host such events? You drop the curtains at the back of the theater, transforming it into a 300-or-so capacity room. That's the idea behind the Rialto Cabaret Series, whose inaugural installment takes place at the theater on Saturday. The lineup looks like this: the talented folk-rock singer-songwriter Andrew Collberg, whose songs these days tend to be influenced by John Lennon rather than enslaved by him, starts the night off. He'll be followed by Austin's The Preservation, a slightly twangy, '60s-influenced band whose inspiration comes from the Kinks more so than the Beatles. The group features Mario Matteoli, a former member of Tucson favorites The Weary Boys. Collberg, who has been touring recently with The Preservation both as an opening act and a band member, will play keys with the Austinites. Closing out the night is the much-buzzed-about (for good reason) local soul girl-group ensemble Kiss and the Tells.
Things get rolling at this all-ages show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Admission is $5. Call 740-1000 with questions, or head to rialtotheatre.com for more 411.
THE STONES TO COVER THE STONES
Although the excellent local punk rock 'n' roll band HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS is set to release its second album (in less than a year) later this month, this weekend, they're making good on a dare—and you're invited to witness it.
The band had the idea to cover the Rolling Stones' classic 1972 double album Exile on Main St. in its entirety, and were goaded into putting their words into action. As singer/songwriter/guitarist Josh Levine writes in an e-mail, "The producers of our upcoming album, Jim Waters and Rupert Horne, bet us that we couldn't put 18 songs together in three weeks. After a bottle of brandy, we agreed (to try)," adding, tongue-in-cheek, "so, we're doing it for the money, and I don't think the Stones would disapprove."
The band will break the show into two sets—album one and album two—and will be joined by guests David Clarke on sax, and former Automaton singer Clarisa Friedman on backing vocals.
Catch this special one-off show at 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, at Che's Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave. Admission is free, and you can call 623-2088 for more information.
ON THE BANDWAGON
We're nearly out of space, and we haven't even covered all the great stuff happening on Saturday, Aug. 6, let alone the rest of the week. More Saturday highlights: The Alternate Routes and Scattered Trees at Club Congress; BSceneLive magazine official launch party featuring Canobliss and others at The Rock; Argentina's Los Pinguos at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino; The Electric Blankets and Caught on Film at Sky Bar.
And now, (some of) the rest of the story: Cornmeal at Club Congress on Wednesday, Aug. 10; Little Big Town and Arrowheart at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, Aug. 11; AWOLnation, Wallpaper and The New Regime at The Rock on Monday, Aug. 8; Jameson and the Sordid Seeds at The Hut next Thursday, Aug. 11.
Check our club listings for lots more good stuff.