COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
It takes a week like this, with a shortage of touring acts hitting town, to remind me how spoiled we are here in Tucson.
It was only a few years ago that a summer week as slow as this one was the norm. In recent years, we've done pretty darn well with our summers. If it takes a slow week every now and then to remind us that we're awfully lucky to get the shows we do these days, so be it.
Plus, it's not like there's no decent live music to see this week. In fact, there's plenty. For example:
Seashell Radio fans, take note: The local pop-band-with-a-twist will perform at Che's Lounge on Saturday, and the show is going to have a touch of the bittersweet.
It will be the band's last performance with cellist/vocalist Esmé Schwall, who is moving in a couple of weeks to Bainbridge Island, Wash., where she's accepted a teaching job. In an e-mail we received from singer/guitarist Courtney Robbins, she writes, "She will be dearly, deeply and painfully missed as an integral part of the band. We could not have asked for a more awesome and hilarious bandmate and friend, and we're sad to see her go."
Robbins also reports that the group plans to do some recording before Schwall leaves town, and that the band plans to continue as a three-piece for the time being.
Catch Esmé Schwall's last show with Seashell Radio at 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, at Che's Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave. As always, there is no cover charge. The number to call with questions is 623-2088.
Best of luck, Esmé and Jon!
BENEFITS IN ABUNDANCE
There may not be a lot of big-name touring acts hitting town this week, but there are a few chances to see great live music while pumping some money into worthy nonprofits. That's right, folks: It's time for this week's benefit show roundup.
Although he's not making much music these days, onetime Black Sun Ensemble guitarist Bolt of Apollo (aka Jesus Acedo) has put together a pretty sweet show to benefit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. The Kitty Meow Puppy Chow Rescue Mission Punk Fest will feature at least a trio of local punk and rockabilly acts: The Besmirchers, Al Foul and Texas Trash and the Trainwrecks are all scheduled to perform. (A flier we received also listed The Distortionists and D.B.F.O.S., but we haven't been able to confirm those acts at press time.) Additionally, the night will start with a poetry reading by Bolt of Apollo.
Help out some dogs and cats, and have a good ol' time while doing so, at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. There's no suggested donation listed on The Hut's website, but that flier lists it as $5. Call 623-3200, or head to huttucson.com for additional info.
Down the street on the very same night, a trio of local punk and punk-influenced bands will perform a show to benefit the Renegade Rollergirls of Tucson. Old-school punks Drizzle will headline the show, which will also feature sets from ska-punks Dubstep Murder and sax-y psychobilly act The Rogues Gallery.
This one takes place at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, Aug. 12. Music starts at 9:30 p.m., and cover is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, call 798-1298, or point your browser to plushtucson.com.
The following night, Club Congress will host a benefit for Dequenesh Community Clinic. I must confess that until now, I had never heard of Dequenesh, but after doing a little research on them, I'm convinced these people are doing God's work.
From the organization's website: "Dequenesh was established in response to the need for quality, affordable health care in rural communities of Pima County. In the winter of 2002, a group of area residents, medical providers, emergency-medical-services personnel and other interested parties met to conduct a needs assessment and develop an action plan for addressing the lack of health-care services in medically underserved and health-professional-shortage areas."
While doing their research, however, the nonprofit realized a couple of things: Those in need of "quality, affordable health care" were not limited to the rural areas of Pima Country; and that a mobile, two-exam-room clinic "fit the bill for bringing health care to the people in order to increase access to health-care services." In other words, these days, Dequenesh (a word of Ethiopian origin that means "you are a wonder") drives its clinic-on-wheels around Pima County to bring health care to people who wouldn't be able to access or afford it otherwise. According to its website, Dequenesh has never turned a patient away for any reason.
The benefit for Dequenesh, which takes place from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., will feature a live auction, dancing and live music from local Afro-Brazilian collective Batucaxé. Admission is a suggested donation of $10, but I'm sure the good folks at Dequenesh wouldn't mind if you wanted to donate a bit more. Questions? Ring up the folks at Congress at 622-8848, or head to hotelcongress.com.
TWO BIG NIGHTS FOR BLUES FANS
Blues fans have reason to rejoice this week, as two fine acts are headed our way to perform on two consecutive nights.
First up, at Boondocks Lounge, on Saturday, Aug. 13, in a show co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation (SABHF), is a performance by the Dave Riley/Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band. The group plays a mix of Delta and Chicago styles that reflects the two bandleaders' upbringings: Riley is a raspy-voiced singer and guitarist from Mississippi, while harmonica player Corritore (who also happens to own Phoenix music venue The Rhythm Room) was born in Chicago. The band is rounded out by Riley's son, Dave Riley Jr., on bass, and former Paladins member Brian Fahey on drums.
The Dave Riley/Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band performs at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Admission is $10, or $8 for SABHF members. For further details, call 690-0991, or go to boondockslounge.com.
The following night, a bona fide blues legend will perform at the very intimate Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino. Jonathan Holden's Rhythm and Roots will present a performance by the Duke Robillard Band, whose bandleader's name should ring a bell to fans of both the blues and rock. A résumé just doesn't get much better than this: In 1967, Robillard co-founded Roomful of Blues, with which he played for a dozen years. He then replaced Jimmie Vaughan (Stevie Ray's brother) in the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1990. After the T-Birds fizzled out a couple of years later, he began not only performing shows under his own name, but recorded and performed with the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, John Hammond, Jimmy Witherspoon and Dr. John, among others. He's won a number of Blues Music Awards, including Best Blues Guitarist (four times!) and the 2010 award for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year.
A press release for the Tucson show promises "a return to Duke's grittiest roots—dirty, house-rockin', shack-shakin', fingerbustin', down-in-the-bottom git-tar blues."
The Duke Robillard Band performs at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 14, at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino. Advance tickets are available for $22 at Antigone Books, all Bookmans locations, and the Grey Dog Trading Company, or online at rhythmandroots.org. They'll be $25 at the door. Students get in for $10 with a valid student ID. (Bargain-hunter tip: Buy an advance ticket at Antigone or Grey Dog for $22, and a second ticket is half-price.) Call 319-9966, or visit rhythmandroots.org for more information.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Jimmy Carr and the Awkward Moments CD-release at Red Room at Grill on Saturday, Aug. 13; The Tubes at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Aug. 12; Madi Diaz and Keegan Dewitt at Solar Culture Gallery next Thursday, Aug. 18; All Stars Tour featuring 13 bands including Emmure, Alesana and Bless the Fall at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, Aug. 17; Electric Summer with Simply Jeff and Louder at Club Congress on Friday, Aug. 12; Nipsey Hussle at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 13; Opti Club featuring Art vs. Science and an art installation by Knock Knock at Club Congress next Thursday, Aug. 18; Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout at a wet T-shirt contest at The Bashful Bandit on Monday, Aug. 15.