HUNG UP ON A DREAM
Each spring and fall concert season, there is always That Week. In the spring, it's pulling out of the doldrums of the holiday break, when bands start realizing Santa won't be around for another year, all the greatest hits comps have been bought, and it's safe to hit the road again. Summer, on the other hand, is prime concert season for just about every region that isn't Arizona; but once the weather breaks around these parts, it's on.
So it seems fitting that our first week without consistent triple-digit temps would be the first week where it feels like bands still like us, and will come to our city in droves. This feels like the first official week of the fall onslaught of touring acts. Welcome, friends, to That Week.
THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR
Even though it's That Week (this column will barely scratch the surface of all the great shows happening this week, so be sure to check our listings sections for the big picture), there is still some business to attend to.
Calling all local bands and musicians: Submissions for The Great Cover-Up 2013 are now being accepted!
In case you don't know what The Great Cover-Up is (for shame!), here's a brief explanation from a previous column:
"Local bands that normally perform original material gather to perform a 20-minute set of songs by another band or artist. Simple enough, right? And best of all, every penny of the proceeds from the event will be donated to charity. Of course, that means that no band will receive any compensation for slaving away at practice for a month or two, only to learn a set of songs they'll probably never play again. But look at it this way: It's probably about the most fun you'll ever have doing charity volunteer work."
In keeping with the trend of recent years, the shindig will take place over three nights – Thursday, Dec. 12, through Saturday, Dec. 14 – at three different venues. There are, however, a few notable changes to the event this year.
The biggest change: Last year we (oh yeah, I'm a member of the team that organizes this thing) featured 50 acts over three nights and one afternoon. This year, we've decided to scale back a bit for a leaner, meaner Cover-Up. Only 30 acts will be chosen to perform. I'm no math wiz, but that's a whole lot less than in recent years, which means we're being a bit more selective this time around. OK, a lot more selective.
If you're interested in participating, here's what you need to do: Go to greatcoveruptucson.com. There you'll find lots of information (please read through it!) as well as, for the first time (thanks, Mark Mason!), a handy submission form for you to fill out to let us know what you'd like to perform, and details about how you plan on performing it. (Again, I can't stress enough that there are far fewer slots this year, so these details are extremely important.)
The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11. We will be patiently waiting by our computers to read all your awesome ideas.
Oh, yeah, one thing I forgot to mention: This year marks the 15th anniversary of The Great Cover-Up, so let's make it one for the ages, shall we?
TIME OF THE SEASON
It doesn't matter how many awesome bands you have on your bucket list if you never get the opportunity to see them live. They'll just remain on that list without a checkmark next to them for eternity.
One of the bands on my list was The Zombies, the British Invasion group that had but a few hits in the U.S. But for those who dared to dig beyond the hits, they were one of the most adventurous acts of the era.
Everyone knows and loves "Tell Her No" and "She's Not There" ("What's your name? Who's your daddy?" seems to be oddly sexy no matter in which generation you were spawned). And you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't turn up the volume every time "Time of the Season" comes on.
Here's the thing: By the time "Time of the Season" was released, the band had already broken up, which means audiences never got to hear it played live. The same goes for all the songs on the album from which that song comes, Odessey and Oracle (Odyssey was apparently misspelled by the album cover designers). The Zombies were always a bit out of step with other British Invasion bands – there was no hint at all of American blues and R&B, save for their very earliest work – and Odessey and Oracle, a chamber-pop masterpiece, only cemented that notion.
Like I said, the group broke up in 1967, months before their masterpiece would be released. It's only in recent years that the core duo of the band – Colin Blunstone (vocals) and Rod Argent (keys and vocals) – has been sporadically touring again as The Zombies.
I got a chance to check The Zombies off my list earlier this year, when I saw them play in Austin at South by Southwest. I went in not expecting a whole lot, but adjusted my expectations as soon as they went on. Over 45 years after they broke up, they still sounded fantastic, the delicate harmonies still intact. They even played "Hold Your Head Up," a hit song by Argent's eponymous post-Zombies band. Perhaps the oddest thing about the show was the audience. I expected nothing but thick-middled balding dudes – and there were plenty of those, to be sure – but there were also scores of young women, singing along with every song, not just the hits. It appears The Zombies' allure endures, even to generations who wouldn't be born until decades after the band broke up. It's enough to give an old fart some hope.
The Zombies perform at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., on Sunday, Sept. 15. Et Tu Brucé opens the all-ages show at 7 p.m. Tickets, which range from $23 to $54, are available at the venue's box office, online at foxtucsontheatre.org, or by calling 547-3040. Use the same info for questions.
FRIENDS OF MINE
One of the million cool things about Steve Martin is that he gives out an award each year called the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. Martin, a master player himself, funds the $50,000 that goes to the winner, whom he always gives opportunities to perform with him, most notably on the Late Show With David Letterman.
Last week, Martin announced this year's winner, Jens Kruger, a member of The Kruger Brothers, who it just so happens are performing tonight, Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Vail Theatre of the Arts, 10701 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way ("just 21 minutes southeast of downtown Tucson," according to a press release). Locals The Dreadnutts, themselves winners of the 1991 Telluride Bluegrass Band Contest, will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 and $22 and you can head to vtota.org for all the info you could possibly want.
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club and Roberto Fonseca at UA Centennial Hall on Saturday, Sept. 14; Something Else Tour with Tech N9ne at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Sept. 17; Cold Cave and Douglas McCarthy at Club Congress on Wednesday, Sept. 18; Local Love presents Punk Fest featuring The Besmirchers, Bricktop, Pop Gestapo, Chicano Brown, The Mission Creeps, Wrong Idea, and For or Against at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Sept. 13; Bleeding Rainbow and Burning Palms at Solar Culture Gallery on Monday, Sept. 16; Ra Ra Riot and Caveman at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 15; Gold Panda and Slow Magic at Club Congress on Tuesday, Sept. 17; Back to School Jam with (hed)p.e., Metal Mafia and more at The Rock on Saturday, Sept. 14; Gregg Turner of Angry Samoans at Tucson Live Music Space on Friday, Sept. 13; Midlake at Club Congress on Sunday, Sept. 15; On an On and Hands at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, Sept. 13; Marc Anthony at AVA at Casino del Sol on Saturday, Sept. 14; Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 18; N9NE Fest featuring Dada Life, Clockwork and more at The Slaughterhouse on Friday, Sept. 13; The Tubes and Nakia at Club Congress on Saturday, Sept. 14; Luis Miguel at AVA at Casino del Sol next Thursday, Sept. 19; Craig Gass at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 14; Intronaut, Vattnet Viskar, and Drowning Arizona at The Rock on Friday, Sept. 13; Nancy McCallion and Catherine Zavala of The Mollys and Sabra Faulk at La Cocina next Thursday, Sept. 19; Ms. Pac Man Tournament with music by Union Pacific and more at The District Tavern on Friday, Sept. 13.