First of all, I mentioned the Cyril Barrett memorial/fundraiser last week, but here's your reminder that the event is happening this Sunday night, Sept. 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Che's Lounge. The lineup to both pay tribute to and raise money in honor of the local singer/songwriter is stellar (with Gabe Sullivan, Naim Amor, Laura Kepner-Adney, Leila Lopez, Brian Green, Courtney Robbins, Carlos Arzate, Cristina Williams, Jamie Laboz, Howe Gelb and many, many others scheduled to perform), so even if you weren't familiar with Barrett's music, the show itself seems like a can't miss for fans of local music. Donations will be collected to fund a compilation of Barrett's music, support his family and help his charity of choice, No More Deaths. More info can be found at facebook.com/events/672578256158708. Also on the Facebook page, is an opportunity to donate via Paypal if you can't make the show.
WAITING FOR MY TIME TO COME
Hands down, the Great Cover-Up is one of my favorite reoccurring events here in town. First of all, it raises money for a great cause—the Southern Arizona Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance, which helps local artists in their time of generally uninsured or underinsured medical needs. Secondly, it's just a ton of fun as local musicians take a different form for a few songs, whether that's an act that has influenced them or something that's just fun to play. Right now, the organizers are taking applications to participate in the 16th edition of the event. It's a relatively simple process (send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with what act you'd like to cover and who the heck you are ... where you've played, a link to your Bandcamp page, etc.), but it'll be tougher to get on the stage this time than in recent years. Since this year's Cover-Up will be only two nights (Friday, Dec. 19 at Congress; Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Rialto), there are about a third fewer spots available than last year. Basically, make sure your pitch is awesome, something extra clever that people would actually enjoy seeing. My suggestion for the fourth consecutive year: Happy Mondays. Pure gold, I swear. The deadline to apply is Oct. 10 and we'll have more to come on the Cover-Up as December approaches.
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
Listen: If you play bright-super-hooky indie pop, I'm generally all in every single time, but the EP from Little Rock's Knox Hamilton pulls off that sort of vaguely dance-ish guitar and synth thing that Young the Giant, Rooney and Ra Ra Riot also work within exceptionally well and that you think could be featured on the soundtrack of a present-day John Hughes film (if that were possible). You might have heard the song "Work It Out" on Sirius/XM's Alt Nation channel (it's number two on their chart right now), but it's one of those songs that seems inevitable to be a hit once you've skipped this show, so you'll kick yourself for awhile on why you didn't see them when you had the chance. They're scheduled to play 191 Toole on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. for an all-ages show. Tickets are $12. For what it's worth, opener Colony House is no slouch either, recalling a less-abrasive Cold War Kids or an indier Snow Patrol? More info at facebook.com/191toole.
SECOND GUESSING GAMES
Chris Black's "alt-classical DIY concert series" ChamberLab is consistently one of the coolest things happening in Tucson music, with his talented friends taking on contemporary compositions in settings often accustomed to rock shows. This time around, he's recruiting a string quartet led by violinist Ben Nisbet (from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Artifact Dance Project and the St. Andrews Bach Society) to play along. Each ChamberLab show is something unique and amazing and the addition of some incredible classical musicians in the quartet should be incredible. Plus, this time around the show's free. Check out ChamberLab on Saturday, Sept. 13, with doors at 7:30 p.m. at Club Congress. More info at hotelcongress.com.
WON'T GIVE UP
A quick note for bluegrass fans: Bay Area youngsters Steep Ravine are playing Monterey Court on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. It's a free show and Steep Ravine are an incredibly pleasant and talented act. Worth checking out, even if you're not banjo-obsessive. More info at montereycourtaz.com.