OKAY, so fall in Tucson don't mean much: maybe a drop down to sub-triple digit temperatures, an influx of lotsa people both young and old (that's students and snowbirds, respectively), and the resulting traffic jams that come with 'em. But luckily, there's also an influx of fun stuff to do, which is what brings us here today.
This Saturday, October 7, is one of the funnest: Fall Crawl 2000, in which roughly 10,000 people, both young and old, gather in the historic Downtown and Fourth Avenue districts, to witness performances from 100 bands, most of 'em local, but also with a few choice regional acts, on 20 stages. There is literally something for everyone here, and you're all cordially invited.
All it takes is a wristband, available at both Zia locations in advance for a paltry five bucks, or you can take your chances on getting one at one of the venues on Saturday. But be warned: They will sell out! Oh, yeah, you need a valid ID proving you're 21 or over, too.
Following are brief descriptions of the participating artists to aid in the difficult task of choosing your itinerary. Happy planning.
Zia Main Stage
Fifth Avenue at the Rialto parking lot
The main stage brings out the big guns, and here ya go: The blues-soul vibrations of Statesboro, featuring onetime Junior Walker bandmate Leon Kittrell, gets the party started at 8 p.m., with Tucson's honky-tonkin' country pride, Troy Olson, up at 9. Celebrating the release of their brand-spankin' hot new CD, Diesel (Slimstyle Records), Hipster Daddy-O and The Handgrenades deliver their patented high-octane rave-ups at 10. By way of Eastern Europe (I guess), The Zsa-Zsas have inflicted their torturously orgasmic sounds of love on us for--seemingly--decades now. They'll definitely have something up their sleeve this time around (as they always do); let's just hope they don't harm any animals in the process of "entair-tainting tha kidss" when they appear at 11. Closing the main stage festivities down is one of Tucson's hottest and most sought-after alternarockin' bands, Tongue Dried Sun, at midnight.
318 E. Congress St.
This celebrated downtown theater hosts a truly ass-kicking lineup of roots rock tonight, and it all kicks off at 8 p.m. with Natural Hook, featuring legendary session bassist Harvey Brooks, who's played with everyone from Dylan to The Doors to Miles Davis over the years. He'll have a new release, Raisins in the Sun, out later this year on Rounder Records. College jam band fave Good Question keeps the party going at 9, followed by Phoenix's Truckers On Speed, who'll serve up driving alt-country ditties at 10. Tucson-via-Austin swamp-roots master Teddy Morgan will tear it up in customary fashion at 11, then L.A.'s James Intveld, a rockabilly looker with song-writing smarts and a velvet croon to boot, shuts down shop at midnight.
Club Congress-- Indoor Stage, 311 E. Congress St.
The indoor stage of this venerable downtown hot-spot always provides the Crawl with the cream of the punk rock crop. This time around is no different, though the finale will be somewhat bittersweet this year. The combustive math noise of Hobart sets the tone at 8 p.m., with tight-as-hell hardcore vets Gat-Rot following at 9. Next up is the dynamic punk rock sound of The Elemenopees at 10, and the blissful '80s-influenced (but not in a bad way) pop tunery of The Simplistics at 11. At midnight, we shall all grab our hankies, wave 'em in the air like we just don't care, and mosh extra hard to the last-ever Weird Lovemakers show (sniff, sniff).
Club Congress-- Outdoor Stage, 311 E. Congress St.
The Congo parking lot is the site of a reliably rockin' lineup as former members of the uplifting, anthemic combo White Chrome Splendor unveil their new project, Darling Star, at 8 p.m. That's followed by one of the last couple of performances from the dearly beloved art-damaged combo known as How To Build A Rocketship at 9. Next up are blazing desert rock stalwarts Rich Hopkins and The Luminarios (which includes MC5 bassist Michael Davis) at 10, with Phoenix's what-if-The Replacements-were-glam-rockers The Beat Angels up at 11. That should get the crowd just drunken and frenzied enough to lead into rockabilly boogieman Al Foul and The Shakes' set of tried and true oldies as well as new cuts from the boys' upcoming Slimstyle Records release at midnight.
500 N. Fourth Ave.
A nicely intimate place to check out live bands, Daddy's has got a genre-spanning crew lined up for the night. Power pop-punk purveyors Likuid initiate the stage at 9 p.m., with the dark 'n' moody rawk of The Quadratics up at 10. Folkie Mardi Garcia fronts her new full band under the Pure moniker at 11, and Tempe up-and-comers Somebody's Closet display their brand of funk-pop-a-roll at midnight.
O' Malley's-- Indoor Stage, 247 N. Fourth Ave
Wear your dancin' shoes to this UA mainstay tonight; you'll need 'em, as instrumental (puttin' the pow in the) power trio Willis commences the activities at 9 p.m., followed by college crowd-pleasing jam combo The Hampton Band at 10. Then for the next two hours, get an early taste of Mardi Gras as French Quarter mainstays commandeer the proceedings. Boasting Lafayette native/drummer/bandleader Richard Medek, Voodoo Square provides authentic bayou boogie at 11, with N'awlins soul-funksters Cordon Londell closing out the night in style at 12.
O' Malley's-- Outdoor Stage, 247 N. Fourth Ave.
Some of the best damn country-rock we've heard in a coon's age comes from a band o' rogues that go by the name of Fourkiller Flats. Don't miss 'em at 9 p.m., and stick around for the female-fronted bluesy rock of Tempe's Honey Child at 10. If you haven't started dancing by that point, two of the Old Pueblo's finest reggae-plus-other-stuff bands give you that one-two combo you've been lookin' for. The most appropriately named Stuck in a Groove works its voodoo at 11, with Celt-ska skankers Warsaw finishing things off right at the stroke of midnight.
305 N. Fourth Ave.
This tin half-cylinder presents a roster of acts sure to get your ass-a-movin' tonight with Jeremy Nasta's latest experimental rock outfit Shady Lady at 9 p.m. Modern-day instro-prog rockers Looseleaf are up next at 10. Phoenix jam purveyors Horticulture take the stage at 11, and puttin' the final wiggle in your caboose for the evening is veteran groove-funk combo Funky Bonz at midnight.
222 S. Church Ave.
This cozy bar at Lume lets you snuggle up with Honkytonk singer/songwriter Harmony Bill and the Last Call Brawlers at 9 p.m. You'll swear you're floating on air as the delicately powerful harmonies of acoustic duo Hector on Stilts take over the room at 10, with Rolandamos Bandye kicking its full-band improvisational hip-hop at 11. As frontman for Greyhound Soul, Joe Peña has a rocks 'n' gravel voice that just gets better as the years go by. Join 'em for a reliably powerful set of barroom country-blues at midnight.
424 N. Fourth Ave.
Another eclectic lineup prevails at this college hang tonight with vintage '70s-style hard rockers Ithica throwing down at 9 p.m., followed by good-time blues-rockers The Terminators up at 10. Tucson Favorites Random Task at 11, and the catchy-as-heck alterna-rock of Nevershine closes down the house at midnight.
121 E. Congress St.
The only bar in town we know with a stage in its creepy-sexy-cool basement is this downtown fave. They tend to like it loud down there, and tonight's no different. Fish Karma's new rockabilly combo, The Tribulators, will arrive with tongue firmly in cheek at 8 p.m., followed by punky upstarts Pasta Rocket at 9. Our pop-punk pals from up north (Phoenix, that is), Girl Repellent, take over at 10, and then it's the Booker-T garage punk fury of The Apocalyptics at 11. Thank goodness ferocious punk rockers Los Federales aren't moving anywhere anytime soon (unlike some other local band members we know); they close things out with a bang at midnight.
7 Black Cats
260 E. Congress St.
True to its any-genre-goes booking policy, so it goes for 7BC at the Fall Crawl. Sixties-influenced psych-pop tunesmiths Sassy Star X get things underway at 8 p.m. Then at 9 the danger-filled pickin' and croonin' of Topless Opry will soothe your soul, and then at 10 the shit-kickin' bourbon-swillin' boys known as Creosote will sell yer ass off to the devil. After that it's ladies' night, when twangy surf-punk trio Zero To Sixty shows off its fancy synchronized dance moves at 11, and the new 50 percent male/50 percent female version of Cloven Hoof rocks the house at midnight. (Hopefully they haven't given up the flashdance ass-pants look in the transformation.)
350 N. Fourth Ave.
Perennial Tucson songstress Annie Hawkins does her thing to welcome cozy newcomer Che's to its first Crawl at 9 p.m. After that, it's jam central as the Ex Old Ladies convene to work their rare funky pop magic at 10, and Interlocking Grip puts the wicky-wicky in yer sidestep--no extra charge for the pummelfunk--at 11. Then at midnight, Spacefish shows why it's been around the block more times than you have. Wear sensible shoes.
536 N. Fourth Ave.
This dance hot-spot converts to a live music venue tonight in fine fashion when the twangy surf-country stylings of the fabulous Big Galoot get things underway at 9 p.m., followed by the whiskey-soaked roots rock of Blue Spark at 10. Roots-pop jamdaddies Big Bottom are up next at 11, with the buzzworthy aggro-rock of PH8 batting cleanup at 12.
Velvet Tea Garden
450 N. Sixth Ave.
This pleasingly dark sanctuary offers up a lusciously eclectic stew of styles tonight, as one of the few tried and true indie rock bands in this town, Mala Vita, jumpstarts the action at 8 p.m., with Loveborne bringing its groove-heavy rock and charisma to the proceedings at 9. Crunchy prog-riff landscapes that do a little reverberatin' come courtesy of Twine at 10, followed by the far-off and far-out desert bluegrass of Caliche Con Carne at 11. Sultry, funky, ethereal chamber-jazz-pop combo Wasabi tucks you in at 12 o' clock high.
The Red Room at Grill
100 E. Congress St.
That's right, the side red room of the reliably delicious Grill--the one with the photo booth--is now officially called The Red Room, and they've got the Bass on tap to prove it (not to mention the piano). Penn--a guy, not a band--has got an excellent debut CD of winning heart-on-sleeve indie pop to his credit, and tonight he'll play acoustically at 10. Next up at 11 is the duo of sultry blues songstress Lisa Otey on piano and vocals and Kathleen Williamson on acoustic guitar. Then at midnight, Crawdaddy-O's Jimmy Carr steps off the drum stool and onto the piano stool. The song and dance man will likely be joined by a bandmate or two.
254 E. Congress St.
Irene's is not only a yummy Peruvian restaurant, it's also become the hottest spot downtown for dancing to Cuban and salsa beats. Tonight, though, you can get your groove on to the classic soul sounds of Cosmic Touch. They'll be playing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
110 S. Church Ave.
La Placita will hold a mariachi blowout tonight with headliners Mariachi Reyes. This youthful group features especially wonderful vocals. Get some great Mexican food at Tamalez and enjoy this quaint secluded courtyard.
Plus, lotsa free blues stages all over downtown in conjunction with Downtown Saturday Night from 7 'til 10 p.m.