When the city of Tucson slammed its metaphoric boot down on the Fourth Avenue underpass, motorists naturally behaved like a line of determined worker ants and found alternate routes to work.
Drunken-ant studies aside, I can tell that since then, an ambitious bar hop has become a less likely option as closing time looms. Nevertheless, last Saturday, I was determined to visit three venues split up by construction: A five-band bill at Vaudeville Cabaret, a show at Che's Lounge and last call at Club Congress' Bang! Bang! night. A friend accepted my challenge.
Vaudeville's opener was San Francisco's Chow Nasty, a hip, funky dance outfit that in retrospect should have headlined. A singer/guitarist's mic stand on the dance floor signaled the crowd participation that was to follow, which included the distribution of tambourines, cowbells and homemade beer-can shakers during the marathon tunes, one of which had the DJ/singer performing atop the bar.
Still glowing from the experience, we reluctantly skipped the excellent speed-punk of Shark Pants for a steamy trek to Che's to see the promising Shins-like local indie-pop outfit known as The Swim. We caught a dead-on, yet still-fresh version of the Who's "Substitute," some songs off their stunning debut, We're Green, and other non-album tracks that even saw the introduction of keyboards.
The Swim's shiny-happy dual vocalists had us humming all the way back to Vaudeville. Next was Anaheim, Calif.'s Thee Makeout Party, a '70s power-pop/'60s bubblegum-inspired rock group that threw me back by their appearance, juxtaposed with the clean-cut, sugary love songs they were laying on us. It was like seeing Rush circa 2112, mixed with '70s glam-geek-rockers Brownsville Station (sans glam, though, clad in jeans and Chuck Taylors), sounding just like the Paul Collins Beat.
Detroit's ultra-hyped The Go, the tour's headliners, decided to piss everyone off by starting their set nearly 40 minutes after TMP finished. The Go sounded nothing like their psych-pop studio tracks, and some bad Jim Morrison worship was all it took for us to head back to Che's; it was too late for Bang! Bang!
But never fear, my drunken ants: A shuttle called the Red Line is now running 25-minute cycles downtown Wednesday through Saturday 'til 2:30 a.m., though a schedule has yet to be published. For now, just keep walking around that proverbial boot.