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The Go, Thee Makeout Party, Chow Nasty

Vaudeville Cabaret, Saturday, Aug. 25

The Swim

Che's Lounge, Saturday, Aug. 25

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.

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