RAUCOUS RED GLARE: The United States of America is many things to many people, none more valid than the next. To some, it's Norman Rockwell paintings, a quiet weekend drive with the family, and apple pie (or any other type of pie you might favor, lest we forget all that stuff about freedom of choice). To others, it's Robert Williams paintings, pedal-to-the-metal road trips in overcrowded, souped-up roadsters, and microwave burritos.

The latter group will be very much at home at the annual Independence Day weekend blowout at Club Congress. On Friday, July 2, the club will up the ante with a five-band line-up of balls-out roots rock and roll on two stages, one inside the club and one outside in the parking lot. In addition to the amazing Mike Ness (see related article, this page), the Congo follows its Independence Day weekend tradition by featuring a performance by the band perhaps most responsible for the recent resurgence of rockabilly music, The Reverend Horton Heat. The band has just released a greatest hits package, Holy Roller (Sub Pop), a 24-track collection that includes all the classics you'd expect from the Reverend's five studio albums, as well as a couple of unreleased tunes (one of which is a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues") and the difficult-to-find and hilarious break-up ballad "Where in the Hell Did You Go With My Toothbrush?" (one of my all-time fave Rev. songs), which originally appeared on the Sub Pop compilation of "love songs," Afternoon Delight. If you've never plunked down the cash for the band's entire catalog, this is a fine place to start. And if you've never seen the Reverend work his voodoo on a live stage, I'll know where to find you on Friday night.

Also on the bill is Deke Dickerson and The Ecco-fonics. Best known from his previous bands, legendary surf-garage combo The Untamed Youth (which Dickerson formed at the tender age of 17) and the acclaimed rockabilly group The Dave and Deke Combo, Dickerson just last year released his first solo album, Number One Hit Record!, on Hightone Music. Record incorporates virtually every style Dickerson has touched upon in his lengthy career, from the Western shuffle of "Feelin' Low" to the hillbilly honky-tonk boogie of "Mexicali Rose," with swing, rockabilly, surf and jump-blues tossed in liberally throughout.

Also on the bill are Custom Made Scare and one of the finest recent additions to the Old Pueblo music scene I've witnessed in a coon's age, Thunderosa. If you left last week's TAMMIES award celebration early, you have absolutely no idea what you missed out on, as the band, clad in punk-rock cowboy hat regalia, prowled the stage like a pomo Kiss in front of enormous cardboard replicas of "Marsha" (ll) stacks. With the arena rock moves of Van Halen and a sound approximating Nashville Pussy on crank, the foursome demolished said fake amps during their set-closer and default anthem, "White Trash Heroes for the New Millenium." Expect big things and you still won't be disappointed.

Trust me, there is no better way to kick off the Fourth of July weekend than to soak in the beer-soaked roots rock this show will feed you on a platter -- no, make that a paper plate. The shindig kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 2, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Tickets are $20, available at Hotel Congress and Zip's University. Call 622-8848 for more info.

BOMB BURSTING: One of Tucson's most musically accomplished and criminally underrated bands, Cortex Bomb, has just released a brand new CD, need to scream...have no mouth, on Mock Brawn Records. Name a genre of music -- go on, I dare you -- and I guarantee it's fucked with somewhere in the Bomb's repertoire. Surf rock, heavy metal, reggae, free jazz, blues, TV theme songs, avant-noise, world beat, '70s guitar boogie -- they all find a place on the new album, often many within a single song. It's sort of like spinning the dial on a car radio (back when they still had knobs instead of those damn push-buttons), listening to whatever you may happen to land on for about 15 seconds, then repeating the process over and over again.

And unlike a lot of similar bands comprised of serious musicians, Cortex Bomb never wallows in self-importance, preferring instead to flaunt its sense of humor, perhaps best attested to by scream's song titles, which include "Knives in White Satan," "Sam Taylor, the Desert Pupfish and Me," "The Frank Sinatra Proximity Bass Boost Effect," and "Tammy Faye Bakersfield." Be sure and catch the band's CD release party at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, at the Plaza Pub, 20 E. Pennington St. The Deadwood Singers will provide opening duties, and cover is a mere three bucks. Call 882-0400 for details, and check out Cortex Bomb's website at www.mockbrawn.com.

LAST GLEAMING: The Tucson Jazz Society wraps up its Summerset Suite of shows this weekend with a performance by one of the most talented young trumpet players to emerge from New Orleans in recent memory, a lineage that includes Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton, among others. Twenty-two-year-old Irvin Mayfield has just released his self-titled debut album on the Big Easy's Basin Street Records, an affair which features production by another of the Marsalis clan, Delfeayo. The New Orleans Times-Picayune writes that Mayfield's "skills and versatility are obvious. He moves easily from precisely articulated, straight-ahead modern jazz to danceable Latin jazz to elegant classical pieces." No arguing with that.

Irvin Mayfield performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, at St. Philip's Plaza, at the southeast corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road. Tickets for the show are available at the door for $6 for Tucson Jazz Society members, and $11 for non-members. For additional information call 743-3399.

PROUDLY WE HAIL: The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association (FAMA) continues its summer entertainment blitz this week with a special Fourth of July celebration. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, Fourth Avenue will come alive with performances by saxophonist Malik Alkabir and the Larry Redhouse Quartet at Winsett Park, while DJ Starskee Suave will spin the wax at Magpies Pizza.

In addition, the free weekly outdoor music showcase known as Monsoon Madness continues its relentless schedule with Joey Apollo and Willis on Thursday, July 1, and Let's English (which features KVOA anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie) and Fez on Thursday, July 8. As usual, all Monsoon Madness events take place at the Winsett Park Stage, located on Fourth Avenue between Seventh and Eighth Streets.


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