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STARTER SET: Lucky for you, bummer for me: There's so much stuff going on in Tucson music-wise these days that I simply don't have enough space to rant and ramble like I normally do. That's OK, though. Pretty soon we'll hit another lull, and you'll be begging me for a kneejerk diatribe titled Radiohead in a Post-Tattooed/Pre-Removal Society, or maybe School's Fer Fewls: Rawk and Poor Spelling (topics include Staind, Mudvayne, Megadeth -- In the words of the Molly Shannon: Don't get me started. Don't even get me started.)

So for this week, a general rundown of local musical occurrences. Rejoice at the possibilities, if you will. I've always said that the local music scene is a series of peaks and valleys. This week, like the last few and the next several, feels like we're approaching another summit.


HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? I've never met Jeannie Miller but, god bless her, she's undertaking a huge endeavor in order to make a hefty monetary contribution to help out those who need it in wake of the events of September 11.

Miller is organizing a one-night event, Musicians Rock for America, set to take place on Tuesday, October 23, with bands and bars all over town participating, donating their time and forgoing their own proceeds, in order to raise a pile of money to be sent to the victims by way of the Red Cross, in the name of Tucson music.

So far, nine venues--spread out across town from Nimbus to Plush, Frog 'N' Firkin to The Mint--have committed, along with loads of bands. But the bigger the better, of course, so if you're interested in participating, either by performing or hosting a performance, Ms. Miller is awaiting your call. She's working her tailfeather off in organizing this event out of the goodness of her heart, so it would really be great if we could all band together (no pun intended) and support her in any way we can. Please call her at 575-9032.


ON-AIR GUITAR: Two of the finest hours to be found on Tucson radio these days are those that comprise the weekly show Locals Only. Found from 8 to 10 p.m. every Monday on 91.3 KXCI-FM, your kindly host, Don Jennings, along with co-host Jason LeValley and engineer Duncan Hudson, provides recorded music spanning the history of the Tucson scene for the first hour, all genres represented, natch. But the real treat comes in the second hour, wherein local acts play a live set, interspersed with interviews with the talent.

One recent highlight: a gorgeously subdued solo set by Greyhound Soul's Joe Peña, in which he announced he'd be swapping CDs for drink money at Che's Lounge after the show. Other recent guests include Looseleaf, Truck, Black Sun Ensemble, Loveborne and Last Call Brawlers.

Upcoming performances on Locals Only for the next few weeks are Fourkiller Flats on October 15, Single File Noise on October 22, and Sassy Star X on October 29. For more details go to www.kxci.org.


EYE BALL: Solar Culture proprietor Steven Eye has hooked up with the folks over at Club Congress to make live music a part of their schedule once again. After yet another seemingly directionless period in which the venerable club became a mere dance haven, Eye, with decades of booking experience and the rolodex to show for it, is a natural choice to bring back the rock.

Eye's first scheduled show at Congress is set for this week, a reunion between Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Spanish singer/songwriter/guitarist Christina Rosenvinge, both of whom are members of the three-piece Two Dollar Guitar. Opener Chris Lee (like Shelley, from NY) will appeal to anyone who recognizes when the concept of soul is applied to music. Think Jeff Buckley, think the Black Crowes or Dave Matthews if you must, but fer chrissakes, quit listening to that David Gray CD and go see something even more inspiring live.

Steve Shelley and Christina Rosenvinge, with opener Chris Lee, appear at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is $5. Call 622-8848 for details.

And while we're at it, a couple other shows at Mr. Eye's home den:

Remember those first several shows that East L.A.'s Ozomatli played at Club Congress, before they got big enough to open for Santana? Trust me, if you were there you'll never forget. Ozo prodigies Slowrider, a nine-piece Latin jazz, hip-hop funk band from the same turf, still have a little something to prove. Check them out at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 12 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Mankind, the name in Tucson hip-hop, re-emerges from a summerlong hiatus to open. This one's gonna kick ass, folks. Cover is $5.

And the Tin Hat Trio, an acoustic avant-chamber-jazz threesome whose pedigree includes studying with the likes of Max Roach, John Zorn, Yusef Lateef, Mr. Bungle, Archie Shepp and Tom Waits [who provides the only vocal performance on the group's 2000 release, Helium (Angel Records)], stops by this week as well. Raves abounded the last time the threesome stopped through these parts just over a year ago; they come highly recommended for fans residing off the beaten path. To entice you further, Tucson's Molehill Orkestrah--if you've never seen 'em, you have no idea what you're missing--kicks things off at 9 p.m. on Monday, October 15 at Solar Culture. Cover is $7, and the number for info on both those shows is 884-0874.


WE WRITE SHORT SHORTS: OK, space is really getting short now, so I'm imposing a one-sentence description rule on myself for the duration of the column, even though all performers described herein are worthy of more. Here goes:

Imagine Doo Rag, War, Beck's experimental phase, Tom Waits, Pianosaurus, Tenderloin, corn liquor and your favorite blues bar band all rolled into one. If you like what you hear go see San Francisco three-piece Rube Waddell at 10 p.m. Saturday, October 13 at Che's Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave. You've never paid a cover there before, so why would you start now? More info at 623-2088.

The man who taught Bob Dylan how to fingerpick the guitar, Greenwich Village folk blues legend Dave Van Ronk hits town at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 13 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Advance tickets are available for $17 at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, City Grill, Enchanted Earthworks and Hear's Music, or online at www.dotucson.com/ tickets. To charge by phone or for more information call 297-9133.

Virginian Andrew McKnight kind of reminds me of the pre-Caddyshack Kenny Loggins years, while Mary Byrd Brown of Maryland could be Ani Difranco stripped of her punk rock attitude and freneticism. The two perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11 at Hazy Dayz Café, 187 N. Park Ave. For further details call 884-0272.

Those of you who were really excited by the prospect of "alternative rock" radio back in the day that it was something to get excited about--not that I have anything against it especially, but we're talking pre-Korn--will probably enjoy Circle of Willis, whose self-released Prepare to Qualify is a nifty little sleeper of a post-punk, melodic pop record with countermelodies to boot. Me likey. Catch 'em at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17 at Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. Questions? Call 670-9332.

Equation: Local, funky N'awlins-flava'd party band + world-renowned X-rated circus freaks extraordinaire = big-time naughty fun. In other words, Crawdaddy-O is appearing with The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12 at the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave. Admission is $10 or $8 for clowns in makeup. Call 622-0192 for details.

And finally, a quick reminder that the deadline for submissions for the Great Cover-Up is this Sunday, October 14. We beg of you your participation and timely response. See last week's Soundbites for full info.

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