The only polyethnic Cajun slamgrass band in existence, Leftover Salmon recently canceled its East Coast tour, due not to terrorist fears but to the fact that the band's banjo player, Mark Vann, was recently diagnosed with melanoma--he was scheduled to begin chemotherapy on October 15--and the rest of the band's members want to keep as close to their Boulder home as possible during his recovery. Tucson will be privy to one of the few shows the band is playing for the duration of the year, being billed as a Mardi Gras Halloween party.
The fishes are still touring in support of their excellent porch pickin' 1999 platter The Nashville Sessions (Hollywood), which features guest spots by some of Americana's finest including Lucinda Williams, Del McCoury, Bela Fleck and Earl Scruggs, to name but a few. The Salmon, one of the finest of the current crop of jam bands, is planning to record a follow-up album early next year.
Leftover Salmon appears at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $12 at all Zia locations. For details call 798-3333.
Club Congress is back in bidness hosting live shows, and it'll be tossing the Hotel Congress All Hallow's Eve Extravaganza for your partying pleasure this week. The lineup for the fiesta includes Phoenix's art-damaged rhythmic hippie chicks Warriors of Make-Believe (W.O.M.B.) and art-funk partyboys The Pork Torta on the Club Congress stage, death-defying pyro acrobatics courtesy of Flam Chen in the hotel's parking lot, plus nifty performances staged all over the place by the wackos of Tucson Puppet Werks, and spooky indoor art installations by Mark Murray. With this much artistic expression going on all around you, you'd probably feel pretty silly if you left your costume at home, now wouldn't you?
It all goes down at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31 at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $10, and you can get more information by calling 622-8848.
DRUMMING UP BUSINESS: Hmmm -- how else to describe this one but cabaret performance art a-go-go? In addition to his usual groovalicious shenanigans on the organ, New Orleans' Quintron is also an inventor--who knew? His newly patented instrument is called the Drum Buddy, a light-activated, oscillating beat-box machine that is unlike anything you've ever seen. Mr. Q has assembled a highly entertaining, semi-tongue-in-cheek infomercial (yes, you can buy your very own Drum Buddy, if you've got an extra $999.99 lying around) that features knee-slappin' appearances by local luminaries Bebe and Bob Log III, and will be aired at the event this week, along with a Drum Buddy show/demonstration featuring the beloved MC Tracheotomy. Bebe and Serge will round out the evening's entertainment, which kicks off at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 26 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Questions? Call 884-0874.
SWAMP GAS: Everyone in Tucson, and many in areas well beyond, know Stefan George as a fabulous singer/songwriter/guitarist, but it's easy to forget sometimes that he likes to plug his ax in from time to time and raise a little swampy hell. With drummer Will Clipman and bassist Jay Trapp, George fronts The Conrads, who have just returned from a three-week German tour in time to celebrate the release of their new CD, Walk On! (Line Music), recorded live during a previous German stint.
They'll hit the Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave., at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 26. For more information call 690-0991.
TALK TO THE ANIMALS: If heavy-ass riffage is your cup of mud, look no further than the triple bill of Man's Ruin and Alternative Tentacles recording artistes Lost Goat, Tucson's own Solid Donkey--what is this, a freakin' zoo?--which features ex-Cloven Hoofs, and SF rockers Bottles & Scrolls. Get yer rawk on at 9 p.m. on Monday, October 29 at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. For bonus info call 670-9202.
THEN WE TAKE BERLIN: Just as everything remotely desert-rock-related is, The Luminarios are big in Europe, which would explain why European label Blue Rose Records has issued the band's newest release, the eclectic My Lucky Stars, in three extravagant formats, all with splendid packaging. There's the limited-edition (1,000 copies) double vinyl version, which boasts four bonus tracks; the also limited-edition (3,000) digipak CD, with two extra tracks; and the standard-issue CD, all of which are nearly impossible to find in the States. Unless of course you attend a Luminarios show, which you'll have the opportunity to do this week before the band--singer/guitarist Rich Hopkins, bassist Michael Davis, drummer Ernie Mendoza and guitarist/singer Ken Andree--splits town, and the country, for a five-week touring stint in Germany.
The Luminarios celebrate the release of My Lucky Stars at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, October 27. Billy Sedlmayr will open the show at 9:30 p.m. For more information call the club at 798-1298.
GIVE IT TOOMEY: Throughout the course of her career as indie-rock goddess, Jenny Toomey has sung and played in Tsunami, Liquorice and Grenadine; she has co-owned and operated the highly respected indie label Simple Machines, which released 70 offerings over an eight-year span, including the hugely influential 24-page leaflet Mechanic's Guide to Putting Out Records; she's recently fought for the rights of community members to gain access to radio airwaves by way of low-power, micro-radio stations; and she's currently the executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, an organization that seeks to protect artists' rights in the 21st century.
As if all that weren't enough, she's just released her debut solo album, Antidote (Misra), her first record in four years. The package consists of two discs, one titled Chicago, the other Nashville, so named for the towns in which they were respectively recorded. The project is ambitious, to say the least, but Toomey's gorgeously warm and instantly recognizable voice is the anchor for arrangements incorporating horns, cello, violin, pedal steel and piano, as well as guitar, bass and drums, into songs hitting upon country music, lush pop, Tin Pan Alley and all points in between. It's nice to have her back.
Jenny Toomey appears along with her band and opener La Cerca at 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 29 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $6. For more info call 884-0874.
PLUCK YOU: Vermont's Jazz Mandolin Project is an unusual trio comprised of bandleader-mandolinist Jamie Masefield, upright bassist Danton Boller, and Phish drummer Jon Fishman, who is embarking on his first tour since that band went on hiatus a year ago. The band's press kit describes the Project as "more Bill Evans than Bill Monroe," which should pique the interest of a wider audience than just loyal Phish-heads.
The Jazz Mandolin Project appears at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 25 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $12 at all Zia locations. For more details call 798-3333.
FARM OUT: Fans of prog-a-delic bands like King Crimson and Primus, as well as heavier units like Soundgarden, will find much to like in the winningly busy arrangements of Oregon's The Cow Trippers. They'll be at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St., at 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 27. For show details call 670-9202.
BIG NOIZ: Fans of whacked-out, hardcore, experimental, noisy free jazz--think: the stuff you used to hear on Steve Hahn's Ragged Edge radio show, but even weirder; yes, weirder--should flock to the show featuring Konk Pack, whose members have collaborated with Henry Cow, Eugene Chadbourne, Evan Parker, Cecil Taylor and many more over the years. No less an authority on creative dissonance than Jim O'Rourke has called the trio's Thomas Lehn "probably the world's best synthesizer player." Not recommended for the easily confused.
Konk Pack appears with fellow oddballs Prepping Finger Salad at 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 25 at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $5. For mo' info call 884-0874.
BUY NOW, PLAY LATER: And finally, music collectors of all types won't want to miss the semi-annual record show this weekend, with dozens of booths set up to hawk vinyl, CDs, posters, tapes, videos and other assorted music-related memorabilia. The event takes place on Saturday, October 27 at the Eagles Lodge #180, 1530 N. Stone Ave. The treasure trove opens at 7 a.m., with early-bird admission set for $5. If you get there after 9 a.m., it'll run you $3. And either way, if you bring two cans of food for the local community food bank, you'll get a buck off the cover charge. Additionally, 25 percent of the admission fees will be donated to the New York relief fund. Questions will be answered at 628-8075.