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IN LIEU OF FIREWORKS: Still looking to make some last-minute plans for the Fourth of July? Since the Cheap Trick show--an absolute must--will end far earlier than the bars and clubs, here's a few suggestions on how to keep on lovin' the good ol' U.S. of A. well into the late-night hours.

If your interpretation of "independence" includes swilling cocktails while, in the words of everyone's favorite mite-sized Jehovah's Witness funkster, Prince, "shakin' that ass, shakin' that ass," you might want to head on down to Plush, which will host a balls-out funk, rawk, and funky rawk bash of earth-shattering proportions. The extravaganza kicks off at 9 p.m. with a set from local cock-rock faves The 440s, followed by the genre-hopping, hard-bopping, funk-punk sounds of Tucson six-piece Chango Malo. The final slot finds, well, Seattle's answer to Chango Malo, Maktub, who bring a bit more of a straight soul vibe and a touch less style-shifting to the table than their local counterparts.

The Red, White, and Blue Ball can be experienced at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Thursday, July 4. Advance tickets are available at the club for $5. They'll be $7 on the day of the show. Questions? Call 798-1298.

If, on the other hand, you're short on cash and your version of "liberty and justice for all" entails dancing to, er, a gypsy ensemble, you'd be well advised to head down to Club Congress, which will feature the locals of the Molehill Orkestrah providing the throbbing soundtrack you so desire.

Oh wait, I get it, there's no cover charge. They're talkin' 'bout "freedom" and "free-dom." Dig!

The Molehill Orkestrah performs on Thursday, July 4, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The show begins at 9 p.m. Admission is free. For additional information call 622-8848.

Downtown art/performance space Las Sinfronteras is easing into booking touring bands, and they'll feature two industrial/electro bands on the night of our nation's birth. Comprising former Tucsonan Dave Wright and whomever else he's working with at any given time, Not Breathing combines busy electronic beats with a multitude of homemade instruments, to arrive at a semi-funky, highly experimental electronica. The group has toured with the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten, Sheep on Drugs and Pigface (the band records for Pigface's Martin Atkins' Invisible Records), and has designed instruments for Nine Inch Nails and Meat Beat Manifesto. Show opener Crack:WeAreRock (or, Crack:WAR) specializes in claustrophobic, jittery No Wave electro, with chant-like female vocals crawling over the din.

Both perform at 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, at Las Sinfronteras, 137 E. Congress St. Admission is $4, and further details may be gleaned by calling 623-8935.


UGLY DATE: Billed primarily as Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock's solo project, Ugly Casanova is, in truth, a more collaborative effort than that description entails.

While all the songs on the group's debut, Sharpen Your Teeth (2002, Sub Pop), were either written or co-written by Brock, the efforts of compadres like John Orth, Pall Jenkins and, most notably, Brian Deck and Tim Rutili, both late of Red Red Meat and currently of Califone, are unmistakable. The disjointed clang and clatter of RRM and Califone are present and accounted for, but fans of the mighty Mouse won't be disappointed, either, as Brock's circular wordplay, unmistakable guitar patterns, and reedy lisp are all there, too. And while Modest Mouse albums usually span the map from twisted balladry to frenetic, loopy rockers, Sharpen is a bit more downcast in nature, with the mood-enhancing production and complex arrangements shaping its diversity.

Ugly Casanova, along with The Sunshine Fix, the psych-rock band led by ex-Olivia Tremor Control member Bill Doss, and The Helio Sequence, perform at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover charge is $8. For more info call 622-8848.


SPACE CASES: Melodic, droning guitars meet up with shoestring-budget electronic IDM (that's intelligent dance music, folks), respectively, as Austin's American Analog Set teams up with Her Space Holiday for a show this week.

AAS's shoe-gazing pop gets remixed by HSH, among others, on the band's new EP, Updates (Tiger Style), their first-ever foray into electronica of any kind (unless you count those skittering drums). The Set returns the favor by covering Holiday's "These Days," on the EP, and the live show promises a few nifty collaborations between the two, as well. A bit of fair warning: While a new album is due in the fall from American Analog Set, the faithful should make it to the show, as the band won't be touring again until next summer, at the earliest.

American Analog Set and Her Space Holiday perform an early show at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Cover is $7. For more information call 884-0874.


HOLY HEAT! Gearheads, rejoice! Psychobilly rockers extraordinaire, Dallas' The Reverend Horton Heat, makes the yearly trek to town on the strength of the latest album, Lucky 7, released earlier this year on Artemis Records. Along for the ride: Georgia labelmates Nashville Pussy, who accurately approximate what Ted Nugent might have sounded like if he'd grown up in the South. The band's recently released third album, Say Something Nasty, includes a song called "Gonna Hitchhike Down to Cincinnati and Kick the Shit Outta Your Drunk Daddy." That should pretty much answer any questions you might have about Nashville Pussy.

The Reverend Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy and Honky perform at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 8, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $17 at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 321-1000, or on the Web at www.ticketmaster.com. For further info call 798-3333.


HEY, MR. TAMBOURINE MAN: While Bob Dylan's 61st birthday, on May 24, didn't exactly draw the international attention his last one drew, the folks over at Plush have decided that it at least warrants a belated local tribute show--with a twist. While we've all gotten accustomed to the tribute-show frenzy that's swept Tucson over the last six months or so, this event will feature Dylan-penned tunes as interpreted by a bevy of bluegrass musicians. The show, affectionately dubbed Bobgrass, will include sets of Zimmy's best from the likes of Titan Valley, the Greg Morton Trio, Out of the Blue, Peter McLaughlin and Friends, Teddy Morgan, Tim Wiendenkeller, Stefan George with Lavinia and Bobby Kimmel and others. George will also serve as emcee for the event, which begins at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For additional info call 798-1298.


RADAR SCREEN: Led by Jim Putnam (ex-member of Medicine and Maids of Gravity), L.A.'s Radar Brothers have unjustly toiled in relative obscurity for eight years now. It's a pity, because anyone with an appreciation for melancholic, orchestral pop--imagine a collaboration between early Pink Floyd and Grant Lee Buffalo, or maybe a Flaming Lips 45 played at 33 rpm--seems to love them. In other words, you'd be hard-pressed to find a music journalist that hasn't swooned over them, but as we all know, music journalists aren't the ones buying records.

If you've ever found yourself looking for that perfect album for an introspective, late night at home alone, or conversely, a hangover album that won't exacerbate the pounding in your head, the glacially paced, wistful songs on the Radar Brothers' new album, And the Surrounding Mountains (Merge), just might be the salve you're after.

Radar Brothers, with openers La Cerca, perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $5. For more information call 884-0874.


LAUGH RIOT: And finally, winner of the Most Bizarre Show of the Week award goes to what is being billed as the Night of -1000 Laughs. Headlining is "comedian" Neil Hamburger, basically a performance artist who tests the patience of all in attendence by intentionally being un-funny. To paraphrase Enid in Ghost World, he's so bad that he's gone past good, and back to bad again. Mr. Hamburger will bring his pal Pleaseosaur with him, and both will be supported by a trio of local outsider artists for the event: the musical stylings of Bebe and Serge and Gary Bear, as well as a rare appearance by drunken "comedian" Simon Von Frith. The fewer questions asked, the better.

The Night of -1000 Laughs kicks off at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 5, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is five bucks (too much). If you must ask questions, please pick up your telephone receiver and dial 622-8848 before doing so.

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