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HEAL THY SELF: When Steven Eye, owner and booker of Solar Culture Gallery, got a call about having Richmond, Virginia's Denali back to his space, he was ecstatic. After all, the band played one of his very favorite shows there, back in June. But when he heard the date being offered for the show--September 11--he thought twice, for obvious reasons.

But, in the end, he decided that what he calls Denali's "healing power" was wholly appropriate for that day, that Denali was one of the few bands that could actually pull it off, that they could provide the sort of catharsis that we'll all be looking for, come Wednesday.

Apparently, he's not alone. Just about everyone who attended that June show has raved about it, though everyone is quick to point out that the band shouldn't be judged on the basis of their self-titled CD (2002, Jade Tree) alone, but that "you gotta see 'em live."

The disc itself, which was produced with the aid of Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, is a wholly enjoyable affair, if a slightly unremarkable one. Imagine former Cardigans singer Nina Persson's voice imbued with a slightly more up-front melancholy, and the benefit of classical training, and you've got frontwoman Maura Davis, who also plays piano. She's ably backed by a band that is alternately moody and brooding, then soaring and transcendent, thanks to Cam Dinuzio (guitar, samples), Jonathan Fuller (drums), and her brother, Keeley Davis (bass, synth, samples).

But it's "that voice" that will convince you to buy the CD after the show, in the first place. Oh, that voice.

Denali perform on Wednesday, September 11, at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave. Locals The Therapists open at 9 p.m. Admission is $6. For more information call 884-0874, or log onto www.solarculture.org.


NEW IN TOWN: A pair of L.A.-based bands that you've probably never heard of makes their way to Plush for a showcase of sorts on Sunday. But don't let the "unknown factor" throw you off--your time and money will be well spent.

Gingersol's second full-length album, The Train Wreck is Behind You (2001, Idea Prone Recordings), has been garnering rave reviews seemingly from everyone who's heard it. The disc recalls the downcast pop songs of The Pernice Brothers, but with slightly sharper teeth, or All Shook Down-era Replacements, and occasionally, even one of those ballads Matthew Sweet used to turn out with such aplomb. In other words, it's awfully darn pretty stuff.

Tourmates Minibar, meanwhile, are a pack of Brits that relocated to the City of Angels in order to record their debut album, Road Movies (2001, Universal), with T Bone Burnett. They recently released a follow-up EP, The Unstoppable, on their own label, which resembles a slightly more upbeat version of the songs of longing that Idaho has perfected, albeit with a slightly more Americana feel.

Both bands perform beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For further details call 798-1298.


RAVE REVIEWS: 7 Black Cats booker Eleanor is particularly excited about the Throw Rag show she's got scheduled for Saturday. So excited, in fact, that she had left the CD at home, in the player, by the time she delivered the band's press kit to me. Here's what I've gleaned from reading about them: the band is a six-piece comprising two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a washboard/harmonica/horn player, and a whirling dervish of a lead singer (one Captain Tae-Bo, formerly Apollo Suave, formerly Sleezo).

The press kit describes them as "a slithery, dark-tongued, nocturnal concoction of rock, skiffle, swamp boogie, country, sailor rock and equal parts punk & moonshine insanity," and is littered with zine reviews in which jaded hipsters completely freak out over them (the most memorable: "When they play, I feel like I'm witnessing greatness. They are the Rolling Stones of my generation."). And any band that includes Dr. Samuel Johnson's dictum, "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man," as quoted from Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is certainly on the right track.

Check out Throw Rag, along with The 440s, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Questions? Give 'em a call at 670-9202.


TRIBUTE REPLAY: Yes, Virginia, there was indeed a local tribute to Bob Dylan just a couple months back, but hey, when you've got a catalogue of songs like that to draw from, the man deserves to be feted twice. This time around, it's members of the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association doing the honors, and to sweeten the deal even further, the event is a fundraiser for the Tucson Folk Festival. (Preceding the show itself, at 6 p.m., will be a vegetable soup and bread dinner, which will benefit Casa Maria Homeless Projects. $4 will get you a meal and some good karma.) Performers will include Stefan George, The Determined Luddites, John Coinman, Ken Tucker, Steve Cox, Elise Grecco, Duncan Stitt, Kathleen Williamson, Bill Lackey, "Eb" Eberlein, Ted Warmbrand, Bruce Campbell, Peter Lindquist, Dennis Pepe, Larry Armstrong & Copper Moon, Jody Johnson, Dave Irwin, Bruce T. Campbell, David MacComber, Kevin McConnell, and Linda Lou Reed.

The Tribute to Bob Dylan kicks off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Admission is $5, $4 for TKMA members. For more info call 544-0401.


FOURTH AVENUE FEST: The Fourth Avenue Merchants Association will begin its Saturday on Fourth series this weekend, on September 7, and will continue on the first Saturday of each month henceforth. There will be merchants of all sorts set up along the Avenue, but it's the music we're most excited about. This week, participating venues are Epic Café (jazz from Quartal Equinox), Casbah Tea House (belly dancing from Dancers in the Desert), Magpies patio (singer/songwriter Eric Hansen), Delectables patio (funky grooves, as spun by DJ Butta Fly), Chocolate Iguana patio (singer/songwriter Amber Jade), and of course, the Winsett Park Outdoor Stage, which will feature, in descending order: Al Perry and the Cattle, Claire Holley, Satori, and DJ Clay Steele.

Saturday on Fourth runs from 3 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, on Fourth Avenue. All musical events are free.


ON THE BANDWAGON: Fronted by singer/guitarist Mia Ferraro, who has put in time with Spoon, Hole, and Bulimia Banquet, L.A.'s Tadpole also includes former members of The Need, Betty Blowtorch and Butt Trumpet. Miraculously, the band plays a brand of punk-pop that avoids the sound-alike tendencies of just about every modern band in that category (and no, it's not just because they're women). Unafraid of the occasional ballad, Tadpole gracefully walk the thin line of dynamic and unexpected arrangements and straightforward guitar hooks and melodies.

Tadpole performs on Sunday, September 8, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. For bonus info call 622-3535.

The Cherry Valence's star has continued to rise since the last time they dropped into town, opening for Tight Bros From Way Back When, at 7 Black Cats. This time around, the Estrus band, who has been compared to Led Zeppelin, the MC5, Ted Nugent and Motorhead will headline a gig at Club Congress with Eighth Wonder of the World ampheta-bluesman Bob Log III providing opening duties.

It all goes down at 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is six bones. Call 622-8848 for further information.

And while we're on the subject, it's worth mentioning that Congress will play host to a special, free show by local country rockers Fourkiller Flats, on September 11. The band, now a quartet following guitarist/mandolinist Jim Peeken's relocation to Austin, debuted a handful of excellent new tunes at the Healing Through Music benefit a few weeks back, where they were in fine form.

Foukiller Flats perform at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is free, and that number, again, is 622-8848.

L.A. rumba flamenco quartet Incendio, who reportedly brought the house down when they played earlier this summer, returns to Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant, 198 W. Cushing St., at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 6. Advance tickets are available for $12 in advance at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, CD City and Enchanted Earthworks. If any tickets remain at showtime, they'll be sold for $15 at the door. For more information call 297-9133.

And finally, there's not a hell of a lot of money to be made performing at open mic nights, obviously. And so, a tour of open mic nights across the country would surely be financial suicide. But that's not about to stop Electroshockbox mastermind Tron-D from doing just that. The electronica maestro is playing open mics and on the street, from here all the way to Chicago, in his own words, "trying to stir up some angry rednecks and catch them on film."

To assist in preventing him from going completely broke from the endeavor, he's enlisted Mankind and Bebe & Serge, among others, to perform a fundraiser alongside him at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Questions will be answered by calling 622-3535.

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