Two weeks ago, the free spirit that was Justin lost his life to a jackass who mowed Justin's motorcycle down at an intersection. His killer ran a stop sign, didn't have his lights on and attempted to flee the scene. Luckily, he was caught and we can hope he'll be brought to justice.
Vaudeville Cabaret will host a night of punk rock in Justin's honor this week, with all proceeds going to his family, to assist with funeral expenses. Great American Tragedy, Absolute Fucking Saints, FUCT (Feast Upon Cactus Thorns), and others will all perform in Justin's memory at 9 p.m. on Friday, September 27. Vaudeville is located at 110 E. Congress St. For more information call 622-3535.
HEADY ATMOSPHERE: Hip-hop, as if you didn't already know, is all about posturing: Who's got the most cheese, the flyest bitches, the dopest rims on their ride, and so on. Thank God, then, for underground rap, which seeks to bring a dose of truth to the game. But even the most under-the-radar shizit subscribes to its own tenets of cool.
Those jaded by the frontin' would do well to get acquainted with Atmosphere, which comprises MC Slug and his producer Ant. Atmosphere is sorta like the emo equivalent of hip-hop. While most rappers are boasting about their stable of ho's, Slug is busy bringing it to "that average 14-year-old girl who hates her parents," slinging tormented rhymes about real-life relationships that echo the lives of middle-class suburban kids the way IHOP dishes out hash browns--fresh, crisp, and oh-so-delicious. It might be the beats that grab your attention from the get-go, but it's Slug that'll really get you on the third listen. A rapper who dares to be self-deprecating? Almost unheard of, pre-Atmosphere.
Atmosphere performs, along with Murs, Brother Ali, and others, at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Tickets are $10 in advance at the front desk of Hotel Congress. Call 622-8848 with questions.
HEY STOOPID: I'm not sure what can be said about Alice Cooper that isn't already noted in the annals of rock history, but here's a go. He was one of the first to equate a rock show with true rock spectacle, chopping off the heads of dwarfs in his custom-made guillotine, trotting out menacing boa constrictors, frying the unwitting in an electric chair, and sporting face paint before Kiss played its first show. Alice (aka Vincent Furnier, now a wholesome, God-fearing, golf-playing, all-around good-guy family man residing in Phoenix) understood the value of putting on a freakin' show long before most.
All of which would mean nothing, if the music sucked, which it didn't. Over the span of his career, Cooper combined the bludgeoning riffs of Black Sabbath and the Stooges with a healthy dose of humor, and spawned a dizzying catalog of rock tunes that are now classics, including "I'm Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Only Women Bleed," "Under My Wheels," "Is It My Body," "School's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "I Never Cry," just to name a handful. And unlike a lot of the acts who made their name in the '70s, Alice is the rare dude whose material sounds even better today than it did at the time.
All hail the mighty Alice Cooper, who performs on Friday, September 27, at the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church. Doors open at 7 p.m., and Gilby Clarke opens the show. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 321-1000, or online at Ticketmaster.com.
WE BE JAMMIN': Regardless of whether you're down with the old-school or the new, it's a fine week indeed for fans of jam bands.
The Radiators (or, if you've got dreadlocks, The Rads) have defied all odds by hanging onto all five of their founding members for nearly a quarter of a century. Ed Volker (keys and vocals, and the band's primary songwriter), Dave Malone (guitar, vocals), Camile Baudoin (guitar), Reggie Scanlan (bass) and Frank Bua (drums) are one of the country's quintessential and longest-lasting jam bands, having influenced the likes of Phish, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and even the U.K.'s Gomez, with a righteous blend of funk, blues, jazz, N'awlins-style swamp rock, and all points in between. Renowned for their ass-shake-inducing live shows, they just might be one of the biggest "unknown" bands in the country.
The Radiators will overheat at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $15 at all Zia Records locations. Questions? Call 798-3333.
Meanwhile, The Disco Biscuits are one of the most innovative second-gen jam bands around. The foursome, formed in 1996 at the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the few in the genre to shrug off the hippie connotations by embracing electronica. Combining said technology with rock, drum and bass, classical, dub and trance, along with an overriding penchant for pop hooks, the band has just released a new album, Senor Boombox, on Megaforce Records.
Munch on The Disco Biscuits when they perform at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $13 through Ticketmaster. That number again is 798-3333.
ON THE BANDWAGON: Thanks to promotional help from community radio station KXCI, 91.3 FM, Australia's Fruit is a local favorite. The band returns to town this week with its ripe blend of rock, funk, jazz, folk and reggae in tow. The tight-as-a-crawlspace band features three-part female harmonies that have garnered comparisons to Ani Difranco and the Indigo Girls.
Fruit performs at 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 29, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $10 at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, CD City and Enchanted Earthworks, or online at www.dotucson.com. For more info call 440-4455.
There are worse fates than being compared to Bright Eyes, which is where The Gunshy, hailing from Lancaster, Pa., finds itself these days. Citing the sad-sack acoustic sparseness that both bands tout, CMJ has called the group's debut album, To Remember To Forget "essential."
The Gunshy performs at 9 p.m. on Monday, September 30, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Truck's Jesse Stanley opens the show, which is free to all with ID. Call 798-1298 for further details.
REMEMBER TO COVER UP: A quick reminder to bands that would like to participate in the fifth annual Great Cover-Up, slated for Thursday, November 14, and Friday, November 15, at Club Congress: you've only got one more week to submit your applications. Send an e-mail that includes your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three choices for bands/artists you'd like to cover, and band contact info, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The carved-in-stone deadline for submissions is Friday, October 4, so get on it. So far, the response has been overwhelming. Many thanks to those who've already submitted their entries.