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GOOD 'N' PLENTY: A pair of excellent, jam-packed local bills highlights this week's live music offerings, one with five scheduled acts, the other with six--more bang for yer buck, as they say. But here's the rub: they're scheduled for the same night, Friday, Jan. 31. The good news is that you can't lose, regardless of which you choose to attend.

Radio knob-twiddlers are likely familiar with Chita from her smooove delivery as deejay on KLPX-FM 96.1. And they probably know her devotion to promoting local music, through the regional music program "Breaking and Entering," airing Sunday nights at 11 p.m., as well as her "Live and Local" segments, airing each weekday at 3:50 p.m., in which she gives a complete rundown of all live musical haps going down that night. But what they may not know is that she's got a companion Website to those segments, LiveandLocal.net, which is a compendium of all things musical in the Old Pueblo. While the site's been operational for a while now, it's recently been revamped, and now features everything from local band listings, a calendar of events, and venue information to downloads, promoter info, and music news.

This week marks the official re-launch of the site, and Chita has called on some of her friends to help celebrate the event, dubbed the Live and Local New Year Bash, which either marks a new year for the Website itself, or comes a month too late for its moniker--we're just not sure. Still, it's tough to go wrong with the lineup of acts she's got scheduled.

The night begins in the lounge area at 8 p.m. with a trio of solo singer/songwriters: Cathy Rivers, Truck's Jesse Stanley, and Chris Burroughs. Then, at 10 p.m., three full-on rock-'n'-roll outfits--The Solace Bros., Manifold and Lovemound--take it to the stage in the main room. Just before Lovemound's midnight set, monitors will display LiveandLocal.net's official re-launch.

It all goes down at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, January 31. For more info call the club at 798-1298, or simply log onto the aforementioned Website.

The same night marks the second installment of Rock for Rialto, an ongoing series of shows featuring a handful of local bands donating their time to raise fundage for downtown's renovation-hungry Rialto Theatre. The lineup for this one is, in descending order of appearance: Chango Malo, The Red Switch, Seven Days of May, The Hampton Band and Christine Moussa. As with all past and future shows in the series, all the performances will be recorded for inclusion on a future Rock for Rialto benefit CD.

Rock for Rialto kicks off at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, at--duh!--the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for five bucks at the Rialto box office; they'll be $7 at the door. Further details can be yours by dialing 798-3333.


BRING ON DA FUNK: This week marks the third local appearance of Seattle's Maktub (pronounced mock-tube--it means "it is written" in Arabic), which can currently claim the title of Unsigned Band With the Biggest Buzz.

Since its last Tucson outing, in May of last year, the quartet has been featured in a plethora of music publications, as well as on msn.com and NPR. Following its NPR profile--literally 12 hours after the piece ran--the band's latest self-released album, Khronos (Ossia), skyrocketed up Amazon.com's R&B chart, to claim the No. 1 position. For once, the hype is warranted.

Recalling the golden age of '60s- and '70s-style funk 'n' soul, albeit with a bit more bite, Maktub veers easily from sexy, crooning ballads to Bad Brains-esque noise explosions, and back again, often in the space of a single song. The band is as tight as that great uncle of yours that grew up during the Depression, but the real draw is singer Reggie Watts, who flawlessly stretches his baritone into a falsetto without sounding like he's trying too hard. Think Stevie Wonder crossed with Living Color's Corey Glover, and you're on the right page. But you've still got a lot more reading to do.

Don't miss Maktub, along with opener Bandye, at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Cover is $5 and you can call 798-1298 for more information.


OBSCURA REFERENCE: Led by Mike DeCicco, onetime member of onetime band Poot (a precursor to the mighty Chango Malo), comes new kids on the block, Musica Obscura. The Tucson band specializes in dense, dark, moody electronica, which might come off as a murky, muddled mess, were it not for DeCicco's ethereal vocals, which remind somewhat of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and the violin and cello work of ubiquitous string-sawer Rebecca Bleich. Take the claustrophobic-in-a-good-way soundscapes of Tricky, add gorgeous Euro-style vocals and the aforementioned strings, and you've got a mighty tasty treat, as can be sampled on the band's brand-new debut CD, There is No Sound--(Frunk-Bumpy).

Musica Obscura performs on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St. A set from George Rosenberg kicks the night off at around 9:30 p.m. Admission is, as always, free. Questions? Give 'em a call at 623-7621.

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