There were major-label bidding wars over them for a reason: Even the mighty Blues Explosion couldn't follow the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who upstaged Spencer and Co. at every turn at that show. (A quick aside: Zinner--a humble sweetheart of a guy--has a hobby in which he photographs every bed that he sleeps in. When Rolling Stone published four of these photographs last year, his bed at Hotel Congress was one of them.) Shortly after the Congress appearance, the band issued another EP on Touch and Go, the three-song quickie Machine (2002), before inking a deal with Interscope, who released the YYYs debut full-length, Fever to Tell, in April 2003.
Perhaps the most suprising thing about Fever is that, for a band that made their name as an art-punk trio fronted by a sex-obsessed woman known for dousing herself in beer onstage, it was the ballads that truly stood out. Nearly a year after the album's release, the gorgeous "Maps" is finally getting play on radio and MTV, courtesy of a video that sees Karen O crying by song's end, which, instead of coming off as cheesily contrived, actually manages to enhance the song's pathos. The other slow stunner is "Modern Romance," a heartbreaking lament on the futility of romantic relationships; it closes the album.
That Fever to Tell actually surpassed expectations, showing facets of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs previously not demonstrated, is quite a feat; that it was recorded in a climate of pressure under which most bands would crumble, and still managed to surpass expectations, is a minor miracle.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs return to the parking lot at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, March 9. Beehive and the Barracudas open at 8 p.m., along with Entrance. Advance tickets for the all-ages show are available for $10 at the hotel or online at www.hotcong.com. They'll be $12 on the day of the show. For further details, call 622-8848.
As for Jordan, he somewhat revolutionized jazz guitar in the '80s. Although he didn't invent the tapping technique for which he's known, he did take it to a new level, enabling him to play two separate guitar lines at once, not unlike a piano. In other words, Jordan has the ability to sound like two guitarists at once. What Eddie Van Halen did for rock guitar in the '80s with his hammering technique, Jordan did for jazz guitar with tapping.
Get your tickets early for Stanley Jordan's performance at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Saturday, March 6. An opener TBA will start the show at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available at Rainbow Guitars, which will host a meet-and-greet with Jordan from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the same day. Questions? Ring up the club at 622-3535.
Let Echo 3 win you over when they perform along with Tucson's Nowhere Man at 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 11 at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. $3 gets you in the door. Call 670-9202 for more info.
Arizona's Most Wanted hits Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., each Wednesday night at 9 p.m. For more information, call 622-3535.
Local ska-funk-punk sextet Chango Malo will also be debuting some new songs at their performance this weekend at Plush. The band will headline a gig that also features a middle slot set from Phoenix's Existi, whose self-released 2003 EP, Vein and Wire, merges snarling, screamo vocals and technically proficient math-rock arrangements that veer from jangle to Slayer-esque guitar hailstorms in the course of a single song. Tucson's up-and-coming young'uns Our Cure the Rocketship open. It all goes down at 9:30 p.m. at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, March 6. Cover is a mere $3. For further details, call 798-1298.
Guitarist extraordinaire Keller Williams brings his whimsical "one man band for the new century" aesthetic to town this week in support of his latest album, Home (2003, Sci Fidelity), yet another winning collection of songs that are, simply put, a hell of a lot of fun, both musically and lyrically. By not taking himself too seriously, Williams avoids the trappings of other like-minded but too often self-important jammers. Keller Williams performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets are available for $15 at the theatre's box office and Bookman's. For more 411, call 798-3333.