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SWEET RELIEF

Americans are notorious for their short attention spans. For proof, look no further than the fact that just weeks after the devastation and tragedy brought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the headlines have largely been replaced by far more pressing issues, such as speculation as to whether or not Nick and Jessica have really broken up, Rosemary's Baby (the gestating hellspawn of Britney and K-Fed) and how much blow Kate Moss has hoovered into that beautiful little nose of hers this week.

Tucson's local music community has always been there for those going through a rough time, and, thankfully, at least they haven't taken their eyes off the prize, so to speak: This week brings no fewer than three benefit shows for hurricane victims by local musicians--two on Saturday, Oct. 15, and one on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Let's take a look at our do-gooder options, shall we?

First up is a six-act bill organized by Ghetto Playground Records' Austin Counts called Ghetto Playground Presents: Relief for the Gulf Coast, which will include sets by Music Video (midnight), Camp Courageous (11 p.m.), Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors (10 p.m.), Black Man Clay (9 p.m.), Austin Counts (8:30 p.m.) and James London (8 p.m.). This one takes place at Nimbus Brewing Company, 3850 E. 44th St., on Saturday, Oct. 15. Doors open at 7 p.m., with your $5 donation going to the American Red Cross. Between live sets, posters autographed by participating acts will be auctioned off to raise additional funds. For more information, call 745-9175.

Your other charitable option for Saturday, Oct. 15, takes place at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Things start off rather early at Bloat Records' Ward 9 New Orleans Musicians Fundraiser, as Bob Log III takes the stage at--if we're to believe Vaudeville's Web site (and we have no reason not to)--6 p.m. Next up, at 9:30 p.m., is Gary Bear Deluxe, in which the namesake oddball folkie is joined by backing musicians. The evening concludes with everybody's favorite MC, the litigious but lovable Serge, hosting his signature Karaoke de Surreal, which still stands as the most chaotic--and therefore, most fun--karaoke night to be found in these parts (except in the case of Mullarkey, sobriety is not an option). Cover donations should be somewhere in the $5 range, with all proceeds going directly to Ninth Ward musicians who lost homes and/or equipment in the hurricanes. Further details are just a phone call away at 622-3535.

Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, a seven-act bill convenes at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., for S.O.S.: A Hurricane Relief Benefit, which sports the following lineup: The Jons, Ten Percenters, Manifold, Maintenance, The Provocative Whites and The Daring Few, with DJ Rosa spinning between live sets. This one will feature raffles of prizes donated by the event's sponsors, CD City, Sticks N' Strings and the Loft Cinema, with all proceeds from the event being donated to World Care. Cover is a $5 donation, and doors open at 7 p.m. For further details, call 622-8848.

Kudos to all who are donating their time and energy to a good cause. The least you can do is show up for one or more of these worthwhile events. Admit it: You haven't donated since you last got paid, have you?


SWEET IRONY

A few years ago, while attending a show by a since-forgotten national band (I think it was Pinback, but I can't be sure) at Club Congress, I found myself standing next to a new acquaintance, then-recent Tucson transplant, artist and musician Salvador Duran, who had moved here from Mexico. In broken English, he asked me, "What do you call this kind of music?" I proceeded to give him a brief verbal introduction as to what the hell indie-rock is (not easy, even when speaking to someone whose first language is English). Who knows how much of it he understood at the time, but I have a feeling he gets it a lot better now.

Fast-forward to 2004, when Iron and Wine's Sam Beam is in Tucson to record a collaborative EP with the indie world's favorite collaborators, Calexico. After a day holed up at Wavelab Studios, Beam retired back to Hotel Congress, where he was staying. But before he could make it up to his room, his ear was caught by a charismatic Spanish-language singer whose guitar and voice were echoing throughout the hotel's lobby. Beam flashed on the idea of roping this gentleman into contributing to the impending EP, and eventually asked him to participate. That gentleman was Salvador Duran.

Cut again to the present, in which that EP, In the Reins, was recently released on Overcoat (see this week's Rhythm & Views, page 72), and with Iron and Wine and Calexico embarking on a rather ambitious national tour that kicks off this week in Tucson. The EP's titular track of sorts (it's actually called "He Lays in the Reins"--grammar be damned), features an improvised passage from none other than Duran, whose name has by now appeared in every indie-centric publication known to man. Ah, sweet, sweet irony.

And Duran will also be part of the local Iron and Wine/Calexico show, where he will both serve as opener and re-create his contribution to "He Lays in the Reins." The joint tour is based on Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Tour, which included a host of guest musicians dropping in to perform at certain stops, collaborating with each other in unexpected ways. On the current tour, the audience is left guessing as to which act will play first at any given stop, though at all stops, both bands will close the show by performing the entirety of In the Reins. A tour press release promises that "cover songs, guests, rare exotic animals and anything else happening in between is being secured and will be revealed closer to the show date. No one really knows what lies ahead, but we guarantee it will be unlike anything else making the rounds this fall." Huzzah!

Iron and Wine, Calexico and Salvador Duran will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets for the all-ages show are available for $18 at the Rialto box office or by logging on to rialtotheatre.com. They'll be $20 on the day of show. Questions? The number to call is 740-1000.


ON THE BANDWAGON

So many more excellent shows to cover, so little space to do so. Be sure to check out our listings section for all the yummy goodness that didn't fit here. In the meantime, let's do this!

Estrus Records of Bellingham, Wash., is home to some of the finest punk (and otherwise) bands out there today, and three of them will join together to celebrate the new issue of Crimewave Magazine and its accompanying DVD. Japanese riff-masters DMBQ headline the show, which will also feature sets by Texas' fractured noise-punks Fatal Flying Guilloteens and Tucson's own The Knockout Pills. It all goes down at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Cover is a mere $6, and the proceedings begin at 9 p.m. Call 622-8848 for more info.

Although moody, cinematic folk-rockers Okkervil River released their critically acclaimed full-length, Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar), just six months ago, next week they return to town in anticipation of the Nov. 22 release of a companion EP, Black Sheep Boy Appendix (Jagjaguwar). From the rootsy pummel of "No Key, No Plan" to the strings- and steel guitar-laced, Bright Eyes-ian ascending balladry of "Black Sheep Boy #4," the Austin gents are about to add another jewel to their crown. Get a sneak preview when Okkervil River headlines a show next Thursday, Oct. 20, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., that also includes Band of Horses and Low Skies. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. with tickets--available in advance at virtuous.com--a steal at $7. Call 798-1298 for further details.

In the late '80s, there was a dearth of mainstream country acts that hadn't fallen prey to the slick, cookie-cutter tripe that Nashville was turning out in droves. Thank heavens, then, for the breath of fresh air that was--and is--Dwight Yoakam. With a ragged, adventurous sensibility and a croon a purist could love, Yoakam will continue onward in his quest to demonstrate how country music is supposed to sound when he performs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road. Advance tickets start at $35, available at the casino's box office or by calling 393-2799.

Finally, this weekend sees the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Heritage Fall Festival, a free, family-friendly fest that will feature performances by Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King, Kelley Hunt, Dennis Jones, Lazy Ed and the Stratoloungers, Wayde and the Southside Healers, Markiss Band, Phil Borzillo and Jovert, Tucson High School's steel drum band. The festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the DeMeester Performance Center at Reid Park, located on Country Club Road, just off 22nd Street. Satellite events for the festival include a free performance by Bad News Blues Band from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Radisson Downtown City Center, 131 W. Broadway Blvd., and the traditional Post-Festival Jam, with Wayde and the Southside Healers, at Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave., from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. For more info on all these events, head to azblues.org.

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