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AWAY WITH LEAVE

Well, it's another relatively slow week for music here in T-Town, so it looks like I picked a pretty good time to go on vacation. The little lady and I will be enjoying a lovely getaway in the Pacific Northwest by the time you read this, but fear not: The fabulous Gene Armstrong will be filling this here column in next week's issue, letting you know what's what around Tucson, musically speaking. Meanwhile, I'll be sure to roll around in the lush, green grass and wade into the ocean for each and every one of you. Talk to you again in a couple of weeks.


SO LONG, MR. RULEY

Soundbites would like to both congratulate and bid a fond farewell to Gene Ruley, who recently graduated from the UA with a degree in audiology, and will soon be relocating to New Orleans, where he grew up, to pursue an internship in that field.

For the last 22 years, Ruley has played guitar for so many bands that it's tough to even recall them all--The Phantom Limbs, River Roses, The Johnies, Vegas Kids, The Sidewinders/Sand Rubies, The Townies and currently The Drakes, Little Sisters of the Poor and The Zsa Zsas (in which he performs as Lalo Sucrose).

Ruley has always been one of my favorite guitarists in Tucson for many reasons. Yes, he's technically amazing--he's got more chops than a butcher shop--but he is also just as tasteful. In all the years of watching him perform and listening to him play, he's never shown off. Not once. The economy in his playing is astounding; he never plays a single note more than he needs to, even though you know that if he wanted to, he could shred with the best of them.

To top it all off, he's a hell of a guy, nice and funny--one of those people you're always happy to run into at a bar and shoot the shit with.

Apparently he'll be visiting Tucson now and then to play a show here and there. Of his contributions to The Zsa Zsas, singer David Slutes (aka Milos Sucrose) wrote Soundbites to say, "He is the only member who will never be replaced. He'll have to fly in for the gigs."

So, while his departure may be a blow to the Tucson music scene, we wish him nothing but the best in his new, uh, gig.

Oh, and we almost forgot. You'll have two more chances to catch Ruley perform locally before he splits town for NOLA. His final show with Little Sisters of the Poor takes place on Friday, Aug. 4, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Redlands and Bombs for the Bored will also be on that bill, which starts at 9:45 p.m. Cover is $4, and the number to call for more info is 798-1298.

Then, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug 12, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., The Zsa Zsas will headline a showcase featuring some of the performers at the upcoming RockN the Seas "Arizona at Sea" cruise. Also on that bill will be The Jons, Al Perry and Greyhound Soul. Admission is $5, and a free cruise will be given away to one lucky attendee. Call 622-8848 for more details.


NOT THAT ANNOYING MTV SHOW

Still touring to promote last year's Real World (Higher Octave), the Young Dubliners hit town this week for a gig at Plush. Appropriate for a band comprising Irish and American members, the group takes somewhat bland MOR American rock music but spices it up with traditional Irish elements that make it far more interesting than it otherwise would be. What might be a throwaway album track by a lesser band is transformed into an anthem of sorts.

The Young Dubliners pull into town on Saturday, Aug. 5. The show begins at 9:45 p.m., with an opening set from Tesoro. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St., and cover is $10. That number again is 798-1298.


THAT MORBID CHARMER

While he may be best known for his appearance in Jim White's film Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, for nearly a decade now, Johnny Dowd has been releasing albums and garnering a rabid cult following along the way. His stuff is morbid and dark, but still somehow charming, and it twists all kinds of American forms of music into new, surprising shapes. Of his latest album, Cruel Words, released last month on Bongo Beat, Entertainment Weekly wrote that he "continues crafting extraordinary Beefheartian gothic-rock tales of the disenfranchised." Nothing wrong with that.

Dowd will perform at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., next Thursday, Aug. 10. He'll be starting around 10 p.m., opening for the Whistlin' Dix, the acoustic, traditional backwoods alter ego of The Solace Bros. The number to call for more information is 622-3535.


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SOCCER TEAM

If you've ever spent any time imbibing at The Tap Room at Hotel Congress, chances are pretty darn good you've been served by one Jon Tokar. What you may not know is that Tokar has in his spare time recently helped establish Club Congress Rocks, a co-ed indoor soccer team that competes at Blade World, and is obviously sponsored by the Club (think Chico's Bail Bonds from The Bad News Bears).

Well, these leagues cost money to participate in, and in order to generate funds for player fees, gear and such, some local bands are performing a benefit show on Friday, Aug. 4. Starting at 9 p.m. at Club Congress, natch, a $5 donation will grant you admission to see live sets by Demon City Wreckers, Great American Tragedy, M.C.E.S.P. and Golden Boots. All money collected at the door will go directly to the team, and there will be kissing booths, raffles and drink specials from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call 622-8848 for more info.

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