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YOU CAN SLEEP LATER

This week's a mighty busy one, with three music festivals, a pair of CD-release parties and more shows worth your time and money than we've got space to cover here. Read on!


CINCO DE CYCLE!

As for those three festivals, well, they really couldn't be any different from each other. There's KFMA Day, a hodgepodge of alt-rock acts which you can read more about in our City Week section, and the Tucson Folk Festival, which is featured in an article on this very page--both of which have become time-honored traditions.

The other fest going down this week begs the question: Could Tucson be the next Sturgis? Well, probably not. But this week's boomin' biker rally, the 2007 State H.O.G. Rally, will be ushered in with a dandy of a music festival being billed as Tucson Thunder 2007, set to coincide with the usual Cinco de Mayo Celebration.

Now, maybe I'm betraying my borderline hillbilly roots, but I wouldn't mind seeing any act booked at the H.O.G Rally's Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Yes, I love shit-kickin' '70s Southern rockers Molly Hatchet. Yes, I love Alejandro Escovedo, whether he's playing ballads like "Wave," which always manages to bring a tear to my eye, or launching into a take-no-prisoners cover of the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog." Yes, I love the Drive by Truckers, modern-day Southern rockers who are currently on the road tightening up before they head into the studio next month to record their eighth album. Yes, I love FM radio staples Bad Company (though I'm a bit skeptical of this Brian Howe fellow replacing the magnificent Paul Rodgers). Yes, I love The Zsa Zsas, one of the few comedy-rock acts I can stomach. And I love the gypsy-klezmer fusion of Molehill Orkestrah, whose power on a live stage never disappoints. Oh, and I almost forgot: The BellRays. The motherfuckin' BellRays! When The BellRays, a Los Angeles band that's something like a Detroit garage-rock outfit as fronted by Aretha Franklin, are listed five slots down from the headliner, you gotta believe it's gonna be a good Cinco de Mayo, right?

Best of all, the whole shebang will only run you $10--basically the cost to see any one of these acts in a club. The folks at the Rialto Theatre, Club Congress and the Tucson Downtown Alliance have teamed up to bring you this event, which will include both outdoor and indoor stages at the sponsoring venues. It all goes down at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. Advance tickets are available at Hotel Congress, the Rialto Box Office and all Zia and Bookmans locations. For more information, call 622-8848.


GET UNDRESSED!

The first of this week's CD release parties comes courtesy of local country-rockers The Wyatts. For full details on that one, check out Annie Holub's review of the band's new CD, The Continuing Saga of The Wyatts, Volume 1, in this section.

The second CD release party, next Thursday, May 10, comes in celebration of David D'Alessio's first solo release, Songs to Undress Your Ego (self-released). You might remember D'Alessio from his former band, the poorly named but actually quite good Let's English. D'Alessio wore his heart on his sleeve in those days, but he managed to avoid any sort of emo trappings. On Songs to Undress Your Ego, his heart's still on his sleeve, but his songwriting is placed in an entirely new environment.

D'Alessio recorded the album during a stint in Florida, and the result falls largely into the singer-songwriter realm. Against a typically sparse backing band that manages to incorporate a bit of strings and brass, D'Alessio whisper-sings his way through 11 songs that address topics as big as war ("Lines Uncertain") and as personal as not wanting to go out due to personal turmoil ("If I Could"). The entire album is an engaging, tasteful affair that wouldn't sound out of place on The Mountain, and it's quite an about-face from the far more dense Let's English.

Celebrate the release of Songs to Undress Your Ego at 7 p.m. at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Leila Lopez and Vicki Brown open the show. Admission is free. Call 622-8848 for further details.


CATCHING HER MUSE

Aside from an appearance at Solar Culture Gallery with her latest punk band, 50 Foot Wave, the last several times Kristin Hersh has performed in Tucson, she's done the solo-acoustic thing. Which made sense, considering that the bulk of her solo releases were largely subdued affairs, especially compared to her groundbreaking early work with the fabulous Throwing Muses. But her latest solo album, Learn to Sing Like a Star (Yep Roc, 2007), sounds closer to the work from her Muses days than any of her previous solo releases and has been receiving critical kudos across the board.

It also has led her to embark on her current tour, which features a full backing band, complete with a string section; and that's what we'll get when Kristin Hersh performs on Sunday, May 6, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. The McCarricks and Dolorean open the show at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are available in advance for $10 at virtuous.com; they'll be $12 at the door. For more info, call 798-1298.


DISTORT THIS!

L.A. roots-punk legends Social Distortion haven't released an album in 2 1/2 years, but you can bet that won't stop their fervent fans from piling into the Rialto Theatre this week to watch them perform.

Social D (as the kids call 'em) are one of those bands that are difficult not to like, and for a band that's been around for a quarter-decade, their staying power is remarkable. Chalk it up to the fact that they're one of the few punk bands from their era that don't sound dated. (Hey, I love '80s American punk as much as anyone, but even I get a little sick of Reagan-bashing in 2007.) Rather, they were smart enough to see the merit in having Johnny Cash as a far greater influence on them than most of their peers, and thus, their music has a timeless quality that endures.

Social Distortion perform next Thursday, May 10, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. The show starts at 8 p.m. with opening sets from I Hate Kate and The Black Halos. Admission to the all-ages show is $26. For details, call 740-1000.


ON THE BANDWAGON

We're almost out of room, but here's a quick rundown of other shows worth your time and money this week.

Elephant 6ers Elf Power bring their psych-pop songs about fairies (or is that faeries?) and wizards and such to Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Saturday, May 5. The all-ages show begins at 9 p.m. with openers La Cerca and Cloud Cult (see Annie Holub's review of the latest Cloud Cult album in this issue). Admission is $8. Call 884-0874 with questions.

Thanks in part to the folks at Tooth and Nail records, Christian punk has become somewhat de rigueur. This week the label brings its Tooth and Nail Tour to town, showcasing acts from its roster both old and new. MxPx headline the bill, which also includes Hawk Nelson, The Classic Crime and The Fold and Sullivan. This all-ages show starts early--6 p.m., to be exact--and advance tickets are available for $16 at the Rialto Box Office, online at rialtotheatre.com or by calling 740-1000.

As of press time, there are still a few seats available for the rescheduled Tool show, which arrives at the Tucson Convention Center Arena, 260 S. Church Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. You can purchase them at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, the TCC's Box Office or by calling 321-1000. For more info, call 791-4101.

Other worthwhile events this week include Club Congress' Cinco de Mayo Eve Celebration on Friday, May 4; Vaudeville Cabaret's punk rock blowout on the actual Cinco de Mayo, featuring Shark Pants, The Touchers, The FANSS and Mosquito Bandito; and ... oh, hell, we could go on and on, but just check those club listings, woncha?

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