You can check my Soundbites column in the issue of Oct. 9 for full details, but for now, here's your CliffsNotes version.
As they have for the past 10 years, on Thursday, Dec. 11, through Saturday, Dec. 13, a slew of local bands that normally perform their own music will each perform a 20-minute set of songs by a well-known (i.e., famous) band or performer, at Club Congress, all for a good cause--in this case, the Tucson Artists and Musicians Health Alliance. In other words, you won't make any money by participating in the Great Cover-Up, but the tradeoff in both karma and fun is well worth your effort. (And please keep in mind that costumes, props and other stuff to enhance your set are always encouraged.)
Here's what we need from you: If you're interested in participating, send an e-mail to email@example.com with the following information: your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three picks for bands you'd like to cover and a contact name and phone number and/or e-mail address. Additionally, if you have a scheduling conflict with any of the three nights (legit ones only, please), let us know as far in advance as possible. The final deadline for submissions is noon, Wednesday, Nov. 5. Thanks!
(But before that, another suggestion, for a Halloween drinking game: Spot the Palin! Anytime you see someone dressed as Sarah Palin, take a drink. If the Palin is wearing any additional visual cues--i.e., any reference to a bridge, designer tags, being not so smart--drink up! Alternate suggestion for a drinking game: Spot Joe the Plumber!)
For years now, the biggest, craziest, rockingest option for your Halloween carousing has been Nightmare on Congress Street, Hotel Congress' annual shindig, and this year, despite the cancellation of two great acts, would seem to be no exception.
In addition to two costume contests and an '80s Monster Madness Dance Party hosted and deejayed by The Late Great Sean T, you'll also be treated to live performances, on two stages, from the following: the Zsa Zsas, the worst/best cover band ever; the spooky sounds of L.A.'s self-described "one-man gothic punk blues explosion," the Voodoo Organist; the horn-abetted pop-rock sounds of The Jons; anthemic Chicago art-rockers and Tucson faves oh my god, who are back on the road after a lengthy recovery from a horrible van accident (welcome back, guys!); the anything-goes soul-punk-rock of Chango Malo, who seem to be performing more infrequently these days; the '80s-saluting synth-y rock of the Runaway Five; and the acoustic musings of singer-songwriter Adam Crigler. Please note that Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have canceled due to "a personal emergency," and their tourmates, Titus Andronicus, have followed suit.
Things get rolling at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., around 8 p.m. Buy your tickets in advance for a ten-spot, or get 'em on the day of the event for $12. All questions will be answered by calling 622-8848.
The other live music hotspot this year looks to be The Hut, which will host four local bands guaranteed to make your Halloween a little bit more funky. The lineup looks a li'l somethin' like this: funky jam-rock from 8 Minutes to Burn; Tucson's answer to George Clinton's P-Funk (and just as naughty), Cosmic Slop; the sax-y organ-fueled instro-funk of Vampyros Bonobos; and the soulful pop 'n' rock of The Right Thing, whose MySpace tunes we're digging right about now.
This one gets underway around 8 p.m. The Hut is located at 305 N. Fourth Ave., and five bucks gets you in the doors. Questions? Call 623-3200.
Sole, a current Flagstaff resident who has always slung his rhymes over a claustrophobic pastiche of noisy beats, joined forces with a live band, Skyrider, for his latest album, 2007's Sole and the Skyrider Band (Anticon). Anyone familiar with Sole's past work won't be surprised by what they find on the disc--the dense beats and doomsday prophesizing are still intact--but you can bet his live show will benefit greatly from having a band behind him. And you can also bet he'll have a lot to say at this Election Night performance.
Sole and the Skyrider Band perform an all-ages show at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $8. For more information, call 884-0874.
Now, I get the allure of these bands. If you never got a chance to see the Beatles perform their music live, a tribute act is the next-best thing, your only option to hear those songs performed live. And it would only make sense that such acts would perform the music of bands that have such a huge, devout fan base that they'll settle for that next best thing.
For example, Tucson's Wasted Aces perform the music of Kiss. There are an awful lot of 40-something former Kiss Army members out there looking to relive their youth, so it makes perfect sense to me. Our Whole Lotta Zep, of course, performs the music of Led Zeppelin--a no-brainer considering Led Zeppelin are as big as they've ever been and don't seem to be in a rush to make reunion tour plans.
So when I saw that a band called Be Geiled was opening for Whole Lotta Zep this week, I have to admit that I got a little giddy. Really? Could it be? Pinch me, but after a little Web sleuthing, I discovered it was true: Tucson now has its own J. Geils Band tribute act! The sheer lack of market value of these intrepid Peter Wolf fans marks them as having some serious cojones. And I, for one, am proud to be a resident of the town that's home to possibly the most obscure tribute band in the biz.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to practicing with the Dream Weavers, my new Gary Wright tribute act.
Whole Lotta Zep and Be Geiled perform at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Admission is $5. Call 623-3200 for further details.
Go, Barack, go!