This weekend brings us two fine benefit shows with local bands performing to raise funds for two worthwhile, local, music-related organizations.
The only problem? They're both on the same night.
Unless you lack access to TV, radio, Internet, magazines and newspapers, you're probably aware that 40 years ago this weekend, nearly a half-million counterculturists (e.g., trippin' hippies) gathered at Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, N.Y., to celebrate three days of peace and music.
Woodstock wasn't the first music festival, and it sure as hell wasn't the last. But it probably was the most important.
Although I was just fresh out of the womb when the festival happened, I've been inundated my whole life with recollections of the music and the events that happened that weekend—the album, the movie, the books. But the nostalgia seems to have hit a fever pitch recently, with the event's 40th anniversary. There are new books, new movies and newly expanded versions of the album, all celebrating (and cashing in on) the festival and what it represented to a generation of people who may have eventually given up hippie life in favor of regular jobs and a mortgage, but who, as one guy put it in a TV documentary I saw recently, "still squish the mud of Woodstock between our toes." (I believe that man now sells cars.)
The stories about why Woodstock was so important to attendees can be remarkable. Couples who met there ended up getting married. After realizing they weren't alone in their opposition to the Vietnam War, people decided to dissent more vocally, and men got the courage to burn their draft cards or hightail it to Canada to avoid service. Almost anyone who was there will tell you that they had a moment of realization there: I am not alone. It may be something of a cliché by now, all that peace and love, but to hear these people's stories is pretty powerful stuff.
How much real impact the festival had on that generation and on our culture will never be known. But it's significant enough that 40 years on, we're still celebrating it. And Tucson's got its own celebration in the form of a fundraiser for KXCI FM 91.3.
Starting at 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15—precisely 40 years after the first day of the festival—at the Rialto Theatre, 11 local acts will perform songs that were originally performed at Woodstock. The Woodstock Tribute Concert will feature performances by Al Perry, Leila Lopez and Courtney Robbins, The Tryst, Jo Wilkinson, Spirit Familia, Michael P., the Wayback Machine, Top Dead Center (I wonder who they're gonna cover), Andrew Collberg, Eb Eberlein and Love Mound. Mum's the word as to which Woodstock acts they'll be covering, but that's just part of the fun, isn't it? If you do go, just remember one thing: Stay away from the brown acid.
Tickets for this all-ages, family-friendly show are $11, or $16 for reserved seats in the balcony. Kids under 12 will be admitted for free. To order tickets or to have your questions answered, call 740-1000. The Rialto is located at 318 E. Congress St.
Meanwhile, over at Plush, four of Tucson's better acts will take the stage to raise some dough for the Tucson Artists and Musicians Health Alliance (TAMHA), whose mission is "to provide health-care resources to the community of artists and musicians in Tucson, Arizona." Further, the organization's goal is "to develop local, accessible, cost-efficient alternatives for health care to include localized health-care plans, preventive care and alternative medical services." In other words, it's a very good cause.
The show starts at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, and will feature (in order of appearance) the gorgeously windswept country of Loveland, the desert-fried, psychedelic twang-rock of Golden Boots, the primal, gritty Delta blues of Tom Walbank and the mesmerizing gypsy-and-more instrumentals of Molehill Orkestrah. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, call 798-1298.
The progeny of two Woodstock-era musicians (though neither actually played the festival) arrive in town this week to perform at two separate shows.
St. Louis-based Devon Allman's Honeytribe is fronted by Gregg's son, but the music found on their debut album, Torch (Livewire, 2006), bears little resemblance to that of Devon's pop. Instead, the group plays a bluesy version of jam-heavy hard rock that's rather appealing. Devon's voice doesn't possess quite the depth of Gregg's, but it's got plenty of soul nonetheless, and he's a pretty spectacular guitarist to boot.
Devon Allman's Honeytribe perform at Nimbus Brewery, 3850 E. 44th St., at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15. Admission is $10. For further details, call 745-9175.
A few days later, Dumpstaphunk returns to The Hut. The New Orleans-based band is led by Aaron Neville's son, Ivan Neville, who has performed with not only the Neville Brothers and his father's solo projects, but also with a slew of other high-profile acts: He has contributed to albums by Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley and Robbie Robertson, as well as a little band you might have heard of called the Rolling Stones. He was also a touring member of Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos and the Spin Doctors. As you might expect from both his pedigree and his band's name, Neville and his group trade in soulful, dirty funk grooves, although not with the same level of New Orleans flavor that his father and uncles are known for. Nevertheless, I defy anyone to go see Dumpstaphunk and not dance.
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk performs at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18. The Hut is located at 305 N. Fourth Ave. Admission is a 10-spot. For more info, call 623-3200.
While we're on the topic of bands with members who have famous relatives, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the appearance this week of Stardeath and White Dwarfs. The Norman, Okla.-based band's singer is Dennis Coyne, nephew of the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. After releasing an EP in 2005, the group released its debut album, The Birth, earlier this year on Warner Bros., the same label as the Lips. Similarly, SWF doesn't stray too far from the Lips aesthetic: The album art for The Birth looks an awful lot like a Flaming Lips cover, and the music certainly bears some resemblance to that of Uncle Wayne and his boys—though it actually sounds even more like that of Lips spinoff Mercury Rev, with all dreamy psychedelia.
Stardeath and White Dwarfs perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, Aug. 14. Openers are the Pork Torta and La Cerca, who get things rolling at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, or $10 on the day of the show. For further details, call 798-1298.
Congratulations to Tucson's own electro-punks Digital Leather, who have signed with Fat Possum Records, home to a diverse roster of acts that includes Heartless Bastards, Andrew Bird and Wavvves, as well as a host of vintage blues performers. The band, which is managed by Jay Reatard, will release its debut studio full-length, Warm Brother, on the imprint later this year, and will embark on a national tour throughout September and October.
Steve Earle and Alison Moorer at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 18; Hellogoodbye, Limbeck and others at Club Congress on Sunday, Aug. 16; Hatebreed at the Rialto on Wednesday, Aug. 19; D12 and Potluck at DV8 next Thursday, Aug. 20; Los Lonely Boys at the Rialto on Monday, Aug. 17; the Lonesome French Cowboy backed by Golden Boots and the Pork Torta on the patio of Hotel Congress, tonight, Thursday, Aug. 13; Mower at The Rock on Friday, Aug. 14; Julianne Hough at Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, Aug. 15; Blind Divine and Motoco at Club Congress on Friday, Aug. 14; Weatherbox at The Living Room on Friday, Aug. 14; the Grownup Noise, Seashell Radio and Umbrella Bird at Club Congress on Wednesday, Aug. 19; Harrington Saints, Bricktop, Blue Collar Criminals, U.T.A. and Rotten Youth at Vaudeville on Saturday, Aug. 15.