As I was scouring the hundreds of e-mails that have been popping up in my inbox lately, along with venue websites (and those deep, dark crevices that only we music editors know where to look in order to bring you the most interesting things happening around town), it occurred to me: Holy shit, there's a lot going on this month!
And then another thing occurred to me: Duh! It's Rocktober!
But around these parts it's not just Rocktober; it could just as easily be Raptober, or Jazztober, or Bluestober—you get the idea.
Here's a little slice of what's happening this week.
Because there's a comprehensive guide in this very issue, I won't spend a whole lot of time dwelling on the Tucson Weekly-sponsored Fall Club Crawl®, which on Saturday, Oct. 16, will bring thousands upon thousands of people to the downtown/Fourth Avenue district for the shared interest of seeing some kick-ass live music.
Although the Crawl ads we've been running for weeks say otherwise, there will be around 100 bands and performers (as opposed to the 80 mentioned in those ads)—local, national and international—on about 25 stages.
Aside from the ridiculous amount of great music, I love the Crawl because it's one of the few events during the year that brings more than 10,000 people to that area of town at one time. It's also one hell of a bargain: Pick up your wristbands early, anytime before Saturday, at either Zia Records location, and they're a mere $8. You cash-heavy slackers can buy them at the gates on the night of the event for $10. Either way, it's a steal. Sorry to you young'uns: The Fall Club Crawl® is a 21-and-over event.
Before you head out, fold up that insert in this issue, and stick it in your pocket: It's got a map, venue schedules and descriptions of all the acts that will be performing. For you hoity-toity mobile types, head to clubcrawl.net for much of the same info, and sign up for free-text message updates the night of the event.
As always, thanks to all of our sponsors—and as always, we urge you to be responsible that night. Baby Jesus invented taxicabs for a reason, y'know. Most of all, have a great time. We'll see you there.
Our shindig isn't the only great music festival this weekend: The following day, on Sunday, Oct. 17, the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Heritage Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park, boasting a damn fine lineup.
Headlining is Janiva Magness, a true world-class lifer blues and R&B singer—though she's tried to give up music several times throughout her career, she's always come back to it. A gritty powerhouse of a vocalist, she's had a tumultuous life to draw from: She drifted from the streets to foster homes and back to the streets following the suicides of both of her parents, before discovering the blues. Since then, she's been bestowed with numerous accolades. During a stint living in Phoenix, critics at the Phoenix New Times named her and her band Blues Band of the Year. And at the 2009 Blues Music Awards, she not only picked up her third trophy for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year; she also won the big one, for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year—following in the legendary Koko Taylor's footsteps as only the second woman to ever win the award.
Magness has been steadily releasing albums on a number of labels since 1997, building an enthusiastic fan base and favorable reviews all the while, but her last two albums were released by the prestigious Chicago label Alligator Records: 2008's What Love Will Do, and The Devil Is an Angel Too, released in April. Both follow the same M.O.: Dig up some great obscure songs by a diverse group of writers, from Nick Lowe to Marvin Gaye, Graham Parker to Ike Turner; put together a backing track that suits the song; and let her monster of a voice take over from there. It's a winning formula.
Also performing at the Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Festival are Neon Prophet, Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta, The Coolers, The Sugar Thieves, The Arizona Mass Choir and this year's SABHF Blues Challenge Winners, the Bryan Dean Trio.
One of the finest, most popular and eclectic Tex-Mex bands of all time drops into town this week. Though the Texas Tornados may have lost their two biggest names since they started more than 20 years ago—Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender, who have both passed away—the reunited version includes original members Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez, as well as Shawn Sahm, Doug's son. The current incarnation earlier this year released ¡Esta Bueno!, the first studio Tornados album in almost 15 years, which has received warm reviews and contains a handful of performances Fender recorded before he died.
The Texas Tornados perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16, at Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road. Tickets are $37 in advance at Antigone Books, all Bookmans locations, Grey Dog Trading Company and rhythmandroots.org. You can also call (800) 594-8499. They'll be $40 at the door. Call 319-9966 for more info.
On the local front: An opening slot for Scout Niblett at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Sunday, Oct. 17, by Amy Rude and Heartbeast will double as a release party for a new CD the band is calling "our great rock and roll record." The action starts at 9:30 p.m., and cover is $8. Head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298 for further details.
The night after the debut screening of the film Lonesome Cowgirls (tonight, Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Loft Cinema; see City Week in our Oct. 7 issue)—a re-imagining of Andy Warhol's Lonesome Cowboys (which was shot locally) by the Parasol Project's Megan Amber Cox and singer/filmmaker Marianne Dissard—Dissard will take to the stage at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., for a night of music. The performance, which begins at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15, will feature the backing band for Dissard's upcoming 2011 European tour: Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan, as well as special guests Salvador Duran, the Silver Thread Trio, Connor Gallaher and The Jons' Jon Villa. Expect to hear some tunes from Dissard's upcoming album L'Abandon. The show is open to all ages, and cover is $7. Call 884-0874, or head to solarculture.org for more info.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., Van Gogh Rescue will headline a release party for their new CD, From the Top of Your Lungs; middle-slotters Fort Worth will be giving away copies of a new EP; and openers The Avalanche Symphony start off the night at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $5; 798-1298.
St. Mark's Presbyterian Church's Seventh Annual Jazz Sunday on Sunday, Oct. 17; Elf Power at Solar Culture Gallery next Thursday, Oct. 21; Russian Circles, Keelhaul and Call Me Lightning at Plush on Tuesday, Oct. 19; Collie Buddz at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Oct. 15; Italy's Raw Power at Skrappy's (early, all-ages show) and Vaudeville (late show) tonight, Thursday, Oct. 14; the Electric Six and The Constellations at Plush on Monday, Oct. 18; Five for Fighting (early show) and Neil Hamburger, JP Inc. and the Lemon Drop Gang (late show) at Club Congress on Friday, Oct. 15; Gaelic Storm at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 20; Little Joe and War at AVA at Casino del Sol on Friday, Oct. 15; Kenny Rogers at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino on Sunday, Oct. 17; Immolation and Vader at The Rock on Monday, Oct. 18; Loren Dircks and Gila Bend and The Earps at The Hut on Friday, Oct. 15; Carol Wiseman at St. Philip's Plaza on Sunday, Oct. 17; Optimist Club Presents: Star Wars vs. Star Trek Party featuring Dr. Adam at Club Congress next Thursday, Oct. 21; Arsonists Get All the Girls, Ion Dissonance, Within the Ruins, And Hell Followed With and Structures at Skrappy's on Monday, Oct. 18; Garboski, Vayden and The Provocative Whites at Plush on Friday, Oct. 15; The Monitors at Che's Lounge on Saturday, Oct. 16.