It's a fine week o' music we've got ahead of us, folks, and Saturday, April 16, is a particularly busy day.
There is, of course, the Tucson Weekly's Club Crawl®, our twice-a-year music festival that hits the downtown and Fourth Avenue districts on Saturday. You know the drill: Nearly 100 musical acts, both local and regional, on more than 25 stages—and the thousands of music-hungry fans that attend—take over the area for a night of music and revelry. With around 14,000 people roaming around, it's one of the few times of the year when our humble little downtown feels like it resides in the heart of a big city.
As usual, you can get more information than you could possibly want in the insert contained in this issue, so I'll just hit the bullet points here.
You'll want to hit up Zia Records beforehand to pick up a wristband, and you'll want to do this for two reasons: You can avoid the lines at the gates of the festival, which, frankly, can get rather long (although we have doubled the size of the entrances to fix some of that). And you'll save a couple of bucks in the process: Advance wristbands cost $8, while they'll be $10 at the door (a bargain either way, to be sure). For you big spenders, VIP passes, which let you avoid lines and grant you access to a private bar, bathrooms and a DJ lounge, are available for advance purchase at the Weekly offices, 3280 E. Hemisphere Loop, No. 180, for $20; they'll be $25 at the gate. With apologies to the youngsters out there, the spring 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. If you've got a computer in your pocket, head to clubcrawl.net for much of the same info, and sign up for free-text message updates the night of the event.
Thanks to all of our sponsors. Be sure to drink responsibly and, whatever you do, do not drink and drive. Taxicabs are there for a reason.
Oh yeah, and have fun. Lots of it.
I've got a bit of a dilemma on my hands: The very same night as Club Crawl®, one of my very favorite bands is playing at the Pima County Fair.
The mighty Cheap Trick, which is quickly closing in on 40 years of rock, will take the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 16. Although drummer Bun E. Carlos likely won't be performing with the band—he's been sitting out shows due either to back problems or wanting to take some time off for side projects (or a combination of both)—singer-guitarist Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson, all original members, will be there cranking out a greatest hits set for the adoring masses, likely with Nielsen's son Daxx filling in on drums.
Not only does Cheap Trick retain most/all of its original members; it's still a mighty powerful live band. After nearly 40 years, most bands would be phoning it in by now. But not Cheap Trick, who always seem genuinely happy to be performing. Similarly, most bands that hang around that long either don't bother putting out new albums, or they release sub-par albums as an excuse to tour. But Cheap Trick's latest album, The Latest (Cheap Trick Unlimited, 2009), is actually pretty damn great, chock-full of the guitar-fueled power-pop for which the band is known.
Cheap Trick's performance, like all Pima County Fair shows, is free with paid admission to the fair, which is $8 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 10, and free for kids 5 and younger. Parking is $5. The Pima County Fairgrounds are located at 11300 S. Houghton Road.
Here's the rest of the concert lineup: Neon Trees (8 p.m., tonight, Thursday, April 14); Anberlin (8 p.m., Friday, April 15); Boyz II Men (7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 17); Foghat (7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20); Michael Salgado (8 p.m., Friday, April 22); Easton Corbin (8 p.m., Saturday, April 23); Los Tigres del Norte (7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 24).
(A quick aside: Los Tigres del Norte is one of three acts who were members of the Sound Strike, the musicians' boycott of Arizona due to the passage of SB 1070, that has scheduled a Tucson show recently. In upcoming weeks, fellow Sound Strikers Los Lobos and Steve Earle will both be performing at the Rialto Theatre.)
As if the Club Crawl®/Cheap Trick conundrum wasn't enough action for Saturday, April 16, that day is also Record Store Day, an annual international event geared toward getting people back into brick-and-mortar record stores. To entice customers, record stores everywhere will have on sale that day hundreds of limited-edition vinyl and CD releases exclusive to Record Store Day.
Among the releases will be the sixth 7-inch single from James Tritten's Fort Lowell Records, a Tucson-based singles-only label that released its inaugural 7-inch on Record Store Day 2010. FL006 is a blue-vinyl Howe Gelb single, with the A-side being the inspirational "Spiral" by 'Sno Angel, Gelb's collaboration with Canada's Voices of Praise gospel choir; the B-side is a gorgeous instrumental called "Cordoba in Slow Motion," recorded by Melted Wires, which also includes John Convertino, Jacob Valenzuela and Thøger Lund. Trust me, both songs are fantastic. And if you don't have a turntable, no worries: Each single comes with a download code.
To celebrate the single's release, Tracy Shedd will perform at 11 a.m., and Howe Gelb will perform at noon, at Zia Records, 3370 E. Speedway Blvd. Afterward, Gelb will be signing copies of the new single. If you've got questions, ring up the fine folks at Zia at 327-3340.
Howe Gelb isn't the only local putting out a vinyl release this week. After releasing a pair of domestic 7-inches last year, Lenguas Largas, one of Tucson's best (relatively) new bands, is celebrating the release of its debut, self-titled LP (Tic Tac Totally/Recess) with a show this week at Red Room at Grill.
Containing veterans of bands such as The Jons, The Solace Bros., Pop Gestapo, Digital Leather and Treepeople, Lenguas Largas is fronted by Isaac Reyes, who is also a member of Shark Pants and an ex-member of the now-defunct Swing Ding Amigos. Even though I love this band immensely, I find it difficult to describe them—which is to their credit.
There's some punk in the equation, but I wouldn't call them a punk band. There's a bit of mystery in there, too, a darkness that creeps around the shadows but doesn't overwhelm the music. Maybe atmosphere is a better word than darkness. Whatever it is, that indescribable X-factor elevates them ... I would say "above other bands doing this sort of thing," but I can't think of any other bands doing this sort of thing. Art punk? Nah, that sounds too pretentious and makes Lenguas Largas sound less accessible than they are. Plus, no art-punk band would put out a song as pretty as "Lonely Summertime."
The foundation of these songs is in the drumming, which is busy and near-tribal in spots. (The band has two drummers.) It propels the songs and gives the impression that they're faster than they actually are much of the time. Meanwhile, the guitars—all four of them—chime, buzz and hum around Reyes' patented croon, which should seem out of place, but actually fits perfectly. The album is worth the purchase price for the anthemic "Yardsale Heart" alone, one of the best locally released songs in years. And the vinyl—which comes with a download code—is marbled pink and awfully purty.
Lenguas Largas headline a record-release party at the Red Room at Grill, 100 E. Congress St., on Friday, April 15. Things get started around 10 p.m. with sets by God of the Sea, JJCnV and Sexual Ambulance. As always, there is no cover, but don't forget to bring some dough for the album. Call 623-7621 with questions.
The following night, on Saturday, April 16, they'll be performing at Che's Lounge, 350 N. Fourth Ave., starting around 10 p.m. Admission to that one is also free, and you can call 623-2088 for more info.
We've run out of room, so be sure to check out our listings for info about Club Congress' Japan Jam Relief Concert and The Hut's 420 Festival; and performances by Interpol, T-Model Ford, George Thorogood, Matt Wertz, Capillary Action and Twiztid, among many, many others.