NEW YEAR'S ADDENDUM
Elsewhere online, you'll find a handy guide to New Year's Eve music events, so I won't mention those here.
However, since that guide was written, I've learned about a couple of other music-centric events happening that night. So consider this an addendum to that guide, woncha? Not that it needs to be said, but both of these events take place on Saturday, Dec. 31.
The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., will feature a trio of local bands to ring in the new year. The non-genre-specific The Jits get things rolling at 9 p.m., followed by the funky jams of 8 Minutes to Burn. To top the night off, The Tryst, winners in the Best New Release category at the 2011 Tucson Area Music Awards for their album Truth Be Told, will demonstrate why they won with a set of jazzy, soulful, funky grooves. Best of all, it's a bargain at $5. For more information, call 623-3200.
The only hip-hop New Year's Eve party that I know of is happening at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St., where a lineup including Rell of Supernatural Entertainment, AZ Hu$tlers, Double Up AZ and KrayZ will hold court from 9 p.m. until the wee hours of 2012. Tickets run $10, and you can call 622-3535 for further details.
NEW YEAR'S EVE EVE
Because New Year's Eve falls on a Saturday night this year, there are several excellent shows on the night before, Friday, Dec. 30. Sure, a little restraint may be in order since you don't want to blow your wad on the night before the Big Night, but why miss out on a great show just because you're going out the following night?
For some reason, the mighty, mighty Meat Puppets, one of the greatest bands to ever emerge from Arizona (sorry, Tucsonans; they're from Tempe), have decided to close out their year with a pair of shows in their home state—and believe me, I'm not complaining. Prior to a New Year's gig in Tempe, they'll return to Club Congress for a show on Friday.
In case you're not familiar (shame!): The band is led by the Kirkwood brothers (Curt on vocals and guitar; Cris on bass and vocals), who were raised on a diet of everything from bluegrass to jazz, country to rock. Their original drummer, Derrick Bostrom, was a punk-rock kid, and when the three came together, there was a certain magic that happened. (Shandon Sahm, son of the legendary leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, Doug Sahm, currently mans the drum throne.)
The Kirkwoods mined the timing of jazz, the twang and psychedelic aspects of the Grateful Dead, and the shit-kicking blues-rock of ZZ Top, while Bostrom lent his punk spirit to the sound. Though countless bands have been influenced by them (Nirvana famously invited the Kirkwoods to perform a couple of Puppets tunes alongside them on their MTV Unplugged appearance), no other band sounds much like the Meat Puppets to this day.
After several years during which it was questionable whether the band would ever play together again (Cris had a rough period, to put it mildly, that included the deaths of his mother and girlfriend, heroin, getting shot and doing time), in 2007, the band miraculously re-emerged with a new album and started touring again.
They haven't slowed down since, and 2011 was a big year for the band. They released their incredibly solid 13th album, Lollipop (Megaforce); Animal Collective invited them to perform their seminal 1985 album Up on the Sun in its entirety at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival; and they returned a favor to Nirvana by covering "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for a Spin compilation celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nevermind.
The Meat Puppets perform at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, Dec. 30. Flamingo, which features Elmo Kirkwood, Curt's son, will open the show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance, or $15 on the day of the show. For more info, head to hotelcongress.com/club, or call 622-8848.
Another Phoenix-based band will perform up the street on the same night. The Hut features a lineup on Friday featuring headliners The Love Me Nots, who perform what sounds like an oxymoron: a slicked up, poppy take on garage rock. The coed rockers have released four albums, all of them produced by Detroit's Jim Diamond, who worked with the White Stripes and has played bass with The Dirtbombs. The most recent is this year's The Demon and the Devotee (Bad Reputation). Also on the bill are the sleaze-rockin', Phoenix-based Scorpion vs. Tarantula; San Francisco '80s-influenced rockers The Bruises; and my favorite of the bunch, the art-pop trio High Horse.
Catch all four bands at 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 30, at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Cover is a measly $5. For further details, head to huttucson.com, or call 623-3200.
Heather Dickey, a beloved fan of local music who passed away earlier this month at age 29, will be honored with a show featuring lots of local acts on Friday at The Rock. All proceeds from the Heather Dickey Memorial Benefit will be donated to the Dickey family to help with funeral expenses. Performers, who will play short, mostly acoustic sets, include A Fall to Break, Animus Divine, Angelic to Ashes, We Killed the Union, Headrust, Godhunter, Contraband, Three White Lies, Bad Tourist, Funky Bonz, Hillbilly Bo, CCS Crew, Greg Sacks, Cryptic Wisdom and others.
The Heather Dickey Memorial Benefit begins at 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 30, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. Admission is a minimum donation of $10. For more information, head to rocktucson.com, or call 629-9211. Our condolences go out to Heather's family and friends.
It used to be easy to take Greyhound Soul shows for granted. After all, the gritty, impassioned rock band used to play in Tucson nearly every week. But ever since bandleader Joe Pena, he of the whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, moved to Phoenix a couple of years ago, local Greyhound Soul shows have become a fairly rare treat. We'll be graced with one on Friday, when the band headlines a roots-rock bill that also includes locals Ferrodyne and The Possibles.
It all goes down at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, Dec. 30. Music begins at 9:30 p.m., and cover is $5. Questions? Head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298.
If you're not too beat up from New Year's Eve festivities, local Grateful Dead cover band Top Dead Center will host its annual food drive for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., on Sunday, Jan. 1. Performers include, in addition to Top Dead Center, the Bryan Dean Trio, the Wayback Machine, 8 Minutes to Burn, Heather Hardy and Cadillac Mountain. Music begins at 4:20 p.m., and admission is a $5 donation, every penny of which will be donated to the Food Bank. Check out huttucson.com, or call 623-3200 for more information.
Mullarkey, the tireless music fan and vocalist who fronts both Monster Pussy and Run-On Sunshine, will celebrate his 100th show when Run-On Sunshine headlines a show at Skrappy's, 191 E. Toole Ave., on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The bill will also feature Hug-of-War and Andrew and His Feisty Felines, both from Phoenix, as well as Human Behavior and No Children. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m., and cover is $5. For more information, call 358-4287.