Lately, it seems as though I tell you every week that this is one of the busiest music weeks of the year—and then the next week comes, and it seems to be even busier.

This one is no exception: We've got the long-awaited release of Brian Lopez's debut solo album (see Gene Armstrong's feature article), as well as a release party for Way Out West's new CD; two incredible music festivals (see Eric Swedlund's feature); a few benefit shows; and a slew of bands passing through on their way to SXSW. Be sure to check out our listings to get the bigger picture, as we only have space to touch on a few things here.


While we're on the subject of SXSW and benefit shows, here's an event that combines the two. With gas prices being what they are, transportation to Austin won't be cheap, so Marianne Dissard and Blind Divine, both of whom are making the trip, have teamed up for a gas-money fundraiser at 9 p.m., Saturday, March 10, at Sky Bar, 536 N. Fourth Ave. The following night at the same time and venue, Blind Divine will perform along with Los Angeles' Black Party Politics for the same purpose. Since admission to shows at Sky Bar is always free, the fundraising element will be voluntary. But we did mention that gas is crazy expensive, right? For more information, call 622-4300.


Richie Ramone, who played drums for the Ramones from 1982 to 1987 and penned some of the band's songs, including "Somebody Put Something in My Drink," will be in town doing some recording this week, and while here, he'll be lending his name to a couple good causes.

Much to the chagrin of folks like Rush Limbaugh, tonight, Thursday, March 8, Ramone will appear for a meet-and-greet at Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave., for a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. DJ Dewtron (aka Weekly contributor Casey Dewey) will be spinning punk and garage tunes all night, and Ramone will be available for autographs. Doors open at 9 p.m., and admission is $5, a portion of which will be donated to Planned Parenthood. For more info, call 882-0009.

On Saturday, March 10, Ramone will be the special guest at a punk-rock benefit show for the Kory Laos Foundation. Laos was an avid BMX cyclist who lost his life at age 14 in 2007 after being in a hit-and-run accident. The foundation is raising money to complete a BMX bike park in order to give cyclists a safe place to ride; the grand opening of the first section of the park occurred in October. The event will include performances by Raven, Jumper, Drizzle, Conversation Suicide and The Gunrunners, and starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Runway Bar and Grill, 2101 S. Alvernon Way. Admission is $5, and you can call 790-6788 for more information.


One last fundraiser worth mentioning: When I was a kid playing (poorly) in sports leagues, we had to sell candy bars and other stuff no one really wanted in order to raise money to fund our teams. But, then, none of my teammates had a rock-star father.

The Tucson Aztecs U-13 soccer team, currently ranked No. 1 in their Tucson bracket and No. 9 in the state, has won back-to-back competitions in the Fort Lowell Shootout in Tucson and Phoenix's Barcelona Cup Tournament. The Aztecs, which include Luka Gelb, son of Howe Gelb, will soon be headed up to Phoenix again to represent Tucson in the Presidents Cup soccer tournament. To raise funds, Howe Gelb and Band will perform a special show at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 11, on the rooftop at Playground Bar and Lounge, 278 E. Congress St. Admission is a $5 donation, and Playground will be matching all the funds raised. It's a family-friendly event with free admission for the kiddies. For further details, call 396-3691.


The Saturnalia team—certified sommelier Kenny Stewart and DJ Carl Hanni (a Weekly contributor)—has held groovy wine tastings at odd venues all over town. This week, the two are throwing their most-ambitious event yet, at the most-unlikely location yet.

Stewart, it seems, is a member in good standing at the Eagles Lodge (F.O.E.), which entitles him to put on events there, and he and Hanni are taking advantage of that privilege. At what is planned to be the first in a series of events under the banner Dancehall Nights, Saturnalia will be throwing a combination glam-rock dance party—with live music provided by Silverfox (singer David Slutes, guitarist Clif Taylor, bassist Duane Hollis [a Weekly employee] and drummer James Peters), as well as glam tunes spun by DJ Carl Glammy (Hanni's moniker for the event)—and wine-tasting. (To boot, it triples as a birthday celebration for drummer Brad Denboer, aka Thermos Malling, of Doo Rag and Coin fame, and Glen Stosius, owner of the soon-to-be-opened Agustin Brasserie at the Mercado San Agustín.)

The inaugural Dancehall Nights event begins at 9 p.m., Friday, March 9, at the Eagles Lodge (F.O.E.), 1530 N. Stone Ave. Cover is $5, and the optional wine-tasting is an additional $5. The Eagles Lodge also has a full bar and, for those who still engage in such activities, allows smoking, as it's a private club. Questions? Ring 'em up at 624-2461.


Los Angeles power-pop gods Peter Case and Paul Collins, both formerly of The Nerves, and later, respectively, of The Plimsouls and The Beat, will team up to perform tunes by all of those bands at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 11. Summer Twins open the show, and admission is $15. Call 622-8848 for more info.

With a soulful blues voice that lays bare her troubled upbringing (both of her parents committed suicide; she was a teenage mother who had to give up her baby daughter for adoption), onetime Phoenix resident Janiva Magness has taken that pain and spun it into gold. She's won armfuls of awards over the years, the most prestigious being the 2009 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year—she's only the second woman to win the award, the first being Koko Taylor—and this week, she releases a new album, Stronger for It, on Alligator Records. Magness will celebrate the new release with a performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10, at Suite 147 in Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $23 at the door. For more information, head to rhythmandroots.org, or call 319-9966.


Way Out West CD-release party for Saddle Sore Blues at La Cocina on Saturday, March 10; Blitzen Trapper and the Parson Red Heads at Club Congress on Monday, March 12; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Rocco DeLuca at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, March 15; the Mynabirds and Big Harp at Solar Culture Gallery on Tuesday, March 13; Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and the AmoSphere at Club Congress on Wednesday, March 14; Saviours, Holy Grail and North at Plush on Monday, March 12; Asking Alexandria with Trivium and others at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, March 11; B. Bravo and the Starship Connection, Crime, Zackey Force Funk and Isaiah Toothtaker at Club Congress on Friday, March 9; Tatsuya Nakatani (experimental percussion from Japan) at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, March 9; Boz Scaggs at the Event Center at Casino del Sol on Friday, March 9; George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino on Sunday, March 11; Rehab at The Rock on Wednesday, March 14; Rags and Ribbons at The Hut on Friday, March 9.


Finally, we were saddened to hear that after an 18-month battle with a rare form of cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), local musician Jim Gyuro passed away on Thursday, March 1, at age 41.

Most people in Tucson probably remember Gyuro as the guy with the giant pompadour playing guitar in a TV commercial for Casino del Sol, but to those of us who follow local music, he was a member of such beloved pop/surf/rockabilly bands as Zuzu's Petals, Lucy Chair, and Fukuisan Go! In the late 2000s, shortly before his daughter Presley was born, he created the alter ego Mr. Mocos and began writing and performing children's music, releasing the album You Can Pick Your Friends in 2008.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Presley Jane Gyuro Educational Fund, Alliance Bank of Arizona, 4703 E. Camp Lowell Drive, Tucson, AZ 85712.

For a loving tribute to Gyuro written by his friend Chris Patyk, head to our blog, The Range.

We offer our sincerest condolences to Jim's friends and family.

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