LA CERCA, 2001-PRESENT
11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress indoor stage
Andrew Gardner is the songwriting force behind La Cerca, and his energetic and melodic indie pop/rock is neither too sparkly nor too rough: As the storybooks say, it's just right. As the evolved version of Gardner's former musical project, Wise Folk Malcontent, La Cerca has seen a revolving cast of band members, but the current incarnation of Mr. Tidy Paws (saxophone, keyboards), Jacob Cooper (drums) and Miguel Villarreal (bass) rocks out Gardner's songs to maximum capacity. La Cerca's first record, Goodbye Phantom Engineer (2000), was recorded by Tucson's own Jim Waters and is expecting a kid brother sometime in the near future. --Annie Holub
THE SOLACE BROTHERS, 2002-PRESENT
1 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress indoor stage
The Solace Brothers' sound has been described as "quirk-pop" in more than one instance, and the moniker holds true. With synth, drums, guitar and vocals, their instrumentation makes for unequivocal takes on power-pop formulas--think happy and clean garage rock in the style of Pavement. The band--Dan Naiman, John Polle and Justin Donaldson--has toured with Built to Spill; definitely check out 2004's I Think Of You. --A.H.
THE PILLS, 1979-1983/ GENTLEMEN AFTERDARK, 1983-1989
10:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress outdoor stage
Fronted by singer Brian Smith, the Pills capitalized on the glam-punk look and sound, moved to Phoenix in 1983, changed their name to Gentlemen Afterdark and released an EP produced by Alice Cooper. Members of the band are still familiar to fans of Tucson music: Guitarist Robin Johnson later went on to play in the Sidewinders, Sand Rubies and Maryanne, and currently plays guitar with Greyhound Soul. Drummer Winston Watson Jr. would move on to Giant Sand before becoming Bob Dylan's touring and session drummer from 1992 through 1996. Watson continues to be an in-demand session musician, but has also graced the stage with many local bands, including Greyhound Soul. The Pills frontman Brian Smith went on to form the Phoenix-area band The Beat Angels in the mid-'90s. --Don Jennings
GREEN ON RED, 1981-1993
11:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Rialto Theatre
Green on Red started during the last years of the '70s as the punk/new wave band The Serfers. They and The Pedestrians were the leading lights of the small local scene that revolved around The Record Room, Pearl's Hurricane, The Night Train and Tumbleweeds. After relocating to L.A., they changed their name and released a five-song EP on their own label. An EP on Steve Wynn's label followed before they signed with Slash. Telecaster genius Chuck Prophet joined, and their popularity grew by leaps and bounds. Their sound evolved into what is now sorta known as Americana. A series of albums, tours, radio play, pathos and substance abuse followed. Sometime in the early-to-mid '90s the band ground to a halt, though Dan Stuart released one solo album and an album with Al Perry, and Prophet continues with a successful solo career. --Al Perry
BOB LOG III, 1998-PRESENT
1 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress indoor stage
Magnetic and eclectic, Bob Log III is a cult leader, a circus freak and a player of grand proportion in every sense of the word. Listening to pillaged vinyl as a teenager, Log became a storehouse of a thousand riffs, from Muddy Waters to the Mothers of Invention. He is and will always be what the kids are listening to these days, if only because nothing in the world will ever sound quite like him, or pull off the unique getup and setup that Log has patented. --Maggie Golston
GIANT SAND, 1981-PRESENT/ THE BAND OF BLACKY RANCHETTE, 1985-PRESENT
11:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress outdoor stage
One would be hard pressed to name a more significant creative force in Tucson's music history than Howe Gelb. Gelb moved to Tucson in the 1970s and founded the experimental rock band Giant Sandworms, including Rainer Ptacek and Dave Seger, though this earliest incarnation of the band now known as Giant Sand was discarded by Gelb in 1981. What followed was not so much a band but Giant Sand as a name for whatever Gelb was doing musically, and this varied considerably. The stylistic variations and quirkiness of Gelb's enterprise did not go without acclaim; his seemingly immutable underground fame bubbles to the surface when he is compared, as he is all too often, to Neil Young. Tucsonans will be tempted to focus on the era when Giant Sand included Calexicans Joey Burns and John Convertino as bandmates. But Gelb, who artistically betrays a preference of future over past, presses on. 2000's Chore of Enchantment drew critical praise worldwide; many regard it as Giant Sand's best work ever. The current incarnation of Giant Sand comprises Gelb and a backing band of Danish musicians. --Luke Knipe
AL PERRY AND THE CATTLE, 1984-PRESENT
Al Perry's All-Star BBQ (including Tim Gassen, Maggie Golston, The Hecklers, Gila Bend, Chris Cacavas, and others): 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress parking lot
For anyone who has spent any amount of time in Tucson's music scene, being asked to describe Al Perry's is Tucson music. If you don't love and respect Al Perry's music, you haven't seen him play, and if you haven't seen him play, your Tucson citizenship should be revoked. --Jim Peeken
10:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Rialto Theatre
The quality of musicians that seem to swirl around this band should give you and idea of the quality of Jason Steed's songwriting. And at its core, Jason Steed is Creosote. As the bass player for Dog and Pony Show among countless others, Jason's true colors didn't quite emerge until he began assembling Creosote. It was, and still is, country, or alt-country, or Americana, or whatever, but Jason's compelling voice and rocked-up country songwriting always feels refreshing and honest and just plain good. --Neal Bonser
THE SIDEWINDERS, 1985-1992/ THE SAND RUBIES, 1995-PRESENT
10:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress outdoor stage
These "desert rockers" have shown a remarkable consistency, from attire (desert casual) to desert-themed name variations (morphing into "The Sand Rubies" when expedience dictated a switch; their Plan C name was "The Saguaro Blossoms." Er, wait, it was "The Lords of Turquoise") to their signature brand of propulsive, dusty twang. Strip them of all these Sonoran trappings and what are you left with? A powerhouse rock band that has improved with age. You know, like cheese. --Curtis McCrary
MOLEHILL ORKESTRAH, 1998-PRESENT
11:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Rialto Theatre
Molehill Orkestrah bring the world to Tucson as much as they bring Tucson to the world. For seven years, the shape-shifters in Molehill have been mixing a seductive potion of Gypsy, klezmer, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music with Arizona desert heat. Featuring a whirling dervish of traditional dance music played with the energy and passion of a prayer revival, Molehill play true trance music. --Carl Hanni
9:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress outdoor stage
Pre-Sept. 11, the silliness of the name of this gender-balanced foursome was a perfect fit for the mood of their first-rate live performances. The first one was at Club Congress, shortly after guitarist Joe Manas left his previous band, Shovel. An enviable buzz followed as Shoebomb became a coveted headline act and a favorite opener for national touring acts--Fountains of Wayne, The Toadies, Ben Folds Five and Big Head Todd and the Monsters, among them. Tucsonans who saw them in their heyday shared an excitement that this band just might go all the way. As often happens, this prospect gave way to the higher callings of family and career. --L.K.
EARL'S FAMILY BOMBERS, 1989-1994
1 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Rialto Theatre
No one thought there was a hound's hair in hell's chance of Earl's Family Bombers reuniting, but that's precisely the plan for Club Congress' bash. The Bombers were one of Tucson's favorite punk bands. Playing the sort of ball-grabbing, eye-crossing rock music that makes you want to start drinking at noon (and maybe break some stuff by sundown), the band quickly established a cozy little niche in the Tucson scene. Their sound was defined by crunchy, loud guitars, hard-hitting drums and gruff vocals, all delivered with a kind of tongue in cheek-iness. Sound cliché? Not the way the Bombers did it. --J.P.
GREYHOUND SOUL, 1994-PRESENT
9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Rialto Theatre
Have these guys been around forever? They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary (which was odd, because it's actually been more like 11 or 12 years). They're still alive and, if not kicking, certainly strumming and mumbling and more or less rocking. Joe Pena, the pride of Elgin, Texas, still has those raspy, charismatic vocal chops. The band still churns out hook-laden, dust-covered, bluesy, country, rock-and-fucking-roll songs. On a Spinal Tap note, they are apparently "big in Germany," where they tour just about every summer. And can I mention a bass player by name? Duane Hollis has been the rhythmic rock of Greyhound Soul, the de facto manager, from the beginning. There has to be some sort medal for that. Best bar band in Tucson, ever. --N.B.
35 SUMMERS, 1992-1996
8:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress outdoor stage
After the bittersweet end of the River Roses, prolific singer/guitarist/songwriter Chris Holiman wasted no time in finding another outlet. Named from a Tom Waits line from Rumblefish, 35 Summers immediately won Tucson's heart with Holiman's sweet songs as rendered by him, Bridget Keating, David Herbert and Todd Pearson. Though the lineup changed frequently (most notably by the departure of Keating's violin and the voice and infusion of rocker Tammy Allen, who also flexed her songwriting muscles), the band was a consistent presence at the hotel in the '90s, and Holiman remains an active advocate for, and practitioner of, heartfelt songwriting. --M.G.
FOURKILLER FLATS, 1999-2003
11:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress outdoor stage
By the turn of the millennium, there was no shortage of local bands built on the Uncle Tupelo model. Still, even in alt-country-friendly Tucson, bands of this flavor were generally a poor draw. Fourkiller Flats to date remains Tucson's lone exception, with an uncommon magnetism that owed in no small part to Jim Cox's heartfelt songs and voice. This show features the band's original lineup. --L.K.
CHANGO MALO, 2000-PRESENT
11:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Rialto Theatre
Following in the frantic footsteps of Pollo Elastico and the Cosmic Boogie Tribe, Chango Malo have squarely established themselves as Tucson's favorite hard-edged, high-intensity act. The band was assembled by high school pals Jericho Davidson, Ian Philabaum and Quin Davis, whose previous collaborative effort was a Mr. Bungle-inspired band called Poot. The six-piece Chango Malo features a couple of guitars and a sax, a megaphone, a mosh pit and an invariably energized crowd. Somewhere in this mix is a contact high of sex, adrenaline and insanity that nobody can seem to pin down. --L.K.
THE WEIRD LOVEMAKERS, 1994-2000
11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress indoor stage
If there was a soundtrack for sitting around reading comic books and eating ultimate bacon cheeseburgers in your underwear, it would be provided by the Weird Lovemakers. This fantastic foursome played the kind of quirky, sometimes self-conscious but always smart-funny punk rock that could attract large, eclectic crowds. Their straightforward, authentic punk sound harkened back to the sound of early West Coast punk bands. Tucson owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Weird Lovemakers for not letting the punk rock torch fall into the hands of some sissy-mouthed poseurs. --J.P.
POLLO ELASTICO, 1986-1990
12:15 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Rialto Theatre
Pollo Elastico came to life in 1986 with an electrifying brand of --unk rock (punk/funk/drunk?). Every show rocked, and fans became friends. With Brad Brooks and Chris Carlone fronting, the guys wrapped up the '80s by touring all over the West Coast. --Nicole Schwartz
THE DRAKES, 1992-1997
10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress indoor stage
Perhaps one of the finest bands to come out of Tucson in the '90s, the Drakes had a unique sound that was not quite pop, not quite "alt-country," not quite alternative, but in part, all of those things. Their broad influences and ability to deliver some of the finest live shows local concert-goers had ever seen earned them a huge local fan base and some looks from music industry biggies. After two well-crafted releases that were loaded with infectious roots-pop songs, the band eventually split up, leaving adoring fans scratching their heads. --J.P.
CHICK CASHMAN, 1994-1998
Midnight Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress indoor stage
Local raconteur and noted guitarist Clif Taylor's first foray as a frontman was as Chick Cashman the Swinging Cowboy, along with his band, the Countrypolitans. Initially a hybrid of lounge, country and a variety of other retro-hip elements, the band evolved (devolved?) into a full-scale burlesque, nasty performance-art piece. If you attended their extremely popular weekly Wednesday night gig at Congress, their look reflected that evolution: The debut posters in 1994 featured an innocent cowboy-clad Chick Cashman riding a toy mechanical horse. By 1998, Chick was in full drag, his persona falling somewhere between Andy Warhol and Link Wray. --D.S.
CHRIS BURROUGHS, 1982-PRESENT
9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress indoor stage
Chris Burroughs and the Nationals emerged in the early '80s as one of the most popular draws during the post-Tumbleweeds punk scene. Their sound was neither punk nor new wave. In 1983, they put out a highly sought-after white vinyl split single with the Giant Sandworms. After the Nationals, Chris retooled and began a successful solo career, finding a home on Germany's Blue Rose Records. His performance will probably more reflect his current material than his songs from the Nationals days, but hey--that's OK by us. --D.S.
LESS PAIN FOREVER, 1996-2002
10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress indoor stage
Those of you unfamiliar with Less Pain Forever have good reason to be. Not that this duo isn't worth their weight in gold, it's just that, well, they're from P-H-O-E-N-I-X. Never lived in the Old Pueblo. Ever. You see, they are also pranksters and they thought they'd throw this big Tucson music festival just so they could inappropriately play it. Gotcha! Now, should you bother checking them out? Well, we know that Danny of Pork Torta and Mondo Guano is a fan. That should tell you something. They played Congress regularly back in the '90s, when they were still called the Les Payne Project. If you've had your fill of "desert rock," this will be a nice detour. --D.S.
THE FRIENDS OF DEAN MARTIN(EZ), 1994-PRESENT
8:40 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 (Friends of Dean Martin)
9:10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 (Friends of Dean Martinez); Congress outdoor stage
The Friends of Dean Martinez have remained a bright spot on the Southwestern sonic map since they first appeared in 1994 as The Friends of Dean Martin. Their original lineup included Giant Sand bassist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino, as well as Clif Taylor and Naked Prey's Van Christian. Burns and Convertino went on to form Calexico, but songwriter and steel guitarist Bill Elm continued to create a sound that was approachable and yet ever-experimental, with a laid-back feel that sometimes led to the wrongly reductive description of the Friends as "lounge music." Hints of surf guitar and twang are among the more familiar ingredients of this strangely agreeable mix. Remarkably, both the original Friends lineup and the current one, featuring ex-Dog and Pony Show frontman Mike Semple, will be performing back-to-back. --L.K.
THE NAPKINS, 1990-1991
1 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress indoor stage
The Napkins comprised Thermos Malling, Jaime Amor, Mel Couger and Johnny Balls--noms de plumes all, but a Bloat Records All-Star package, to be sure (accent on "package"). With a pedigree including Doo Rag, Mondo Guano, The Pork Torta, Coin, Hardbod, Duarte Six, Curse of the Pink Hearse, Bebe and Serge, Johnny Balls and the Vibro Thunderballs and probably seven other acts we forgot, this unit was always good for a great rock power show in the early '90s. --D.S.
PIETA BROWN, 2002-PRESENT
7:50 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress outdoor stage
Much more than being the daughter of highly regarded, Grammy-nominated songwriter/storyteller Greg Brown, Pieta Brown has carved her own niche as an accomplished songstress. This Iowa City native's 2002 self-titled debut garnered a spate of good reviews, and she's just released a terrific follow-up. The years she lived in Tucson, in the late '90s, gave Pieta her songwriting footing--at least we like to think so. Expect the Calexico boys to be backing her up in some form. --D.S.
9:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Rialto Theatre
With lyrics about big dreams and unconditional love, Ryanhood plays its way into the hearts of listeners of all ages. This duo has charmed and inspired audiences for two years, but Ryan Green and Cameron Hood have many years of blood, sweat, rhythm and creation behind them. Hood was the frontman for local bands Fallout and Easyco, while onetime rival Green took his talents to Boston's Berklee College of Music. The two fused their unique styles to create a captivating and driven acoustic duo. From humble and hot Tucson beginnings, Ryanhood has earned countless invites to stages across the country. --Danielle Comfort
THE PORK TORTA, 1992-PRESENT
Midnight Friday, Sept. 2; Congress indoor stage
The fountainhead of the Bloat Records conglomerate, this Tucson ensemble has been a favorite of the underground for more than a decade. Genre-free and uncompromisingly inscrutable, The Torta has consistently kept the dance floor filled, but it's always a mystery why. Yes, the songs groove; you might even hear a band member say "booty." But you know something else is lurking just below the surface--not necessarily sinister, but perhaps there is a joke being played that you aren't in on. --D.S.
DOG AND PONY SHOW, 1994-1995
1 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Rialto Theatre
Don't be sad that the Dog and Pony Show never quite made the big time; it was for the best. The Dog and Pony Show handily brought a new buzz to the Tucson music scene and sparked a rebirth in what some refer to as "desert rock" with their slightly country-infused '90s alt-rock. Their only release, Ashtrays and Afterlife Money, was well received by critics, and band members were clearly hoping to do more, but things just seemed to peter out. Had things not turned out the way they did, we likely would not have seen the birth of some of Tucson's other greats like Creosote or the Friends of Dean Martinez. Catch the Friends' Mike Semple, Creosote's Jason Steed and the others as the Dog and Pony Show take the stage one more time. --J.P.
THE PEDESTRIANS, 1976-1979
10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Congress indoor stage
In 2001, Rich Hopkins released an album on his San Jacinto label from a live show recorded 22 years earlier. Why should Tucsonans care? Well, the band was The Pedestrians, and the show was recorded live at Pearl's Hurricane in the summer of 1979. In a time when country rock was king in Tucson, Pearl's Hurricane, along with the Pedestrians, are credited by many people for the introduction of punk to the Old Pueblo. The band formed in 1976, and their demise in 1979 led to the creation of several of Tucson's most notable bands. Chris Cacavas went on to help form Green on Red, while Billy Sedlmayr and Dave Seger went on to join Howe Gelb and Rainer in creating the original Giant Sandworms. But the original punk magic can be found on the release An Evening at Pearl's Hurricane, where the Pedestrians tore it up with a mix of covers and originals. --D.J.
TOM WALBANK AND THE AMBASSADORS, 1999-PRESENT
11:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress outdoor stage
Born and raised near Devon, England, Tom Walbank arrived in Tucson, harmonica in hand, in 1999. Tom plays Delta blues with punk attitude; while his renditions of blues standards are faithful, there is a bit of an angry Brit sneer at the edges. His originals at once confront the here-and-now and allude to the rich tradition of the lowdown blues. Live, Walbank tends to mesmerize audiences with the singular intensity of his performance. Ladies have been known to swoon at the adapted Sonny Terry harmonica stomp that closes many sets. He is joined by Mike Bagesse on guitar and Dimitri Manos on Drums. --M.G.
BROKEN HORSE, 1987-PRESENT
11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress indoor stage
A loft/practice space/after-hours space down the street from Hotel Congress in the late '80s housed drummer Joe Byrnes and guitarist/vocalist Alex Oropeza. Joined by bassist Bill Cuevas, the somber trio Broken Horse recalled Nick Cave's Bad Seeds and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band's moodiest moments were drivingly dense, and at his finest, Oropeza swaggered like the tarnished side of an Elvis coin. Lost to San Francisco in the early '90s, Broken Horse reunites for this performance. --M.G.
MONDO GUANO, 1989-1991
9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress indoor stage
Those of us who tired of desert rock in the late '80s Tucson scene were dazzled by the quartet Mondo Guano. Danny Walker, Nicole Pagliaro and Bob Reynolds (pre-Log) were high school friends on a mission to bring back the art rock "happening" vibe of the 1960s. The Velvet Underground were an obvious influence, but Reynolds had already steeped himself deeply in blues guitar, and Walker's encyclopedic knowledge of the bizarre made for quite a scene. Equally important to the experience and prominent in the band's catchy lyrics were Brady Bunch episodes and Easy Cheese. --M.G.
SPOKE, 1996-PRESENT (CALEXICO)
10:10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress outdoor stage
In the early '90s, Tucson's subterranean music scene hastily updated its sense of cool. Native Californians Joey Burns and John Convertino had been touring in Giant Sand as upright bassist and drummer, respectively. After a break, the two moved to Tucson, bringing to town what has since proved to be an extraordinary combination of musical and cultural exploration. Calexico materialized in 1996 with a sparsely arranged, lo-fi record called Spoke (the duo's original moniker). Since then, they have achieved and sustained international fame, particularly in parts of Europe. Calexico's music is often referred to as "the sound of the Southwest," and while some may scoff, their incorporation of the land's traditional instruments and rhythms into music that reaches across oceans is unprecedented. The modern-day Calexico is a septet, featuring mariachi trumpeter Jacob Valenzuela and an international cast of multi-instrumentalists, though Burns and Convertino remain at the core. --L.K.
DOO RAG, 1991-1996
11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; mystery spot
If you walked downtown near the library 15 years ago, you might have heard a couple of ragtag buskers who called themselves Doo Rag. Bob Log and Brad Denboer (aka Thermos Malling) set up with guitar and bucket and collected change, and from these inauspicious beginnings emerged as an international touring act that counted Beck and Ween among its fellow travelers. They weren't just kidding; they were cool, creating a unique sonic hybrid admired by critics and audiences everywhere. --M.G.
COSMIC BOOGIE TRIBE, 1990-1995
9:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Rialto Theatre
Once upon a time at Tucson High School, brothers Chris and Mike Mihina (Love Mound) used to jam regularly with friends Lou Rodriguez and Troy Hill. A few years later, the foursome was joined by powerhouse frontman Dave Lewis and appropriately christened Cosmic Boogie Tribe. Playing a frenetic brand of funk-punk that drew inspiration from Fishbone and the Chili Peppers and foreshadowed Tucson's Chango Malo, they answered the call of a younger crowd with far-higher octane tastes than the desert rock of the time could accommodate. The band was memorably booted from Club Congress after Lewis took a flying leap from the stage and began doing acrobatic maneuvers from the lighting truss. No wonder they're playing at the Rialto. --L.K.
AL FOUL AND THE SHAKES, 1993-PRESENT
Midnight Sunday, Sept. 4; Congress indoor stage
In classic rock 'n' roll fashion, Al Foul's affiliation with Tucson began when he hitchhiked into town in '91. He quickly stole the hearts of the locals with his rockabilly rhythm, witty lyrics and unmatchable stage presence. From dancing the "cockroach" to doing the "Breathalyzer," audience participation is a must. Al Foul looks trendy music in the eye, smiles, takes a swig of beer, then lets loose in that incomparable voice of his. --N.S.
12:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2; Rialto Theatre
Flamenco will never be the same. That's more or less what purists said about the celebrated Spanish traditional style back in the '80s when the Gipsy Kings parlayed it into pop stardom. Thanks to them, the boundaries of this kind of music have broadened, accommodating artists like Ottmar Liebert and other pioneers of the new "flamenco fusion" sound. Add young Tesoro to this list. Tesoro materialized after Founder Justin Fernandez introduced his high school pal, heavy metal guitar prodigy Brian Scott, to the flamenco sound. Both approach it with respect and remarkable discipline, yet add a youthful vigor missing from most major flamenco acts. Though Fernandez and Scott are the ensemble's musical anchors, all five of the Tesoro players are excellent musicians. --L.K.
NAKED PREY, 1982-1995
10:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Rialto Theatre
Naked Prey was formed by local singer and guitarist Van Christian after a stint playing drums with legendary Tucson band The Serfers (later reformed as Green on Red). His connection with these musicians helped to garner the release of a self-titled mini-album in 1984 on Down There Records, then-home to Green on Red and the Dream Syndicate. It remains one of the first records that could be described as "desert-rock." The strong follow-up, 1986's Under the Blue Marlin, began a string of great records highlighted by Van Christian's maturing, witty songwriting and Dave Seger's guitar playing. Van Christian and occasional guitarist Bill Elm would go on to form Friends of Dean Martin. --D.S.
LOVE MOUND, 1999-PRESENT
8:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4; Rialto Theatre
With the subtlety of a freight train, Love Mound brought to town a very simple and satisfying kind of music: Hard rock--really hard rock. Local music journeyman and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mihina has done it all, and many will be reminded of his days as bassist for the Cosmic Boogie Tribe. Take note of the contrast between the two bands. Love Mound is an uncomplicated exercise in pure boogie-blues rock. --L.K.
THE KNOCKOUT PILLS, 2001-PRESENT
9:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; Congress outdoor stage
Featuring former members of the Weird Lovemakers, Los Federales and The Resonars, The Knockout Pills are Tucson's current reigning kings of punk. Following their formation in 2001, they moved quickly, releasing their eponymous debut on Dead Beat Records. That album, which received nearly unanimously rave reviews, led to a deal with the highly regarded Estrus Records in 2004. 1+1=Ate, their Estrus bow, is a rare blend of old-style punk rock and nice '60s touches, awash in songs that you can actually hum. The Knockout Pills are as tight as they are loud. --D.S.