CRAWL FOR ALL: Has it already been a year? Apparently so,
because this Saturday, April 17, marks the return of the biggest
single night of music that the Old Pueblo has to offer: that's
right, it's Club Crawl time again! Take the night off work,
get a baby-sitter for the kids, for God's sake, do whatever it
takes--just get your ass down to the downtown/Fourth Avenue area
of town in timely fashion, especially if you have any intention
of finding a parking space anywhere in the vicinity. Better yet,
take a cab so you can feel free to imbibe all you like. But I'm
warning you: this is the one night of the year when our fair burg
actually feels like a bona fide city, streets filled with revelers,
clubs with lines out the door, general jam-packed chaos everywhere.
So get there early, and thank me later.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to scare you away, not in the least. In fact, at five bucks for a wristband that will entitle you to access to over 20 stages of live music, you'd be crazy to stay home. All I'm saying is that a little preparation will take you a long way. Check out the insert we've included in this issue. Read about all the performers, and then map out a schedule of who you want to see, where they're playing, when they're playing, and then try to stick to it. I say "try" because the smart money says you won't possibly be able to see all the artists you'd like to see, since navigating the fan-filled streets can sometimes resemble trying to swim through molasses. (They don't call it the Crawl for nothin'!)
And in fact, that's part of the charm of the whole event. Some of the best musical discoveries you'll find can happen by happy accident: You've got five minutes to get from Club A to Club B, but someone just told you they just came from Club B, and the line there is a block long. What do you do? Option 1: You throw caution to the wind, be a brave little soldier, and try to make it to Club B anyway. Option 2: You try to find a less crowded club or stage where someone else you're curious to check out is playing. Or Option 3: You stay put and check out some band you've never even heard of. With the caliber of talent represented, it's pretty tough to go wrong anywhere you might end up. And the beauty is that if you don't like who's playing where you're at, simply move on to the next club--your cover charge is already paid for.
This year's Crawl is the biggest ever--roughly 100 bands spread out over about 25 stages. It's enough to make you wonder how anyone could possibly gripe that there's a less-than-wonderful music scene in Tucson. And lest you fear that the event will be comprised of all of the same old bands that play every year, Club Crawl organizer Jeb Schoonover is proud to report that over 30 percent of the acts playing this year are Club Crawl virgins. So it'll be damn near impossible to avoid making at least one or two new musical discoveries, which in a sense is the reason the event was started in the first place: as a means of letting Tucson musicians strut their stuff to a built-in audience.
But of course, the Crawl has become much more than that. It draws people to the downtown/Fourth Avenue area that might not get down there often. It provides exposure for the bars and clubs in that area, as well as for the artists playing the venues. And it allows music fans one last night of catching up on the local scene before they cast their ballots--which you'll also find in this issue--for the Sixth Annual TAMMIES (Tucson Area Music Awards). Don't forget: all ballots must be received no later than Wednesday, April 21.
Have fun, be safe, and I'll see ya at the Crawl.
JETT SET: If you're not completely tuckered out from the Club Crawl, you'll want to hop in the car and make your way over to see one of rock's more influential heroes the following evening. Joan Jett has been involved in rock and roll and punk rock since the age of 15, when she started the legendary L.A. tough-girl rock band, The Runaways, best known for their mid-'70s tune, "Cherry Bomb." Big in Japan (and Los Angeles, which led to Jett's production of the Germs' debut album, G.I.), the band never quite managed to capture the attention of stateside fans, and eventually broke up in 1980, when Jett relocated to New York to begin a solo career.
The years that followed represent Jett's most successful period, both solo and with her backing band, the Blackhearts. With her cover of an obscure Arrows B-side, Jett and the Blackhearts were catapulted into the limelight when "I Love Rock-n-Roll" hit the Top 10. More hits followed, including covers of Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover" and Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)." A few lean years were followed by the 1988 platinum album, Up Your Alley, which yielded another Top 10 hit, "I Hate Myself for Loving You." Yet another slow period followed, until the riot grrrl movement hit in the early '90s, when a slew of female punk bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile began naming Jett and the Runaways as a primary influence on both their sound and attitude.
In 1994, the new crop of female rockers put their muscle where their mouths were. Jett's Pure and Simple received contributions from members of L7, Babes in Toyland, Circus Lupus and Bikini Kill, garnering Jett more positive ink than she'd seen in a while. And in 1995 Jett furthered her association with the new movement by replacing the Gits' lead singer, Mia Zapata, who was brutally raped and murdered, for a live set of Gits material released under the title Evil Stig (read it backwards). Not only did these projects further her (bad) reputation as a founding godmother of punk, they helped expose her to a new generation of fans who were too young to remember most of her hits, thereby increasing and updating her cultish and loyal fan base.
Witness this undersung influence on modern music as Joan Jett plays a free show (with regular paid fair admission of $6) at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, on the Budweiser superstage at the Pima County Fair, located at 11300 S. Houghton Road.
Also appearing for free at the Fair this weekend are Tex-Mex honcho Joe "King" Carrasco on the Michelob Cantina stage at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 16, and in honor of Hispanic Entertainment Day at the Fair on Saturday, April 17, Texas Latino and Los Zultannes del Norte will take the Michelob Cantina stage at 5 p.m. For more information about all of these shows, call 792-3930.
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