JESUS HAS RISEN: "The Jesus Lizard are the
best live band I have ever seen." My friend Jerry said I
could quote him on that. He's been a follower of The Jesus Lizard
since the band broke--I can remember him first urging me to check
them out about seven years ago. Since then, the band has grown
in infamy: They've been banned in Seattle; the voice of the Lizard,
David Yow, was jailed in Cincinnati; they've delivered multiple
performances on the main stage at the Reading Festival; and they
rocked the big stage at Lollapalooza in 1995.
The Jesus Lizard is comprised of Yow's unmistakable vocals and acrobatics, Duane Denison on guitar, bassist David Wm. Sims, and drummer Jim Kimball, the latter a relatively recent addition from previous projects Mule and Laughing Hyenas. These boys are the kings of '90s indie rock, a burgeoning legend made still greater for their lack of radio success. I guess the profanity was too much for alternative rock radio, a.k.a. Top 40 of the '90s.
The Jesus Lizard produced four albums for Touch and Go before signing to Capital mid-decade. Their second Capital release, Blue, lacks the colorful language and some of the screaming raunch for which the band's reputed. Blue also differs from previous releases in the bands studio approach, favoring a more polished and arty touch. But with or without loops, the Jesus Lizard still places its primary emphasis on rocking hard.
Helping out with first-slot duties is Firewater. This band's recently released sophomore effort on Jetset Records, The Ponzi Scheme, is taking Florida like a tropical storm, topping charts and garnering critical acclaim all over the state. The album follows their sexy debut release Get off the Cross...We Need the Wood for the Fire.
The Ponzi Scheme is a rich blend of musical traditions worked cleverly into a cutting rock-and-roll subtext. Firewater wreaks havoc on an international swap meet of sound. But for all of its diversity and wild strains, it remains oddly consistent as a whole.
Firewater is the inspiration of former Cop Shoot Cop Tod A., and sports a rotating collection of players. The first album featured guests from Soul Coughing (Yuval Gabay), the Jesus Lizard (Duane Denison) and Motherhead Bug (Dave Ouimet). The line-up for The Ponzi Scheme includes Hahn Rowe on violin, Tim Otto on sax, drummer George Javori, guitarist Oren Kaplan and Paul Wallfisch on piano and organ.
Once again, Multi-Media Mondays, at the Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., brings out the big guns: The Jesus Lizard and Firewater get started at 9 p.m. Monday, July 13. Movies start at 8 p.m. I suggest you head out early, because this one's going to fill up fast. Tickets are $7. Call 622-8848 for information. Warning: this show may (with any luck) contain graphic language and nudity, and happy for us the Congress isn't charging extra.
JAZZ WITH YAVAZ: Plaza Palomino heats up at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 11, with Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz by Yavaz, an ensemble founded three years ago by composer/keyboardist Mark Riddle and Congero Nelson Ortiz, hailing from San Diego's Gaslamp Jazz District. Yavaz blends flamenco, salsa, sambas and island rhythms into a high-energy, sophisticated sound that's making waves in the south Cali jazz scene. Their energetic live performances and radio play from their debut release Sea of Cortez are winning them many new fans.
Yavaz debuts in Tucson with composer/pianist Haddon Kime (a former Tucsonan himself) opening the show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 on the day of the show, with a $1 discount for TBS members. They're available in Suite 219 of Plaza Palomino, or at Hear's Music and Piney Hollow.
The show is part of this summer's Plaza Palomino Courtyard Concert series, which features Latin, bluegrass, ethnic, soul, blues and world beat outdoors every other Saturday through September. Call 297-9133 for information.
LAST NOTES: Stefan George, one of Tucson's most prolific folk performers, and his acoustic band Songtower celebrate the release of their new, 12-song CD City of Rocks--his fifth for local label Blue Bhikku Records. Craig Schumacher--the man behind the dials for many a superior Tucson release--mastered, engineered and co-produced City of Rocks. The release party, set for 9 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at the Third Stone Bar & Grill, 500 N. Fourth Ave., includes performances by Songtower, Stefan George solo, and a possible appearance by The Conrads. Call 628-8844 for more information.
All youse guys with agitated antennae for self-promotion just pipe down: The CD release party for the TAMMIES '98 compilation, Cantankerous, gets underway at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at downtown's historic Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., and you don't want to miss it. This all-ages show features an eclectic, powerhouse bill with Shoebomb, Greyhound Soul, The Phantom Limbs, Funky Bones, 35 Summers, The Studdrifters, Sapphire Kieft, Creosote and Crawdaddy-O.
This is local. This is fun. This is the scene. Go there. Tickets are $4 at the door. For more information, call 740-0126.
CLAMBAKE ON THE MOVE? The Voice & Range Registry of Collaborative Artists is canvassing the community with pleas for KXCI programmers to move Al Perry's Clambake show to a more reasonable hour. The show is currently scheduled for 2 to 4 a.m. on Thursday nights on the community radio station (91.3 FM). Besides featuring Al's winning personality, the show runs the spectrum of Perry's musical interests, often featuring rare and seldom heard recordings spanning a range of musical genres from the roots of country to '60s French pop, ABBA and of course the Beach Boys, with lots in between. If you've never heard the show, it's well worthy of the wider audience an earlier time slot would afford. Anyone who wants to clamber aboard the Clambake Campaign can do so by writing to: Director of Programming, KXCI-FM, 220 S. Fourth Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701; or stop in the Congress Grill, 100 E. Congress St., to pick up a pre-composed letter.
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