Gravy Train!!!!, Sugar and Gold, the Okmoniks

Club Congress, Wednesday, Aug. 1

Nearly two years ago, a queer-core, electro-disco band of Bay Area shepherds--by the name of Gravy Train!!!!--journeyed across the desert, guided only by the North Star, to Tucson's Club Congress. They brought with them gifts of flamboyant, outrageous dance-party music for their followers.

During the band's joyous gift-giving ceremony, despite numerous warnings about the public-decency creed, one of these wise men, Junx, revealed yet another band member beneath his white, cotton cloak. After rotating his loins, Junx was tossed offstage to the Congress stable outside. Later, the wise men (and women) were told there was no room at the inn.

Last week, all was forgiven--Gravy Train!!!! was again welcome at Hotel Congress. Amen.

Tucson's self-billed "No. 1 Party Band," The Okmoniks, fresh off a summer tour with the Train, opened with several new songs, reflecting a growth from their old-school garage-rock sound to a more bubblegum, '60s-girl-band-inspired punk rock--i.e., The Ramones. The tambourine-shakin', female-fronted Okmoniks, who are apparently trying to single-handedly bring back the bandanna-kerchief as a fashion statement, persevered under the hot lights and muggy air, while an industrial-sized fan sat idle nearby.

San Francisco's Sugar and Gold were the surprise hit of the night, bringing live '70s disco music to present day. Local musicians and music snobs alike were in awe of their talent and authenticity--this was no crappy cover band. S&G mastered the sound, choreography (including a back-flip off a band member's shoulders!) and the costumes. (Captain's hat and glitter? Check!)

The heavily made-up, lithe, neon-colored crowd--sporting thigh-high tube socks, high heels, tank tops and micro-poly short-shorts (among feathered dresses, geometric haircuts and Samuel L. Jackson cut-outs)--finally got what they'd been dehydrating for: Gravy Train!!!! Chunx and Funx, the two female singers, traded nasty raps and stories, kinda like the B-52's working a sex line, accompanied by a Casio and a drum machine. The über-gay dance machine Junx didn't disappoint, declaring, "I've douched, and I'm in Room 229!"

There were no drugs, nudity or beer bongs on stage, as there were the previous night in Phoenix, nor was there an after-hours--the band was fast asleep by 2 a.m. Or quietly reading the Bible. We'll never know.