Ladies and gentlemen, it's TAMMIES time.

This week, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at the Rialto Theatre, the Weekly will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Tucson Area Music Awards, our annual celebration of the best local music that Tucson has to offer, as voted by you, our music-lovin' readers.

As you may know, we've been tinkering with the voting process, trying to make a good thing better, and with this year's voting, we think we've finally found a good solution. There were two rounds of preliminary voting--one for readers, and one for a team of critics made up of music writers, local club bookers, DJs and others with intimate knowledge of the local music landscape. The top vote-getters in each round were then placed on a multiple-choice online ballot, and this year's winners were picked by readers from that list.

If sheer numbers mean the formula worked, it did: We received the largest amount of votes in TAMMIES history by a long shot. So, thank you, readers, for taking the time and effort to vote; we couldn't do this without you.

Nor, of course, could we do it without the dozens upon dozens of bands who slave away all year long for our enjoyment. That is, after all, the real point here: to salute the abundantly talented bands and musicians who make Tucson an oasis of musical originality. It's our way of thanking them, and we hope you'll join us on Wednesday to do the same.

In addition to the awards announcements, the TAMMIES will, as is the tradition, also feature a pretty awesome lineup of live performances: Golden Boots, Tom Walbank, Sand Rubies, Michael P. Nordberg, Jo Wilkinson and the Crystal Ridge Bluegrass Band will all perform brief sets. And, continuing a tradition begun last year, the event will also include Taste of the TAMMIES--a fancy name for "get there early, and enjoy free food from Enoteca, BrushFire BBQ Co., eegee's, Marco's Patisserie and Javalina's." Killer brisket and delicious frozen lemonade mere steps away from each other? For free? You kiddin' me? I'd be there early even if my bosses didn't insist on it.

It all goes down at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30) on Wednesday, Aug. 13. The Rialto is located at 318 E. Congress St. Admission is completely free and open to all ages. For more info, head to (head there anyway, for that matter), or call 740-1000. See you there!


Several years ago, I attended a show on the UA campus headlined by Jean Grae, a promising young female rapper who was all the hype at the time, but has since somewhat faded into the ether. (She apparently just released a decent new album last month, but I had to do a bit of research to even figure that out.) One of the openers on that bill was 2Mex, who pretty much blew everyone else off the stage.

2Mex is known to most, if he's known at all, as a key member of hip-hop collective The Visionaries, and as one-half of OMD (Of Mexican Descent), but his solo career has had its noteworthy moments, too. For example, how many rappers have the cojones to release an a cappella disc as a debut album, as 2Mex did with 2000's Words Knot Music (Meanstreet)?

2Mex is currently touring to promote the reissue of the formerly out-of-print 2000 release Fake It Until You Make It (L.A. Hill), a collaboration with beat-maker Mum's the Word, released under the name The Mind Clouders. I've never heard it, but it's become the stuff of underground legend; I can tell you that in a live setting, 2Mex delivers.

See for yourself when 2Mex headlines a night of indie hip-hop on Friday, Aug. 8, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Things get rolling at 10 p.m. with openers (take a deep breath) The Smob, Verbal, the Effin Sumbodies, James Ciphurphace with DJ Grapla and CCS Crew. All this for only $5 in advance, or $8 on the day of the show. Sorry, kids: This one is 21 and older. Call 622-8848 for further details.


About a month ago, I dug up a cassette-tape deck that I had gotten a killer deal on a while back at Bookmans. I hooked it up, praying it worked, since the warranty was long expired, and I had never tested it out. Well, it worked like a charm, and I ended up staying up into the wee hours of the night playing tapes I hadn't heard in years--a fun exercise in nostalgia, and one I wholeheartedly recommend. Eventually, I worked my way into my collection of Grateful Dead bootlegs and sort of got stuck there, happily.

There is perhaps no other band so polarizing as the Dead. Ask anyone how they feel about them, and you'll almost invariably get one of three responses: "I love them"; "I hate them and their incessant noodling with every fiber of my being"; or "I respect them, but I could never get into 'em." Suffice it to say, I fall in the first category.

Even as I continued to listen to my old boots, a bit of synchronicity ensued. At last week's Hold Steady show at the Rialto, singer-guitarist Craig Finn had but one lone, unlikely, prominently displayed sticker on his Telecaster--a Grateful Dead dancing bear. On Monday, the KVOA Channel 4 evening newscast ran a story on the annual "Jerry Day" in San Francisco, a six-hour (natch) celebration of the life of Jerry Garcia held each year around the anniversary of his death on Aug. 9, 1995. And, in doing research for this column, I discovered that Tucson's Dead cover bands--Xtra Ticket and Top Dead Center--were convening this weekend for the very same reason.

Starting somewhere around 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, both bands will perform the music of the Grateful Dead at a Jerry Garcia Memorial at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Admission is five bucks, and the evening will also include a Jerry Garcia lookalike contest with prizes. Questions? Ring 'em up at 623-3200.


Just about every week, I hear about an event or two that I'd love to share with you, dear reader, but can't. Why? Because these events take place in that netherworld we call the underground--at unlicensed venues and houses, mostly. (While we're on the subject, keep your eyes peeled for fliers about a couple of shows, really good ones, going down this weekend.) So here's an event that started as a house party in 2004, and has been held each year since, but with an added bonus this time around: It's being held at a legit venue, which allows me to tell you all about it.

Billed as the Fifth Annual Robot Exchange--Destroy All Humans, the event is a combination of music and art, gathered under a big umbrella of a party. Here's the deal: Everyone who attends is encouraged to bring a robot. It could be one you made yourself, one you bought--whatever. During the course of the night, robots are exchanged, so you take home someone else's robot. To further the whole robot theme, there will be a robot costume contest, as well as a robot dance contest, with prizes provided by Lulubell Toy Bodega. And, since this is first and foremost a music column, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the night will also include a live performance from the fantastic Flagrante Delicto, as well as DJs Matt McCoy and Dewtron.

So while you all diligently work on those robots and robot costumes (not to mention those hot robot dance moves), here are the pertinent details: Things get underway at around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, at the Sculpture Resource Center, 640 N. Stone Ave. Admission is free. For more info call the venue at 403-9131, or head to


Gee whiz, we're out of space already?! Keep a lookout for these other fine shows this week: Hockey (from Portland, Ore., something like a combo of Beck, Spoon and the Strokes, and highly recommended!) and the Swim Team at the Living Room on Tuesday, Aug. 12; Ryanhood at Club Congress next Thursday, Aug. 14; the Temptations at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St.; Indian Jewelry and Not Breathing at Solar Culture Gallery on Friday, Aug. 8; Head of Destiny and Clevis at Sport's on Congress on Friday, Aug. 8; the Hush Sound, the Cab (who, mark my words, will be huge in the next year or two), Steel Train, and the Morning Light at The Rock on Friday, Aug. 8.

Finally, a shout-out to Maya and Dino for being awesome! Thanks.