'Tis the season for ... well, not a whole lot of music, that's for sure.

This week and the one that follows are generally the driest live-music weeks of the year, which bodes well for the few shows that are actually happening--a music junkie's gotta get a fix somewhere, right?

Luckily, a bunch of local acts that perform with increasing irregularity are stepping up to help the cause.


For starters, remember the good ol' days when local sextet Chango Malo used to play a lot more live shows than they do now? The rapscallions--singer Quin Davis, guitarists Ian Philabaum and Tom Beach, bassist Justin Lillie, saxophonist David Clark and drummer Jericho Davidson--would smear their potent brand of soulful punk-, ska- and metal-imbued rock 'n' roll all over audiences nearly every week, spreading the gospel via the most high-energy live show in town. To paraphrase either S.E. Hinton or the band ABC--take your pick--that was then, and this is now.

These days, a Chango Malo show is more of an event. In fact, this week's performance by the band, its second annual "XXXMas Show" at Club Congress, is so special that three beloved but defunct local bands are reuniting for the occasion: Lloyd Dobbler, which includes members of the current bands Garboski and The Provocative Whites (who, come to think of it, we haven't heard from in quite a while, either); punk-pop trio The Retainers, whose drummer, Dave Williams, also plays in reunited band No. 3: Ladies and Gentlemen, led by Alex Italics, who recently has only been performing once a year, as part of the Emergency Broadcast System at the Great Cover-Up. (Thanks, guys; I've still got that damn Big Red chewing-gum jingle running through my head.)

See 'em all while you can at 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19. Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St., and admission is a paltry five-spot. Call 622-8848 for more information.


Another local band we haven't heard from in a while--since Fall Club Crawl™, to be exact--is rockabilly punks Last Call Brawlers. Guitarist Justin Valdez sent us an e-mail recently to explain why.

"We took a short break from playing out in Tucson to hit up other Arizona cities and to work on writing new songs," he writes, and goes on to inform us that the group will enter Landmark Studios in January to begin recording a full-length follow-up to this year's Pointing Fingers.

Get a taste of some of the songs from that future album when Last Call Brawlers perform at the Surly Wench Pub, 424 N Fourth Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 20. No Fucking Bueno opens at 10 p.m., and cover is $3. For further details, call 882-0009.


In the not-too-distant past, Wasted Aces was a local hard-rock band that played original tunes and took gigs where they could find them. But then they lost a couple of members and decided to go in a different direction. A very different direction: They recruited two new members to replace the old ones, and decided to become a Kiss tribute band.

Over the last two years, the group has played a series of shows featuring nothing but Kiss songs at the Surly Wench Pub, in full makeup and costumes, natch. They'd play a couple of sets with extras like Kiss karaoke and costume contests sandwiched in between.

It's been a while since they've performed one of those shows, and in their off time, they learned so many new Kiss songs that this week's show will be three sets long, without the extras. But, as with past shows, the band will be giving away prizes all night long. Even better, the proceeds from the show will be donated to the Hope Animal Shelter.

Celebrate KISSmas with Wasted Aces at 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19. The Surly Wench Pub is located at 424 N. Fourth Ave. The number to call with questions is 882-0009.


Though local acoustic folk-pop duo Ryanhood--that's Ryan Green and Cameron Hood for those keeping score at home--performed a jaw-droppingly awesome set as Flight of the Conchords at last week's Great Cover-Up, it's been a while since they've performed a show as themselves.

There's a good reason for that: For the last six years (OK, not really, but it seems like it), the pair have been holed up in NRG Studios in North Hollywood, with über producer and engineer Ross Hogarth (R.E.M., Motley Crue, Jewel, etc), recording a new album. But, as they have for the past four years, Ryanhood will once again bring the goods to the stage at Club Congress for their annual Christmas show.

Ryanhood's fifth annual Christmas at Congress show goes down on Saturday, Dec. 20. Zack Nichols opens at 7 p.m., and Club Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $7, and please be advised that these affairs usually sell out. The answers to your questions can be had by calling 622-8848.


Tucson loves Los Angeles-based instrumental post-rock duo El Ten Eleven, and they return the love by playing in town with frequency. They'll be back at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, Dec. 20. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. with sets from local openers Four Five Six and Standby Red 5. Admission is $6, and the number to call for more info is 798-1298.

The lovely ladies of Preen, the Congress Street vintage-clothes boutique, will host a night of music at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24. A mere $3 gets you in the door for a hootenanny featuring performances from the likes of Naim Amor, Amy Rude, Tom Walbank, Vickie Brown, Jim Cox, Jimmy Carr and Friends and Preen co-owner Emilie Marchand. Things get rolling at 8 p.m. Call 622-8848 for further details.

A night chock-full of punk rock hits the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, Dec. 19, as Authority Zero and Strung Out co-headline an all-ages show that also includes The Kindles, Evil Fudd and AV. It all gets under way at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 in advance, or $17 on the day of the show. Call 740-1000 for more info.

Club Congress hosts a benefit for the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Dec. 23, that will feature performances by the Bad News Blues Band with Carla Brownlee, Grams and Krieger, Syd George, Johnny Strasser and Stefan George. Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is five bones. That number again is 622-8848.

Finally, "A Tillis Family Christmas," featuring all your favorite Tillises--Mel, Pam, Mel Jr. and Carrie April--will arrive at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, on Friday, Dec. 19. Tickets are $25-$45 in advance via all Ticketmaster outlets, at or by calling 321-1000. They'll be $5 more on the day of show. For more info, call (866) 332-9467.