Sunday, Aug. 9

Tucson is getting a bad rap due to the lackluster support of our arts community from the powers that be. One idea that breaks the mold is Music on the Mountain, a series of outdoor concerts presented by the Live Acoustic Venue Association (LAVA) on Mount Lemmon. Each Sunday throughout the summer, LAVA has featured talented musicians and given Tucsonans an excuse to escape the heat.

A 45-minute drive from central Tucson up to Summerhaven brought cooler temperatures and a festive atmosphere, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The impossible parking situation and the accompanying hordes of people walking down the narrow two-lane road against the flow of traffic meant that getting there an hour before the noon start time would've been the smart thing to do.

The Duncan Stitt Band played to a large, relaxed audience (with many older folks, Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, families and tons of dogs) under a massive tent. The trio consisted of guitarist Eric Mellen (also a member of the headlining band), Dave Vigasin on drums and Stitt on the keyboard. Their set was peppered with covers, including the David Letterman theme song and Dr. John's "Right Place Wrong Time," while their original songs ranged in style from mellow rock to Mexican disco, from blues to polka. The lyrics stood out as the hysterical highlight of the day. My photographer and I were laughing aloud at lyrics such as "sock it to me, soccer mom," and, in a song about a physically unattractive woman, "there is a catch, you have a personality to match," but it seemed the audience didn't get the joke. These guys were lots of fun.

Chuck "Wagon" Maultsby and His Same Old Band (S.O.B.—ha!) have an almost cult-like status in Tucson music. Maultsby has been performing regularly with his band, including bassist and co-founder Scott Bish, since 1977. (Until 1999, they were called Chuck Wagon and the Wheels.) Their performance was solid, and the fans chowed on hot dogs and drank beer while Maultsby and company rocked 'n' rolled. They played many covers, which were no doubt requests, and I tip my hat to them for obliging their fans who drove a long way to see them play.