It's finally starting to feel like fall in the Old Pueblo: Club Congress' annual Labor Day shindig—which you can read all about in a conversation I had with Weekly music writer Gene Armstrong on this very page—rolls in this weekend; the winners of our own TAMMIES are being announced this week at an annual ceremony; and we're starting to talk about The Great Cover-Up. And that's just the big stuff. 'Tis the season for local musical events as well as being on the receiving end of lots of great touring bands. Here's a bit of what I'm talkin' 'bout.


To use the same old tired joke I trot out each year (hey, it's in the name of tradition now): To misquote the words of the sage philosopher MC Hammer: Stop! TAMMIES time!

That's right, your ballots have been cast and counted, and the results are ready to be announced at the Tucson Weekly's 17th Annual Tucson Area Music Awards ceremony and concert, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, Sept. 8. It's our yearly celebration of all things Tucson music, as voted by you, the readers, and you are cordially invited to join us for the fun. Did we mention it's free?

To freshen your memory, here's how the process went down: 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 the ultimate winners were picked by you, the readers, from that list.

We received a near-record number of eligible votes this year, and we'd like to sincerely thank each of you who took the time to vote. We couldn't do this without you.

We'd also like to thank the hundreds of local bands and musicians who toil away in clubs, theaters, coffeehouses and basements each week in Tucson, often for little recognition. The TAMMIES is our way of saluting and thanking them, and we hope you'll join us Wednesday evening to do the same.

At the ceremony itself, as has become tradition, the awards announcements will be interspersed by an excellent and diverse lineup of acts performing brief live sets. Performers at this year's event are HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, Key Ingredients of African Soul, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Andrew Collberg, Acorn Bcorn, as well as the 2010 inductee into the TAMMIES' Tucson Music Hall of Fame, the legendary Howe Gelb.

To sweeten the deal even further, we've enlisted some of our favorite local restaurants to serve free food to those who attend—as long as you get there in time. For complimentary grub from BrushFire BBQ, Tucson Tamale Company, eegee's and Kon Tiki (all on a first-come, first-served basis), get there around 6:30 p.m. The awards ceremony and concert begins at 7 p.m.

Sure, you could wait until the next day, when you can read the TAMMIES results in the fresh-off-the-presses Sept. 9 issue of the Weekly; but why? The fun is in the ceremony itself, and in the performances, and in the food. And in the admission-is-free-ness of the whole shebang. It's a party, y'all, and everyone, regardless of age, is invited. Call the Rialto Theatre at 740-1000 with any questions. Otherwise, we'll see you there.

Special thanks, as always, to Jeb Schoonover, who produces the event.

Also of note: Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St., will host a TAMMIES after-party starting around 9:30 p.m. that will feature Texas "ambient/gothic/roots music" purveyors the Thrift Store Cowboys, an increasingly rare set by the Fell City Shouts and Sunny Italy. Cover is $5. Call 622-3535 for more info.

PREPARE TO TAKE COVERCalling all local bands and musicians: The ball has officially begun rolling on preparations for the lucky 13th Annual Great Cover-Up, which this year will take place the second weekend in December, and we're currently accepting submissions from bands and performers who would like to participate.

The gist of The Great Cover-Up, from a previous column: "Local bands that normally perform original material gather to perform a 20-minute set of songs by another band or artist. Simple enough, right? And best of all, every penny of the proceeds from the event is donated to TAMHA, a local service organization that connects local artists and musicians to health care and health care resources. Of course, that means that no band will receive any compensation for slaving away at practice for a month or two, only to learn a set of songs they'll probably never play again. But look at it this way: It's probably about the most fun you'll ever have doing charity volunteer work."

A couple of quick notes about this year's event: After taking a year off last year from being among the organizers of the Cover-Up for the last decade or so, the Rialto Theatre's Curtis McCrary and I are back on board for the 2010 edition, as are Club Congress' David Slutes and Dan Hernandez. We're also welcoming some new members to the team, including Mel Mason (who hosts KXCI's Weekend Warm-Up every Friday from 6 to 7 p.m.). Why so many cooks in the kitchen, you ask? Because we're bound and determined to make this year's event the biggest and best in its illustrious history. To that end, for the first time the Great Cover-Up will be held at its traditional home, Club Congress, and at the Rialto Theatre, on alternating nights.

If you're interested in participating, e-mail with the following information: your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three picks for bands/artists you'd like to cover, and a contact name and number and/or e-mail address. We'll get around to the deadline for submissions in an upcoming column, but for now, we want to hear the best damn ideas you've got to make this thing awesome. Thanks in advance, and we'll be patiently waiting by our computers to hear from you.


Geared toward returning college students, but open to everyone, N9NE Fest will be a huge outdoor party starting at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 9, at Tucson Electric Park, 2500 E. Ajo Way, and running until 2 a.m. In addition to a pair of waterslides and a giant wet-foam pit that will hold 1,500 people, the event will feature state-of-the-art sound and lights to accommodate the performers, including modern mash-up maestro Girl Talk, Far East Movement and Silver Medallion. Advance general admission tickets cost $22 for students with a valid CatCard or student ID, $25 for the general public. They'll be $30 at the door for everyone. There's also a VIP package you can check out by heading to (the same place to buy tickets) or by calling 344-2224.

If live dance music is more your cup of meat, look no further than the return of one of the finest acts around doing it: !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will perform an all-ages show at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., in support of its brand-new album, Strange Weather, Isn't It? (Warp), on Monday, Sept. 6. The show begins at 8 p.m. with openers DJ Sean Watson and Light Asylum. $15 advance, $17 day of show. Head to or call 622-8848 for more info.

Mario Matteoli, former leader of the now-defunct Texas-based Tucson faves the Weary Boys, has started a new band. In doing so, he recruited fellow singer-songwriter-guitarist Andy Bianculli to co-front the new group alongside him. The result is The Preservation, who recently self-released its debut album, Cosmic American Music, which recalls everything from the Kinks to Tom Petty to Luna, albeit with a slight twang. The Preservation performs at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., on Saturday, Sept. 4. Andrew Collberg and ilamir open at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. Call 623-3200 for further details.

There are tons more great shows this week that we didn't have the space to cover, so be sure to peruse our club listings for all the stuff that slipped through our column-inch cracks.