Although I'm writing this before it happened, thanks to everyone who attended the Tucson Weekly's Tucson Area Music Awards ceremony and concert at the Rialto Theatre. The food was delicious; the bands were great; and no one in this town is more deserving of a spot in the Tucson Music Hall of Fame than Howe Gelb.

I'd also like to personally apologize for the unfortunate incident involving the monkey and the fire extinguisher; Dr. Stabby is usually so well-behaved at home.

If you're one of the unfortunate, miserable souls who missed out, be sure to check out the special TAMMIES pullout section to see who won and to learn a bit more about some of this year's winners.


After last weekend's 25th Anniversary blowout at Hotel Congress, here's hoping you've reserved a bit of that festival stamina for two promising events this week.

The Santa Muerte Festival, described in a press release as "a grassroots event created and inspired by artists and musicians ... celebrating the folklore of the Southwest (and) showcasing some of the most important underground musicians and cutting-edge international visionary artists," will take place in two sections over two nights, Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11.

Friday's event, at local visual artist and Blind Divine member Daniel Martin Diaz's newly opened Sacred Machine Museum gallery (245 E. Congress St., Suite 123), is an art opening featuring more than 20 local, national and international artists aimed mostly at the Juxtapoz magazine crowd, including Mark Ryden (who just happens to be my favorite contemporary artist), Chris Mars (the former Replacements drummer and an incredible painter), Jason D'Aquino, Robert Palacios and, of course, Diaz himself, who also co-curated the show with Paula Catherine Valencia. Friday's opening runs from 7 p.m. to midnight, and the exhibition will be at the gallery through Sunday, Nov. 7. Admission is free.

On Saturday, the action moves to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., for the musical portion of the event, which will feature Mostly Bears, Gabriel Sullivan and the Taraf de Tucson, Blind Divine, Ensphere, Strata Divide, a midnight dance party with WOPR and fire troupe Flam Chen. The action runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and is open to all ages. Admission is $7. Call Sacred Machine at 777-7403 or the Rialto at 740-1000.

On those same two nights, the Tucson Jazz Society is presenting its Downtown Tucson Latin Jazz Festival. The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at La Placita Plaza, 110 S. Church Ave., with a Salsa Dance Party featuring music by Tucson's Tito y Su Nuevo Son. Admission is free.

On Saturday, the action moves down the street to the Tucson Convention Center's Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave., for a concert by Larry Harlow, known to Latin music aficionados as "El Judío Maravilloso" ("the marvelous Jew") and, according to The New York Times, "one of the most important figures in the history of salsa," having invented the horn-heavy variety of the genre first popularized in the 1970s on the Fania Records label. Harlow will perform at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the general public, or $20 for TJS members, active-duty military with ID, students with ID and Tucson Hispanic Chamber members. To purchase discounted tickets, e-mail, or call 903-1265 to receive a promotional code. Tickets are available at the door or by calling (800) 595-4849. VIP packages are available by calling the TJS at 903-1265.


Nineties hit-makers Cracker will bring a set list of classics both old and new to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. If your inclination is to write these guys off as relics, you simply haven't been paying attention. The band's latest three albums are as strong as anything in their catalog, beginning with 2003's Countrysides, a raucous collection of country covers (Cooking Vinyl), through 2006's elegiac Greenland (Cooking Vinyl) and last year's Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (429).

See for yourself when Cracker performs at Club Congress on Tuesday, Sept. 14. J. Roddy Walston and the Business open at 9 p.m. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Call 622-8848, or head to


If you missed the Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti show at Plush last month, fret not: The oddball/genius frontman brings his crack band to Club Congress this week for an early all-ages show on Sunday, Sept. 12, where he'll play songs from his fantastic 2010 breakthrough album Before Today (4AD) and some older tracks, too. I was at the Plush show and can tell you that Congress' website sums up the experience nicely: "Ariel Pink blends Lite FM and warped lo-fi pop into something beautiful and confusing." The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets are $10. Call 622-8848, or head to


Two singer-songwriters who largely have Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to thank for their popularity will perform at a show at Club Congress this week. Headlining is Sweden's Kristian Matsson, whose nom de musique is The Tallest Man on Earth. Matsson, who sounds eerily similar to a young Bob Dylan, has been buzzed about since the end of 2008, when he toured as opening act for Bon Iver and won over those audiences with his reportedly intense, heartfelt performances. Earlier this year, he released his critically acclaimed album, The Wild Hunt, on Dead Oceans.

Opening for Matsson is Sean Carey, Bon Iver's drummer, who as S. Carey released his debut solo album, All We Grow (Jagjaguwar), last month. Check out our review of it in this issue.

The Tallest Man on Earth and S. Carey perform an all-ages show at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. $14 in advance, $15 day of. That number and website are 622-8848 and


Last weekend marked the end of the Live Acoustic Music Association's (LAVA) Music on the Mountain series, but this week brings the start of LAVA's fall season, which takes place at Abounding Grace Sanctuary, 2450 S. Kolb Road. Here's a quick look at what's coming up: the Redhouse Family Jazz Band on Saturday, Sept. 11; CD-release show for Gabriel Ayala and Will Clipman's Passion, Fire, and Grace on Saturday, Sept. 18; Nathan McEuen, Scott Gates and Kevin Schramm on Saturday, Sept. 25; Jeni and Billy and Joyce Woodson on Saturday, Oct. 9.

To see the lineup for the entire fall season, head to Tickets range from $10 to $15, and they're available at the door. To ensure a seat at a particular show, RSVP to


Two new releases from Arizona bands are being feted this week at CD-release parties.

First up, fine Phoenix indie-rock trio the Necronauts will celebrate the release of a new album with a show at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, Sept. 10. Garboski headlines the show, which also features performances from Minibosses and Feel Free. The action begins at 9 p.m. and cover is $5. 622-8848;

The following night, Saturday, Sept. 11, it's local '80s-style rockers Alien Jane's turn to celebrate their new CD, which will be given away free to all paid attendees at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave. Rich Hopkins and Cloo open the show at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. Call 623-3200.


The back-from-the-dead, goofy (in the best way) Southern Culture on the Skids and The El Camino Royales at Plush on Wednesday, Sept. 15; Exodus, Malevolent Creation and Holy Grail at The Rock on Friday, Sept. 10; Mandorico, Three Point Turn, Grite-Leon and Kool Shades at The Hut on Sunday, Sept. 12; Ronnie Milsap at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino (Interstate 19 location) on Sunday, Sept. 12; Crime, Zackey Force Funk and Talk2Strangers at Plush next Thursday, Sept. 16; Bob Spasm and the Gods of Rock, The Besmirchers, Cadillac Steakhouse and Stripper Killers at Vaudeville on Saturday, Sept. 11; Johnny Rawls, Diane Van Deurzen and Lisa Otey at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 15; Preen fashion show featuring Tom Walbank at Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Sept. 10; HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS and Fort Worth at Sky Bar on Friday, Sept. 10; Funky Bonz, Blazing Edisons, the Steve Brookbanks Band and Jumper at Vaudeville next Thursday, Sept. 16.