FERRIS FARE: Those who dug It Means Everything (Epic), the debut full-length from Orange County ska-poppers Save Ferris, won't be disappointed in the band's new release, Modified (also Epic), out October 19, just two days before the band's scheduled Tucson show.

Backed by a six-piece band, the focus is still on Monique Powell's front-and-center pipes, which leap from punk rock snarl to sultry songstress faster than you can say, "Skank this!" No sophomore slump, Modified's lyrical bent ranges from the joyful "Turn It Up," a teenage ode to hearing your favorite song on the radio to, well, a bunch of songs about being done wrong.

Clearly, someone here's been jilted in a big way and isn't afraid to air their dirty laundry public-style. "Mistaken," the disc's first radio single (as well as one of the album's weakest tracks), falls into this category, as do the jiggy dancehall-er "I'm Not Cryin' for You," the slick-but-groovy "No Love" and "What You See Is What You Get," which deftly combines Stax soul, country-blues and frenetic ska. The live show's sure to be highly entertaining.

Also on the show's bill are current alterna-radio darlings Citizen King, who actually have the audacity to rip off Smash Mouth (as if they weren't derivative enough on their own) on their debut single "Better Days," and Phoenix power-pop progeny Pollen, on the bill as a result of their recent win in the national Jim Beam's Back Room Rock Band Search.

The whole shebang gets under way at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 21, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Tickets for the all ages show are $13 at the door. Call 740-0126 with questions.

Oh, yeah, if you'd like to meet Save Ferris and have 'em sign stuff for you beforehand, head over to Zia Records, 3370 E. Speedway, at 4 p.m. Any questions on that? Call 327-3340.

CHECKERED FUTURE: Tucson music has suffered another casualty with the cancellation of Hot Rod Ron's Checkered Strip radio show on KZPT (The Point) 104.1-FM. The show, which ran every Sunday night, featured an eclectic mix of rockabilly, punk, ska, surf, roots, country and reggae from around the globe. In addition, it was one of the few radio shows to be found anywhere on the Tucson dial that regularly featured unsigned local bands, as well as a weekly rundown of what was going down in local clubs. Here's hoping that the Strip will find a new home ASAP.

GOOD GOV'T: In the spirit of such power trios as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience (or, for that matter, his Band of Gypsies) come Capricorn recording artists Gov't Mule. Featuring guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody, both former members of The Allman Brothers Band and both largely responsible for that band's '90s resurgence (they wrote many of the Allmans' decent newer songs), the trio is rounded out by drummer Matt Abts, who's played with Montrose and ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor.

The band's sound fuses elements of rock, blues, soul, funk and jazz, and while the Mule could be covered by the umbrella term of Southern rock -- just like the Allmans -- the result is far different. Where the Allmans use dual lead guitars to lace their sweet tuneage with a delicate beauty, Gov't Mule opts for the stinging, slow-burning blues-based guitar heroics and gritty vocals of Haynes and his dynamic rhythm section. And while the band's latest studio offering, Dose (Capricorn), is a decent enough showcase for the trio's talents, the band's live shows conjure the real magic. Two of the band's four albums were recorded live (1998's Live...With a Little Help From Our Friends, on Capricorn, and 1996's Live at Roseland Ballroom, on Foundation), and those releases are a far better document of what the band is really about, as they wail away on extended Mule-ized versions of such covers as Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" and Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," in addition to their self-penned tunes.

Gov't Mule takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 26, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. The 11-piece horn-driven funk ensemble Deep Banana Blackout, somewhat reminiscent of an expanded version of Phoenix's Honey Child, opens the proceedings. Advance tickets are available for $10 at CD Depot, Hear's Music, Guitars, Etc., Zip's University and the Congress Street Store. They'll be $12 at the door. For more info call 740-0126.

TRAD TWOSOME: Fans of traditional Irish music will want to check out a performance this week by the duo of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. Hayes, an Irish-born resident of Seattle, has been called the most important fiddler of his generation, and Chicago's Cahill has received similar praise for his fluid guitar work. The two specialize in wistful, melodic instrumental pieces indigenous to Hayes' native east-County Clare region of Ireland (though on occasion, they do get cookin' with some faster stuff, too).

They often perform medleys live, but don't let that scare you away; the two weave seamlessly from one traditional tune to another (often for up to 30 minutes, non-stop), seemingly telepathic in their endeavors. The New York Times has described their live shows as a "Celtic complement to Steve Reich's Quartets or Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain," and those comparisons are well-documented on the duo's new release, Live in Seattle (Green Linnet Records), which they'll be promoting when they hit town at 8 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at the Berger Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Advance tickets are on hand at Hear's Music, and Harp and Shamrock, or by calling 327-4809. They're $15, or $13 for seniors and In Concert! members. Roarin' Donald opens the performance on Irish pipes and flute.

TRUNK SHOW: Check out two kick-ass bands from Phoenix and one kick-ass band from Tucson, as the excruciatingly good Trunk Federation make their first local appearance in some time (something about a new bass player?), along with the electrifyingly eclectic duo of the Les Payne Product and local indie-glam heroes How To Build a Rocketship. Catch this can't-miss show at 9 p.m. Friday, October 22, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The whole package runs you a measly four bucks. Call 622-8848 for details.

ROYAL TREATMENT: The Rialto Theatre has been hosting some amazing African performers lately, and this week they add another notch to that esteemed bedpost when Cameroon's Prince Eyango & Les Montagnards D'Afrique bring the sounds of makossa to the desert. For the uninitiated, makossa is a guitar-based, quirky form of African pop that subtly shifts rhythm, but not so much as to interrupt the inevitable ass-shakin' it inspires. Catch this rare performance at 9 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at the Rialto, 318 E. Congress St. Advance tickets for this all-ages show are available for $16 at CD Depot, the Congress Street Store, Hear's Music, Zip's University and Guitars, Etc. They'll be $18 at the door. Call 740-0126 for details.

BEAT IT: Latin jazz percussionist and band leader Poncho Sanchez will make an appearance this weekend as part of the Tucson Jazz Society's Plaza Suite Series. Often referred to as "the Count Basie of Latin jazz," Sanchez was mentored by none other than the legendary Cal Tjader, whose band he played in from 1975 until Tjader's death in 1982. Since that time, he has recorded 17 highly regarded albums on the Concord jazz label. Catch Poncho Sanchez at 6 p.m. Sunday, October 24, at St. Philip's Plaza, located at 4340 N. Campbell Ave. Tickets are $8 for TJS members, $15 for the general public, and will be sold exclusively at the door of the show.

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