COVER SHEET: We the organizers of the Third Annual Great Cover-Up have suffered the following travails in the past four weeks: a hard drive crash that destroyed all submitting bands' e-mail addresses (not to mention two full years of various accumulated stuff--damn computers!); a lightning-induced power outage that occurred while we were out of town, resulting in a loss of a dozen or so voice mail messages (damn nature!); the loss of a job (damn Man!); and the last-minute cancellation of several bands (damn musicians!).

Some of the bands that canceled actually never even contacted us with the fact that they couldn't make it. I won't name any names or anything, but I'll be happy to bestow a little Jewish guilt: You know who you are. Live with that, jackasses.

On a far happier note, several bands were helpful enough to step in to fill (most of) the vacant slots. While the posters and PSAs might inform you that the event will feature 20 BANDS OVER TWO NIGHTS, the truth is a slightly less lustrous (and aesthetically far less pleasing) 19 bands over two nights. And while we have hit our share of speed bumps, rest assured that we have also just thrown this sucka into fifth, and that the two nights planned for you at the Hotel Congress will undoubtedly be a highlight of your year 2000.

To provide an added element of mystery and sheer fun, we've decided this year to only tell you who's playing each night and which artists are being covered each night, but not who's covering whom. And so, disregard the posters and listen up. Here is the official final lineup of the Cover-Up (provided no one cancels between press time and show time), taking place at 7 p.m. on both Thursday, November 16, and Friday, November 17, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission for both nights is $10, or $7 for each night. For more information call 622-8848. The lineup is as follows:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16: BANDS PLAYING: Fez (8 p.m.), Love Mound (8:30), Good Question (9), Mankind (9:30), Soccer Moms (10), Hector on Stilts (10:30), Spacefish (11), Greyhound Soul (11:30), Sand Rubies (midnight). ARTISTS BEING COVERED: Frank Zappa, Shoebomb, The Clash, N.W.A., The Cure, Michael Jackson, Funkadelic, Foreigner, Neil Young.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17: BANDS PLAYING: Topless Opry (7:30 p.m.), Bebe and Serge (8), Funky Bonz (8:30), Downtown Saints (9), The Blob (9:30), Creosote (10), Wise Folk Malcontent (10:30), Crawdaddy-O (11), Nevershine (11:30), Fourkiller Flats (midnight). ARTISTS BEING COVERED: Abba, Black Sabbath, Elvis Costello, The Doors, Billy Joel, XTC, Primus, Guns 'N Roses, Steve Miller Band, New Order.

If I can tell you one thing about this whole ordeal, it's this: Every band on this list--whether its slot is at 7:30 p.m. or midnight--has worked its tail-feathers off for the last couple months to come up with an ass-kickin' tight 20-minute set for your listening pleasure, and to earn as much money as possible for our beneficiary, The Brewster Center. No one--and I mean no one--is making any money off this sucker except for the BC.

So do this, for everyone's sake: Get there early!!! If there's one thing I've learned by going to these things over the years, it's that you never know who's gonna kick the most ass. In other words, getting there late means risking hearing about how great some band that you missed was for the next few years. Face it--your street cred would be blown. Nobody wants that, now, do they?

'ROUND TOWN: Not to show my age, but back when Gentle Ben's held court in its old locale on Tyndall, one of its house bands was Tempe's Wise Monkey Orchestra, which--back in the day--featured a granite-solid rhythm section and, best of all, a sinewy soul belter of a frontwoman. Though I'm pretty sure it's undergone some lineup changes over the years (as well as a relocation to San Diego), the six-piece's brand of danceable funk as played by white folks seems pretty close to my memories from way back, as evidenced by its recent disc, They Live, on Lauan Records. Plus, the band must have been doing something right all those years to have graduated to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., which it'll play on Friday, November 17. The Damn Dirty Apes kick things off at 8 p.m. and you can pick up advance tickets for $6 at CD Depot, Zip's on University and Guitars, Etc. For more info call 798-3333.

Another far different six-piece (two guitars, two bassists and two drummers, for those of you keeping score), from Austin, Texas, graces us with an appearance this week. Zulu As Kono combines math rock changes with a prog aesthetic, resulting in a thunderously thick and, amazingly enough, highly listenable blanket of sound. They'll team up with like-minded local genre-fucks Cortex Bomb for a gig at 9 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Call 670-9202 for details.

Rhythm-rockin', jump-swingin', horn-driven blues legends Roomful of Blues has been at it for a whopping 33 years now, and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Arguably the very first swing revivalists when they threw their zoot suits on back in the late '60s, the eight-piece combo (roomful, indeed!) has shuffled members over its history but retains the infectious barroom blues character that earned its name in the first place. The group will take to the stage of Nimbus Brewery, 3850 E. 44th St., at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 18. Tickets are $15, available in advance at the brewery, or at the door.

Stefan George's brand of stripped-down blues is like a cozy blanket in winter: warm and comfortable and familiar, a shelter from life's storms, if you will. Stefan has just released a new disc, Point and Pray (Blue Bhikku), a series of duets with various members of Tucson's musical royalty, past and present. (The title comes from George's method of gathering his partners in crime: Assemble a lofty wish list of collaborators, point to their names, and pray they say yes). The majority of tunes here were written hastily with the duet partners in mind, and recorded in much the same manner--several first takes appear on the CD--by the amazing Craig Schumacher at his Wavelab Studios.

The veteran bluesman is joined by, among others, guitarist Peter McLaughlin, Joey Burns, three of The Mollys, Tommy Larkins and Crawdaddy-O. The result is nothing short of remarkable: a down-homey collection of tunes that sound like a bunch of friends assembled on a back porch playing for the sheer love of the music. Aided and abetted by his many friends, George has never sounded more comfy, or, for that matter, better.

Welcome him and his blues combo The Conrads back from a two-week tour of Germany when they celebrate the release of the new disc with a show at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, at the International Art Center's Nations Hall, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Advance tickets are available for $7 at Hear's Music, The Folk Shop and the International Arts Center, with discounts for members of KXCI, TKMA and The Tucson Blues Society. They'll be $8 at the door. More information is available by calling 624-9006.

STOP THE PRESS: Just before press time we caught word that San Diego's finest, Rocket From The Crypt, is making an appearance in town this Saturday, November 18 at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. This promises to be an incredible rock 'n' roll show complete with the Rocket's amazing horn section.

Get your tickets for this highly recommended, all-ages show at Zip's University or Tix are $8 in advance and $10 the day of. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information call 629-9211.

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