In 1995 and '96, Dog and Pony Show was that band. Singer/guitarist Mike Semple, guitarist Mike Ahearn, bassist Jason Steed and drummer Timo Frost held regular court at Club Congress, drawing local throngs who would later hope to claim that they saw Dog and Pony Show back when. But after amassing a local following and releasing a disc, Ashtrays and Afterlife Money, on Epiphany (deceased Zia Records founder Brad Singer's label), a disc that holds up pretty darn well to this day, the band suddenly, seemingly, vanished. Not that the band's sound--think Dinosaur Jr. with a country tinge--wasn't getting attention on national airwaves (anyone remember, say, Better Than Ezra?), but the Show just never seemed to catch on anywhere but here. (Beginning to sound familiar, huh?)
As Steed says today, "We just kind of hit the wall with it. Things didn't go quite the way we wanted it to with the record, so we decided to explore different avenues." A diplomatic answer, to be sure. In truth, the band ran into a lot of bad luck, both incidental and self-imposed, but we won't delve into that here.
The up-side is that everyone's got his own thing going these days. Semple lives in L.A. and is a member of the once-Tucson-based Friends of Dean Martinez; Steed, Frost and Ahearn went on to form Creosote, and now Ahearn is living and working in Silicon Valley, with Creosote venturing on without him.
But in the spirit of the holidays, the band is reuniting for the first time in a few years for a show this weekend, with both Semple and Ahearn making their respective treks to do so (there are also tentative plans for a studio album). For the quasi-religious fans who remember, it's sure to be a bundle of fun.
The show also marks the debut of Great American Tragedy, which boasts former members of Helldriver (yes, Miguel's one of 'em) and Stinky Slinky, as well as sets by Fourkiller Flats and Love Mound. This four-band rock extravaganza goes down at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 22, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cover is $5 and you can call 622-8848 for more info.
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Another local mainstay is undergoing a name change. The always predictably unpredictable Wise Folk Malcontent is changing its name to La Cerca. Why, after all these years, you ask, would a band suddenly change