HEALING POWER: When Marisa Viramontes' mother, Barbara Warren, was stricken with cancer a couple years ago, the cost of treatment at the Arizona Cancer Center was--like for so many others--a tough cross to bear, at an especially difficult time. Luckily, Warren was able to take advantage of the center's Patient Assistance Fund, which eases the financial burden for cancer patients by assisting with such necessities as food, housing, transportation and medication.

Additionally, Viramontes and Warren were particularly struck by just how many of the center's patients were young people, who tend to think of cancer as something that's only worth worrying about down the road.

In an attempt to show their gratitude for the help they received through the Patient Assistance Fund, and to raise cancer awareness among young people, the two organized a benefit, called Healing Through Music, which was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in March of 2000, raising about $3,000 for the fund.

Sadly, Warren lost her fight with cancer earlier this year. But Viramontes has soldiered on, organizing a second installment of Healing Through Music, in honor of her mother. She hopes to double the tally of the first benefit and raise $6,000 this time around. With the lineup that's been assembled, it seems a sure thing.

The site of this year's benefit is Plush, which will fence off its parking lot to house an outdoor stage, in addition to the one inside the club. Headlining the outdoor stage is the amazing Kristin Hersh, best known for her years as leader of the groundbreaking Boston band Throwing Muses, though she's also released five solo albums and an EP. She'll be in town doing some recording, and has graciously donated her time for the cause. The other performers on the outside stage are Calexico, Giant Sand (back in town following a European tour and an extended stay in Denmark), The 440s and Gliss, from Los Angeles. The indoor stage will feature The Beating, Fourkiller Flats, The Solace Brothers, Truck's Jesse Stanley and Stefan George.

Things kick off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Advance tickets are available for $10 at the club and all Zia locations. They'll be $12 on the day of the show. For more information call 798-1298.

GREASY KID STUFF: No, Seattle-via-Tucson revved-up rawkers the Supersuckers don't have a new album out (they just began work on the next one). Hell, they're really not even on tour. But that didn't stop Club Congress from getting 'em to play at The Grease Ball, a celebration of all things revved-up. In addition to the usual payment system for the performance, the club is actually flying the whole freakin' band in from the Great Northwest, specifically for the show. As such, the one-off will be the only U.S. Supersuckers performance until at least October. Lucky us! And lucky them, too. After all, they get a free trip home to hang with the family, in addition to whatever they make at the show.

But lest you get the idea that rockin' out to the 'Suckers is all you get for your hard-earned cover charge, you best think again, daddy-o. At 6 p.m. the Congress parking lot will be turned into a vintage Hot Rod and Harley show (if you're lucky enough to grab a space in the lot for your pre-'59 rig, you get into the show for a mere $7) and vendors of all things "grease" will be displaying their wares, as well. At 8 p.m. Al Foul will commence the music portion of the shindig, playing his patented Al-a-billy in the hotel's lobby, before Last Call Brawlers, The 440s and the Supersuckers crank it up to 11 on the club's stage. Oh yeah, there'll also be pinstripers and tattoo artistes on hand, just in case you need some new stripes or ink.

The Grease Ball zooms into Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, August 23. Tickets for the event are $15, and are available in advance at 1-866-GOT-TIXX, online at, and at the hotel's front desk. Dial 622-8848 for answers to those itchy, burning questions.

AWW, NUTS!: Longtime Tucsonans might remember the names Pete Holmes and Dave Pankenier from their late-'80s, white-boy funk-rock outfit, Pollo Elastico. The two now reside in San Francisco, and along with Danny Morton and Dave Clark, comprise The Nads, who have been compared to a cross between The Dictators and the Supersuckers. The band recently released an EP, Saigon Hooker, and has inked a deal with proto "raw rock" label Gearhead Records (The Hellacopters, The Hives, New Bomb Turks), for its debut full-length, Backasswards, due in the fall. The fellas will perform in their old stomping grounds this week, as part of a brief tour, on their way to Gearfest 2002, slated to take place in Austin over Labor Day weekend.

The Nads perform on Wednesday, August 28, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Love Mound opens the show at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. Call 622-8848 with questions.

ON THE BANDWAGON: San Diego's Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash have won over Tucsonans' hearts with their frequent and impressive shows at Plush, but the band's debut album, Walk Alone (Ultimatum), never quite lived up to the hype generated by the live shows. Luckily, then, the Sons' new platter, Distance Between (Ultimatum), due in stores on August 27, is a decided improvement over the debut. Whereas the debut rarely strayed from barroom honky-tonk, the new one could easily be filed under "country-rock" in record store bins, even though it's a bit more "mature" (read: subdued and thoughtful). Though a couple cuts still sound rather pedestrian and a bit too slick, the majority of tunes here sound a bit like what would happen if Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle collaborated on an album. And any band that writes an ode to the Chevy Monte Carlo--I once had a cherry-red '75 that I still regret selling--is clearly after my heart.

The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, along with opener Jesse Dayton, perform at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, August 23, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. For more information call 798-1298.

Formed in 1996 on the cusp of what was to become a full-on swing revival, Tucson's Kings of Pleasure had regulars of the Shelter lindy-hopping before anyone knew who the hell Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was. With the movement's wane, the group has re-formed as the Kings of Pleasure Rockabilly Trio, which specializes in jump blues and rockabilly swing, a la Brian Setzer. The band's upcoming CD is called Hot Rod Satan.

The Kings of Pleasure Rockabilly Trio performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, at the Armory Park Seniors Center, 200 S. Sixth Ave. Admission is $5 at the door, which includes a swing dance lesson, at 7 p.m. For more info call 825-0978.

D'OH! And finally, a correction: In last week's column I gave an erroneous listing of the members of the Fraidy Cats. The band's actual lineup is Al Perry, Tommy Larkins, Jefferson Keenan and Jim Parks. I apologize for the error.

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