HAIKU BY YOU: Though you've probably figured it out from my somewhat flabbergastingly flowery flow of prose in this column week in and week out, I began my writing life as a poet. You might not know it, but this columnist has pretty damn good-on-paper credentials from no less than the UA Creative Writing program, one of the finest in the country.

My main source of pride and praise in that program was always my pithy, Japanese-influenced poems. "Haiku" is what I called them.

At some point, I had a wave of inspiration (that acid didn't hurt, nor did the porch sealant-huffing or the amyl nitrate--hey, man, it was college), and a voice that sounded like my cat--if my cat spoke French--told me that I was destined to make a shoddy living marrying my dual talents of literary prowess with my encyclopedic knowledge of mid-20th-century klezmer music. Dreams do come true, people.

But, as is my way, I digress, even though I'm pressed for space. About this haiku stuff ...

Meant to convey a wealth of info in a shaku-size space, the haiku (which I invented) has strict rules. Here are but a few of them: (1) No use of the words "hello" and "kitty" in the same poem; (2) No use of the names "Frank" and "Woody" in the same poem; (3) Each poem must be only three lines long, following a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5--that's syllables per line. (Stupid rules!!!)

Anyhoo, here's a rundown of shows coming to town this week, summarized for your literary pleasure, in haiku form.

FEAST ON THIS: Calexico perform this week in their hometown for the first time in seven months, following deservedly mega-successful American and European tours in support of their mind-blowingly great latest album, Feast of Wire. (This poem is inspired by a story related to me by a friend who hung out backstage after seeing them in Europe this summer.)

Rock stars in Europe.
"Where's Joey?" "Getting massaged."
"Where's the deli tray?"

Calexico performs with Mariachi Luz De Luna at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at the Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave. Cost is $15 in advance ($2 discount for TMA members) at Antigone Books, Brew & Vine, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks, and the TMA Gift Shop, or online at For more info, call 297-9133

SHINE ON: If you don't know who Daniel Lanois is, do all of us a favor and either stick to the lounge or billiards room in Plush on Friday night--or go drink somewhere else. (Sorry, Plush, but I have a feeling there'll be plenty of folks jockeying for position in the band room.) OK, here's a clue for the ignorant: He's produced a good share of the most atmospherically distinctive (read: fucking cool sounding) albums of the last 20 years; if you care enough, look him up and be amazed. The latest album released under his own name is the spare and moody Shine (2003, Anti/Epitaph), his first in a decade.

Time Out of Mind? Us?
The Unforgettable Fire?
Lanois is the shit!

Daniel Lanois performs with Stefan George at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 798-1298.

LET'S RAP: Face it: Some underground hip-hop tries a bit too hard to go against the grain and ends up too obtuse to really groove to. Not saying some sticky-ass shit can't enhance the music listening experience, 'cause it obviously can, but if it's necessary to hit the pipe to appreciate what you're bumpin', well....

Because it was released on super-weirdo Mike Patton's Ipecac label, you'd expect Dälek's latest, From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots (2002), to be, well, super-weird and super-noisy--and obtuse. Yeah, there's a lot going on, but it's a hell of a lot more listenable than you'd expect from its associations: easier on the ears (and, yes, a bit less challenging) than much of the output from the Anticon camp, for example.

This is no rap-rock.
But, still it begs the question:
Can rap rock? Guess so.

Dälek performs with ZU at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. For more information, call 884-0874.

HOLY MATRIMONY! Lordy, has it really been three years since Phoenix's Trophy Husbands unleashed the deep, dark country of their debut album, Bloody Ground (2000, Rustic)? Duelin' frontmen Dave Insley and Kevin Daly have finally followed it up with the soon-to-be-released Walk With Evil (Hayden's Ferry), a slightly less sinister and more Southern Rock-influenced album than its predecessor. Then again, there are a couple songs here that pretty much invent a new genre: Let's call it twangmetalbilly, shall we?

Like beer? And whiskey?
Johnny Cash and Motorhead?
Meet yer new pals, bub.

The Trophy Husbands celebrate a CD release party, with Al Perry (yay, Al's back!) and Hank Topless, at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Tickets are $3. For more info, call 798-1298.

RUN, DON'T WALK: What, you've never heard of Portland, Oregon's the Joggers? OK, me neither, 'til they sent me their fresh-out-the-box debut, Solid Guild (StarTime), but it's the best surprise I've heard in quite a spell. Quirky melodies, sharp guitars and gloriously tweaked four-part harmonies: Are you with me yet? Would handclaps help? Consider it done.

Archers, Pavement, Spoon:
You dig the buzzy quirk-rock?
These guys hold their own.

The Joggers perform with West Cool 7 at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cost is $4. For more info, call 622-8848.

PACKING HEAT: Whirlwind Heat's debut album, Do Rabbits Wonder? (2003), pretty much sums up just what you can get away with these days, as long as your name is Jack White. The White Stripe not only produced the album (which was mixed by studio genius Dave Fridmann) but released it as one of the inaugural albums on the V2 subsidiary, Third Man Records. Chock full of Moogs, herky-jerky guitars and grating vocals, this has to be one of the least commercially viable albums ever released on a major label--which, in the case of, say, Trout Mask Replica, was a good thing, but in this case, it is not.

Angular, noisy:
These guys got 'em both in spades.
Too bad there's no songs.

Whirlwind Heat performs with the Deludes at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Cost is $4. For more information call 622-8848.

THEY'RE BACK! I'll be honest. When I heard that a local country band called the Frank & Woody Show was reuniting to play a show 22 years after calling it quits, I was skeptical, to put it mildly. Not only of the reunion itself, but of what a local band from the '70s, called the Frank & Woody Show, sounded like to begin with. I'm happy to report, then, that the two CDs from their heyday sent to me are--and I'm not being the least bit charitable here--actually damn good. They must have been out of place in their time: Country music in the '70s was largely either slickly produced radio fodder or a bare-bones reaction against it, best represented by Willie Nelson's groundbreaking album Red Headed Stranger. It was also the first heyday of the merging of country and rock, from bands like the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and later, Poco, Pure Prairie League and the Eagles. It's those country-rock bands that Frank & Woody most resemble--more the Burritos than the Eagles--but they're a bit too country to really fit in there, even. If they were starting up today, they'd be filed under alt-country--whatever that means.

(See Rule No. 2 above.)

The Frank & Woody Show performs with MOD (Morton, O'Connor, and Davies) at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St. Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Hear's Music, Piney Hollow and Reader's Oasis. For more information call 409-9900.

HARD KNOCKS: It's probably a safe bet that James Mathus doesn't listen to much current popular music. Best known as the founder of now-defunct eclectic swing combo the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mathus has ventured back to his Mississippi roots and now fronts the James Mathus Knockdown Society, a greasy blues-rock outfit that veers from Exile-era Stones rockers to juke-joint hoodoo workouts in remarkably authentic fashion.

Swing is dead again
What to do Mr. Zipper?
Play the blues, of course.

The James Mathus Knockdown Society performs with Adam Brodsky at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Cost is $5. For more info, call 798-1298.

I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD: Rest in peace, Warren Zevon.

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