NEW AND IMPROVED SOUNDBITES! A quick note about this week's column, and those in the future: We've always covered events that occur the Thursday the paper comes out through the following Wednesday. Since we realize that many of you don't exactly rush to those red kiosks to pick up the paper first thing each Thursday morning, we will now be covering events beginning on Friday, through the following Thursday, in order to give you a bit more time for planning. (Due to the transition, there may be a bit of crossover in the next couple weeks, so please check dates carefully.)

Also, note that this week, like the last several, is jam-packed full of more notable shows than we have room to cover. Thus, we wholeheartedly recommend that you spend a bit of time scanning the Club Listings, and as always in these situations, we'll try to be as pithy as possible to cram in as much as we can.

UNDER COVERS: As you read this, dozens of bands across town are holed up in their practice spaces, forgoing their normal set run-throughs in order to learn a bunch of cover songs that they'll probably never play again. Which, of course, can only mean one thing: It's time once again for the splendiferous, megatastic, connideratious (OK, sorry--that last one makes no sense at all) extravaganza that is the Sixth Annual Great Cover-Up, in which more than 30 of the city's best bands perform 20-minute sets of covers by a band more famous than themselves, all in the name of charity. In short, it's one of those must-see events, sorta like that Paris Hilton video.

This year's Cover-Up has been expanded to three nights--Wednesday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 21--in order to accommodate as many bands as possible (and our apologies to those who we were forced to turn down). As always, we're not blowing the surprise by telling you who's covering whom--only which bands are performing, and which are being covered. Also, as always, the schedule that appears here may go through some slight changes prior to the show dates. (And, in keeping with the note at the beginning of this column, Friday's lineup will appear in this space next week.) OK, then (deep breath), here goes --

Bands performing on Wednesday: Secret Eggo Project (7 p.m.); The Stellas (7:30 p.m.); Solid Donkey (8 p.m.); Bombs for the Bored (8:30 p.m.); Chris Holiman and the Downtown Saints (9 p.m.); Wasted Aces (9:30 p.m.); Sun Zoom Spark (10 p.m.); TBA (10:30 p.m.); Ozlo (11 p.m.); The Jons (11:30 p.m.); and Spacefish (midnight).

Bands being covered on Wednesday: Nine Inch Nails, Elton John, Café Tacuba, Tenacious D, Sonic Youth, Iron Maiden, Huey Lewis and the News, Merle Haggard, Mountain and Fugazi.

Bands performing on Thursday: The George Squier Orchestra (7 p.m.); The Retainers (7:30 p.m.); The Pago Pago (8 p.m.); Is To Feel (8:30 p.m.); Lagoon (9 p.m.); The Okmoniks (9:30 p.m.); Innisfail (10 p.m.); TBA (10:30 p.m.); Bob Log III (11 p.m.); scratchingthesurface (11:30 p.m.); The Therapists (midnight); and Truck (12:30 a.m.).

Bands being covered on Thursday: Johnny Cash, Depeche Mode, Burt Bacharach, Def Leppard, Banana Splits, Minor Threat, Robert Palmer, Smashing Pumpkins, Queen, Built to Spill and The Weird Lovemakers.

Please bear in mind that every band performing is receiving absolutely no money for their efforts, due to the fact that every dime collected at the door is going straight to The Brewster Center, a local nonprofit organization devoted to a multitude of domestic violence services. Also keep in mind that each and every band performing, regardless of whether they're on at 7 p.m. or midnight, has put in weeks, if not months, of prep time in order to participate in the event. Therefore, we strongly urge you to get there early, in time to catch all participating bands (and to ensure entry, as the shindig may sell out). KLPX DJ Chita will also be on hand--along with some guest emcees--as master of ceremonies.

Be there, or scrawl a big "L" on your forehead.

The Sixth Annual Great Cover-Up takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19, Thursday, Nov. 20, and Friday, Nov. 21, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission to the event is $7 for one day, $11 for two days, and $14 for all three. If you have any questions please call 622-8848, or e-mail

GOES EXTREMELY WELL WITH THAT SHARK SHIRT: The fellas in The Knockout Pills have been blathering in my ear forever about local band Shark Pants ("the best punk band in Tucson, hands down," sez guitarist Travis Spillers), and now I know why. The band's debut album, Porno Snakehead, out this week on San Pedro, Calif.'s Recess Records, is the sound of three gotta-be-snortin'-the-meth desert ne'er-do-wells charging through nine songs of blissful speed-punk in just over 15 minutes.

The problem I have with most punk bands obsessed with speed is that they're so preoccupied with it that they forget to write memorable songs. Not so with Shark Pants. The group--singer/guitarist Isaac, bassist Vannessa and drummer Dick--is the rare band that'll have you shaking your head when the album's over, wondering what the hell just hit you, then five seconds later, you realize you're already humming one of the songs you just heard. In other words, they write killer melodies--they just play 'em faster than your tiny brain can comprehend them. Fuck "power trio"--these two men and a lady are a nuclear bomb.

Shark Pants celebrate the release of Porno Snakehead with a CD release party on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. The punkstravaganza kicks off around 9 p.m. with opening sets from the band's labelmates Toys That Kill and Civic Minded Five, San Pedro's Killer Dreamer and local powerhouse Hobart. Admission is cheap and you can call 622-3535 for further details.

WAITING FOR HER ESSENCE: While people regularly complain about crappy sound at the Rialto Theatre (and, at one time, those complaints were justified), we feel that the venue gets a bad rap these days. About 80 percent of the shows we've attended there this year have actually sounded quite good, and as anyone who goes to a lot of shows knows, that's not a bad percentage.

There is no better example of just how good the theatre can sound than Lucinda Williams' last appearance there, in April 2002. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about; if you weren't there, ask someone who was.

But it wasn't just the sound quality that was great that night; it was the quality of the performance. For more than two hours, Williams had the crowd by the 'nads, reeling off song after perfect song about love, loss, redemption--all the usual stuff that makes for compelling songwriting--in that sexy, tough-but-fragile manner that is hers alone. And her crack band--guitarist/pedal steel player Doug Pettibone, bassist Taras Prodaniuk and drummer Jim Christie--didn't hurt either, providing supple backing throughout.

Expect the same when Lucinda Williams performs on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Williams handpicks all of her openers, and that lucky band this time around is eastmountainsouth, who will begin the show at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $25 (general admission) and $30 (reserved balcony seating) at the theatre's box office. Expect to pay a bit more at the door. For more information, call 798-3333.

ON THE BANDWAGON: K records producer/engineer and member of Yume Bitsu, Adam Forkner brings his solo project, VVRSSNN>>> (pronounced "version") to town this week, as headliner of the Lazer Love Dance Party being thrown by local oddball "disko punques" Sugarbush, who will also perform. The bill is rounded out by Y.A.T.C.H. and the Dirty Projectors, and it all goes down at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Sangin Building, 300 N. Sixth Ave. Cover for the all-ages show is $4. For more info, e-mail

I don't have any problem admitting that I've been on a bit of a blues-boogie-rock kick lately, extending into a Southern rock sorta thing. (I am, however, a wee bit embarrassed to 'fess up to a just-before-closing-time rush excursion to Bookman's last week because I absolutely had to hear Foghat and Molly Hatchet on cheap vinyl.) So, I was extremely pleased to see that The Cherry Valence, who play the type of stuff I'm talking about--way more on the boogie-rock tip than the Southern rock one, with punk attitude to boot--in a most incendiary and loud-ass manner (the shit's gotta be loud, yo), are returning to town this week. Catch 'em at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Sunday, Nov. 16. Also on the bill are Wasted Aces and Texas Trash and the Hangovers, who should get things rolling around 9 p.m. Call 622-3535 for further info.

If you didn't get your Wu-Tang Clan fix at last month's Raekwon show, polish up those swords: Cappadonna and Killah Priest are dropping into Club Congress, 311 E. Congress, on Sunday, Nov. 16. (According to our projections, by this time in 2006, all 43 Wu-Tang members will have passed through Congress individually.) Remedy opens at 9 p.m., and cover is $12 for those 21 and up, $15 for the young'uns. Questions? We recommend calling 622-8848.

Along with The Buzzcocks and The Damned, U.K. Subs are one of the only original British punk bands still around today, and, quite possibly, the only one that has never broken up and re-formed. Depending on your age, the Subs' mix of politics and partying will either be a schooling in old-school punk, or a walk down memory lane. They'll perform on Friday, Nov. 14, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress. Toxic Narcotic and an opener TBA will begin around 9 p.m. That number again is 622-3535.

Best known for writing "Pancho and Lefty," which Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard rode up the country charts to No. 1, the late Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt has been critically lauded for decades, even if the masses couldn't name you another one of his songs. This week brings you the chance to acquaint yourself with some of his other treasures, as a gaggle of local singer/songwriters gather to pay Tribute to Townes Van Zandt by performing his songs. Among those performing are Frank McCormick, Dave Irwin, Babadona, Dan Oved, Mark Matos and Shelly and Dan Dorsey. Admission is free and it runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Oasis Vegetarian Eatery, 375 S. Stone Ave. For more info call 884-1616.

Also recommended this week: Xiu Xiu with La Cerca and The Prids at 9 p.m. at Solar Culture, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Thursday, Nov. 20 (884-0874); Cesaria Evora at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Thursday, Nov. 20 (798-3333); Little Rabbits with Amor at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. (798-1298); Conference Call at 8 p.m. at the Mat Bevel Institute, 530 N. Stone Ave., on Saturday, Nov. 15 (882-7154); and The Clumsy Lovers at 11 p.m. at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Friday, Nov. 14.

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