FOUL BALL: One night several years ago, at the now-defunct Double Zero, while taking in a performance by Al Foul and the Shakes, we were witness to the following: A downtown scenester, who was completely wasted and dancing his ass off, came over to where we were standing, at the end of the bar. He bowed his head and proceeded to bravely choke out a surreptitious puke on the floor, then called the bartender over and--even more bravely--ordered yet another can of Schlitz before running back up front for more dancing. We were so amused we didn't mind the vomit that landed on our shoes--after all, Al and the boys were just launching into the Breathalyzer dance, so what was a drunkard to do?

Welcome, folks, to the rowdy world of Tucson icon Al Foul and his revolving door of stand-up bass players and snare drum 'n' high-hat bashers known as the Shakes--so named, not for the ice cream confection, but for the condition that afflicts over-imbibers on the morning after.

Prepare to Breathalyze, "Do the Roach," and "Spank That Ass" one more time, as the charismatic, gravel-voiced singer/guitarist this week celebrates a full 10 years of bringing balls-out acoustic rockabilly to the masses, with a celebration at Club Congress of his achievements. This time around, Foul will be backed by Lucas Mosely on bass and Shannon Moreno on drums, but the performance will also feature special guests, including members of Shakes past. Also on the bill are openers Texas Trash and the Hangovers and the Last Call Brawlers, and between sets on the club's stage, Heather Rae & the Moonshine Boys and Tom Walbank will perform in the Hotel Congress lobby.

Buy us a can of Schlitz and we'll be happy to point out the guy who wretched on our shoes all those years ago.

Al Foul and the Shakes' Tenth Anniversary Party kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is five bucks. For more information, call 622-8848.

HOWE NOW: This week's performance from Howe Gelb is so under the radar that even his label rep didn't know about it until we mentioned it to him last week. The show--which, unless we're mistaken (and, granted, that's entirely possible, as our short-term memory isn't quite what it could be), is Gelb's first hometown gig in nearly a year--will find the Sandman backed by his band from Denmark, as well as famed British artist/producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Goldfrapp, Tracy Chapman, etc.), who's in town for a few months as producer-in-residence at WaveLab Studios.

The prolific Gelb has just released Still Lookin' Good to Me (Thrill Jockey), his fourth installment on as many labels, under The Band of Blacky Ranchette moniker. It's the band's most star-studded affair yet, including contributions from the likes of Grandaddy, Neko Case, Matt Ward, Chan Marshall, Richard Buckner, Dallas Good and Kurt Wagner, as well as fellow Arizonans Tommy Larkins, Jon Rauhaus and, of course, Joey Burns and John Convertino. Though we hadn't received our copy in the mail as of press time, the album is garnering universally excellent reviews.

Howe Gelb and his Danish band, with John Parish and special guest Marie Frank (huge in Denmark, we're told) perform at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission to the all-ages show is $8. For bonus details, call 884-0874.

TRIPLE PLAY: For fans of literary, indie not-quite-rock, you can't do much better than the triple bill scheduled to hit Solar Culture Gallery this week.

Kicking off the show is singer/songwriter David Dondero, whose brand-new album is called The Transient (Future Farmer) for a reason: Dondero is a troubadour whose confessional songs reflect his travels--life and death, love and loss, sleeping wherever the hell you can find a few hours of peace, and if you're lucky, having a few bucks in your pocket to buy a sandwich. When you first hear his sublimely quivering voice, you might be tempted to think he's ripping off Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, but the truth is, in fact, the opposite; Oberst has admitted as much, saying "It was hearing (Dondero's) voice that made me comfortable with my own." (The two have remained close friends over the years: Oberst guests on The Transient, which was produced by Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis, and Dondero is credited as executive producer on the debut album from Oberst's side project, Desaparecidos.)

Next on the bill are Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, better known as Azure Ray. The duo specializes in the contradictory: Their songs are at once ethereal and earthy, ornately written yet sparsely arranged. The duo's past local performances have been entrancingly gorgeous. (Related trivia: Fink and Taylor have also toured as part of Bright Eyes' band and also collaborated with Moby on a track on his album 18. To tie the triple bill together, all three of Azure Ray's albums were produced by Eric Bachmann--read on ...)

Headlining the show is Crooked Fingers, which is fronted by Eric Bachmann, former leader of '90s indie-rock gods Archers of Loaf. Those used to Archers' angular guitars and general rambunctiousness might be a bit startled to hear Red Devil Dawn (Merge), the latest release from Crooked Fingers, as Bachmann now trades in more mellow, singer/songwriterly pursuits that merge the down-but-not-out lyrical deftness of Nebraska-era Springsteen with the sandpapery vocal grit of Neil Diamond. The album is, in a word, breathtaking.

Crooked Fingers, Azure Ray and David Dondero perform at 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Admission to the all-ages show is $8. That number again is 884-0874.

BAND-AID: This time last year, we told you about Bread, Soup & Struggle, a benefit CD that Luminarios singer/guitarist Rich Hopkins compiled to benefit the Casa Maria soup kitchen--a local soup kitchen located at 401 E. 26th St. that has, for more than 20 years, provided free meals to the poor and homeless from 8 a.m. to noon, 365 days a year--and its accompanying CD release party. According to a press release sent out by Brian Flagg, one of the many Catholic workers who runs the kitchen, "There are more hungry and hurting people, especially families, than ever" showing up at Casa Maria's doors (and people said those federal tax refund checks wouldn't work!), and so, Hopkins has decided to make the benefit show an annual Thanksgiving event.

The Second Annual Casa Maria Benefit features headliner Barry Melton (best known as the lead guitarist of Country Joe and the Fish), and openers the Last Call Girls, Dutsi Spoon and Felipe Jarra. (Melton's band will include Hopkins, Harold Acevus, and a guy named "Doug.") It all goes down at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 27, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 and a can of food. For more information, call 622-8848.

MAGIC ACT: Magic Slim and the Teardrops have been called the greatest living proponent of the gritty, electrified Mississippi-to-Chicago blues, and who are we to argue? Mentored by Magic Sam at an early age, Slim (nee Morris Holt) has recorded albums for labels Rooster Blues, Alligator and Austrian Wolf, but his current stint on Blind Pig has earned him some of the highest accolades of his career--like many a great bluesman, his vibrato-drenched guitar playing and raw vocals seem to only get better with age.

Magic Slim and the Teardrops perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29, and Sunday, Nov. 30, at Nimbus Brewing Company, 3850 E. 44th St. Admission is $15 at the door, $12 for Tucson Blues Society members. Minors are welcome, but must be accompanied by their parents. For further details call 745-9175.

TURNING JAPANESE: Hawaii-based Japanese singer Coppe' (pronounced "co-pa'y") makes the long journey to Tucson this week, to perform at Solar Culture. Her sensual, ethereal vocals have been backed by a long list of electronica collaborators in the last several years, including Plaid, DJ Vadim, The Program and Kris Weston, aka Thrash, of The Orb. Her most recent release is Nauru (2003, Mango & Sweet Rice), a mostly chilled-out collection of trip-hop and drum 'n' bass collaborations with producer Nico, programmers Terry D and Ryan Breen and keyboardist Dr. Jacobson.

Coppe' performs on Friday, Nov. 28, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. Tucson's Debbie opens at 9 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $6. For more info, call 884-0874.

SOLD OUT: If you haven't already bought tickets for either the Duran Duran reunion show at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 29 or the Willie Nelson performance set for the same date at Desert Diamond Casino, we're sorry to inform you you're POL--that's poop-outta-luck--as both have sold out. All five original members of D-squared are touring to celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band and will release a new album sometime next year, while Willie pretty much never stops touring ("On the Road Again" isn't just another song in his mind-blowing repertoire--it's also a way of life). Incidentally, Nelson celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year, and Sony has all year long been re-issuing all of his Columbia and Epic releases--re-mastered, with bonus tracks and new liner notes--to commemorate it. They're excellent.

ON THE BANDWAGON: Local psychedelic rockers Sun Zoom Spark will play a release party for their new, mostly instrumental CD, Transmissions From Satellites Volume One (SlowBurn), on Friday, Nov. 28, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. (670-9202).

Punk icon Lydia Lunch will be doing a spoken word set, sandwiched by an opening set from locals The Fashionistas and a closing one from locals Sugarbush, at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. ($10; 622-8848).

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