Howdy, folks. This installment marks the third time I've dutifully taken up the SB post for our main man, Stephen Seigel, while he stuffs his face with barbecued ribs and takes in all the bands he possibly can at this year's South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas. You may recall him mentioning in last week's issue that we Tucsonans benefit greatly from bands making the trek to and from the Lone Star state, and he wasn't kidding. That said, there are probably too many bands playing this week to cram into this space, but I'm gonna do my best. So, let's see what's on our plate this week, shall we?


London-based pop artist Michele Noach pays Tucson a much-needed visit with her brand of minimalist fine art via the cartoon idiom on Friday, March 26 at the Hotel Congress Lobby. Because she's not dead and didn't hang out with Andy Warhol, her work hasn't been featured the way it should be. Nonetheless, she has garnered quite a reputation as a prominent pop artist and has been the focus of dozens of shows in European and stateside galleries, cafes and store lobbies during the last 15 years. Her work, featuring cute and quirky cartoon-ish characters (think Tex Avery of Warner Bros. fame mixed with the simplicity of Krazy Kat with a touch of Ren and Stimpy wackiness), is simple, clever and witty. Images of bunnies and cats that are at first amusing hint at a sinister dark side.

Perhaps due to her prolonged stay in Tucson (along with her beau, the one and only Robyn Hitchcock), Noach has, like so many other visitors, become enamored with the desert landscape and all its trappings. Hence, the title of her show, The Javelina's Sugar Tongs.

This Friday's event marks her first foray into the southwest art scene, and hopefully, it won't be her last. In case you end up missing it, you're in luck--her work will be featured in the Hotel Congress lobby from March 26 through May 5.

Cafés and lobbies are Noach's locale-of-choice for patrons to relax and take in art, so I can't think of a better place than the Hotel Congress lobby to debut her work.

Joining Noach is the "Peccary Ensemble," a posse comprised of the aforementioned Robyn Hitchcock, Howe Gelb and the Zsa Zsas (lite). As if this isn't already enough of a reason to be in attendance, don't be surprised if a few "special guests" show up to crash this crazy party. Expect the unexpected.

The reception will be in the lobby from 7-9 p.m.; the "ensemble" will play inside the Club Congress at 9p.m. Advanced tickets are $8, $10 at the door. As always, folks of all ages can check out the show in the lobby, but the show inside is 21 and up. The Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Call 622-8848 for more info.

I'M WITH ...

Fans of Sublime may want to check out "reggae-influenced rockers" Slightly Stoopid this Sunday, March 28, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. With a name that better befits a hippie jam band, these guys can apparently get their "reggae-influenced rock" on with the best of them. Just to make sure, drop the $15 and find out for yourself. Pepper and Bargain Music get it started. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this all-ages show. Call 733-6262 for showtime and additional info.


Everyone's favorite Jewish lesbian "pholk" singer, Phranc, comes out of the proverbial woodwork (i.e., L.A.) for a rare appearance at Club Congress this week, during her limited-date "Tupperware Party" tour. (Apparently, she's really into it. Who knew?) For those outside of the Jewish lesbian folkie inner circle, Phranc got her start as a guitarist in the seminal L.A. punk outfit Catholic Discipline in the early '80s. Since then, she has released several solo records and toured with The Smiths, X and the Pogues, to name a few. Phranc hits Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. this Sunday, March 28. Lysa Flores gets the Tupperware shindig started at 9 p.m. Cover for this 21-and-older party is $10. For more info, call 622-8848.


While their label (Geffen) calls Something Corporate a "SoCal introspective rock quintet" (a bit vague, no?), what passes for "introspective rock" these days sounds to me more like roadkill at the intersection of Emo and Matchbox 20. But who am I to judge? The target market here is the adult-challenged, and that I ain't. On one side of the fence is a turd so smelly they didn't even bother to come up with a catchy name. And it fits, since these guys probably get more money in tour support than I make all year. On the other side, of course, are instantly catchy and anthemic pop ditties. Along for the ride is Yellowcard (which I'm assuming is a reference to futbol). Sugarcult and Steriogram warm up the amps at 7 p.m. this Monday, March 29, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Cover for this all-ages extravaganza is a whopping $17.50 in advance. Call 798-3333 for additional info.


Pinback sprung from the ashes of San Diego epic-fantasy slow-gloom rockers Three Mile Pilot (the other half of which went on to Black Heart Procession fame), added dreamy pop sensibilities along with a much smoother and richer sound, and never looked back. The brothers Pinback take the stage at Plush this Wednesday, March 31. Phoenix's Reuben's Accomplice, hot off the heels of a new recording (on Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins' Western Tread imprint) gets you warmed up at 9:30 p.m. A mere $9 gets your 21-and-older self in. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. For more info, call 798-1298.

Azure Ray features two women, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor. They play pretty and soft pop. They also play in the aforementioned Now It's Overhead (jeez, those Saddle Creekers are incestuous), and even co-wrote and performed on the Moby song "Great Escape." Their latest is a departure from previous efforts in its more all-encompassing, keyboard-driven sound. Accompanying them is The Elected (featuring that guy from Rilo Kiley), whose debut release "Me First" reminds me of a more countrified Granddaddy. Rounding out this indie trifecta-of-a-bill is Okkervill River's brand of "lush, eclectic orchestration." Singer and songwriter Will Robinson Sheff has been compared to Connor Oberst, Will Oldham and even Nick Cave. Their latest release, Down the River of Golden Dreams, has been met with much critical acclaim. Get yourself a good old-fashioned three-fer this Wednesday, March 31, at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave. This all-ages show starts at 9 p.m., with a door price of $8. Call 884-0874 for more info.


The booty-shakin' dance party to end all booty-shakin' dance parties is undertaken this week by Brooklyn's Fannypack. Think Licensed To Ill-era Beastie Boys meets JJ Fad and Kraftwerk, and you got the gist of their debut album So Stylistic. If you ain't shakin' it this Wednesday, March 31 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., then you just don't know how to have a good time. Period. Phoenix's XOXOXO and the George Squier Orchestra get this all-ages show started at 8 p.m.; door price is $10. Call 622-8848 for more details.


Country outlaw Ray Wylie Hubbard visits us this week. A dream come true for Mark Insley, who curates the "Arizona's Most Wanted" showcase of outlaw country acts, Hubbard shouldn't disappoint. Those privy to all things country might know him as the man behind the song "Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother," who, after a lull, is back with a few highly critically-acclaimed albums. Go find out why this Wednesday, March 31, at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. For more info, call 'em at 622-3535.