Frequently compared to Bruce Springsteen and his blue-collar rock stylings, Marah has a gritty authenticity that suggests they don't wear their Carhartts just for show. Their sound is further informed by their Philadelphia roots--listening to their latest, 20,000 Streets Under the Sky, it's somehow clear that this is a band from an industrial city of the North. The hints of blue-eyed soul and doo-wop, particularly on "Tame the Tiger" and "Pizzeria," further establish their Brotherly Love bona fides.

If 20,000 Streets is any guide, Marah are great in the studio, but their true métier is the live show. Or at least that's what godhead music critic Nick Hornby raved in a New York Times editorial in May. Endorsements don't get much stronger, unless, say, Bruce Springsteen himself thinks enough of you that he invites you to play with him during one of his sold-out Giants Stadium concerts. Which is exactly what happened last summer. Apparently, Marah are doing something right.

Naturally, you'll want to see if Hornby and the Boss (I smell a sitcom!) are full of shit or not, and Soundbites is here to tell you when: 9 p.m. , Friday, Aug. 20, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. El Paso's The Stags open, presumably having left their dates behind. Bring identification and $7 to gain entry; call 798-1302 if still perplexed.


Attention gearheads: As you know, there have been many permutations of a sorta-annual event that celebrates Kustom Kar Kulture and all the tattooing, pin-striping, and rocking therein --Hot Rod O'Rama, Throw the Socs Down the Well (alright, that's made up) and The GreaseBall, which became the event's moniker in 2002 after a venue change. This year's Ball features the costume-rock of The Gore-Gons (featuring dudes that were in Deadbolt!) and power-mad locals Whiskey Bitch and Shrimp Chaperone. (Is homeboy a small person who chaperones, or an escort of prawns? It's troubling either way.)

The Hotel and Club Congress is where all the Pony Boys and Mary Janes should gather on Friday, Aug. 20, at 9 p.m. The cordoned-off parking lot will feature a slew of custom 'rods; the Lobby will be turned into a bazaar of the bizarre (well, if tattoos and pompadours are bizarre) with whatever passes for "merch"--leather underpants, Dapper Dan pomade, pin-striping, etc. Best of all, the whole shebang sets you back merely $5. 622-8848 is the number to call with queries.


After some difficulty, we've ascertained the specifics of the upcoming Bad Boys of Metal show at a venue called Game Day Sports Bar and Grill, here in the Pueblo de Metal. "Gamedays," as the venue is listed in the official tour dates, does not exist, although there's a GameDaze in Park Place Mall. But it's doubtful that Stephen Adler and the rest of the Boys will be rocking next to stacks of Monopoly and Parcheesi. No, the $10 show takes place at the aforementioned venue, located at 3727 S. Palo Verde Road, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. For your $10 ticket, you get to see Adler and his backing band doing Guns 'N' Roses covers, plus Bang Tango, Janie Lane (?), Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot (who was mock-interviewed by the Weekly last summer) and a bevy of hirsute, aging rockers whose hands have atrophied in the devil-horn position. Doors open at 7 p.m.; call 745-5181 for more information.


Arizona's Least Wanted is the shuffling, shaggy, infrequently convened counterpart to Mark Insley's successful Arizona's Most Wanted Wednesday showcases at Vaudeville Cabaret. These four hoarse men--Al Perry, Hank Topless, Slack Mac and Skid Severson--bring their twangy jocularity back for a second round, which, according to the press release, "promises nothing." Of course, by that, they mean it'll be a night of excellent, local country-inflected rock. Indulge their self-deprecation at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, at Vaudeville, 110 E. Congress St. Although cost of admission was indeterminate at press time, howl with indignation if they try to nick you for any more than, say, 10 bucks. You can call 622-3535 if you really must know more.


At long last, Arizona joins the ranks of "states that are not Utah" by extending last call to the perfectly reasonable 2 a.m. hour. With surprisingly little controversy, we drinkers will gain an extra hour to imbibe, courtesy of the sage folk in the state Legislature and Gov. Napolitano. Couple the new curfew with the summer sun, and the divide between night owls and the gainfully employed grows ever wider.

It all goes down (smoothly) Wednesday, Aug. 25. At Plush, you can check out Lagoon, who happen to be celebrating their CD release. Coinkydink? Methinks not. $3 gets you in; 798-1302 is the number to dial.

Or, you can celebrate your new, hard-won freedom at Club Congress, where Chango Malo, Great American Tragedy, Mankind and scratchingthesurface perform. Additionally, a hotel discount and free cab rides are being offered, in case that extra hour has you yawning in Technicolor. Admission is three bones, and that name again is Mr. Plow--er, that number is 622-8848.


Not to be confused with the shitty Finnish goth-metal outfit H.I.M., the U.S. Him hails from Chicago and makes jazz-inflected dub rock that would strongly remind one of confederates like Tortoise and Isotope 217, also from the Windy City (perhaps it should be remonikered "The Jazzy City"?). A loose collective that has featured members too numerous to count, the "project" (jazzbo for "band") is helmed by one Doug Scharin, a veteran of June of '44, Codeine, Rex and all-around great guy. Him's latest, Many in High Places Are Not Well, is either a canonical post-rock statement, or so post-rock it's post post-rock, like at the end of a letter when you write "P.P.S."

Catch Him at Solar Culture Gallery at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, for $6. Seven to Blue opens. Reach the man in the African pillbox at 884-0874 with all questions--cosmic and otherwise.


It appears that the Flash Gallery, 310 E. Congress St. , has dropped the "Club La Nuit" designation; no matter. For as long as is possible (that is, until the storefronts on the Rialto block begin renovation) they will continue to host excellent avant-gardeish shows. This week, Flash Gallery hosts the oddly brilliant amalgam of synth, rock guitar and flagrantly gay bawdiness that is Xiu Xiu. Opening duties will be handled by La Cerca, who are also a mix of synth, rock guitar and flagrantly gay bawdiness. (Just kidding--there's not that much synth.) Monday, Aug. 23 is the date; 9 p.m. is the time; $7 is the price. Call 628-2944 and hit on whomever answers.


As Soundbites was confronted with an exceedingly busy week, here's a brief roundup of what else is going on: Mountain (indeed, with Leslie West) at Nimbus Brewery, 3850 E. 44th St., Suite 138, on Monday, Aug. 23 ($15 advance/$20 day of show, 745-9175 for da 411); Ben Kweller with The Unicorns at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road on Sunday, Aug. 22 (tix $13; phone 733-6262); more (nu) metal when Killswitch Engage, From Autumn to Ashes, Eighteen Visions and 36 Crazyfists scream in to The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., Thursday, Aug. 26 (call 629-9211); and Detroit's The Paybacks hit Plush on Aug. 26--Soundbites saw 'em in Austin this year and cringed. Maybe it was an off night.

Oof--that's a lot of rock for one week. Tucson Rock City.

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