DRY AS A BONEThe snowbirds are gone; most of the students are, too. Heck, even some locals have run for the hills--in some cases, literally. Yep, it must be summer, which also marks the slowest period of live music all year.
Some local performers have split town, while others, like many of us, hole up in their comfy air-conditioned homes (and hopefully write some new songs in the process). As for touring bands ... well, let's put it this way: Would you tour in the hottest part of the country, in the middle of the hottest season of the year, if you didn't have to? I thought not. (While we're thankful to anyone who does brave the heat, any band that finds Tucson as part of their tour itinerary in midsummer might want to consider finding a new booking agent.)
The point of all of this is that July is going to pretty much suck for those of us who enjoy a night out seeing live music. For those whose glass is half full, maybe those few shows you see this month will seem that much sweeter in their rarity. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
On a related note, mark your calendars: Vaudeville Cabaret will be closed from Sunday, July 1, through Monday, July 9, for its annual summer vacation.
THE CTU RECOMMENDSNot to be confused with the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, the film documenting a tour by upstarts Rocco DeLuca and the Burden is I Trust You to Kill Me. Not many bands get a film made about them so early in their careers, but not many bands have Jack Bauer, er, Kiefer Sutherland as a tour manager. There is a bit of symbiosis here: DeLuca (not to be confused with The Deludes or Luca) released his first album, also titled I Trust You to Kill Me, on Ironworks Music, a label started by Sutherland and singer-songwriter Jude Cole.
I caught a good chunk of the documentary when it was being shown on VH1 (the channel also picked DeLuca and the Burden as one of its featured artists "You Oughta Know"), and I can report that, in spite of the shameless promotional roots from which it sprung--there's no better way to break an unknown artist than having a guy from their label, who just happens to be a very famous actor, behave badly in front of the cameras while shepherding said artist across Europe--it was really rather entertaining. Perhaps most surprising of all: Rocco DeLuca and the Burden are not complete shite.
DeLuca is a pretty darn impressive dobro player who earned his stripes during a weekly residency at Orange County's Gypsy Lounge, which led to opening gigs for the likes of Taj Mahal. Mahal seems a likely influence on DeLuca, whose blend of eerie blues and swamp rock also owes debts to Led Zeppelin's acoustic work and a toned-down White Stripes. It's a bit more middle of the road, perhaps, than either, with slicker production, but those are good starting points.
DeLuca will hold the middle slot at the Hilton El Conquistador's Fourth of July celebration. Headlining the festivities are the rather bland and derivative Lifehouse, while locals Ryanhood--who are taking a break from recording a new, long-awaited album with producer Ross Hogarth--will open.
The Hilton El Conquistador is located at 10000 N. Oracle Road. Gates open at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, with music starting at 4 p.m. Advance tickets and parking passes are available at the resort's front desk, KWMT FM 92.9 The Mountain, hiltonelconquistador.com or 929themountain.com. Prices are $17 for adults ($20 at the door), $8 for children 6 to 12 ($10 at the door) and free for kids 5 and under. Parking passes are $6. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, and a fireworks display will follow the music.
Packages are also available, including a two-day package that will include a private poolside performance by Fastball on Tuesday, July 3.
For more information, head to the aforementioned Web sites, or call 880-9292 or 544-5085.
JAMMIN' WITH JANOSWhile we're up in the foothills, we should probably take the time to mention that JBar, the not-quite-so-upscale eatery that adjoins Janos, continues its Summer Music Series, which features a live performance by a local band or artist each Wednesday and Thursday on the outdoor patio through the end of September. While the restaurant will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, the music commences the following night, Thursday, July 5, with music from Sarava. Upcoming performers include BK Special (Thursday, July 12), String Figures (Wednesday, July 18), Ed DeLucia (Thursday, July 19), Will Clipman and Mary Redhouse (Wednesday, July 25) and Janice Jarrett (Thursday, July 26). For a complete schedule, head to janos.com.
J Bar is located at 3770 E. Sunrise Drive, on the grounds of the Westin La Paloma. Music begins at sundown and ends at 10 p.m. For further details, call 615-6100.
TAKE SOLACE IN A NEW ALBUMHere's some good news via the counselors at Camp Solace Brothers: This week brings the "soft release" of the trio's new album, Bad Will, on California Beach Club, the label recently founded by the Brothers' singer-keyboardist Dan Naiman--"soft release" meaning that, although it hasn't been officially released yet, the band will have copies for sale for the first time at their appearance at Plush this weekend.
The show is one of a trio of joint appearances--the others being at Spaceland in Los Angeles and at Emo's in Austin, Texas--with blues-rockers Year Long Disaster, who count among their ranks Daniel Davies, the son of the Kinks' Dave Davies, and the former drummer from Third Eye Blind (c'mon, don't hold it against him). They've been favorably compared to Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy.
Canada opens the show at 9:30 p.m., followed by Year Long Disaster, then the Solace Brothers. It all goes down on Friday, June 29. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. Cover is $5. Questions? Ring 'em up at 798-1298.
ON THE BANDWAGONAlso busy readying a new album for upcoming release, Chango Malo headlines a fine four-band bill this weekend. The show will also feature sets from The Swim, Stillsuit and American Android, and begins at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Cover is $5. Call 798-1298 for more info.
Lace up yer dancin' shoes, 'cause it's time to get funky. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., hosts three of the funkiest bands in T-Town on Friday, June 29: Grab a seat on the mothership for the sprawling conglomeration of electric funkateers à la Parliament-Funkadelic that is Cosmic Slop; just try not to dance when the eight-piece Spirit Familia bust out their bag of African, Latin and reggae tricks; and breathing room will be provided by the exotic flamenco-fusion combo Tesoro. It all gets started at 9 p.m. A fiver gets you in the doors. Call 622-8848 for further info.
We all knew that KXCI FM 91.3 music director Duncan Hudson was a hell of a producer and engineer, but who knew he played guitar, too? He's one-third of Beatnik Dream Vacation, a lounge-jazz trio that also includes Brian Maloney (Black Sun Ensemble, Sun Zoom Spark) and Scott Kerr. Check them out for free in the lounge at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., at 9:30 p.m., Sunday, July 1. That number again is 798-1298.
The wildly popular and often scantily clad Latin pop star (and certified hottie) Paulina Rubio makes a stop in Tucson at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road, in support of her latest, highly acclaimed album, Ananda (2006, Universal Latino). Advance tickets are available for $45-$75 at all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 321-1000. All tickets will be $5 more on the day of the show. For more info, call (866) DDC-WINS.