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SO LONG, DANNY RHODES We were saddened to hear that on May 23, renowned Arizona blues guitarist Danny Rhodes, a member of the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame, lost his battle with stomach cancer.

To pay tribute to their friend and fellow musician, several performers will gather this week to perform.

From 6:30 to 9 p.m., on Sunday, June 29, at Javalina's Coffee and Friends, 9136 E. Valencia Road, the following will perform in his honor: Carol Ann Alaimo and Chad White, Jack of Roses, the Bryan Dean Trio, Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deurzen, Rio Finnegan and Grams and Krieger. Additionally, though Stefan George is unable to attend, he is sending along a recording of a special jam session he performed with Rhodes last year to be played at the tribute.

Admission is free, but donations to compensate the musicians for gas, and to aid a 4-year-old leukemia patient named Orion Gunnell, will be accepted. If weather permits, the show will be held on Javalina's patio, so you're advised to bring lawn chairs. For additional information, call 663-5282.

Our condolences go out to Rhodes' friends and family.


MUSICAL-CHAIRS SUNDAY In case you haven't already heard, the Mike Ness show originally scheduled at the Rialto Theatre on Sunday, June 29, has been moved across the street, to Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Everything else about the show will remain the same: The Horton Brothers will still open; the show is still welcome to all ages; doors still open at 7 p.m.; and Ness, on his first solo tour in almost a decade, will still play all those country and blues tunes you want to hear (along with the possible occasional Social Distortion song) and will still sport an awful lot of tattoos. Tickets originally bought for the Rialto show will be honored at Congress' door. They're $30, but you're urged to get yours quickly, as the show will likely sell out in the smaller venue.

If you don't have 30 bones to spare but are itching to hear some high-energy bastardized blues and country, you might want to head over to Congress anyway. The hotel's free outdoor BBQ series continues at 6 p.m. that very same evening with a free performance by Indianapolis trio Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. All you'll need to pay for is a burger or hot dog and, of course, beer.

Call 622-8848 for answers to any questions you may have.

Meanwhile, the Rialto has a far different replacement concert that night, as well--a metal extravaganza headlined by Five Finger Death Punch, and including Flesh Factor and Grudge Holder. (To make matters even more confusing, this show was originally scheduled for The Rock, but was moved to the Rialto.) This one's all ages, too, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 on the day of show. The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St., and you can call 740-1000 for more info.


SAM GETS HIS GRAVY!!!! Since I know how much you all love stories about my days managing a record store in the mid- to late-'90s, here's another one for ya. (I promise to keep this one brief.)

One of my favorite customers in those days was a high school kid--let's call him Sam--who was a regular. He never bought much, but he was a slightly awkward, funny and just-plain-charming kid who was way into zine culture. Every couple of weeks, he'd bring in his latest work, and they were always nothing short of amusing. For some reason, he was obsessed with Applebee's--especially, if memory serves, their chicken-fingers basket--and devoted an entire series of zines to the topic. In short, they were hilarious.

He also wrote a letter to Oprah Winfrey, who was so charmed by Sam and his letter that she sent a film crew to Tucson to shoot a segment on him. (I wish I could remember the focus of the segment, but, alas, I'm old.) Anyhoo, Sam eventually came in one day and said he was planning on moving to San Francisco, and I never saw him again.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was instant-messaging a friend who was also acquainted with Sam, and she relayed the information that she thought he might still be in San Francisco, playing in a band. "Gravy Train, maybe?" she typed, and I typed back, "Well, there is a band in San Francisco called Gravy Train!!!!, but as far as I know, he isn't in them." But after a bit of Internet sleuthing on her part, we determined that, yes, Sam was indeed in Gravy Train!!!!

Now, I've written about this band several times before, and just about a year ago, James Hudson wrote a live review in these pages on the band. But, let me tell you, it completely blew my mind, not only to finally figure out what had happened to Sam, but to find out that he was in a band that, well, I kinda love.

Here's something I wrote about them back in 2005: "Though they made their name as a pseudo-rap outfit that released an album, 2003's Hello Doctor, entirely about food and sex, the co-ed foursome known as Gravy Train!!!! sound like an almost entirely different entity on their latest, Are You Wigglin? (Kill Rock Stars). This time around, they sound sorta like Le Tigre, but instead of feminist anthems, they sing about what happens to your boobs when you go on a diet ("Ghost Boobs") and sending naked photos of yourself to your significant other while you're out on tour ("Nudies From the Road"). There are lots of cheesy organs, an analog-electro vibe, bubble-gum pop, nods to '60s girl groups, an inherent punkiness and lots of cheeky pop-culture references. They're after nothing so much as feeding you a rollicking good time on a silver platter, and Are You Wigglin? does exactly that."

I won't tell you Sam's real name, because the members of Gravy Train!!!! use pseudonyms, but I can tell you that if you attend the group's show this week, you're in for one hell of a good-time dance party.

Catch Gravy Train!!!! at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., next Thursday, July 3. No opener is listed as of press time, but I'd guess one will be added. Either way, things start at 9 p.m., and admission to the all-ages show is $8. Call 884-0874 for details.


ON THE BANDWAGON Elsewhere on our radar this week are these fine shows: Blue Collar Criminals CD-release party with openers U.T.A. , Last Call Brawlers and Bricktop at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., on Saturday, June 28; Atlantic Connection at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Friday, June 27; Steve Earle and Allison Moorer at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, June 27; The Mission Creeps, The Slow Poisoner and Dead End Dragstrip at Surly Wench Pub, 424 N Fourth Ave., on Saturday, June 28; Fish Karma at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Tuesday, July 1; Boston and Styx at AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, on Sunday, June 29; Two Loons for Tea and Redlands at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Wednesday, July 2; Whole Lotta Zep at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Saturday, June 28.

R.I.P., George Carlin.

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