If you tuned in to last week’s Soundbites, we know where you’ll be for the next three nights: at The Great Cover-Up, of course.

What’s that? You’ve been making like a bear and hibernating since November? Well, wake your ass up, and get thee to the best damn local music event of the year, fool!

Now in its 13th year, The Great Cover-Up is an annual event in which local bands perform 20-minute sets of songs by a band or artist of their choosing to benefit a charity organization. As in the past few years, this year’s proceeds will be donated to TAMHA, the Tucson Artists and Musicians Heathcare Alliance, a local organization that connects local artists and musicians to health care and health-care resources.

This year’s Cover-Up is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s being held at two locations—the Rialto Theatre and Club Congress—over three nights. It’s also the first time that the finalists in the Arizona Daily Star’s high school Battle of the Bands competition have been invited to participate.

Over the last couple months, more than 40 of Tucson’s best bands and musicians have been practicing a set of cover songs that they may never play again after this weekend; the least you can do is make a donation to a great charity in order to witness it. Oh, yeah, the whole who’s-covering-whom element of the big bash is a surprise, adding a layer of intrigue to the event.

Full disclosure: I played a very small role in organizing this year’s Cover-Up, with the majority of the work done by the Rialto’s Curtis McCrary and Ryan Trayte, Congress’ David Slutes and Dan Hernandez, and KXCI FM 91.3’s Mel Mason. (McCrary and Mason are also contributors to this paper.) The sponsors for this year’s event are Rainbow Guitars, Sticks N’ Strings and the Tucson Weekly. You should give them all a big, wet kiss to show your gratitude.

We published the schedule for tonight, Thursday, Dec. 9, in last week’s paper. Here’s what you can expect on Friday and Saturday:

Friday, Dec. 10, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.: The Mission Creeps (1 a.m.), The Tryst (12:30 a.m.), Shaun Harris (midnight), American Android (11:30 p.m.), Spacefish (11 p.m.), The Swigs (10:30 p.m.), Flint (10 p.m.), Al Perry (9:30 p.m.), Mars Day and the Extra Time (9 p.m.), The Distortionists (8:30 p.m.), Marianne Dissard (8 p.m.), Some of Them Are Old (7:30 p.m.).

Artists being covered on Friday (in no particular order): Prince, Nirvana, The Bee Gees, The Steve Miller Band, Jane’s Addiction, Yoko Ono, The Deftones, Misfits, Run-DMC, Diamanda Galas, Erykah Badu and The Strokes.

Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.: Calexico (1 a.m.), Seashell Radio (12:30 p.m.), The Runaway Five (midnight), Gat-Rot (11:30 p.m.), Silver Thread Trio (11 p.m.), Feed (10:30 p.m.), Las Exciters (10 p.m.), Sinphonics (9:30 p.m.), The Fisters (9 p.m.), The Modeens (8:30 p.m.), Alisha Peru (8 p.m.), Chris Holiman (7:30 p.m.), Muddy Bug (7 p.m.), Battle of the Bands finalist TBA (6:30 p.m.), Battle of the Bands finalist TBA (6 p.m.).

Artists being covered on Saturday (in no particular order): The Pretenders, X, The Doors, The Monkees, Donovan, Phil Collins, Sara Bareilles, The Flaming Lips, Neko Case, John Mellencamp, The Exciters, James Taylor, yacht rock and more.

Wow, right? We’re well aware that these are all long nights of awesome live rock ‘n’ roll, but you are strongly encouraged to get there early for a couple of reasons. One, you don’t want to miss out on a great set that people will be talking about for years to come. And two, all of the acts have been slaving away for months to learn a bunch of songs for charity. The least you can do is show up on time to give them some love.

A single-day pass is $8; two-day passes are $12; a pass for the whole shebang is $15 and comes with a commemorative poster. (Bring a couple of cans of food for the Tucson Community Food Bank to Saturday’s show to get a $2 discount.) You must be 21 or older to attend the Club Congress portion of the event, but the two nights at the Rialto are open to all ages.

Questions? Ring up Congress at 622-8848, and the Rialto at 740-1000.

Hot damn, this is going to be fun! See ya there!


Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Zach Toporek, the local band Young Mothers made a splash in April with “Come on, the Cross,” the inaugural release on the 7-inch-only label Fort Lowell Records. This week, the band is releasing its debut album, Have Some Fun, on its own Bedroom Rock Records imprint.

Though it would be filed under indie-rock in a record store, and despite the relative rockingness of some of the 10 tracks here, the album makes a pretty strong argument that Toporek could pass as a traditional singer-songwriter if he chose that route. Instead, he’s got a great band—Andrew Bates, Tommy Cormier and Ryan Slater—fleshing out his songs, which vary greatly in mood and feel, but still manage to sound of a piece.

Have Some Fun opens with “I Just Wanna Know,” a midtempo winner that comes with a slight twang, though it would never be mistaken for country. With its religious imagery, “The Second Coming” is a sequel of sorts to “Come on, the Cross,” and a worthy one, with Toporek singing, “Well, man makes plans, and God just laughs / That’s the way it’s gonna be / The second coming of the Lord will tell you anything.” The deceptively titled “The Story of Woody Allen and Mia Farrrow” relates the tale of “the belle of every CYO dance” with a nifty, dirty guitar break; it builds layers as it progresses.

Elsewhere, “Helpless Child” is slinky but not quite funky; “Raincloud” is a ballad with a slightly retro vibe, residing on the corner where the ‘50s and ‘70s shake hands and make friends; “Lyin’ in the Sun” opens as an exercise in minimalism before taking on a solo John Lennon vibe.

The album, which was recorded and mixed by Toporek himself, sounds great and makes a fine argument that “Come on, the Cross” was no fluke.

Young Mothers celebrate Have Some Fun with a CD-release party on Friday, Dec. 10, at Sky Bar, 536 N. Fourth Ave. The Ghost of 505 and The Runaway Five open the show at 9 p.m. Admission is free. Call 622-4300 for more information.


The Red Room at Grill has begun a nifty concert series. Here’s the deal: Three or four local bands perform on a bill together, and the whole show is professionally recorded by Original Audio Visual, a company owned and operated by The HangArt’s Jake Renaud. Eventually, the highlights of the show will be released on CD at a show featuring the same lineup of bands.

The first show in the series—which featured Lifers, Acorn Bcorn, Otherly Love and Lenguas Largas—was recorded in October and is planned for a January release. If you missed that one, get in on the fun this week: The next installment takes place on Friday, Dec. 10, and will feature Madame Zero, Mad River Glenn and French Quarter. Music starts around 9 p.m., and as always, there is no cover. The Red Room at Grill is located at 100 E. Congress St., and you can dial 623-7621 with questions.


A holiday-themed edition of Second Saturdays Downtown takes place Saturday, Dec. 11, at a variety of locations in the downtown area. Musical highlights include Jazz Telephone, Al Perry and Loren Dircks, Lunar Light Collectors, Kristen Chandler and Five Way Street. For a complete schedule, head to

Radio station KWMT FM 92.9 The Mountain presents the 2010 edition of its annual Winter Wonderjam at AVA at Casino del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11. Performers at this year’s event are Sara Bareilles, Plain White T’s, Ingrid Michaelson, Ryan Star and Christina Perri. Tickets are $16 to $36, and are available by calling (800) 344-9435.


Hobnail Boot reunion (first show in seven years!) with The Monitors at Sky Bar on Saturday, Dec. 11; Devil Doll, Black Cherry Burlesque and Voodoo Swing at the Surly Wench Pub on Friday, Dec. 10; Texas Trash and Johnny Payola at The Hut on Sunday, Dec. 12; the Oak Ridge Boys at Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, Dec. 11; Rich Hopkins and Low Max at The Hut on Friday, Dec. 10; Savant and Liquid Sound Present Audio Zenith: Genesis at Vaudeville next Thursday, Dec. 16; Optimist Club featuring Depressed Buttons at Club Congress next Thursday, Dec. 16.


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