While the busy spring touring season is winding down, there is a lot of activity among local bands and musicians. So this week, we'll be focusing on Tucson artists. Let's get started, shall we?


For the second consecutive year, Sacred Machine, the art gallery owned and operated by visual artist Daniel Martin Diaz and his wife, Paula Catherine Valencia (both of whom perform in the band Blind Divine), will hold a two-day festival called Beyond the Sacred Music and Arts Festival, celebrating the gallery's anniversary.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m., Friday, May 11, at Sacred Machine, 245 E. Congress St., with an opening reception for the art-show component. In addition to numerous pieces by Diaz, the show features about 20 local, national and international artists showing works that celebrate "all things Sacred," including Chris Mars, Craig LaRotonda, Valerie Galloway, Robert Palacios and Elizabeth Frank.

Then, on Saturday, May 12, the music element takes over both Sacred Machine and the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.

Sacred Machine's lineup runs from 7 to 11 p.m., and will feature performances by Race You There, Chris Black and Six Fingered Chylld. Admission is free.

Down the street at the Rialto, the schedule looks like this: Ensphere (9:30 p.m.), Flamingo (featuring Elmo Kirkwood, son of the Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood; 10:30 p.m.), Chicha Dust (featuring Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan; 11:15 p.m.) and Blind Divine (midnight). Admission is $7.

All events are all-ages. For more information, head to, or call 777-7403.


Zach Toporek and Nate Jasensky, the primary singers, songwriters and musicians behind local bands Young Mothers and Faster Than Light, respectively, won't be locals much longer.

The two are pulling up stakes in Tucson for the big city—New York, to be precise—and on their way there, they'll be touring through the Southern states and documenting it by making an album and a Web-video series. They're hoping to fund the whole thing via a Kickstarter campaign that ends Monday, May 21; you can access their Kickstarter page via either band's Facebook page. As of this writing, they haven't yet reached their goal, so you know what to do.

So far, no farewell shows have been announced in Tucson, but if that happens, we'll be sure to tell you about it. In the meantime, Young Mothers recently released a new three-song EP, I Want to Be a Beautiful Star Warrior, which is available on the band's Soundcloud page.

Soundbites wishes both gentlemen the very best.


Club Congress will host a show this weekend featuring new acts with familiar faces.

Headlining the concert will be Ryan David Green, who is the "Ryan" in Ryanhood. He'll be performing all-new solo material with a seven-piece band in preparation for an upcoming solo EP he'll be releasing later this year.

We last saw Katherine Byrnes onstage singing with Calexico at the Festival en el Barrio a month or so ago. Her new band, Sweet Ghosts, will take the middle slot at this show.

And opening will be a new solo project being unveiled by Carlos Arzate, the frontman for American Android.

It all begins at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 12, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Admission is $5, and all ages are welcome. Head to, or call 622-8848 for more details.


Local instrumental rockers Sleep Driver will perform their last show when they open for noiseniks Black Dice at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, May 16. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $12. More info at or 622-8848.

Two local bands (well, one local band and one formerly local band) are releasing CDs this week, and with them come the requisite release shows, each on the same night: Friday, May 11.

Steff Koeppen and the Articles will be releasing Stories You Can't Tell at a performance at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Friday. Kaia Chesney opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Cover is $5, and CDs will be half-price for one night only. For further details, go to, or call 884-0874.

Meanwhile, over at The District Tavern, 260 E. Congress St., also on Friday, former Tucsonans White Chocolate and the Cigarettes (they now live in Portland, Ore.) will return to release their debut album, Apocalypse Already. Some of Them Are Old and Hibris open the show around 9 p.m. Admission is free. They'll be able to answer your questions at 791-0082.

Taylor Hardy, who has performed in local bands since 1985, including Corpse Grinder, Bloodspasm, American Deathtrip, Scar Strangled Banger, Bubba Grubbz, and Clovenhoof, is relocating to Colorado soon. This means he'll bang the skins for his current band, The Distortionists, which he's performed with for the last seven years, for the last time at a gig on Friday, May 11, at The Runway Bar and Grill, 2101 S. Alvernon Way. Drizzle and Yeti Ender will open the show at 9 p.m., and admission is free. For more info, dial 790-6788.

Local electro-pop/R&B trio ... music video? are heading out on a tour of the West Coast that will take them to San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and several other stops—but before they do, you can catch them at a tour kickoff show at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St, on Wednesday, May 16. They'll be the first band on a bill that starts at 9 p.m. and will include headliners Vanity Theft and middle-slotters Enemies! Admission is $7, and more info is available at or by calling 798-1298.

On Friday, May 11, Club Congress will be the site of the Free Femme Fatale Show, whose name pretty much says it all: a free show featuring Arizona acts—two from Phoenix, two from Tucson—populated almost exclusively by women. Gimmickry aside, it's a killer lineup: Make My Baby, the girl-group led by Lonna Kelley; sister duo Acorn Bcorn; AK Kitten, a relatively new band fronted by Brittany Katter (Kiss and the Tells, Fell City Shouts); and Ruth Wilson from Phoenix roots-band Flathead. Doors open at 8 p.m., and more info is available at or by calling 622-8848.

The Lisa Otey and Friends Concert Series wraps up this week with a very special show. Otey and her partner Diane Van Deurzen were born five days apart, so they'll join forces on Monday, May 14, for Diane Van Deurzen and Lisa Otey's Birthday Concert at Z Mansion, 288 N. Church Ave. The show begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15, available at or by calling 370-5912.


Todd Barry at Club Congress on Tuesday, May 15; Silver Thread Trio and Beth Bombara and the Ebanjolist at Plush on Friday, May 11; The Supervillains at The Hut tonight, Thursday, May 10; Gabriel Iglesias and Ozomatli at AVA at Casino del Sol on Saturday, May 12; Ferrodyne, LeeAnne Savage and Her Rockstar Band and Hank Topless at The Hut on Saturday, May 12; The Sadie Hawks (featuring Locals Only host Matt Milner), Main Squeeze and Logan Greene Electric at RR Nites at La Cocina tonight, Thursday, May 10.


I'm beyond sad to mention that Ernie Gardner passed away on Saturday, May 5, at the age of 35. Ernie drummed for numerous bands over the years including Red Switch and La Cerca, and most recently, HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS. Ernie was a quick-witted comedian, one hell of a drummer and the only person I've ever known who loved AC/DC and Morrissey in equal measure.

Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. You're already missed, Ernie.

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