SLOW AND SLOWER
A few weeks ago, I warned you that this summer was going to be slow, live-music-wise.
Well, it would appear that touring musicians are either (1) getting paid a lot of money to play Fourth of July bashes in bigger cities, or (2) enjoying the holiday with family and friends. At any rate, consider this one of the slowest weeks of an already-slow summer.
Still, as always, there are some worthwhile options this week.
THE FOURTH! AND THE FIRST. THE THIRD, TOO.
When the Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week, there's no general consensus about when to hold an Independence Day bash. Here, then, are some music-oriented ways to celebrate the birth of Amurricah, in chronological order.
The celebration starts early out at Desert Diamond Casino's Sahuarita location, which will be holding its second annual Fourth of July All-American Backyard BBQ on Sunday, July 1. The action takes place in the outdoor plaza, where the John Eric Band will provide country-rock tunes for dancin', drinkin' and general celebratin'. There will also, of course, be a barbecue, as well as eegee's slushies and kettle corn from Prayerfully Popped (whose name always gives me a mental image of Jesus popping up some corn). The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m., and will be capped off by a fireworks display.
Desert Diamond Casino's Sahuarita location is at 1100 W. Pima Mine Road. Admission is free. Call 294-7777 for more information.
The festivities continue on Tuesday, July 3, at Boondocks Lounge, where you can take in the Fourth of July Celebration Bash, which will feature live music from the Railbirdz, who will perform funk and blues covers from 7 to 8:45 p.m., and Crosscut Saw, whose set of blues tunes will run from 9:15 to 11 p.m. After that, expect a mega-jam in true Boondocks fashion.
Boondocks Lounge is located at 3306 N. First Ave. (If you're a newbie, look for the giant bottle out front.) Admission is $6, and if you have any questions, look 'em up at boondockslounge.com, or call 690-0991.
And, finally, Fourth of July proper—that's Wednesday, July 4—brings with it several promising events.
If you're looking to get your dance on, look no further than Playground Bar and Lounge's Fourth of July Roof Deck Party, which will take place on Playground's, um, rooftop. Dance tunes will be spun by two of Tucson's finest DJs, Matt McCoy and DJ Herm, and the sponsor of the bash, American Harvest Vodkas, will be offering vodka drinks for $4 a pop. Plus, I would imagine that the rooftop will be one of the better places to catch the "A" Mountain fireworks display. Doors open at 4 p.m.; music begins at 8 p.m.; and there is no cover charge.
Playground is located at 278 E. Congress St. For more information, press these digits into your phone: 396-3691.
The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., will hold a Fourth of July BBQ on Wednesday featuring four musical acts that provide a little bit of something for everyone. The music begins at 7 p.m. with a set by Frankie Lopez. It continues with performances by Tommy Tucker, cover tunes from the '60s onward courtesy of Something Borrowed, and reggae from San Antonio's Sol Tribe. Chicken and carne asada tacos will be available for $2 each from 7 to 11 p.m. Unfortunately, we couldn't determine the cover charge at press time (the venue's voice mailbox was full), but if you need to know, try your luck at 623-3200.
If you're looking for something a bit mellower, a bit jazzier, check out La Cocina, 201 N. Court Ave., on Wednesday, July 4, where the jazz duo Elephant Head—Shawn Kebler on guitar, and Collin Shook on bass—will hold down the courtyard with a combo of originals and standards. They'll be performing from 6 to 8 p.m., and admission is free, though donations are accepted. If you need more information, point your browser to lacocinatucson.com, or call 622-0351.
And, although it's not exactly a Fourth of July party, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Chicago rap-veteran Twista, who once held the title of fastest rapper in the world by blazing through 598 syllables in 55 seconds, will be performing at the Rialto Theatre on Wednesday, July 4. Opening acts had not yet been announced at press time, but the all-ages show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 on the day of the show.
The Rialto is located at 318 E. Congress St. For more information, head to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
SETTING FREE MR. FREE
Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout will be performing what they're calling their last show tonight, Thursday, June 28.
Combining complicated, Zappa-influenced music with the performance-art shenanigans of singer Dmitri Bartlett—whose version of a PG-rated show is to only strip down to his underwear, climb whatever happens to be in his line of vision, and inspire discomfort in audience members by getting all up in their grillz—Mr. Free was something of a flagship band for Bloat Records 2.0.
It should be noted, however, that there's a glimmer of hope for the future of Mr. Free. The Facebook event page may advertise it as "Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout's Last Show," but read further, and you'll find this: "Yes, it is sad to say after all these years of playing for all you pretty people, we are taking an undetermined break (as a band) from playing rock and roll."
When I asked drummer Ben Schneider if it really was going to be the band's final show, he replied, "It is for now. We are trying to figure things out, but it seems like it is going to be, at least for a long time." If the band doesn't know if it's the end, we sure as hell don't—but if you want to see them play again, we wouldn't advise missing it.
The action starts at 10 p.m., tonight, at the Automat Arcade, 108 E. Congress St., and Bellingham, Wash.'s Tacos are also on the bill. Cover is $3. Automat has no contact info, so for more information, check out the event page on Facebook.
CONGRESS GOES COUNTRY
Billed as Hotel Congress' first Alt-Country Guitar Rock Festival, Rumble in the Tumbleweeds will round up a handful of Arizona's best twang-centric acts on Friday, June 29. The night will feature performances by Greyhound Soul, Fourkiller Flats, Tramps and Thieves, The Persuaders (the latter two are both from the Phoenix area) and Hank Topless, who will get things cookin' at 7 p.m. on the patio.
Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St., and admission is only $5—a buck a band. If you need more info, check out hotelcongress.com/club, or call 622-8848.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Blood on the Dance Floor and Blow Up the Sky at The Rock on Monday, July 2; Brian Lopez and Of the Painted Choir at Plush on Friday, June 29; Baby Dee and Catfish and Weezie (aka Louise Le Hir and Connor Gallaher) at Solar Culture Gallery on Sunday, July 1; Beyond Words and Tom Walbank at The Hut on Saturday, June 30; Mission Creeps, Scorpion vs. Tarantula and Brainspoon at Surly Wench Pub on Saturday, June 30; Lunar Light Collectors, Black Jackalope Ensemble and Leila Lopez at Plush on Saturday, June 30; Lights in the Sky and Summer in December at Skrappy's on Saturday, June 30; Courtney Robbins at Plush next Thursday, July 5; Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors and Sunny Italy at RR Nites at La Cocina, tonight, Thursday, June 28; Al Perry at Plush on Monday, July 2; Chaos Ascending and others at The Rock on Friday, June 29; the Einweck Brothers at Plush on Sunday, July 1; Animus Divine and others at The Rock on Saturday, June 30.
Also, please note that the Madi Diaz and Harper Blynn concert scheduled for Club Congress on Saturday, June 30, has been cancelled.