The Year in Local Music

The period of time covered in voting for the 2010 Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES) was May 1, 2009, through April 30, 2010. Here's a look back at some significant events during that time span.

May 2009

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association presents the 24th annual Tucson Folk Festival, featuring more than 100 acts, including dozens of local performers and national headliners Todd Snider and Eric Andersen.

Eight years after their first album was released, a reunited Fourkiller Flats release their second full-length, Treasure and Trash.

The Tucson Community Food Bank releases Food Is Good ... For the Body and Soul, a compilation of local acts past and present singing songs about food, with contributions from Kevin Pakulis, Grams and Krieger, The Determined Luddites, The Mollys, Rainer and Lalo Guerrero.

Spirit Familia, Planet Jam, The Wayback Machine, Combo Westside and Greg Morton and the String Figures perform at The Hut as part of a benefit for the locally published Earth First! Journal.

After being displaced from its former location on East Broadway Boulevard, "Tucson youth collective" and all-ages venue Skrappy's reopens at 191 E. Toole Ave.

Reuniting for the first time in more than a decade, the Passionflies perform a live show at Solar Culture Gallery, opening for David Bridie, frontman for Australia's Not Drowning, Waving.

Worry Dolls Records releases The Rodeo Sessions, its second compilation of Tucson acts in a year—so named because all 15 tracks were recorded in February over rodeo weekend. It features contributions from Flagrante Delicto, La Cerca, Golden Boots, Cosmic Slop, Feel Good Revolution, The Runaway Five and Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, among others.

Former underground all-ages venue The HangArt goes legit and finally allows the Weekly to write about its shows. During the first week we're allowed to mention the venue, it hosts performances by Or, the Whale, The Tryst, Gabriel Sullivan, Bunnygrunt, Monster Pussy and Winelord.

Notable releases: Triple Double Band, Dot My Eighths; Last Call Brawlers, Last Call Brawlers ... With Beans and Rice on the Side EP; Eb's Camp Cookin', Plain Green Wrapper; Austin Counts, You Are the Scene; the Awkward Moments, Sound Suite; Calle Debauche, Calle Debauche; Standby Red 5, Yearning for Recovery; The Carnivaleros, Happy Homestead; The Resonars, That Evil Drone; Blackwood and Co., Bald as Love; Dead End Dragstrip, Quarter Mile to the Crypt; Namoli Brennet, Until From This Dream I Wake.

June 2009

The folks at the Rialto Theatre bring Wilco to town for the first time in almost 13 years. The show, at UA Centennial Hall, also features Grizzly Bear.

With a headlining show at the Rialto Theatre that draws about 700 people (including people from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' annual convention, which is being hosted by the Tucson Weekly), Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta cements its reputation as local music's biggest draw (with the exception of Calexico). The group also releases a live CD. They'll go on to handily win the 2010 TAMMIES honor for Band/Musician of the Year.

The Parasol Project sells out its biggest event to date: Held at the Flamingo Hotel, "Atomic #10" is a celebration of all things kitsch and features a wildly diverse array of local jazz, blues and rock musicians, DJs, burlesque shows and a tribute to Michael Jackson by ... music video?'s Paul Jenkins.

Notable releases: The Besmirchers, Besmirch and Destroy; Mitzi Cowell, Love's So ...; 17th Street Band, Positively 17th Street (mastered version).

July 2009

Hotel Congress hosts its annual Fourth of July celebration, renaming it the Indie-Pendence Day Extravaganza and donating the bulk of proceeds to Local First Arizona. Performers include Tom Walbank, Al Foul, the Pork Torta and The Tryst.

On the heels of the success of the Gary Bonnett Band's debut album, The Long Road Home, the group performs at KIIM FM 99.5's Freedom Fest at Rillito Park along with Tracy Lawrence, Pat Green and Gloriana.

Former Tucsonans Harlem perform a free show on the patio at Hotel Congress, their first local appearance since moving to Austin and signing with Matador Records.

In the midst of turmoil—owner/developers Don Martin and Scott Stiteler are threatening to evict the Rialto Theatre from its green room and office space (a temporary deal would eventually be reached)—the concert industry trade publication Pollstar ranks the Rialto No. 42 on its list of the Top 100 Worldwide Club Venues, based on ticket sales.

After promoting shows at a variety of unusual venues, including Javalina's (the coffee shop she recently sold), Bonnie Vining starts up the Live Acoustic Venue Association (LAVA). The organization sponsors Music on the Mountain, a series of free outdoor concerts that takes place in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon from July to September, as well as a series of concerts at the Civano co-housing community and Abounding Grace Sanctuary during the winter months.

Notable releases: Jeremy Michael Cashman and Jason Fisk, Trapped Within Myself: The Village Library Interviews; LeVel XIII, Demons; Vicki Brown, Seas and Trees; Skitn, Skitn; I Bet It Was a Massacre, 8 Rules for the Pool EP.

August 2009

Rockabilly-country-metal purveyors Gila Bend come out of retirement to play a "reunion" show at Plush, along with the Sand Rubies and the Silver Thread Trio. It proves to be the first of many new Gila Bend gigs.

Community radio station KXCI FM 91.3 holds a fundraiser at the Rialto Theatre celebrating the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Local acts and musicians—including Al Perry, Leila Lopez and Courtney Robbins, Spirit Familia, Love Mound, Top Dead Center and Andrew Collberg—cover songs originally performed at the festival.

The Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance (TAMHA) holds its annual summer fundraiser at Plush, featuring performances by Molehill Orkestrah, Tom Walbank, Golden Boots and Loveland.

Electro-punk outfit Digital Leather signs with Fat Possum Records.

After remaining closed for more than two years due to reconstruction, the Fourth Avenue underpass reopens with a celebration that brings thousands of Tucsonans downtown. The reopening ceremony is just the start of a weekend full of live music at a number of downtown venues that includes performances by Girls, Los Campesinos!, Salvador Duran, Database, French Horn Rebellion, Mata Leão, Combo Westside, Michelle Blades, Batucaxé, Ensphere, PLOY, O/W/L/S and an installment of Jeff "Mr. Tidypaws" Grubic's ongoing musical-performance-art concern, the Ad Nauseum Project.

The Hut hosts a music festival on three stages to commemorate the unveiling of the giant tiki head it acquired when Magic Carpet Golf went out of business. Performers include the Kings of Pleasure, gHosTcOw, 8 Minutes to Burn, the 2 Tone Lizard Kings and the Del Reys.

Notable releases: Mostly Bears, Team of Spirits: Live at Club Congress; Gabriel Sullivan, By the Dirt.

September 2009

The Tucson Weekly's 16th annual Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES) ceremony is held at the Rialto Theatre. Big winners include Ryanhood (Band/Musician of the Year), Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta (Up-and-Coming Artists of the Year) and Calexico (Best New Release), who are also inducted into the TAMMIES Tucson Music Hall of Fame. In addition to Calexico, performers include the Holy Rolling Empire, Tom Walbank, Sentido, Spirit Familia and Conner Cecil.

HocoFest 2009 is held at Hotel Congress. Events include a record fair, Craig Schumacher's Potluck Audio Con, a Family Fair, an Eco-Fest and a recycled fashion show. A Latin music showcase is headlined by Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Camilo Lara and La Unica; an Arizona Punk Rock Reunion features F.U.C.T., Bloodspasm, Cosmic Jackhammer, and J.F.A. Other performers include John Doe and Exene Cervenka, the Meat Puppets, Golden Boots, Calexico, Har Mar Superstar and Neil Hamburger.

Red Switch reunites to play a one-off reunion show at Club Congress, its first performance in five years.

Both fronted by former Tucsonans, Nobunny and Hunx and His Punx co-headline a show at Club Congress.

The Tucson Musicians Museum holds a ceremony at the Scottish Rite Cathedral to induct its 2009 nominees: Tom Ervin, László Veres, Kevin Schramm, Rochelle Magee, Neil Harry, Joe Martinez, Michael Montiel, John Markovich, Lew Leply, Larry Diehl, the late Mickey Greco and the late Chris Gaffney. Performers at the event include legendary sax player Bobby Keys, the Ronstadt Family Quartet, Dean Armstrong and the Arizona Dance Hands, Mariachi Luz de Luna, Kevin Schramm and the Last Call Girls, and Chuck Wagon and the Wheels featuring Neil Harry.

In a competition that includes Crosscut Saw, Black Cat Bones and the Earthlingz, Tom Walbank and Arthur Migliazza win the final round of the SABHF Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category, while the Sweet Willie D Blues Band takes top honors in the band category. The acts will travel to Memphis in January to perform at the 26th Annual International Blues Challenge, where Walbank and Migliazza will make it to the Top 8 in their category.

Mostly Bears frontman Brian Lopez debuts his solo act at Solar Culture Gallery.

Notable releases: Brohammer, Brohammer EP; The Dusty Buskers, A Hypomanic Evening With ...; Conner Cecil, One Time Too Many; Kristin Chandler, Deja; Digital Leather, Warm Brother.

October 2009

Five music festivals are held over the course of three days: The Weekly's Club Crawl®, our twice-a-year downtown gathering; Dub Crawl, an electronic music fest; KFMA's Fall Ball, featuring Rise Against, The Used, Flyleaf and others; KLPX Fest, which includes performances by REO Speedwagon, Styx, Eddie Money and others; and Catapalooza!, a local-music benefit for homeless animals in Pima County.

Michael Toubassi's fifth annual Tucson Film and Music Festival is held at various locations around the city. Films include The Heart Is a Drum Machine, I Need That Record!, Largo and The Sweet Lady With the Nasty Voice, a documentary on legendary rockabilly performer Wanda Jackson, who also performs at the festival, backed by The El Camino Royales. Other performers include These Arms Are Snakes, Le Chat Lunatique and The Quick and Easy Boys.

Last Call Brawlers celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a show at The Hut, along with the High Rollers, Bricktop and Al Foul.

The second annual tribute concert to the late KXCI DJ Chris "Shorty Stubbs" Jones is held at The Hut. The benefit for KXCI features performances by the Loren Dircks Band, the Cochise County All-Stars, Al Perry and more.

Two former Tucson-based acts—Mark Matos and Os Beaches; and Lagoon—return to Tucson to play shows.

The Live Acoustic Venue Association holds the Tucson Western Music Festival, a celebration of contemporary Western songwriters, at the Wedding Park at Pantano Stables.

Notable releases: Tom Walbank and Arthur Migliazza, Burn Your Bridges; Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deurzen, Wild Women; Nobody, et al., Two Tanks of Gas EP and Clean Slate EP; Chris Holiman, The Sailor's Daughter.

November 2009

Following the 20th anniversary edition of the All Souls Procession in celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the Rialto Theatre presents "Calexico and the filming of Flor de Muertos," a concert that includes performances by Amparo Sánchez, Salvador Duran, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Mariachi Luz de Luna and Molehill Orkestrah. The event is filmed by Brink Media's Danny Vinik for a documentary film to be released later.

Fronted by former Tucsonans, Grand Archives and S return to town to perform at Plush.

Rich Hopkins hosts his eighth annual Casa Maria Thanksgiving Benefit, featuring performances by Triple Double Band, Kevin Pakulis, Cathy Rivers and Hopkins' two bands, the Sand Rubies and Luminarios, at Plush.

Shady Lane, The Opposables, 8 Minutes to Burn, I Promise You Revenge and I Bet It Was a Massacre perform at a Benefit for the Tucson Alliance for Autism at the Rialto Theatre.

Lisa Otey performs a series of concerts, each with a collaborative guest. Those include Regina "The Queen" Wills, Ada Redd Austin, and Grams and Krieger.

Vic Chesnutt performs at Club Congress with a band that includes Fugazi's Guy Picciotto. Chesnutt dies of a suicidal overdose weeks later.

Notable releases: The El Camino Royales, Ladies and Gentlemen ... ; The Hounds, The Deuce EP; Rescue Lights, Vol. 1; Stefan George, Cloth.

December 2009

The Parasol Project presents A One-Man Band Fest, featuring performances from Al Foul, Mosquito Bandito, Becky Lee and Drunkfoot, Al Perry, Jimmy Carr, The Tambourines and others, as well as a screening of the documentary film One Man in the Band.

In a single week, benefit concerts are held for Dan "The Deacon" Bunnell, Marc Scape Lind, the Gloo Factory, and Miles Exploratory Learning Center, the latter of which includes a performance by Howe Gelb and His Melted Wires and a screening of a documentary made about Gelb, 'Sno Angel Winging It.

The 12th Annual Great Cover-Up is held over two nights at Club Congress. Performers include Seashell Radio (performing the music of Talking Heads), Spacefish (Rage Against the Machine), Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout (Black Sabbath) and Monster Pussy (the Velvet Underground).

Gila Bend frontman Loren Dircks releases his debut solo album, Killing the Magic, which includes the song "Guitar Hero Gone," which lambastes the titular video game. The video for the song would go on to garner more than 14,000 hits on YouTube. Guitar Hero rival Rock Band contacts Dircks and asks him to create a downloadable version of the song for their own game, which he does.

KXCI broadcasts its eighth annual Sonic Solstice radio show, for which acts such as Namoli Brennet, Nancy McCallion, The Modeens, Michael P., Chris Holiman and Gabriel Sullivan perform holiday-themed songs, both traditional and original, live in the studio.

Toxic Ranch, "The Record Store Too Tough to Die," celebrates its 20th anniversary with an in-store performance by Andrew Jackson Jihad and The Dusty Buskers.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership sponsors the second annual First Night, "a New Year's Eve celebration of arts, culture and community," at a dozen downtown locations. Performers include The Wyatts, Leila Lopez, the Larry Redhouse Quartet, Howe Gelb and the trio of R. Carlos Nakai, Will Clipman and William Eaton, among many others.

Notable releases: Blind Divine, Breathing Spell; Cheepness, Shakin' Hands With the King; The Theory, The Theory.

January 2010

Powhaus Productions holds its first event at the Rialto Theatre. Clusterf**k, a rock 'n' roll dance party and variety show, features DJ Dan Shapiro and live music from The Creamys.

After rescheduling from October due to a tennis injury, Sonic Youth performs in Tucson, at the Rialto Theatre, for the first time in decades. Sonic Youth would go on to join the Arizona-boycott organization Sound Strike, with bassist Kim Gordon commenting, in an interview with Spin, "I've always regarded Arizona as semi-evil."

Chris Holiman's annual, mostly acoustic Wooden Ball is held over two nights at Club Congress. Performers include Greyhound Soul, The Mission Creeps, The Swim and Space Over Desert.

Gat-Rot celebrates its 15th anniversary with a show at Vaudeville.

Lisa Otey celebrates the 15th anniversary of her label, Owl's Nest Productions, with her annual Lisa Otey and the Desert Divas showcase, which includes performances by Hurricane Carla Brownlee, Liz McMahon, Heather Hardy and Keli Carpenter.

Following a devastating earthquake in Haiti, Caliche Con Carne's James Jordan organizes a benefit show for its victims at Club Congress that includes performances by Naïm Amor, Amy Rude, Maggie Golston, Salvador Duran and Hank Topless.

Notable releases: Redlands, Are You Breathing?; Sabertooth Snatch 7-inch; Pretty Bird. Smash, Love Songs for Awful People EP and Baked Alaska EP; Race You There, Acts of Treason.

February 2010

12-year-old Aodhan Lyons organizes the From Tucson to Haiti: World Music Benefit Concert, which takes place at the Fox Tucson Theatre, as his bar mitzvah project. Spirit Familia, the Triple Double Band and the Japanese drumming ensemble Odaiko Sonora perform.

Free Radio Chukshon holds a benefit show at The District Tavern featuring Al Perry, Golden Boots, DJ Pierre Camembert and Cadillac Steakhouse, who will go on to win the 2010 TAMMIES honor for Up-and-Coming Artists of the Year.

Former Tucsonan Diane Schuur performs a Valentine's Homecoming Concert at the Westin La Paloma Resort Ballroom, with a backing band led by her onetime keyboardist Jeff "J.D." Daniel.

Warholmania takes over Tucson. In a single night, the Tucson Museum of Art opens its show Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life and Legends; Eric Firestone Gallery opens companion show Warhol: From Dylan to Duchamp; and the Rialto Theatre hosts two events: Powhaus Productions' Pop, and a performance by one-off Velvet Underground tribute band the Imploding Silicon Improbable.

Notable releases: Garboski, Take a Pull; Eric Holland, Borders, Battles and Beers; Planet Jam, Word Sound Power; Namoli Brennet, Black Crow; The Swigs, Let It Come Down.

March 2010

Organized by members of The Mission Creeps, The Hut hosts the Friki Tiki Garage Festival, featuring Lords of Altamont, Wooly Bandits, Vooduo, the Green Lady Killers and Lenguas Largas.

The annual Blues Sunday is held at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church and features a band composed of Lisa Otey, Hurricane Carla Brownlee, Ed DeLucia, John Snavely, Mike Levy and the Rev. Mike Smith.

The fourth annual West by Southwest music festival brings bands to town on their way to and from South by Southwest, including Quasi, The Fresh and Onlys, Delta Spirit, Miles Kurosky, Toro y Moi, The Ruby Suns, Acid Mothers Temple, El Ten Eleven, Visqueen, Surfer Blood, Hugh Cornwell and the first-ever live performance by Admiral Radley.

South by Meow West, featuring Acorn Bcorn, Thee Vicars, Hermit Thrushes, Monster Pussy and others, takes place at The HangArt.

The Bröötal Sun Fest features more than 40 acts, including Peachcake, AIDS Free, A Billion Ernies and Andrew Jackson Jihad, over two days and nights at Dry River Collective and The HangArt.

The Tucson Weekly selects the Holy Rolling Empire as its sponsored band at South by Southwest.

In the same week, Spasmfest 2010, at Vaudeville, celebrates Bloodspasm's 25th anniversary; and frontman Bob Spasm celebrates his 50th birthday with a show by his other band, Bob Spasm and the Gods of Rock. hosts a launch party, the Press Box Bash, at Club Congress. The event features performances by Cadillac Steakhouse, Tom Walbank and the Ambassadors, Bajo Turbato, Jazz Telephone, and Howe Gelb, who covers songs from Johnny Cash's Live at San Quentin.

Leila Lopez releases her second album, Fault Lines. It will go on to win the 2010 TAMMIES honor for Best New Release.

Notable releases: Tracy Shedd: EP88; The Monitors, Three Way Disco; Rich Hopkins and Luminarios: El Otro Lado/The Other Side; The Modeens, Take a Ride With ...; American Android, Reconciliation; Vampyros Bonobos, Groovin' the Rut.

April 2010

KXCI, the Rialto Theatre and Stateside Presents organize the Festival en El Barrio Viejo, an outdoor fundraising concert for KXCI held on Lalo Guerrero's old stomping grounds, featuring Calexico and Friends, Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta featuring Salvador Duran, Naim Amor, Crawdaddy-O, the Silver Thread Trio, Tom Walbank, Courtney Robbins and Fourkiller Flats.

Held at the Pima County Fairgrounds, the annual KFMA Day features Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, Silversun Pickups, Five Finger Death Punch, Switchfoot, The Dirty Heads and Neon Trees.

The eighth annual Country Thunder festival, which takes place in Florence, includes performances by Kid Rock, Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Neal McCoy, among others.

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians' Association holds its annual Spring Fundraiser at Old Town Artisans. Performers include Spirit Familia, Kevin Pakulis and Larry Lee Lerma, Greg Morton and Jim Stanley, and Big Jim Griffith.

Tracy Shedd guitarist (and husband) James Tritten releases Young Mothers' "Come on the Cross" single on his new 7-inch-only label, Fort Lowell Records. A release party featuring performances by Young Mothers, ... music video? and Shedd is held at Zia Records' Speedway Boulevard location on National Record Store Day.

That same day, Zia Records, celebrating its 30th anniversary, releases You Heard Us Back When, Vol. 4, a compilation of songs by acts from Tucson, Phoenix and Las Vegas, including The Ghost of 505, Horae and Mike Superhero.

The Tucson Weekly sponsors its Spring Club Crawl®, which features about 100 bands, both local and touring, playing on 25 stages in the downtown/Fourth Avenue district.

The Pima County Fair brings to town acts including Ted Nugent, Atreyu, The Commodores and Jason Derulo.

The ¡VIVA Tucson! Tejano Music Shootout, featuring Sunny Ozuna and the Sunliner Orchestra, Grupo Vida, and Albert Zamora y Talento, takes place at AVA at Casino del Sol.

The 420 Festival, featuring 10 bands including the Warsaw Poland Brothers, Fayuca, The Hounds, Crossing Sarnoff, Rasta Sauce and Grite-Leon, is held at The Hut.

The Fourth Annual JusticePalooza concert, which benefits the American Friends Service Committee and features performances by the Silver Thread Trio, The El Camino Royales, The Modeens and The Tryst, takes place at The Hut.

Rescue Lights, the Quandria Quintet and Crystal Stark perform at Plush in a benefit for MyTown Music School, a new music education program for kids ages 8 to 18 founded by Corey Ferrugia and Jim Howell.

The 28th Annual La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference takes place at a variety of locations, including the Tucson Convention Center Arena, which hosts the 2010 Espectacular Concert, featuring Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Lila Downs, Mariachi Cobre and Los Arrieros.

The Plaza Palomino Courtyard Concert Series and the Tucson Jazz Society's Jazz Under the Stars each begin their annual season of shows.

The Sand Rubies celebrate their 25th anniversary with a performance at Plush in which they play songs from every album they ever recorded, in reverse chronological order.

Notable releases: Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, Guru-Gaga; Pablo Peregrina, Traveling Soles; Domingo DeGrazia and Beth Daunis, The Bluest Sky; Lenguas Largas 7-inch; Cosmic Slop, Spit Don't Make No Babies.