The Year in Local Music

MAY 2010

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association presents the 25th annual Tucson Folk Festival, featuring more than 100 acts, including dozens of local performers and national headliner Chris Hillman.

Chris Black organizes ChamberLab 1, which takes place at The Screening Room, for which he and other non-classical composers—including Gabriel Sullivan, Howe Gelb, Marco Rosano, Dante Rosano, Carlos Lopez, and Graham Reynolds—write and perform pieces for a string chamber ensemble.

Second Saturdays Downtown, a family-friendly gathering with a block-party feel that takes place on the second Saturday of each month, debuts. Performers include Howe Gelb and the Portland Cello Project, The Modeens, The Mission Creeps, Hank Topless, Maggie Golston, The Missing Parts, and Catacoustic Groove.

Juarez releases the epic, nine-minute-plus "Old River, Dry River" on a limited-edition split 10-inch with Boston's Junius.

Two and a half months before SB 1070 is scheduled to take effect, Cypress Hill becomes the first act to cancel an Arizona appearance—a scheduled date at the Rialto Theatre—in protest. The Rialto's Curtis McCrary (also a Weekly contributor) writes an open letter in an attempt to have them reconsider; they don't. The same week, Hotel Congress hosts a concert to help Border Action Network raise funds for its "comprehensive effort to fight this bill at a legal and community level"—yet Los Lobos cancels its scheduled performance at HoCo Fest almost four months in advance.

KLPX Fest, which takes place at the Pima County Fairgrounds, features performances from the Steve Miller Band, 38 Special, Ratt, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, and the Edgar Winter Group. Peter Frampton is forced to cancel his scheduled appearance after his equipment is destroyed in flooding in Nashville.

Lenguas Largas performs at Che's Lounge to celebrate the release of a pair of vinyl singles—one on iekk! Sounds, and the other on Dirt Cult.

Greg Morton sends off his bandmate in the String Figures, Mark Robertson-Tessi, who is moving to Florida, with a farewell concert at Old Town Artisans. Other performers include Round the House and the Determined Luddites.

Environmental publication Earth First! Journal holds its Grassroots Groovin' benefit show, which features performances by Spirit Familia, the String Figures, Top Dead Center, and Mambo Dulce, at The Hut.

As oil gushes from the Deepwater Horizon into the Gulf of Mexico, Hotel Congress hosts its Fourth Annual Night of New Orleans. The Original Wildcat Jass Band, Tom Walbank, and Tony and the Torpedoes perform.

Local singer, songwriter, musician, poet and actor Gerry Glombecki, a member of the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame and one of the founders of the Tucson Folk Festival, passes away at the age of 63.

Notable releases: Brazen Stir, Brazen Stir; Abandoned by Heroes, Abandoned by Heroes; Jivin Scientists, Autumn; Jeremy Michael Cashman, Roots; Batucaxé, The Blessing of the Beat; The Mission Creeps, Dark Cells; Beyond the Firewall, Beyond the Firewall; Jivin Scientists/Defacedproperty, Autumn; Fish Karma, Halloween in America.

JUNE 2010

Gabriel Sullivan debuts his new band, Taraf de Tucson, at Plush.

Powhaus Productions presents Jump Off, an old-school hip-hop and new-jack dance party, at the Rialto Theatre.

A benefit concert is held at the Temple of Music and Art for Privy Tippers guitarist and banjo player Craig Tinney, who was severely injured in a catastrophic motorcycle/car accident in November 2009. Performers include Bayou Seco, the String Bean Folk Orchestra, Linda Lou and the Drifters, Big Jim Griffith and the Stellar J's, and Mzekala. Tinney passes away weeks later.

Marianne Dissard and the Parasol Project team up to film the Warhol homage Lonesome Cowgirls at the Old West-style ranch Cowtown Keeylocko. The wrap party features performances by Dissard, Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan, and Flam Chen, as well as DJ sets from BK-One and Carl Hanni (a Weekly contributor).

Jake Bergeron, owner and operator of vinyl-only label Mudhouse Records, and drummer for several bands including The Beta Sweat and Blackwood and Co., passes away at age 29.

The ad-hoc band Salvador Duran and the Cumbia Queers perform at Powhaus Productions' Quinceañera, a benefit for Border Action Network, at the Rialto Theatre.

Bookmans on Grant Road hosts Song-Poem Night. Attendees bring in their own lyrics, which are set to music on the spot by Scott Landrum and Travis Spillers using a Casio keyboard.

Fish Karma and the Love Generation debut the rock opera Halloween in America.

Feel Good Revolution performs its last show, at Dry River.

Notable releases: Michael Friedmann, Stuck in Samsara; Amber Norgaard, Long Way Home; Holy Rolling Empire, Noise Will Be Noise; Monster Pussy, 24-Hour Party Pussies!; Steff Koeppen and the Articles, Steff Koeppen and the Articles; Angelic to Ashes, Images of Darkness and Light; Broken End Stereo, Promise Me Sleep; The Fisters, Hell Arizona; The Static Session, Lovelife; John de Roo, Lonesome Static; People From the Sun, Revolution Music; HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, I Am. And I've Been Looking for You.

JULY 2010

Hotel Congress hosts its annual Indie-Pendence Day Extravaganza featuring national acts Mates of State, Free Energy, and Secret Cities, and local bands Mostly Bears, Golden Boots, Seashell Radio and The Ghost of 505.

The unusual trio of Jackyl, Santana tribute band Savor, and The Jons perform at KLPX FM 96.1's Red, White and Boom! at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

KIIM FM 99.5's Freedom Fest hits Tucson Electric Park and features performances by Clay Walker, Troy Olsen, Blaine Larson, and LeeAnne Savage.

Calle Debauche performs its last show, at Vaudeville.

The Live Acoustic Venue Association (LAVA) kicks off its Music on the Mountain series of free outdoor concerts in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon.

Local vinyl-only label Fort Lowell Records releases its second 7-inch, ... music video?'s "I'm Afraid of Everything," with "feelgooddesperation" on the B side.

Elton John, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, the New Pornographers, and Delta Spirit are all scheduled to headline shows on the same night. John falls ill and reschedules his performance for the following night.

The Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance (TAMHA) holds its annual fundraiser at Plush. This year's theme is "Cactus Catfight," in which a dozen local performers—including Emilie Marchand and Tasha Bundy, The Tryst, Ricky Gelb, Winston and Marcella Watson, Mariachi Luz de Luna, and Naim Amor—cover songs by Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt.

Naim Amor: An Evening of Music and Videos is held at The Screening Room.

Club Congress' annual Xmas in July features the Silver Thread Trio, RCougar, Shaun Harris, and DJ Pony Girl.

Batucaxé's annual Monsoon Mania Dance Party and Fundraiser takes place at the Rhythm Industry Performance Factory.

Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha organizes the SB 1070-inspired Sound Strike, a coalition of artists—including Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, and Los Tigres del Norte—who refuse to perform in Arizona.

Notable releases: Ensphere, Corpuscle; Andrew Collberg, On the Wreath; Kate Becker, Soft Revolution; The Tangelos, Greatest Hits; Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl, Children of Fortune.


The Swigs' Kevin Henderson organizes Spillapalooza, a fundraiser for the Center for Biological Diversity's Gulf Disaster Fund, at The Hut. Performers include Al Perry, Loren Dircks and Gila Bend, The El Camino Royales, The Dusty Buskers, The Fisters, The Possibles, and Vannessa Lundon.

Powhaus Productions, Spork Press and the University of Arizona Poetry Center team up to present LIT! at the Rialto Theatre.

Club Congress' Optimist Club begins experimenting with live music. One of the first performers is Bob Log III.

Club Congress plays host to Every Dog Has His Day, a benefit for the HOPE Animal Shelter featuring performances by the Silver Thread Trio, Dead Western Plains, and Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout, among others.

"KXCI Celebrates 1970," a benefit for the station in which local acts cover songs from albums released that year, is held at the Rialto Theatre. Performers include Leila Lopez, Cheepness, Gaza Strip, Chris Holiman, and Namoli Brennet.

Notable releases: Seashell Radio, What Do You Have Against Happiness?; Chubbish Rubbish, Chubbish Rubbish; Roll Acosta, The Dawn; Early Black, Life:Love :: Love:Murder.


Club Congress celebrates its 25th anniversary with a bash that features current bands and reunions of defunct acts. The latter category includes the Phantom Limbs, River Roses, Gentlemen Afterdark, The Dusty Chaps, Love Ltd., Beyond 7, and Creosote. Howe Gelb hosts a Rainer tribute barbecue.

The Tucson Weekly's 17th annual Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES) ceremony is held at the Rialto Theatre. Big winners include Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta (Band/Musician of the Year), Cadillac Steakhouse (Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year) and Leila Lopez (Best New Release). Performers at the ceremony include Acorn Bcorn, HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS, Key Ingredients of African Soul, and Howe Gelb, who is inducted into the TAMMIES Hall of Fame.

Local visual artist and Blind Divine member Daniel Martin Diaz's newly opened Sacred Machine Museum gallery is feted at the Rialto Theatre. Performers include Gabriel Sullivan and Taraf de Tucson, Mostly Bears and Strata Divide.

The Tucson Jazz Society presents the Downtown Tucson Latin Jazz Festival, which includes performances by Tito y Su Nuevo Son and the legendary Larry Harlow.

LAVA's fall season of shows at Abounding Grace Sanctuary begins with a performance by the Redhouse Family Jazz Band.

The Tucson Jazz Society's annual Jazz Under the Stars series kicks off with a tribute to Duke Ellington by pianist Ted Howe and guest vocalist Joe Bourne.

Jonathan Holden's 13th annual fall season of his Rhythm and Roots concert series begins with a show featuring Rosie Flores, Mark Insley, and Kevin Pakulis.

The Second Annual Tucson Spanish and Flamenco Festival is held at Casa Vicente Restaurante Español.

Calexico is tapped to open shows for Arcade Fire.

Club Congress donates proceeds from HoCo Fest to the Border Action Network. The festival features performances by locals such as Silverbell, The Jons, and Howe Gelb, as well as touring acts including the Meat Puppets, Robyn Hitchcock, DeVotchKa, Steve Wynn, Mexican Institute of Sound, and the Riverboat Gamblers.

Notable Releases: Gabriel Ayala and Will Clipman, Passion, Fire, and Grace; Alien Jane, Evolve; Kevin Pakulis Band, Shadesville.


Mike Toubassi's sixth annual Tucson Film and Music Festival features dozens of Tucson- and music-related films, and a live performance by Fishbone.

Coyote Grace, Leila Lopez, and Seashell Radio perform at a benefit concert for Camp Wildcat.

Roughly 100 local, national and international acts perform at the Weekly's Fall Club Crawl®.

The Southern Arizona Blues Heritage Foundation's Blues Heritage Festival takes place at the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park. Performers include Janiva Magness, Neon Prophet, The Sugar Thieves, and SABHF Blues Challenge Winners the Bryan Dean Trio.

Hotel Congress hosts a free concert and barbecue to reward volunteers for the re-election campaign for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Performers include Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, Calexico, Molehill Orkestrah, RCougar and Courtney Robbins.

The KFMA Fall Ball 2010, featuring performances by bands including Deftones, Bush, Suicidal Tendencies, and Authority Zero, takes place at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

Lifers, Acorn Bcorn, Otherly Love, and Lenguas Largas perform at the inaugural installment of "Live at Red Room," in which local bands are recorded for a future compilation release.

The Desert Bluegrass Association's 11th annual Desert Bluegrass Festival hits AVA at Casino del Sol. Performers include Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Tangled Strings, and X Train.

Club Congress' Nightmare on Congress Street includes performances from Generationals, Holy Rolling Empire, Shaun Harris, and The Ghost of 505.

Notable releases: Amy Rude and Heartbeast, Can You Hear Me Crying Through the Walls?; BK Special, Hope Springs; Wet and Reckless and Tracy Shedd split 7-inch; Van Gogh Rescue, From the Top of Your Lungs; 2nd Grade Hi Five, Potential.


Calexico performs at the Rialto Theatre for a post-Dia de los Muertos All Souls Procession concert.

Plush celebrates its 10th anniversary with "Locals Covering Locals," exactly what its name implies. Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl cover Rainer; The Dusty Buskers cover Al Perry; Silver Thread Trio covers Neko Case; ... music video? covers the Meat Puppets; and Love Mound covers The Knockout Pills.

The KIIM-FM Country Music Festival features Rodney Atkins, Steve Holy, Steve Azar, and Sunny Sweeney at the Tucson Electric Park Practice Field.

The Hillwilliams and Our Cure the Rocketship perform reunion shows.

The Brootal Sun Show features Doctor Dinosaur, Dogbreath, The Runaway Five, Run-On Sunshine and others at Skrappy's.

Will Elliott and the Heretics, and the Awkward Moments perform at The Hut for The Earth First! Journal 30th Anniversary Release Party and Farewell to Tucson Celebration.

Rich Hopkins' annual Casa Maria Thanksgiving Benefit, which includes performances by Triple Double Band, Tammy West, and Kevin Pakulis, takes place at Plush.

Powhaus Productions pays homage to disco with "Solid Gold" at the Rialto Theatre.

The Wayback Machine's annual "Dance of Thanks," which doubles as its 10th anniversary party, takes place at Boondocks Lounge.

Notable releases: Dead Western Plains 7-inch; Stands With Fists, The Time Capsule; Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies, Alegrias; Giant Sand, Blurry Blue Mountain; Logan Greene and the Bricks, Soylent Greene.


The 13th annual Great Cover-Up, which benefits the Tucson Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance, is held over three nights at the Rialto Theatre and Club Congress. Performers include Calexico (covering the Flaming Lips), The Electric Blankets (The Who), The Swigs (Bee Gees), The Runaway Five (yacht rock), and Las Exciters, who will soon become Kiss and the Tells.

KWMT FM 92.9 "The Mountain" presents its annual Winter Wonderjam featuring Sara Bareilles, Plain White T's, Ingrid Michaelson, Ryan Star, and Christina Perri at AVA at Casino del Sol.

Hobnail Boot performs a reunion show at Sky Bar.

Local musicians James Muñoz, Jericho Davidson, Josh Skibar and Garth Bryson, aka The Inglorious Budsters, win Budweiser's national Band of Buds competition, netting a cool $100,000.

Lenguas Largas' Mark Beef organizes "Go Nowhere Fest Too," a four-day festival held at several venues. Performers include Pop Gestapo, Discos, The Creamys, and Otherly Love.

La Cerca celebrates its 10th anniversary with a show at Che's Lounge.

The Tucson Kitchens Musicians Association's Holiday Party and Fundraiser, featuring performances by Havin' a Blast, Don and Victoria Armstrong, The Canyonaires, and John Coinman, takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Ryanhood performs its Seventh Annual Christmas Concert at the Rialto Theatre.

KXCI FM 91.3 broadcasts its annual holiday-themed Sonic Solstice program, which includes live performances by Silverbell, Salvador Duran, Leila Lopez, Thru-Liner, and Michael P. Nordberg and Cristina Williams.

Powhaus Productions presents Casablanca New Year's Eve 2010 at the Rialto Theatre, featuring performances from Sergio Mendoza and His Orchestra (covering big-band tunes), Lola Torch, and The Tangiers.

The annual Arizona Blues Hall of Fame Benefit, which includes performances by the Bad News Blues Band and Stefan George, takes place at Club Congress. This year's inductees are Bryan Dean, Ralph Gilmore, Larry Lee Lerma, and Arthur Migliazza.

Notable releases: Golden Alphabet, A List of Our Worries; Winelord, Winelord III; Young Mothers, Have Some Fun; Diane Van Deurzen and Lisa Otey, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe; Howe Gelb's Melted Wires, Melted Wires.


Prior to moving to Seattle, Michael Serpe interviews himself on KXCI and performs a farewell show at Plush.

On Jan. 8, following the shooting at the Safeway at Oracle and Ina roads that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Rialto Theatre opens its doors for an impromptu vigil where local musicians including Courtney Robbins and Fen Ikner perform. The Rialto puts the message "We Love You Gabby" on its marquee. It remains there today.

Chris Holiman's annual, mostly acoustic Wooden Ball is held over two nights at Club Congress and Plush. Performers include Blind Divine, Hank Topless, Lunar Light Collectors, and Ferrodyne.

Noise (aka Noise Venue), a new all-ages venue, celebrates its opening with a show headlined by We Still Dream and The Tired and True.

La Cerca, The Runaway Five, and Bradford Trojan perform at a benefit show for nonlicensed radio station Free Radio Chukshon at Candelabra Gallery.

Plush closes its doors temporarily to allow for a drastic renovation.

Notable releases: Marianne Dissard, L'Abandon; Animus Divine, Sorrow; Lisa Otey and the Desert Divas, B.Y.O.B.—Bring Your Own Boa!; Please Remember Me: Musical Compositions of Ted DeGrazia.


The Tryst holds a CD-release party for its album Truth Be Told at The Hut. The album goes on to win the TAMMIES honor for Best New Release.

The Creamys perform their final show.

After an extended battle with cancer, Neon Prophet percussionist Plato T. Jones passes away. Hans Olson, George Howard and AmoChip Dabney are among the performers at a tribute show and benefit at Boondocks Lounge.

The Bryan Dean Trio advances to the semifinals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Batucaxé hosts the annual Tucson Carnaval in Armory Park.

The Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association holds a fundraising tribute to John Prine and Lucinda Williams at Boondocks Lounge. Participants include Don Simpson, Duncan Stitt, and Eb Eberlein.

Notable releases: Faster Than Light, Moment of Chaos; ... music video?, If This TV Could Talk; Otherly Love, Spit That Plan; Various Artists, Live at Red Room Vol. 1; Three Point Turn, Free Race for First Place; The Foleys, Blueprints; Gamma Like Very Ultra, Gamma Like Very Ultra; Spiders Can Fly, Spiders Can Fly.

MARCH 2011

A Benefit Concert for Ron Barber's Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding is held at the Tucson Convention Center Arena. The all-star list of performers includes Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper, David Crosby and Graham Nash, Sam Moore, Nils Lofgren, Keb' Mo', Jennifer Warnes, Jerry Riopelle, Dar Williams, Calexico, and Ozomatli, who break their SB 1070-inspired boycott of Arizona for the event.

Unwritten Law donates the proceeds from its show at The Rock to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund. Green, 9, was killed on Jan. 8.

The Tucson Weekly selects Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta as its official pick to perform at South by Southwest. However, the band cancels its showcase due to scheduling conflicts after Mendoza becomes a touring member of DeVotchKa.

Bröötal Sun Fest II takes place at Skrappy's and Dry River. Performers include Logan Greene and the Bricks, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Jaime J, Doctor Dinosaur, French Quarter, and Monster Pussy.

Bloodspasm performs its only two scheduled shows of the year, on consecutive nights at Skrappy's and Vaudeville.

The second annual Festival en el Barrio Viejo features performances by Calexico, The Baseball Project, Robyn Hitchcock, Los Gallegos, Kiss and the Tells, Al Perry, Gabriel Sullivan and Taraf de Tucson, Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School, and Silver Thread Trio.

Notable releases: Ferrodyne, St. John's Day; Mr. Free and the Satellite Freakout 7-inch; Funky Bonz, Prince Charming; The Dusty Buskers, Buskin'; Naim Amor, Dansons.

APRIL 2011

Way Out West Fest, featuring more than 60 independent acts including Shark Pants, French Exit, Garboski, Pillowfights, and Ultramaroon, is held at The Hut, O'Malley's and Skrappy's.

Optimist Club's Spring Formal, which includes performances by Warpaint, Das Racist, Cold Cave, O/W/L/S, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Twin Shadow, takes place over two nights at Hotel Congress.

The Music Matters! Benefit, featuring Howe Gelb's Melted Wires, Jason Lytle, Victoria Williams, and John Parish, takes place at the Rialto Theatre.

Nearly 100 local and national acts perform at the Weekly's Spring Club Crawl®.

Los Tigres del Norte breaks its Sound Strike boycott of Arizona and performs at the Pima County Fair.

The Fifth Annual JusticePalooza benefit for the American Friends Service Committee takes place at The Hut. Performers include Vannessa Lundon and Tell Me Something Good, The Possibles, Gabriel Sullivan, and Seashell Radio.

Can We Get Together?—a two-CD compilation featuring 26 local acts, released on Coseismic Records—is released to benefit the Tucson Together Fund. Artists include Neon Prophet, the Chip Ritter Band, the Tucson Girls Chorus, and Chorizmex.

The Fort Lowell Records Showcase at Hotel Congress features all six bands that appeared on the first five Fort Lowell vinyl singles.

Sunday Afternoon performs its farewell show at Plush.

The Seventh Annual Real Coachella takes place at The HangArt. Performers include Mark Matos, Treasure Mammal, and JJCNV.

Notable releases: Race You There, Catalyst; 'Sno Angel/Melted Wires 7-inch; Lenguas Largas, Lenguas Largas; Tom Walbank, Arizona Burning; The Modeens, Get With the Times; Golden Boots, DBX 'n' SPF.

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