Filler Soundbites

ROLL CALL: Hey students! Bags unpacked and the first week of school behind you, it's time to turn to more important steps in continuing your education: what to do over Labor Day weekend. We're more than happy to help--in fact, pick us up every Thursday and we'll let you know where to hear the best in live music, who's coming to town and generally where you can take the edge off your busy week.

If your taste runs in the alternative pop direction, you're in luck. The Drakes, one of Tucson's best, break their summer long hiatus on Friday, August 30, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

Image They break away from the signature desert rock sound by combining rock, roots, psychedelic and pop with an occasional nod to country-blues. Although guitarist Gene Ruley is an accomplished technician, he knows when to lay back and when to lay it on, and is always imaginative and versatile. Lead vocalist Tom Stauffer's instinctive sense of phrasing and rhythm sets him apart from those ubiquitous singers loitering in front of microphones these days. Brilliantly supported by Brett Klay on violin, Bill Green on bass and piano, and Chris Martin on drums, The Drakes' live shows are energetic and entertaining.

The band continues to reap tons of accolades for their self-titled CD, released late last year, and they're one of the few bands recommended by the Austin Chronicle at this year's South by Southwest showcase. Cake magazine writes, "This excellent release sparkles with brilliant production and insightful lyrics which include reflection on youth, imperfection, and other topics many other bands seem to overlook." Their catchy, rockin' single "I Did That" and the deadpan "Bunny" have thankfully been receiving lots of airplay on KFMA, 92.1 FM.

Opening the show are The Suicide Kings from Phoenix and Morris Tupper from Los Angeles. Show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $4, available at the door. Call 622-8848 for more information.

The five-piece Gila Monsters, hailing from Venice, California, sit heavy on the funk with a lot of rock and a little blues thrown in for a jammin' good time. Featuring Charlie Bragg on guitar and vocals, Christopher Pellani on drums and percussion, R.H. Factor on sax, flute and vocals, Javier Willis on bass and vocals, and Paul Perme on lead vocals, harmonica and percussion, the band is building a reputation for creating a party atmosphere wherever they play.

Image Formed six years ago, The Gila Monsters have played with the Beat Farmers, Dread Zepplin, the Radiators, Jimmy Witherspoon, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, and Sonia Dada. Their latest release, Down In The Pit, begins with the funky "Telephone" before moving seamlessly into the bluesy and melodic "About Like Nuthin'." The sinister "Electric Chair" slows down the tempo a bit, but overall the album is upbeat, bearing occasional similarities to the Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveler, without sounding derivative.

Get the bite at 10 p.m. Friday, August 30, at the Third Stone, 500 N. Fourth Ave. Cover charge is $3 at the door. Call 628-8844 for more information.

LAST NOTES: Sample a three-piece special of swingin', lowdown funkified blues simmered to perfection for your listening and dancing pleasure as San Diego's Mississippi Mud Sharks return to the Third Stone on Saturday, August 31. While the focus is on their original material, they are known to toss in a gem or two by such artists as T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Little Charlie and the Nightcats and Jimi Hendrix.

Cover charge is $3 at the door and show time is 10 p.m. Call 628-8844 for information.

The Texas Tornadoes tear the roof off the Outback, 296 N. Stone Ave., with a force-five Tex Mex windstorm with Freddy Fender, Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Santiago Jiminez and Mario Rivera. Doors open at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 5, for the 9 o'clock show, so you'll have plenty of time to get your three sheets to the wind. The 'does, with opener James Cameron, step in as a last minute change for The Gap Band show, which has been tentatively rescheduled for October. Tickets for this week's show are $15 in advance, $17 day of show. Call 622-4700 for information.

WHAT'S THE STORY? Tempe band The Piersons were scheduled for an in-store appearance at Zia Records on August 22 before playing at the Third Stone later that night. Word has it the guitar player quit the same morning and the remaining members couldn't convince him to honor the Tucson gigs.

To the best of our knowledge, The Piersons are the only Arizona band invited to play this year's CMJ Festival in New York City, which begins this week. Timing is everything.... TW

--Jennifer Murphy
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