ALL RIGHT, LET 'ER RIP! After a long, hot summer of speculation and uncertainty, the Rialto Theater reopens--sort of--with a back-lot concert featuring none other than the bad-ass, roots-rockin' Paladins on Saturday, October 12, on Fifth Avenue between Congress and Broadway. With claims to be "a continuation of '40s, '50s and '60s rhythm and blues," the Paladins may nod to greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but they're second to none live. As only befitting a true blues band, live shows have been the focus of their efforts since their formation in San Diego some 17 years ago.

Playing more than 150 shows a year for the past 15 years, the Paladins are the essence of instinctual, gritty, humid blues, articulated with an almost jazzy elegance. A three-piece outfit playing vintage equipment, the band is Thomas Yearsley on upright bass, Jeff Donovan on drums, and Dave Gonzalez on guitar and vocals. Tight, righteous and supremely authentic, the Paladins deliver the goods with maturity, verve and enormous energy.

The band has five full-length releases, including September's Million Mile Club on 4AD Records (home to an eclectic assortment of artists such as Dead Can Dance, the Pixies, Cocteau Twins and Lisa Germano). This rockin' compilation of live recordings forms a long-awaited testament to the fact the Paladins play full-on, straight-from-the-soul live shows.

Featuring favorites like "Fifteen Days Under the Hood," "Big Mary's," "Years Since Yesterday," and "Let's Buzz," Million Dollar Club is one passionate performance after another. Yearsley's solid driving bass, Donovan's rooted groove on drums, and Gonzalez's bracing guitar and fervent vocals create a wall of sound so big you'd swear there's more than just the three of them. Whether you're a blues aficionado or were a fan of the Stray Cats once upon a time, you won't want to be anywhere but this Rialto reunion starting at 8 p.m. with local openers Kings of Pleasure. Tickets are $5, free for Friends of the Rialto members. Call 740-0126 for information.

HOT TICKET: Friday, October 11, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., is not just going to be a show, it's gonna be an Event. Prepare for a carnival of gothic exotica, sublime industrial erotica, and savory surprises as My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult unveils the "Inferno X-press '96" tour, with special guests Deathride 69 and Spillblanket. Along with some of their more obscure material from the past six years, The Thrill Kill Kult promises to tease with stuff from their newly recorded album, A Crime for All Seasons, due for release in January. Stop at Hydra, get some gear or a new piercing, then drop by the Congress for tickets, $8 in advance, $10 d.o.s.

Returning to the Empire Café, 61 E. Congress St., on Wednesday, October 16, is smooth Texas honky-tonker Dale Watson and his band the Lone Stars. Since his last spectacular appearance at the Empire on June 19, Watson has toured with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, played a week of festival dates in Sweden, and was set to tape Austin City Limits on October 2. The tele will be tuned and the clean, country rockabilly Texas swing will get underway at 9 p.m. Tickets are cheap at $5 for what will no doubt prove one of the toe tappin'-est, 10-gallon good times since Watson's last stop in Tucson.

LAST NOTES: Put a little swank into your Saturday at the Airport Lounge, 20 E. Pennington St., with the straight-up, Classic Lounge Sounds of The Fabulous Bobbie Myhrre, with guests La Boom Boom Luna and George Martin. Cost? 99 cents at the door, and shows usually start around 10 p.m.

New Waves! KAMP Student Radio has finally found a home at 1570 AM. Broadcasting at 30 watts, KAMP promises a round-the-clock mix of alternative and indie rock, hip hop, blues and world music, as well as sports programming that will include some live coverage.

Have a wild time at the Wildcat House, 1801 N. Stone Ave., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 5, as the Tucson Chapter of the Harley Owners Group presents the Eighth Annual HOGtoberfest. Tattoo contests, bike games and rock and roll are all part of this event, which helps raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cost is $10 at the door.

The 12th Annual Tucson Blues Festival, sponsored by the Tucson Blues Society, kicks off mid-week Wednesday, October 16, with the main events coming up next weekend, October 17 through 20. See the insert in this week's issue for details.

EXTRAVAGANZA '97: Apply now for a spot on the roster at the 12th annual Celebration of American Music in America's City of Music, to be held February 19 through 22. Interested bands need to send the application, a three-song cassette, bio, photo, performance schedule and $10 processing fee to the NEA Extravaganza '97, P.O. Box 121948, Nashville, TN 37212. Deadline is October 31. Call (615) 327-4308 for information; or check them out online at Applications are available, while supplies last, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Tucson Weekly front desk.

PUB SNUB: We failed to mention Plaza Pub owner and co-founder of the Airport Lounge, Alice Kozlik, in last week's Soundbites. Our apologies, Alice. Didn't mean to cause any turbulence. TW

By Lisa Weeks
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