SLIDING IN, SLIDING DOWN, SLIDING OUT: This Sunday, October 27, Club Congress serves up another sensational opportunity to preview a soon-to-be not-so-well-kept secret, Lifter. On their first big headlining swing across the desert, Lifter has been on the road and among the ranks of the up-and-coming since early this year. If you're one of the flunkies who blew off the incredible Congress Superdrag/Thermador show back in June, only to pay top dollar to sweat it out in a packed house three months later, well, now Lifter gives you a chance to redeem yourself.

Comprised of Mike Coulter's vocals and guitar, John Rozas on drums and Jeff Sebelia on bass, the power trio that is Lifter spawned from the same area of East Hollywood that produced the likes of Beck, the Geraldine Fibbers and Possum Dixon. Lifter rocks the Congress in support of their first major label release, Melinda (Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt), put out on Interscope last spring. Apolitical and unpretentious, the 11 tracks of Melinda eulogize love and innocence, lashing out in disgusted rage with powerful honesty and a wistful poignancy garnished with cautious hope.

Set up against Rozas' commanding and versatile percussion and Sebelia's heavy rhythms, Coulter's guitar packs a thick metal punch that'll knock you on your ass and lift you off the ground. Although Lifter offers no big catchy innovation, unless you consider no-frills rock and roll innovative in these Poe-ful days, they promise a strong set of powerful, emotive and personal songs delivered with maximum torque and high output.

Lifter is supported by recent transplants from the land of ABBA, Sludge Nation. Cuter than little lingonberries, Sludge Nation debuts around 10 p.m. Tickets are only $3, and in case you didn't already know, the Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St. Phone 622-8848 for more information.

HOT TICKET: And at The Rock this Thursday, October 24--for one night only, mind you--keyboardist, saxophonist, Scientologist, and innovator extraordinaire, Edgar Winter comes out to support his new album, The Real Deal, a collection of new songs recorded with a collection of Winter's best friends, notably Rick Derringer, Jermaine Jackson, Ronnie Montrose, and brother Johnny Winter, among many others.

For the uninitiated, Winter's the guy who: was the main member of White Trash (was Social Distortion making a sly reference with their latest title, do you think, could it be?), the seventies rock legend with the smash song "Frankenstein" (recently released on the acclaimed Wayne's World 2 soundtrack), and inventor of the first body strap for the hand-held keyboard.

One of the whitest knights in the classic rock cavalry, he's fresh from a national tour with Hank Williams, Jr., the Marshall Tucker Band and Leon Russell. Primed to deliver his apparently rejuvenated brand of "toe-in-the mud" Texas boogie rock, Winter is bound to make L. Ron proud. It's no free ride, though: Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Perhaps saving the best for last, the third and final show in the Rialto Benefit Series features legendary veteran bluesman Lonnie Brooks. On the road with his seventh release for Alligator records, Roadhouse Rules, Brooks rocks the backlot stage on Fifth Avenue, between Broadway and Congress, on Saturday, October 25. Internationally loved and respected for nearly four decades, Brooks--who headlined this year's 13th Annual Chicago Blues Festival--shakes downtown to its foundations with his combination of Texas twang, Chicago blues, roots rock and funk. Show openers George Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds hit the stage at 8 p.m. Show is free for members and just $5 for non-members, with advance tickets available at Hear's Music. Call 740-0126 for information.

LAST NOTES: There is nowhere else to go on Friday except to see a double bill of the best local talent, Black Moon Graffiti and Greyhound Soul, come home to the Club Congress. Tickets are $4 and the show starts around 10 p.m.

Saturday's jam at the Airport Lounge is the 1996 Best of Phoenix country group, The Suicide Kings, with Full On. Show time is around 10 p.m., cover is $2, with details available by phone at 882-0400.

CONGRATULATIONS! Local band Atomic Frog has recently been selected to perform at the Philadelphia Music Conference on November 1, 1996. They're currently working on their first CD, due out in early '97.

On the country front, Tucson artist James Cameron was selected from hundreds of participants to be one of five finalists in the 1996 Jim Beam Country Music Talent Search. The lowdown showdown takes place November 9 at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville.

Kick ass, guys! TW

--Jennifer Murphy
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