Le Cirque du Hooeur

Club Congress, Tucson's local rock 'n' roll watering hole, will be hosting quite a little series of rock shows this weekend in honor of their ten year anniversary an event they like to call Le Cirque du Horreur (The Circus of Horror). Starting tonight and running through Halloween night, the CC stage will be host to some fine national and local musical combos.

Tonight brings the Toadies to town. With their video in heavy rotation on MTV, and a solid new LP under their belt, this is a band with a bullet and a fine choice for the opening night of the circus. Local popsters Shoebomb will precede the superstars, with White Chrome Splendor opening the show. This snippet of rock will set you back $8 in advance, or $10 on the day of the show. Wristbands for the week's activities are also available at a cheaper rate. This is definitely one of the most promising shows of the weekend.

Friday is a real doozey. Local rock rules the day as Fish Karma (comic folk) leads into the Itsy Bitsy Spiders (funky), then to rockers Starcrunch, The Luminarios, and The Zsa Zsas, and finally the hippin' and a hoppin' Blackmoon Graffiti. At a mere $5, this might be considered a bargain.

Saturday features Arizona superstars, the Meat Puppets. With one classic underground album (Meat Puppets II) and several other recordings of note in their discography, this punk guitar combo can be a great live band. The Superchunk-inspired band Shovel will open the show, along with the rockers known as Dog and Pony Show and some disc jockeying courtesy of Spyder Rhodes. This evening costs $10 in advance, or $12 on the day of the show.

Sunday stars Yo La Tengo (see interview below). With opening bands The Drakes, Greyhound Soul, Caitlin and the Stickponies, and the Zero Kings (an unusually popular local punk rock outfit), this is quite a rock show. A measly $6 will get you in to see some pretty good noise. This is my pick of the circus, though I wish someone would dress up as clowns.

Monday is another night of exclusively local acts. Headlined by avant-desert rockers Giant Sand, whose national and international fame far surpasses their local image, listeners will also be graced with the soulful stylings of Rainer, Zydeco with the Blue Runners, Stefan George, and a little pre-show record playing with DJ Tasha Bundy. A $3 payout will get you inside for the rock.

The last night of the circus brings John Doe to town. This ex-Xer will play his country-esque songs as an after dinner mint, or maybe liqueur, to the meal provided by the opening acts: the legendary Al Perry, who will be joined by his original backup band the Sultry Heffers, in a set of classic songs which no fan will want to miss, the fantastic Phantom Limbs, spunky Spillblanket, charming Chick Cashman, and DJs Spyder Rhodes and (kaboom) H-bomb. Ouch, yet another $12 show, though $10 will get you a ticket in advance.

Of important note: you must be 21 years old to get into Club Congress (it's a bar, too, ya know), though many of the shows will be outside and audible to everyone within earshot. All weekend wristbands are available for $25 at the Club, and Chick Cashman will be hosting almost every show and will probably break a thousand hearts . so be careful.

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