Tucson Sounds: Merry something to you

In the sage words of Devo, Merry something to you. It’s halfway through December, and more traditions than not seem to have some sort of winter celebration close to now, including maybe your own.

But even if that isn’t the case, you can just celebrate your local music scene. It seems like everyone has a holiday show of some sort coming up this week. Hell, even my own bands do, presuming I can overcome an ill-timed bout of laryngitis.

But if you’re at a loss to pick a place to throw back eggnog with your mates while checking out some of Tucson’s finest, you can pretty much never go wrong following tradition.

And, thus, I present to you a handful of local holiday traditions, in case you’re new in town, or in case you’ve simply forgotten.

Misfit toys for everyone

First and least venerable in this list is the Punk Christmas Toy Drive at Thunder Canyon Brewery, this Friday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m.

Brought to you by some of the same folks that put on the monthly Sonidos de Lunas concert series at Brodie’s Tavern, this yearly fundraising showcase is always a fun party for a great cause and is guaranteed to be loud. It’s also pretty certain that there will be at least one frontman with devil horns and a luchador outfit, but never mind all that.

This year’s line up includes The Cancelled, Cicada, Destroy All Humans, Los Diablos Gordos, Overthinking.Punk Christmas Toy Drive.

Punk is dad

Perhaps Friday’s show isn’t punk enough for you. Or perhaps it is, and you want to prolong the party for one more day. The answer to either is probably the same.The “Punk’s Not Dead” show at 191 Toole on Saturday, aka Lenny Mental’s birthday party is an OG Tucson hardcore scene reunion that everyone in town happens to be invited to.

This year’s lineup feature’s the guest of honor’s own band, the Besmirchers, along with Gob Patrol, PS9, Umera, and the delightful insanity that is Manslaw (featuring Chris Carlone of Pollo Elastico and Borts Minorts.)

Punk’s Not Dead: Lenny Mental’s Birthday Party – Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., 191 Toole


Last, but very definitely not least, is the Tucson holiday institution that is Che’smas.

The yearly party on the Che’s Lounge patio promises baked goods, games with prizes, a visit from Mrs. Claus and a pledge to play no Christmas much. The once and past and future hosts of Che’smas,

Leila Lopez Band, headline as always, with some support from Katie Havery.

Che’smas – Sunday, December 17 at 5 p.m., Che’s Lounge

If it’s not love, than it’s the Bombs that will keep us together

Bullhead City band the Love Bombs were surprised this week when they started getting congratulating messages from friends and fans for their “opening slot” on the upcoming 2024 Social Distortion/Bad Religion co-headlining tour. It seems that the Love Bombs fan base mistook the tour’s actual opener, Julian Ness’ Lovebombs for their favorite AZ femme-powered punk trio.

Julian Ness is, of course, the son of Mike Ness. And after spending their morning sorting out the confusion, the homegrown Love Bombs were more than a little irritated, initially posting their outrage via social media and finally grabbing the opportunity to get the word out about their music and their upcoming plans to tour.

Regardless of where one stands on the question of what constitutes band name appropriation (or whether one’s band should merit a tour opening slot by privilege of birth) one can’t deny a kickass band when one hears it. At least this reporter can’t.

And so, rather than weigh in one the discussion that begat it all, I simply present to you some stellar Arizona rock and roll.

The Love Bombs on Spotify.

London Calling

One of the better developments in Tucson’s music scene of late has been a confluence of fantastic punk, garage, and indie rock bands from Sonora, Mexico, finding their way onto local bills and making already great shows 10 times better. Rumor has it that many of these bands are part of a burgeoning indie punk scene based around an Hermosillo hangout known as the London Pub.

This Saturday night, Tucson returns the favor, sending emissaries from a couple of our dusty burg’s own talent to scope out the scene on the other side of the border.

If your passport is in order and you have some time on your hands, perhaps you can check it out yourselves. Though, if you are so inclined, be sure to check the current status of the border crossing you plan to utilize – word has it there may be some closures in force of late.The Websites and Anchorbaby with Mushasho – 8 .p.m, at the London Pub, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

Stay tuned until next time for Tucson Sounds take on the best local music of 2023! And until then…

Check your local listings…

If you’ve got a gig coming up and you’d like your event listed in this space (or if your local band has a major announcement or a new release) drop me a line at [email protected].

Have a gig that I didn’t list? Refer to my previous column Tucson Sounds: I hate the ‘Gram – a local music love story for this columnist’s thoughts on the current state of local music promotion.

And try to hit me up next time, so I know.

Friday, Dec 15

  • New Misphoria Holiday Part with fAnnie Jump Cannon & Practically People -7 pm Club Congress
  • Punk Christmas Toy Drive: The Cancelled, Cicada, Destroy All Humans, Los Diablos Gordos, Overthinking – 8 pm Thunder Canyon
  • Bessett and Calahan – 9 pm Saint Charles Tavern

Saturday, Dec 16

  • Che’smas: Leila Lopez band, Katie Haverly – 5 pm Che’s Lounge
  • Saint Charles Holiday Bazaar – 3 pm Saint Charles Tavern

Sunday, Dec 17

  • Che’smas: Leila Lopez band, Katie Haverly – 5 pm Che’s Lounge
  • Saint Charles Holiday Bazaar – 3 pm Saint Charles Tavern