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Weekend music

Fairytale of Tucson: A holiday ballad (plus, a goodbye to local band the Frecks)

Every week in this space, your humble columnist pays tribute to the music craft and songwriting of Tucson's finest bands, solo artists and local rock and roll icons.

New bands share their hopes and dreams, while old friends recount their tales of the once and future music scene.

Local rock fans gush over their favorite groups, while musicians get absolutely nerdcore about their favorite gear.

Record stores wax rhapsodic about their wares, while recording studios talk sound and technique. 

We welcome new bands, new venues and new albums, while saying goodbye to some of our favorite haunts and our favorite local talents. 

But this time, your trusty music writer has a little tribute meant for all of you.

This little ode may perhaps share a tune with a certain Celtic punk holiday classic that you may have heard a time or two. Apologies to Shane MacGowan and the late, great Kirsty MacColl.

A Fairytale of Tucson 

by Julie Jennings Patterson (with apologies to The Pogues)

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It was Solstice eve, babes

In the desert

Some band friends said to me

Glad to see another one

And then they played for us

At this year's Cover Ups

I danced my cares away

And dreamed of all of you

I'm a lucky music nerd

So much great stuff I've heard

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I've got a feeling

This year's for me and you

So happy Holidays

I love you readers

I can see a music scene

Where all our dreams come true

We've got bars small as cars

And whiskeys of gold

When the Snowbirds leave town

It's no place for the old

When I first hear your bands

On some warm desert night

I have faith that your albums

Will turn out alright

You're all handsome

And you're pretty

Rock stars of our fine city

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When your bands finish playing

We howl out for more

When your pedals start fuzzing

The crowd just gets buzzing

We nurse beers in the corner

Or dance through the night

The sound guy is done adjusting all

The monitors just right

And guitars are ringing out

For Solstice night

We've got ska bands and funk

And garage rock and punk

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Alt country crooners, folk, rap and crunk

Psych bands and power pop 

Indie and hip hop

Happy Solstice to all

Though it's some venues' last 

The bar owners and the bookers

Know you'll head Downtown today

So guitars are ringing out

For Solstice day

You all could be someone

And so could anyone

You share your dreams with me

When I first find you

I keep them with me babes

I put them with my own

Can't make it all alone

I build my dreams around you

The talent in Tucson's music scene

Just takes my breath away

And guitars are ringing out

For Solstice day

The Young Ones

Once in every lifetime comes a scene like this.

This year's biggest local music news may have been the fantastic, prolific and ever-evolving slate of talented youth forming new rock and punk bands in Tucson and Phoenix. And no group was more representative of this crew than the Frecks, a joyous garage punk chaos party of a band, consisting of a trio of fresh-faced, freckled, hard-rocking teenage girls who knew neither fear nor filters.

Sadly, first rock bands, no matter how great, tend not to be long lasting and the Frecks were not immune to the laws of rock and roll. The band announced via its Instagram this week that they are no more and Tucson music fans who had the good fortune of seeing them live can count themselves lucky indeed.

The Frecks will release their first and only E.P. in early 2019, so the band still has a chance to make their mark on local music history.

Meanwhile, both bands' members are on to newer projects, both of which are actively playing gigs in the next several days - Stripes and Alien Jacket. Stay tuned for more info on both bands in the coming weeks and check out Alien Jacket this Sunday night.

Alien Jacket plays a house show in midtown Tucson with Worth, Powerboil and BYOM on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Contact the band via @alienjacketband on Instagram or via The Frecks band page on Facebook for invites and details.

Meanwhile, Stripes joins Rough Draft, Yum!, and Gutter Town for The Sad Dance Party - a house party at the same Midtown location - next Saturday Dec 29 at 7 p.m. Contact Stripes520 on Facebook or Instagram.

Cover Me...

As we announced last week in this space, it's time for local band Halloween aka The Great Cover Up this weekend.

Night one of the event took place Thursday, featuring rave-up performances by Juju Fontaine as the Cars, Natalie Pohanic channeling the Kinks, Southbound Pilot as CCR, The Bennu as Rage Against The Machine, Fitter Happier disguised as Radiohead and Belinda Esquer masquerading as Shirley Manson of Garbage.

Friday night at Club Congress, you can catch night two of the event, featuring local acts Miss Olivia and the Interlopers, Muffalettas, the Distortionists, Kane Flint, Bryan Thomas Parker, Lydian Osman and Jeremy Michael Cashman, covering the music of R.E.M., Neil Young, B-52s, They Might Be Giants, Stone Temple Pilots, Bjork, Aretha Franklin, and Justin Timberlake.

Then Saturday night, Dec. 22, locals Little Cloud, Nick Prevenas, Big Mean, BreakingGlass, Drew Cooper, Still Life Telescope, Mason, Leigh Lesho, M. Crane and Night Weather take over 191 Toole to represent Iggy Pop, the Replacements, Stevie Nicks, Joe Jackson, Cheuck Berry, the Killers, Hall and Oates, Depeche Mode, Tom Petty and Queen.. 

Bands start promptly at 7 p.m. and continue with 20-minute sets throughout both nights. 

The Great Cover Up Night Two commences Friday, Dec. 21, at Club Congress at 7 p.m.

The Great Cover Up Night Three takes place at 191 Toole on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.

Exbats and Feverfew

Those of you who read this column weekly are well aware of this columnist's propensity to never, ever shut up about certain bands that have captured her fancy over the past year or two. Therefore, it should be no surprise that she's incredibly excited (and thinks you ought to be too) about a show this week featuring two of her shameless favorites.

Southern Arizona's finest father-daughter lofi punk duo, the Exbats, joins Hello Kitty-colored fuzzy post-grunge garage geniuses Feverfew at Club Congress next Thursday night along with new local duo Vasectomy.

A little bird tells us to be on the lookout for a new vinyl comp from the Exbats sometime early in the new year, and Feverfew recently wrapped up recording at Midtown Island for the band's forthcoming debut. 

In the meantime, you can hear and see for yourselves Thursday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. at Club Congress.

Check your local listings...

Friday, Dec. 21

  • Emilie Marchand - 6 p.m. Sand-Reckoner
  • The Great Cover Up 2018: Night Two - 7 p.m. Club Congress
  • Texas Trash, Guttertown - 10 p.m. District Eatz

 Saturday, Dec. 22

  • Lowlife - 7 p.m. Crooked Tooth
  • The Great Cover Up 2018: Night Three - 7 p.m. 191 Toole
  • Hank Topless - 9 p.m. Dusty Monk
  • Christmas Piano Spectacular - 10 p.m. Owls Club
  • Holiday Hook-Up: Freezing Hands, Lenguas Largas - 9 p.m. Che's 
  • Endless Pursuit, Bordertown Devils, Guttertown - 9 p.m. Surly Wench

 Sunday, Dec. 23

  • Laura and the Killed Men - 4 p.m. Saint Charles
  • Jillian and the Giants, Katie Haverly - 7 p.m. Che's 
  • Alien Jacket, Worth, Powerboil and BYOM - 7:30 p.m. (House Party, contact bands for info)

Monday, Dec. 24

  • Monday Open Mic - 7 p.m. House of Bards

 Tuesday, Dec. 25

  • A Very Merry Wooden Tooth Christmas - 9 p.m. Club Congress

Thursday, Dec. 27

  • Exbats, Feverfew, Vasectomy - 7 p.m. Club Congress

Each week this column compiles a choice selection of live gigs in and around Tucson with the help of good venue and band event announcements and other resources. 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 arts@tucsonsentinel.com.

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Courtesy of the band

The Frecks

Youtube Video