Stop, rock, and roll 

Fire up the airwaves for another smokin’ KBGA Birthday Bash

It’s bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before the actual day, but here’s to you and 42 dog-years of alternative programming, KBGA College Radio, and a pinch to grow an inch. Now let’s lift up a corner of the big top and have us a peek at what’s doing this weekend:

Friday, Sept. 20: The Rock Blowout

For whatever reason, all- or mostly-girl rock bands tend to have shorter life expectancies than those of their male counterparts, but Sasshole has lasted through thick and thin for something like six years now. Around the time of original guitarist Shelley Massey’s departure and the arrival of her replacement, Dave Parsons, Sasshole’s music began to veer away from the locker-room humor of crowd-pleasers like “Put a Hot Dog in Your Butt” into the darker, scarier territory of songs like “Boiled Angel.” Jen Tachovsky has turned into a formidable self-taught drummer, singer Kia Liszak has somewhat restrained her eardrum-puncturing screeches, and somewhere in the process the band made the jump from charmingly clunky local oddity to serious ass-kicking rock machine. Bassist Milli Thompson has retired from the touring life—to the profound disappointment of an almost cultish following up and down the West Coast—but will still play local shows like this one.

Oblio Joes has also undergone a recent personnel change—its first and only in almost 10 years of playing together. Joining the Oblios has long been the dream of nearly every bassist in Missoula, but Ear Candy Records proprietor and former Everyday Sinners member John Fleming is the lucky one, stepping triumphantly into the pointy elf shoes left vacant by Tor Dahl. Couldn’t have come at a better time, either, with singer-songwriter John Brownell putting the finishing touches on a brand-new album, Tor’s last recording with the Oblios and maybe the band’s best so far. Oops, maybe I’m not supposed to have heard it yet. Heh heh. Suckers.

Will the last drummer to leave the International Playboys please turn out the lights? It was looking grim for a while there—hell, how can it not send band morale into a nose-dive when a drummer announces his retirement on the last leg of an otherwise triumphant national tour? But the indestructible Playboys already have new guy Dan “Deuce” Rodin all broken in. A tour is slated to kick off later this month, and studio time already booked at Tim Kerr’s venerable Sweatbox studio in Austin, Texas. Catch this millionaire boys’ club while you can, because when they hit the road they stay out for, like, three years at a time.

Finally, where would any rock blowout be without Fireballs of Freedom? You don’t know the meaning of the word until you’ve seen the boys rip it up on their former home turf, and this time they’ve got the birthday bash plus an old account to square with a show that fell through earlier this month because of van troubles. Expect vengeance of Old Testament proportions. This could also be the last Fireballs show in these parts for a good long while, as it seems the Fireballs will be settling down for a rainy Portland winter to work on their next album, tentatively titled Shut It, Joey. Watch for a new single, an incinerating cover of James Hendrix’s “Ain’t No Telling,” to appear on local label Wäntage Records later this fall.

Saturday, Sept. 21: Hangover Helper

You know there’s trouble a’ brewin’ when the normally evasive Magic Eightball fields a vague query about hangovers with a chillingly unequivocal “Does the Pope wear a funny hat?” The prognosis is grim, and there will be no asking again later this time. Doc Katzenjammer recommends two 4 AM microwave burritos and two aspirin with a tall glass of water between you and the snooze button. And going to see Zoe Wood, whose cool folk will balm you all over after a long night of miniature winged beer mascots jabbing you with tiny pitchforks. A wonderful combination of traditional sounds with incisive lyrics and a Dr. Demento sense of humor, Zoe has been delighting audiences for 12 years now. Have a seat, nurse those fluids, and by the time she’s finished you might be sufficiently recovered to get stepping with Organic Elements and the unsitdownable Carlos Washington and the Giant People, frequent visitors to Missoula and always a righteous good time.

KBGA College Radio celebrates its sixth birthday with a two-night bash this weekend. Sasshole, Oblio Joes, the Playboys and the Fireballs sock it to you Friday, Sept. 20, starting at 9 PM. Zoe Wood, Organic Elements, and Carlos Washington and the Giant People perform Saturday, Sept. 21. Tickets are $5 each night.

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