Well, we were right and wrong last week. Dan was in prison, but not in Amsterdam. Rather, he was held up in a French prison cell. He was then offered bull fighting in lieu of his jail sentence. Thus, he became a matador for three days while Gene Wilder looked on in amazement. So it wasn't really similar to "Return to Paradise" but instead more like "Stir Crazy." No matter though, Dan is home safe and sound and came to our writing session with an immense amount of ideas. Sadly, we lost an AMS member for the third straight week as Matt was unable to hit that pocket and blow. So, it's just Adam and Dan this go-around. However, being the only member to not miss a day, Adam is ecstatically awaiting his paid vacation, due shortly. He's considering Papua New Guinea.

We would like to point out that regardless of what music we like, the AMS writers are open to every genre. Weather it's Dan's love for the Carpenter's, Adam’s infatuation with The Captain and Tennille, or Matt's devotion to Wilson Phillips, our musical tastes are quite diverse and open to the many winds of variance. Thus this past weekend was a perfect time to witness a wide range of bands. Dan and Adam would both like to point out the Union's Saxatromba, Regatta 69 show last Friday - two phenomenal but different ska bands. This weekend, we’re in store for lot's of Cinci imports…and funk….and sexiness…..LET'S GO!

Tonight the Union boasts an evening of some of the best Ska in the whole stinkin’ world. This just in, verbatim from the official website… Asian Man recording artists Johnny Socko are a six piece ska-punk-polka band based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Performing over 300 shows a year throughout the USA, Johnny Socko has been a major food group in the nation's Ska diet for many years. Well known for their outrageously fun (and mildly disgusting) stage show, Johnny Socko has also gained a reputation as purveyors of the bizarre with their website (www.johnnysocko.com) that averages 30,000 hits monthly. They're playing with the other best ska band in the whole world...the Beatdowns. Dan and Adam caught the Beatdowns’ show a few weeks ago and was impressed. Go to this show!

A bit further down West Union, Deadlast treats the Skull patrons to a review of Athens style alterna-metal. They cite Pantera and GWAR as major influences. Suffice it to say that this young band probably knows how to bang some head.

Across from that eerie law office at the Swindlefish, Cinci jazzers Ray’s Music Exchange round up all 7 or so members (maybe more now) to wet our proverbial funky-jazz palates. Ray’s are no strangers to the Athens music scene, as they play our town quite often. Made up of highly skilled and professionally trained musicians (many if not all from the Cincinnati Music Conservatory,) RME are extremely proficient at getting an audience off their ass and on their feet. Although they turn over musicians faster and more often than Van Halen, they consistently have a stellar set of classic jazz tunes and funky rhythms.

Also tonight, Night Court continues their trend of booking skilled acoustic acts as they invite Jason Ludwig and Chris Canyon up on stage. They have been local musicians for two years and in that time they have developed a "power acoustic" sound based on their musical influences – primarily Neil Young and Radiohead type bands. Expect covers and originals for this act.

O’Hooleys invites the Uptown Funk All Stars back into their haven on Friday for our funking gratification. It is apparent that O’Hooleys have legally adopted these musicians and store them in the back near the microbrew – only letting them out on Fridays for their patrons' musical fruition. Well, either that or the All Stars just really like playing this venue. No complaints necessary as this band always puts on an exciting show filled with fun, groove and good time.

What….a Rush tribute band? In Athens? And they actually sound like Rush? But what about the high voice? And what about the drums? Book of Three travel down from Youngstown this Friday to Night Court for only the second time. And yes, they are a Rush tribute/cover band. And yes, they sound exactly like Rush. No fooling! They do play some original songs that are meticulously well crafted - but what amazes people is their ability to emulate Rush. Adam got to check them out last year and couldn’t believe his ears - all the chops and all the hits. It’s the next best thing to seeing a Rush show but you don’t have to pay a cover. Even if you are not a Rush fan, you must attend the show and make the comparison for yourself. A must see event.

Get ready for weather….Heavy Weather Friday at Mama Einstein's. Like Ray's Music Exchange, this is another band from Cincinnati who have adopted Athens as their second home. A very well known act around Ohio and beyond, Heavy Weather create a funky/R&B substructure with their crafty bass lines and melodic guitar hooks, surrounding the product with beautiful female lead and harmony vocals. The music is danceable, but laid back enough for those of you who want to chill on the couch (or sit indian-style on the barstools.)

Friday The Spiveys dig up their Athens/Union roots again. They’ve been playing and recording in Chicago lately and now feature Scott Winland (of Geraldine and Union fame) on bass. Der Spiveys are one of the most colorful and unflagging acts to leave this town in the past century or so. North Carolina’s The Woggles headline the show. The Woggles were met by enthusiastic crowds on their recent tour of Japan and have a totally neat-o website, (www.hostess.com/woggles) though it lacks sound clips. The rumor mill however points to them being awesomely fun garage party rock.

Saturday, The John Mullins Band comes back to town for the second weekend in a row - this time at the Swindlefish Saloon. Adam and Dan caught the Mullins set last week. The verdict? John has done well on his own. His new band is much more entertaining than his former Hookah cohorts. In any event, The John Mullins Band is tight, fun, and earn the "jam" moniker. They put on a great show at Mama's last weekend as many devoted fans flocked to the underground bar (we hadn't seen so many bootleg tapers in Athens before.)

T.V. Yellow, formerly Kid Charlemagne, come back into town for a gig at Paw Purr's this Saturday night. Kid C., a former local band, started out as a bunch of musicians who all had a love for classic rock music. They hosted open stage at the old Dugout a few years ago and then moved out when the crowds got too big to play all around town. They built their set around covers ranging from the Eagles, to Steely Dan, to CCR - while their originals all incorporated a classic rock feel to them. The boys moved to Cincinnati last year, changed their name to TV Yellow, and started playing more and more originals every show. Their first independent CD sold almost 2,000 copies and had much radio airplay here in town. This band features 5 extremely talented musicians with a wonderful knack for exceptional four part harmonies, three intertwining guitar melodies, one of the best bass players to come through this town, and a solid drummer who sings with one of those cool headset mics that Paula Abdul used to wear. Always a treat to see these guys.

Mama Einstein’s pairs two local acts Saturday night for your enjoyment. Jam rock sensations Noble Experiment and the sexiest band in Athens, Martizatic! share the stage for the first time this year.

Noble Experiment have been playing all over the place this quarter, and bring with them one of the largest crowds….or as we like to call them, the Noble-Heads. This band has been together for a few years now and play mainly covers that we all know and love. However, this week, the Experiment will experiment with a set based on their original tunes. Check out Bailey, their guitarist who can amazingly smoke an entire cigarette while it hangs out the corner of his mouth, without ashing or touching it once, during a 10-minute jam! That's talent folks! (or at least creative cancer)

Coming along for the ride with be Martizatic! who have also been playing profusely throughout town the last couple of months. Martizatic! plays sultry and soulful ballads contrasted with their distinct Latin and jazz groovetunes… with a little straight laced power-pop thrown in for good measure. Featuring former members of Athens favorites, Our Smiling Jesus Band, Hot Box Lunch and The Berlin Horn Duo, Martizatic! is a refreshing act not to be missed. Check out their thorough website. (home.frognet.net/~mzatic)

After the Martizatic! show, follow Dan upstairs to the Casa Cantina where The Cactus Pears will perform with The Onions for an evening of interesting food and fun. The Cactus Pears are one of the most together and solid bands in these here parts. They have 6 talented musicians and slew of catchy songs. Segue - The Pears are currently in the studio producing 5 songs for their upcoming EP, "Snacks for Slacks," set to be released in about a month. Pear shows are an energy filled indulgence you ought not miss.

The Onions are fresh out of Columbus. We don’t know a lot about them, but any (Norton’s) Orchestraville fans should come see the familiar face in their lineup.

Saturday the Union has a trio of bands to maximize your listening pleasure potential. Bob City, a heavier band from Columbus, headlines the event. Scott Winland loves these guys dearly, citing their huge Marshall stacks and something about them being "super tight." He probably wasn’t talking about their jeans? Wear earplugs or you’ll remember this show for awhile. Before them check out the creatively named Rob the Bank (puns are cool) from Dayton. Rob T. Bank’s lineup includes at least one former member of one of the many Kim Deal bands. Early risers can catch Heva Hava. We don’t know much about ‘em but what little we’ve heard is intriguing for sure. "Imagine if the Minutemen were from Kentucky and ate a couple sheets of acid for breakfast."

The Baker Center Ballroom and the OU Jitterbug Club present The Jive Rockets, a six piece swing band from Louisville, Kentucky. Come early to this exciting night of dancing, contests and prizes. If you want to compete in the Jitterbug Jive, call (740) 517-1568 to sign up.

Also Saturday, the Smiling Skull Saloon hauls Ray Fuller and the Blues Rockers in from the cruel March winds for what we assume is a night of blues and rock!

Sunday evening, The Singing Men of Ohio, under the direction of Ira Zook, will present a full concert at the First United Methodist Church here in Athens. Assisting the chorus will be the Horn Mill Project, Ohio University School of Music's resident horn quartet. The Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the College of Fine Arts ticket office in Kanter Hall and at the door. The Singing men will be leaving soon for an 11-day concert tour in China - all income from this performance benefits the China tour.

Also Sunday, The Amadeus Trio will perform in the School of Music's Recital Hall at 4 p.m. The trio consists of Marian Hahn on piano, Timothy Baker on violin and Jeffrey Solow on cello. The Los Angeles Times proclaimed this trio to be a "world class ensemble." They have had numerous performances on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," as well as live performances on major classical radio stations in New York, Washington DC, and Boston. Not only will The Amadeus Trio perform pieces such as Trio in D major, No. 1, (Ghost) by Beethoven, and Op 15 by Smetana, but they will hold a master class from 12 - 2 p.m. on Monday. The class as well as the concert is free and open to the public.

As you can see, there are some interesting and varied acts this week, and a surprising lack of mid-week shows. Like our diverse musical fixations, this weekend's line up is full of luster and emotion… so are the days of our lives?!? Try to catch a show or two. We’d like to thank Mr. Scott Winland for his eloquent descriptions of a few of the bands. If you need to contact us for any reason, our email address is music@athensnews.com Feel free to hack away. Look for a special guest writer in next week’s article… a familiar pen to regular readers. (hint: NOT Ernest Hemingway) We’ll see you in one week or maybe uptown. Be careful, groove hard.