Instant KARMA

New Tempe club night tailors the rave ambiance for the 21-and-over crowd

Empty Trunk: Trunk Federation's Saturday, January 23, show at Boston's in Tempe will be the band's last in its current incarnation. Bob Smith, bassist and occasional keyboardist for the quartet, is leaving the band to play with singer-songwriter A.J. Croce, or, as Trunk Fed singer/guitarist Jim Andreas puts it, "Bob's going off to be an adult-contemporary star."

Smith's musical versatility has been a big asset for the band, as evidenced by a recently recorded six-song demo, which showcases something of a new Trunk Federation, a bit mellower than in the past, but willing to give full vent to its skewed-pop proclivities.

Not only is the group short a bass player, it's also label hunting, in the wake of the all-but-defunct status of Alias Records, which released two CDs by the band, including 1998's excellent but largely ignored The Curse of Miss Kitty.

The group's future without Smith is up in the air at the moment. "I assume the rest of us will do something else, but I haven't talked to all the other guys," Andreas says.

Heightening the gravity of the Boston's gig is the fact that another band on the bill, Les Payne Product, will have its set filmed as part of producer Ryan Page's cinematic celebration of Les Payne and the Arizona desert myth. Opening the show will be the always fine Tucson band Shoebomb.

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