So much for the notion that Tucson is an entertainment ghost town once the mercury soars above the century mark.

Rialto Theatre is looking at one of its busiest months of the year in what has traditionally been its slowest: August.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an August like this. Usually in the summer we will have one month out of the three that’s pretty busy, but generally it’s never in August,” said Executive Director Curtis McCrary.

So far, the Rialto is slated to host 24 concerts in the 31 days of August, kicking off Aug. 1 with two concerts: Nouveau Spanish flamenco guitarist Roni Benise (best known as Benise) on the Rialto stage and the all-woman Led Zeppelin cover band Zepparella with Tucson band The Modeens at The Flycatcher — formerly Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. — one of two smaller venues into which it has booked smaller shows.

The downtown venue at 318 E. Congress St. closes the month with another pair of concerts — Doyle at The Flycatcher and Atmosphere’s “North of Hell Tour” with Prof, Dem, Atlas and DJ Fundo at the Rialto — both on Aug. 31.

“We just like to do shows so we’ll do the smaller shows at the smaller venues,” McCrary said. “They are not huge moneymakers typically, but eventually some of these acts might be Rialto-sized acts.”

July is a far different story. The Rialto has only five concerts booked this month, including Friday’s Freak Fest featuring The Besmirchers, Texas Trash & The Train Wrecks, Cutthroat Gorgeous, Safe So Simple, Hillybilly Bo and Blueprints for Destruction.

McCrary hopes August’s momentum carries through to the fall. September is off to a slow start, but the Rialto has booked 15 shows in October, including the four-day Southwest Terror Fest III rock festival Oct. 16-19 and an Oct. 29 gig with Mesa rock band Jimmy Eat World.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.