Step by step, I wonder into Launchpad (618 Central SW), each foot coming closer and closer to what seems to be a natural unison. I'm late as usual, but the wave of approaching sound sends my brain into an anticipatory flutter. The clamorous BOOM of drums begin to flow into the veins of the ground, straight through my arteries and directly into my heart like I'm mainlining each crash and thump as burning metal into my veins. As the last foot reaches it's destination, I realize exactly what I've stumbled into. It takes a moment, an isolated, but rewarding moment, to realize I'm in a pit of sonic obliteration.
As I look towards the stage, I see three figures, covered from head to toe in scarlet – almost silhouettes – taking the idea of sound to an increasingly devastating level. An explosion is occurring, right before my very eyes, in the form of a human named Terri Gender-Bender. She sways and screams, she strums her guitar like an accelerating hot rod burning off the flesh of god; she rocks! Along with Terri, Jamie Aaron Aux handles bass and Chris Common plays the sticks. It's a finale, a consequence of my tardiness, but it's all I needed to hear, to understand. It's an aural bomb and I'm riding each sonic boom with full cooperation, all the way into the apocalypse.
The band quakes in unison to a litany of head bangs and devil horns, offering sacrifice like appeasement for the immensity before them.
As the last note bends itself into forced cooperation and the feedback of the amps release all the demons everyone was holding in that night, Le Butcherettes finish their set and receive a loud cheer from the crowd. I watch them walk away into the dimly lit background of the alley. I stand in absolute amazement of what I just heard. It's hard to believe that great rock n roll, in it's true trail-blazing form, still exists on planet earth. But I witnessed it first hand, in the form of Le Butcherettes.
The noise dies down and I hit the wall like gravity intends me to. Observing the crowd, I feel a certain camaraderie. The show attracts a variety of black-haired lion manes and sweat soaked battle jackets with scars of experience you couldn't count on one hand. But no matter what the musical affiliation or statement of fashion, we are all there for the same reason. A reason that binds our brains and hearts into motion, anticipating the unadulterated and refined crunch of what is to come. As I begin to delve into the analytic recesses of my mind, I hear the music halt, and a cough-like noise begins to fill the building. It's a sound loop, a repeating exertion of human reflex, as if clearing a palette. I recognize it as the cough from Black Sabbath's “Sweet Leaf” – the song begins to play as I see a robed man take the stage.
Two more men, with sticks and bass, take their rightful places on stage. What appears to be the eye of Horus – patterned into gold on the robed mans black cloak – stares into the crowd, as if to observe the worthy and destroy the undeserving. Aleister Crowley comes to mind, a powerful charisma surrounds the stage. Then a sound, distant at first, grows into a overwhelming cloud of distorted catastrophe. The deep CRUNCH of the first chord sprays black all over my red veins and I know exactly where I am. I know exactly what this is. This is the FUCKING MELVINS!
Buzz Osbourne displays a concentrated focus, Dale Crover begins his smash into oblivion one ball- blasting beat at a time. Jeff Pinkus raises his shivering metal bass into the air, guiding the increasingly kinetic headbanging in the crowd. The crowd thickens near the stage, and and the transformation process begins. First it's a few, then more and finally many begin to scream, sweat and convulse in awkward and intense unison. We continue, forming a sludge as we come together in our love for the brutalization of eardrums and bodies. The sludge grows thicker and thicker, and from each chord comes a melting wave of music that forces our nervous systems to disconnect from our heads – shaking those motherfucking skulls like we're trying to rattle a pick out from the body of an acoustic guitar.
My feet shake and my head bangs. They don't stop for one blinding moment, not even when Buzz Osbourne breaks the sonic wall for a cover of the Butthole Surfers “Moving to Florida.” As Osbourne shouts “And I'm gonna build me the Atomic...” we all scream “BOMB!” in anticipation. He waits, and whispers “bomb”, breaking back into the bass-blasting segments of the song, and demonstrating a masterful understanding of the music surrounding him.
Osbourne shreds, Crover blasts, Pinkus pounds and the show winds down to the last song. Jumping from the shadows like the blast of a supernova, Terri-Gender-Bender enters, immediately breaking into what seems to be an interpretative dance to summon the spirits of punk and metal. She aids the Melvins in building the climax of the show. With one last blast of soul and energy, the show ends with Osbourne saluting the crowd like the commander in-chief of sonic crunch.
They all leave their instruments on, generating deafening feedback to drop us all down from the musical high that had been keeping us up for hours. Dale Crover is the last to leave. Like the proverbial bridesmaid catching the bouquet on her best friend's wedding day, I jump into the air to catch the drumstick he throws to the crowd.
I didn't catch it and fumbled with it as it flew to the ground. But I fought for it and came out victorious with a new souvenir of one of the best shows I've been to in a really, really long time. As the band leaves and the crowd dissipates, I walk straight towards to the door, drumstick clutched in hand.
I stroll to the parking lot, attempting to regain my serious loss of hearing, I reflect on the show. So many other people have seen this band, and they have played a myriad of cities and venues. But I now have my own triumphal moment. In the back of my mind, I know – with the utmost pride and certainty – that even if it's just a fragment of the bands long prolific history, I got rocked the fuck out by the Melvins.
The Cuban flag was raised in Washington this morning, signifying restored relations.
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This year's version of the Route 66 Summerfest could damn well be the greatest and ginchiest outdoor music festival to grace this city and its citizens since the Sandia mountains erupted out of the earth millions of years ago.
It certainly will be a rockin' affair. Sponsored by the City of Albuquerque, Nob Hill Main Street and the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the action gets underway in the early afternoon of Saturday July 18 and continues until late in the evening.
Manifesting in the heart of the Nob Hill district, on Central Avenue between Girard and Washington, Summerfest features the finest in musical performances by outfits ranging from locally legendary to nationally noteworthy.
In addition there will be a car show, a bicycle exhibit, an artisan's market, food trucks as well as a plethora of opportunities to experience summery outdoor entertainment (you know, face-painting, people-watching and stuff like that). Plus which, the Nob Hill district is known as a locus of hep shops, cool restaurants and fascinating landmarks.
With three stages to choose from, the musical aspect of Summerfest is the heart of the event. All sorts of players will be playing, beginning around 2 in the afternoon. Here's a rundown of some of the participants. For a comprehensive schedule of performers, click here.
On the east stage at Central and Washington, check out sets by Steve Chavez and the New Mexico Marimba Band, Todd Tijerina and Felix and Los Gatos, among others.
At the Cork and Tap Stage (aptly named due to the adjacent festival beer garden) the reunited Alma, a storied local latin jazz outfit, will jam out. They'll be followed by Americana adherents The Porter Draw. The Zoltan Okestar will be there too, drawing out the dance in all of us.
Roomful of Blues takes control of the festivities at 9:00 pm. A multi-Grammy nominated ensemble that's been extant since the summer of love, their take on an essential American genre is boundlessly badass and daringly danceable.
Count Basie dug these dudes and you will too. With original tunes like "Dressed Up to Get Messed Up" and a variety of smokin' standards in their repertoire, the octet, led by guitarist Chris Vachon, will top off a day and night of summertime fun. They're practically guaranteed to put the lilt back in your step after eight hours of wandering through the sunshiny stuff our city has to offer.
Speaking of the sun, make sure and take a hat and plenty of sun screen along. Also, Route 66 Summerfest is a free event. Pets are allowed as long as they are leashed. Central Avenue through Nob Hill will be closed for the duration of the festival. There will be a park and ride service available at Johnson Field on the UNM campus. You can download the entire event program here.
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The city plans to give the Sunport a seemingly unnecessary $16M Facelift. A petition against the removal of the '70s brown seating cushions will be in circulation shortly.
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Foxy Knoxy, aka Amanda Knox belted out a mean tune at a karaoke joint in Manhattan this week.
Helping to diminish our faith in humanity, this man witnessed a car crash, then quickly approached it so he could film the victims and make fun of them.
60-year-old Glenn Danzig put a fan in a headlock yesterday.
A communal Facebook experiment went pretty much as expected.
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I speak American, not English.
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obama strikes again.
a dream that became reality, and spread through the stars.
the future starts now.
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is the real you, uoy?
the heart is a beating drum.
the persistance of alice.