Music to Your Ears
By Michael Henningsen
Well, well, well ... I can't simply (no pun intended) ignore the fact that after ranting about local bands dropping out of tribute night shows at the last minute, Joe Anderson's band, simple. was one of two bands who actually did drop out of the Launchpad's Metal Tribute III last Saturday night at the last minute. Anderson reported that simple. guitarist Dan Previtt dislocated a shoulder the previous night and was unable to play guitar or lift a variety of relatively small objects, so all is forgiven. As for the bands that did show up, all did a pretty spectacular job pulling off metal tunes that ranged from the comically awful to the actually pretty killer. In my humble opinion, Cue the Wing-ed Serpent, the first band of the evening, which most people missed, were the highlight of the evening, serving up renditions of “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “The Final Countdown” and “Don't Stop Believin'” that were sights and sounds to behold. ... Does anyone other than me find it odd in a sort of the-end-is-near way that Marty Robbins, John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell all died on the same date, Dec. 8? ... and the three shows not to miss this week are the Seventh Annual Antichrist Mass on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Launchpad, featuring Phobia, Catheter, Curse of the Nation, Noisear, Tortus and Pretty Little Flower; the Launchpad Employee F*ck Jam on Monday, Dec. 20, featuring a bunch of stupid shit; and kick-ass Texas-based instrumental band Collect All Five at Stella Blue on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m.
By Michael Henningsen
Holiday in Eastern Europe
Women's vocal ensemble Kitka sing-in the season
Admittedly, I've become a bit jaded when it comes to holiday-themed music. I have, after all, spent every early December listening intently to and reviewing the latest of such releases for the past 11 years, and it doesn't get any easier. But usually, there's at least one stunning new addition to the Christmas music canon each year. In 2004 it's Kitka's Wintersongs (Diaphonica).
Composed of eight uncommonly gifted singers, Kitka capture the tradition, intrigue and spirituality of music of Eastern European origin that commemorates the Christmas season and, in the case of the melodies that predate Christianity, the corresponding winter solstice. Far removed from the mind-numbing holiday music courtesy of Bing Crosby and every other long-dead crooner and contemporary country music artist known to mankind, Kitka's Macedonian-based music aims straight for the soul and hits its mark without exception. Consisting of ancient village chants to eerily complex harmonic arrangements, the group's repertoire sounds timeless with a unique urgency. Accompaniment is generally sparse and rooted in traditional Slavic instrumentation, affording the music with a calm that's synonymous with winters that are long, dark and cold.
with These Arms Are Snakes and Everlovely Lighteningheart
By Michael Henningsen
Friday, Dec. 17; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): Frankly, Isis may be the most important metal band on the planet at the moment, and not just because they're able to rock with the best of them. Isis represent the last vestige of hope first proffered nearly a decade ago by pioneering post-hardcore bands Neurosis and, later, Tool. Unfortunately, the promise those bands showed never quite manifested fully in the psyches of fans who flirted with serious, artful metal, only to eventually be sucked in by poseurs like Korn and a half-dozen frat metal bands whose music was fun to drink, fight and plan date-rapes to.
By Michael Henningsen
U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Interscope)
Beginning with the iPod theme song, “Vertigo,” U2's latest release brims with that Rattle and Hum self-absorption fans of the band have been forced to come to grips with over the course of the past 14 years, with the notable exceptions of Achtung Baby and 2002's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Here, U2 attempt to strike a balance between their distant past and their perceived future, and they very nearly succeed. The Edge is allowed back in the driver's seat, accelerating each of the album's 11 songs with his trademark effects-soaked, chiming guitar figures.
Vaudeville Open Mic
By Devin D. O'Leary
Cabaret Audacity presents a Vaudeville Open Mic at Sidewinders Bar Cabaret Theater. This brand new monthly showcase will take place every third Wednesday of 2017. Dancers, singers, comedians, musicians, performance artists, jugglers, magicians, sideshow acts, burlesque performers and more are invited to hone their talents and debut brand new material on stage at VOM. Shows are hosted by Julian Addams-Wolf and other members of Cabaret Audacity, including Eddi Fication and Arcane. A suggested donation of $5 gets you in the door beginning at 7:30pm. This is a 21+ event.
Rugby is a Drag • Truly Scrumptious Coxx
By Robin Babb
This Saturday, Jan. 21, drag your ass to Sidewinders by 9pm for the fundraiser, Rubgy is a Drag, presented by Brujos Rugby and Casa Q. That’s right, the strapping young Brujos Rugby Team players will be performing in drag for a one-night-only event with guest MC Truly Scrumptious Coxx—you don’t want to miss this one. Remember to bring singles to shower upon your favorite performers. Funds go towards The Brujos and Casa Q, the only safe transitional house for LGBTQ+ youths in New Mexico. Tickets are $10. Ages 21+.
Courtesy Epic Records
Chevelle • alternative • Black Map • Dinosaur Pile-Up • rock
By August March
Chevelle, an indie band from the Midwest, portrays their hard sound—expressed with exasperated vocals, a muscular rhythms and chunky guitar riffs that repeatedly drift off into tangential melodies—as an artful thing, comparable to '90s peers like Tool. And they do sound like Tool—if their latest single “Door to Door Cannibals” is any indication—when that band was at its peak at the end of the last millennium. Whether this particular vernacular is still credible in a rocanrol world that is rapidly evolving away from rocanrol remains to be seen, yet Chevelle does provide solid affirmation that such beefy sounds are still commercially, if not aesthetically viable. Currently a familial unit comprised of brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler as well as their brother-in-law Dean Bernardini, Chevelle continues to use themes of darkness and domination to draw radio-friendly audiences worldwide. Burqueños can get a taste of their rockingly reserved rampage when the trio visit our town on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Black Map and Dinosaur Pile-Up open this 13+ show at the El Rey that costs between $25-$45.
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Vaudeville Open Mic at Sidewinders
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