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There's no greater compliment this writer can bestow on Nik Turner's Hawkwind than describing latest single “Fallen Angel STS-51-L” as reminiscent of the psychedelic-punk sound of Chrome and the ongoing work of main man Helios Creed. When Turner's current Hawkwind incarnation played Low Spirits earlier this year, they kicked out the jams with impressive consistency, complete with visuals, writhing, gyrating and go-go dancing. Nik Turner's Hawkwind doesn't just perform standards in the “greatest hits” style so many bands past their prime tend toward; instead, they offer new material that equals the classics in intensity and weirdness.
The extensive Mighty Thunder Rider tour also features heavy sets by self-described Krautrock/prog rock group Hedersleben—also Nik Turner's backing band, featuring excellent guitar work by U.K. Subs' Nicky Garratt—and Witch Mountain, “top-tier purveyors of American doom.” Also on the bill for this Launchpad (618 Central SW) show tomorrow night are Albuquerque's finest stoner rock outfit Black Maria, who are recording a new album slated for release in the near future; look forward to fresh material from these giants among men. As for the concert, don't worry if the volume makes your ears bleed: That's the way all these bands roll. Doors are at 8pm, and $12 gets you in. Launchpad • Sat Aug 30 • 9pm • $12 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Corrosion of Conformity, an influential crossover metal band originating in the early '80s, needs no introduction, but don’t let C.O.C. overshadow its supporting acts. The name Brant Bjork may be unfamiliar, but he’s no lightweight. Perpetrator of the Palm Desert stoner rock scene, Bjork is best known as the drummer for Kyuss, the first “desert rock” band to be signed to a major label and achieve international success. In addition Brant previously played with BL'AST! and its members in various incarnations.
BL'AST! began its hardcore punk journey in the mid '80s. Their second album, It’s In My Blood, was released in ’87. In the mid '90s, two members moved on to form Blackout. BL'AST! reunited briefly in 2001 but never went back into the studio. Dave Grohl and Southern Lord remixed and remastered Blood in 2013, which prompted a new incarnation of the band with the recruitment of Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo.
Prepare for a desert stoner rock family reunion. We’re talking members of Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Mondo Generator, Wasted Youth, Sugartooth, Fu Manchu, L.A.B., Dusted Angel and the list goes on. Get to Sister (407 Central SW) tomorrow night by 8:30pm to see Lord Dying. A newer Portland band, Lord Dying has opened for Red Fang and Down and plans to rule the metal scene with an iron fist. You’ll be able to say you saw them way back when in a cool little bar in Burque. Admission to this 21-plus show will run you $15. Sister • Sat Aug 23 • 8:30pm • $15 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Romantically sweeping and deeply funky, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite defined the neo-soul movement in the late '90s. Maxwell himself will give one helluva concert on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 7:30pm at Route 66 Casino’s Legends Theater (14500 Central SW), performing work from his back catalog as well as recent stuff. After engaging a two-decade-long career arc that careened from classic to confounding, Maxwell released BLACKsummers’night to commercial and critical acclaim in 2009, once again establishing himself as the prime mover in an otherwise unpredictably bifurcating subgenre.
His rich, sometimes ornate take on rhythm and blues has earned Gerald Maxwell Rivera, noted for his physically intense performance style as well as grooved-out melodicism, two Grammy Awards, a dozen Grammy nominations and all kinds of metal-coated records too. Though his latest compositions reflect the maturity that comes from surviving the record industry and the '90s, the work is still highly diggable with sensuous overtones and a crisp, starry finish. All of that groove, past and present, can be yours for the evening. Tickets range in price from 55 to 125 clams. If you go, it will be totally fortunate, dig? Legends Theater @ Route 66 Casino • Sun Aug 17 • 7:30pm • $55-$125 • View on Alibi calendar
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Toadies will perform Rubberneck in its entirety at Sister (407 Central NW) tomorrow night. Lazily categorized as “post-grunge,” the songs that comprise their platinum-selling debut album are more intricate and timeless than this subgenre would suggest. It's a clever balance of slightly progressive roughness with a Southern-fried tinge, all wrapped up in a sinister bow, thanks to the macabre, cerebral lyrics of frontman Vaden Todd Lewis. Without a single weak track, it only seems proper that the album be played front to back. The first two legs of the Rubberneck Anniversary Tour were so well received that a third leg was added with a stop in the Duke City.
The Toadies are still going strong, having released two noteworthy albums since reforming in 2008. In a recent Alibi interview with drummer Mark Reznicek, he touched on the band's signature sound, created by the tendency to veer away from standard 4/4 time. “Initial ideas can sound too straight,” Reznick said, so they'll add a couple beats every few measures to make it interesting. “It can come naturally or by accident,” but the goal is for the listener to “not even know it's odd. If there's away we can screw up a time signature and make it work, we'll explore it.”
Get there early for Ume (pronounced “ooo-may”), a three-piece outfit that joined Toadies and Helmet on a prior tour. Speaking of their front woman and guitarist, Lauren Larson, Reznicek boasts, “You won't believe that all that sound comes from one small lady.” With doctored crap being passed off as music these days, it's easy to become cynical about live music. Rest assured, Toadies will get that vampire blood pumping through your veins, raise the hair on the back of your neck and leave you at the end of it all with a dirty, satisfying feeling. The 21-and-up show costs $20, and the music kicks off at 9pm. Sister • Tue Jul 29 • 9pm • $20 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Listen up, humans of Earth: There is surf rock in outer space. Like the otherworldly music of Sun Ra, it passed through Alabama before spreading like a crazy, unavoidable virus across this material realm. If you find yourself befuddled by the possibilities, set your mind at ease by checking out Man or Astro-Man? on Sunday, July 20. It's all happening at the perfect venue for hosting excellent extraterrestrial expeditions, the Launchpad (618 Central SW).
After spending the past decade visiting the vasty deep beyond our fragile sphere, band members Birdstuff, Coco the Electronic Monkey and Star Crunch make landfall in Burque to perform tracks from their latest, greatest extra-solar transmission Defcon 5…4…3…2…1, as well as revisiting their wickedly precise and witty tuneage from the '90s, including tracks from Intravenous Television Continuum, Experiment Zero and the What Remains Inside a Black Hole comp. In conjunction with this rare, star-gazing visitation, earthbound Alabaman act Wray supports their self-titled debut with some intense sonic shoe-gazing while Portlandite harbinger of hip Sallie Ford adds a grounded but hard-rocking complement to the acute angles and blurry nebulas being traversed on stage. Tickets for this 21-plus show are 13 Federation Credits. The airlocks engage at 7pm, and the countdown commences at 8pm. Launchpad • Sun Jul 20 • 8pm • $13 • View on Alibi calendar
Ever notice how different sets of ears hear things, well, differently? Take Oakland, Calif., quartet Everything is Dirty. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find numerous references to grunge, art rock and psychedelic. The meaning of pigeonholing tags—which all us music scribblers adore—shift over time as music changes. For instance, “soul” used to mean cornbread vocals by Sam & Dave backed by plenty of horns. These days, soul means (ugh) Robin Thicke or (less ugh) Duffy. That '90s catchall phrase “alternative rock” referred to the watered-down but occasionally worthy successor to '80s “indie rock” on labels like Merge and 4AD but ultimately degenerated into describing knuckleheads like Fred Durst.
If Everyone Is Dirty is grunge, then so is Weezer. Art noise? Sure, there’s some droning here and there, but I guess anything vaguely atonal is “noise” to masses who nowadays prefer songs that are more beat than melody or harmony or anything else that was once the hallmark of popular (pop) music. Live, the band does tend to venture heavily into “improv” and “jam”—two words that always fill me with dread. Singer Sivan Gur-Arieh takes her electric violin into Jean-Luc Ponty territory, while Christopher Daddio's guitar solos are sometimes longer than necessary but not by much; that's good for a guy like me whose attention wanders when soloists noodle around above the fifth or sixth fret. Psychedelic? Please. Only people who have never taken drugs use that word.
Here’s my take: Everything is Dirty's recorded output is post-Breeders, post post-Pixies, texture-rich and crunchy with vocals reminiscent of Louise Post (Veruca Salt), Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). (And if three “posts” in one sentence isn’t enough, I don’t know what is.) Of course, I think I’m correct, but see for yourself at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Monday, July 14, at 9pm. Cover is $5. Low Spirits • Mon Jul 14 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Get about as oiled as a diesel train tomorrow night at Launchpad (618 Central SW) with a rumbling, roaring night of metal made from molecular materials similar to those used in locomotives—but much heavier, bro. Move past antimony and thallium on the periodic table, and think instead about lead and uranium when Roadrunner Records presents stoner rock from The Horned God (a band whose Celtic influences touch directly on the same metal mythologies explored by the likes of Slough Feg and Kyuss).
Burque tech death metal champions Vale of Miscreation, featuring the brutally precise rhythm section of Justin Andrus and Kenny Cappadona will be in full effect, as will Santa Fe prog-thrashers Carrion Kind. Local Southern metal heroes The Ground Beneath are loaded on this train, too; the chance to hear Steve Beneath’s electrified six-string wizardry is alone worth the price of admission, and things will keep rolling as native metalheads Left to Rot fill out the bill. This 21-plus show is only five bones, and doors are at 8pm. Do yourself a favor leavened with musical gravity and check this one out. After all, Saturday night’s the night you like. Launchpad • Sat Jul 5 • 9pm • $5 • View on Alibi calendar
Ex-Albuquerqueño Sam Miller—who's actually from the Northwest—returns from Seattle for his first solo release, You Need To Hear It, which was ably mastered by Sean McCullough of Sad Baby Wolf. When last we saw him, Miller was fronting the pleasantly uncategorizable Jenny Invert, a band that spun off from the somewhat categorizable (ersatz-Americana?) Grand Canyon. If this sounds somewhat equivocal, it’s not intentional.
While listening, I jotted down some notes: pseudo-Slavic mariachi country and Western piano party-pop wrapped in a game show-theme with Sam as dashing host—“Come on down!”—but deadly earnest. It’s a shame this description comes off so damn messy. Although his sound comes from incredibly disparate sources, Miller makes it blend like a chef adding just the right dash of thickener to a sauce that could otherwise be a lumpy mess. Rather than the pedestrian cornstarch an amateur might use, Miller employs a grand beurre manié, which is really just butter and flour but oh so elegant. Much of this album shouldn’t mesh, but it does. You Need To Hear It is a heroic dish anchored by compelling piano work, handsome voice and clever—never stupid—songwriting with sweeping but tasteful Queen-like production. Hear it at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) tomorrow night at 9pm. $5 gets you in. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Sat Jun 28 • 9pm • $5 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
A band called Creedence Clearwater Revisited plays Route 66 Casino tomorrow night. Their repertoire includes a heap of tunes by seminal Americana band Creedence Clearwater Revival, but don’t get the two confused. There will be nary a mention of anyone named Fogerty at this upcoming concert, though I'm sure the latter folks are partially responsible for writing the tuneage being explored on this and subsequent tours. Don’t get confused; it’s a familiar story in rocanrol: Founding members leave a once-mighty band. Sometimes, those remaining still wanna rock out for silver and other treasure. They want to use a name that listeners will be familiar with, buy tickets for and, when called upon, remember favorite songs by …
But courtroom hijinks usually ensue. In this case, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford, the rhythm section of Southern rock giant CCR, eventually won the right to use part of the name of a band fronted by John Fogerty and his brother Tom. The whole CCR debacle has been one of the most acrimonious adventures in the history of electrified guitar music, but the current lineup continues to rely on John’s output and Tom’s memory for the meaty parts of its performances. In other words, they’re a great cover band. Creedence Clearwater Revisited plays Legends Theater (14500 Central SW) tomorrow starting at 8pm. Tickets for this all-ages gig range from $25 and $40. Legends Theater @ Route 66 Casino • Fri Jun 13 • 8pm • $25-$40 • View on Alibi calendar
Head on over to Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) tomorrow night at 9pm for a wide-ranging gig showcasing a number of touring bands from Cali along with local stalwarts. Headliner Modern Pantheist, a psychedelic outfit, hails from LA. The trio features singer/songwriter Chris Anderson, drummer Dave Ferrara and multi-instrumentalist Chris Sandler. Their sound has been described as mind-bending and trippy, but you should also expect some pop sensibility and sentimental narrative thrown into the mix.
On the other hand, Cuddle Formation is a bit more esoteric with a spacious sound that has its basis in electronic vocals and choral experimentation. Contrariwise, Emily Reo composes and performs music that takes a more traditional approach to instrumentation and vocalization, although her recent Auto-Tuned version of Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams” is notable for its syncopated percussion track and ennui-generating, plaintive vocal style. With local dream-makers Ballets and Holy Glories starting things off, this show promises to make the generally dreamy summer nights in these parts specifically space-oriented. There is no cover for this concert, except the vault of stars above. Burt's Tiki Lounge • Wed Jun 11 • 9pm • FREE • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar