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
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
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
The alt music scene here in the 1990s was a diverse and fertile workshop for sounds that varied from sludgy proto-grunge and pure punk-rock to melodic, danceable and jazzy reggae and ska. Perhaps the local band that best personified the latter description in this burg's old-school narrative was Giant Steps.
A ska band active in Burque from 1993 to 1999, Otto Barthel, Rob Kerley, Tom Siegel and company have made it a matter of habit to regularly schedule reunion shows here in town, much to the delight of lingering fans and plain old folks who just wanna dance the night away. The eight-piece Giant Steps return with their “in your face” horn section and their “rude” rhythm section for their latest reunion concert tomorrow at Launchpad (618 Central SW). CrazyFool and The Reagan Motels open the show. Doors for this 21-plus show open at 8pm, and tickets are available through holdmyticket.com. Launchpad • Sat Apr 5 • 9:30pm • View on Alibi calendar
It took a moment to realize the guy drinking Coca-Cola in front of a van on Central Avenue was Ty Segall. By the time I snapped it would have been awkward to say "Ty Segall!" I did, however, notice that one of his fellow band members had a choice Gram Parsons record at his feet. My girlfriend remarked that Ty was much younger looking than his music sounded. In other words, the show last night was young, beautiful, older than its years—and in good taste.
The excellent Launchpad sound could have been a hundred times louder for my taste, but it was pretty loud. There were a couple complaints that Emily the drummer wasn't hitting her kit hard enough, but I have to disagree. All around groovy fuzz and beats with harmonies on top. The band played tunes from the Castle Face record to Melted, Sleeper and beyond. Please come back to 'Burque soon, Ty Segall.
Power trio The Ground Beneath brings their complex and foreboding brand of southern metal to Launchpad (618 Central SW) tomorrow for a 21-and-over album release party featuring a midnight rendition of their new eponymous CD. Headbangers Questionable Fate, Illumina, Requiem Mass and Beard will join these local masters of metal onstage for a dark ceremony the likes of which this burg rarely sees. With up-and-coming local fashion models selling band merch and all-stars from Burque’s metal community wandering loomingly through the evening's proceedings, this promises to be an epic event.
Guitarist and vocalist Steve Civerolo describes TGB as “the greatest fat-guy metal band on the planet.” He says their music is melodic but heavy, admitting, “It’s all about the riffs. Everything is written around the groove.” This heavy metal ritual begins at 9pm, and tickets are seven clams: That’s a blessing—if such is possible in the deep underworld that spawned the brutal rock and roll forces that will emanate from the Launchpad on tomorrow night. Launchpad • Fri Jan 17 • 9pm • $7 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
Space Needle-adjacent garage and R&B-infused sextet Pickwick's tour hits Burque this week. Pickwick toured in support of household names Black Joe Lewis and Neko Case this past fall, but the soulful alt.rock six-piece gets top billing on this tour. The band self-released their debut full-length, Can't Talk Medicine, last March, and the 13 tracks produced—including Richard Swift cover “Lady Luck,” which features powerhouse Sharon Van Etten on vox—pay respect to '60s and '70s soul, funk and rock while maintaining an upbeat, you-can-dance-to-it vibe.
I know I've said this before, but you can tell a lot about a band by their web presence, and pickwickmusic.com even lays bare their original lyrics—which are pretty darn impressive. Scope the group's cover of The Primitives' “The Ostrich” at bit.ly/ostrichredux to get a sense of front man Galen Disston's impressive vocal range. Experience Pickwick and Canuck “death country/frontier rock” trio Elliott BROOD at Launchpad (618 Central SW) tomorrow night. This 21-and-over show revs up at 9:30pm, and admission is $8. Launchpad • Wed Jan 15 • 9:30pm • $8 • View on Alibi calendar