“So ya/ Thought ya/ Might like to go to the show./ To feel the warm thrill of confusion/ That space cadet glow./ Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?/ Is this not what you expected to see?/ If you wanna find out what's behind these cold eyes/ You'll just have to claw your way through this disguise.”—Pink Floyd, “In the Flesh?”
So continues another thrilling week of bashing my head into the home stereo system. This is a practice intertwined with crawling through online events calendars like my life absolutely depended on it—like cars parked in front of my house overnight wait to take me away to a special music interrogation unit if I don’t indulge the interwebz.
Afterward this ritual concludes with another called “being driven around town by a coterie of concert-craving comrades.” This experience has good results because the music scene in Albuquerque is like, totally loaded with great shows just about every damn night of the week.
It’s impossible for me to cover or see them all in “one fell swoop.” (BTW that’s how Macduff describes the death of his family at the hands of Macbeth’s henchmen—which has nothing to do with music but makes for great allusions). But I kind of expect you to go see some of these awesome gigs; knock off the staying-at-home-and-sulking bit for crissakes.
Courtesy of artist
On the evening of Friday, Sept. 5, Launchpad (618 Central SW) gets with hip-hop nation. Supporting their latest release The Masters, Freestyle Fellowship headlines a show that also features Wake Self, DJ Young Native and Akword Actwrite. Freestyle Fellowship—Aceyalone, Myka 9, P.E.A.C.E. and Self Jupiter—has demonstrated a commitment to a subgenre focused on musical and lyrical improvisation. The resulting work has a feeling of jazzy immediacy that’s bold and buttery. It’s only 10 clams to krunk the night away; doors are at 8pm, and the extra-good vibes flow at 9:30pm.
On the morning of Sunday, Sept. 7, Chatter ABQpresents a recital of chamber music at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) featuring violist Shanti Randall, violinist David Felberg and pianist Jacquelyn Helin. They’ll perform the last composition by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sonata for Viola and Piano. Also on the program is Kurt Atterberg’s Suite No. 3 for Violin and Viola. Randall has played on recordings by Randy Newman and Ray Charles, as well as contributing to a plethora of cinematic soundtracks. Helin has wide performance credits too, and she's recently been sponsored by the Steinway Piano Company. Felberg, one of Chatter's prime movers, has been referred to as one of Burque’s most intensely talented musicians. The musical selections by mid-20th century composers contrast Shostakovich’s modernist tendencies with Atterberg’s attention to traditional European compositional techniques. Admission ranges from $5 to $15, and the concert commences at 10:30am.
Power-pop trio Mini Mansions floats into Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 7. Using informed, ornate melodies fashioned around a minimalist instrumental setup, the group produces songs that have been compared to the output of Elliott Smith, The New Pornographers and even the ancient and ironic mop-tops from Liverpool. Listening to Mini Mansions reveals a brand of rock and roll focused on songwriting rigor and a nuanced attention to surprising hooks and fascinating thematic digressions. Band leader Michael Shuman hails from Queens of the Stone Age, bringing newish cohorts Tyler Parkford and Zach Dawes along for the ride. Their trip verges on the cinematically psychedelic while hewing to a format that’s sure to generate earworms writhing with thick, bright harmonies. Local Thom Yorke/John Lennon/Prince disciple St. Petersburg opens. This 21-plus iteration of the Magical Mystery Tour costs but eight bones. Roll up at 7pm, and begin your journey at 8pm.
Post-hardcore prog rockers Hail the Sun make a concert appearance Downtown as part of their Blue Swan Tour on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at Blackwater Music(109 Fourth Street NW). Melodic yet mathy—with peculiar punk and death metal asides protruding from their California-made concrete rock wall—Hail the Sun tours in support of their new album Wake, which drops at the end of September. These metallic dudes from Chico, Calif., are joined on tour by emo-arithmetic outfit Icarus the Owl from Portlandia and Sin City screamo adherent Stolas. This is an all-ages event that’ll run your average teenage concertgoer eight bucks. Doors are at 6:30pm, and the nerdy musical magic begins at 7pm.
After dark on Thursday, Sept. 11, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) hosts a benefit for outsider women’s music festival Gatas y Vatas. Homegirls Records is a dance party featuring the most mod, post-everything sounds spun out by Burque’s top human DJs, Bea (Jessica Stone), Nicolatron (Nicole Candelaria), Mello (Sanchez), Tahnee (Udero), Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Elizabeth Salazar) and Cassyle (Jessica Cassyle Carr). Expect everything exuberant from this gathering of turntable-toting geniuses. That includes music that spans genres both gentle and jumping, from blues to oldies to something-you-haven’t-heard-for-ages-but-find-instantly-recognizable just as the record needle drops to begin its revolutionary work. The cover is $5, and the gamboling gets going at 9pm proper.
Experiencing even one of these musical extravaganzas is a qualifying event. You become part of the greater musical culture in this town by getting down to the sound of your choice; more than one and you’re effectively immersed. Any more than that, and you’ll end up like the rest of us here—forever bound to the beauty of Burque’s infinitely diverse aural offerings. Oh well, it could be worse. Just ask Macduff.