Americana, shoegaze, metal/mariachi and grindcore fans rejoice
By August March
From left, Metalachi’s Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez and Napalm Death
“Hey there, Fancypants/ Play the songs that make us dance/ Play the tunes that make the ladies swoon/ A song for all the lonely hearts/ Shattered dreams and broken parts/ It feels like sunny days are coming soon/ Hey Mr. Buttercup/ Spin the wheel and try your luck/ The spotlight’s shining bright tonight on you/ Bring along your lady friend/ Do a dance from way back when/ Tonight’s the night when all your dreams come true”—“Hey There Fancypants” by Ween from the album Quebec
February in New Mexico is notorious for quickly showing then cruelly taking away signs of the coming spring. It has been rather sunny out, and one supposes a few brave plants are blooming; sometimes the temperatures even reach into the low 70s. But such warm demonstrations don’t mean that all might not change in a flash of fog and snow. The weather here can be as monstrously unpredictable as Boognish himself. That ought to be reason enough to check out some shows this week, but if you need more than that: Please be reminded that as far as our local scene goes, dancing and dreams go together as well as Gene and Dean.
The Porter Draw
Take a jaunt over to Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Friday, Feb. 20, for a danceably deft yet raucously resonating encounter with Burque’s brilliant Americana scene. The Porter Draw, a bastion of that tenacious and twangy subculture, host a party in celebration of the release of their new album More Trouble. Featuring the talents of Ben Wood (banjo), Russell James Pyle (guitar, vocals), Joshua Gingerich (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, vocals), Dandee Fleming (bass) and Joey Gonzales (drums, percussion), the band draws upon traditional tropes that they magnify with efficiently evocative vocal harmonizing. Threaded through courageous, collaborative instrumentalism, the overall effect proves damn fine. And the first 50 guests will score a free copy of More Trouble.
The Porter Draw
Youngsville, a folk-rock trio with plenty of jangle and swagger—their latest effort is titled Weeping Whiskey, Bleeding Beer—precedes the party masters. Classic country cosmonauts Dirty Brown Jug Band and “boozy minimalist” rockabilly eccentrics Duke City Riots open. This 21-plus celebration will run both the casual observer and the indoctrinated insider a fee of five dollars. One may enter the premises at 8pm for a show that starts at 9:30pm.
Drift over to Sister (407 Central NW) on Saturday, Feb. 21, for contrasting and climactic performances by local geniuses The Glass Menageries, Chicharra and RAWRR!
With sumptuous shoegaze lovingly wound ’round languidly lipid guitar grooves and dream-time vocalizations, The Glass Menageries began as the project of Mauro Woody and Gena Lawson, and it now includes a rhythm section comprised of Christian Newman (drums) and Brahm Woody (bass). If one could dance and dream of dancing simultaneously, the Menageries’ music would serve as an apt soundtrack.
The Glass Menageries
“Chicharra” is the Spanish word for “cicada.” It’s also a local electric, bass-and-percussion ensemble. These insects are known for their poetic transformations and peculiar buzz. Interestingly enough, so is the Burque band—though their tone is more metallic than organic, and it tends to be laced with volant harmonies. Chicharra is Monica and Marisa Demarco, Mauro Woody, John Butler and Henry Hutchinson.
Psychedelic, Latin-leaning prog-rockers RAWRR!—whose instrumental work “El Ultimo Dolor” provides a massive ending to a gigantic recording called The Interlocutor and the Subject—fill out the bill. All this vast variety and volume can be had for merely five dollars, and it all begins at 9pm.
If you’re curious about what would happen if some madman musicians got together and adroitly combined heavy metal and mariachi music, zoom back on over to Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Sunday, Feb. 22, ’cause Metalachi plays the joint that night. The dudes in Metalachi came outta Ciudad Juarez. They are highly trained in traditional mariachi techniques but have chosen to use their mastery of that genre to cover the extensive heavy metal repertoire that haunts our bright world.
With band member names like Ramon Holiday, Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez and Pancho Rockafeller, there is bit of pastiche involved, but the music still takes precedence for Metalachi. The band is refreshingly reverent in their florid approach to metal music. Plus they’ve got sort of a hair metal band-meets-White Zombie look that is damn fascinating. If you’re still not convinced, check out their rendition of “Crazy Train” on YouTube before the show.
Master musician James Whiton provides a supportive opening set beforehand with the continued experimental iterations of his Bass Loop Madness project. Tickets for this 21-plus fiesta cost $12. The concert begins at 8pm.
Roar through town at dusk on your way to Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) on Tuesday, Feb. 24, but only if you’re craving a sick serving of black hardcore gravy courtesy of the Through Space and Grind Tour. English headbangers Napalm Death charted the course for thrashed out, speed-driven, growl-inflected tuneage in the late 20th century.
Quebecois act Voivod took another heavy path, navigating choppy prog-rock and punk influences toward what would be the foundation for a wily beast called alternative metal. Their 1988 epic Dimension Hatröss, a narrative about a cyborg named Korgull, still resonates with seekers of both darkness and light.
OG San Jose death metal gore-meisters Exhumed—which is mostly guitarist Matt Harvey and a slew of rotating sidemen—are an essential part of the evening’s program, as are East Coast crossover thrash-punks Iron Reagan. Phobia and Black Crown Initiate kick off the evening’s brutally abysmal rituals of sound and sacrifice. This is an all-ages show that costs $20. And it has an early start time too: before the sun disappears at 5:30pm, to be exact.
The songs that make us dance ... the night all your dreams come true. Hmm. It sounds like some time out at one of our town’s gloriously, deliriously dazzling music venues. After this week and with a few more shows under your belt, you may very well feel like sunny days are coming soon, Mr. or Ms. Buttercup.