“I'm on my way, I'm making it/ I've got to make it show, yeah/ So much larger than life/ I'm going to watch it growing/ The place where I come from is a small town/ They think so small/ They use small words/ But not me/ I'm smarter than that/ I worked it out/ I've been stretching my mouth/ To let those big words come right out/ I've had enough, I'm getting out/ To the city, the big big city/ I'll be a big noise with all the big boys/ There's so much stuff I will own/ And I will pray to a big god/ As I kneel in the big church/ Big time/ I'm on my way—I'm making it/ Big time/ My parties all have big names/ And I greet them with the widest smile/ Tell them how my life is one big adventure/ And always they're amazed/ When I show them 'round my house, to my bed/ I had it made like a mountain range/ With a snow-white pillow for my big fat head/ And my heaven will be a big heaven/ And I will walk through the front door.”—“Big Time” by Peter Gabriel, from the landmark album So.
Hi there! As you head out toward this week’s bevy of beautiful and sometimes brutal musical interfaces, please keep the story of art-rocker Peter Gabriel in mind. An obscure aesthete with an art-school education, Gabriel went from founding and fronting prog rock progenitors Genesis back into the unknown. He released four critically touted, yet generally difficult solo recordings before launching himself into superstardom with 1980s pop masterpiece So. In summary, your life could be one big adventure too. Choose to walk through the front door of any number of venues this week. Your heaven will likely be a big heaven if you do.
Friday night, June 19, kneel in the big animalistic church known popularly as the ABQ BioPark Zoo (903 10th Street SW). It’s there you will encounter Alligator Records recording artists Tommy Castro and the Painkillers. Castro produces a brand of rocking blues that is as devilishly formidable as it is daringly phat. Growing up in the northern section of Califas, Castro was heavily influenced by masters of the genre ranging from Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton. After touring with the likes of Albert King, the guitarist released an initial recording in 1994. This was followed by prodigious touring and performances with his large ensemble The Tommy Castro Band.
By 2012, Castro was determined to return to his roots. He formed a new quartet, The Painkillers, and embraced a stripped down, rocked out sound. The new outfit includes Castro on guitar and vocals, longtime collaborator and bassist Randy McDonald, pianist James Pace (a longtime mainstay of blues guitarist Ana Popovic’s band) and drummer David Tucker, a percussionist whose work with songstress Maria Muldaur and John “Broadway” Tucker is notable for its funky feel. Castro and his profoundly painkilling pals perform at 7:30pm. Admission prices range from $3 to $10. Maybe you’ll get to see an alligator or two. I hear the zoo also has a couple of really big crocodiles, so don’t wander too far from the bandstand, sabes?
Greet your Burqueño-istic neighbors with the widest smile you have in your party-time repertoire on Saturday, June 20, at Launchpad (618 Central SW) when the joint welcomes former Albuquerque Latin-rock regulators Stoic Frame for a concert practically guaranteed to put the fluff back in your mountainous pillows. Stoic Frame is one of those rare rocanrol entities that dared journey beyond the confines of our humble hometown in search of something grander. The group, comprised of brothers Keith and Todd Sanchez, Matias Pizarro and Glenn “Buddha” Benavidez succeeded solidly, forging a signature sound that fuses Latin-American rhythmic conceits with blisteringly brash modern rock tuneage.
Recording and performing in English and Spanish—as well as def combinations of both languages—Stoic Frame covers “Hotel California” and “Know Your Enemy” (Rage Against the Machine) en español with head-banging aplomb. Their original work is crazy good too, as recent work “Demonios” and subsequent album Spinning the Roulette God dangerously demonstrate. Local Latin-laced reggae septet Reviva opens the 21+ show. It’ll cost 10 bucks at the door, but you’ll be trading that feria for fabulously fecund fun. Airlocks at Launchpad swish open at 8pm; hyperdrive will be engaged at about 9:30pm.
Though getting out to the big, big city may ultimately be the goal of many a Burque-based band or concert-going groove-master, why take such a larger-than-life chance when a part and parcel of the urban rocanrol experience plans to light upon the roost known as Low Spirits (2823 Second NW) on Sunday, June 21. That’s the night Phoenix, Ariz., new wave wonders Fairy Bones land in our little town for a rollicking night of “weird space noise.” Fronted by enigmatic chanteuse Chelsey Louise Richard and backed by brothers Ben and Matthew Foos and Robert Ciuca, Fairy Bones has been jamming since 2013. In that time they’ve pretty much conquered the desert realm known as Arizona (or at least the alternative press contained therein) with a sound both worldly and wicked, haunting yet hummable.
Richard’s vocals range from grandiose and growly to sweet and succinct, while her bandmates exhibit instrumental abilities that consistently cruise through dynamics that encompass the quiet and the cacophonic. Examples of these far-out tendencies are certainly present on the quartet’s latest recording on 80/20 Records, Dramabot. The album begins with the mesmerizing “Demons and Dogs” and concludes with feedback-infused epic “Notes from Wonderland.”
The Broken Fables, featuring hyperlocal rock stars Noelan Ramirez, Clark Libbey, Colleen Elvidge, Rob Mattox, Karl Wulffraat and Jeff will augment the night’s journey into the sublimely poptastic world of rocanrol derivatives. The Talking Hours and Tempe-basted alternative hip-hop power house DaDadoh begin this Sunday evening trip into the light fantastic. For only five bucks, 21+ listeners shall be treated to the best of both worlds; big city sonics and small-town superlatives for all begin at 8:30pm after the doors open at 7pm.
Listen: I’ve worked it out. Much like Mr. Gabriel, I’ve let those big words come right out. And you know what? I’m no longer concerned with the big time, as long as I get to hear a concert or three. Everything will turn out just fine if I just show up. So maybe you should show up too; that way none of us will feel like poor Peter did post Genesis, hovering like a fly, waiting for the windshield on the freeway.