On with the Show!
American Gothic, Synesthesia and Fusion
“Good evening one and all we're all so glad to see you here/ We'll play your favorite songs while you all soak up the atmosphere/ We'll start with ‘Old Man River’, then maybe ‘Stormy Weather’, too / I'm sure you know just what to do/ On with the show, good health to you/ Please pour another glass it’s time to watch the cabaret/ Your wife will never know that you're not really working late/ Your hostess here is Wendy, you'll find her very friendly, too/ And we don't care just what you do/ On with the show, good health to you” — “On with the Show”, the last track on Their Satanic Majesties Request, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Much as the Stones came to represent the essence of rocanrol music—devilish, debauched and damn good—albums such as their 1967 foray into psychedelia also demonstrate excess can be an unpredictable influence. But despite some crazy tangents and odd liberties, Their Satanic Majesties Request has mesmerizing tuneage scattered throughout. Afterwards, the band took their own advice. Their next recording, Beggar’s Banquet, begins with “Sympathy for the Devil”. Using that same twisted logic—which is also employed in choosing the concerts I cover each week—it seems getting on with the show is fine advice for players and listeners too, even if the devil is in the details. While you all chew on that, here’s you weekly glimmer of hope; here’s what’s next, show-wise, in our little village by the river.
E. Christina Herr & Wild Frontier have a gig on Friday, August 21, at the St. Clair Winery and Bistro (901 Rio Grande NW). I might have passed blithely over this ensemble and their work but one of their representatives reached out to us here at Alibi Central and implored me to have a listen. Turns out theirs is some finely hewn work that gives a Gothic nod to Americana—as in deeply mysterious like our desert surroundings. The New Mexico based band captures the lustrous atmosphere of the West with aplomb, engaging a variety of traditional sounds and instrumentation clearly and confidently. Herr’s vocals evoke longing and strength, much like those of Emmylou Harris or Joni Mitchell; her vibrato, possessed of a bit of tremolo, is awesomely haunting. Check out their borderland bravado beginning at 6 pm. All ages are welcome, but preference will surely be given to those wearing Flying Burrito Brothers or Lucinda Williams t-shirts.
E. Christina Herr and Wild Frontier
Courtesy of the band
The Red Elvises, a group of Russian-American rockers known for cleverly incorporating the balalaika into their funky mix of surfed-out So-Cal punk and Texan rockabilly, are on tour this summer. They’ll drop by Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Saturday, August 22, for a show practically guaranteed to have you thanking Uncle Joe the next morning while you search the gulag for Soviet-era buttons and pins to affix to your oh-so chic hipster uniform. For realz, though, this band’s stamina and staying power on the American rocanrol scene is buoyed by an intense commitment to DIY aesthetics, constant touring and a party-time attitude gleaned from surviving the Siberian wilderness and the Los Angeles club circuit. Join guitarist Igor Yuzov and his peculiar brand of Bolsheviks and bronc-busters for a mere 10 dollars the night of this 21+ show. Local rockabilly punks Cowboys & Indian open. Doors are at 8 pm; the recital of “Ochi chyornye” begins at 9:30 pm.
If you need a reason to trip on up to Santa Fe that’s better than the gloriously ebbing summer spread out in multitudinous hues on the highway betwixt here and there, then let that reason be called Messiaen. One of the 20th century’s most compelling and influential composers (hell, Jonny Greenwood’s favorite musical piece Turangalîla Symphony was written by the dude) Oliver Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles will be performed as part of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival on Sunday, August 23. This bright journey from the earth to the sky happens at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco). Messiaen wrote music that can be disturbing for its lack of traditional melodic and rhythmic references, but is alluring because of the complex, mystical and all-together organic visions it induces in listeners. The composer worked as a painter might, noting that a listener should experience color rather than sound while engaged in his work. A large ensemble conducted by Alan Gilbert manifests the ecstatic experience. Tickets range from $10-80 and the curtain rises on the rainbow at 6 pm.
On Monday August 24, get a load of The Aristocrats. These playfully transgressive jazz-fusion experts are going to be at Launchpad (618 Central SW) performing music that is subtly virtuosic yet supremely shocking. That’s an odd, but somewhat common trope in rock music (see Frank Zappa or Ween for details). And anyone who’s been around showbiz knows the bad joke about a performance troupe known as The Artistocrats. In said tale, a representative of the ensemble describes the horrible themes and ribald acts carried forward onto the stage by the outfit. The distasteful details get a laugh when the name of the performers is proudly intoned as a punchline. Leave it to postmodernism to actually take such an endeavor—filled with the power of parody, double-entendre and a licentiousness that hints at the underlying forces of rocanrol world—to new musical heights. Such is the case with this “supergroup” named for the joke. The Aristocrats consists of virtuoso players Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller and Marco Minneman gathered together in a trio hellbent on jamming credibly while making fun of themselves, their genre and the musical world. Govan did a stint with Asia in the early aughts; Beller does it with Dethklock and Steve Vai; Minneman is a lauded composer who plays in Joe Satriani’s band. In other words, they’re musicians with blistering chops and a professional agenda. Except when they get together as The Aristocrats. Then the outfit does work like “Sweaty Knockers.” It’s wacky, with an edge that is intimidating, yet astoundingly listenable; it’s not quite The Mollusk or Joe’s Garage, but their produce is definitely worthy material. This 21+ gig costs between $20-25. Launchpad opens at 8 pm for a 9 pm discourse filled with sardonic wit and arch instrumentation.
Throughout Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Glimmer Twins and their gang of stunningly accurate, though momentarily displaced comrades urged listeners to take a chance on rainbows, far away castle citadels and through space and time itself. When they returned to their roots they were better for it. And the show—much like the music scene here—went on, goes on, as expected. As far as that conceit is concerned, I’m sure you know just what to do next. Now as always, on with the show!