“Did you ever see the faces of the children/ They get so excited/ Waking up on Christmas morning/ Hours before the winter sun's ignited/ They believe in dreams and all they mean/ Including heaven’s generosity/ Peeping ‘round the door/ to see what parcels are for free/ In curiosity/ And Tommy doesn't know what day it is/ He doesn't know who Jesus was or what praying is/ How can he be saved?/ From the eternal grave” – “Christmas” written by Peter Townsend and performed by The Who, from the rock opera Tommy.
I don’t know about you, but anyone who can successfully rhyme “excited” with “ignited” gets my vote. As for Tommy, well, I am quite certain that he can be saved from the eternal grave through the power of music. You too can find redemption that goes beyond seasonal sources by seeking sonic salvation. With that heavenly premise in mind, here’s this week’s Show Up!
The Who: “Christmas”
Spend Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24, up at Molly’s Bar (546 New Mexico 333) in Tijeras in the kind company of Americana adherent Gene Corbin, who’ll be playing a special holiday-themed concert that very night. Corbin’s been playing around this town and the surrounding area for years; he was an integral member of local folk outfit the Band of Enchantment. In that time he’s garnered numerous accolades and influenced at least two generations of musicians. The dude’s sound revolves around his relationship with a stringed instrument that he can make do wondrous things. Corbin incorporates a hard-picking, bluegrass style of guitar playing matched up with a deeply resonant voice whose hints of vibrato make his narratives full with yearning—just the thing Santy Claws and his eight tiny reindeer wanna hear whilst cruising down the Turquoise Trail. It’s a free, 21+ gig that rolls out from under the tree—like that Tonka Front Loader you asked for in third grade—at 6pm.
Gene Corbin: “Rustler’s Moon” and other tunes
If you need to hear something besides Christmas music on Friday, Dec. 25, check out the CD player at Ho Lo Ma Chinese Restaurant (8624 Menaul NE). They’re open from 11am-10pm Christmas Day and you can listen to the latest in Mandopop—you know like Stefanie Sun and Jolin Tsai—whilst digging some of the best Chinese food in the city. Their special chop suey rocks.
Stefanie Sun: “Begun to Understand”
Saturday, Dec. 26, is Boxing Day, a secular holiday celebrated in much of the English-speaking world, but sadly neglected in the US. It’s not a day when you sit about watching pugilists punching. Nor is it a day where one gathers up yesterday’s abandoned gift boxes for analysis. I’ll tell you this much: It used to involve boxes, but now mostly involves banks. You’ll have to do the rest of the research because I gotta tell you about a show that night. It’s the Buh Humbug Fest at Blu Phoenix Venue (3315 Princeton NE). The concert’s pretty much gonna be a headbanging sorta deal featuring dark demiurges from around the state. Gallup, N.M.’s A Malicious Plague headlines. These guys play a melodic, technically informed brand of death metal and share the bill with similar outfits like Burque’s Polyhedra. Diminished Existence, a thrashed-out quartet with roots here and in Mesita and Tohajiile, are also scheduled to perform, as are Santa Fe’s Awakening the Dragon. This box full of heavy elements will cost heshers everywhere a mere $5—accompanied by three cans of decent food or a warm winter jacket. Lacking the cans, coats and compassion will incur an added fee; that scenario requires 10 bucks. The all-ages antics begin at 6:30pm.
A Malicious Plague: Live at El Morro Theater, Gallup, N.M.
Well as Johnny Burnette noted—and The Yardbirds and Aerosmith righteously agreed upon too—the train keeps on a rollin’. In this case, it’s a heavy iron and lead contraption lumbering through town on a track made of plutonium. That locomotive is designed to carry one out from under the spell of the previous night’s indulgences into yet another metallic wonderland at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW). Black Label Society brings their Doomtrooping Into 2016 tour to town on Sunday, Dec. 27. The groovy yet sludge-based band outta El Lay is fronted by Zakk Wylde, a multi-instrumentalist with Southern boogie in his heart, dark thoughts in his head and a black and yellow Karl Sandoval V guitar that is both hypnotic to see (it’s like all spirally, mang) and hear. Though the band’s seen a slew of lineup changes and changed direction over the years, they still command a shitload of cred, going deep enough to cover tunes like “Ain’t No Sunshine” while also handling new work like “Heart of Darkness” with earnest brutality. Huntress—a gothy, thrash band that features the screamalicious utterances of classically trained vocalist Jill Janus—and The Shrine (they’re like all psychedelically psychotic) open. This 13+ rock and roll recital requires $29.50 up front and commences at 7:30pm.