It seems too obvious to bear repeating, but—since Burque seems to have a higher threshold for tolerating racism than most places I've been to—black people invented most of the music you listen to. There's nothing grosser than some old racist bastard referring to hip-hop as “black music” while blasting Stevie Ray Vaughn (oh irony of ironies).
Well catch up, Neanderthal. It's Black History Month in the great year of our Lord 2016, a perfect time for you to learn a thing or two about the real history behind your rocks, rolls, hips, hops and all the rest. And there's no better way than hitting up the African American Performing Arts Center (310 San Pedro NE) on Saturday, Feb. 13, where the Majestic Entertainment group is celebrating black history with a tribute to black music called I Remember When: A Tribute to Black Music Through the Ages. Even if you're not a slow-witted, hateful jerk in need of a re-education camp, but just a music lover in search of the roots of practically everything, I Remember When promises to be not only an enlightening tour through history, but a damn great listen, too. Ticket prices range from $8-15 and are available through Hold My Ticket. The all-ages concert gets underway at 6pm.
My first view of the wide open desert as I drove into Albuquerque years ago lodged like a hook in my mouth; it would reel me in within a year's time. There's a strange magic in those vast spaces, and it comes as no surprise to me that the music coming out of this town should be so roomy and spectral.
Great States (Morgan Ching, Eric Jecklin, Sean Leston and Ryan Rael), a band that by all accounts should fall somewhere in the area of generic alt rock—with its squeaky clean guitars and melodic, no-nonsense keyboards—really illustrates how the area affects the artist, layering their sensible proclivities with strange, introspective walkabouts that push away from rock and toward orchestral. This Saturday, Feb. 13 gig is the release party for their new album at Launchpad (618 Central SW), where they will be joined by local electro-creeper queen, Lilah Rose, who brings one of the catchiest and most distressing performances to ever come out of what looks like a sweet, bring-her-home-to-mom kind of girl. Her penchant for spooky, droning pop textures (and what seems to be an unhealthy obsession with ghosts) puts her on the top of my list for performers I want to see on stage and never in a dark alley. Rounding out the evening is the cool, easy acoustic rock of the Kevin Herig Trio. The 13+ party starts at 9pm. Tickets are $10. If you're looking for a chill place to take a tour of your own inner expanses, this is probably for you.
Hold on to your judgments, folks; it's about to get real sketchy up in here. I'm going to blow your minds with a confession the breadth and width of an aircraft carrier. Ready? Sitting down?
I don't get the blues. I mean, I get that all rock and/or roll is just blues in fancy shoes, and without it the world would be a very different place, but after a while it all just starts sounding the same to me.
I know. It's hard for me to even admit out loud. Whenever I've brought it up with friends, I've been met with the same expression you'll find on a toddler who's just tasted peas for the first time—something like astonished pain, with a sprinkling of betrayal and permanent psychological trauma. I know something's wrong with me, just don't ask me to pinpoint it.
But there is a treatment plan. I asked my doctor about Carolyn Wonderland, the Houston-based singer-songwriter, and he told me that she's playing at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Tuesday, Feb. 16. I was skeptical, (as I always am when listening to the advice of medical professionals) preferring to find my answers online. And lo and behold, there was ol' Ms. Wonderland waiting for me in the trenches, where her voice, purring one moment and snarling the next, pins me to the wall. Suddenly, I was begging for mercy. “I get it. I get it!”
But she is obviously a woman who doesn't believe in mercy. Beneath the raging of her voice, the blues comes through with a wide stride and cigar smoke hissing from the corner of its mouth, holding her up like a scaffold. It's that same dun dun dun, but with a throbbing pulse that screws into my bones and gives the distinct impression of life. She whistles, too.
It was a ride I won't be forgetting any time soon, but it leaves me a bit worried about the show on Tuesday. What I went through happened in the comfort of my home, with the internet safely wedged between me and the music. But out there on the streets, there ain't no rules, and who knows what will happen to me. So get your $15 tickets for this 21+ show, get there before 9pm, and bring a spatula in case I need someone to scoop me off the floor, please.