“You have the world at your fingertips/ No one can make it better than you/ You have the world at your fingertips/ But see what you've done to the rain and the sun/ So many changes have all just begun, to reap/ I know you're asleep/ Wake up.”—“Prelude: Nothing to Hide,” by Spirit; the opening track from the album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.
Yep, totally and exactly. And whilst you're in that waking, conscious and world-observing state—free from the perplexity of dreams and ideals—take some time to really check out the local music scene. Memorial Day happens during this week's concert preview initiative so perhaps it is also fitting that a remembrance take place. For instance, think of everyone that came before you; everyone else that shook their booty, stomped the floor and rocked the house as music poured over and through them. Rock out and remember; be awake and alive. Carry on.
Spirit: “Prelude: Nothing to Hide”
Ricky Bats is from the Bronx, from the streets, yo. And also from prison. The up-and-coming rapper spent 17 years behind bars learning enough about the system to speak of it in a burnt but laid-back flow that is buoyed by a laconic, yet heavy detailed R&B-influenced musicality. Ricky Bats (Bats apparently is an acronym for “Born a True Spitter,” in case you wanna know) brings his thing to Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Thursday, May 26. His 2015 mixtape, Bronx Born, Prison Raised Vol 2 is a deadly combination of low-gravity musings about life and casually brutal, epoch-lasting beats, as on the dusted-out but accurate rap “Highly Speaking,” where the artist proclaims “My mixtape is like a bag of crack.” The follow-up EP, Freedom explores post-penal living situations and urban encounters on homie-centered hip-hop like “On My Block.” Here in Burque, Bats will be supported by locals like Benny Browncoat, Silverback and Kid Verse, among others. Tickets for this 21+ hip-hop hurrah cost $5 in advance and $10 at the door. The first beat drops at 9pm.
Here's a headline I'd like to see: “Local indie rocanrol outfits stealthily take the spotlight while no one else is looking or listening.” I know it's kinda long, but that's the point. What I mean to say it that there are a helluva lot of local rock bands here in town that deserve attention. There's absolutely no way to cover them comprehensively, but if you start going to shows at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW), you might just have a chance to see and hear a few of them. That's a glorious experience by the way and on Saturday night, May 28, such an opportunity will surely arise. That's when Votives, CRTTRZ, Wolfpack Weekend and Marma share a bill guaranteed to melt your brain as well as to potentially interest you, dear reader, in taking up music as a way of life. I mean, if these folks playing Thursday come from so many different angles, have such a wealth of expressiveness at their disposal, that's totally inspirational, dig? Votives do noisy, experimental shoegaze while deftly drifting through time and space. CRTTRZ perform trippy, trebly post-rock with mathematical overtones. Wolfpack Weekend are purely screamo in intent and execution. And Marma, damn. They make two-part, lo-fi punk expressionism into a welcome, blasted-out relief. This free, 21+ super-gig goes off at 9pm.
Horror show hip-hop harbinger of doom Esham makes an appearance at Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Monday, May 30. He has been divining the devil's due for years now with occult-laced, wackified tuneage such as “My Homie Got Shot” and “I Be Glad When You Dead,” —not to mention a whole album (DMT Sessions) devoted to describing experiments in substance abuse. But lately, the artist has been focused more on the music and less on the Damned One. Despite his fascination with drugs and the macabre, Esham can be credited with successfully taking Detroit-style rap and mixing that style slowly and lugubriously with the slow-to-kill hotness of H-Town favorites like Geto Boyz. The result is necessarily gnarly and not for all … except if you like hip-hop, in which case I say, jump right into those flames, dude. Esham will be accompanied by his friend and co-conspirator Daniel Jordan (of the Motor City, of course) and support will be provided by locals Septicemia Records as well as B.T.V, Ghetto Blast and Ill Nickell. This very special moment in hip-hop hi-jinks will cost interested, 13+ listeners between $20-25; in this case the stars come out at 8pm.
Sludgy metal messiahs Sumac make a merry, though mostly menacing and meaty melange of sound. Check out the band some refer to as adherents of after-metal musings when they happen by Sister (407 Central NW) on Tuesday, May 31. Aaron Turner, the human responsible for creating the living, twisting, rattling, woody yet somehow hellishly herbaceous thing called Sumac has worked broadly in his field. The dude has cultivated collaborations with his wife Faith Coloccia as Mammifer, sought the outer limits of thickness and depravity as part of Old Man Gloom and sought metallic perfection as part of ISIS. As a result, Sumac's latest recording, What One Becomes demonstrates a sort of post-structuralist form of heavy metal that struggles with identity through instrumentation and composition to discover a burning, Plutonic essence that will surely be a lasting influence on what happens in the genre. Louisville experimentalists Jay Jayle—who make frighteningly evocative, on the surface-simple folk-punk on the order of Morphine—and local avant-garde composer and sonic provocateur William Fowler Collins begin the night's 21+ rituals of rocked out righteousness. For just $10 bucks, it'll be a helluva neat sounding night starting at 9pm.
Okay, one more thing before I go back to sleep. Built to Spill. The innovative, elusive progenitors of the indie rock sound itself have a gig scheduled at Launchpad (618 Central SW ) on Wednesday, June 1. Originally the project of Boise Idahoan Doug Martsch, Built to Spill is not only responsible for demonstrating how an indie band can continue to control their creative consciousness after signing to a major label, but they also fairly and fucking-a rock out. Non-stop touring and a creatively acute catalog of recordings has resulted in a phenomenon that defies time and some critics' expectations. From their initial effort, Ultimate Alternative Wavers through 2015's Untethered Moon, Martsch's guitar work is uniformly sublime, filled with wild subtlety and intense tonal digressions. Lenguas Largas and Whispering Wires open at about 9pm. It's 22 bucks to get in to this 21+ event, but what the heck; how often do you get to see Built to Fucking Spill in Burque on a beautiful spring night? For these and other answers, tune in next week. Until then, carry on.