“I sincerely miss those heavy metal bands/ I used to go see on the landing in the summer … Shiny, shiny pants and bleach-blond hair/ A double kick drum by the river in the summer … I miss the innocence I've known/ Playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned”—“Heavy Metal Drummer,” by Wilco from the albumYankee Hotel Foxtrot.
It’s a perfect time to reflect on all those gloriously verdant summer times made possible through the agency of human experience. Or you can just say “Fuck it” to all that contemplative mierda and go see a show.
That’s a pretty decent song to listen to as summer wanes. Labor day and the season’s unofficial end come this weekend. It’s a perfect time to reflect on all those gloriously verdant summer times made possible through the agency of human experience. Or you can just say “Fuck it” to all that contemplative mierda and go see a show. Here’s what I’m looking at this week, either straight-on or sideways, as the three day holiday advances with autumn right behind it.
Thursday night, Sept. 1, I’ll be Downtown at the Historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) with Vince Noir in my heart and Howard Moon in my presentation. I’ll be there to experience the entrancing electro emanations of MSTRKRFT, a duo from Toronto whose work verges on a louche indifference to convention, weaving a noisy, nerdy version of electro house that hypnotizes listeners at 135 bpm. Though their set will make for some giddy gamboling, opening act, Bay Area electro-wiz Woolymammoth, is bound to bring the bass. With an experimental streak as moody and stretched out as the sine waves his stacks make, this ancient precursor to the modern-day elephant has groovy glitchiness to spare. Entrance to this 18+ land of peace, love, unity and respect costs only $15; the beat drops at 9pm.
Flash forward to Saturday night, Sept. 3. Launchpad (618 Central SW) is the site of a concert celebrating the life of legendary local punk rocker and stylish music community stalwart Michelle Arnold. Arnold’s influence on local culture was diffuse and daring. The bands playing at this gig reflect the intensely chaotic, sometimes darkly joyful nature of life, hers and ours. Black Maria, featuring inimitable axe-man Gordy Andersen share a bill with Beefcake in Chains, a project of Steve Eiland that got ultra-glamorous here in Burque back in the day and have, like a filthy, high desert phoenix, been recently reborn. Cobra Vs. Mongoose, a recent addition to this town’s hardcore and metal pantheons (that’s, like, called crossover, dude!) and Doomed to Exist will also make appearances. This 21+ rocanrol remembrance requires $8 to ensure your participation; it’ll run $5 for entrants who present a photo of Michelle. It starts at 9pm.
This Saturday approaches the peak of a traditional American holiday that originally sought to recognize the labor movement in this country, but instead has become about putting summer away with one final and fecund flourish. So, of course there’re plenty of decent concerts that day, from the freshest hip-hop to the dankest drone. I’m getting the sense, though, that one of those celebratory concerts hereabouts has been overlooked. I’ll set that straight though, by talking a little bit about Foreigner. They’ll be playing at Route 66 Casino Legends Theater (14500 Central SW) on Saturday, Sept. 3.
I’d always stayed away from this band and believed wholeheartedly in the hypothesis that they represented the kind of smooth and seductive corporate rock that really was from the devil (and punk rockers and independent labels were angels, of course). After listening to their oeuvre in preparation for this tirade, I’m willing to discuss modifications. Mick Jones, the only original member of the current lineup, wrote some decent pop-rock songs—loaded with ear worms—as a young rocker. In many ways, Foreigner represented “the best” the big record companies had to offer. That’s sad and ironic, but occasionally Foreigner really rocked. Their best stuff is the early work, like “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” where Jones’ sharp guitar licks actually meant something besides money. $36-70 gets you in; the late 1970s or their verisimilitude take effect at 8pm.
On Monday, Sept. 5—Labor Day Proper—put aside your naive notions of a worker’s paradise, lift a glass to the nobility of hard work, to a job well done and trip on down to Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) to listen to an awesome concert by Deep Fryed Records recording artist Nikki Hill. Hill’s got a fiery, sometimes sultry, always entrancing tone laced with legato phrasing and soulful sibilance that makes for unforgettable performances. Backed by a retinue of super-competent sidemen, Hill takes R&B with rock leanings and spins it around lovingly, returning it to listeners as a sound that is as subtle as a hammer wrapped in the bluest and softest velvet available. The singer also digs AC/DC. Serio. Hill’s recent independent release, Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists balances the singer’s musical dawn and dusk with earthy precision. Here is my vote for this week’s most awesome show. If you are at least 21, check out one of our country’s most def vocal visionaries for only $12, beginning at 8pm.