We have come for light/ Wholly, we have come for light/ It's true/ I am the sun/ I am the new year/ I am the rain/ I am the sun/ I am the new year/ I'm the way home— “New Year,” a song by The Breeders that was written by Kim Deal.
It’s not true. I’m not any of those things. I’m just some old dude who happens to write about music. I also play the piano. Musicians say they like me to sit in with them because I have a good ear and a wacky, louche, yet curiously informed improvisational style. I suppose the same might be said about my writing, the music-related stuff, anyway.
But I am in agreement with Ms. Deal. The new year provides an opportunity to find one’s path home. Ironically, for music lovers in particular, that means the journey begins again. It’s a grand cycle of gigs that begins in the dark of winter and peaks during the brash brightness of summer’s outdoor festival tour season before declining and then raising itself up again to the light, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.
The first weekend of 2017 is a great place to start the endeavor; here are some shows that may show you the way.
The Breeders: “New Year”
If veteran rock dudes Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley came up with a brilliant idea for a dining and entertainment joint, would you check it out? I know for sure at least one of my predecessors would be into it, just on the off chance he might run into the god of thunder himself while perusing the menu for chicken beer. Purely because of such hypothetical revelations, I am going to go ahead and ask you to pay a visit to Burque’s version of Rock & Brews (4800 Montgomery NE) on Friday, Jan. 6. That’s when local old-school-meets-young-and-hip rockers Badd Fish perform at the establishment. Led by seasoned singer-songwriter Mark LaCava, the outfit features a quartet that balances heavy rock with pop punctuation. When asked about the mix that makes their species of fish so freakin’ bad, LaCava told Weekly Alibi, “Badd Fish does the rock thing swimmingly well. The older guys in the band dig tradition, our youthful cohorts are always looking to the future.” Well then, mark this as your first rocanrol outing of the year folks. There’s no cover, all-ages are welcome, and Badd Fish begins at 8pm.
Courtesy of the artist, via Facebook
Roman Barham, the frontman for insanely talented and über-popular local rock gods Black Maria, has a birthday coming up. In celebration of this joyous occasion, Launchpad (618 Central NW) is hosting a totally fucked-up, thrashed out and mercilessly monstrous party for Mr. Barham on Saturday, Jan. 7. Headlining this night of hellacious headbanging is none other than Speedealer, a thrash metal ensemble outta Lubbock in Tejas. These fellows are on tour 300 days a year, promoting a sound that is as maniacal and menacing as their song titles—such as “Dealer’s Choice” and “Drink Me Dead”—suggest. Providing support for these mavens of mayhem will be SuperGiant, the local stoner rock band with gravitas (and songs full of abstruse astronomical allusions). And if that ain’t enough to yank your chain, then hear this: Rock Jong Il, a band whose punk proclivities know no sane limitations, is also on the bill. Cripple (not me, the band) opens. $10 gets you in, so what the heck? You wanted to destroy parts of your brain anyway, so why wait for Inauguration Day when you can get the same thing done for fun, 13 days prior to the advent of the apocalypse. 21+, 9pm.
Bands that use satanic references to promote, manifest or deconstruct their musical motives have always been particularly interesting to me. But one can only listen to “Sympathy for the Devil,” “The Battle of Evermore” and “Eleven Mustachioed Daughters” so many times before the theme begins to seem dated and irrelevant in a real world where the actual forces of darkness are set to rule soon. That’s why it’s, like, totally cool that totally now bands like The Devil Makes Three have taken up Lucifer’s banner, if only in name and most likely not in inclination. They’ll be playing the Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) on Sunday, Jan. 8. Of course it figures that this quartet comes from Cali’s beacon of weirdness, a place called Santa Cruz, where folks apparently worship banana slugs. Despite all of those troubling indicators, The Devil Makes Three makes Americana. That is, members Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino and Cooper McBean infuse an essentially rockabilly aesthetic with bluegrass, jazz and country-Western to create a sound that reflects the roots of American music while building an innovative bridge to previously unexplored musical passages. The band’s focus on redemption and ruin also happens to be the title of their latest recording. How’s that for satanic? In this case, tour support is being provided by Lost Dog Street Band, a banjo and fiddle trio from Tennessee—a place known for its mysterious crossroads. Anywho, you get the idea. It’ll cost you a Jackson to get into this darkly enchanting 13+ show that commences at 8pm.