“An electric guitar is brought in to a court of law/ The judge and the jury/ twelve members of the jury/ All listening to records/ This is a crime against the state/ This is the verdict they reach/ Never listen to electric guitar!”—“Electric Guitar,” by Talking Heads, from the 1979 masterpiece, Fear of Music.
Okay, so I was barely in high school when this record dropped. Most of my friends were listening to stuff by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that year. My brother and I spied the black-clad, art-damaged cover of Fear of Music at a local retail outlet and decided to give it a go. After being totally mesmerized by what we heard—and not fully realizing what a radical departure it was from the road rocanrol had trod in the ’70s—a decision was made to turn our freaky friends on to this intensely creative hunk o’music. We ended up scaring more than a few people. One dude, a hesher named Jim McDonald, stopped by our chante to hear it and left in tears, claiming that we were trying to poison him with the work of Satan. Serio. The lesson here, folks: Don’t be afraid to try something new; go out and hear something you’ve never experienced before! Though there are many shows to see, you only live once; as David Byrne famously remarked on the same album, “These memories can’t wait.”
Talking Heads: “Electric Guitar”
Courtesy of the artist
Tony Simon, or Blockhead as he is known in hip-hop nation, is one of the genre’s most influential producers and performers. He collaborated with underground/alternative rapper Aesop Rock to notorious effect and also released important breakbeat work—Blockhead’s Broke Beats—before launching a career as a beat maker who joined forces with artists like Slug, Maclethal and Illogic, defining him as one of the main proponents of indie and underground rap music. Never one to rest on his laurels, Blockhead is currently touring the USA to demonstrate his prowess and commitment to the growling and glitchy monster he helped birth. Blockhead will be at Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) on Thursday, Nov. 9, to perform work from his latest effort, Funeral Balloons. 9pm • $12 • 21+
Electro-wizard Mark Farina specializes in a type of music that is deeply influenced by Chicago House. His latest work currently incorporates elements of jazz, trip-hop and downtempo ambient jams—a plethora of audacious affectations the Texan DJ learned while working extensively in San Francisco. Farina’s famous for creating the Mushroom Jazz series of recordings, which uses acid jazz aesthetics combined with rapid-fire references to hip-hop and a distinctly urban beat. Farina brings this intricate, intoxicating and dutifully danceable vision to Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) on Friday, Nov. 10. Local DJs Eldon, The Rev and Ana M. begin the evening’s excursion into tripped out and cray, computerized compositional styles, so never mind the bollocks and don’t forget your tube of Vick’s Vaporub as you prepare to dance the night away. 9pm • $15 • 21+
The legendary Tower of Power, fronted by tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo and chief songwriter and baritone saxman Stephen “Doc” Kupka, makes an appearance at Route 66 Casino’s Legend’s Theater (14500 Central Ave. SW) on Saturday, Nov. 11. The group’s been playing together since the late ’60s; their horn section has backed up just about everybody who is anyone in the music biz, from John Lee Hooker to KMFDM, laying down a groovy, funkalicious musical backdrop that has helped define not only their own playing prowess, but also the sound of modern music as it has progressed from the blues through industrial strength rock and roll. On their own, the outfit makes music that defies genres yet embraces tradition with crafty compositions and dynamic, deliberately deft ensemble jams. 8pm • $25 to $45 • All-Ages
“We are all immigrants” is a catchphrase used by genre-flexible rock and rollers Making Movies to describe both their fluidic, multi-genre sound as well as their attachment to social justice issues. Their new album, I Am Another You, uses a plethora of influences and sounds, from Panamanian mejorana to zapateados, to straight ahead rocanrol, to entrance listeners with an appealing, synthesized and heartfelt version of what music in the Americas can aspire to become. Combined with a narrative that speaks to current immigration issues, the new work evokes narratives of suffering and redemption filtered through groovy, soulful musical substance. Led by singer and guitarist Enrique Chi and his brother Diego, the Kansas City outfit also includes a tremendously taut rhythm section comprised of two other brothers, percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand and drummer Andres Chaurand. These dudes will be playing at the Cooperage (7220 Lomas Blvd. NE) on Sunday Nov. 12; check this quartet out if you want to know not only where we’ve all been, but also where we are all going, culturally and musically. 7:30pm • $15 • 21+