Music to Your Ears
Alibi Spring Crawl 2004 is just around the bend (Saturday, April 24, in the heart of Downtown), so the time has come to convey a little information as roughly 12,000 of you gear up for the first major event of spring. As reported two weeks ago, this year's Spring Crawl will feature two national acts: Detroit '80s rockers The Romantics and San Francisco psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre. In Crawls to come, we'll gradually invite more national acts in an effort to diversify and attract regional and national attention to the events. But rest assured that the Crawls will always emphasize local music. ... Please note that wristband prices have increased on day of show to $20. Do the smart thing and get your cheap, all-access (with valid and proper I.D.) passes in advance through Saturday, April 23, at noon in one of four exciting, convenient ways: buy them on the Alibi website HERE; buy them at Natural Sound in Nob Hill (255-8295); buy them at Alibi Headquarters (411 Central NW); or by them from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com or 883-7800). Beginning at 12:01 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, a wristband you could have purchased for just 15 bucks will cost you an Andrew Jackson. Pick up next week's issue, on stands Thursday, April 22, for all the details, complete venue schedules, maps, guides and all the Alibi Spring Crawl-related news you'll need. Now, go buy a wristband and prepare to join the fun!
Since the mid-'70s when guitarist Little Charlie Baty and harmonicist Rick Estrin first teamed up, Little Charlie and the Nightcats have been spreading their unique combination of Chicago blues, Texas swing, rockabilly—even surf music—across the States and Europe. And since the release of All the Way Crazy, their Alligator Records debut in 1987, the band have garnered raves from critics and fans alike, as well as a handful of Grammy nominations and a W.C. Handy award along the way. They've served as backing band for contemporary blues legend John Hammond on two phenomenal blues recordings and have toured with everyone from Robert Cray to the Allman Brothers.
Friday, April 16; Stella Blue (21 and over, 9 p.m.): When you think of bluegrass, your mind is drawn across the turnpike into the Delaware River Valley in the heart of New Jersey. OK, so New Jersey's among the last places in America you'd look if you were seeking the best newgrass jam band in the country, but it turns out that the Garden State is the birthplace of that very band: Railroad Earth. The sextet features some of the finest bluegass musicians working today, evidenced by recent invitations to play at some of the most prestigious bluegrass festivals in the world—Telluride and Grey Fox.
Amjad Ali Khan
Sunday, April 18; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.)/Thursday, April 22; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 7 p.m.): Perhaps the only thing more amazing than listening to sarod master Amjad Ali Khan play his instrument in a setting of traditional accompaniment is listening to him trade licks with jazz virtuoso guitarist Charlie Byrd. Khan's collaboration with Byrd speaks to his ability to play exceptionally in any situation on an instrument that remains largely enigmatic to Westerners. The sarod is a 19-string fretless lute-like device made of teak wood and metal indigenous to India, where Khan is acknowledged as one of India's finest classical musicians and the foremost exponent of the sarod.
Otis Taylor Double V (Telarc)
Otis Taylor is the most relevant blues artist working today, bar none. His 2003 release, Truth is Not Fiction, turned the blues on its ear with stripped-down acoustic songs that are swollen with emotion and spine-tingling urgency. With Double V, Taylor continues his journey into the darkest corners of American history, telling chilling stories of the struggle for civil rights, social unrest and spiritual longing atop perfectly hewn melodies that mine the rich traditions of African folk, African American spirituals, latter-day acoustic blues and roiling blues rock. Taylor's unconventional instrumentation and approach takes no prisoners.
Nas • hip-hop • Mary J. Blige • R&B, soul
On Tuesday, Aug. 20, catch a concert by hip-hop nation gods Mary J. Blige and Nas. The two ’90s rap and soul superstars—famous for hits like Blige's inimitable “Be Without You” or Nas' hip-hop anthem, “It Ain't Hard to Tell,” gig at Isleta Amphitheater at 8pm in a concert guaranteed to move your body, whether or not you have access to the fabled hot sauce recipe reportedly kept in the safe of mystery rapper Nathanial Hörnblowér. The funk cometh, so boogie on down; lawn tickets start at $31 and VIP packages begin at $250.
UB40 • reggae, '80s, pop
Once upon a time in the late '70s, pop music married dancehall reggae and the couple had a few very happy, musical children who ended up playing in bands with names like The Beat, The Specials, Madness and of course UB40. The latter outfit, named after an unemployment form used in Old Blighty, went on to become an international rocanrol superstar on the strength of stoney-groovy hits like their now ubiquitouscover of Neil Diamond's “Red, Red Wine.” Notably, this band had a slew of other totally danceable tuneage in their badass Jamaican-style soundsystem, including a cover of an old Sonny and Cher song that went to the top of the British charts in 1993. Founders Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue left the ensemble in 2008, but the rest of the band soldiers on, playing heaps of shows as their 40th anniversary year crests here in America. Check out this noble group of upbeat experts when they jam at Route 66 Casino Hotel's Legend's Theater on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 8pm. Tickets for this all-ages romp through the before time range in price from $28 to $49.
Korn • metal • Alice in Chains • alt.rock
KoRn and Alice in Chains arrive at Isleta Amphitheater on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 6pm to soothe your alt and nu metal needs. Something takes a part of you in the pit for $108.50 general admission; if you’d rather the music inside of you forever preach rather than reach, opt for lawn seats as low as $38.50. It’s an all-ages show, and bring your kids to show them how much better life was in the late '90s and introduce them to a whole new world of sights and smells. So long as you’re not a square or the colloquial man in the box who's down in a hole, get tickets from livenation.com. Even figure out a cool way to incorporate a joke about mohawks to tell your friends, “Yeah, here comes the rooster,” but only if you’re a talented writer who is wildly clever about things like that.