“When the world is a monster/ Bad to swallow you whole/ Kick the clay that holds those teeth in/ Throw your trolls out the door/ If you’re needing inspiration/ Philomath is where I go by dawn/ Lawyer Jeff he knows the lowdown/ He’s mighty bad to visit home/ I’ve been there I know the way/ Can’t get there from here.”—R.E.M., “Can’t Get There From Here”
It’s true that the world can seem monstrous. But if you’re a lover of learning, then music is the perfect vehicle for transcending the trouble, especially here at home. The lowdown remains unchanged. Despite Mr. Stipe’s admonitions, there are piles of concerts happening here in Burque that will indeed allow you to get there from here. For the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 12, here’s your wordy map.
Pray for Brain
Burqueño post-prog, jazz-inflected ensemble Pray For Brain will tour India in December. As a prelude to that far-flung musical adventure, the trio—featuring Mustafa Stefan Dill on guitar and oud, Christine Nelson on bass and Jefferson Voorhees behind the drum kit—has a gig scheduled at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE) on Saturday, Nov. 8.
Pray For Brain is noted for their ability to combine the aesthetics of Middle Eastern music with improvisatory techniques and chopped-out instrumentalism for a sound that’s as rarefied as the Land of Enchantment itself. Their latest recording None of the Above demonstrates a commitment to musical complexity that is at once highly listenable and profoundly practiced. (To engage even further, see our micro review of the album.) Tickets for this preview and send-off for the band’s conquering subcontinental cadences range in price from $10 to $15. The doors of the Outpost open at 7pm, and Dill and company take the stage by storm at 7:30pm.
On Sunday, Nov. 9, The Tannex (1417 Fourth Street SW) continues its mission of bringing the avant-garde’s most adventurous aspects to Albuquerque’s doorstep. The gig features talents of both local and regional acts known for their eclipsing and esoteric takes on modern music. Califas garage-punk act Friends of Cesar Romero—you know ... he played a winsome and toothy Joker in the 1960s “Batman” TV series—drops by as part of their Fat, Old, Balding and Pissing Blood Tour 2014. Rampantly raucous fans of tape hiss and gorgeous, gross guitar riffage, FOSR will put a smile on your face that will make even the crown prince of crime envious.
Local de facto norm-destructors Shitty and the Terribles take the middle spot in a rock show opened by the handsomely spooky folks residing at Abandoned Mansions. Tickets for this touching tour de force are only five bucks. The primal response to rocanrol presents itself in a very noisy fashion beginning at 7:30pm.
But wait a minute, there’s more to move listeners just like you from there to here. The Check Yo Ponytail Tour hits Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) on Monday, Nov. 10. Bust out your glow sticks before they go stale for this one, mates. Australian electro emperors The Presets (Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes) headline. Besides gaining significant cred supporting Daft Punk on numerous tour tagalongs, The Presets combine good ol’ rock and roll aesthetics with EDM instrumentation to create a groove that’s significantly grander and more mysterious than any old outback.
Nuevo York rapper Khalif Diouf, better known by his stage name Le1f, is also an important part of the Ponytail tour. This guy made his name producing acts like Das Racist and with his own output—exemplified by works like EP Hey—and splices an anomalous, experimental twist into the East Coast sound. Chela and Franki Chan begin what is assuredly going to be an excursion into electronic excellence. It’s $20 to get into this all-ages extravaganza. The doors part to reveal interior light at 7pm, and the show begins at 8pm.
As if that weren’t enough, here’s yet another way to extract yourself from the embrace of ignorance and insert yourself into the blissful realm of musical knowledge. Sister (407 Central NW) has Dum Dum Girls and Ex Cops lined up for an exploratory expedition into dreamy, shoegaze goodness on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Founded by Kristin Welchez (aka Dee Dee Penny), whose influences include Rilke, Rimbaud, Plath and Patti Smith, Dum Dum Girls presents a brand of music marked by an ability to capably cover The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” while discoursing deconstructively on badass brilliance. Check out “Lost Boys and Girls Club” for a slitheringly simple example of the latter.
Brooklyn band Ex Cops, fronted by Brian Harding of Hymns and Amalie Bruun of Minks, adds to the yearning nature of the evening’s plaintive passage. By turns melancholy and sweetly succulent, Ex Cops latched onto thousands of curious ears with their 2012 single “You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb.” This atmospheric action is a 21-plus concert, and tickets cost $12. You can enter Sister at 8pm and begin listening for hints of transcendence at about 9pm.
While researching this week’s edition of Show Up!, I spent a hell of a lot of time listening to all sorts of new, happening music. But I also took some time to revisit the song whose lyrics I referenced in the intro. There’s a great video of Stipe and the gang doing “Can’t Get There From Here.” Throughout, Berry, Mills, Buck and the enigmatic thin one drive ’round and ’round looking for something meaningful to do. Supposedly they’re all headed to Philomath, and they’re seeking knowledge and meaning in this chaotic world. If only they had known about the concerts on offer in Burque this week. ... Maybe they wouldn’t have pictured the world as a monster to be overcome, after all.