“Oh ... could you knock a line or two, together for a friend?/ Sentimental, tear inducing, with a happy end?/ And we need a tune to open/ Our season at Southend/ Can you help us?”—“Bitter Fingers” by Bernie Taupin, from Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
While Taupin’s adopted American poetic dynamic wittily pulls apart the rock music biz, EJ’s fantastical piano accompaniment makes music communities look like other worlds ruled by greed, cruelty and circumstance. Gratefully, much has changed since the middle of the ’70s; alternative and independent sound communities thrive, while once-enormous corporate giants have withered. Heaps of cities across the West have witnessed the rebirth of DIY music sensibilities, but Burque continues to startle the senses in its diversity and quality of offerings. This week proves no exception to that contention.
Courtesy of artist
On Friday, Nov.14, Stereo Bar (622 Central SW) swimmingly offers a descent into electro hell when the new-joint-on-the-block welcomes Austinite multi-sensory composer Shane Madden, better known as Govinda. The dude's an electronic arhat of the highest order in addition to being a classically trained violinist. He’s on tour supporting his latest recording Universal On Switch. Five dollars admits one to the sly and refurbished PoMo club that only bears a passing resemblance to its golden predecessor. You have to be at least 21 to get through the doors. The party starts at 8pm.
Hip-hop here has flourished. It’s taken wing; a few of the city’s best have even flown beyond the enchanted confines of the Rio Grande Valley. Now it’s Asliani’s turn. The Beantown native made her home in Burque and has produced some of the region’s most intensely flavorful and startlingly cerebral creations while in residence. Her CD release and goodbye fête are on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Tortuga Gallery (901 Edith SE). Asliani’s work is a revolutionary antidote to hip-hop’s materialistic and misogynist failures, her verses compelling and competent. Walatowa Massive, AnTro and Lady Tigress will present sets to begin the all-ages evening, starting at 6pm.
Badass metallic Americana trio Water Liars bring their huge fucking Missisippi River-sized sound to Burque on Tuesday, Nov. 18, for a concert at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW). Leave it to the Deep South to combine wicked sludge and fried-out songs of lamentation and suffering into one super-tasty musical onslaught. Featuring the searching vocals of Justin Kinkel-Schuster blended brutally with the talents of Andrew Bryant and GR Robinson of the rhythm section, the music of Water Liars mixes well with late autumn, cold nights and probably whiskey too. Local guitar wiz and profoundly pop-sensical singer/songwriter AJ Woods opens. Entry to this 21-plus concert costs eight bucks. The doors open at 8pm, and the train gets rolling at 9pm.
All this leads back to a beginning, to a place lacking bitterness. It’s from the heart, not the spleen, sabes? We’re at a place now where independent musical scenes are ascendant. The grandiosity of the big record label and a massive corporate presence within music culture has been mostly dismissed. In its place, local scenes—like the one in our own backyard—have become the arbiters of culture, a civic quality that’s totally fantastic and worth checking out on a regular basis.