From left, Cowboys and Indian and Word Salad circa 1997
Courtesy of artists
“There’s a party in my mind/ And I hope it never stops/ I’m stuck here in this seat/ I might not stand up/ Other people can go home/ Other people, they will split/ I’ll be here all the time/ I can never quit/ Everything is very quiet/ Everyone has gone to sleep/ I’m wide awake on memories/ These memories can’t wait.”—“Memories Can’t Wait” by Talking Heads from the album Fear of Music
I’m pretty sure these particular song lyrics reflect my own concert experiences; in fact, Byrne’s flat-yet-provocative delivery on “Memories Can’t Wait” sounds suspiciously like my life in general. For example, I drove several fellow freaks at Eldorado High School to the edge, playing Fear of Music at a holiday party when everyone really wanted to hear The Wall or Van Halen II. Hijinks ensued. That made for some great memories, folks, but it’s surely not as profound as the mental vignettes you’ll be able to generate after checking out this week’s stellar lineup of live and loungy tuneage available right here in the Duke City.
Courtesy of artist
Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) presents Sean Costanza on Thursday, Dec. 18. Costanza is a New Mexico native whose singular take on Americana has brought about a rambling, traveling life resonant with songs about sweet promises and doleful regrets. He tours in support of latest effort Here in the Light. A powerful alt.country contender with tunes like the elegiac yet hopeful “Down the Line” in his repertoire, his deft handling of classic instrumentation on “Rapturous Love” adds to the cred. Costanza gigs at Blackbird from 6 to 8pm.
After 9pm, locally-popular/indie-psych/post-punk practitioners Train Conductor take the stage, providing a powerfully abstract contrast to Costanza’s narrative naturalism. Bone Forest is on board as an opening act. These awesome shows are 21-plus and free, and the venue opens at 4pm.
Pinup Productions' Epic Christmas Character Party happens at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Friday, Dec. 19. If one was advised to dress in a fashion reminiscent of our favorite, fictional festive folk, I’d choose Al Franken’s character in Trading Places. You know—the baggage handler with grand ideas about gorilla-dom. This concert is also an opportunity to check out some righteous local acts.
Roots-rockin' Double Plow features the brotherly, rockabilly-adjacent talents of Dwayne and Jimmy James Norris. Burque hillbilly stalwart Cowboys and Indian is a trio composed of Native American Gerome Fragua belting out hot licks, while cowboys Matthew Ezzard (bass) and Jeff Cooper (drums) bop out a boot-scooting rhythm section. Psychobilly honky-tonkers Mr. Right and the Leftovers open. This event benefits the SouthWest Rural Theatre Project. Tickets are only $8, and doors are at 8pm, while the performance begins at 9pm.
This year’s Anti Xmas show at Launchpad (618 Central SW) happens Saturday, Dec. 20. The show features the reunion of seminal Burque hardcore sludgemasters Word Salad. Serio. The band’s 1995 Science Project Records split with Scared of Chaka remains one of punk’s definitive Duke City declarations. Though the ensemble has only played intermittently since the millennium’s onset, they’re still fully capable of causing cranial aneurysms that render sentences into chaotic post-skate fragments.
Standing on the shoulders of giants that evening will be old town grindcore outfit Laughing Dog, Rio Rancho thrashers Econarchy, doomy Denverite Doperunner, unholy El Paso anarchists Communion of Thieves and Santa Fe’s dark avant-metalheads Torn Between Worlds. Sounds like Krampus will be there too. The opposite of Christmas can be experienced for only 10 bones. The doors open at 8pm; the show is at 9:30pm.
If you fear the sulfurous, mercurial metal river coursing through this town’s labyrinthine underground, there’s a groovy, freaked-out psychedelic alternative up the street at Sister (407 Central NW) on Saturday, Dec. 20, too. Local mind expansion-research team YOU headlines a concert that’s all about transcending the holiday vibe. Train Conductor (see Thursday) is also on board for the evening.
Additionally Burque DJ/producer ZenOvA mixes things up mystically while grunge-hop left-fielder Summon—whose release Scapegoat was one of the best local recordings I heard in 2014—deconstructs everything in its path. Time Parents (Andrew Lyman and Adrian Toto) open. Amazingly, this full night of timeless, local music is free, and it begins at 9pm.
If you’re seeking local, cultural treasure, I suggest you head out to the Corrales Bistro Brewery (4908 Corrales Rd.) on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 21, for an encounter with Pawn Drive. Americana-folk with decidedly rocanrol antecedents—multi-instrumentalist Robert Darrell Sparks was part of first-generation Burque new wave punks Gargantuans, and string player-slash-guitar-maker Jason Fink formed the influential Dim Bulb with Mike Gerwin way back in the ’80s—this ensemble of collaborators and co-conspirators has long been a nexus of command and control for some of our town’s great players, including members of Selsun Blue and The Rivet Gang.
Intensely laid-back yet filled with glorious grit after nearly 30 years in the biz, Pawn Drive is perfect solstice-Sunday afternoon dreaming and beer drinking tuneage. The mostly acoustic recitation commences at 3pm, and it’s totally free.
There’s a party in my mind, and I hope it never stops. Since it’s the music that keeps that fiesta rolling along, I doubt I’ll be able to quit anytime in the foreseeable future. Even when things go quiet, it’s only for a moment. Maybe that’s when the memories get made. Here’s one more of mine: One fellow who listened to my impromptu playing of Fear of Music told me years later that the recording haunted him and led him on a path chock-full of ennui and dissembled thinking. I told him he was lucky I didn’t choose Big Science at that long ago, winter break throw-down. He didn’t think that was funny. So now it’s your turn; go out and make some holiday live music memories before I change my mind and dig that Laurie Anderson album off the rack, entiendes?