Show Up!: progressive country, turn-of-the-century reunion, jazz and a horny revisioning of southern rock
 Alibi V.24 No.31 • July 30-Aug 5, 2015 

Show Up!

Concert Connections

Four fab and fashionable forays

“Much as he hated arguments or any kind of unpleasantness, Ron Shirr thought things had gone too far when, returning from a weekend in Clacton, he found that his neighbor had trimmed the enormous hedge dividing their gardens into the shape of a human leg. Enraged and envious beyond belief, Ron seized his garden shears and clipped his white poodle Rex into the shape of a coffee table. ‘That'll fix it,’ thought Ron—but he was wrong. The following Wednesday his neighbor had his bushy waist-length hair cut and permed into a model of the Queen Elizabeth and went sailing. Everywhere he went, people said, ‘Hurray!’ Sometimes you just can't win.” Third verse, “Rhinocratic Oaths,” — written by the Bonzo Dog Band.

The preceding stanza of vintage rocanrol lyrics has absolutely nothing to do with what follows. Plus, it’s a product of culture that no longer exists, except through memories, sound recordings, pictures and the very occasional reunion. Oh, wait a minute, I’ve changed my mind. There is a connection after all. Follow on, listeners, as we turn the concert-going starship Rocinante (yeah just like in the song by Rush) toward this week’s musical maelstrom.

Thursday

Up on the corner of Montgomery and Eubank there is an L-shaped shopping center. In the corner of that assemblage of cinderblock and stucco sits the Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall and Saloon (9800 Montgomery NE). They’ve got a mechanical bull, an old-timey feel and plenty of room to boot-scoot around and through the joint. They’ve also been bringing some mighty fine acts to town lately. On Thursday, July 30, Tanner Lewis and the Aviators are flying in from A-Town to show off the latest in turbo-driven, aerodynamically sound progressive country. The Thursday gig is the beginning of a three-night stand in Burque. Lewis’ edgy take on C & W evolved out of early encounters with the rhapsodizing recordings of Merle Haggard. It’s grown into a form that rocks yet retains the roots of the genre. His confessional songwriting style is augmented by a band that brings his stories to life with instrumental flourishes that stretch country to its limits. It’s only five bucks to get in, and Lewis and his Aviators land at nine each night.

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Friday

Oh, Ranger!
Oh, Ranger!, back in the day.
Courtesy Noelan Ramirez
The late ’90s and early aughts in Albuquerque were awesome. The music scene hopped around buoyantly on the strength of indie outfits like Mistletoe, Starsky, Foma, Rage Against Martin Sheen and Oh, Ranger! It was like a whole different age, folks. Anywho, two of those groups have figured out time-travel and will make an appearance at Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Friday, July 31. Oh, Ranger! made a variety of pop-punk designed for intensive listening whilst staring deeply into the tops of one’s shoes. Works such as Bitter Yearnings on a Lonely Farm and matching up brought a dark sense of authentic eccentricity and audacious humor to the surface through the vocals and guitar playing of front man Boyd Reno. Keyboardist Lucas Spider fleshed out the band’s vision melodically, while the rhythm section of Noelan Ramirez and Gil Sanchez gave the band a muscular presence. Starsky ain’t no slouches either. Comprised of heavyweight pro-punk fighters like Chris Partain, Jason Ward, Joe Anderson and Eric Kennedy, Starsky’s cred is at least 125 stories tall; they still rock like hell on wheels. Get Action and Award Tour will also give listeners the opportunity to hear what rock music really sounds like. This 21+ show begins at 9:30 in the evening and may be accessed for between $5-$7 beginning at 8pm.

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Saturday

Jazz music will fill the air and delight the senses on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History (2000 Mountain NW). Entourage Jazz, led by the inimitable Emerson Susan Corley, create precisely that sort of wondrous atmosphere. Their show on Saturday, Ladies and Gents Singin’ and Swingin’ in the Club, is practically a who’s who of Burque jazzers. How’s this: John Bartlit on sticks, Michael Anthony handling the guitar and Lee Taylor and Bruce Dalby blowing the brass into outer space! And those are just a few of the high arhats of jam on hand that night. Vocalists Corley, Marietta Benevento, Helene Yvonne Roybal and Carla Van Blake will also be in the house that night, providing performances that deftly touch on trad-jazz, big band and even more abstruse forms of the evocative and purely American art form. Presented in an environment meant to evoke the cool summer splendor of a late-night jazz club, this event could quite possibly take the audience to the next level of musical interaction. That groovy place where major chords dance with sixths and seconds while singers swing sumptuously. Presented by the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, this hep recital costs between $14-$16. All ages are welcome; doors are at 6:30pm. The music manifests mightily at 7.

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Tuesday

What do you do between the horns of the day? That was a question posed by a fellow named M. Stipe somewhere back in the age before this one. It’s a good question and one you may answer with brassy assurance while attending a performance by Holy Ghost Tent Revival at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Drawn up from the deep blue shores and dark, folky forests of North Carolina, this rocking ensemble focuses its power through brash brass instrumentation and a sense of rock and roll distilled from years of seriously groking The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Tower of Power. There’s a heap of ragtime and Dixieland mixed into this group’s recipe too. Vocalist/guitarist Stephen Murray has worked to move the band from a traditional bluegrass sound toward a soulful revisioning of southern-style rock and roll. HGTR currently eschews the banjo while celebrating the intrinsically powerful possibilities of a warmly majestic yet sometimes haunting horn section. Though some on the scene were taken aback by their surprising sonic evolution, this company of good ole southern folks makes it work with taut songwriting and wailing instrumental collaborations. Eight dollars will get you the salvation you desperately need. Afterwards, the term “horns of the day” may even be a significant reminder of the experience culled that night. Doors are at 8pm, and the revival begins at 9pm.

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Well, that introduction went on a helluva tangent, eh? I mean, I really only wrote about one reunion concert. But that’s part of the magic, you see. After reading through the odd beginning—and the previews that came after—it’s quite possible readers will take time out to listen to the high-larious glory that is “Rhinocratic Oaths.” Better yet, some may go a step beyond by taking in one of the shows listed above. That’s what I’m really counting on.