“She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand/ Like a lizard on a window pane/ The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors/ On his hobnail boots/ Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy/ Working overtime/A soap impression of his wife which he ate/ And donated to the National Trust …” – “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” by the Fab Four, from an album with a notoriously white and non-descript cover.
Beatles: “Happiness is a Warm Gun”
In the current age, the threat of gun violence has come to dominate the news cycle. The threat of death borne on bullets has come to cast frightening shadows on the national political debate. So it seems quaint that any credence should be given to old-school-influenced hard-core rappers who name themselves after semi-automatic weapons. And I might seem square to say so, but Tech N9ne’s name and not necessarily his schtick has caused me to question the place of such boldly assumed descriptors in a world already significantly sickened by men with guns.
Luckily, Aaron Dontez Yates, who goes by the stage-moniker Tech N9ne, modified his gangsta-given appellation in the early aughts to say it really signified his style of rhythm and rhyme—not more, not less. Okay, I feel ya bro, but still. There should come a point where the predominant culture or its alternative derivatives no longer tolerate references to violence as the du jour cultural method of indicating success in manhood, one’s eminent survivability in a harsh world, et cetera, et cetera.
That said you could check out exactly what I mean when the aforementioned rap badass brings his Calm Before the Storm Tour to the Historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) on Thursday, Sept. 22. Yates and his Strange Music cohorts will discourse on such heady and wholesome subjects as found in tunes like “Bitch Sickness,” “Riot Maker” and “Psycho Bitch III.” Ahem. Support for this tour includes cray composers like STARRZ, JL and frequent collaborator Krizz Kalico, whose oeuvre includes classics of misogynistic misanthropy such as “Girls Like That.” So for only $35-55 and a 13+ ID, concert-goers can get a glimpse of where this world is really headed. The magic begins at 8pm.
An altogether different version of where humanity is going, musically and otherwise, will presented at ¡Globalquerque!, which happens on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 24, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW). An annual exhibition of world music and associated, globe-unifying, human-being respecting values, ¡Globalquerque! is the long-time project of local promoters Tom Frouge and Neal Copperman, whose vision includes bringing varying and sometimes very divergent musical traditions to our town for the sake of introspection, unity and joyful experience.
The festival takes place on different stages and venues at the NHCC, including the Fountain Courtyard of the center, its Plaza Mayor and the well-appointed, acoustically profound Albuquerque Journal Theatre nestled in the middle of the joint.
An annual exhibition of world music and associated, globe-unifying, human-being respecting values, ¡Globalquerque! is the long-time project of local promoters Tom Frouge and Neal Copperman, whose vision includes bringing varying and sometimes very divergent musical traditions to our town for the sake of introspection, unity and joyful experience.
In addition to music, this year’s event also features a “Global Village of Crafts, Culture and Cuisine,” which aims at highlighting indigenous and authentic cultural events and accoutrements from all over the known world. On Saturday from 10:30am-4pm, ¡Globalquerque! features a day of dialogue and discussion overseen by local poet Hakim Bellamy. Workshops exploring traditional Colombian music, the roots of rhyming and rhythm in Patagonian culture and a “Mongolian Musical Journey” will be featured on the NHCC campus.
Given all these corollary happenings, it comes as no surprise that the musical portion of the program will be world-class. Fom Anda Union, a tribally diverse, ethnically wide-ranging ensemble from Inner Mongolia to Israeli folkers Baladino, Argentinian-feminist rappers Fémina, Yolanda Martinez of the Apache and Comanche Nations, and our own state’s Nacha Mendez—who just happens to belt out an outrageously beautiful selection of traditional rancheras—this year’s musical selection at ¡Globalquerque! practically guarantees listeners will engage with some of the most complex, uplifting and innovative sounds the planet Earth has to offer.
Admission to ¡Globalquerque! can be had in increments; a one day adult pass costs $37, it’s $59 to attend both days. Children 15 and under can access the good part of the world for only $19 (one day) or $30 (two day pass) Children under five get in for free. For a complete listing of performances, workshops and all the fun to be had under the sun, check out Globalquerque.org.
If all that worldly wonder doesn’t pique your interest, then maybe you ought to hang closer to home and focus on good old Tejas instead. Check out ZZ Top. They’ll be gigging with the notoriously gifted Gregg Allman (He was, like, married to Cher, requerdas?) on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Sandia Casino and Resort Amphitheatre (30 Rainbow NW).
My own ZZ Top story goes like this: I saw the band at Tingley Coliseum just over 40 years ago whilst Billy, Dusty and Frank were in the midst of the World Wide Texas Tour. In case you are interested that was the tour that helped make the dudes a household name–coming as it did on the heels of classic work like Fandango and Tres Hombres. This is also the tour that featured live circus animals on-stage.
The Top actually took a couple of buzzards and some exotic livestock around the US as part of their plan to bolster their authenticity and demonstrate their wild Texas honky-tonk brand. As a 10-year-old who had just moved to Burque and couldn’t wait to hear “La Grange” played live, the whole damn thing was surreal. And it changed my life. I remember standing in line thinking I was just going to hear another power trio. I left shaking the static from my head and wondering if there could be anything better in life then the flagrantly informed guitar licks produced by Billy Gibbons while the rumbling rhythm section—comprised of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard–—loomed nearby, blasting the audience into space with their spare precision. The buzzards were cool, too, but I can see now how that might have been unethical.
Twenty years after that thunderlicious epiphany, I had the pleasure of working with the band’s former road manager. I was a monitor engineer for a local sound reinforcement company; he was the production manager. I remember bugging him to fill me in on the details of the World Wide Texas Tour, particularly the circus animal bit. After a couple of weeks of that, I recall he snuck up behind me with a trumpet and blasted the horn. I turned from my console, fuming and ready to pounce. He guffawed and said, “That’s what it was like dude, with a Texas longhorn waiting in the wings!” We had a good laugh about that afterwards.
Anyway your chance for a similarly historic encounter with one of this nation’s cultural treasures (well except for “Tube Snake Boogie” and “Sleeping Bag”) will cost a mere $35-70. Their show, sans animalia, begins at 7:30pm.