The dark Lord rides in force tonight/ And time will tell us all/ Oh, throw down your plow and hoe/ Rest not to lock your homes/ Side by side we wait the might/ Of the darkest of them all/ I hear the horses' thunder/ Down in the valley below/ I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon/ Waiting for the eastern glow/ The apples of the valley hold/ The seeds of happiness/ The ground is rich from tender care/ Repay, do not forget, no, no/ Oh, dance in the dark of night/ Sing to the morning light/ The apples turn to brown and black, the tyrant's face is red. “The Battle of Evermore,” by Led Zeppelin from their IV album.
So, last week I used a Beatles tune to introduce a musical topic. When I mentioned this to a good friend of mine, she asked, “Which one?” I told her and she said she had never heard “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” I continued that it was nearly impossible to find an online recording of that particular tune, or anything else from the “White Album,” for that matter. “With regard to the Fab Four, it's pay to play, I'm afraid,” I told her.
But for the latest issue of Weekly Alibi, I thought I’d try again, this time employing one of Brit-rock's more opaque tracks to begin my weekly concert preview column. Much like last week's selection, here is a song about good versus evil. What does that have to do with my week’s selections? Not too much, except for the fact that I'm pretty sure that the album it comes from—and especially heady nugs like “The Battle of Evermore,”—have been mildly influential on at least one of the artists mentioned below. Oh, and I’d like to mention the fact that much of what was written then can be applied to what's happening now.
So with that conceit out of the way, let’s get on with the show!
Led Zeppelin Feat. Sandy Denny: “The Battle of Evermore”
Black Maria (sans Roman)
Courtesy of the artist
Join the collection of local citizens who may still know what rocanrol sounds like when the opening salvos of the Hanta Tour hit Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Friday, Sept. 30. Here, thanks to Burque bands Hanta, Econarchy and Black Maria, the sounds of the Devil's tuneage will fill the house, will explode loudly—and with all the raucous, pent-up energy of a summer spent looking lovingly down the neck of a Fender Stratocaster while waiting to get your amp fixed. Or something like that.
Anyway, Hanta is a crust-punk outfit whose sound consists of rumbling, non-melodic musical discourses focused on the primal energy exuded by a dominating rhythm section and growling vocalist. I'm sure they sound just like what the dreaded hantavirus feels like once it's invaded a non-suspecting human victim.
Econarchy, featuring local stalwarts Dave Rodriguez, Rob Leister, Jason Milward and Mike Miller have a more obvious political bent; their stated objective is “destroying the oligarchy,” and the dudes rock their hardcore punk sound with righteous indignation and stunning riffage.
Black Maria is also playing this re-introduction and reaffirmation of the heavy, heavy sound so famous in Burque and the surrounding environs. It's their first official show of the year, as founder Gordy Andersen has been resting up from a long bout with reality. The legendary Andersen and Terry Sells handle the sick, sick guitars of doom while cohorts Brian Banks and Brent Sells helm an awesomely dark and discursive rhythm section. Vocalist Roman Barham does the wet work though, adding vocals that kill. All of this and more can be yours, dear reader/listener for only $5, a 21+ ID card and an inclination toward the dark forces of life and death that govern our chaotic and swirling universe. This procession toward the End Times will inevitably be a good time for all and begins at 9:30pm.
After all that devilish deconstruction, haul your fried and fragile soul across the killing room floor (if you haven't already sold it to Satan for rock music and/or a glimpse of the coming Trumpian apocalypse) and over to Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW) to Get The Led Out on Saturday Oct. 1.
Experiencing Get The Led Out as they perform cornerstones of the genre like “Battle of Evermore” is sorta like watching Philip Glass perform the late works of Beethoven, sitting in-studio while Radiohead records their version of The Smiths’ “The Headmaster Ritual” or hearing Kendrick Lamar riff on “Fuck wit Dre Day.”
Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were once beautiful young men who made some of the most blisteringly imaginative rocanrol of all time. Though that age, much like Middle Earth before it, has long since vanished, the music of Led Zeppelin continues to resonate with rockers everywhere.
Get The Led Out is a sextet that covers Led Zeppelin’s musical literature with passion, aplomb and knowing attention to detail. Band leader Paul Sinclair explained, “I believe that by trying to recreate this amazing catalog as close as humanly possible to the recordings, we can really show people the brilliance of Led Zeppelin. People seem to really enjoy not just hearing the songs the way they remember them, but also watching the way all the layered parts of the songs come together to create the sound that inspires generations!”
But this is not verisimilitude, it is not simulacrum of what was. Rather, it is a living, loving re-visioning of practically ancient compositions popularized by successors who happen to be virtuosos in their own right. Experiencing Get The Led Out as they perform cornerstones of the genre like “Battle of Evermore” is sorta like watching Philip Glass perform the late works of Beethoven, sitting in-studio while Radiohead records their version of The Smiths’ “The Headmaster Ritual” or hearing Kendrick Lamar riff on “Fuck wit Dre Day.”
Get the Led Out is comprised of studio musicians with deep industry cred. The ensemble is focused around technically adept players who understand the complexity of the original Zeppelin compositional and recording processes. They are deep lovers of a sound that harkens back to a different age. Get The Led Out should be essential listening for anyone of any generation interested in how popular music grew in complexity in the last century.
Sinclair told me he thinks Zep’s tuneage is otherworldly and he’s right; in this particular re-creation, they are still fantastically far out. So hop down from the misty mountains, forget about the communication breakdown you may be personally experiencing as fall encroaches on summer and show up for this tuneful tribute to towering rock gods of yore and their acolytes of today. $27 and a 13+ ID get one in through the out door, beginning at 8pm.
Get The Led Out: “Going to California/The Battle of Evermore”
The dudes of Led Zeppelin were deeply influenced by the blues, a peculiarly American form of music that is based on the premise that life's intrinsic suffering can be ameliorated by beautiful sounding yet mournfully expressed chordal relationships, rhythms and vocalizations. These blues-borne aesthetics beckon listeners with the knowing realization that there is more to life than what's on the surface. If such esoteric knowledge is something you crave dear reader—and who doesn't these days when autumn tilts full swing toward the November elections—then check out the Madrid Blues Festival, happening Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Oscar Huber Memorial Ball Park in Madrid, N.M.
Hosted by the New Mexico Jazz Workshop and curated by longtime Burque jazzer and blues chanteuse Joanie Cere, this year's fest features a score of local musicians who are not only committed to the traditional form, but are also keen on performing innovative, sometimes expressively postmodern renditions of a timeless genre.
This year's performers represent a league of Burque-based players that are renowned for their professionalism, dedication and chop-worthy sojourns into the blues and related genres. Expect electrifying sets by the likes of vocalist Wendy Beach and her band, super stick-man Pete Amahl, saxophonists extraordinare Ron Lipton, Lee Taylor and Glenn Kostur, bluesy string superman Jeff Sipe and Texas-born troubadour Sally Townes, who now calls our humble burg home.
Tickets for this special, yearly cap to the Jazz Workshop’s awesome 2016 programming schedule cost $20 for general admission and $15 for workshop members, students and seniors. It all happens from 2-6pm, except for the liminal trip to the crossroads afterwards, which occurs sometime ‘round midnight, for those in the know.