The test begins, now/ I thought I was smart, I thought I was right/ I thought it better not to fight, I thought there was a/ Virtue in always being cool, so when it came time to/ Fight I thought I'll just step aside and that the time would/ Prove you wrong and that you would be the fool/ I don't know where the sunbeams end and the star/ Lights begin it's all a mystery—“Fight Test,” the opening tune on the rocanrol-world-changing record, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, by The Flaming Lips.
En serio, I almost didn’t write Show Up! this week. I was upset about the current course of events over in D.C., if you wanna know la neta. It was damned distressing—and for me, depressing—to watch as the chaos of an ineffective, unrespected and potentially criminal presidential administration unwind and grow into monstrous proportions. Then I remembered the tone of the interview I recently completed with two Dreamers. The idea that the resistance is resilient and that as a culture engaged in democracy we have a duty to contest and try to turn around injustice wherever we encounter it—but especially close to home—resonated with me. Newly invigorated by this in-plain-sight discovery, I decided that I better get out there, speak my mind, work for change and, for Crissakes, go see some goddamned shows. It may be a real test, but if we work together and fight the good fight, everything should turn out just fine. Plus we all get to rock out in the meantime. How cool is that?
The Flaming Lips: “Fight Test”
Moonlight Lounge (120 Central SW) continues to take up where its doomed cousin, Low Spirits, left off, diving headlong into a host of heady, heavy shows that demonstrate that this town still has a taste for the loud and legitimately limitless sounds available through the thing called rocanrol music. On Thursday, July 27, sludgy, stoner rock takes the venue on a cruise up the river Styx to meet Pluto and all his lucifugal merrymakers. Wounded Giant, a Jet City heavy metal outfit that records on Black Mess Records and quotes the likes of H.P. Lovecraft on their Facebook page—while also reminding readers of their place in a lineage that includes Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Blue Cheer—headline a gnarly gig that will surely feature work from their latest recording Vae Victus. Let’s hope that includes performing searchingly atypical work like “Immanentize the Eschaton” or the odiously rumbling, droning final track, “Green Scar.” Supporting these metal maniacs on their latest tour are San Diego stoners Archons (named after an Star Trek TOS episode). Local self-described “cosplay Celtic stoner rock” power trio, The Horned God open the night’s Stygian rite. It’s 7 bucks and you have to be 21+ to get in at 8pm, but hey, after you take Lucifer’s hand, you’re going to feel great as your love grows stronger every hour.
Wounded Giant: Vae Victis
Courtesy of the artist
I gotta be honest. Throughout my life as a listener, musician, artist, writer and hell yes, human being, I’ve pretty much gone out of my way to mock and make fun of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Back in high school at the city of gold, my brother and I stood up proudly and booed an entire gym full of jocks when it was announced that “Free Bird” would be our class song after all. “What the fuck about ‘Town Called Malice’,” my twin shouted while I tried in vain to sing the opening lines from “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now.” Well all that went under the bridge, as they say, and in retrospect—and with the keen luxury of having a Skynyrd-loving Texan as a wife for nigh on two decades—I gotta give the band some kudos. The influence that the outfit has had, popularizing country-fried rock, has had an enormous effect on the genre. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re literally survivors—seeing/hearing them at this point in their career should be marked as an act of completion or contrition for rock enthusiasts. With that conceit in mind, I urge you all to drag your boots from outta the closet and check them out out when they land at Burque’s hotspot for holy has-beens, Legends Theater at the Route 66 Casino (14500 Central SW) on Friday, July 28. With longtime members Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke at the core of the latest Skynyrd iteration, it possible listeners might still hear some great and groovy sounds. Heck, they might even throw out a rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama,” “That Smell” or “Saturday Night Special” for the hell of it. Tickets for this all-ages concert range from $65-$135. The hoe-down begins at 8pm. Oak tree, you’re in my way!
The psych scene in Dirt City seems to drift in and out of focus, momentarily coming into being in bars in Burque before dissipating back into an elusive yet alluring vapor floating through any number of house shows or alternative venues around this desert town. Much like the disorienting yet ultimately transformative substances alluded to, celebrated and symbolized by the music of this mostly underground movement, this elusive subculture is rewarding if you give it time and an ear. Members of formerly local but now El Lay/Portlandia-based psych band YOU, which features wunderkind Eric Lisausky, will reunite to play a show at Sister (407 Central NW)—their first Burque gig in two years—on Saturday, July 29. They’ll be celebrating the release of their latest album with fellow psychedelic rockers and Dirt City denizens Sun Dog and SHREWD. Though Sun Dog often displays more than a passive willingness to emulate the sounds and strategies of mid-century American left-coast psychedelia, their informed instrumentalism, particularly the guitar and keyboard arrangements, make up for their def but derivative tendencies. I haven’t heard SHREWD yet, but I’m guessing that they rock ass in a dangerously dreamlike way, too. So, Lincoln in hand (it’s only $5 for this rager!) “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream” at this 21+ gig when it rolls out at 8pm.
Once you’ve been indoctrinated into the church of psychedelic rocanrol—an abstract organization that may be affiliated with the Church of the SubGenius, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Apple Corps., in case you want to know—you’ll surely want to get a dose of the pure stuff on Wednesday, Aug. 2, when Tobin Sprout, Elf Power and Phantom Lake perform at Sister (407 Central NW). Just to kinda give you an idea about what you will be dealing with, here is a brief rundown on these visionary artists. Ahem. Multi-instumentalist Tobin Sprout is one of the geniuses behind Guided by Voices, for Chrissakes. He wrote the song “Awful Bliss,” which is on one of the best fucking rock records ever, Bee Thousand. Elf Power meanwhile, are part of psychedelic sonic collective—called Elephant 6—from down south that includes Neutral Milk Hotel, The Oliva Tremor Control and The Apples in Stereo. Serio. Phantom Lake, a band from right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has that scintillating spooky, surfy sound that can induce both dancing and dreaming. Tickets for this one are 13 bones. “Lay down all thoughts and surrender to the void,” beginning at 8pm.