In case you wanna know, I am writing this week’s edition of Show Up! 22 years from the day that I stopped what I was doing, here and in the United Kingdom, to show up in Nepal. One of the first things I did in Kathmandu was to pick up a small radio, so I could hear the music people in the area listened to whilst taking in views of the Himalayas, which dominate the landscape in the northern part of the country.
I already had a small tape recorder and I used that to record the music I heard. Mostly it was Indian pop music, but I remember hearing “E-Bow the Letter” by R.E.M. for the first time—after I showed up in my spacious apartment in Baluwatar. I kept the tape I made of local radio stations until it fell apart last year.
One time, in the midst of those same mountains at which everyone stared, stary eyed, along the Annapurna circuit, a few musical anecdotes made it into my long-term memory storage areas.
One night, a band of Tibetan musicians showed up at the Inn I was lodged at in Jomsom to smoke hashish and play their intensely delicate sounds for the gathered guests to hear. The next day, I walked down the road to the mountain lodge where Jimi Hendrix had shown up for a few days while seeking enlightenment in the river valleys and hills. There was a sign on the door, faded by time, that attested to the guitarist’s presence and invited guests inside to take a look at where the dude slept.
Besides that, I spent most of my time walking and hiking through different villages and ended up in Mustang province, a realm full of holy places and ancient monuments and temples. One night, while in a deep Himalayan repose, I dreamt of my mother. She was singing a song by Judy Collins as she climbed the trail by an ornate monastery. That was no accident. She died a few days later of lupus, at the old Lovelace Hospital on Gibson: a man from the US embassy showed up to get me in a helicopter in Muktinath and I went home to Burque. Serio.
Back here in town, I adjusted, moved in with my father and began going to shows at the Launchpad and at the fabulous Dingo Bar. I had the feeling I was going to spend the rest of my life in El Duque and decided to make the best of it. I saw acts like Stereolab, The Shins, Urge Overkill, AllUCanEat and The Drags. I taught high school for a couple of years and then took a job at Weekly Alibi. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum, ad astra.
And if this seems a bit awkward, it’s not. It’s just a reminder that no matter where you are, there is music and though the music of other realms and other worlds may be entrancing and fascinating, the music that comes from home, from your heart, really does matter. On that note, I say: Go out this weekend, jam the fuck out, listen to the solemn and squeaky wheels of heaven turning, churning, making the noise of creation and destruction all at once. And whatever you do, make sure you always show up.
courtesy of the artist
Have you ever been to a concert where the focus was a series of competitions among folks using a micophone as their primary method of discourse? Of course you have and if you haven’t let me make the following pop culture reference with regards to my own taste in the matter (to all the party people that are on my Bozac): “Strictly handheld is the style I go/ Never rock the mic with the pantyhose/ I strap on my ear goggles and I’m ready to go ...” Anyway, I hope you get the idea, because on Friday, Sept. 28 Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) presents the lauded hip-hop musical series called Gathering of the MC’s. This deliciously musical event features appearances by some of the most notable names in Burque’s ascendant scene, including Wake Self and Def-i. The surrounding areas of the hip-hop nation will be repped by notables like E-Turn from Florida, S.O.U.L. Purpose from New York City, Jantzonia from North Dakota and Colorado’s Reve Kalell. If that’s not enough of a sure shot for you all, check out a scratch exhibition bout featuring Burque’s DJ Shakedown and DJ Reflekshin. It’s all for a prize, yo: there’s a $250 rap tournament and a $100 16-bar battle happening that night. And because you can’t, won’t and don’t stop, you’ll be there! Amirite? 9pm • $7 in advance, $10 at the door • 21+.
Fucking Tesla bitches! That’s right, a band straight outta the ’80s, sometimes categorized as a hair or glam band, but actually an advocate of a kind of hard rocking melange of sounds that resembles heavy metal in its swagger if not its satanic execution—hey man they dig Nicola Tesla and not the Prince of Darkness, dudes—will be playing a gig at the ultra-comfortable lair of certain yacht-rock and Southern-fried boogie bands, Route 66 Casino’s Legends Theater (14500 Central Ave. SW) on Saturday, Sept. 29. I’ve seen everyone from Steely Dan to YES at that joint and I must admit it’s one of my favorites in town. Why? Because rawk! Really, the long-haired fellows in Tesla have been ripping it up since I was in high school and the songs on albums like Psychotic Supper and Bust A Nut do not just go away from one’s brain, in fact they are imbedded there. If you’d like to suffer a similar fate or just want to rock out without downtown Burque dragging notoriously at one’s heels, then you ought to show up; maybe they’ll even do their awesome cover of Zep’s “The Ocean!” 8pm • $35 to $68 • All-ages.
If you crave the new, if the avant-garde is not enough for your sonic satisfaction and you just must know what all the au currant kids are jamming out to during these last fun but fickle days of democracy and beatific splendor, then, of course, Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) has just the ticket to quench your post-postmodern thirst. Chelsea Wolfe, a multi-instrumentalist with great powers of persuasion—and an ability to rock out all gothically, gloomfully and with a touch of folk passion and genuine experimentalism thrown in for good measure, will be making an appearance at Burque’s most prescient palace of rocanrol on Sunday, Sept. 30. Wolfe’s oeuvre includes some stunning stuff, including the tuneage from the Album Abyss (my personal favorite), like “Carrion Flowers” and “Iron Moon.” Her newest recording, Hiss Spun gets all deliciously dark and certainly sludgy, by the way. Post metal, post-rock trio Russian Circles, with whom Wolfe has an ongoing creative collaboration—check out their 2016 album Guidance if you really want something new and intricately instrumental to zoom meaningfully through—open this next-in-a-series of concerts designed to cement Sister’s place as the center of Burque’s own rock and roll circus. 8pm • $30 in advance at Sister • 21+.
Here in Albuquerque, now settled in for just about two decades, I continue to be impressed with the quality and quantity of music that comes and goes. It’s good to be home. And in fact, after this weekend is done, there are still hella good shows to take in whilst awaiting the first Saturday and Sunday in October, from fine folk oddity KBong (with local groovemasters The Riddims and DJ Buddhafunk) at Launchpad to ATX psych rockers Ancient River and Duke City virtuostic punks SHREWD at Sister. Those shows are both on Wednesday night, Oct. 3, by the way. I hope you decide to show up; I did after all.