“Clear the way for the prophets of rage/ Engagin' on the stage, on a track/ Tell Jack stay in the back/ I was born/ Every level I'm on/ You're warned/ Just in case you forgot/ I pump in kilowatts/ To let 'em know which direction/ To go/ What's up I want to know/ I test the front row”—“Lost at Birth,” by Public Enemy.
It’s about a month to go until a major election floats your way, citizen. I’d tell you that fact was stressing me out in my other life as the news editor of this humble rag, but I don’t want that to distract or discourage you. The fact is you must go out and vote carnales. That action, performed politically and purposefully, will make us both happy.
And in the October interregnum where we all currently reside, one can find a plethora of pleasing party-times that involve interaction with your choice of damn fine local venues—where you can quaff your thirst whilst getting down to the sound. It will be a pleasant way to spend some rather loud moments before the time comes to quietly do your duty and advance democracy. So with that countdown unwound—as well as a hot mess of totally sick shows headed our way this weekend—I leave the rest up to you, dearest comrade, listener and partymaster.
Public Enemy: “Lost at Birth”
Experimentalism in programming is not without its dangers. One remembers or can imagine with some contrived audacity the effects of having The Red Elvis band, derivatives of 38 Special or the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air perpetually on one’s list of who is next in the green room with an awesome rider. The last time any of these dudes showed up there were more people in back of the merch table than in front. So sad.
But not so much when that insouciant craving for the new is supplanted by damn good choices. Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) continues to lead the way in this respect, occasionally offering shows that are downright challenging yet totally hip—giving local audiences in the meanwhile a chance to see the bigger picture, or in this case to hear the bigger sound. So it will be on Thursday, Oct. 4 when that juke joint presents a concert by Québecois post-rock jazzers Ought, who make art-damaged anti-pop filled to the breaking point with poignant yet subtle references to no-wave, prog-rock and electronic emo. It’s an aloof brand of rocanrol, curiously entrancing, but whatever you want to call it, it’s very post-PoMo and has a decent beat, too. Nuzzzle, the new local psychy-shoegaze project featuring Dillon Cullinan of Adult Beverage and Townie Productions’ mastermind Tucker Austin and the ever-jangly Big Girls, open. 8pm • $12 • 21+.
Crooner Mat Kearney strums simple yet expressive chord progressions and sings—or sometimes flows—about life and all its complexities in an earthy, sometimes lilting tone. That upbeat, comes-from-cool-Califas style has grown in popularity over the years, but basically it’s the same winsome formula employed by folky vocalist-songwriter-strummers like Jack Johnson and John Mayer. Hippies dig this sound and have since Donovan was at his height, filling the world with mellow yellow and children’s songs writ large in the vernacular of popular folk rock. Sometime in the distant future another rock critic will take up where I have left off, adding the name of yet another of these sunny delights to the rocanrol pantheon—in the meantime you can check out Kearney when he jams at the Historic El Rey Theater (622 Central Ave. SW) on Friday, Oct. 5. Like many of his peers, Mat fits in better with the country side of things and sometimes his new work echoes the current trend of plaintive confessionalism so ever-popular in the C/W canon. The truth is out there, in other words, as long as you don’t mind it coming in precious fits and starts. A for realz band from down under—not the Chats, though that would be amaze balls—is supporting Kearney’s Crazytalk Tour. They’re called Atlas Genius and they have a decidedly sparse electro flavor that is nuanced by the rock guitar sounds of lead guitarist Keith Jeffery. 8pm • $27 to $37 • All-Ages (13+).
I grew up in the ’80s thinking that goth music was really a form of tragically inclined electro dance music led by wan humans wearing black clothes, white powdery faces, heaps of hairspray and boots to stomp the shit out of barefoot hippies they might meet hanging out at the local drug house: They also sang songs about the sadness of the week going by, how much they regretted drowning their lovers—either emotionally or in reality—and how occult and mysterious sex in dark could be. As the years have drawn on and on, I’ve come to realize that I was mostly right. To prove this point, I did some research on a most excellent neo-goth band, The Birthday Massacre, that is playing a concert on Saturday night, Oct. 6 at Launchpad (618 Central Ave. NW). Sure enough this Canadian quintet wears their collectively dark heart upon their atrementous sleeve. With dank yet ritualistically danceable tuneage like “Counterpane” and “Hex” at their beck and call, listeners can be assured an authentic gothic experience, not unlike the rapturous nights experienced at Burque’s Pulse Nightclub on Thursday nights, circa 1999. Tampa, Fla., electro-dance-vampires Ghostfeeder open the crypt on the night in question. Go to this show; it’ll be just like heaven! 9pm • $20 • 13+.
Well, well, well. It seems that Sunday night, Oct. 7 is “Psych Night” at every hip human’s house of hang out, Sister (407 Central Ave. SW), which means it’s a perfect opportunity for all of you who are out their sitting shiva for Marty Balin to let go of that seminal generation of acid-eating, shoe-eschewing and trippy, dancing-to-the-light-of-the-moon-whilst-mumbling-about-cacti-and-spirit-animals entities and start listening to what is happening now in the sparkly realm of the psychedelic music faction of the revolutionary army of rocanrol, Albuquerque and West Coast units. In case you are interested, that amounts to going to this concert and rocking the fuck out to a band called Frankie & the Witch Fingers. Burque’s own answer to incense and peppermints, Sun Dog is also on this plastic fantastic bill. As you may recall, the former quartet has songs like “Brain Telephone,” “Electric Seance” and mi favorito, “Owsley.” Sun Dog, meanwhile, always rocks, as is evidenced by their latest effort, parnassus. Try to pace yourself if you go to this show and by all means avoid anything remotely brown: This shit is bound to happen in living color, just like Disneyland or the Potala, y’all. 8pm • $5 • 21+.