“I never travel far, without a little Big Star/ Runnin' 'round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards/ Falling asleep with a flop pop video on/ If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?/ If he died in Memphis, then that'd be cool, babe/ Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round/ They sing "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that song." "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that song."—“Alex Chilton” by The Replacements.
Just in time for the heat of summer, this song drilled a hole out of my radio the other day and proceeded to crawl across the cab quite loudly, burying itself in my ear and then my brain. For the rest of the day, it went on and on, reminding me to question what’s essential about rock and roll music. I wondered what was more important about authenticity within the stripes of the genre: being self-conscious of the intent and product produced or being free from a deeper understanding of all of the mediums ramifications and permutations—except maybe how it plays out in time, how it is danced to gaily or not at all. The clapping it causes in more formal settings, et cetera.
Those are great questions to ponder on a summer day but whether jadedly knowing or being blithely unaware should take precedence in determining an artist’s authenticity, the music never stops. If you’re the analytical sort, this column may provide clues that you can use to decide for yourself—make your own list of where jollity arises for you, dearest concertgoer. If you’re not hep to numbers in that way, then please do rock on in this rocanrol town where the input and the output must be electrically affiliative in order to make the most of it for all.
Friday Part I
On the first Friday after the 4th of July, the Founding Fathers decided to rock out. Casting aside their powdered wigs, they took turns shaving each others’ heads in a most brotherly fashion whilst chant Masonic hymns. Then, donning leather vests, chaps and coachmen’s boots especially dyed black with the blood of Monarchists, they trundled, nay they rolled into town for a punk rock festival that we, their humble descendants, continue to celebrate to this day. Just kidding, but if you got caught up in the spirit of rebellion whilst reading this missive from the outlands, then take heart! You can journey over to Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) on Friday, July 5 for a program of pure punk power and sludgy sonic sojourns featuring some of the most lively and illustriously rocking members of the human species. That’s when Weedrat and Swordhorse share a bill at your favorite rocanrol club and entrance to deep space that will be headlined by AusTex black metal maniacs Vacha and Intersect, who I know nothing about. I’ll ask Old Scratch when I see him at the crossroads later tonight, wink, wink. Anyway, of course this show is going to be sick, so make sure you get plenty of rest, fluids and opportunities to have someone perform the last rites of Jesus Christ before you go. 8pm • $5 • 21+.
Friday Part II
Meanwhile, at Marble Brewery (9904 Montgomery Blvd. NE) it’s possible to celebrate other arcane cultural extensions of the liberty granted to all Americans—born here or naturalized—through our war of revolution against the English monarch George III. I started to wonder if we would have jazz music, if not for the entirely huge cultural shift that begin during the Enlightenment and culminated in modernism. But forget that for the moment—the implications are intense—and plan to dance the night away instead with local jazz legend Bob Gusch. Besides fronting the always on the ascent pop-jazz trio Bobcats, who gig at Marble Brewery on Friday July 5, Gusch is one of the most recognizable players in town with a resonantly groovy tone on clarinet, flute, sax and other wind instruments, that can be heard in a variety of settings from concert hall to rock club. He’s OG Burque and represents a class of local musicians that have been actively gigging and part of the music community for nigh on 50 years. The thing is, this cat has it, man, so he’ll probably be even more exciting to see 50 years from now, serio. Appropriately enough—unless you’re Quentin Tarantino—Bobcats new album is titled Music for the Sole. Mrkrgnao! 7pm • Free • 21+.
Saturday Part I
There is just so dang much going on Downtown on Saturday, July 6 that you woulda thought it was my birthday or something. Well it is but I’ll probably spend the night comfortably dosed out on a crackerjack of Jagermeister, a pack of Gauloises and something from Kid Charlemagne. Yes, there will be gas in the car and if I were you, I would start the evening off at Inside Out (622 Central Ave. SW) where they are planning to give birth to one heck of a local show featuring Ceremonies, a trio (Zac Weston, Caine Deegan and Lauren McFather) that makes dirty, detuned no wave rock and roll that drones deliriously and deliciously with songs that have titles like “Blue Tongue” and “Blood on the Floor.” Karen (Katie Farmin, Jessica Chao and Amanda D. Romero) is also playing. That’s not just a threat, either. They’ve reached the moon with fab reverse engineered tuneage like “Snake Gladiator.” Sets by Lev Snowe and TheLost Remotes bring the bill to an almost rapturous place in time and space, so go. 7pm • $5 • 21+.
Saturday Part II
courtesy of the artist
Right next door to Inside Out, at Launchpad, (618 Central Ave. SW) will be hosting the ABQ Needs Love show on Saturday, July 6, featuring Reverie—a SoCal underground hip-hop and graffiti artist whose work, a lurching alarming call to understand love among concrete barriers caked with grit and held together with tears—an important new voice whose message is no nonsense pura empowered chola. Orale! Burque genius of hip-hop Wake Self as well as Naatanii Means, Bekah Boo and Wyatt Lawson provide rap-tastic support. 9pm • $10 in advance • 21+.
Saturday Part III
There’s a part three to Saturday this week because of Fast Heart Mart, an acoustic folk-punk project plus way, way more that features Albuquerque’s own Martin Stamper. The long-touring, never-tiring, heart-pounding troubadour that’s probably been to more lapsed empires than me—dude has played extensively in, like, New Zealand—whilst jamming on tour with folks like The Handsome Family, Beck and Calexico, is making an appearance at Marble Brewery (5740 Night Whisper Rd. NW) on Saturday, July 6. That’s totally worth it plus I hear they have beer. 7pm • Free • 21+.
But that’s not all for the first week, the partying patriotic week, of July, rock and roll enthusiasts. That’s because on Sunday, July 7—a day normally reserved by the Founding Fathers for further, post-revolutionary reflection and the bloody human sacrifices of those who oppose the new hegemony—Sister (407 Central Ave. NW) is presenting quite a stellar local rock and roll show as well. It will be hot as Hades in July and just right for the St. Petersburg debut album release party. Besides featuring those inimitable indie rockers themselves (Sloan Armitage, Harlan Brown, Julian Martinez and Joe Wilson) this live rock and roll performance also features killer, highly connective musical interludes provided by the likes of local rock demiurges: I’m talking Carrier Waves and The Talking Hours, folks! For a Sunday early evening, I dare you to do better, rockers and rollers; roll on over to the home of the hep and the land of the rave. 5pm • Free • 21+.
Here is where the listening becomes perpetual, you all. If it has been on the side and just an indulgence, if it has merely haunted you at night or after a few hours of exposure, then prepare yourself for the next level. In that new realm, there’s music everywhere and the music comes in for a landing like a big old goose at Tingley Beach over and over again, without end or beginning. Get used to this sort of all the time musical fun by going out to see the Septicemia Records Music Love extravaganza happening on Monday, July 8 at Red Velvet Underground (9635 Menaul Blvd. NE). This concert comes straight out of the future, I’m pretty sure, so it’s probably a good way to start your new existence in thrall to the musical muse. The supercalifragilistic list of rappers on the bill is potent like a snake bite so be careful kids, as you consider performances by Sac One, G Precious, StonedAge, Cali-ONE, Mister Sneaks, M.O. Music, Skript-O, Atomic, Jackie Brown, Fluffy Greene and Native Thug ft. Woozie Made Music. Damn, I’m already in line for tickets! 7pm • $5 • All-ages (13+).