“Hot town, summer in the city/ Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty/ Been down, isn't it a pity/ Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city/ All around, people looking half dead/ Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head/ But at night it's a different world/ Go out and find a girl/ Come-on come-on and dance all night/ Despite the heat it'll be alright/ And babe, don't you know it's a pity/ That the days can't be like the nights/ In the summer, in the city/ In the summer, in the city ...” “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful!
Rolling around Burque this morning in a Falstaffian fashion that no was no doubt centered upon the gloriously greasy fast food to be had at this or that location up and down Central Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our narrator, Mr. August March, fiddled with the satellite radio controls in his plush 21st century, dinosaur juice-powered vehicle.
He was trying to find a tune he could glom onto like Marmite on toast, using that sticky material to analogize his way into another column on upcoming live music events in The Duke City.
A really sad but beautiful Neil Young song flitted through the speakers before coming to rest on a twig floating down the Rio Grande. Too much like reality he thought. Afterwards, a notoriously overplayed but still decent to listen to Beatles song floated on out of those vibrating chingaderas and seemed ultra relevant yet overly revelatory at the same time. I’m already turned on enough as it is, he muttered before hitting the advance button. On the LL Cool J show, Mike D was laughing it up with the King, but everybody knew someone was missing. Ghosts seemed to hover around the Bosque on that day, too. Even in the bright heat of late summer, the woods were full of passengers who lingered on the riverbanks before crossing, March thought, as the music hopped from channel to channel.
With little time left to compose a pithy introduction, and deadline looming sure as a hot afternoon in August, March twisted the tuning knob aggressively—and with randomness—to the right. The song that was playing when the knob stopped turning was “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, a band named after the typical amount of semen a human male ejaculates per orgasm, and a band which March occasional detested but somehow still dug.
At that point he gave in, cranked up the radio and putting the grief of the world aside for a moment, rolled on toward the next show and composed the first paragraph of the following writ in his head as the music played on and on.
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Moonlight Lounge (120 Central Ave. SW), a smallish venue adjacent to Sunshine Theater on the very east side of Downtown prope, has been host to some very interesting and outside acts this past year; we’ve seen everything from Japanese bands to SXSW castaways come through this devishly divey bar. More top-notch, out-of-the-main current concerts are always on the way over at the Moonlight and Thursday, Aug. 22 is no exception. On that soon to be sultry evening, El Lay sometime surrealist performance collective and full-time hot as hell darkwave band from another world, AL1CE, will be performing. Their new single, “Breathe,” is definitely worth a listen as precursor to attending this gig. The band’s work has as sexy, Euro-futurism vibe that is subject to obsessive deconstruction, in case you want to know. I think this must be the sort of music people in films like Blade Runner and Soylent Green are listening to in their high-rise apartments. Anyway, the Number Two slot on this new wave bill emanates from Burque, darkwave dance masters Smoke & Mirrors, a band with a heavily art damaged heart and delicate dancing feet—that’s something I got from their single, “Feigning Friends.” by the way. Toothsome and taken-apart Burque pop arhats Karen and Hex Theory open. 9pm • $5 • 21+.
Friday Part I
On Friday night, Aug. 23, Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) is hosting a benefit concert for Amber Chavez, the wife of SuperGiant drummer Gary Chavez. She suffered a seizure followed by significant medical complications, including a coma and a lengthy stay in ICU. Although she is home now, it will take much time and expense to help her on her journey to wellness. As a community of like-minded souls, it’s important to note that Gary has been a substantial contributor to the local scene for many years, that his family includes two kids; supporting efforts like this serve to create strong bonds among all of us who live and work in Albuquerque. Plus the bands playing absolutely rock. In case you need to know, here’s the lineup: SuperGiant, Cobra vs Mongoose, Sorry Guero, Anesthesia and Black Unicorn. It’s rare to get such a totally hard show like this in the middle of the summer and it’s for a totally noble cause; tu ganas, te aproveches! 8pm • $5 minimum donation • 21+.
Friday Part II
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Stephen Marley, one of the talented sons of reggae superstar and popularizer Bob Marley, has a gig at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central Ave. NW) on Friday, Aug. 23. It’s worth noting that this spectacular concert is being held in a concert hall, not a rock club or brew pub. I sincerely doubt anyone will be toking up in the kind of crowd generated by such auspicious surroundings. And that’s damn good. That means you—the fabled upbeat listener who carried around a cassette copy of Babylon by Bus back in high school—has the ultimate opportunity to concentrate on the magical musicality generated by this son of Marley, a master musician in his own right, even though Stephen first appeared in concert with his dad’s band The Wailers back in the late ’70s. First eldest son Ziggy was called up to bat; he hit it outta the park with songs like “Tomorrow People.” But Stephen responded in kind, becoming one of the most important producers and songwriters within the genre. His debut album, Mind Control, won a Grammy award and clearly demonstrated that he had both his father’s talent and his brother’s musical charms. Dance all night at this kind concert, and save a splif for later, tater. 7:30pm • $27 to $39 • All-ages.
Saturday Part I
Orale, they’re calling it Latin Dance Night over at Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) on Saturday, Aug. 24 when local and regional Latinx bandas romp and roll, rodeo style through one of our town’s estimable rock clubs. The gig is headlined by Da Terra Miega, a super sexy, genre-defying, multi-faceted outfit with Galician swagger, compelling song-writing and a mesmerizing performances. Legendary local percussion ensemble turned groovy global hip-hop heroes, Concepto Tambor, shares the top spot. Many-layered, multinational—including members from Chile, Mali, Spain, Cuba, Argentina and the good ol’ USA—they’re a musical force to be reckoned with, having been part of the local scene for years before journeying to Califas to look at the stars in 2009. The band made a triumphal return to Burque in 2016 and have been grooving and gigging ever since. Puro Chicano local rockers DeNankius and The Notes open this muy caliente tamale que gustaria siempre! 9pm • $8 • 21+.
Saturday Part II
Somehow, despite what some rock critics have done over the years to discredit or deface or just plain detest rockabilly music, the genre continues to survive and thrive. This is partially due to the fact that certain segment of the American male population will always dig a combination of tattoos, fast cars and three-chord rock, but also because masters of the genre, like Brian Setzer, continue to make the music with heroic overtones and lush back stories implied in competency, longevity and bad-ass playing—I mean come on, who woulda thought, 35 years ago, that guitarist from the Stray Cats would still be doing the Stray Cat Strut years on down the road—because those folks never make it down to the crossroads anyway, do they? Don’t count Setzer out yet, by any means. With a lean and mean style and a phat, crispy clear tone that takes one back surely as it propels one forward, Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot puts shark teeth in the skull of this genre and sets the whole damn thing loose on America. The results have been promising so far, but check out the effect this peculiar and potent form of American music when the group makes a musical appearance at Isleta Resort and Casino’s The Showroom (11000 Broadway Blvd. SW) on Saturday, Aug. 24. C’mon, it’ll be a great introduction to the fantastic concept of what rock would have sounded like if the British had never invaded! 8pm • $30 to $50 • 21+.
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Dude you must make sure to take it easy on Saturday night so that you can have the honor, nay, the privilege of witnessing the concert by Nebula to be given at Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) on Sunday Aug. 25. “Holy Shit” is right. That’s the name of the tour (and the latest record by Nebula) and I’m outta breath now, but give me a second and I’ll tell you all about it! Ahem. Nebula exploded when Fu Manchu guitarist Eddie Glass and drummer Ruben Romero bailed from the band. Though the resulting ensemble has been through quite a few changes over the years, including a transformative break from playing and touring that commenced in 2010 and didn’t end until the release of the album called Holy Shit, a couple years ago now. Eddie Glass is the remaining original member but in the wake of last year’s totally massive stoner rock upward-trending phenomenon, the band is finally getting the notice it deserves as one of the first potent proponents of a very popular, heavy metal-infused genre of hard rocanrol. My favorite tracks by Nebula definitely come from the first wave, I mean songs like “You Mean Nothing” and “Instant Gravitation” but the new work is pretty hot too. I particularly dig “Witching Hour” and “The Cry of a Tortured World.” Local rock legends Black Maria (featuring founding father of all that is rock in Burque, guitarist Gordy Andersen) and El Lay’s own super-stoned Sasquatch (not the same Sasquatch who kidnapped the Beastie Boys in 2009, btw) open for the main colossus at this galactic level rock event, so you better show up lest ye be blasted into a permanent orbit around Saturn or something heavy and astronomical like that. 8pm • $13 • 21+.
For followers of American composer Frank Zappa, the sadness of dude’s most tragic and untimely death is somehow balanced on the fact that those who came after the master continue to advocate for his most excellent brand of jazz-inflected, intensely contrapuntal and sardonically complicated rock music. Although the list of those who carry on Frank’s sonic legacy is long and includes well-known acolyltes such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani—not to mention son his Dweezil—it can now be competently added to with the name The Aristocrats. Named after the mother of all obscene show biz jokes, the power trio consisting of Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann bring their amazingly tart and tight ensemble playing to Launchpad (618 Central Ave. SW) on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Their second studio album Culture Clash is particularly profound and features killer tracks like “Desert Tornado” and “Cocktail Umbrellas,” both funky odysseys guaranteed to take you away on a large but still fairly shambling and perhaps even dangerous rock and roll yacht. Get it while it’s hot, kidz. 9pm • $25 • 21+.