Music to Your Ears
Early one November morning in Seattle 11 years ago, Mia Zapata, lead singer of then up-and-coming alt.rock band The Gits (who played Albuquerque's Dingo Bar toward the end of their one and only West Coast tour), was abducted, raped and strangled to death with the hoodstring of her Gits sweatshirt, then dumped at the end of a dead-end street less than two blocks from the friend's house she'd left less than two hours earlier with the intention of catching a cab home. For a decade, Zapata's case remained cold. Then, in 2003, DNA evidence collected from Zapata's body drew a match on Florida's felon database, rendering a suspect in her murder: Jesus Mesquia. Three weeks ago, Mesquia was convicted on all counts in a Seattle courtroom and faces 20 years to life in Zapata's tragic death. Fellow Git Steve Moriarty after the verdict said, "I'm just glad he'll be in prison and we'll be living free lives." Indeed. ... This year's Alibi Spring Crawl will feature a handful of carefully chosen national acts to-be-announced. While the focus of our Crawl series remains on local music, local bands and the local businesses Downtown who support them, we'd be doing a disservice to everyone involved—fans included—if we didn't gradually push the events toward regional and, eventually, national acclaim. Albuquerque isn't Austin, and the Crawls may never be as widely regarded as South by Southwest, but we hope our humble events evolve to the point that they can't be ignored by the music industry at-large. See you Downtown on Saturday, April 24.
Lyrically, he's been compared to Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. But as a songwriter, tracing 26-year-old Josh Ritter's perceived lineage is slightly more challenging. Anyone with the ability to read the lyric sheets accompanying his three existing records can visualize the boyishly handsome Ritter's face buried in books by Rimbaud and Rilke. But listening to his plaintive voice toy with hook laden melodies without ever actually playing the hand is drawn in some obscure way to Nick Drake and Beth Orton and, moreover, a comforting amalgam of Bob Dylan (pre-Victoria's Secret commercials) and Sweet Baby James-era James Taylor.
Beto's Birthday Bash
Saturday, April 10; Launchpad (21 and over, 5 p.m.): It's an annual event that's become as revered as Christmas: Beto's Birthday Bash. Beto's turning 56 this Saturday, and he'd like to have all of you join him in celebration of the occasion. Many of your favorite local bands—Kaotic State, Dead On Point Five, Bulletrainmafia, Blue Bottle Flies, Concepto Tambor, Civitas, Feels Like Sunday, Los Brown Spots, Rebilt and several others—will be on-hand to provide live music and, if you show up early enough, there might just be some home-cooked food left.
Beto himself will be on-hand for spankings and such, with the giant spanking tunnel taking place at 11:59 p.m.
Wednesday, April 14; Brewster's Pub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): It's no secret that my some of my formative years were spent listening to '80s glam metal, going to '80s glam metal concerts and playing a pretty awful '80s glam metal-influenced band. The guitarist and long-time friend from that band which shall remain nameless recently entrusted several cassette tapes containing most of what we recorded between the late '80s and 1991—some of the worst music ever committed to tape—for purposes of archiving it on CD. The very fact that I would even consider spending time archiving such tripe is a clear indication that there's a part of me, however small, that still looks back fondly on those days. So it was with a fair amount of excitement that I received the news that George Lynch (and Lynch Mob) would be coming to Albuquerque on a last-minute booking.
Eyes and Ears
Various Artists Sub Pop Video Network: Program 1 (Sub Pop DVD)
Longing for a return to the Golden Age of grunge? A tour through the annals of Sub Pop history? A reminder of how a handful of incredible (and incredibly resourceful) bands created the most significant musical movement since '70s punk rock? Sub Pop Video Network: Program 1 is just what you're looking for. Yes, long before the grunge look could be purchased from the Gap, and prior to bandwagonesque bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Bush ruled the airwaves, bands like Mudhoney, Beat Happening, Tad, Afghan Whigs and, yes, Nirvana, were busy meshing balls-out hardcore and punk rock with '80s metal in direct response to the Silly String 'n' Aqua Net era of rock music that nearly ruined an entire generation of MTV babies. And much of it is collected in video form on this first DVD installment from the good folks at the label that stated it all: Sub Pop.
Hanoi Rocks 12 Shots on the Rocks (Liquor and Poker)
They either missed the window or preceded it by a few years, but either way, the first outing by Finland's Hanoi Rocks in 19 years falls flat on its glamorous face. Back in their heyday, HR could have been the European antidote to the Los Angeles community of excess that spawned Guns 'n' Roses, L.A. Guns and Motley Crue, whose singer, Vince Neil, ended HR's career by killing their drummer "Razzle" in a car accident in 1994. HR never recovered. Michael Monroe's songwriting would have been hailed in 1988, but in 2004, it needs to be put to bed forever.
The Delfonics • soul, R&B
The Delfonics Revue, a trio of musicians who are only vaguely associated with the original legendary R&B act, but still roll righteously—we're pretty sure this version doesn't include surviving original member Greg Hill—makes an appearance at Leo's Nightclub on Saturday, Aug. 17. This particular group of R&B musicians with a soulful twist includes Norman Carter, who once sang backup for the band. Although the identities of Carter's ensemble are otherwise obscure, this is a decent show, especially if you're into groovy Delfonics' numbers from their smash hit album, Sound of Sexy Soul. Ch-check it out kidz: Admission to this ill night of deep soul singing costs but one Jackson ($20); you must be over 21 to enter the chambers as doors open at 5pm.
Nas • hip-hop • Mary J. Blige • R&B, soul
On Tuesday, Aug. 20, catch a concert by hip-hop nation gods Mary J. Blige and Nas. The two ’90s rap and soul superstars—famous for hits like Blige's inimitable “Be Without You” or Nas' hip-hop anthem, “It Ain't Hard to Tell,” gig at Isleta Amphitheater at 8pm in a concert guaranteed to move your body, whether or not you have access to the fabled hot sauce recipe reportedly kept in the safe of mystery rapper Nathanial Hörnblowér. The funk cometh, so boogie on down; lawn tickets start at $31 and VIP packages begin at $250.