Show Up!: At Thanksgiving

Grateful For This Town’s Sound

August March
5 min read
At Thanksgiving
Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes of a Hawk and a Hacksaw (Courtesy of the artists)
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“I could live in the world just like a stranger/ I could tell you the truth or a lie/ I could tell you that people are good in the end/ But why, why would I?/ Angels will cry when it’s raining/ Tears that are no longer clean/ What do you mean?/ What do you mean, so gone?/ I waited here so long” – “Life in the Vivid Dream” by Grimes from the album Art Angels (reviewed in i47 Sonic Reducer).

Here are some musical things I’m grateful for as this year’s iteration of Thanksgiving passes through, dreamlike. Again.

First, Grimes. Claire Boucher’s latest recording demonstrates that potent, perplexing and informed pop is still possible in the post-postmodern musical universe.

Second, Gene and Dean Ween have unexpectedly decided to give their wildly discursive, archly transgressive vision
another go. They’ll be up in Colorado come February.

Third and most importantly, this town and a community of performers, engineers, venue owners and audiences—complex, multi-limbed, learned, self-taught, proud— continue to manifest a vividly engaging scene.

With a resounding, resulting thankfulness in mind, here is what I am recommending this week, show-wise, for the holiday and beyond.

Show Up!: Friday

Kastle is a practitioner of EDM who is deeply influenced by dubsteb, grime and jungle. His bass-heavy work, filtered through R&B and hip-hop sensibilities, is idiosyncratic, alluring and damned danceable. Kastle, otherwise known as Barrett Richards, plays the Historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) on Friday, Nov. 27. Kastle’s a futurist; his work veers seamlessly from mechanical to soulful, just like the 21st. Admission to this 21+ electro-fest—which begins at 9 in the evening—is free before 10:30 pm by clicking on the “going” button at

Show Up!: Saturday

Near the end of last summer, New Mexico music legend Al Hurricane told the Santa Fe New Mexican he was retiring due to significant health concerns. His last scheduled concert was to be in the city of holy faith on the Labor Day weekend. More than two months later, the Al Hurricane Farewell Tour continues unabated, filling venues with grateful gente and a gloriously good sound that blends rock, ranchera and Country Western conceits. Catch Al Hurricane and his equally formidable son Al Hurricane, Jr. at the Caravan East (7605 Central NE) on Saturday, Nov. 28. Still categorized as a Level-5 storm, Hurricane is a cultural treasure who also happens to jam masterfully. Entry to this historic 21+ performance costs just $10; the venue opens at 5pm and the band takes the stage at 8:30pm.

Show Up!: Saturday, Part Ii

A Hawk and a Hacksaw, comprised of Burqueños Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Heather Trost (FOMA, Beirut) will play a totally rare and potentially life-changing, gratitude-evoking concert at Tannex (1417 Fourth Street NW) on Saturday, Nov. 28. Noted for a rich amalgamation of Eastern-European and Turkish musical aesthetics bound up in the experiential nuance gleened from their respective attachments to the highest levels of avant-psych and folk punk movements, Violinist Trost and multi-instrumentalist Barnes create musical landscapes that evoke the past yet speak knowingly of the present. Through influences as wide ranging as mariachi polkas and Hungarian folk ballads, A Hawk and a Hacksaw deliver a musical experience that can be as captivating as it is hauntingly elusive. This all-ages concert costs $5 (cash only) and begins at 8pm.

Show Up!: Sunday

Brit prog-metal proponents TesseracT, an outfit noted for their exposition and mastery of a sub-genre of progressive metal called djent—wherein low pitch but high gain and hand-muting techniques produce the main guitar sounds—bring their Polaris North America Tour to Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Sunday, Nov. 29. Supporting these technically tight lads from Milton Keynes will be The Contortionist, an outfit straight outta Indiana whose work began with deathcore in the mid-aughts but has evolved into a progressive sound that is melodically subtle, rhythmically complex and spaciously executed. Erra and Skyharbor open the night’s 13+ homage to Geddy, Alex and the professor. JK. When all is said and done, these outfits have an expansive aural quality that should prove an apt and fulfilling end to the Thanksgiving holiday. Entry is a mere $15 and the music begins at 6:30pm.

Show Up!:

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