Show Up!: Looking For Meaning Amidst The Stars, Bars And Guitars

Five Shows To Dissolve Existential Angst

August March
6 min read
Looking for Meaning Amidst the Stars, Bars and Guitars
Black Mountain (Courtesy of the artist)
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“Throw out your gold teeth/ And see how they roll/ The answer they reveal/ Life is unreal.” —“Your Gold Teeth II” by Steely Dan.

Indeed, this week did seem unreal to August March. A windy middle of April brought difficult news: The critical injury of a close friend left March feeling disoriented and detached. By now Orion was setting early and so he spent evenings watching the constellation head for the horizon while listening to Steely Dan and wondering, “What the fuck?” He was convinced that music and star light would prevent the cruelty of the month from overtaking him. Of course it helped that there were some cray shows coming up. Here are the ones he considered attending as he pondered imponderable things and continued to cuss and shake his fist at the heavens.

Show Up!: Thursday

Puscifer, a band whose name and work (a new album called Money $hot? Really dude?) are filled to the brim with witty allusions and word play, perform at Popejoy Hall (1 University of New Mexico) on Thursday, April 28. And before this preview continues, it’s important to note that the writer is no fan of Maynard James Keenan and generally finds his output to be ponderous and impenetrable. That said, Tool’s Ænema is a decent rock album but doesn’t quite deserve to be called prog, while A Perfect Circle’s Emotive seemed more a point of plateau than a musical movement forward. In any case the music Keenan produces as Puscifer is complex, richly melodic and challenging … yet somehow sterile. You can get a load of what Puscifer intends when they land on UNM campus and invade Popejoy beginning at 7:30pm. For between $45-250 it should be a hellacious, if all together elephantine, experience.

Show Up!: Friday

The Flossies Ryan Allison
As the Gathering of Nations begins it’s yearly tenure in the Duke City, expect some wholly awesome encounters with Native American music. While all sorts of traditional music and melody will be in evidence at the yearly super powwow, rocanrol as well as associated genres of Indigenous tuneage will be available for one’s listening pleasure at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW). On Friday night, April 29, the house of surf gods and island merriment presents No Rezervations, an event that focuses on the music that comes straight outta the Navajo Nation, proving once and for all that some of the best music in the state is being made in a large, autonomous, Indigenous enclave situated to the north and west of Burque. Featured performers include the intense, layered and liquid-metal sounds of Lilith, the jangly guitar rock of The Flossies, pure punk from Weedrat, post-punk no wave from Discotays and the funkified dance rhythms of As Indigenas. Attendance at this 21+ event requires a donation of between $1-5; it will be totally worth it though, you’ll be apt to think as you enter with an open heart and depart with a blown mind. It all begins at 9pm.

Show Up!: Saturday

Miss Massive Snowflake Courtesy of the Artist
Bluesy indie power trio Miss Massive Snowflake have a gig at Savoy Wine Bar and Grill (10601 Montgomery NE) on Saturday, April 30. The three (Shane de Leon, Jeanne Kennedy Crosby and Andy Brown) are from Portlandia and certainly look the part. Their hipster personages belie a serious and syncretic association with the rock and roll basics though. Distilling a sometimes swaggering and always alluring sound from a minimalist approach to the genre, Miss Massive Snowflake rely on prodigious skill and keen storytelling to advance an agenda that transcends much of what has become of the Northwest music scene. De Leon’s use of the guitar can be lyrical and somewhat abrupt in a genuinely compelling way while his collaborators fashion an ensemble sound that is inventive without being anachronistic; it’s all very flexible and thought-provoking stuff with roots planted firmly in a lineage that has produced fellow travellers like Frank Zappa and The Flaming Lips. If those sorts of laudatory licks aren’t enough to get you out for this show, consider the following: It’s free to get in. There’s going to be food and wine available; the music commences at 6pm.

Show Up!: Tuesday

Chicano Batman Josue Rivas
Dudes, Chicano Batman is like totally going to be at Meow Wolf (1352 Rufina, Santa Fe) on Tuesday, May 3. A quartet of Los Angelenos (Bardo Martinez, guitar, keyboard, vocals; Eduardo Arenas, bass, guitar, vocals; Gabriel Villa, drums, vocals; Carlos Arévalo, guitar) whose sonic emanations come from a place—deep in space—where psychedelia, soul and tropicality come together with galactic goodness, Chicano Batman have long been a big draw in the City of Angels. With a funky, Latino power vibe that encompasses as well as deconstructs the culture that the ensemble draws upon for musical inspiration, Chicano Batman have recently shifted gears and added an enchilada section in hopes of achieving world domination. That’s a damn spicy joke, but the truth at the heart of the matter indicates the group has every intention of joining the group of musicians who I’ve said absolutely fucking rock. Their 2014 release, Cycles of Existential Rhyme, is proof of that. Tickets range in price from $15-20 and the show gets rolling around 8pm with a performance by JJUUJJUU, a duo of experimental improvisers.

Show Up!: Wednesday

Black Mountain, another uncommonly exceptional Northwestern sound-generating unit, play Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Wednesday, May 4. A collection of uncompromising (and apparently shoe eschewing) rocanrol provocateurs whose existence on the astral plain is contingent on heavily stylized and gravitationally realized stoner music, they’re currently touring on the strength of their latest release, IV. As noted in the Alibi Sonic Reducer aimed at enlisting adherents to the band’s restless, West-Coast super-rock pronunciations, IV is an album that supposes intervening genres never existed, allowing a thoroughly advanced form of hard, album-oriented rock to evolve and proliferate in the geographical area adjacent to the roaring Pacific Ocean. As a quintet, Black Mountain has the chops and the wherewithal to override rock’s latter day roller coaster ride; their show at Launchpad promises to be among the best concerts happening in Dirt City this spring. White Hills open. With tickets priced to move at $15, there really is no reasonable excuse for missing this show, unless your David Lynch box set is scheduled to arrive that evening via special delivery—which may be problematic at my household, but go ahead and enjoy this blast from the future on my behalf as I try to divine meaning from the phrase “lunch is ready.” The ritual begins at 9pm.

Courtesy of the artist

The Flossies

Ryan Allison

Miss Massive Snowflake

Courtesy of the Artist

Chicano Batman

Josue Rivas

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