Show Up!: Never Too Obscure To Rock

Three Diggable Gigs

August March
5 min read
Never too obscure to rock
Bassist James Whiton (Courtesy of the artist)
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“You’re just too, too obscure for me/ Oh, you don’t really get through to me/ And there’s no need for you to talk that way/ Is there any less pessimistic things to say?/ Do you like Paul Verlaine?/ Is it gonna rain today?/ Shall we have our photo taken?/ We’ll look like Death and The Maiden.”—Graeme Downes wrote this song, “Death and the Maiden” when he played guitar and sang for The Verlaines.

Besides contributing mightily to the genre with the above referenced tune, Downes went on to a significant career in the department of music at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He recently lectured on “Cyclic rhythmicism in
Brahm’s Piano Trio, op. 101”, in case you wanna know. That rocks and I gotta admit I dig the slouchy and un-self conscious, literary low-fi jangle of the Verlaines just as much as I am fascinated thinking about the rhythms used by a classical composer we mostly listen to on account of his intricate melodies.

You can capture some of that diggable musical fascination—sans my obscurantist interjections—by showing up at any shows mentioned below. Plus, if you run into me whilst out and about, we can have our photo taken … we’ll look just like … uh, well never mind.

Show Up!: Thursday

Southern-fried psychobilly is on the menu at Launchpad (618 Central SW) Thursday night, Dec. 17, when Nashville Pussy brings their all-you-can-eat aesthetic to the Duke City for a concert that one hopes will include scorchers like “Fried Chicken and Coffee” or “All Fucked Up.” With vocalist Blaine Cartwright and wife and lead guitarist Ruyter Suys doing the cooking, it’s going to be a damned hot and probably spicy show. Local rocanrol dictators Rock Jong Il (whose tune “Planet X” keeps blowing my mind) and Burqueños Russian Girlfriends—a band whose oeuvre threads punk through a pop filter with blistering results—open. Girlfriends guitarist Colin Dowell points to influences like the Descendents and Hüsker Dü while describing the quintet’s trajectory, but en serio they have a sound that—while acutely informed—is archly original. $10 bucks gets one into this 21+ rockfest. It begins at 9:30 pm, but for Crissakes, get there early; the opening acts both slay.

Show Up!: Friday

New Day Youth and Family Services—an organization that is deeply committed to resolving issues of homelessness and education in our city—presents its fourth annual Howlin’ Holiday Jam on Friday, Dec. 18, at Sunshine Theater (120 Central SW). Proceeds from the big gig will benefit the more than 8000 youths served by New Day, according to community organizer John Nichols. This year’s performers include some of Albuquerque’s best players as well as guests from the realm of legend like bassist James Whiton. Is there a jam somewhere in town the dude’s not playing? Whiton seems to be everywhere these days. Joining Whiton on stage will be Burque’s greatest guitarist, Chris Dracup, starry-voiced chanteuse Hillary Smith, Grammy-nominated bluesman Junior Mack, neo-soul sensation Niki J. Crawford and a host of other fine folks practically guaranteed to put joy in your heart and the rocking blues in your soul. This 13+ concert costs $15 in advance and $25 at the door and begins at 8pm.

Show Up!: Saturday

Weedrat, an ascendant punk rock outfit outta Window Rock, Ariz. that Alibi staff writer Maggie Grimason profiled in these pages nary a month ago, play Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Saturday, Dec. 19. Apparently, this trio eats weed and smokes rats. The result is “satanic punk surf grunge” that distinguishes itself by being fearlessly frenetic while engaging socially conscious lyricism. In other words, you’ll like what you hear, but wanna do something quickly about the state of the world afterwards. Contrariwise, Slow Jeremiah self-describes their output as “sugarcoated death pop,” but I didn’t really hear much ‘pop’ on their latest release, Woes of the Misunderstood. Maybe there were some GodWeenSatan-like flourishes throughout, like on the track “Tommy,” but their complex songwriting style and chopped out instrumental techniques ultimately defy categorization—highly recommended mierda, listeners. HYDRANT, a band Burque musical ambassador Kimo called “the best kept secret in town,” are also on the bill. The spare, noisy, unpredictably tangential yet toothsome sounds of Marma—Charlie Morales (drums) and Tug Keith (guitar and vocals)—begin the evening’s aural activities. You have to be at least 21 to experience this extraordinary exhibit, but it’s free if you are. The whole thing rolls out of the speakers and into your head at 9pm.

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