Show Up!: Punk, Shoegaze And Stoner Rock

Three Chances To Find That Fine, Fine Music

August March
7 min read
Sad Baby Wolf
(Courtesy of the artist)
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“Jenny said, when she was just about five years old/ You know, my parents are gonna be the death of us all/ Two TV sets and two Cadillac cars/ Well, you know, ain’t gonna help me at all/ Then, one fine morning, she turns on a New York station/ She doesn’t believe what she hears at all/ Ooh, she started dancin’ to that fine, fine music/ You know, her life was saved by rock ‘n roll/ Yeah, rock ‘n roll/ Despite all the computations/ You could just dance to that rock ‘n roll station…” – from “Rock & Roll” a song Lou Reed wrote for the ultimate VU album, Loaded.

Despite all the hoopla and historiography, I’m not really interested in the Velvets. Like Sonic Youth, I had a youthful fling with their thing in the late ‘80s, but moved on because their
mierda really didn’t speak to me. But I do like this tune and Loaded is their best work, I think. So go ahead and hang me now. But before this argument gets outta hand—it’s only rock and roll after all —kindly remove that stylus from yon record and let’s go see some rock shows.

Show Up! Thursday

Rock out all you want with accompanying style and grace this Thursday August 13 at Launchpad (618 Central SW) when the joint practically explodes with the sounds of punk rock demiurges Rudest Priest. Liltingly aware of their antecedents in the shocking universe of loud, fast and frenetic, this quartet of Burquenos has a bassist who takes her cues—and her name—from the title of a Dead Milkmen album. I’ll let you guess which one, but since there’re only a few to choose from, you’ll catch on quickly, especially if you’re in attendance at this particular gig. With super-awesome, less than two minute tuneage like “Too Busy Getting Fucked” and “Three Generations”, this is a band whose influences don’t overshadow but rather inform a sound that won’t wait six days before eating your paisley. This panoply of punk also includes up-and-comers WEEDRAT, a band that fuses old school, mid-continent thrash and surf aesthetics with youthfully satanic undertones. Check out “Poison Meatballs” on WEEDRAT’s Bandcamp page for a taste of what’s to come. Constant Harmony and The Ill Motion open. For those 21+ with five bucks to burn, this event may prove a prime opportunity to catch a neo-nascent punk rock scene as it continues to rise over our city by the river. Doors are at 8pm and the show is at 9pm.

Show Up! Friday

Sad Baby Wolf Courtesy of the band
Dude, I am totally trying to envision the dividing line, the border if you will, separating the realms of, Americana, prog country and all their minor territories. But I don’t see any lines drawn, just vast interconnected pathways. Get your own long view of what’s out there on the wild frontier when Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) presents a rare performance by Lowlights, on Friday, August 14.

It’s the project of
Dameon Lee. He played guitar in the seminal pop-punk group Scared of Chaka back in the before time. Afterwards he sprouted wings and flew to El Lay where he refined his sparse yet smoldering countenance and mad respect for the Eagles with two critically acclaimed albums. Lee returned briefly to Burque to record Further/Free in 2009. This will be the first performance by his band in five years and their new material is going to be “a whole different animal” according to drummer Noelan Ramirez. The new iteration of Lowlights includes Hillary Higgins (violin), Julian Martinez (banjo/pedal steel/piano), Noelan Ramirez (drums), Ryan Martino (guitar) and Sean McCullough (bass).

And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your wig,
Sad Baby Wolf will be playing, too. They’re a glammy shoegaze setup best described by their music. Wondrous and vast stuff like Electric Sounds, resonates with a sense of drifting through time. Ringing, languid guitars, the subtle use of low frequencies in the rhythm section are mostly why. But in particular, the musical vision of Marty Crandall (a former member of the Shins for Crissakes) is epic in combination with his band of seasoned and chopped-out cohorts. Train Conductor, an experimental psychedelic outfit will begin the night’s ascent. Eight dollars and a valid 21+ ID gets one in to one of those rock clubs that opens an hour before show time. So, be there around 8 pm for a 9 pm deal.

Show Up! Saturday

The daring astronauts and star-seekers that comprise SuperGiant will travel to our town at warp speed—or at least using some sort of far-fetched probability drive—to make an appearance at Sister (407 Central SW) on Saturday, August 15. Purveyors of a heavy-heavy sound that was culled from stellar masses parsecs from this simple desert village, SuperGiant relies on the power of its members to rock its way through the universe. Guitarist Jeremy McCollum has a confident blues-derived style imbued with sizzling tonal departures while vocalist Joel Rogers adds a compelling sense of lyrical melodicism to the proceedings. A rhythm section comprised of Gary Chavez on sticks and bassist Kyle Erickson provide a positively Plutonic basis for SuperGiant’s spacey experiments.

Hounds Low, a stoner rock band with dark, doom-infested tendencies, slithers out of its cloistered and dank cavern to join in on the fun that evening. Ben Levine, the group’s drummer, describes the sound of Hounds Low as “melodic in structure, with generously applied metal”. Vocalist Candace Morales (Cee Lo) adds a growly, sometimes high-register affect to their sound. Opening act Red Mesa is a straight-ahead rock power trio with flange in their hearts, thick bass lines in their blood and trebly, syncopated drums banging away in their heads. Thus, in the deep acoustic goodness that is Sister Bar, one may experience the heights reached by the hard-rocking portion of Burque’s intensely diverse music community. Plus, it’ll be a trip. Five Galactic Credits allows one entrance to this starry rockfest. Sister opens at 8 pm and post-orbital flight will be achieved at 9 that night.

Show Up!

So yeah, you can save your life with rock and roll, whether you dig the VU or not. In my case, I was glad that Cale was replaced by Yule. Though the sense of experimentalism submerged, it allowed Reed’s dusky pop sensibility to rule. In any case, roccanrol continues to save lives here in Burque. The fine, fine musical experiences previewed above are empirical evidence of that. That’s an easy computation to make, given that this town absolutely rocks.

Sad Baby Wolf

Courtesy of the band

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