There’s Howard Hughes in blue suede shoes/ Smiling at the majorettes/ Smoking Winston Cigarettes/ And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home/ With needles; needles and pins. “Broadway Melody of 1974,” by Genesis, lyrics by Peter Gabriel; from the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.Throughout the above referenced musical work, Peter Gabriel concerns himself with a world that has radically changed from something challenging, albeit inviting, into an unfamiliar, dangerous place. While the rest of the ensemble adds an almost baroque musical flair to the proceedings, the lead singer and lyricist goes on about the meaninglessness of the new, the ensuing horror of existence that arises in troubled times. The world Gabriel rails presciently against may or may not exist; we’ll have to wait about four years to find out. In the meantime, just like the album’s protagonist, a tagger named Rael, there’s always the world of sensual experience with which to bide one’s time. Of course for this column and this writer, that specifically means going to some shows where the dark of winter can be illuminated by the light of music.
Show Up!: Friday
Concepto TamborCourtesy of the Artist
Practically speaking one can choose to protest events, actions and attitudes that threaten the progression of democracy. Or not. The obvious opposite of such a decision is to do nothing, to be subsumed by the onslaught of outrageousness that may define our government in the coming years. A model for organizing and taking positive action toward the restoration or reaffirmation of democratic values can be seen in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, also known as the Standing Rock protests. In this case, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and associated grassroots advocacy groups are busy standing up to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe (and just about anyone else with common sense) don’t want a shitty, oily pipeline being constructed within their historical homeland. It’s hard work, but some progress has been made. Folks here in Burque can support the efforts of these democratic standard-bearers by heading on down to Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Friday, Nov. 25, for a Standing Rock Potluck and concert. Featuring local bands like the groovalicious Concepto Tambor, soulful reggae rockers Mondo Vibrations and fantastic funksters Merican Slang, this evening of rocked out insight and support is meant to bring the community together. Bring your turkey day leftovers to this 21+ show—along with donations of clothing, toiletries and the other necessities of sustainable protest. By doing so you’ll be part of a swelling tide of positive change. Tickets cost $7 and the doors to the future open at 12:30pm.
Show Up!: Saturday
Tommy James and the ShondellsShelly S. Via Wikimedia
Listeners requiring further inspiration vis á vis devising and manifesting a methodology for reasonable dissent in the coming four years may want to check out Tommy James and the Shondells when the legendary bubblegum act performs at The Showroom at Isleta Resort and Casino (11000 Broadway SE) on Saturday, Nov. 26. Known for their optimistically poptastic, light-hearted yet sometimes subtly psychedelic oeuvre (check out their hits, including “Crimson and Clover,” “Mony Mony,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and the always high-larious “I Think We’re Alone Now”) the band may, on the surface, seem to be less than relevant when compared to other more obvious ‘60s hell-raisers like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. But history says otherwise. Tommy James and the Shondells actually took an active part in the 1968 presidential election, providing uplifting rocanrol music for Democrat Hubert Humphrey’s campaign while the dude was on the trail. Though Humphrey notoriously lost to the criminally demented Richard Nixon (sound familiar?), the vice president from Minnesota paid things forward by writing the most excellent liner notes for the group’s next album. For between $30-40, 21+ concert-goers can get an earful of American history and maybe even take away the idea that, even in loss, cooperation among various factions of the progressive political wing can be fun and rewarding for it’s own sake, as well as providing a model for the future. Doors for this gig are at 7pm and the curtain rises at 8pm.
Show Up!: Sunday
Now that one’s political priorities are sorted out (sort of … we’ve gotta keep our spirits up until 2020, you know) it may be time to sit back and welcome the 2016 holiday season. Such is entirely possible at the Cool Yule Holiday Concert happening at the Kimo Theatre (423 Central NW) on Sunday, Nov. 27. This festive event features the always engaging and totally entertaining Entourage Jazz. These traditionally innovative jazzers, all local, under the direction of vocalist/bandleader Emerson Susan Corley, are some of the best musicians in town. And with folks like Roger Baker on keys, Maren Hatch playing the bass, Sarah Griego’s sax meditations and the always awesome John Bartlit swirling the sticks, listeners are practically guaranteed a celebratory entrance into the land of holiday hoopla and cool compositions. Kari Simmons is the guest vocalist for this gig and New Mexico Jazz Worshop Executive Director Vicki Dugger says that Santa himself may also show up for the show. The concert, sponsored by the NMJW, is an all-ages event and is free, but reservations and tickets must be acquired through the Kimo Theatre box office. The portal to the 2016 holiday season will be joyfully flung open at 2pm and the cool, wintery recital begins at 3pm.
Show Up!: Post Script
In conclusion, to paraphrase Mr. Gabriel in his Lamb lyrics, they say the lights are always bright in Burque, that there is always magic in the air. By taking a defiant yet respectful attitude to the massive changes our nation and city will soon face—as well as checking out some cray concerts—we can all plan to keep it that way.