I’ve been lying on your feathers/ You keep talkin’ about the weather/ I’m a psilocybin pony/ You’re a flick fandango phony/ It’s a sticky contradiction/ It’s a thing you call creation/ Everything is science fiction/ And I ought to know/ I’m in touch with your world/ So don’t you try to hide it/ I’m in touch with your world/ And nobody’s gonna buy it/ It’s such a lovely way to go/ It’s such a lovely way to go, uh-oh oh oh.—“I’m in Touch With Your World,” by The Cars, written by Ric Ocasek and recorded on the band’s first, eponymous album.Some say The Cars were able to see into the future. The result was a brand of rocanrol that mercilessly bent genres, destroyed eardrums when played live or on the playback devices of the day and, most importantly, provided a blueprint for much of what followed as listeners lurched toward the future and an OK Computer. Now that the “what will come” has come home to roost, it’s more important than ever to use music as a tool of progress, prevention and positivity. With that simple dictum—as well as some killer tunes—in mind, here are this week’s suggestions for those concert-goers within our lofty transmission range.
Show Up!: Friday
Shoulder VoicesCourtesy of the artist
On the day following the elevation to POTUS of billionaire developer, reality teevee star and symbol of the alt-right Donald J. Trump, women from across this great nation will gather in Washington, D.C. to stand and march together in solidarity. Organizers say that the Women’s March on Washington “will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” Burqueños y Burqueñas can get in on the action by attending a fundraiser for local participants. This concert and poetry reading will be held at Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Dec. 9. The gig features some of this town’s most nuanced, noteworthy and noisy musicians and poets. Wicked post-punk provocateurs Weedrat are headlining the show. Shoulder Voices, the glammed-out yet strikingly soulful project of Bobby Tucker are also on the bill, while rocked out newcomers Night Kidz, singer-songwriter Sage Harrington and poet Jessica Helen Lopez add to the evening’s most meaningful frivolity. Proceeds from this important 21+ event will assist with transportation, food and lodging costs for our city’s citizens. At $5 per ticket, listeners can rock their asses off while building community and demonstrating resilience in the face of fate’s fickle finger. The commotion begins at 9pm, folks.
Show Up!: Saturday
Wayne HancockCourtesy of Bloodshot Records
Ameripolitan—or juke joint swing as the genre is known by some Tejanos— advocate extraordinare Wayne Hancock descends loudly but lovingly onto the stage at Sister (407 Central NW) on Saturday, Dec. 10. Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been startling audiences, beating up boots and brandishing a guitar since he was a young one; his affinity for finding, deconstructing and then delivering honestly raw and rambunctious roots music is without equal in the land of hillbilly-backed, Grand Old Opry-certified swinging sounds. As the artist himself put it, “Man, I’m like a stab wound in the fabric of country music in Nashville. See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That’s me.” If that weren’t enough to get your toes tapping or your blood boiling, then check out Hancock’s supporting act, Steve Hammond and His High Plains Grifters. Hammond, one of the highly evolved yet totally insane brains behind Burque phenomenon Leeches of Lore, took a much needed and totally twisty detour with this side project, combining a love for tradition with a perverse proclivity to destroy everything in his path. The result sounds kinda like country-Western, but unlike the work of say, Merle Haggard or Porter Wagoner, Hammond’s work will burn a hole in your head that leads to another dimension. Entrance to this rodeo-like environment of sights, smells and sounds will run typical 21+ listeners $12 in advance and $15 at the door; god’s representatives hit the stage at 9pm.
Show Up!: Sunday
Steve VaiRoger Vai
Speaking of representatives of the most high, legendary, virtuoso axe-man Steve Vai performs at the Historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) on Sunday, Dec. 11. Vai began his lauded career transcribing arrangements for Frank Zappa and his band. He soon became part of that insane entourage, handling Frank’s monumentally intense and intricate guitar parts as a “stunt guitarist” at the tender age of 20, redefining and refining the role of lead and rhythm guitarists all over the world in the process. Vai is on tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of one of his most formidable albums, Passion and Warfare, while also taking fans and listeners of all sorts on a tour of his latest release, Modern Primitive, which comprises unreleased material taken from sessions that happened prior to the recording of Passion and Warfare. Always an innovator, VICE Magazine wrote that Modern Primitive comprises a “lost album,” containing some of the most adventurous music the guitar god ever recorded, work that not only highlights his time as Zappa’s protégé but also demonstrates his mastery of genres as diverse as jazz and j-pop. Of the recording itself, Vai said, “The music on Modern Primitive was written and recorded with virtually no expectations for its future. As a result, there was an opening up to a powerful and personal creativity that allowed me to find the most stimulating music I could conjure.” The curtain rises on this master at 7pm. It costs $25 to get in to this 21+ show; a small price to pay to hear a musical visionary who is still at the top of his game.