Considering I got my start writing about religious rock, it hurts my soul a bit that I don't get to write that much about Christian rock in this space, so get your angry commenting/emailing fingers warmed up! It's time to talk about Gungor! But wait a minute before you start your screed, you might actually like Gungor, which is basically Michael Gungor, plus generally his wife Lisa and then a bunch of other people in different combinations. Yes, he plays something that's like worship music, influenced by Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire, but Michael Gungor also burned basically every bridge there is with mainstream Christian circles earlier this year by questioning the idea of Biblical literalism (that the Bible isn't a book of allegory and imagery, but that the world was created in six actual 24-hour-days, Jonah was eaten by an actual whale, etc.) This made the Evangelical world explode, including Creationist-with-weird-beard Ken Ham, who condemned Gungor on his website and invited him to come to the Creation Museum to talk things out (I assume Michael declined because nearly anything else would be a better use of his time).
Anyhow, the point is that Michael Gungor is the best sort of artist talking about faith—the kind willing to upset people in the process of trying to figure out what's true and what matters and while the crowd at his group's recentish (sold out!) January show at Congress basically waited for the most simplistic worship song ("Beautiful Things") to get psyched for what was an interesting set of songs up to that point. Yes, unless you're a Christian of some sort, you might not be up for this show, but listen to some of his music under the name The Liturgists, try out some of Gungor's 2014 album "I Am Mountain," see what you think. At very least, the band should be appreciated for trying to challenge a status quo that doesn't care for much diversity of opinion. Tickets for the all-ages show on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. are $18 in advance, $20 at the door. More info at facebook.com/191toole.
DREAM THE DARE
If you're a hip-hop fan, you might as well tell your landlord/mortgage company that they should expect your check a bit late, because the Rialto has three consecutive nights of shows you'll want to see. First up, on Saturday, Oct. 25, Black Hippy/Top Dawg member Ab-Soul kicks off the festivities. While he hasn't had the big commercial and critical breakthrough that his compatriot Kendrick Lamar pulled off with "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City," or even the major label push that Schoolboy Q got for "Oxymoron," Ab-Soul offers similarly introspective, moody lyrics full of interesting wordplay, an incredible vocabulary and maybe a bit more social depth than any of his cohorts. He might not be the most likely of the Black Hippy crew to get big (bigger, at least), but this is an opportunity to see a member of the most dynamic crew in the genre today. General admission tickets for the 7 p.m. all-ages show with Earthgang and Bas opening are $20.
Tickets for the G-Eazy and IAMSU! show on Sunday, Oct. 27 are sold out, but surprisingly, you can still get in to the B.O.B. show on Monday, Oct. 28. The Atlanta rapper has laid low a bit in 2014, after the somewhat soft sales of his late 2013 album Underground Luxury, but he's got a bunch of big radio hits ("Airplanes," "Magic," "Nothin' on You") plus an immense amount of talent adding touches of rock to his accessible take on southern hip-hop that haven't shown up so much on his major lable releases. I've only seen him once, but he's a charming and likable performer, which is somewhat of a rare commodity in the genre. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $30. More info at rialtotheatre.com.
TEMPLES OF THE MOON
There are a million events surrounding Halloween, one of the first of which is the annual Nightmare on Congress event which will almost certainly pack every open space on the Hotel Congress property. Of course there's a costume contest ($1,000 prize) and you get a certain amount of creepy and kooky sounds on the bill from the Voodoo Organist and the Mission Creeps, plus the of-the-moment dance sounds of London's Lxury. Lxury basically has an EP, a mix or two and a couple remixes, but it's easy to see how this guy could end up as the next Disclosure (which makes sense, considering he was one of the first signings on the duo's label and his single "J.A.W.S." was co-produced by one the brothers) with the right guest vocalist. His colorful, bright take on house is about as enjoyable as anything I've streamed on Soundcloud this year and you'll want to catch this guy filling the heavily costumed Congress dancefloor while he's still playing clubs of this size. Tickets for the 21 and over Nightmare on Congress are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. More info at hotelcongress.com.
No slight to Tera Melos the math-rock adjacent effects-heavy trio headlining the show on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the Flycatcher, but, for me, the can't miss act on that bill is the Portland dream-pop act Pure Bathing Culture. Sure, you have to maybe put some of your cynicism aside to enjoy the floaty '80s-4AD recalling sound the group mines, but if you miss the simpler times when you could put on a Cocteau Twins records and float away into a gauzy world of reverb and lyrics that make basically zero sense, this is the show for you. Tera Melos aren't soothing at all, so be forewarned, but they're immensely talented, so hopefully that balances out. Tickets for the 7 p.m. 18 and over show are $12.