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Festival Review: Music on the Mesa
Happiness flowed at Taos event
By Douglas Cohen [ Tue Jun 14 2016 1:53 PM ]
"Raise the window down" – a comment heard from the stage, refering to the kinfolk of recording artist Robyn Ludwick, from Lake Charles, Louisiana.
It was 3 p.m. in Taos, when a thousand post-hippie people gathered for three days for the 2nd Annual Music on the Mesa Festival at Taos Mesa Brewery.
I can’t go any further without expanding on the merits of the venue. TMB produces outstanding, hand-crafted beer in both quality and variety. I was on a roll with their Equinox IPA, offered alongside a Session beer, several ales, Pale and otherwise, their own Kolsch style, Amber, Hefewizen and more. The venue also serves excellent, regionally influenced food: Smoked Mahi, Mahi fish tacos, roasted beet salad and dynamite brats and burgers.
The setting is one of the most spectacular music venues I’ve visited in 43 years of festival going. It ranks right behind Red Rocks Amphitheater and the Pagosa Springs Four Corners Festival.
We were on the West Mesa just north of Taos and minutes from the Rio Grande Gorge within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. The deep gorge cutting into the high desert offers breathtaking views. So it’s like placing a music festival inside a National Park. All this is also minutes from the regionally famed Taos Earthship residential communities.
We visited my old college buddy Marko and his Earthship home that morning before making our way to day three of the Fest. This Earthship is the real thing; artfully built based upon environmentally forward principles and methods. it is placed partially within the earth; utilizes solar heating, re-uses rainwater off the roof and stored in cisterns; is made with numerous upcycled materials including glass bottles, cans, tires and wood from previous eras of furniture.
The vibe at the Fest is a macro-extension of this northern New Mexico counter culture. We recognized folks from our similarly alt-America suburb of Albuquerque, Corrales, N.M., while our friends here ran into their peeps from the architectural and textile design mini-verse that identifies much of New Mexican culture.
The long white hairs and the grey hairs mix easily with the 20- and 30-somethings who diligently follow the musical genres featured here: Rockabilly and Western Swing, a little bluegrass, Singer-Songwriter, Alt-Country, Americana, and smoking Country Rock.
Steve Plyler, founder of Walking Rain Productions, hand picks each act beginning a year out with his team of insiders. The festival is faithful to previous performers who played at the inaugural event last year. The following artists were on last year as well as this year’s bill: Kelly Mickwee, Grace Askew, Band of Heathens, Far West, Sammy Brue, Robyn Ludwick,
This year we were both fortunate and blessed to have as headliners Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle for the final night. These two veterans of the road are notable for their enduring creativity and stick-with-it-ness that characterizes not only their act but their lives.
Across the concert venue were scattered vendors and sponsors. A sleek Airstream trailer featured fine wine and foretells of an Airstream and RV Motel park that will soon open across the highway from the Taos Mesa Brewery.
A fresh juice and smoothie bar, built into half a vintage car was a real thirst-quenching hotspot. And, of course, the well stocked Merch Tent beckons.
The Main Stage beneath the amphitheater is front and center, with the Patio and Indoor Stages serving shorter acts between set-ups. We heard thevenerable Ray Wylie Hubbard ("Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother"), a Texas legend, followed by Colvin and Earle.
We sat in the high desert, 7000 feet in the atmosphere, listening to and anticipating dexterous music meant to revive, inform and inspire those who have been fortunate enough to have made it to the Mesa. Join in next year: You are Welcome, You are Invited.
by France Clidat
Happy Birthday Erik Satie!
He would have been 150 today.
By Peter Karlsen [ Tue May 17 2016 3:55 PM ]
Often cited as the father of minimalism, he was derided by teachers and critics of his time. Like many who make great strides in their creative field, would go on to influence contemporaries, if at all, only late in life. Now his compositions are nearly inescapable. Take a moment to remember him and his contribution to expressing our human condition—a delicate hope that hides itself beneath a deep melancholy.
We Like to Watch (Instantly)
Stream docs on Afrobeat, hip-hop nation and Hole drummer Patty Schemel
By August March
Wherein we hype three music docs (on Fela Kuti, Clarence Reid and Patty Schemel) that are available to stream on Netflix now.
Kate Bush Mourns Prince
It's almost too much
By Maggie Grimason [ Tue Apr 26 2016 4:59 PM ]
Kate Bush and Prince collaborated several times. In her digital eulogy of the pop royalty on her website, Bush stated:
I am so sad and shocked to hear the tragic news about Prince. He was the most incredibly talented artist. A man in complete control of his work from writer and musician to producer and director. He was such an inspiration. Playful and mind-blowingly gifted. He was the most inventive and extraordinary live act I've seen. The world has lost someone truly magical. Goodnight dear Prince.
Prince appeared on the track embedded here, "Why Should I Love You" from Bush's 1993 album Red Shoes and, in turn, Bush collaborated with Prince on his album, Emancipation.
Courtesy of the artist
Votives, Adult Beverage at Sister
Album release party also features Crime Lab and crttrz
By August March [ Fri Apr 22 2016 8:37 AM ]
Join Albuquerque’s rock and roll community at Sister (407 Central NW) on Saturday, April 23 for the album release party for Votives, a heavy, punk-flavored, ambient-attached shoegaze project. Votives latest release, Trails / Hue begins with a low rumble that ultimately advance toward crashing waves of feedback and guitar badassery.
Joining Votives for this special celebration of all that is rocking will be an Crime Lab, crttrz and Adult Beverage, an outfit fronted by Dillon Cullinan.
Cullinan spoke briefly with the Alibi about his latest undertaking, recalling the many changes Adult Beverage went through as their psychedelic sound took shape.
“By spring 2015 the band had finally found it's ideal configuration with Higinio Martinez on guitar, Zach Leyba on drums, and occasionally Briana Lee on bass. Since 2015 we have played countless house shows and venues in New Mexico. We have played alongside Walter TV (Mac Demarco's live band), Destruction Unit, The Memories, Colleen Green, and LA Witch.
Adult Beverage is currently writing and recording for the first time collaboratively. A new 5 song EP is being recording by Will Byrne of Train Conductor.
Asked to describe their current flavor, Cullinan said, “We've been described as having elements of punk, garage rock, dream-pop, stoner metal, noise rock, and psychedelia.”
The concert, a glimpse into the instrumentally intense and luminously limitless void in these parts, begins at 8pm.
Shimabukuru and His Ukulele
By Anagamin [ Mon Mar 14 2016 7:15 PM ]
The house was packed last Saturday night for Jake Shimabukuro's concert. It was an intergenerational mix of people; three generations of Albuquerque music lovers came out for the show. There were members of the folk-music community and veterans of the art-music recital scene, families and young people taking in new sounds.
The lighting at Simms Center at the Albuquerque Academy had artistic intent and contributed to the celebratory atmosphere with rich colors. From start to finish, it felt like a flawless performance. I arrived feeling tired and kind of out of it, but left feeling energized and inspired. The artist and his instrument blended so well together. Shimabukuro's ukulele seemed like another arm or the perfect dance partner, attached by life and love.
Shimabukuro played a few experimental tunes that were supposedly dissonant but were still musically enthralling. He followed up with traditional Hawaiian music and thoughtfully interjected three cover tunes, "Come Together," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "While my guitar gently weeps." The George Harrison tune was especially visceral and heartfelt.
Throughout the concert, Shimabukuro used two different instruments, each with different timbres and purposes, blending his instrumental knowledge into each piece he performed.
After each song Shimburakuro and the bass player would fist bump one another, obviously eager and excited to be playing together and for a receptive audience. The stage was very simple, just the two players interacting and focused on the other’s playing. Shimurakuro received two standing ovations at the end of the night; the audience was grateful for such an amazing journey and the musicians seemed thrilled to provide it.
By August March [ Wed Mar 9 2016 8:31 PM ]
Good news, everyone!
Local electro-wizards REIGHNBEAU (Bryce Hample plus collaborators Hannah Daney, Colleen Johnson, Madeline Johnston and James Sturgis) have been recognized by music magazine Stereogum.
Their new album, Blood, is currently streaming—along with a brief yet well-deserved laudatory review—at a site known for its focus on lo más chingón in current musical forms.
Marching Forth into the Dream
MarchFourth! at Dirty Bourbon
By August March [ Wed Feb 24 2016 2:33 PM ]
If you dig ecstatic, Burque concert-goers, then tonight, Wednesday February 24, 2016, is your night. The Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall and Saloon (9800 Montgomery NE) hosts a highly listenable show brought to town by forward-looking and far-ranging musical production entity AMP Concerts.
MarchFourth!, a fascinatingly far out, flavorful and funky re-visioning of the American marching band tradition, headlines the event and San Diego Gypsy rockers Diego's Umbrella provides support—albeit it in their own folkified yet punktastic way.
MarchFourth features the talents of 15 musicians and five dancers and acrobats. As a colorful and sometimes cacophonic ensemble, MarchFourth! put a saucy yet postmodern spin on a mainstay of Americana that critics have called sexy, carnivalesque and celebratory. And like all the band geeks you've ever encountered, the marching unit's chops smolder and smother.
Co-conspirators Diego's Umbrella use Eastern European musical conceits mixed up with SoCal punk aesthetics to create a singular musical experience. 18 bucks gets one into this late-winter cosmic carnival; it's a 21+ dealio that begins at 7:30pm.
Beth Rodgers Photography
New Work by Cactus Tractor
By August March [ Sat Feb 6 2016 5:23 PM ]
New work by Cactus Tractor
A Lousy Robot Must Be Human
By August March [ Wed Jan 27 2016 9:26 PM ]
"Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves." — Stephen Daedalus
Jim Phillips was a musician from Albuquerque. He directed the creative activities of a band called Lousy Robot. When he died unexpectedly last spring, Phillips left behind a body of work notable for defining a fragile, yet brightly expressed nexus of what it means to be human.
Invoking the wide and melodically winsome swath carved out by power-pop adherents like the Easybeats, Big Star, the Cars and Elvis Costello, singer/guitarist Phillips and his ensemble (Ben Wood, keyboards; Joey Gonzales, drums and Dandee Fleming on bass) added intensity and a profound sense of dark realism to their rocanrol stew.
The result included unforgettably haunting recordings like 2011's Hail The Conquering Fool.
This week, Lousy Robot bassist Fleming reached out to Weekly Alibi to tell about a new collection of recordings by Lousy Robot, available at Bandcamp.
Fleming wrote, "Before his death Jim and the band had been working on collecting outtakes and rarities from previous recording sessions in hopes of putting out a collection of weirdness titled Oddities, Obscurities & Obscenities. The work started with a cover of “Dead Flowers” and an iPhone remix of “Peacocks." During this time, I continued to work on remixes on several other songs. After Jim’s death, I found two songs that the group had demoed but never completed. I edited and restructured those songs and sent them to friend and long-time producer John Dufliho to complete.
The result is a work of complex beauty; the circumstances—rendered as music, hopeful and dire—that make up human life.
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