In the cold months, I keep busy with as many activities as possible. Got to keep that old blood pumping if you want to keep the valves clear. My favorite winter distraction is going out to catch live music. Nothing gets the blood going like a cool beat. But during the summer, I have only one true love: the shade.
I'll hunt for shade like some dope-hungry hipster, mumbling cuss words and staring at my feet while slinking down the road and staying too close to the buildings. I will go out of my way, dear reader, to get from one side of the street to the other if it means five more inches of that silky darkness.
Which means my music-love, like everything else, gets put on hold. You can keep your Fun-Time-Summer-Fiestas and your Hot-and-Heavy-Summer-Boogaloos. Sound travels farther when it's hot. Maybe I'll get lucky and hear it from home. Where the air conditioner lives. That's science.
Sometimes, while I search the ground in front of me for the next pool of inky sweetness, I'll accidentally stumble onto a restaurant or bar with a badass patio and a live band. Problem solved. Here's a list of such sweet spots in no particular order:
It's literally in the name. El Patio is known for its traditional northern New Mexican menu. Located smack dab in the middle of the student ghetto, this light-festooned wonderland is even more pleasurable to experience after the sun goes down. This one's for anyone out there looking to chill the hell out with some acoustic tones.
An upscale Northern Italian dining experience awaits the patrons of this Nob Hill favorite. And anyone looking for an eclectic mix of Latin, jazz, rock or blues will be pleasantly surprised to find a little something out on the patio of Scalo every Friday night. With a lineup that's sure to please and a romantic atmosphere that screams “first date,” make sure to put this one on the “sexy list.”
Operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, the Pueblo Harvest Cafe incorporates traditional Pueblo flavors into a unique Pueblo and Southwestern fusion experience. This patio is particularly special thanks to its glorious view of the Sandias, a wonderful compliment to the live jazz, salsa, blues and pop music and all-you-can eat pizza that happens every weekend.
El Pinto is known for its authentic New Mexican cuisine, its award-winning salsa and its charming, fairy tale-like ambience. This is a great place to go if you want to forget about the outside world for a little while, and every Tuesday and Thursday the sounds of live rock and contemporary can help you with the escape plan.
If you can remember a show at the Tractor Brewing Company, you probably weren't there. Thanks to a plethora of finely crafted, locally brewed beers, one of the best bar staffs in town and a patio to boot, the Nob Hill location of the brewing company is a great place to get your summer music fix. Not only are most of the shows free, they also feature some of the best local talent ABQ has to offer.
So, keep smart during these long, miserably hot months, friend. You might need to feed that live-music-eating monkey on your back, but do it smart. Stay in the shade and curse the sun. Heat exhaustion has never been proven to enhance the live music experience. And I hear pale and pasty is making a big comeback.