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V.25 No.25 | 06/23/2016
Brandon J at The Stage
Megan Reneau

Standing the Test of Time

Paul Oakenfold Remains Electronic Supreme

Once when discussing clubs and venues in central New Mexico with a young promoter, I asked him what his favorite venue in the area was. “The Stage, probably. That’s the kinda shit they have in Vegas,” he told me. Not that I’ve ever been to a club or a casino in Las Vegas, but I have to admit he’s right. Just a short walk away from the front of Santa Ana Star Casino is their club The Stage is a local club I’ve never been to. I hadn’t never gone there before because of the price of tickets (usually) and the distance from Albuquerque. I’ve realized the decision has been misguided because the quality of The Stage as a venue is incredible.

The space is beautiful and dark: It has dark flooring, black walls and minimal lighting. The most well-lit areas are the stage, the walking area on the bottom floor, the bar and the bathroom. And it’s all so lustrous and clean! I’ve been to a clean club once in my life and that was in Chicago.

The first opener was playing as I walked in and ordered drinks with my friend. I didn’t know who the openers were, so I asked the bartender who didn’t know either, but found out for me quickly. We went upstairs and set up camp for the evening waiting to see Paul Oakenfold watching and listening to Brandon J, the first act then later GRUM, the second.

Brandon J played atmospheric trance and had interestingly complex buildups and drops. GRUM played more club trance, but overall I found him underwhelming. While I understand openers are there to get the crowd warmed up, that doesn’t mean their sets have to be uninteresting. Near the end of each set the two individual DJs really stepped it up, so I could see that they could do much better though the crowd didn’t get to see much of it. Regardless, the crowd was really into each performer. A direct quote from my notes: the crowd fucking loves it.

As Paul Oakenfold took the stage the crowd applauded and cheered. Immediately I was impressed (although not surprised) by his obvious mastery of his craft. His melodies were intricate and interweaving; I never really noticed when they changed just that they had. At the beginning of the set he wove in a woman saying “I love when we play together,” an obvious nod to his fans thanking them for coming out.

Oakenfold can entwine melodies and genres unlike anyone I’ve heard before. The transition is often flawless for listeners. He started the two hour set with traditional trance then to rave trance house then anthem trance then club trance house then ended with dance trance. The small differences between the sub-genres are small but noticeable; through that he was able to control how the energy of the crowd and how they moved and danced.

The visuals to accompany his music certainly got my attention: videos of him walking, DJing, playing cards, skiing and snowmobiling were the majority, but there were some shorts of him as a lego character DJing which I thought was adorable. This 52 year old man who is critically acclaimed, has scored films and is one of the forefathers of the electronic genre as we know it today is into Legos. Like I said, adorable.

The audience was diverse, containing every type of person from businessmen to ravers. Throughout the show they all went wild. The dance floor was packed with sweaty bodies swaying and jumping every moment, there were few lulls. The energy of the room, even as high as it was, was fairly tame compared to other electronic shows I’ve been to. There were few people who were obviously on some kind of drug or outrageously drunk, and even though I like that there weren't any large disturbances (aside from a few people climbing onto the stage to talk to Oakenfold who always responded by smiling, chatting and touching his fans' hands), it does make for a pretty uneventful night.

Near the end of his set, Oakenfold mixed in a few of his classics like “Otherside,” “Ready Steady Go!” and “Southern Sun.” I was honestly hoping he would play “Starry Eyed Surprise” which was a collaboration with the musician Shifty from 2002 but it's not exactly a club song, so I resentfully understand.

At the last ten minutes of his set, Oakenfold had numerous buildups and drops. After the final, gentle drop at 1:55am, I left quickly, excited to sit down in my car with my friend after standing and swaying for the last four hours.

It was a long night, but the final quality of the show and venue has swayed me to return one day, not just for another show review like this, but as a casual member of the public.

V.25 No.24 | 06/16/2016

Event Horizon

Off to the Races

Saturday, Jun 25: Grand Opening

The grand re-opening of the newest Grandstand in New Mexico.
Pixabay / Public Domain

Event Horizon

Quitar lo Bailado

Saturday, Jun 25: Festival Chispa: New Latin Music and Hispanic Culture

Celebrating the diversity of Hispano/Latino culture through music, art and the legacy of tradition.
V.25 No.25 | 6/23/2016

Sonic Reducer

Barb Wire Dolls Desperate · PYLON Pylon Live · Delphia Delphia

This week, Plant listens to Barb Wire Dolls, Pylon and Delphia.
V.25 No.24 | 06/16/2016
Pixabay, public domain

Event Horizon

Gimme Shelter

Saturday, Jun 18: World Refugee Day Celebration

Features music, dancing, art activities and free food and drinks. Special guests Sol de La Noche and Basade (Bells & Shakers African Dance Ensemble).
V.25 No.24 | 6/16/2016
Pueblo Harvest Cafe
J. Grisham

Patio and Happy Hour Guide

Oxygen-Rich Music

Live tunes out in the open

Joshua Lee’s favorite winter distraction is going out to catch live music, but during the summer, he has only one true love: the shade.
Consilience - Under Our Beds

Sonic Reducer

Victor Gould Clockwork · Consilience Under Our Beds · Free Pizza Berlin, DE

Geoffrey Plant is back with reviews of the latest from Consilience, Free Pizza and Victor Gould!
V.25 No.23 | 06/09/2016
A scene from the festival in Taos
Douglas Cohen

Music

Festival Review: Music on the Mesa

Happiness flowed at Taos event

"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.

V.25 No.23 | 6/9/2016

Sonic Reducer

Hooded Fang Venus on Edge · Used Cassettes Rock n Rills · Kwesi Foraes 27

Reviews of new music releases.
V.25 No.21 | 05/26/2016
Courtesy of Wyrdteenth's Facebook Event Page

Event Horizon

No Fear of a Black Planet at Wyrdteenth

Sunday, Jun 5: Wyrdteenth

Celebrate cultural aesthetics and critical dimensions of Afrofuturism with zines, poetry and performances from Ebony Isis Booth, Marya Errin Jones, Brielle Leilani, Tanesia Hale-Jones.
DuBoix

Event Horizon

Music of Friends

Sunday, Jun 5: 4th Annual New Mexico Chamber Music Festival

Talented young participants from around the world perform.
Courtesy of Cerrillosstation.com

Event Horizon

First Stop on the Turquoise Trail

Saturday, Jun 4: Cerrillos Station Open House

Family activities including a baby farm animal coral, pop up art show, food trucks, and more.
V.25 No.21 | 05/26/2016

Event Horizon

An Odd Adventure (for an Otter)

Wednesday, Jun 1: Otter's Odd Adventure

World premiere performance of a new work for narrator and orchestra by the creator of "Too Much Coffee Man Opera."

Today's Events

Darynda Jones at Jean Cocteau Cinema

Reading of fantasy novel The Curse of Tenth Grave with book signing afterwards.

Power Drive Band • country at Caravan East

Creative Startups Accelerator Info Session at Zendo ArtEspresso

More Recommended Events ››
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