It's been a tough scene for our blues guys and gals ever since Club Rhythm & Blues closed its doors for good, taking one of the best open mics in town right along with them. But if there's a silver lining to be found here, it's that artists like Michael Holt are strengthening their own scene from the roots up. Holt and his Hollywood Holt Band host a new weekly open mic just for blues and R&B performers at Ned's Downtown. The Wednesday night showcase is a step up from traditional blues jams, with a nice stage, a full sound setup and professional live mixing. Holt says his motivation springs from when he first cut his blues teeth at open mics under the tutelage of Darin Goldston, front man of the Memphis P. Tails. “They say you've got to give it away if you want to keep it, and this is my way of giving it back.”
In other fortunate blues news, I was working way too late last Friday when I picked up on some moan-worthy riffs slinking through the alley behind our office. Turns out they were coming from Ryan McGarvey's band over at the District. All I can say is, hot diggity damn! The boy looks like he just stepped out of a Noxema commercial (and I mean this in the best possible way, of course), but on stage he's a natural old soul with surprisingly mature sensibilities and talent. Ryan has quite a few years left in him to cultivate what he's got, so you'd be wise to keep your ears on this rising star.
Break out the red Sharpies and mark your datebook for Friday, April 16, and the Route 666 Metal Fest at Puccini's Golden West! The second installment of this all-local metal show will feature Wisdom of the Leach, Astray and Days of Hate, plus reigning Best of Burque winners Requiem Mass. Be there or be-headed. Spring Crawl is creeping towards us next Saturday, April 23. You know the drill: more than 100 local bands perform live on 20 stages in downtown Albuquerque. But have you noticed that we dropped the price? Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show. Cheap! Get yours at Natural Sound (3422 Central SE), Ticketmaster, the Alibi offices (413 Central NW) or buy here.