When January began, I thought I had a fairly clear idea of what the local music scene was about. On Jan. 12, at Blackbird Buvette, I saw Lady Fox—aka Mauro Woody, aka the woman I’ve been dating since seeing her band, the Glass Menageries, play in December—play a show with Mauro on vocals and keyboard, and John Butler on drums. Though I can’t exactly give you an objective review, it should be noted that everyone was on their feet and dancing joyously. The show was dreamy and tuneful, yet dynamic.
On that same night, Mauro and I hurried over to Burt’s Tiki Lounge after her set, to see Bigawatt play as a hard-rocking, beautifully noisesome two-piece—and there I finally saw Fart House play, despite already having more than a year of personal history with the band. … I should explain. When I first became aware this band existed, I remarked online that I had never heard a worse band name and that I wished they would “break up and stop lousing up local flyers with their awful, awful band name.” This, of course, led to my being banned from the venue they were about to play, and it led the venue’s owner to post a photo of me on his website with a statement like, “This is Mike Smith. If you see him at this show, kick his ass.” There were a few threatening emails and messages from various Fart House super-fans, and though I couldn’t make the show, a number of my friends did, wearing masks of my face. … But now I’ve finally seen them play, and they really do put on a great show. Fart House is a guitar and drums two-piece—a rowdy punk-rock power combo with a kind pop heart—and though I still consider their name a minor travesty, I have to say I’m a fan.
These sorts of shows I normally go to—two of several that I saw in January—led me to think I had a pretty clear idea of the local music scene. On Jan. 31, however, Mauro and I found ourselves at Evolution, a packed nightclub, for Rock the Mic 12, a competition between 16 of the city’s top rappers and hip-hop acts.
One group, STACKHOUZEMUSICK—three often-harmonizing rappers—performed like showmanship incarnate, with the most rapid-fire and totally fun rhymes. Big Bang Musick, a duo, rapped over eerie, theremin-like backing tracks, creating a hazy, downbeat feel. And one rapper, Kron Jeremy, started out with an ultra-political and informed a capella rap about income inequality and then powered forward over Beatles samples and other incredibly wild beats.
Every act was at least good and many were great. It made me feel like one of the CBGB scenesters who wandered over from the Manhattan punk shows to the hip-hop block parties in the Bronx in the late-’70s—like I just can't believe this is all going on at the same time, in the same place. If you already go to shows in Albuquerque, do yourself a favor and expand your range to include some local hip-hop. I’d recommend starting with Rock the Mic 13, coming up on March 2. There’s an alternate aural world, and it is not to be missed.