show review


V.24 No.47 | 11/19/2015
Megan Reneau

Stevie Stone Rolls into the Launchpad

Launchpad was graced with Yung Knowledge, YAK Boy Fresh, BINGX and Stevie Stone on Sunday, Nov. 22. Yung Knowledge officially began the show. The duo were exceptionally charismatic and engaging. Easily captivating the crowd, they initiated audience participation and used that as a flawless segue between songs. YAK Boy Fresh (Y.ou A.lready K.now) was backed by a band – atypical for his work – but they all had incredible chemistry. YAK Boy Fresh’s flow was effortless, rhythmic and rousing. BINGX was extraordinarily entertaining and receptive to audience members. His high energy was relentless and unmatched.

Stevie Stone took the stage after a short film showing him escaping from a mental institution looking like Hannibal Lecter. Working with DJ Picasso, he was commanding and powerful. Stone’s passion for his music was easy to see and feel. He wanted his fans at Launchpad to know he appreciated them. He performed songs primarily from Strangeulation Vol. II; the crowd was wild and reflected Stone’s enthusiasm. With all the excitement and energy he was putting into the show, Stone took small breaks at the beginning of some songs before jumping up and dancing through his set. He invited a few groups of people from the crowd to join him, his touring crew and the other musicians on stage. All who joined him were eager to do so.

Stevie Stone is an unpretentious performer with outstanding content and flow. He subtly harmonizes with the music. He can stay in tempo but change rhythms with ease. His voice is profound and authoritative. When he’s on stage, there’s no misidentifying the drive and expertise he exudes.

After the show, Stevie Stone stayed to interact with fans. While his music is aggressive and direct, Stone was very kind and gentle with his fans. I watched him talk with and take photos with at least 20 people before I left. When I talked to him he was thoughtful and was genuinely concerned that I enjoyed myself. I talked with a few of the other musicians at the show; they were the same way. I felt welcomed and very pleased to see them all.

I loved watching the crowd and their energy which reflected the performers. Being unfamiliar with all of these musicians and their work, I looked to the crowd for guidance. The group was enthusiastic, wild, blissful, and passionate. Everyone was happy to be there, perhaps most of all Stevie Stone.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a chilly rub.

Cashmere Pawing at his decks

Cashmere Cat wins over Burque

As I settled into my cushioned corner and zipped up my jacket further in hopes of staying warm on a cold November night, Alxxs Garza started to play. The familiar green and purple lights of Stereo Bar illuminated the early patrons of the event. Alxxs played universally liked electro house, and had beautiful transitions as usual. The crowds in Stereo came and went as groups of friends passed through trying to get their last nicotine fix before retreating to El Rey to stay warm and listen to BK Beats and The 1960 Sci-Fi Era and eventually the headliner, Cashmere Cat.

Yielding to the cold, I retreated as well to the innards of El Rey and was greeted by the heavy beats and tender, uplifting chords that I associate with BK Beats’ live performances. The crowd in front of the stage was more condensed than the rest of the audience, but people were dancing all over. I went to the bar to get a beer, watching the social workings of the mass of fans from afar before diving in myself.

The venue slowly got more crowded as The 1960 Sci-Fi Era joined BK Beats on stage. The two work together seamlessly to create an intricate and energetic tropical/trap set. As more people joined the audience, more people started dancing. I figured I should make my way to the front of the crowd before it got too much for me. I followed the flow of the audience; ultimately arriving to the duo’s left. Not too long after that, their smooth and bubbly set was complete and the stage went dark.

After a few minutes of double checking that the tables were working, Cashmere Cat came onto the stage. The entire crowd applauded and cheered. He began his set with no introduction, as if he needed one, but it added to the atmosphere of humbleness that he radiated.

I’ve never seen so many people cat-themed; I think I’m going to call his fans Cutie Catz. I saw many cat-ear headbands, cat shirts, furry vests with hoods and rounded ears, and even a hooded Cheshire Cat onsie. The crowd reflected Cashmere’s lovable reserve. Distinctly different from most crowds I’ve dealt with at large venues, everyone was friendly and excited to share the experience.

I never thought I–not to mention a huge crowd of EDM and pop enthusiasts –could truly enjoy and get down to a playful vibraphone and harp synth drop. I suppose the springy beats and elastic vocals contribute; overall Cashmere’s style is gentle, which is truly an extension of him. While he may have not spoken to us, he was very active and engaging in other ways.

He was there to bring his followers joy, but not at the cost of his own. He was consistently more energetic than the crowd; when the crowd would recover after dancing to a particularly hard drop, he remained lively and bouncy. He only stopped dancing to focus on important transitions (which were flawless) and to throw kawaii peace signs at the audience.

Cashmere relied heavily on vocal samples, which makes sense, given that he’s worked with the music of some notable artists like Lana Del Rey and 2 Chainz (as remixes/edits), Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and was a featured producer of Ariana Grande’s album My Everything. Unlike many DJs I’ve seen, Cashmere was able to truly weave the vocals through the music as transitions or as an instrument rather than for self-promotion or using them as a message to the youths in the crowd to get turnt. As a person, I found him adorable, and as a musician, I found him exceedingly excellent.

Cashmere created an environment of pure, innocent, romantic joy in his electronic dreamscape. His performance is the top tier of electronic shows. The entire crowd enjoyed the active and energetic set by Cashmere; I can only hope he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him.

V.24 No.11 | 3/12/2015
Blue Öyster Cult ... now
Courtesy of artist

Music

Bad Oysters: A short, strange evening with Blue Öyster Cult

Alibi resident rocker Wrathchild reports on a concert that left comatose concertgoers feeling blue.
V.22 No.5 |
Gojira

music

Gomez on Metal: Gojira/The Atlas Moth at Sunshine

If you want to see where metal is at, look no further than Bayonne—that's France, not New Jersey.

Albuquerque's knowledgeable metal fans exploded into cheers on Tuesday, Jan. 29, as everyone's favorite French metal band Gojira tore into the opening track "Explosia" from their 2012 release L'Enfant Sauvage.

Live, Gojira sets up a sonic force field made up of fast, staccato pounding rhythms behind which the band works its art. Aware of the conventions of metal, the band avoids them. The aesthetic extends even to its backdrop, a stylized leafy tree inside a human head instead of skulls, pentagrams, inverted crosses or flames.

Late in the show, the capacity crowd may have gotten got a glimpse into the Gojira creative process and the relationship at the core of the band when Joe Duplantier played a chugging solo riff that also incorporating ringing harmonics. Joined by his brother Mario on drums, the two played together much as one imagines they have over the years. The other members kicked in and they became Gojira. But the image that remains is of Joe riffing away, a man and his guitar in the night.

What separates those who go through the motions and those who could be headed somewhere could be what former President George H.W. Bush called "the vision thing." The Atlas Moth has the vision thing.

Crowded up at the front of the Sunshine stage, the young five-piece band from Chicago is fronted by singer/guitarist Stavros Giannopolous who, with his short hair, beard and hoodie looks like a guy who stocks produce or bags your groceries at Sprouts but who also possesses an unearthly scream and growl.

Their sound recalls a slower, heavier Isis. Andrew Ragin (guitar, keyboards and producer of 2011 release An Ache for the Distance) also cites Neurosis as a band favorite. Waves of sound from the individual instruments interact with each other like a speeded-up continental drift. Drummer Anthony Mainiero produces impossibly heavy beats from his small kit made up of nothing but a bass drum, floor tom, a snare and a few cymbals. People are taking notice of this band. Ragin said that Gojira, who know the band's music, called to invite The Atlas Moth on their current tour. Stavros is also a member of Twilight, which Noisecreep calls a "black metal supergroup." Twilight has a new member for their 2013 release, some recently divorced guy named Thurston Moore. Standing alone in the Sunshine lobby after the show, tired and under the weather a bit, Stavros looked like anything but a superstar. Full journalistic disclosure: I liked these guys so much I bought them a round of beers after their set.

Mr. Gomez, of Taos Pueblo, has been listening to metal since 1975.