On Feb. 15, we saw Asliani play again—this time at Winning Coffee (111 Harvard SE)—and were once again struck by her life-positive and unflaggingly skillful rapping. I think she's one of the best rappers in town, male or female. Then on Feb. 20, at La Cumbre Brewing Company (3313 Girard NE), Mauro and I met up with a good friend to sit and talk, and listened to the Green Billies—a classic-sounding five-piece bluegrass band. “I feel like I always know the sound of this kind of band,” our friend said. “But it’s a great sound, and I love it.” Later, on Feb. 24, I got to see Colleen Johnson, of Upside Drown, play a sweet, solo guitar-and-vox set at the Tan's closing reception for this year’s legendary Fun-a-Day art show; she reminded me of classic Brill Building singer-songwriters. At the same show, I was privileged to see the live debut of Boba and Gobi, aka grade school-aged Nova and Vivien Dugan-Mezensky, with Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes of A Hawk and a Hacksaw. The girls performed songs they wrote with A Hawk and A Hacksaw, and Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich even stepped in. My face hurt from grinning at this show—these kids are future rock stars—with great lyrics—“Africa … is a city … in space!”—confidence and style.
Two days before that, on Feb. 22, at Sister (409 Central NW), I saw North America's triumphant return to Albuquerque; recently chosen to play the prestigious All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival in London, they're making it big. I remember watching them open shows back in 2010, and thought of them then as a hard-ambient duo, but this time around they just full-on rocked. Keyboard—drums—a wildness—and everyone was dancing. This was a show that filled me with affection for Albuquerque. I was in a terrible mood when I went out—bowed down by the weight of another week's worth of first-world poverty and quietly seething about something unimportant—but after 20 minutes of conversation and music, I just felt amazed at how much it completely restored me. Like it always does. I have an immense fondness for the people of this scene—for those I talked with or saw or saw play, and for those who are just there, anytime, being present. Even if our conversations never make it beyond the basics—and I find they often do—I hope you know I like you all, and I'm grateful to have you in my life. You make it better. Hooray for live music, friendship, community and this weird desert truck-stop of a city. Seriously. That's a serious hooray.