Category Archives: Music

Memphis P. Tails

Looking out over the dusty desert that is Albuquerque it’s hard to believe that deep inside this city beats the heart of the blues. But, sometimes looks can be deceiving. Albuquerque is not really known has a music town sometimes it can be difficult to find live music any where in town, but there is one band that has been playing here for over 20 years, Memphis P-Tails. Founded in 1993 they are easily one of the longest running local bands still on the scene here. Darin Goldston the founder of the Memphis P-Tails has the blues flowing through his veins and back in the 90’s he decided to do something about it. The band has gone through a few line-up changes over the years, with the latest and greatest being the best. The Memphis P-Tails can be spotted playing all over Albuquerque, with a standing Wednesday night at The Monte Vista Fire Station. This isn’t even a regular show for the band this is a jam session where anyone who knows the words or the chords can get up on stage and jam with the band. Some nights they set up in the back of the bar and other summer nights they will be out playing on the patio. “It’s a great time that our extend blue family can join in on” Darin. The P-tails use to be a traveling band but now they keep it to a minimum playing blues festivals in Silver City and Arizona. They love the scene they have created here locally. With families and kids at home Albuquerque is more then just a home base, it’s the place they want to stay. “I’m really proud of the band for playing as much and for as long as we have” Darin. When pressed on how to turn someone onto the Blues, Darin says start with the King, BB King that is. At some point in everyone’s life they can relate to the Blues. When looking for inspiration to write the next great Blue’s song Darin says it’s like anything else the mood has to hit. In case it’s not hitting put on some music the sound will never fail to inspire. A good drink and a good friend is all you need to enjoy singing the Blues .Checkout the Memphis P-tails on Facebook and find out where they are playing next, there is nothing like hearing the blues live. check out more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine 

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Satine Ramblers

Many years ago in a sleepy little suburb of Albuquerque called Bosque Farms, four children grew up with seemingly normal lives, until ten years ago. During college at UNM Valencia campus, these four youths got together and formed The Saltine Ramblers. They are not your standard college band. These guys didn’t get into music for the babes or the status, they just wanted to have fun and play some music. They never set out to be an actual band, but their fans saw it differently.

Cory, Dave, Kevin, and Dave all came from different musical backgrounds and styles, but can all agree that their major influences are Ween and The Grateful Dead. Some of you may be thinking, ‘I would never go see them’, but they are much more then their influences. In ten years, they have become adapt when it coming to playing for their crowds. At the drop of the hat they will go from six-minute covers of The Cure to a bluegrass tune to keep the audience on their feet. “I just wanted our fans to come out to have fun,” says Cory.

All the members take turns singing and writing music for the band. “We come up with ideas, bring into practice, and we all sit down and work on them,” shares Kevin, the band’s comic relief and rhythm guitar player. I personally am not sure how they can tell who the comic relief is in this band. If these guys have half as much fun on-stage, (which they do) as they have off-stage, you will always leave their show with a smile on your face.

The band has recently released their second CD, produced in Santa Fe, at Frogville Studios. The first album they were able to record in a matter of hours, and the new one in two days. “We started out limited on time because we were limited on funds,” Cory says, “But since we are such a well-practiced band, it took less time then we thought” Frogville does the entire recording live with the whole band playing at the same time, which suits The Ramblers just fine.

You can find The Saltine Ramblers playing all over the state of New Mexico, including local brewpubs. They have no solid plans to tour outside of New Mexico at this time, as they are still in it for fun, not fame. Check out http://www.thesaltineramblers.bandcamp.com to hear their latest tracks and see where they are playing next or their Facebook page for the latest dates.

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Vans Warped Tour Takes ABQ by Storm

Over night, Albuquerque population increased by a thousand people, rolling into town tucked away on tour buses with tinted windows. The small army set up their base camp just south of town, in front of Isleta Amphitheater. A black twisting path leads into the theater with open seating to six different stages. Tents lined the walkways and the grassy hill, as anxious patrons wait to clamor in the gates. Music, fashion, Buddhist, and non-profits collide in this all-day event. The masses arrive early to line up at the tent of their favorite band for the signing events that would be going on throughout the day. There is also plenty of shopping to be done in-between and at the band tents. Kids and adults alike burst through the gate scattering across the massive sprawl that is the Theater. Two Write on Her Arm is the first tent we make a pit stop at. This nonprofit operates solely off your donations to help people of any age who are contemplating suicide or other destructive behaviors. They work with connecting people to crisis prevention lines in the area and are actively trying to change the preconceptions of mental illness in this country. Heart Support, who has a booth further down the way, is also a non-profit who is reaching out to people and trying to help them through tough times. Both of these organizations provide people a safe place where they can speak with others who are going through the same trials. “It’s pretty awesome for us to be out here this year it’s our 20th birthday as well as Warped Tours 20th birthday. So we are all getting old together, it’s nice, it’s lovely. It’s a good vibe out here haven’t down the whole tour since 2004 so it’s good to be back.” (Jeff – Bowling for Soup). The wind begins to really pick up in Albuquerque, which is no surprise to the locals. The road crews manning the tents are hanging from them to keep them from blowing away, while making the tents shorter and shorter. The rain is coming, because it only rains in the desert during large outdoor concerts and Balloon Fiesta. “This is only the fourth day of Warped Tour, so I’m still trying to meet everybody, but it’s a great chance for us tour with our friends and with bands we normally wouldn’t go out with for a tour.” (Less Than Jake). Even with the storm threatening, people are still filing in through the gates of the park. There are signs taped to the black top telling you what band will come on what stage at what time. Food and drink vendors open their windows to dish out hot dogs and hamburgers. There is little shade to be had and no misters, but they are giving away free water in all corners of the theater to combat the heat of the day. “I started tour at 15. I finished high school on the road while touring.” (Nathan Young – Anberlin) Music blares from every corner of the theater now that the show is in full swing. Six stages – three running at a time with metal bands, punk bands, and DJ. There is a little something for everyone. A light rain falls for a few moments, but blows over quickly restoring sunshine. The rain has done nothing to dampen the spirit of the day. “We respect our fans and won’t change our sound. It is who we are and we are comfortable with that,” (Nick – Bayside). The Warped Tour has steadily grown in size over the last 20 years, adding more events and bands. Even on the hot asphalt, it was worth coming out and checking out the latest and greatest bands for a day long adventure. Check out more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine

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Nightlife in Santa Fe

Pulling into Santa Fe around 8, food was calling our name. First stop Second Street Brewery on 2nd street, in its original location. They had a live band playing in the middle of the floor; an Irish couple on the night in question. The wait was short and made short by the large selection of in-house brews. After a good beer, and some great music, we moved on with our evening.

The Matador is a well-known little gem just off Santa Fe’s famous plaza. A basement dive bar with blaring punk rock, and an eclectic crowd, it’s a perfect place to begin or end your night. In this case we did both. Don’t be fooled by the poster on the wall and ratty bar stools. The Matador can hold its own with any bar in town. Open for seven years, you can enjoy the old movies on the TV or get a seat in the other room around the stripper pole – the choice is yours.

Just down the street from The Matador is The Den. DJ Luna was spinning some serious EDM (electronic dance music). A complete 180 from Matador’s dive bar personality, The Den has high-end furnishings with fireplaces burning. The light show is hypnotic and has well-dressed bartenders serve up of drinks.

The best part about Santa Fe – it’s all right there, so you don’t have to choose. You can cover just about every kind of music you want within a single block next to the plaza.

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Dum Dum Girls

The melodic beats of “Boys and Girls Club” off the album Too True by the Dum Dum Girls will transport you back to the 90s. A time when girl power was everything and black eyeliner was a must, Sub Pop recorders deliver this band to us. Many of you who are familiar with classic acts, like Nirvana, know that this label only chooses the grungiest, most melon collie bands to dispense to the masses, and the Dum Dum Girls deliver beautifully. The haunting vocals of singer/ song writer Dee Dee Penny (aka Kristin Welchez), induce a trance like state some where between euphoria and wondering where it all went wrong.

The new album Too True follows the bands Only in Dreams LP from 2011 and the End of Daze EP in 2012. The End of Daze EP received best in music from Pitchfork, and the single “Lord Knows” received best new track the same year from Pitchfork. Pitchfork host two major music festivals a year one in Chicago Il and the other in Paris France. They also have topped the list with their singles on CMJ.com. For those in the know, CMJ connects music fans with new music and offers digital discovery services. The band’s original heartache and lo-fi style has given way to a stronger more polished vibe in the new album. If you have been looking for a new band that doesn’t sound like everyone else out there on the pop music station, I suggest you strap on your doc martens and play the record loud. If your neighbors aren’t banging, then you not doing it right.

With sold out shows across the nation, Dum Dum Girls are attacking quite a following. They will be playing locally here at Sister on March 10th. Luckily for us in the Land of Enchantment there are still tickets available. Visit http://holdmyticket.com/event/153125 to buy your tickets for the show.
Check out more at: www.NMEntertains.com

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Laidback Luke

Valentine’s Day at The Stage inside Santa Ana Star Casino with Laidback Lukelaidbackstage3, and I had the privilege of sitting down with him, while his wife Gina Turner opened the show. Laidback Luke has a residency at Light this year in Vegas, moving on from his residency at Hakkasan. Working in Vegas is amazing and drastically different then playing in the festival shows. The festival shows allow you to tap in to the local vibe of an area. “My favorite for the year was EDC Vegas 2103” says Luke. “In Vegas, you are always playing for tourists. The advantage to Vegas is that they can build or make happen what ever you can dream up.” Currently Laidback Luke is in talks with Cirque du Soleil to create a new event. .

Working on the road with his wife, Gina Turner, is proving to be a great partnership in many ways. She is a great crowd starter, who digs new innovated underground music, so they never clash on the musical sets. Off-stage Gina is a certified yoga teacher and Luke is a Kung Fu practitioner at a world level. “What people don’t know about Kung Fu is that it originated from people at the Shaolin temple, meeting a yogi who taught them about breathing and fighting.” shared Luke. “Before that, the Shaolin Monks were just monks”. Luke and Gina are very much a power couple, in the aspects that they live clean, eat healthy, and are always planning their workouts.

Laidback Luke was always into drawing as a child. In his teenage years, his art moved to drawing on walls. It didn’t last long because he did get in trouble with the police. He now channels all his creativity into music. There are some DJs out there that can do both and make beautiful art and music, but Luke says his heart is only in his music. To keep the creative juices flowing he says, “The best way to beat ‘Producers’ Block’ is to set goals, and give yourself time limits.” Currently he set himself a goal of producing twenty new tracks in twenty days. Staying focused takes work in itself.

To aspiring DJs out there he offers some advice. “Word of mouth is the best way to get your name out there, if the quality is there in your work. Grass roots movements are the best way to widen your circle and get people listening to your music. Talk, talk, talk and be talked about.”

Opening with a strong underground set, Gina turned up the crowd for Laidback Luke to take over. The crowd was jumping. Wherever Electronic Music takes Laidback Luke and his wife, we certainly hope it brings them back through Albuquerque, sooner rather then later.

checkout more at: www.NMEntertains.com

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Inside Ozomatli

Ozomatli maybe be a local Los Angeles band that has been around for eighteen years and counting, but they are adopted sons of New Mexico. They are here this weekend to perform at the La Cosecha Dual Language Conference, a fundraiser for dual language education here in New Mexico. Citizens of the world, this seven-member band has a wide variety of musical styles and fusions including jazz, hip-hop, and salsa, to name just a few. Some of their fans love them for their political activism while others love them for their high-energy party-loving live performances. Whatever the reason you’re drawn to this band, they will give it their all to wow the crowd.

Each member of the band brings with them a different background and up-bringing from the same city. One thing is for sure they are no longer just a band or just friends, they are a family. As a family they strive to give back to the communities that have supported them. In Los Angeles, the Mayor has given them their own day, April 23rd (Ozomatli Day), in recognition of their efforts.  The band says it is important to them to encourage music and art in the schools so that is what they use their day hours to do. “Too often art and music are the first programs to be cut from the budget. All classes are important but unlike math that has a finite answer to a question, art and music force people to think out of the box. Future problem-solvers of the world will benefit from these classes. Exercising the creative muscle of your brain doing art and music teaches you to think for yourself.” Asdru Sierra

The band is proud of the fusion of musical styles in their music. They believe that music can break down cultural walls and biases.  Everyone on the planet relates to the world in different ways with different jobs to do. The band sees themselves as caretakers of the world. They bring people who might not otherwise have anything in common together for a good experience. They believe everything is a combination of other things — rock ‘n roll came to life by combining blues and jazz. Taking the idea further, the band is constantly striving to add new variety to their sound. “It can be the hardest part of making music they way we do, learning new styles and playing the sound with integrity. It is also the part that keeps it fun.”  Raul Pacheco

One of Ozomatli’s political messages is that everyone needs to learn different languages in this country. That is why they are here in New Mexico for La Cosecha. They are contributing their time and money to make scholarships available to New Mexico children for learning multiple languages.  After extensive touring outside the United States, it became clear to them that if our children want to stand a chance in the global market then they need to be bilingual. “Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world”, Asdru Sierra notes.  They aren’t insisting what language you choose to learn but the time of a single language to unify the nation is over. Back two hundred years ago, it made sense to insist on a single language, but the times have changed and the global economy insists on evolution of thought when approaching the world. Many of the members are bilingual and say that in many ways knowing both Spanish and English has been a large contributor to their success in the past eighteen years.

Being citizens of the world has gotten them named Cultural Ambassadors to the U.S. State Department. Luckily for these busy guys, they were already going all over the world reaching out to many different kinds of people with their music. “Life cannot be heavy or a party all the time and our music reflects that”. Ulises Bella  From helping grass roots political movements in Los Angeles gain momentum to cheering up a single listener, the band’s versatile music and positive lyrics are creating change on a national and global level. They have performed twice for President Obama at the White House and have joined political causes and rallies from here to Africa.

No matter how busy their touring schedule is, the band always manages to make a visit or three to New Mexico every year.  When asked what ties they have to our state, the answer is simple: “Green chile.”  When they were just starting out as a band they made a strong connection with the Chicano community here in New Mexico and up in Colorado. Grateful for the support of these adopted communities the bands makes time to give back and come through town often. Constant traveling and seeing how different people live in different places helps to keep the band motivated and inspired to do what they do best – share the inspiration.

There are no plans as of yet for how the band will celebrate turning twenty but they are certain they will be throwing a party. When asked if it will be on Ozomatli Day, there were shoulder shrugs all around. They suggest if you live outside Los Angeles and want to celebrate April 23, “buy a musician a meal. They are starving for the art.” On a more serious note, they recommend, “keep taking stands on issues you believe — the world is counting on it.”  Whatever bought your attention to Ozomatli, know they will keep changing growing and giving you more of what you love.

Checkout more at NM Entertains

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Catching up with DJ MAKJ

It’s a chilly night in front of the Sunshine Theater in downtown Albuquerque. The wind is picking up and papers blow down Rte. 66 giving the impression that the venue is closed down for the winter. Around the side though is a large tour bus With Bingo Players tour painted on it. Steeping off the bus in a pair of shorts and a hat is DJ MAKJ Mackenzie Johnson is how he introduces himself, as we sit down in the amazingly orange down stairs of the theater.

When Mackenzie was just sixteen years-old living overseas in China driving race-cars he went out to a night club called Today and Tomorrow in Macau and heard DJ Qbert, an American Hip-Hop DJ. He was that guy all night standing by the turntables asking question after question. After returning to the states Mackenzie jumped head first into to DJing. One of his most memorable moments was went he met DJ AM who became a brotherly figure to him. At the age of seventeen DJ AM took Mackenzie under his wing and showed him how to handle people especially the ones in the business. Mackenzie says “I was lucky to live overseas and ravel at such a young age it gave me a head start on seeing the world and understanding people.”

Earlier this year DJ MAKJ played on the third night of Tomorrowland 2013 in Atlanta GA which was a life changing experience. The crowds were amazing and the show was invigorating, but what he took away from it was how important organization is in a show like. He developed a deep respect for promoters who notice the small things. “when your touring you look for things like the nearest shower and food before preforming”.

“The only way to grow as an artist is to make the music people are listening to”. He produced the number one song on Beatport in October along many other hits this year. He hopes to produce a movie score sometime in 2014. Producing is amazing but her still loves to perform. “All ages shows are the best the kids just want to rage all night”. He would also like to mix Rock ’n’ Roll in with some techno beats to open up his audience to new and older kinds of music. Growing and changing is what makes the job so much fun.

Words of wisdom that ring true no matter what age or career you’re in “ Do break the rules and be yourself. Don’t mimic your idols their style already exists. Don’t play it safe make as much music as possible and just keep playing to find who you are”.

DJ MAKJ will be taking the stage soon and heated up the Sunshine making everyone forget how cold and grey it is outside tonight.

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