April might be the cruelest month but January is the coldest. With nights that dip into freezing, it's easy to curl up under a down comforter with a cat, a book and a space heater, to hibernate. After all, summer is for partying, right?
Well, sort of. Right now, the patio at the Cowgirl looks like an abandoned post-apocalyptic cityscape; bike racks all over town are empty and black ice still lurks on dark streets. But inside bars and clubs, the sound muffled by closed doors, people warm up with whiskey and dancing.
Case in point: Meow Wolf. On Dec. 11, the warehouse-turned art/performance space, which hasn't got a lot of heat and was probably just this side of freezing, was the hottest spot in town. Portland Ore.'s Flaspar started the night with psychedelic indie rock to get the crowd warmed up. Santa Fe DJ Feathericci filled the changeover with a dance party that had people peeling off clothes—though nobody got naked.
It was Guidance Counselor, though, that stole the night. The Portland-based electro-grunge duo evoked a touch of David Byrne, through a similar vocal style and a high-energy performance/freakout, mixed with drums, guitar and electronic beats, which could have come straight out of an Atari 2600. Frontman Ian Anderson worked himself, and the audience, into a frenzy and, reaching a zenith, when he shoved the microphone into his mouth while continuing to sing, ripped his shirt over the microphone cord as if he was in a hockey fight with himself, dropped his pants to reveal a tight black pair of briefs and ran into the cheering and laughing crowd, which, by that point, had itself shed coats, hats, gloves and sweaters.
While this week may be a little more PG-13, there is still a great excuse to layer-up and hitch a ride down Highway 14. Minneapolis, Minn. quartet Tapes 'n Tapes, a band that knows about cold, brings upbeat rock complete with fuzzy guitars, melodic riffs and a Pixies-esque mix of angst and fun in which you can't help getting wrapped up.
On both Tapes 'n Tapes' 2005 debut The Loon and 2007's Walk it Off, the band plows through a variety of influences from Modest Mouse to The Shins, without so much emulating those influences as building upon them. Where The Loon is a bit scattered, Walk it Off is more cohesive. Both are solid efforts and the band's live performances have been lauded by critics across the country as rambunctious scenes that turn the volume up on Tapes 'n Tapes' polished songs.
While hiding out until spring might seem like a good idea, it's a surefire recipe for missing out on some of the best music to come through Santa Fe in a while. Besides, nothing heats up a room better than a packed crowd oozing body heat and joy.
Tapes 'n Tapes and Wild Light
7 pm Tuesday, Jan. 27
37 Fire Place