Man, 2013 sucked huge. I was all, “I’m gonna blow this mouse house and live it up in Los Angeles!” I burned bridges and hurt feelings (more so than usual) and thought I was so smart. But then, like Will Smith, my life got flip turned upside down and I failed at life in a pretty major way. I was a man without a hometown and didn’t know what to do. But then, whether out of kindness or its Sarlacc-like ability to swallow people whole, Santa Fe welcomed me back…ish.
Again, I admit that I wasn't entirely thrilled about returning, but if there is one thing that has taken the sting out of my Southern Californian flavored crash and burn, and it's that the local scene around here seemed to kind of get its shit together while I wasn't looking.
We've still got plenty of work to do if we plan on making our nightlife more interesting than hotel lobby jazz guitarists and a seemingly endless supply of karaoke regulars who still seem to think that singing Journey—and poorly at that—makes them geniuses, but 2013 brought some great musical action all the same.
For example, in just this year alone, something like 7 billion great records came out. Brian Mayhall of D Numbers blew me away with his multi-layered and complex electronic jams. His homeboy Ben Wright did the same with his progeny-inspired One On the Way. And then if that wasn't enough, these dudes teamed up with Paul Feathericci to release a brand new D Numbers EP, III. Luke Carr bummed me out with his mind-numbing enthusiasm only to make me feel like a dick when his sci-fi solo record Pigrow totally killed. Evarusnik molded a wall of sound you could almost see with In a Poker Slash Refrain, As In We went more complex with As Above, So Below than ever before while still being the nicest bunch of musicians you'd ever want to meet.
Author's note: this is the last time I'll talk about Luke Carr and As In We for awhile. Promise.
We picked up some national and possibly international attention as hONEyhoUSe insisted on keeping their sappy name but garnered the attention of Rolling Stone's website (though I'm not entirely sure anything came out of it beyond a few days of Facebook buzz).
There were a whole mess of great shows from locals and non-locals alike. Treemotel found its footing and started to slay just in time to move to Austin, but still rocked a killer set on the Summer Bandstand (which in and of itself has become cooler than ever/more all-ages friendly thanks to a helping hand from arts collective Meow Wolf ). AHA Fest was better than ever with more art, more music, more hip dads than ever before, Doug Montgomery managed to change my mind about wine bar piano music and Molly's Kitchen & Lounge quietly became the best all-ages venue in town with awesome shows from Those Darlins, Diane Coffee (see Inside Track, page 30) and more DJs than you can shake an intricately designed house music set at…'twas awesome.
There were sad moments as well. Chris Quintana was unceremoniously forced out of The Underground, a bar he created and stocked with some of the best live music we'd ever had. Former youth promoter and all-around Santa Fe punk rock icon Blaine Baker tragically killed himself in New York leaving many reeling.
And things continue to look up with events like the New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts' Business of Music Summit, the Santa Fe Music Alliance's attempts to unite musicians and conquer apathy, and a renewed focus on nightlife with, hopefully, a little help from the city itself. There's about a week left in the year, and there are still plenty of awesome shows left.
So maybe 2013 wasn't the perfect year for any of us, but seeing all this new effort on the part of so many people within the scene is invigorating. With a little bit of hard work and luck (and a whole lot of booze), it might even get better in 2014.
Fingers crossed, everybody.