I went to every possible musical performance I could cram into five hours on Saturday night during Fiesta weekend (Sept. 12) and, I’ve gotta say: Santa Fe, you don’t mess around.
I started out at an ’80s-themed roller-skating dance party at Rockin’ Rollers (2915 Agua Fria St., 473-7755), a place where my dumb friends and I used to put on punk shows 10 years ago.
When I showed up, the parking lot was empty and I had one of those terrifying “Is someone playing a joke on me?” moments. My editor even theorized it was a setup perpetrated by angry readers who were waiting to jump me because jam rock sucks and I’m not afraid to say so.
The ’80s music started rocking (and by that I mean, someone put on some mix CDs) and folks eventually started arriving. However, I realized that if I put skates on, I would surely perish.
So I left to check out D Numbers at Corazón (401 S. Guadalupe St., 983-4559), and it was exactly what I have come to expect: tight experimental rock brilliance. Every time it sounds as if the music is heading into long-jam Phish territory, something new and interesting pops up. Perhaps it’s a boss riff from guitarist Ben Wright, a funked-out bass line from Brian Mayhall or a drum fill from Paul Feathericci. D Numbers’ sets are full of more sounds than you would expect from just three dudes.
On to Cowgirl (319 S. Guadalupe St., 982-2565) to check out country-folksters the Sean Healen Band. The band intertwines slow country jams with a rock ’n’ roll foundation to create songs that sound entirely country on the surface, but secretly rock in a modest and clever way.
Healen is not only one of the best musicians I’ve seen in town, but his hat is huge, if you know what I mean. And I mean hat.
I walked through the back parking lot just in time to catch the last bit of Venus Bogardus’ set at the Aztec Café (317 Aztec St., 820-0025). A real sign of musical maturity is when a band rocks just as hard for five people as it does for 500, and the five people present at Aztec that night saw that Venus Bogardus is just that mature. Melodic bass lines and disjointed guitar work were complemented by off-kilter drums and vocal harmonies that invoked the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees. The band debuted a new song from its forthcoming album, and I must say, there’s intrigue in store for avid fans.
I hit Fusion (135 W. Palace Ave., 955-0400) next. You’ve never been more horrified than I was when almost every patron was singing along with that god-awful pseudo-hipster dance-pop 3oh!3 song “Don’t Trust Me.” The song is a lyrical abomination of biblical proportions. Plus, if ever there was a place I have no business being, it’s Fusion. My hair isn’t nearly cool enough, and I don’t own any “awesome” shirts with Ed Hardy logos, nor do I wear cologne other than Eau d’Marlboro. I think the best part of my trip to Fusion was all the dudes who thought it was cool to just walk to the front of the line of people waiting to get inside. You’re awesome, and nobody hates you.
It was nearing 3 am when I finally headed home. I was a little tired, but my tour of Santa Fe shows had been so much fun I didn’t care. Every so often, something clicks inside of me, and I fall in love with music all over again. Special thanks to everyone involved—you make local music worth paying attention to, and I am eternally grateful.