Sure, musicians generally receive the credit, but there are so many other jobs that feed into music—producer, radio DJ, promoter, writer, publisher and so on. These unsung heroes generally put a lot more work in than the folks who show up to play the notes. When you work in music offstage, there’s a tendency to see the bigger picture and develop higher standards, so when these fine people say these were good shows, you better believe them.
Jamie Lenfestey, Heath Concerts
Lenfestey is a Santa Fe icon of sorts. From his former life as Fan Man Productions to his current nonprofit work with Heath Concerts, the man has brought more big-name acts to town than most people even begin to realize. We’re talking the Pixies, Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Ozomatli, Steve Martin, Lucinda Williams...the list goes on. And then it goes on some more. As such, it was hard for him to nail down his favorites.
“The first Ozomatli show at The Paramount was amazing, magic…people were trying to climb in the bathroom windows,” Lenfestey tells SFR. “Lucinda Williams was astounding there, too. When she came out for her third encore, she said, ‘I feel like I’m playing someone’s living room; y’all mind if I stay awhile?’ and she did, like, another 40 minutes!” He also points to De La Soul, Michael Franti and Spearhead, David Byrne and Al Green as other memorable concerts.
Jeff Williams, Cowgirl
Jeff Williams took over booking duties at the Cowgirl some three years back following bartender/promoter Heather McKearnan’s departure for greener pastures in the world of CrossFit. Before that, Williams handled most of the events at the Santa Fe Brewing Company, now Sol Santa Fe. Says Williams of his current gig: “The Cowgirl averages about 40 paid slots a month [and] despite the lack of a formal stage and all that would go with that, we continue to be a popular destination for musicians and live music fans as well.”
Williams points to acts like Sons of Fathers, Coco Robicheaux and The Warren Hood Band as favorites that he’s brought to town, but when it comes to his personal enjoyment, he cites a change in his bluegrass attitude as a real eye-opener.
“I love all kinds of music, but I was never really a bluegrass fan,” he says. “I won some tickets from KBAC a year ago and went to the Folks Fest in Colorado for a weekend. I saw a lot of amazing bluegrass that weekend and started listening more and more; eventually I got to see Alison Krauss and Union Station several times, [and] it could be their show at the Santa Fe Opera was the best I’ve seen…amazing!”
Honey Harris, DJ Radio Free Santa Fe
If you live in Santa Fe and don’t love Honey Harris, you’re doing it wrong. Her long-running, The Big Show, has been a consistently popular and wonderful look into the world of music taking listeners anywhere from our own backyard to across the globe. So how does such a consummate music lover narrow down her favorite show experience? It ain’t easy.
“Of my all-time favorite concerts, I would have to include my very first concert which was when I was 7 years old and begged my mother to take me to see Herman’s Hermits,” she says. “I don’t recall being able to actually see them onstage because all of the teenaged girls were standing in their seats blocking my view, but I’ll never forget the excitement in that auditorium. I was forever hooked on rock ‘n’ roll.” Harris also names a 1990 Saturday Night Live St. Patrick’s Day performance from Irish punk/rock act The Pogues as a biggie.
“That was fun not just because Shane MacGowan was drunk out of his mind, but because I was in the audience watching it live.”