Show School

Venues need to take a page from metal promoters

A few days before Christmas, my roommate Elektra and I forced ourselves to leave the house. It was harrowing for plenty of reasons, but usually, if we are left to our own devices, we won’t brave the cold for non-work things. It was challenging. Sue us. Anyway, the reason we were able to accomplish such a Herculean feat was because of a (mostly) metal show at Skylight. Yeah, I know, they get a lot of ink, but they’re doing the bulk of good shows around here lately. So maybe y’all should look at improving your own shit before you worry about who’s getting the most coverage. Anyway, it was a metal event with Fields of Elysium, Intronaut and others put on by those dudes at Kronos Creative, who you may recall because I’ve columned about them before.

Cut to a couple nights ago, and we were at a different metal/punk show with new local band Ol' Dagger and Taos punk trio Article 15 at The Underground. This thing was just as packed as Skylight, if not more so, and a thought occurred to me: Kronos and their ilk are doing pretty much the best job promotions-wise in town, and everybody else should probably look to the way these guys are doing it. After all, that feeling we've all had the past year or so about great things happening here musically is so close we can taste it; we just need to make that last push.

Metal shows at DIY spaces and officially sanctioned venues have been consistently pulling in some of the highest audience numbers of late. This isn't, like, an official statement … more like I eyeballed the situation and was all, "Holy shit, look at this sea of humans!"

"There was kind of a lull with Warehouse 21 [temporarily] and Corazón [permanently] closing, with only a few bands carrying the torch, but they were divided," Kronos Creative's Augustine Ortiz says. "Luckily, we've seen a steady rise in attendance over the past two years on average, with the last few months being some of the biggest shows we've had yet, and many in attendance were people I haven't seen before, and that is excellent."

Local metal fans have proven to be a tight-knit community of supportive and musically obsessed people who get out to pretty much any metal event. A lot of that could be blamed on friendships and/or how boring Santa Fe can be (especially in winter), but the people behind shows with Santa Fe bands like Future Scars and Dysphotic or Albuquerque's Bathhouse have attained that all-important goal live music-wise: They're consistent. If promoters consistently provide good shows—and no, I don't mean they drill a band nobody cares about into the minds of the populace through nonstop performances week in and week out—people start to think, Oh wow, those dudes always do good shows, so I will go one way or another, and it'll probably be rad. It's about actual support, not the sad realization that you've got nothing better to do, and said actual support comes from worthwhile events.

"[Metal shows] gave us purpose, and the community gave us a lot of support," David Ahern-Seronde, of DIY venue The Cave, tells SFR. "We have such a solid metal scene, but it still wouldn't work without people who know what they're doing."

There's a constant influx of touring bands, both national and regional, that bring with them a positive sense of throwback community and a reminder that we may live in a bubble, but we can still let people inside once in a while. What does that mean exactly? It means that when we are given a chance to see one-off shows with traveling acts, it recalls the good old days when locals were excited to open for out-of-towners, as opposed to the new-ish trend of entitlement born of some weird fear of irrelevance. I'll make this easy: You're all irrelevant, because the music industry never once cared about you, and those "fans" of yours are just people who frequent the same bars, despite your appearances. Haha! Swish!

“I urge other promoters to think about the whole package; put together a show that is fun and organized and that the bands love playing as much as the fans love watching,” Ortiz says.


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