On Saturday, August 25th, downtown Albuquerque was transformed into a festival for an evening dedicated to the music and arts. This annual event featured multiple local and national acts, musical performances, crafts, and artwork. Enjoy the photo galleries of the highlights from SOMOS!
The sound of a Lindsey Stirling’s violin echoed throughout the crowd paired with the haunting vocals of the lead singer of Evanescence, Amy Lee at the Isleta Amphitheater on Aug. 28.
By Nichole Harwood
With gates opening at 7 p.m. together Evanescence and Stirling delivered a dynamic show introducing a variety of music that ranged from highly energetic and joyful to soothing and melodic.
Stirling first took to the stage dancing with her iconic violin in hand as she was joined with a live orchestra and her dancers. Each songs tone rang true as she performed a variety of favorite melodies ranging from “Roundtable Rival” to “Shatter Me” in which she was joined by Amy Lee for the vocals in the latter.
Likewise in fitting with the themes Stirling and her dancers showcased a variety of costumes and dance styles often telling a story on stage as reflected by the songs.
One particularly moving performance featured one of the dancers dressed as a ballerina attempting to dance only to be shoved and belittled by her fellow dancers when she tried to match their movements. Despite the discouragement the lone dancer persists throughout the song causing attendees of the concert to watch eagerly to see how her fate would unfold by the end of the melody.
Stirling who hails from Arizona said she felt at home among the New Mexican terrain and was excited to perform in New Mexico for the first time. She thanked a cheering crowd as she revealed she grew up as a fan of the band she was sharing a stage with. Stirling expressed her appreciation in sharing the stage with Evanescence even showcasing an old video of her lip syncing the popular song by the group “Bring me to Life”.
Stirling joked about her younger self good naturedly and then spread a message of hope to crowd as she recounted her experiences and the trials she went through to get where she is today.
“I am living proof because I am standing on the stage in front of you tonight I am living proof that it doesn’t matter if someone else sees it in you or not,” Stirling said. “What matters is if you can see it in yourself.”
After encouraging the cheering crowd to follow their dreams and believe in themselves Stirling launched into her song “Take Flight” telling the crowd that the emotions in the song were the closest she can come to describing the feeling of flying.
Stirling also took a moment to share her personal feelings on subjects of depression and anorexia encouraging attendees to understand the importance of positivity and recognizing the steps many take to reach it.
“Rather than focusing on the things I want to take out of myself I focus on the things I want to add to my life,” Stirling said to the crowd.
Following Stirling’s energetic performance was Evanescence who drew cheers from attendees as Lee launched into a mix of both older and newer music. Like with Stirling the addition of the orchestra added a new element to many of Evanescence’s songs.
Many of these tracks were amplified with the emotions of old hits such as “Lithium” and “Imaginary” standing out in particular.
In true fashion to many of Evanescence’s songs the sound of the keys of the piano accompanied lead singer Lee’s voice with the singer herself playing the instrument as well for many segments. Just as with Stirling’s performance Lee was joined on stage by the violinist for a short time.
Lee thanked the attendees with vigor as she expressed her appreciation of her fans calling the audience awesome. As the evening continued both fans of Stirling and Evanescence watched excitedly as the night’s performances unfolded.
“One of the most incredible things about music is its ability to completely transport us to another place, another time, to a precious memory,” Lee told a cheering crowd.
Photography by ABQ Live photographer Michael Griego Jr
The event may have been kept on the down low, but it’s no secret that the Swing Easy event at Hotel Andaluz was a success! The password protected party was complete with costumes, cool vibes and electro swing music. Located in the Casablanca room at Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque, the event served as the first event in the “Second Saturday Series” at the hotel.
Labor of Love Productions put on a jazz era theme party with a contemporary twist on August 11th. Check out images from an evening of remixed swing and jazz music as they united the classics of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s with the electronic influence of the 2000’s.
For more information on future events like this, be sure to check out hotelandaluz.com.
River Whyless’ serenaded Albuquerque on Monday, July 30 at the Launchpad along with opener native New Mexican Adam Torres.
The two created a calming and energetic atmosphere as they played their unique blend of music to the crowd Monday night.
Adam Torres first took to the stage around 8 p.m. establishing a tranquil atmosphere for River Whyless’ as he played what he calls psychedelic folk music to the audience. Despite being a native New Mexican born in Albuquerque the artist who has been playing professionally for four years had never before played in his hometown. His journey to becoming the opener for River Whyless’ began during a past performance where member of River Whyless’ Daniel Shearin’s band opened in Asheville, California for Torres. After staying in touch Torres later agreed to be the opening artist for River Whyless’ a road that eventually brought him to perform in Albuquerque for the first time.
It’s awesome, I’ve never actually played in Albuquerque strangely enough as I grew up mostly in other places but my extended family lives here,” said Torres. “I hope I get to meet people that haven’t heard of my stuff and hopefully they like it.”
The crowd welcomed Torres warmly as he performed first alone with guitar and vocals and later joined by his friend on cello.
I love Albuquerque, I love this town and I am happy to be here,” Torres said.
River Whyless began their performance at 9 p.m. playing a variety of tracks from older albums as well as their newest “Kindness, A Rebel.”
“So far I love it (Albuquerque) this is actually one of the rare days where we had time to cruise around and explore the scenery,” said drummer for River Whyless’ Alex McWalters commenting that the band enjoyed the venue at Space Coffee earlier that day. Having played in Santa Fe a year prior and enjoyed the state the band had wanted to return to New Mexico and chose to play in Albuquerque for the first time, McWalters said.
It was on route and so we figured it was high time we found out what Albuquerque’s got going on,” McWalters said.
River Whyless’ presents a unique addition to the American folk genre with three vocalist who play other instruments in addition to singing often in harmony. For McWalters his motivations as an artist are not something he can give consciously.
I think it (playing music) is more of a unconscious desire, to be creative and play my drums,” McWalters said. “There is nothing specific or exact about my motivations it’s just about creating things with people I love.”
As people filled the Launchpad McWalters said the turnout was great considering the band had never played in Albuquerque taking to the stage with his fellow bandmates.
The audience at the Launchpad embraced the rippling violin of Halli Anderson and rhythmic drumming of McWalters as they listened to the powerful harmonization of the three lead vocalist and their instruments. Near the end of the performance the band left the stage opting to instead join the crowd below as the three vocalist Halli Anderson, Ryan O’Keefe and Daniel Shearin performed songs with only the assistance of a acoustic guitar.
The band thanked the audience after the performance and met with fans after at their merchandise table.
This is an enchanted city,” Anderson said. “We had an amazing time riding bikes and eating delicious food and drinking coffee. The weather was great it was dry and breezy. It was one one of those days that from the beginning to the end it was just a good time.”
By ABQ-Live reporter Nichole Harwood | Photography by Naomi Romero
Since the first Summerfest came to Civic Plaza in 1980, the city wide event has returned each year featuring free community events, children’s activities, an artisan market full of handcrafted goods, and discounts from local businesses.
From their Summerfest has only grown in size with now four local Summerfest events widespread across Albuquerque. The first of the events kicked off on June 9 with Heights Summerfest located in North Domingo Baca Park. Still three more events have yet to come with Route 66’s Summerfest located in Nob Hill on July 21, Downtown Summerfest located on Civic Plaza August 4 and Westside Summerfest at the Cottonwood Mall on August 18.
“The goal of the event series is to offer free, family-friendly safe events for the community,” said Bree Ortiz, Events and Operations Manager with the city of Albuquerque, Cultural Services Department.
A large part of summerfest includes music from performers who are both national and local. One performer is Grammy Award-winning singer, Irma Thomas who will be the headliner for Route 66’s Summerfest.
“For the national acts, we work with talent agencies to get an artist within our budget that is available at the time of the event,” Ortiz said. “For the local artists, we have most bands reaching out to us for an opportunity to perform.”
With hundreds of local businesses involved in each of the Summerfest events attendees can expect artisans, food trucks, and breweries at the event. Additionally, each Summerfest will have its own unique atmosphere such as Route 66’s Summerfest which will be showcased on the streets of Nob Hill.
This allows for attendees of the event to support local businesses while enjoying the outdoors and other events offered. With this, all of the Summerfest events are different and continue to be a quality event series that the community can look forward to, Ortiz said.
“This series had grown and evolved over the years by taking best practices and current desires into consideration,” she said.
Owner of Nob Hill Bar and Grill, Nicole Kapnison describes Summerfest as an event that truly supports local. This done through local food, local drinks, local art,and local talent., she said
Her business has been part of Summerfest for as long as she can remember, Kapnison said.
“It (Route 66’s Summerfest) really is the best summerfest in the city because it incorporates so many local businesses,” Kapnison said. “It’s rare that we get to shut down central and set up a party in the middle of the streets. It’s a great event for family and friends and great for the local economy.”
Anything that drives business away from large chains, even only for a night to Nob Hill and historic Route 66 is something Nob Hill Bar and Grill loves to be a part of, Kapnison said.
As a local business owner herself Kapnison emphasizes the importance of local business as they are what keep Albuquerque alive and flourishing, she said.
“Events like this, where almost all the businesses are local, give us all a chance to showcase our hard work, talent, and dedication to the city,” Kapnison said.
Kapnison hopes this year’s Summerfest will be bigger and better than ever as past Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) construction has caused many to avoid downtown Albuquerque, she said.
However with the upcoming Summerfest stretching down Nob Hill, Kapnison urges attendees to come and enjoy the event while drinking responsibly, taking Uber or Lyft, and spending their your local dollars on Route 66. “Construction is over, the streets are beautiful, and we want people to remember that supporting local is what drives our economy,” Kapnison said.