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