Concerts and films rock the yard - Albuquerque Journal

Concerts and films rock the yard

Local musicians channeling Prince. Concertgoers gyrating to music only they can hear. A nod to Minneapolis roots.

Santa Feans and visitors can look forward to all this and more with the onset of this summer’s free Railyard Plaza concert series. And if you like the flicks, they’ll be coming too in the nearby park beginning June 3.

“There’s a bunch I’m excited about – they’re all going to be great,” said Santa Fe music promoter Jamie Lenfestey, who has been organizing events in the Railyard ever since its opening and currently works with AMP Concerts.

The series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with Danielia Cotton, a guitarist/singer/songwriter whose hot brand of blues-rock carries a load of hurt and loss, braced by the resilience to keep on keepin’ on. A native of New Jersey, Cotton is working on a new album that will contain an already released single, “Anything But Ordinary.”

While locals are used to showing up to dance, groove and nosh on the fare from food trucks at the concerts, a new twist will come June 11 with the opening night of the Currents New Media Festival at the nearby El Museo Cultural.

That evening’s concert features the experimental music duo Filastine, whose works include electronic beats, acoustic strings, voices and more. They describe it as future music “where the globe has been flipped, the sonic territories remixed, and syncopated mid-eastern rhythms and Asian melodies shape a new urban sound.”

Lenfestey calls the duo “cool and interesting.”

But even more unusual is the silent disco that will follow from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Lenfestey explained that DJs will mix music that attendees must rent headphones to hear; a $10 donation by June 6 will reserve the gear.

“The headphones will have LED lights,” Lenfestey said. “Currents will be showing video art and people will be dancing in silence.” Unless, of course, you’re wearing the headphones.

His personal highlight of the summer, the Minneapolis native said, is the appearance of “one of my favorite bands” from his hometown, The Jayhawks. The group started out alt-country, “but they’ve really gone into rock and roll with a little folk, a little bit of everything. Each new recording is a little more experimental – like Wilco, but more harmony- and vocal-based.”

Minneapolis also will be recognized on June 25 when local musicians present a tribute to Prince, who died in April.

Actually, Lenfestey said, he started out trying to put together a tribute to David Bowie, who died in January, but “his music is so iconic it’s beyond the realm.” After Prince’s death, some local musicians approached him about a Prince tribute. “Santa Fe has a plethora of fantastic musicians,” he said, mentioning that Andy Primm, Pete Williams and Mikey Baker are putting together a tribute band and reaching out to other musicians to come onstage for a song or two.

“Prince made Minneapolis cool,” Lenfestey declared.

Tribute bands are something of a theme this summer, with Detroit Lightning playing music of the Grateful Dead on July 2 and Cash’d Out bringing the Man in Black’s songs to the Railyard on July 23.

Another concert incorporates local musicians on June 4, when the Santa Fe Convergence Project brings local youth bands and DJs to the stage in the afternoon and early evening, along with a graffiti wall and other art-making, followed by Zion I, a reggae and hip-hop group based in Oakland. “It’s very positive, spiritual, mystical hip-hop,” Lenfestey said of the duo.

And a band Lenfestey has had on his list for years to try to get in the Railyard, Orgone, is on tap for June 18. “It’s an amazing funk band from California … . They’re really great fun with a little bit of Latin funk,” he said.

Tribute band Cash'd Out is coming to Skylight in Santa Fe.
Tribute band Cash’d Out is coming to Skylight in Santa Fe.

And movies, too

And don’t forget the movies. People really need to experience some of the magic that happens with movies under the stars, according to Lenfestey.

He recounted one showing of “E.T.” when, just as the extra-terrestrial was rising through the sky on his bike, the moon broke through the clouds. “The audience gasped audibly,” he said.

A showing of “Grease” set the attendance record with 1,200 people and Lenfestey was looking for a follow-up to that crowd-pleaser, he said. “West Side Story” on July 30 might bring out the singers and dancers – maybe even a flash mob dance.

“Finding Nemo” (June 3), “Because of Winn Dixie” (July 15) and “Zootopia” (Aug. 12) should appeal to the young and the young at heart, while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will be the closing blockbuster on Aug. 26. Winsome and nostalgic combine with “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” (June 17) and local favorite “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid” on July 1.

“We really try to do a broad mix of movies,” Lefenstey said. “They’re all family-friendly.”

While the movies are free, people will work their way through the spectators with donation jars. “We hope to raise enough to show movies every Friday night instead of every other week,” he said.

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