Albuquerque’s local bands, venues get creative during the pandemic

Entertainment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With venues closed and concerts canceled, Albuquerque’s live music scene has taken a big hit during the pandemic for the past nine months. However, some locals are still finding ways to keep the music going.

“When you’re in a band, you play shows and then you go to shows and you watch and support your buddies,” said Jake Pacheco, singer and rhythm guitarist for local band Anesthesia. “When the shutdown first happened back in March, it was about a month, month-and-a-half where the band didn’t get together, physically, in a room together to play.”

With no live shows or rehearsals at the beginning of the pandemic, they had to get creative to keep the music going. They wrote a song separately and shared recorded parts through Dropbox and Zoom.

“We’ve been more productive in the last six months than we have been in the last six years. Right before the shutdown happened, we had played a show and we were working on a new song,” said Pacheco. “We recorded ourselves playing the song, recording it, and did a Zoom of all of us playing to the song together and we put that out on YouTube so we made a song and a video without even being in the same room together.”

Pacheco says even as they’re pushed to be more creative, it’s hard without live shows and the fans. Area music venues have especially been hit hard.

“We’ve been forced to close going on nine months now so no revenue for nine months,” said Joe Anderson. “We are getting through but it’s rough.”

Anderson owns and operates a number of local venues like Launchpad, El Rey, and Moonlight Lounge. Even with doors closed, Launchpad and other venues are sponsoring livestreamed concerts to still get bands on stage.

“There are musicians who depend on live performance to pay their bills,” said Anderson. “We are trying to keep things afloat and prepare for when things are back to normal.”

Pacheco says the best way to support your favorite musicians and venues is to watch these livestreams until the public health order allows for live concerts again. He says it’s also good to check out when there are shows at the drive-in theaters, like Metallica’s show at Balloon Fiesta Park in August, which Anesthesia opened for.

“Everyone was listening to us through their radios and it was cool because we were playing to cars so I’ve never stood and played there in front of cars. People were honking and flashing their lights after the songs,” said Pacheco. “Dive in and watch it, throw comments out there that you’re watching it, like it, love it, give it a thumbs up, because it feels good to know that people are still listening and people are into it.”

If you’re looking to support your local venues, some, like Launchpad, are making Patreon subscription services. You can watch past livestream shows on their Facebook page.

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