By the time I get to Phénix
If you have yet to visit Café Phénix located in the space formerly occupied by Le Flip restaurant (1414 Second St., 988-7303, www.cafe-phenix.com), do so, because you’re missing the evolution of a much needed live-music presence in a neighborhood once spoiled on the audible riches of the Meow Wolf collective’s still-nearby art space.
I could ramble on about the café’s food, which, based on the apple/Nutella crepes alone, is reason enough to find yourself at the Phénix. A brief mention in a recent
New York Times article created some food buzz for Phénix, but there’s an entirely different side to the joint that emerges when the sun begins to set. What the NYT and many regional food bloggers forgot to mention is that in Santa Fe, the real music freaks come out at night, and Phénix is fast becoming a sort of aural ground zero in the Second Street neighborhood. (I don’t think I’ll ever get used to calling it the “Triangle District.” It’s simply central Santa Fe. Look at a satellite map!)
Chef Joshua Drummond is not only a deft hand in the kitchen; he’s also a fairly savvy social networker who promotes the locally owned Café Phénix business well online (besides the restaurant’s Web site, Facebook is a good place to track down upcoming or last-minute events there). The funky little space serves up a variety of local and touring entertainment that includes poetry and spoken-word, hip-hop, electronica, DJ sets, singersongwriters, and acoustic open-mics. March is looking like a busy month for music at Café Phénix, and things get off to a great start from 7 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, March 6, with an all-ages performance by self-described “earthtrance” duo Silvermouse(www.silvermouselive.com/audio). Laptop mixtress Amaani King and multiinstrumentalistWyatt James— who are also a duo in life and love — blend funky techno, atmospheric Goa trance, ethereal house, and breakbeat with interludes and overlays of guitar, mandolin, flute, and violin, creating an idiosyncratic electro groove that bridges new and ancient musical forms. It’s a bit like a more organic, laid-back instrumental version of ’90s-era Danish techno ensemble The Overlords (www.myspace.com/overlordsdk) — but with winds and strings.
At 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, Café Phénix hosts AudioBuddha (aka Steve Brisk) for another edition of Decompression Thursday, a night of dubstep, chill, and mellow house. There is no charge for the Silvermouse show or the Decompression event, but donations are encouraged. A few weeks later, at 7 p.m. on Saturday,
March 27, AudioBuddha brings his Monsoon 8 showcase to the Phénix with special guest performer
Amani Friend, a mainstay of chill electro in the Southwest who has produced music under the monikers Desert Dwellers (www.desertdwellers.org), Shaman’s Dream, Liquid Bloom, and Variant Field (www.variantfield.com). Built around blending the rhythmic and instrumental eclecticism of world music with various forms of contemporary electronic music (IDM, ambient, dub, breakbeat, etc.) and community-building, Monsoon is finding its stride as a popular monthly showcase in a city that cherishes its dance beats as deeply as its ethnic diversity. There is a $5 cover.
Thursday, March 11, also marks
the beginning of the inaugural SXSF
Transit Music Festival at Corazón (401 S. Guadalupe St., 983-4559). Celebrating its upcoming one-year anniversary, the popular nightspot presents five days of live local and touring music— and a throbbin’ new sound system! At 9 p.m. on the festival’s opening night, local band La Junta takes the stage with a blend of upbeat jazz, funk, rock, reggae, hip-hop, ska, Latin, and blues that lead singer Nicholas Pena calls “Southwest funk-hop.” Joining La Junta for the 21-and-over show ($7 cover) are local reggae rockers Sapphire, Re-Flex, and DJ
Willie K. Down the road, catch Ray Charles Ives, Low on High, DJ Maynard Del Mar, Venus Bogardus, and other local bands along with visiting acts like Rainbow Arabia, Daedelus, Abe Vigoda, Lovers, Nobunny, Nice Nice, and TV Ghost. Call the venue or join the mailing list at www.corazonsantafe.com/nightlife.htm for a tentative festival schedule and more information.