October 3, 2008

Sound Waves the Devore Spore and a New Cat’s Meow


On October 22, 2004, my "Sound Waves" predecessor, Nate Gutierrez, set off a small hailstorm of letters to Pasatiempo's editor. In this particular column, titled "Twinkle, twinkle little bar," Gutierrez began with a sentence that would set the stage for an ongoing -- and sometimes heated -- debate about this city's ability to host performers who hail from afar: "I wish Santa Fe got more touring bands."

Wielding the mighty pen/sword in defense of Santa Fe's youth and its proven booking skills was musician/Warehouse 21 show promoter Alex DeVore, who took issue with Gutierrez's statement -- and told him so in a very public forum. He wrote, "I don't want to say that [shows by local bands] don't deserve print space. They are the life force of our local scene. But how can you gripe about the absence of touring bands and then not talk about the at least six touring bands that have been through Warehouse 21 since your last column was printed?"

Nearly four years later, Santa Fe's youth-geared musical landscape has dramatically changed. Warehouse 21 is in its new digs, Meow Wolf's art/performance space at 1800 Second St. reopens on Friday, Oct. 3, with a multi-act acoustic show, and a handful of W21 alums -- both local and touring -- are getting gigs at venues around town and throughout the country.

I've made it one of my core missions over the past three and a half years to let readers know about it all in this column. Alex, you'll be happy to know that in your absence, plenty of Santa Feans have stepped up and continued to deliver your touring-band edict in spades. And today, in honor of your willingness to contribute something positive and interesting to this city's music scene, I'm giving you a two-fer, mate. I'm writing about touring acts and about you, and serendipitously, they are one and the same.

DeVore, who now lives in California, returns to Santa Fe at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, for a concert at Backroad Pizza, 1807 Second St., 955-9055. Under the moniker I Heart Metal, DeVore creates atmospheric acoustic-string landscapes with lyric and melodic nods to the emo/indie oeuvre. But don't expect something kitschy and predictable -- something that unwittingly subscribes to the inside joke that "I wish my lawn was emo, so it would cut itself." DeVore is a studied songwriter and performer who has given Santa Fe youth some of its most memorable live-music moments, and now that he's dead-set on creating some of his own, there's no telling where his pen -- and his voice -- will take him.

Alex isn't going it alone this Saturday, either. Joining him is Noah DeVore, aka Keyboard. In a 2006 "Sound Waves" interview, shortly after signing with indie label Asian Man Records (an imprint Alex DeVore often tapped for touring shows in Santa Fe), Noah told me that he was making the music that he wanted and needed to make: "It's not quite where I want it to be yet, but I'm still satisfied, and I'm having a good time."

Noah is there. He's at that place where constant collaboration and allegiance to his craft meet to create something original, fun, and relevant to his low-fi-synth aesthetic. Whether he's singing about living a life of comparison in "Last Kiss" or examining death and its lasting effects on the living in "Do the Decay," Noah pushes dope rhymes through his minimalist sieve with an ease and candor Daniel Johnston would be proud to possess. Let's hope the DeVore spore is contagious, because it does the ears good. In the meantime, catch the show. For three bucks, you're in for one hell of a beautiful ride. -- Rob DeWalt

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