The Stringdusters & The Shook Twins 2.20.19
Santa Fe, NM
Words & Photos by J. Picard
Photos Justin Picard & Carly Picard
"Beyond Here There Be Dragons" the rug read outside of the House of Eternal Return inside the depths of Santa Fe's newest rage, Meow Wolf. We packed the car in Denver early that morning and caravaned the six hours south with Roosevelt Collier for a little pre-show action with Grammy award winners, The Infamous Stringdusters. The evening was sold out and as we arrived we met up with Jeremy Garrett and headed in to check out the immersive art space with some first-timers. To wander the multiverse and run into musicians like Roosevelt, Jeremy, Andy Hall and The Shook Twins was a bit of a trip. Two things were very clear, everyone was excited and the vibe was heavily elevated by the space.
Inside of a dingy travel trailer with vast artificial canyon perspectives sat Rosie and Andy within' the multiverse listening to a song through a cell phone in preparation for the evening's show. Something so normal almost felt out of place in such an odd setting. Inside the venue portion of the space, through a labyrinth of psychedelia, the band soundchecked as unsuspecting patrons and explorers stumbled into the room. A small group stuck around for what turned out to be a ripping pre-show experience. During soundcheck the team was scrambling to sort a solution to make it up to Telluride through questionable winter weather. And in typical Stringduster fashion a solution came as an alternate, but sold out show in Frisco, CO.
Some sustenance inclusive of authentic Tex Mex and a quick rinse of Meow Wolf from our bodies and we were back for more. We headed in through the front door of Meow Wolf's House facade, through to the the kitchen and into the fridge where we popped out into the multiverse. We caught the last couple of songs from The Shook Twins, who sounded great and output a unique and enjoyable sound through beautiful distorted vocals and harmonies. Following their set we crawled through a hole in tree and came out of the washing machine inside the house. We exited through the front door and returned to the lobby.
The bar area was roped in and it was uncomfortably packed with folks limited to drinking in that confined space. It was absolutely the worst part of the evening's experience. We downed our drinks quickly and returned to the venue portion of the building where The Stringdusters had just taken the stage. The room was extremely packed and the vantage points lacking in many areas didn't stop us from creating a little space and dancing. Songs like "17 Cents," "Free," and "Get It While You Can" sent the crowd into a frenzy early on. "Space" was fitting and expansive and a short time later the band welcomed Roosevelt Collier on lapsteel for "Fire!" That moment was a peak moment for our group as we are so fond of Meow Wolf, The Dusters and our guy Rosie! Following his sit in Andy Hall promoted Roosevelt's show in town the next next night at Tumbleroot!
From there the band jumped into "Walking on The Moon" as they steered towards the end of their set. Backstage I sat with Roosevelt who was still buzzing from the days' experiences and yet still prepared for more as the band called him back up for the encore. As the clock approached 11:00 PM the evening's main event concluded with excited praise from the wide-eyed audience. We said our goodbyes to the band who was preparing for a video shoot in the multiverse and we headed a couple of blocks away to a tiny little space that was filled with local folks getting getting down to a DJ prior to a local band. We could hardly get in the door and reaching the bar across the room for fermented alcoholic kambucha was out of the question.
We made the call to return to our hotel room just around the corner and rest up for the first leg of Roosevelt's run through New Mexico. As my head hit the pillow I laughed at our day and was grateful that a place like Meow Wolf existed to further expand our impression of immersive art and expand our own understanding of the lack of limitations of art. Sprinkle in one of our favorite bands and that night would be one for the books! Both tours rolled on and we would reconnect with Jeremy Garrett who would be guesting with Roosevelt at The Caribou Room in Nederland, CO for the MusicMarauders' 9 Year Anniversary Party! Little did I know what the next couple of days would bring...