The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque New Mexico is a 5 star event on anyone’s A-List. It’s an event where 10’s of thousands of Aboriginal people from throughout the Americas celebrate a weekend of multi-tribal events including food, song, dance and comedy. But there is another event of consequence in ABQ during the GON pow wow that is well worth a visit and that’s the ‘Rock the 9’ Native American Music Festival and this year it was held at the ‘Low Spirit Bar and Stage’. Ironically, the venue is reminiscent of the iconic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood for its unique multi genre format and the international headliners it attracts both on and off stage.
Brain child of JJ Otero & Rod Lacy, the *Rock the 9 Native American Music Festival has featured headliners like **Gary Farmer & The Troublemakers, ***The Jir Project Band and a host of musical & comedic acts including ****‘Another Indian Uprising’ and the list goes on. What might have been New Mexico’s little secret has come of age since Rock the 9 was truly a star studded gala. The entertainers were top shelf and well worth the trip to this venue in the Land of Enchantment. The ambiance of the establishment gave the audience more of an intimate experience with their favorite entertainers also. The drinks were cheap and the wait staff was eager to serve.
My ax-man friend *****Roger Cultee did mix it up with his guitar. Granted it was not blues but the crowd loved him, hmm nothing like a little shameless promotions eh. Rock the 9 had quality entertainment that just blew my mind. The event also featured some excellent comedians at this extravaganza and provided quality entertainment for even the most discriminating aficionado. From stand up comedy to blues that was out of this world, the crowds just loved every minute of it. To top it all off the food was excellent, provided you like Navajo Tacos and other traditional native fair. Well what do you expect during pow wow season in Indian country, Matzo Balls and Gefilte Fish?
I think the highlight of the event for me was the opportunity I had to meet with some of the performers. Though it was more like casting a butterfly net to reel in performers for interviews I did manage to snare a few and dutifully captured them on tape. Though our interviews ended up as zany as the entertainers I was interviewing I did get glimpse of something others don’t usually see and that is the driving passion these folks have for ‘the people’ and mother earth. Through the laughter and through their smiles I could see and feel their pain over the injustices that persist not only for us indigenous types but for all of humanity. ‘Behind the clowns smile is a river of tears’ and for Eric Owens, Jim Anderson and Jim Ruel, this axiom is no stranger.
As for Low Spirits Bar and Stage I’m no John Taffer but this venue could be classified as a 5 star dive bar and entertainment portal with unlimited possibilities. Not only during the GON pow wow does this place have spectacular entertainers to tantalize the audience but they have great shows throughout the year. There is no question Rock the 9 Native American Music Festival was not in completion with the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. Rather, this musical presentation was a complement to this national event. The ******Low Spirits Bar & Stage was the perfect venue for this festival and the entertainers were truly world class. And last but not least, this was also a traditional culinary adventure that was good to the last bite. Those Navajo Tacos were the best.
Your Devil’s Advocate