An insider’s guide to Taos Mountain music happenings
By Richard Aufrichtig
As the local Taos music scene slowly emerges from its lockdown phase, The Alley Cantina, the Historic Taos Inn and the Sagebrush Inn continue to be casual options to catch local musicians play on any night of the week. Meanwhile, a constellation of underground spaces have popped up to give form and function to the local musician’s deeper explorations. As an artist who performs regularly in town, curates shows at Ennui Gallery, documents local acts in Tempo and on my KNCE Taos 93.5 FM Radio Show, these are my favorite places to see live music in Taos, along with a pinch of dramaturgy. (For those averse to using social media to look up concert listings, the poster board at Cid’s is always a sure bet.)
1351 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos
Soldado’s opened its doors last fall in the location many locals refer to as “the old muffler shop.” In addition to being the most legitimate rock club in Taos, with a lifted stage floor providing excellent sightlines, a full lighting rig, and an excellent sound system to boot, Soldado’s has a second life as American Legion Post 16. Opened by former Cavalry Scout Phillip Econom last fall, Soldado’s is also the only venue in Taos I’ve played with an American flag placed on the stage. The venue is well-regarded amongst local musicians: it has a legitimate green room, and Econom generously provides dinner for all acts.
1506 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos
Opened on April Fool’s Day 2023 by a collective of local artists (Joe Hatcher, Lauren Genutis, Jeff Englehart and Mika Lee), Mercury House is the church basement venue that Taos has been missing, minus the actual church. Billing itself as a “DIY Venue/Studios/Gallery,” the space, located near the El Prado Post Office, has hosted shows from local artists, many of Albuquerque’s buzziest bands, and a number of touring acts. Most notably, Kool Keith passed through in late October as part of his Black Elvis 2 Tour. A recent art show from local artist and KNCE DJ Michelle Faulkner was a hit, and more art exhibits are in the works for the future.
Revolt Gallery Annex
226 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos
The brainchild of local entrepreneur and KNCE DJ Steve McFarland, Revolt Annex is Taos’ best late-night dancing spot. The club is located on the back side of 226 Paseo del Pueblo Norte and includes a very large proprietary parking lot. Events are sporadic, usually once or twice a month — and often feature special pop-up offerings from their neighbor, the Godega, a project from beloved local catering service LeeCooks Church located on the front side of 226 Paseo del Pueblo Sur.
134 Bent Street, Taos
Located in a hidden alley behind Chocolate + Cashmere, this co-operatively run gallery is the curatorial project of local printmaking artist Sarah Hart. Referred to affectionately by many as “the listening room of Taos,” it was my favorite place to hear local artists perform long before Hart asked me to come on board as her collaborator for the music events in the space. In May of this year, we launched the Sunset Series. With two events a month, the start times of the shows fluctuate with the seasons. Highlights of the first six months have included a record release show from local favorite Dandelioness, and tribute shows for Bob Dylan and Lou Reed.
Daleee at KTAOS Solar Center
9 NM 150, El Prado
The newest incarnation of the KTAOS Solar Center opened its doors on July 4th weekend this past summer. The main venue space holds 270 people and has become the primary booking spot for Roots and Wires Presents, the longtime local production team “scouring the globe to bring world-class music to a world-class audience.” Helmed by beloved Taos entrepreneur Ricky Carlini, Daleee occasionally hosts smaller music events in its bar space, in addition to a weekly trivia night.
Heads Up Music
226 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos
Taos’ only dedicated record store/music gear shop is now in its fourth location on the backside of 226 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, right next door to the aforementioned Revolt Gallery Annex. About 2-3 times a month, operators Mark Brumbelow and Stephanie Barnes host local and touring acts on their small stage. The shows are often intimate affairs and offer a good opportunity to check out the new arrivals (Vinyl, CDs, Tapes). Don’t miss the prominently displayed local releases section!