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Farmington rock band Cinematica plans return to stage in May


Group has booked shows in Albuquerque, Denver

FARMINGTON — The COVID-19 pandemic may be far from over, but for one Farmington band, the time has come to get back to work.

The instrumental rock group Cinematica, which has not performed for a live audience in more than a year because of the shutdown, plans to return to the stage this spring, having already booked two shows in major regional markets. Provided there is no surge in the virus infection rate leading to the resumption of tighter restrictions, Cinematica will play Saturday, May 8 at the Launchpad in Albuquerque and Saturday, June 19 at the Lost Lake Lounge in Denver.

Drummer Eddie Jacquez said the group relishes the idea of performing live again, even if it is on a limited basis at first.

"It won't be like normal, where we go on the road four days at a time," he said. "We'll only be doing shows once or twice a month."

And the venues themselves will be operating under restrictions that limit attendance, he acknowledged, meaning Cinematica will be performing for audiences that are only half to three-quarters of capacity, depending on whether they are indoor or outdoor shows.

But Jacquez isn't worried about that diminishing the atmosphere at his group's shows. He and his bandmates are so thrilled to be playing again, he's sure they'll provide enough energy to make up for the lack of bodies.

"I think it's going to be electric," he said, describing his expectations of performing live for the first time since the winter of 2020. "I think it's going to explode. There's already a palpable sense of energy when the three of us are in a room together."

When the pandemic began a year ago, the members of Cinematica continued rehearsing, believing the shutdown would last only a matter of weeks or months and that they would be able to go back on the road shortly. But that turned out not to be the case, and, aside from a short virtual performance for the "HeArt Space Live" series presented by the San Juan Jazz Society last fall, Cinematica has been idle for the past year.

Jacquez said he and his bandmates — guitarist Brandon Mike and bassist OJ Kaminky — even agreed to stop rehearsing at the end of 2020 with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight. But with the virus seemingly in remission across the state as spring approaches, they'll resume rehearsals in early April with an eye toward being sharp by early May.

Beyond his own excitement, Jacquez said he isn't sure what to expect when live music venues reopen. He knows many such establishments have gone out of business over the last 12 months, and he wonders how many music fans will safe about congregating in sizable numbers again this soon.

"We're definitely looking forward to coming back, but we're also nervous about how much is there to come back to," he said.

Jacquez also wonders what kind of reception his group will get. Cinematica had experienced a busy three years leading up to the pandemic, releasing two well-received albums and enlarging its touring footprint across the Southwest and West Coast. After a year of enforced idleness, Jacquez hopes the band hasn't lost all that momentum it worked so hard to generate.

But those concerns are secondary to the joy he feels at the prospect of playing music in front of people again, Jacquez said.

"We're going to play music regardless," he said. " … We never necessarily intended all these other things to come our way."

More: With new disc finished, rock trio Cinematica set to ring in new year at Lauter Haus

While Cinematica will be selective about the shows it chooses to play until the pandemic is over, Jacquez said he is happy that his phone is ringing again and offers are coming his band's way. That tells him that many club owners and promoters are bullish about the music industry's future despite all the uncertainties that remain.

Jacquez said his band already is making plans to record its third disc, the final installment in a three-album trilogy that includes its first two recordings, "Ultraviolet Waterfall" and "The Jaguar Priestess." As was the case with the first two projects, Cinematica will return to Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque and work with veteran producer Kenny Riley on the disc, which likely will be recorded next year and released in 2023.

As for when the band can be seen by its hometown fans again, Jacquez said the May 8 show at the Launchpad will be streamed on the club's YouTube channel. Cinematica also is fielding offers for a Farmington performance some time this summer, perhaps as early as June, he said.

Jacquez said his takeaway from the last year will be to appreciate his family and friends, and to not take the experience of playing music for granted.

"You can see with what happened in 2020 that your world can get turned upside down real quick," he said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.