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Local rock trio Cinematica scores gig at famous L.A. club
Farmington group also has new album due out in 2018
FARMINGTON — Standing on the sidewalk outside the famed Hollywood rock club the Whisky a Go Go on Sept. 8 shortly before his band was scheduled to take the stage, Farmington resident Eddie Jacquez was more than a little nervous as he fretted over how his instrumental rock group Cinematica would be received by the audience.
The concern must have been evident on his face, because Jacquez said Bobby Amaro — the drummer for the evening's headliner act, Orgy, and a Hollywood native — approached him and felt compelled to offer some reassurance.
"Hey, don't worry about the crowd," Jacquez said Amaro told him. "Don't worry if they seem stuck up. Hollywood crowds can be that way."
Feeling better, Jacquez went back inside the club, headed backstage and found himself parked behind his drum kit a few minutes later. By the time Cinematica began its 30-minute, six-song set shortly thereafter, Jacquez's trepidation had passed, and he was able to fully enjoy the experience of performing at a rock 'n' roll shrine, a venue whose stage has welcomed the likes of the Doors, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin over the last half century.
And, to his delight, Jacquez discovered he needn't have worried about how the crowd would react to Cinematica.
"We got some amazing feedback. … Basically, we didn't expect to get such a warm reception," said Jacquez, a 2004 Farmington High School graduate, explaining that once the band finished its set, various audience members approached him and offered flattering comparisons between Cinematica and rock heavyweights ranging from Rush to Nirvana.
The band's opportunity to play the Whisky came largely as a surprise, Jacquez said. A friend of the band who lives on the West Coast had circulated the group's music and contact information to booking agents for a series of well-known Sunset Strip clubs — the Viper Room, and the Rainbow Bar and Grill among them — but it was a representative of the Whisky who reached out to Cinematica in late August and offered the band a spot in a seven-band lineup headlined by Orgy.
Jacquez could hardly believe it when he opened his email and saw the offer from the promoter to take part in a show only two weeks away.
"They said, 'We think you would be perfect for this if you can make it,'" he recalled. "I called all my bandmates (guitarist Brandon Mike and bassist OJ Kaminky) because each of us has a full-time job and we needed to give them an answer in 24 hours."
All three members of Cinematica were able to secure time away from work, and the band left for L.A. on Sept. 7. Jacquez said he and his bandmates were so excited about the gig that they showed up several hours early at the Whisky just to soak up the atmosphere.
With time to kill after their sound check, Jacquez, Mike and Kaminky strolled up and down Sunset Boulevard, stopping for lunch, watching scenes from a Hugh Jackman film being shot, and spotting such celebrities as Chelsea Handler.
They also took note of the number of tourists who stopped to shoot a photo of the Whisky marquee, where Cinematica's name was featured prominently.
The group, which plans to release a new album early in 2018, also shot footage of its performance for a video for its new single "Aquarius." The tune is just one of nine songs that will be featured on the disc "Ultraviolet Waterfall."
The album was recorded earlier this year in Albuquerque under the direction of producer Kenny Riley, who is based in Los Angeles but who works out of Rio Grande Studios in the Duke City. Jacquez said Riley discovered Cinematica online and reached out to the group about working together.
"It's not often he works with unsigned bands," Jacquez said. "But he said he was looking for a band from New Mexico to work with."
The experience of going into the studio with Riley tested the group's limits, Jacquez said, noting that the veteran producer with two gold records to his credit wanted to push Mike, Kaminky and Jacquez to a new level.
"We had to kind of humble ourselves," Jacquez said, explaining that of the 11 songs the band entered the studio with, only nine were deemed worthy of recording by the producer. "Not everything we play was up to his standards."
That approach yielded positive results, Jacquez said, explaining that while the new album is still being mixed and mastered, he thinks he and his bandmates rose to the occasion.
"It was an experience that made us better musicians," he said. "But it definitely made for an intense experience with him."
Cinematica regularly tours throughout the region, performing in such cities as Albuquerque; Santa Fe; Durango and Telluride, Colo.; and Flagstaff, Ariz. But the Sept. 8 show at the Whisky was its most high-profile gig ever, and Jacquez hopes it signals a new level of achievement for his trio, which has been together since 2014.
"It was a different element, playing on such hallowed ground," he said. "We were just so excited to be a part of such a prestigious theater."
Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.