Russ Gordon holds a County Council proclamation declaring Sept. 8 Russ Gordon Day. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
When Los Alamos patron saint of rock‘n roll, Russ Gordon, announced his retirement last year, fans feared 2017 would be the final season for the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series. Gordon coordinated and managed the Concert Series for 28 years. Who could possibly take over?
When Gordon went looking for someone to fill his shoes, he found the perfect fit very close to home. His son, Abe Gordon, and future daughter-in-law, Kara Robinson, agreed to take on the job of coordinating the Concert Series. They won’t even have to change the name of the company. Gordon’s Concerts lives!
“I’m just thrilled,” Russ said. “They’re doing great. I’m helping out of course. It was hard to step back, but now I get to be involved without doing the hard physical work. People don’t realize what’s involved in putting on a show.”
Russ plans to be on the scene, enjoying the show, during this year’s Summer Concerts. As always, the concerts are at 7 p.m. at Ashley Pond.
Gordon shared his excitement about this year’s line-up. The first concert will be a reggae show by Dre Z Melodi. Dre Z, aka Andres Estrada, grew up in Jemez Springs and has many connections to Los Alamos, he said.
Abe Gordon and Kara Robinson during a 2017 Summer Concert. Courtesy photo
Abe Gordon and his fiancée, Kara Robinson, took time out from their busy lives, which encompass not only the Concert Series, but full-on planning for their September wedding and two full-time jobs, to speak with the Daily Post about the 2018 Concert Series and introduce themselves to the Los Alamos Community last week.
Gordon and Robertson met as teenagers in Los Alamos and dated, but then went their separate ways. Eighteen years later, they reconnected when Robertson moved back to New Mexico from Colorado. Four years after that, they were making marriage plans.
“Our first date was a concert and we’ve been going to concerts together ever since,” Gordon said.
Robertson is a financial budget analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
“I love working at the Lab,” she said. “Everyone I knew as a kid was dying to get out of Los Alamos, but I couldn’t wait to come back!”
Gordon is a certified peer support worker at a wellness center in Taos that, among other things, works with people who are struggling with addiction issues free of charge. As part of his job, Gordon travels with a mobile wellness unit to far-flung rural communities like Questa and Mora to provide services to people who would otherwise be without support. Gordon has a strong personal connection to his work.
“I struggled with addiction through my teens and 20s,” Gordon said. “At the age of 31 I joined the Delancey Street program and I’ve been in recovery since then. I have found that being of service is what makes me happy.”
After being award the contract to do the Concert Series in late March, Gordon and Robinson scrambled to book acts. A wide variety of styles are represented, including country, Latin jazz, zydeco and much, much more.
“It was incredible that we had the whole Series booked in a month,” Robertson said. “One act cancelled yesterday, so now we’re looking to fill that spot.”
“I’m excited for every show!” Gordon said.
“The formula works, so there’s not a lot we’re going to change,” Robertson said. “It’s so awesome Los Alamos does this. We’re coordinating with community events and we want the community to be as involved as possible.”
“I’m excited that Atomic City Transit is extending their service on Friday night, so people don’t drink and drive,” Gordon said.
Gordon and Robertson want the Concert Series to offer something for everyone, and this year, for the first time, the Series will include a hip-hop act. Carnage The Executioner, MC, beatboxer, rapper, hip-hopper and storyteller, will present an all-ages show on LA Youth Night, Aug 17.
“He’s giving a workshop, so people can see what he does and how he does it and maybe even try it themselves,” Robertson said.
“We really want to get the youth involved with the Concert Series,” Robertson said. “We’re working with the Teen Center and the schools on Youth Night.”
Everyone one will be wondering what night the Red Elvises will return to Los Alamos for their annual show. The answer is June 15! That concert is Pride Night in conjunction with Los Alamos Pride Week.
Robertson said the hardest thing about running the Concert Series is fund raising. Community members can help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 505.423.3048 to receive a donation form or simply send a check to Gordon’s Concerts PO Box 2187 Espanola, NM 87532. Donors can also visit gordonssummerconcerts.com and contribute through PayPal. The website will soon be updated with all the latest concert information.
“I’ve been working on concerts since I was a kid,” Gordon said. “The Concert Series helped make me the person I am. I once asked my dad why he put on free concerts instead of charging money. He told me love and community are more important than money. I feel so proud that he’s pleased with what we’re doing.”
May 25 Dre Z Melodi Reggae from Albuquerque & Los Alamos www.twitter.com/drezmelodi
June 1 Eddy & the Nomads and DK & The Affordables The Nomads play rock hits from 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. The Affordables play rockabilly and roots rock. www.dkandtheaffordables.com – www.facebook.com/eddyandtheNomads
June 15 Igor & the Red Elvises Los Alamos’ favorite band! Anglo/Soviet “Rokenroll” Siberian surf-rock www.redelvises.com. LA County’s Pride Night
June 22 TBA
June 29 Grayson Capps Band Singer/songwriter, blues-rock from Alabama. – www.graysoncapps.com
July 6 Cali Shaw Band NM eclectic folk-rock. Neo-folk-rock from Albuquerque www.calishaw.com
July 13 Liver Down the River Hard driving, psychedelic bluegrass, rock and funk www.liverdowntheriver.com Los Alamos Science Fest
July 27 Sugaray Rayford electric blues and soul from Los Angeles. Nominated for four 2018 Blues Foundation awards including Best Soul-Blues Album, Best Soul-Blues Male Artist and Best Vocals www.sugarayblues.com
Aug. 3 Eric McFadden Band Rock, funk,grunge and punk. Toured 3 years with George Clinton & Funkadelic and two years with the Animals. Has collabor ated with Bo Diddly, Keb Mo’, Joe Strummer, Les Claypool, Bonnie Raitt, Pink, Bill Kreutzman, Widespread Panic, Jackson Browne, Fishbone, Rev. Horton Heat, Galactic, Jack Johnson and many more –www.ericmcfadden.com
Aug. 10 The Derailers Country dance from Austin, Texas www.derailers.com LA County Fair and Rodeo
Aug. 17 Carnage The Executioner MC, Beatboxer, Rap, Hip-Hop & story teller from Minn. This show is for all ages LA Youth Night –www.carnagetheexecutioner.com
Aug. 24 Whitewater Ramble We’re gonna rock to high-octane, Rocky Mountain Dance Grass Los Alamos National Bank Night www.whitewaterramble.com
Aug. 31 Coral Creek Band Front range Colorado band. Fusion of bluegrass, country, rock and reggae www.coralcreek.net