Inaiah Lujan always goes to local shows. Even after his band The Haunted Windchimes has been on the road for weeks and all he wants to do is sleep, he'll hoist himself out to watch his fellow Pueblo musicians play.
"We have to suck it up and get out there and support [them], because that's just how it works," Lujan says. "You take a little bit from the scene, in that you see success and people come to your shows ... it has to be this give-and-take thing ... the best way to help the scene grow is to get involved."
That attitude is part of what has helped the Windchimes grow into a nationally touring act — and part of what has helped Pueblo's music scene blossom. When the group formed in 2006, most of their shows were in coffee shops and other non-music-centric venues. While the coffee shop live band may be a time-honored tradition, there's a big difference between a place where music comes first and a place where the band is incidental.
But Lujan and company made a friend of Chris Huggins, owner of Songbird Cellars, a winery and music venue in Beulah. Lujan notes how much the Windchimes learned from Huggins about how to set the mood at their shows and focus the audience's experience on the music.
"We made great friends with him," says Lujan. "He really got it from a music standpoint."
Huggins has since expanded Songbird, opening a wine tasting room in downtown Pueblo. It's a smaller venue than the one in Beulah, but Lujan stresses the importance for both band and audience in having a space for focused music listening, especially for music like the Windchimes make.
"The idea is to train our audiences a little bit," says Lujan, "to [go from] music being this sort of secondary thing when people are out on the town ... to more of these focused events where music is kind of praised as it should be, in a way ... Fortunately, we've got a lot of people who are getting on that same page in Pueblo now."
Part of that education, Lujan says, includes spreading a general etiquette that helps the audience tune in to the music. The audience is as much a part of the concert's vibe as the sound guy, the venue and the band. And of course, part of building that good audience is showing up, as The Haunted Windchimes always do.