by Tim Van Schmidt
Neil Haverstick “If the Earth was a Woman”
On his new album, “If the Earth was a Woman,” Denver guitarist and composer Neil Haverstick not only stretches the limits of music itself, but also the limits of what an album should be. For example, the CD begins with the strange otherworldly sounds of a brief track titled “Flying Saucer,” then immediately turns around and offers a country rave-up called “Jimmy and Joe.” The album includes heavy, King Crimson-like juggernauts, like the title song and “Microseconds,” but also the feather-light delicacy of a solo guitar piece titled “Baby Fingers” as well as a moody spoken word track called “The Train.” “Project 9” is an exceptionally intricate miasma of world music influences- like channel surfing with a universal satellite- but then again, the reggae influenced tune “Sometimes it’s Right (To Kill a Man)” is very clean and focused, nearly sparse. There’s also a slide guitar/snare drum workout titled “Big Old Train,” echoing country craziness.
What’s happening is that Haverstick offers so much variety, that the listener is forced to do just that- listen. There’s no single hat rack of a musical genre to employ when listening to “If the Earth was a Woman,” no easy chair, couch or soft pillow. Haverstick’s music ranges from introspection to harsh edginess and back again without the need for a well-defined niche. The music is further stretched by the fact that Haverstick uses groundbreaking instruments including 34 tone and 19 tone guitars and basses, all of which create a tweak in the sound that goes far beyond the issues of genre. “If the Earth was a Woman” is not for easy listening, it’s for hard listening and the reward is a unique and powerful musical vision, somewhat twisted but also strangely sane.
Haverstick is just as unafraid of writing challenging lyrics as he is of writing mindbending guitar parts. Particularly, the title track, “If the Earth was a Woman,” expresses an environmental philosophy that hits home because he makes it personal: “If the Earth was a woman…you’d know I’d want to marry her…If the Earth was my mama…you’d know I’d never hurt her…If the Earth was my daughter…You know I would protect her.” Likewise, the song “Sometimes it’s Right (To Kill a Man),” also makes it personal when it comes to individual acts of violence- robbers and murderers are not welcome.
“If the Earth was a Woman” was produced and “directed” by Haverstick. Tracks were recorded at Soundstream, Square Shaped Studios and Raven Studios. Special guest artists include Mark Caldwell and Keith Hatten on vocals, Ernie Crews on drums, John Starrett on bass with Andy O’Leary contributing the “Acid Loop Composition” on “Project 9.” Haverstick’s instruments include 34 tone electric guitar and bass, 19 tone electric guitar and bass, 19 tone acoustic guitar, fretless electric, slide guitar and 12 tone electric. The album is available at Haverstick’s web site, microstick.net.
Dave Beegle- Artist Biography
Sure, Dave Beegle plays guitar. In fact he plays guitar so well that peers such as Phil Keaggy calls him “one of the most creative and accomplished guitarists I’ve met.” Progression Magazine labeled Beegle “a guitarist’s guitar player” and HM Magazine simply called him “just phenomenal.” But Beegle is not “just” a guitarist. He is also a composer, a producer, a teacher and a musical activist remaining on the cutting edge of contemporary music. Hailing from the robust state of Colorado, Beegle makes an inspired sound that delights music fans willing to look beyond the fickle trends of pop.
Currently on Beegle’s plate is a brand new album featuring the Dave Beegle Acoustic Band, a unit including bassist Mike Olson, drummer Matt Henderson, percussionist Erik Meyer and guitarist Aaron Lee. The group has been performing together for several years and has created a distinctive world music sound as a result.
Where it all began, however, was with Beegle’s electric guitar outlet, Fourth Estate. This groundbreaking power trio led the charge of progressive rock in Colorado in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. To this day, Beegle still books Fourth Estate gigs, playing with Kenny James and Matt Henderson on drums and Mike Olson on bass, and Fourth Estate’s instrumental music remains dramatic, inspiring and exotic. New and old Fourth Estate fans are currently enjoying the re-release of the band’s debut CD, “Finesse and Fury,” re-mastered by rock veteran Stevin McNamara. A new release, “Dustbuster Demos,” digs back into the group’s earliest recordings to uncover some forgotten gems. Also, Fourth Estate’s electric masterpiece, “See What I See,” featuring their most challenging work on record, has been reissued to offer fans the opportunity to hear it all.
But electric rock has not been Beegle’s only means of expression. All along, as a parallel career, he has been playing acoustic guitar as a solo act, in duo formats and as a pivotal part of the innovative acoustic-based group, the Beegle-Olson-Quist Trio. Since then, Beegle has also released “A Year Closer,” an album that explores Flamenco and other world music styles with solo acoustic recordings and the first tracks by the Dave Beegle Acoustic Band.
It makes sense that so much musical knowledge has been put to work on a wide diversity of other projects. In fact, “Clear the Tracks” is a CD release that pulls together recordings Beegle has done solo and with several band groupings, including Artifact Symphony and Blinddog Smokin’. On stage, Beegle continues to gig with his classic rock band, the Juassicasters. But also add Beegle’s tremendous output as a producer. He has recently produced a new album for Christian acoustic artist Danny Oertli, an alternative rock worship album titled “Live For Heaven,” as well as music by contemporary Christian group Simple Truth, the new band helmed by Colorado guitarist Mike Lopez, Gashead, and Montana singer-songwriter Bob Hollister. Of course, Beegle not only sits on the producer’s side of the glass, but also appears as a guest artist on many of the recordings, playing both guitar and keyboards.
Dave Beegle also teaches- when he has time. He also continues to demonstrate the Transperformance Automatic Tuning Guitar, featuring the innovative Digital Tuning System. The device allows guitarists to access thousands of tunings at the touch of a finger. This groundbreaking technology has attracted some of the great guitarists of our era, including Joe Perry, Jimmy Page and Graham Nash. But Beegle was the first to record with it, on “Finesse and Fury,” and to this day, he still introduces the innovative instrument at conventions and special events. Transperformance is currently developing a low cost version of the DTS that can be installed into other guitars, hinting at a whole new era for the electric guitarists of the world.
So go ahead, call Dave Beegle a guitarist. But in this case, the guitarist is only part of the more complete musician- one who lives and breathes music. That’s why Guitar Magazine declared that Dave Beegle is “a one-man guitar army.” That’s why this artist, though he has done plenty, may only be starting to scratch the surface. Beegle continues to play in the Colorado region as well as travels far and wide. Hear him live, or hear him on record, the results are the same- awe and respect for a special musician Great Guitar Sites on the Web called “one of the most renowned underground guitarists of our time.”
Steve Eulberg “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime”
An album that features acoustic instrumental tunes mostly necessitates an intimate listening experience and Eulberg’s 21-track collection delivers in full. The often exotic sound of the music, including minor key musical delicacies, some syrupy blues and even some light jazz, takes the listener to a special place indeed- a place where the dulcimer sounds are sweet and the melodies just kind of hang serenely in the air.
Gary B. Puckett “On Living in the Township of Heaven”
The book resonates with a deeply personal sincerity rooted firmly in spiritual, emotional and social experiences. The poems come from the day to day life of a pastor moving from job to job in America’s heartland. Puckett uses each moment, each vignette for a springboard into a discussion of life values that yields the assurance that there are still individuals left who care. Better yet, there are poets like Puckett who are willing to share. As he says in his poem, “New Church,” “it takes an artist/to help fish perceive the water.”
Now You Can See and Hear Metallica’s “St. Anger”- On DVD and On Stage
So, have you watched the new Metallica album, “St. Anger,” yet? No, I didn’t say “have you listened” to it, though you can certainly do that. But more, the first new Metallica release in five years comes with a bonus DVD that brings the fans into the rehearsal space for a full reading of the “St. Anger” tunes.
The DVD provides fans with a live performance experience with Metallica, but much different than seeing the band in concert. Rather than projecting to an audience, on the “St. Anger” DVD, Metallica plays for themselves (and a roomful of sound technicians and videographers.) In fact, at points, guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet and bassist Robert Trujillo are turned around to face drummer Lars Ulrich. This is Metallica getting into its own music, letting it take over with raw, unfiltered intent.
The images on the “St. Anger” DVD are quick-cut, using various effects and angles. While probably not everyone wants to count the hairs on Hetfield’s sideburns, it’s a treat to get close-up glimpses of Ulrich’s footwork on the double bass drums, or catch his reflection in the highly polished cymbals. Meanwhile, Hammet flips his hair around while Hetfield’s vocal chords strain and Trujillo takes on the image of a creeping, hunched over gargoyle possessed by tough, hardshelled music.
Better than just the release of “St. Anger,” however, is the news that Metallica’s perennial Summer Sanitarium Tour is back on the road and coming to Invesco Field in Denver on August 1. It’ll be an excellent occasion to celebrate Metallica’s new music. But more, the Summer Sanitarium Tour will also be featuring a hefty line-up of influential bands including Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, the Deftones and Mudvayne. Doors open at 1:30, show starts at 3:00. You’ll definitely be angry if you miss this one!
CD Review- Godsmack “Faceless” 2003 Republic/Universal Records
Boston-based band Godsmack is called “alternative metal.” “Faceless,” however, sounds pretty mainstream. Godsmack’s music is rock solid, mixing fuzzy guitar work and dynamic rhythms with exacting precision. Vocalist Sully Erna growls with the best of them, but the lyrics mull over common subjects for the genre- anger, loneliness, hate, fear and depression.
Where the “alternative” part comes in is in the last two tracks where the group goes beyong the machine-like crunch of guitars toexplore. The track “The Awakening” mixes Native American chanting with Middle eastern rhythms. The exotic rhythms then inform the final track, “Serenity,” perhaps the most interesting track on the record. These pieces say that Godsmack has more in store for fans and their next album should be even more interesting.
The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Lollapalooza is Back
The year was 1991 and I was the editor of “The Scene.” Why be the editor if you can’t assign yourself great stories like photographing and reviewing the first Lollapalooza tour? It was a defining vision of contemporary music for the 1990s and beyond and an especially great time. How could you lose with sets by the Rollins Band, the Butthole Surfers, Ice T and Body Count, the Violent Femmes, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jane’s Addiction? Ice T dropped his drawers, Gibby from the Butthole Surfers appeared in drag with a shotgun in tow, Vernon Reid of Living Colour displayed twisted guitar wizardry and Jane’s Addiction rocked.
The concept was clear- gather together some of the most creatively powerful bands of the time, add a carnival midway with lots of cool stuff to buy and a second stage for emerging acts and you’ve got a commercial bonanza.
Now its 2003 and Lollapalooza is back. The festival was scrapped in 1997 when dwindling box office receipts combined with unsatisfied artistic expectations after seven years of touring. Since that first festival in 1991, a lot had changed- especially the fact that a roving festival featuring innovative line-ups was no longer a unique thing. Because of the success of Lollapalooza itself, other tours cut into the Lollapalooza dollar, making it unwieldy and expensive to maintain. But along with the recent rebirth of Jane’s Addiction, who broke up in 1992, but has been reformed now a couple of times, the Lollapalooza also returns.
What made the 1991 version of the Lollapalooza great was the shuffling of talent that occurred on stage throughout the day. Not only did each band offer their own riveting sets, but band members also appeared as guest artists during other sets as well. That meant that Vernon Reid played guitar with the Rollins Band, Ice T guested during Siouxsie and the Banshees’ set and nearly everybody ended up on stage with Jane’s Addiction. It was a freewheeling, rollicking good time with that sense that just about anything could happen.
So in a marketplace full of expensive events- including multi-act festivals- what can the Lollapalooza 2003 do that other tours do not? Lollapalooza can bring together musicians to create an event, not just a festival. Are they up to it? The answer will be on stage at Fiddler’s Green on August 13. The line-up for the Denver tour stop includes, of course, Jane’s Addiction in the headlining slot, along with Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, the Jurassic 5, the Donnas and Rooney. Jane’s Addiction is certainly ready. Guitarist Dave Navarro told Spin magazine in their August edition that “we’re in the best shape we’ve ever been in as a band and as friends.” The group has a new bass player- Chris Chaney- and a new album, “Strays.”
But just in case the band camaraderie between the bands isn’t up to snuff, Lollapalooza 2003 is playing with a stacked deck. That means bringing along something new and exciting, especially for gaming enthusiasts. Lollapalooza 2003 will be featuring the GameRiot Pavilion. It’s a 5,500 square foot, AIR-CONDITIONED facility traveling with the Lollapalooza tour featuring 30 of the top video game titles of the year, playable on Xbox and PC. New titles will also be introduced. Hosts will conduct game competitions, surprise celebrity contestants will drop by and finals will be held on the main stage.
But more, Lollapalooza will also become a roving clearing house for community information of all kinds. The “World of Just (Be)Causes” will feature both local and national nonprofits addressing a range of social issues including “alternate energies.” With great music, games, food, stuff and information, the Lollapalooza is once again serious about being the best festival you’ll attend this summer.
New CD and Lots of Touring Means David Lindley Isn’t Slowing Down at All
Guitarist David Lindley is having oud-les of fun these days. That’s because he’s playing the Middle Eastern instrument called the “oud” like a man possessed. The oud is a 12-stringed instrument with no frets that is used commonly throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It’s also one of the featured instruments on Lindley’s brand new CD with percussionist Wally Ingram, “Twango Bango III.” There’s a picture of the oud on the album insert, along with photos of other exotic instruments Lindley uses- like the bouzouki, the saz and the chumbush.
“They definitely have their own agenda,” Lindley said in a recent phone interview of the international array of instruments he plays. “The oud definitely does. You have to listen to them to find out what they can do. That’s where the songs come from, the path of least resistance. It has to do with each instrument’s characteristics.”
On “Twango Bango III,” Lindley applies what he has learned about the oud to a wide variety of music, from Lindley and Ry Cooder originals to traditional songs and a little classic country. As long time Lindley fans will expect, there’s some reggae-inspired songs as well as some delicate folk-like tunes. In each case, Lindley produces a bright, fleet sound full of speed and flourish. Ingram keeps right up with Lindley on drums and his own collection of foreign instruments including the dumbek and the djembe. It’s an excellent match.
“It’s really great playing with Wally,” Lindley declared. “He listens real well and can change horses in mid-stream. He knows where to go, he goes there and gets there first.”
“Twango Bango III” is a departure for Lindley in terms of the recording process. Or rather, it’s a return to a more creative and polished method of recording- laying down initial tracks, then overdubbing more parts rather than recording live in the studio. That allows for guest artists such as Jorge Calderone on bass, Glenn Hartman on accordion and Lindley’s daughter, Roseanne Lindley, to appear on various tracks. Rosanne, for example, sings a powerful vocal part on the opening tune, “Meatgrinder Blues.”
“She’s my favorite singer,” the proud father said. “We did a tour with Ry Cooder and his son in Europe. In Italy, an army of guys started following her around- they weren’t groupies, but groupers, the male side of the species.”
But don’t worry, there’s not only a full dose of Lindley’s wide range of music styles, but also his madcap humor. Just punch in track 2, “When A Guy Gets Boobs,” to see what I mean.
“That song came out all at once,” Lindley remembers. “I got up one morning and went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and said ‘Oh, I’ve got boobs.’ It’s something that a lot of guys my age have to deal with. I was playing the oud one day and began playing a boogie shuffle like John Lee Hooker and it just came out.”
Other Lindley news includes several scattered gig dates with a reformed version of Lindley’s old band, El Rayo X. Lindley will be playing with El Rayo X at selected events, tours extensively with Ingram as well as plays solo gigs. He has also done some session work for recording projects by artists such as Ziggy Marley. All of this means that Lindley is far from slowing down or retiring.
“I’m playing better than ever,” he said. “I’m almost 60 and I’ve heard all my life that you slow down as you get older. This is not slowing down at all.”
Lindley and Ingram will be performing at the Mishawaka Amphitheater on July 13.
Bill Kreutzmann’s Art is a Window to Beyond the Veil
While the Dead are at Red Rocks- for an unprecedented five night stand in July- the Red Rocks Visitors Center will become an unusual venue for a show by new artist Bill Kreutzmann. Kreutzmann, also a drummer for the Dead, has taken new found computer skills and an inquiring mind and turned them into colorful, mind teasing art. The Walnut Street Gallery, the Fort Collins gallery that specializes in representing rock and roll artists, has arranged to have Kreutzmann’s otherworldly computer generated prints on display at the Visitors Center during the course of the Dead’s concert run. This is a chance to not only see the band, but also to experience the personal visions of one of the group’s founding members.
Kreutzmann’s artwork sprang from a single computer lesson he received from his bandmate Jerry Garcia. “We were in Los Angeles and I had just gotten a computer. It had some programs on it that I didn’t know how to work, like Photoshop. Jerry showed me how to open it and move things around. After that, it just kept my curiosity. It opened up avenues that I might have experienced if I had really learned how to paint. But I don’t have time. I guess I’m kind of impatient. After all, I am a drummer,” Kreutzmann explained during a phone interview from New York City.
Since he can carry his computer with him as he travels the world as a musician, Kreutzmann finds his new passion for art fits right in with his lifestyle since he can work on his images “anytime I’m away from the drums.” “It just doesn’t stop going,” he said. “It’s a creative outlet I can use when the show is over, when I’ve still got some energy and the music isn’t done. Whatever part you’re doing, the visual part or the music, it always helps the other and it becomes a full-on thing.”
The images in Kreutzmann’s artwork vary from piece to piece. Some exhibit surrealist juxtapositions, others are more design and color oriented. Some are abstract and others seem to tell a story. All of the pieces take advantage of crisp color combinations and Kreutzmann’s willingness to explore. “I don’t trust reality,” he said. “I don’t believe that what’s here is all there is. I believe that with a little work, we can push beyond whatever is in front of us, beyond the veil, and see what’s on the other side. I try to provide a window in my art for doing that.”
Kreutzmann insists that his artwork is inspired by every place he goes and not just from one source. For example, just recently, Kreutzmann and his wife spent a month in Italy and he “got a lot of pictures out of that trip.” The urge to work on his images can come at anytime. “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea for a background or an image,” he said.
The hardest part about becoming an artist for Kreutzmann was admitting it. Since putting out his first series of prints in 2001, Kreutzmann has learned to accept his new role. “I’ve learned to be more honest with myself,” he said. “I make art that other people like. I like it. But I’ve realized that yes, I can be an artist too. We all are. We just have to admit that and go from there.”
Oh, and by the way, the new touring version of the Dead- featuring Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, along with a full band including Jimmy Herring on guitar- is doing fine on the road this summer. “The Dead is really going good. The shows have been really great,” Kreutzmann said. He also points out that vocalist Joan Osborne has made an excellent addition to the group. “She’s working out really well. The fans love her,” he added.
The Dead will be playing at Red Rocks July 6-8 and on July 10-11. Also on display at the Red Rocks Visitors Center, along with Kreutzmann’s work, will be vintage rock and roll photographs by Jay Blakesberg and Herb Greene. Both Blakesberg and Greene have photographed the Grateful Dead as well as other bands. Blakesberg, Greene and Kreutzmann are all scheduled to make personal appearances at the exhibit. For the full schedule of events go to Walnut Street Gallery’s web site at www.walnutst.com or call 1-800-ROCKOUT.
The Dead and Santana: Rocking Colorado Again
Well, it’s about time. The surviving members of the Grateful Dead have finally done what they could have done all along. That is, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have joined forces again and have dispensed with the funny names and the solo bands to become what they have always been- The Dead. It only seems like a slight detail, the dropping of the “Grateful,” probably in respect to their long departed bandmate Jerry Garcia. With Garcia, they were the Grateful Dead. Without Garcia, they have become The Dead after nearly eight years of pursuing their own bands and reunion groupings that up until now have been called The Other Ones. The façade has broken down, the Other Ones name has been scrapped and since most people call them the Dead anyway, it just makes sense.
But the four Grateful Dead members are not the only ones in the new grouping called The Dead. From Phil Lesh’s band, Phil Lesh and Friends, come keyboardist Rob Barraco and guitarist Jimmy Herring. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti is also in the band. But the single most exciting addition to The Dead is vocalist Joan Osborne. Osborne is known as an innovative and exciting performer on her own, but her voice is going to add a new dimension- some female musical input, something the group hasn’t had on a regular basis since Donna Godchaux sang with the Grateful Dead in the 1970s. Osborne’s powerful and expressive voice will add a new kind of power to a music that already has plenty of guitars, keyboards and worn male voices.
The best news, of course, is that The Dead are celebrating the new band by setting off on their “Summer Getaway 2003” tour. The tour begins at the sold-out Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN on June 15. Then Leg I of the tour will visit Virginia, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas. Leg I will end with a three-date run at Red Rocks, July 6-8. Be advised there are no opening acts for the Red Rocks shows. Leg II then begins on July 29 with a number of dates with Bob Dylan and Robert Hunter, with moe. added to some select dates. The time has come for both the musicians and the fans to settle back and enjoy what it is that has been happening without interruption, despite the various diversions that have made recent years a catch-as-catch-can experience for most fans. That is, Dead music gets cranked out by the members of the Dead. But finally, they have come together as The Dead, not as the Other Ones, or any other kind of illusion.
The Dead are not the only survivors from the heady San Francisco scene that has helped define American rock over the last four decades. Also count in master guitarist Carlos Santana. His band, Santana, has continued to crank out a mesmerizing mix of rock, Latin and jazz since forming in 1967. They have also continued to crank out hit records. Remember that great song, “Smooth,” featuring matchbox twenty’s Rob Thomas on vocals? The tune was on Santana’s album, “Supernatural,” which was released in June 1999. The album turned out to be a phenomenal career landmark release that sold over 25 million copies worldwide and spent 102 weeks on the Billboard 200 Album chart, including 12 weeks at #1. “Supernatural” also generated an all-time record-breaking nine Grammys at the awards ceremonies that took place in February 2000, including Album Of the Year and Best Rock Album.
Santana continues to tap the special talent he sees around him with his latest album, “Shaman.” The record was produced by Santana and Clive Davis and not only features that great, expressive guitar style and big band rock, but also guest appearances by artists such as Musiq, Seal, Macy Gray, P.O.D., Dido, Ozomatli and, oddly, opera star Placido Domingo, among many others. Of course, the album also features the song, “The Game of Love,” which spotlights vocals by Michelle Branch. According to Santana’s web site, the “Shaman” album “boasts a dazzling array of collaborators from across the musical spectrum, and is again (in Carlos Santana’s words) a “multi-dimensional” collection, bridging generations and cultures in a musical melting pot of creative partnerships.”
Santana’s current band line-up includes the stalwart keyboardist Chester Thompson, who has been in the band since 1983. The group also features vocalist Andy Vargas and conga player Raul Rekow (who played with Santana’s brother, Jorge in the group Malo.) But more than just a musician with a great band, Santana is also a social activist. That’s why he recently announced that proceeds from the United States portion of the Shaman World Tour will be donated to Artists For A New South Africa (ANSA). The cash will be earmarked for “grants and material aid to effective South African non-profit organizations working on the frontlines to combat HIV/AIDS through prevention, treatment, care, destigmatization, advocacy, infrastructure development and mitigation of impact.” To help, all you have to do is buy a ticket. Santana and band will be playing at Fiddler’s Green in Denver on July 8. The opening act is Angelique Kidjo. The American Shaman Tour will finish in LA on July 14, then Santana and band will be touring in Europe, visiting Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and the UK. In November, Santana tours Japan.
What’s most important to us, however, is what’s happening here at home. Between three dates with The Dead at Red Rocks and one date with Santana at Fiddler’s Green, the San Francisco sound will be rocking Colorado again in 2003!
The Jefferson Starship/Mothership- Whatever!- Makes a Landing at NewWestFest
Linden Street Live Also Features Hazel Miller and Better Than Ezra on August 16
As Marty Balin tells the story, when he would sing on stage with Grace Slick in the Jefferson Airplane/Starship, his vocal passion was so evocative that Slick would often get hot to trot following a show. One time, Balin asserts, Slick was so enraged by his refusal to “mix pleasure with business,” that she attacked his hotel room door with a fire ax. He had to call the band’s road manager to interfere.
That’s just one of the very vivid stories that Balin tells as a veteran of the San Francisco rock scene, one that he helped create and fire up. It’s no wonder that Balin not only has continued his career as a singer- after all, what could be more fun than having girl lead singers chopping down your door to get at you- but has also become a painter.
During the NewWestFest this year, Fort Collins is going to get both a showing of Balin’s artwork as well as a live set by Balin and the Mothership- the current version of the Starship without bassist Paul Kantner. “It’s whatever you want to call it- the Starship, the Mothership, whatever- it’s the band I’ve been playing with for years, only without Kantner,” Balin says.
Balin’s artwork is bright and colorful and interprets the likenesses of a diversity of classic rock and soul performers. These include the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Papa John Creach, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. Balin insists that he can only paint musicians he knew personally.
For example, Janis Joplin is one of his favorite subjects on canvas. When asked to tell a Joplin story, Balin recounted the time he heard Otis Redding’s first record. “Somebody brought it to me and I immediately took it to my good friend Bill Graham and told him that he just had to book this guy in town somewhere,” Balin remembers. :”Bill booked Otis at some little club and so me and Janis and Pigpen, from the old Grateful Dead, all went down to see the show. There were only a hundred people or so there and we were yelling and having a great time. Janis was a lot of fun. We were great drinking partners together.”
Balin called Doors’ vocalist Jim Morrison “an interesting guy,” but “I didn’t like our date with him because he got all the girls.” Balin called soul singer Otis Redding “the greatest entertainer I ever saw. He was the heaviest, heavier than Jimi Hendrix. As a performer he had an undeniable charisma and crowd control. He had everything.”
Balin’s paintings are impressionistic in nature and his painting sessions- when he gets himself away from the guitar- are artistic reverie indeed. “When I’m painting someone, I’m usually going through the times we had together in my head,” he says. “I’ll put on their music and just try to immerse myself.”
But more than legendary rock and roll figures, Balin has also taken to creating a series of works based on the career of a performer called “Le Petomane.” Le Petomane created music with gas- his own- and was a popular performer in turn-of-the-century France. Like artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous images from the same period, Balin’s Le Petomane paintings create a world far different than rock and roll. In Balin’s paintings, the figure of Le Petomane appears in raucous crowd scenes where the action is lively everywhere on the canvas. “I’ve always wondered why Lautrec didn’t paint Le Petomane because they were in the same period, so I thought I would try,” Balin explains. “I enjoy that period of time. I’ve painted 25 scenes so far. I want to write a play about it and use the art in the production.”
The art show will be taking place at the Walnut Street Gallery, located at 217 Linden. The preview for the show is August 11-15. Balin is scheduled to attend a reception on August 15. On display will be some of Balin’s new work he lovingly calls his “Summer of Love” paintings, including images of other San Francisco greats such as John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steve Miller and Santana.
On August 16, Balin and the Mothership will be headlining the annual Linden Street Live concert held on Linden Street as the main entertainment event for NewWestFest. Joining Balin on stage will be lead guitarist Slick Aguliar, vocalist Diana Mangano, keyboardist Chris Smith, bassist Tom Lily and drummer Prairie Prince. Balin promises that the group plays many of the Jefferson Airplane/Starship favorites, including “White Rabbit,” “It’s No Secret” and “Miracles,” as well as Balin solo songs.
Where the art work and music intersect in Balin’s life is in the process. “I find it fascinating to go where it takes me,” he says. “The art is like writing a song, which to me is actually like taking dictation from somewhere else. In the painting, I’m taking a blank white space and changing it. I don’t know where its going and it’s only finished when its finished. For an audience I’m trying to paint with words, so they can ‘see’ my songs.”
To view samples of Balin’s artwork, log on to www.musciansasartists.com. To get the latest Jefferson Starship news, check out their web site at www.jeffersonstarshipsf.com. Contact the Walnut Street Gallery for art show news at 221-2383 or log on to www.walnutst.com.
Also set for the NewWestFest Linden Street Live show on Saturday, August 16, will be Denver’s leading lady of rhythm and blues, Hazel Miller, and the band Better Than Ezra. The Linden Street Live event is being presented in a different fashion this year. Music fans are being asked to pay $5 for access to the area in front of the stage and to the beer garden.
The Estes Park Rock Festival Begins a New Tradition
“The Festival with Altitude” is coming. The Estes Park Rock Festival is set for August 23-24 at the Stanley Park Fairgrounds. On stage will be a long list of classic rock talent headed up by Three Dog Night and Grand Funk Railroad.
On the line, however, may be a new annual regional event. The Estes Park Rock Festival is being promoted by John and Wini Spahnle, of Estes Valley Productions, and they’re betting that this event will return for years to come. “Hopefully we’ll get enough response to make this an annual event and that it grows, maybe including different genres,” John says.
The Spahnles are approaching this like a business, their third, after running a restaurant in Nebraska and a resort in Estes Park. The pair has been working on the Estes Park Rock Festival for “the better part of a year.” “This whole business is like a 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces have to be jiggled into place by August 23,” John laughs.
Wini and John got into creating this new festival when they noticed something was lacking in their own hometown. “We saw that Estes needed some new blood in the special events department,” John explains. “If you look around the mountain communities, you see that most of them have developed musical events during the summer, and they’re well attended and successful. We felt there was a real need for a festival-type event here. There isn’t a prettier venue anywhere and there’s a huge population on the Front Range that we can draw on.”
John admits to being an “old rocker” and maintains that many of the older bands sound better today than they did in the past. The line-up for the Estes Park Rock Festival will help prove his point. On Saturday, August 23, performers include Eric Burdon and the Animals, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Three Dog Night. On Sunday, August 24, the Estes Park Rock Festival presents Firefall, the Grassroots, Lou Gramm, lead singer of Foreigner, and Grand Funk Railroad. There will also be food and craft vendors as well as a second stage featuring regional acts.
Though many of the main stage bands are past their prime in terms of media exposure, many continue to rock with a mixture of original and new members. Three Dog Night, for example, still features original members Jimmy Greenspoon, Cory Wells and Danny Hutton. Grand Funk Railroad includes founding members, drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher. Joining Brewer and Schacher is singer Max Carl (38 Special, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack), lead guitarist Bruce Kulick (12 years with KISS and credits with Meatloaf and Billy Squire) and keyboardist Tim Cashion (Bob Seger and Robert Palmer).
The Estes Park Rock Festival has an extensive web site to answer questions- from ticket sales (children under 5 are free) to just what you can and can’t bring into the Fairgrounds (no coolers or pets; bring lawn chairs and blankets.) The site also offers links to all the bands as well as camping and lodging information. There’s even a free download of the event poster. Log on to www.estesparkrock.com for full information.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Invesco Field, Denver, September 25, 2003
The problem that a performer as intense as Bruce Springsteen faces is bringing that intensity onto the stage and delivering from the first song to the last. At Invesco Field in Denver, the beginning of Springsteen’s set was uneven and out of synch. The first tune was a rocker- Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver”- and the next was his latest emotional anthem, “The Rising,” but the intensity was lost in the muddle of sound and the process of the band finding its pace. This continued through a number of songs, begging the question of whether Springsteen was having an off night or not.
It wasn’t until the Boss and band kicked into a version of “Because the Night” that the passionate fireworks he is known to deliver began to shoot into the night sky. Springsteen took the spotlight to turn in a searing, fiery guitar solo. The sound cleared up, the band was finally ready to rock and the show kicked into high gear. With the masterful pacing that only a veteran performing unit can muster, they segued immediately into “Badlands” then “No Surrender.” Springsteen became a dominating figure on stage and never looked back.
In Denver, Springsteen’s intensity came in two forms- a serious, introspective side full of foreboding statements and observations, and a very energetic side that was wild and devil-may-care. The serious side is what gave Springsteen his sense of integrity. The wild side is what made the audience in the half-filled stadium take to its feet to thrust their fists into the air.
The E Street Band remains a gregarious cast of characters, able to stop on a dime and follow their leader, possessed by the energy of rock and roll, anywhere he wanted to go. Steve Van Zandt remains Springsteen’s main vocal foil and Clarence Clemons continues to add not only the muscular sax lines necessary to add punch to the songs, but also a stage presence that made him an important part of the show even when he didn’t have much to do. Guitarist Nils Lofgren made sure the guitar solos were dramatic and creative and drummer Max Weinberg steadily drove the whole thing. However, new band member Soozie Tyrell, playing violin especially on the new material, could be credited with giving Springsteen’s sound a newer, greater texture.
By the time the show had reached the two hour mark, Sprigsteen had drawn the entire stadium under his spell and he worked the front of the stage like a rock and roll king. The band’s first encore kicked in with the old chestnut “Kitty’s Back,” segueing immediately into “Born to Run.” The stadium lights were up full and excitement surged. The second encore, however, ignited with what Springsteen called an “end of the summer treat”- a hot version of “Rosalita,” complete with all those great dramatic stop/start parts. The show ended with “Dancing in the Dark.” The crowd was indeed dancing, but it wasn’t dark in Invesco Field- the lights again were up and Springsteen was in total control.
During the show, Springsteen mentioned the last time the band had played Denver at an outdoor venue- back in 1986 when snow delayed one of two sold out stadium shows and the temperature dipped down to 36 degrees. On September 25, however, the weather was perfect, the crowd was cranked and the band played for nearly three hours. Despite a faltering start, Springsteen left the stage with his reputation for intensity intact. He remains one of the most uplifting and effective rock performers of our time and it seems like he and his band have a great deal of fun. The audience certainly did.
The Lincoln Center Celebrates With the King of the Blues, Looks to the Future
BB King started life as the son of a poor sharecropper. Now he is considered the world’s foremost blues guitarist- literally the King of the Blues.
The Lincoln Center started life as a corner lot in a growing city. Now it is considered one of the region’s finest entertainment venues.
Together, BB King and the Lincoln Center make a strong team for a run of five shows October 14-18. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the fact that the Lincoln Center has been serving the Fort Collins community- all of northern Colorado, really- for 25 years. The Lincoln Center’s 25th anniversary season is already in full swing with a diversity of acts that include, of course, the King of the Blues.
BB King has been an influential figure in American blues for more than fifty years, starting in Memphis where he performed and became a radio personality. His radio nickname was shortened from “The Beale Street Blues Boy” King to “Blues Boy” to BB. He first recorded in 1949, named his guitar “Lucille” and has since received numerous awards. But no awards are greater than the respect of his peers and King has been credited with influencing top stars, from Eric Clapton to U2. The reasons are in his music- his dramatic vocal style and stinging, ringing guitar attack have helped shape the way others know the blues. BB King will be bringing his blues and his rocking big band to Fort Collins with the authority of a master.
Meanwhile, the Lincoln Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a fresh face in the driver’s seat. The new Director of Cultural Services & Facilities, whose duties include overseeing operations at the Lincoln Center, is Jill Stilwell. Stilwell is taking over the reigns from longtime (as in 24 of the Center’s 25 years) director Dave Siever.
Stilwell is no stranger to Fort Collins. She has acted as the director of the Fort Collins Museum since 1998. She is a visual arts graduate of CSU. And Stilwell is certainly no stranger to the Lincoln Center. “One of my first jobs at the Lincoln Center was hanging shows in the art galleries. I also worked as a receptionist and in other areas such as costuming,” Jill says. “It’s like coming home. I met my husband here. The Lincoln Center definitely has a place in my heart.”
Stilwell’s duties- since taking the Director’s position on September 2- have so far included traveling to Long Beach, California for a regional entertainment trade show, beginning the process of choosing the acts that will make up the 2004-2005 Series. Siever accompanied Stilwell in a four-day crash course in agents and acts. “It was almost an overload of information,” Jill says. “We picked up brochures and talked with various agents about their current offerings. It was great to go with David, who has been going for 24 years. He introduced me to agents and I came to realize just how well known he is. He is highly respected and well-liked.”
Meanwhile, Stilwell’s work in the community has just begun. For each of the Lincoln Center’s Series, there is a volunteer committee of community members who meet and help with making the decisions. Stilwell is just starting to schedule those meetings. She will also be traveling to a national trade show in January in New York City before final decisions are made.
“Our goal is to bring in acts that the community might not otherwise be able to see, things that are different from what the local arts groups are presenting,” Jill explains. “We’re going to be exploring adding some new things, like world music, as well as the possibility of patrons choosing their own series.”
Meanwhile, the former Director has plans to get out of town. He’s retiring and headed for India where he will participate in a yoga spiritual tour as well as anything else he wants to do. “I don’t want to have to set any deadlines- that’s going to take an adjustment,” Siever admits. Some of Sievers’ favorite memories include seeing the Talking Heads at the Lincoln Center, as well as OpenStage Theatre’s first presentation, “The Lion in Winter.” “Actually my favorite times were just standing in the back watching the audience enjoy the show,” he says.
The BB King shows are a part of the Lincoln Center Showstopper Series. But there’s plenty of other great entertainment coming in October. That includes, of course, the final two Showstopper concerts by soulful vocalist Natalie Cole, October 5-6. Also coming in October: The Ririe Woodbury-Nikolais Dance Company opens the Dance Series on October 2. Clear Channel Entertainment will be bringing Ian Anderson, flautist and frontman for Jethro Tull, to the Lincoln Center on October 3. The Ten Tenors perform an “extra event” for the Classical Music Series on October 13. The Shaolin Warriors perform as part of the Anything Goes Series on October 20. The Travelogue Film Series opens on October 27 with “India,” and Pilobolus performs an “extra” show for the Dance Series on October 28. The Cilingirian Quartet continues the Classical Music Series on October 30.
But more, the Lincoln Center continues to be a venue for community arts groups including Dance Connection, Front Range Chamber Players, Debut Theatre Company, Rocky Mountain Youth Orchestra, OpenStage Theatre Company, Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra and Larimer Chorale, all of which have events at the Lincoln Center during October. For ticket information, call 970-221-6730 or www.lctix.com.
With his distinct baritone voice, a proficient finger-style guitar technique and a sense of drama and storytelling in his lyrics, Daryl Purpose has been called “a dramatist for the dispossessed, a chronicler of those Americans who…live on the heart’s back streets” by writer Michael Tisserand. But also throw in Purpose’s huge supply of stories from his activities as a peace activist, professional gambler and modern troubadour and you have a performer appealing to both coffeehouse and theater audiences alike.
The New Orleans Gambit Weekly declares that “Purpose’s music hits all the vital areas: the heart, the mind and the gut” and he will be performing in Fort Collins at Avogadro’s Number on January 25. Also appearing will be Southern singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis. Among plenty of critical acclaim, Pettis was given a 1999 Country Music Award from ASCAP for his song “You Move Me,” co-written with Gordon Kennedy and recorded by Garth Brooks on his album, “Sevens.”
More music: Liquid Soul will be at the Aggie Theatre on January 16. Also coming up at the Aggie: pop reggae unit Inner Circle on January 20, DJ Logic on January 23, and Sean and Tom from the Samples on January 30. Derek Trucks will be at the Aggie with Tony Furtado on February 1, Victor Wooten on February 2 and Eric Johnson on February 22. In Loveland, Eric Burdon and the Animals rock at the Rialto Theater on February 6. Also coming to the Rialto- John McEuen and Jimmy Ibbotson on February 16.
In Denver, Shakira brings her Tour of the Mongoose to the Pepsi Center on January 28. Coming in February: Moe, at the Fillmore on February 8 and Phish at the Pepsi Center on February 18. The Roots play the Fillmore on February 16 and Galactic, along with Medeski, Martin and Wood, make a two night stand at the Fillmore February 14-15.
Poetry: James Tipton is an award-winning Colorado poet who has spent many years balancing his writing with beekeeping. Though Tipton has only recently sold his honey business, he has also just released a new CD featuring readings from his critically acclaimed book “Letters From A Stranger.” The CD was produced in Fort Collins in collaboration with performance poetry group TVS and two fingers. Tipton and TVS and two fingers will be introducing their new material together at several upcoming Front Range shows, beginning with a show at the Loveland Museum on January 23. On January 25, Tipton and TVS and two fingers will be appearing at the Mercury Café in Denver, along with Fort Collins group Mystic V as well as Denver’s Seth and the Word Mechanics. On January 27, TVS and two fingers and Tipton will be heading up a benefit for the Dance Express at Avogadro’s. They will also be performing at Sparrows, Colorado’s annual performance poetry festival scheduled for January 31-February 1 in Salida. TVS and two fingers are also scheduled to perform at the Harmony Library on February 5.
Lincoln Center: The Showstopper series continues at the Lincoln Center in January with Blast II Shockwave, the next generation of the 2001 Tony-award winning theatrical spectacular, “Blast!” The Chicago Tribune called it “a rousing, non stop mix of spectacle and sound.” Blast II Shockwave is scheduled for January 21-24. Also coming up: The Fort Collins Symphony presents the Dallas Brass at the Lincoln Center on January 17. Emmy Award-winning comedienne Paula Poundstone will perform for a Lincoln Center Special Event on January 25. The Travleogue Film Series resumes with “Blazing Paddles” by Gray Warriner, on January 27. The Front Range Chamber Players present a program including music by Mozart, Debussy and Ravel on February 2 in the Mini Theatre. The Second City continues the Anything Goes Series on February 5. High Performance Dance Theatre presents “Moments from the Heart” at the Lincoln Center on February 14-15.
Art: Still showing until February 1 at Improv Contemporary Art, at 214 S. College in Fort Collins, is work by Brooke Boynton, “little blue houses” by Bryan Andrews, as well as pieces by the Colorado Metalsmithing Association Artists. The opening reception for the new show at the Dellnova Gallery, at 234 East Fourth Street in Loveland, “Heartaches, Heart throbs & Heartburn,” will be on Saturday, January 18 and the show will continue through March 8.
Theatre: Director Judith Allen describes the title characters in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” as “lovers dominated by forces larger than they can hope to control.” Allen has directed the currently running OpenStage production of the famous play, which is running through February 1 at the Lincoln Center Mini Theatre. Opening at the Bas Bleu Theatre on January 17 is David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” The play “dissects the dark underbelly of the Hollywood dream machine” and runs through March 1.
Afterword: My final concert of 2002 was the KISSmas Snowball, a pop music showcase at the Pepsi Center on December 17 sponsored by radio station KISS-FM. Hot new rocker Avril Lavigne dominated the stage with material that showed depth and variety, combining some peppy pop rock and a ballad or two with some heavier, more ambitious music. Other rock acts fared well too. Kelly Osbourne, sounding like a young Joan Jett, debuted her hard rock act and Nick Carter came on with a tough new image. Osbourne in particular was well-received by the crowd and her stage presence was friendly, bubbly and chatty. The other acts- DJ Sammy, K-Ci and Jojo and P. Diddy- all performed to prerecorded soundtracks, replacing the intensity of a live band with exaggerated stage movements and dramatic gestures. P. Diddy at least had a dancing troupe filling the stage and plenty of pyrotechnics in this engagingly diverse end-of-the year pop music bash.
In “Speed-The-Plow,” playwright David Mamet “dissects the dark underbelly of the Hollywood dream machine.” The play follows the story of a movie producer caught between the allure of money and trying to accomplish something that is more meaningful. “Speed-The-Plow” is currently running at the Bas Bleu Theatre through March 1. On March 4, the Bas Bleu will be hosting its first “Mardi Gras Party,” a fundraiser scheduled for the Lincoln Center Canyon West Ballroom. The party includes dinner and dancing as well as a silent auction. Support the arts- call 498-8949 for more information.
Lincoln Center: The High Performance Dance Theatre presents “Moments from the Heart” at the Lincoln Center on February 14-15. The Showstopper Series continues with Tony Award-winning smash hit musical, “Fosse,” on February 18-21. The OpenStage Theatre Company’s production of Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” opens in the Mini Theatre on February 22 and runs through March 22. The Travelogue Film Series continues on February 24 with “Japan,” by Willis H. Moore. On March 2, in the Mini Theatre, the Front Range Chamber Players present an all-Baroque program featuring flute, choral, oboe and viola pieces. On March 4, be sure to catch Barrage at the Lincoln Center. The act features seven fiddle players, a back-up band and a show that “contains obvious borrowings from the Riverdance/Lord of the Dance/Spirit of the Dance, as well as bits of the Stomp and Blast shows.” Momix will be bringing their latest show, “Opus Cactus,” to the Lincoln Center on March 7 to continue the Dance Series.
Art: During February, Improv Contemporary Art will be featuring “Art of the Ambassadors.” Presented in association with the MindShare Foundation, the exhibit displays “student art from Fort Collins and around the world.” Improv is located at 214 S. College. Call 482-4872 for information.
Live music: Galactic and Medeski, Martin and Wood play a two-night stand at the Fillmore starting on February 14. John McEuen and Jimmy Ibbotson, from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, will be performing at the Rialto Theater in Loveland and the Roots are at the Fillmore on February 16. Phish has reunited and will be at the Pepsi Center on February 18. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders personally picked the All Mighty Senators to open the Pretenders’ 31 date “Loose Screw” tour. They’ll be sharing the stage at the Paramount Theater in Denver on February 19. The Donnas are at the Bluebird on February 21. Straight from North Florida’s Blackwater region, the band Mofro will be serving up healthy doses of swamp funk- with “a twist of back porch soul”- at the Fox Theater in Boulder on February 21, at the Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver on February 22 and at 32 Bleu in Colorado Springs on February 23. Coming up in March: Patty Larkin at the Rialto on March 7.
Afterword: It was a rare treat to hear so much noise in the Lincoln Center on January 24. I mean the big, brassy, honking noise of the new Blast touring show, Shockwave. Crafted for smaller auditoriums like the Lincoln Center, Shockwave featured upbeat music performed by scores of horn players and a powerful percussion/keyboard section. The scene on the stage was constantly changing- just like marching band formations, but choreographed for dancers. The music was all over the map, ranging from swing and jazz to rock and pop, but always aimed at stirring up excitement. In a tremendous special effect, the horn players spread out around the perimeter of the Lincoln Center and each played in turn several times for a swooping, truly surround sound experience. The moving bodies on stage, the blasting music, great lights and a quick pace made for an exceptionally invigorating evening- one of the best Lincoln Center shows in memory.
As resounding as the Shockwave show was, however, it could not compare with the Rolling Stones show that pulled into the Pepsi Center on February 1- but then again, what could? The Stones are still in control of the biggest, most successful rock and roll machine in the business, bar none. Their staging and production remains spectacular and the band members themselves continue to play the parts they fulfill so well. That is, drummer Charlie Watts remains the steady heartbeat, while guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards churn out their delightfully dirty combination of riffs, licks and chunky power chords. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger commands the stage like no other performer- an athletic English dandy whose hands and arms flail, legs pump and body jerks while delivering rough and ready vocals complete with a snarling, unrepentant attitude.
By now, nearly every song the Stones play is a classic and the highlights at the Pepsi Center were plentiful. Still, performances of tunes like the countryish “Dead Flowers,” the magnificently powerful “Gimme Shelter” and even the ancient hit “Satisfaction” stood out. “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” included an extended instrumental jam that featured Bobby Keys’ moody sax work and great lead work by Wood. Richards’ tune “Happy” was buoyant and light, the new song “Don’t Stop” fit into the set nicely and opener Jonny Lang stepped on stage to trade guitar licks with Wood and Richards during “Rock Me Baby.”
But it wasn’t until the group took a small satellite stage at the opposite end of the arena that the true staying power of the Stones became clear. Gone was the big stage, the huge video screens, the larger than life lighting and the extra musicians. Here was the core band- two guitars, drums, bass and keyboards, all crowded around together in a relatively small space along with a writhing, sweating Mick Jagger- tearing into a three-song set that rocked mightily. The reason the Stones still roll is because they know how to create a spectacle, but more importantly, they are also still a real band. On that small stage, all the trappings of superstardom fell away and loud, gritty rock and blues was what was left- music that continues to satisfy.
February Concert Check
Phish has recently announced the debut of “Live Phish Downloads,” a whole new way to listen to and collect live Phish recordings. The new program is a natural extension of the popular Live Phish CD series. Live Phish Downloads offer high quality, unedited soundboard recordings of select shows in the form of MP3 and shorten digital music files via a state-of-the-art delivery system. All four of the recent New Year’s shows are available via Live Phish Downloads, either a la carte or as a package for a special discounted price. All download files are compatible with Windows, Mac and Unix operating systems, allowing for maximum flexibility and ease of use. Once downloaded, shows can be burned to disc, transferred to portable players, or played through your computer. Each show also comes with printable booklets, inlay trays, and labels if you elect to burn your files to CD. To check it out, log on to phish.com. Meanwhile, Phish is back on the road and will be performing a sold-out show at the Pepsi Center on February 18.
Eric Burdon: Legendary rocker Eric Burdon describes his recent autobiographical collaboration with writer J. Marshall Craig, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” as a “journey from the morning the Animals recorded the song that would make us famous to the day, more than thirty years later, that I stepped through the doors of the real House of the Rising Sun. It’s also about the life I’ve led on the road since 1962, a life filled with such extraordinary memories that sometimes, looking back, I wonder if they really occurred.” Burdon says the past is full of “bad deals, bad drugs and bad behavior” but that he’s not looking for sympathy, he’s just telling it like it was: “God knows I’ve been the author of my own misfortune as often as not. But it’s been a hell of a ride, and continues to be. At least I’m alive to write about it- and alive to sing about it.” Burdon’s book includes a selected discography and never before published photos. Burdon and the Animals will be performing at the Rialto Theater in Loveland on February 6.
Mofro: Straight from North Florida’s Blackwater region, the band Mofro serves up healthy doses of swamp funk with “a twist of back porch soul.” During the summer of 2002, Mofro was featured on a segment of MTV’s rising star show, “You Hear it First,” and the band’s debut album, “Blackwater,” was voted one of the top 10 best R & B CDs of 2001 by Amazon.com. Mofro will be at the Fox Theater in Boulder on February 21, at the Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver on February 22 and at 32 Bleu in Colorado Springs on February 23.
All Mighty Senators: Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders personally picked the All Mighty Senators to open the Pretenders’ 31 date “Loose Screw” tour. Billboard Magazine describes the band’s music this way: “by linking bits of funk, metal, R & B, blues boogie, acoustic instrumentation, and even Frank Zappa-isms, All Mighty Senators toss out a sassy, temperamental, musical whole that is nothing short of beguiling.” The All Mighty Senators share the stage with the Pretenders at the Paramount Theater in Denver on February 19.
Melissa Ferrick: These days, surviving as a working musician without the backing of radio, TV and press is not an easy task. As an artist who is indeed thriving under those circumstances, singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick is a living, working inspiration. Over the last decade, Ferrick has toured, promoted and released eight critically acclaimed albums and received numerous awards for her work, including winning this year’s Boston Music Award for best singer-songwriter. Ferrick will be celebrating the release of her latest record, “Listen Hard,” with a show at the Bluebird Theater on Valentine’s Day, February 14.
More music: Rock band moe. plays the Fillmore in Denver on February 8. Paul Weller is at the Paramount in Denver on February 11. Galactic and Medeski, Martin and Wood play a two-night stand at the Fillmore starting on February 14. John McEuen and Jimmy Ibbotson, from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, will be performing at the Rialto Theater in Loveland and the Roots are at the Fillmore on February 16 Phish The Donnas are at the Bluebird on February 21. Coming up in March: Patty Larkin at the Rialto on March 7.
Fort Collins musician Ray Wasinger has recently been honored for his part in a Grammy Award-winning album. Wasinger played drums on two tracks on Mary Youngblood’s album “Beneath the Raven Moon,” which won the Grammy this year for best Native American Album in the folk music category. Wasinger’s brother Tom produced the album, which was recorded last spring in his Boulder studio. Tom gets a Grammy statuette while Ray gets a certificate as a participant in the project. Wasinger describes Youngblood’s music as “really terrific, beautiful stuff” and he appears on two of only three tracks that include drums. Congratulations!
Musicfest 2003: On Friday, March 28, Musicfest 2003- a benefit event for new community public radio station KRFC- starts off with a musician and sponsor reception featuring music by the T Band and the McDailey Trio. Then a bluegrass show will feature the North Fork Band and the Bluegrass Patriots at Avogadro’s Number. At the Sunset Events Center, the line-up on two stages will be the Three Twins, the Michelle Roderick Band, Russ Hopkins, Pamela Robinson and TVS and two fingers. Also on Friday, Archer’s will be presenting TransHypnotic, Kids Eat Free and Barstool Messiah.
On Saturday, March 29, afternoon activities include a free Children’s Show starting at 12:00 Noon at the Fort Collins Public Library (downtown) featuring Barb Patterson, Pamela Robinson and TVS & MJR. A special workshop for musicians on promotion packs lead by Denver promoter Jim Schwartzkopff will be held at the KRFC studios at 619 S. College, #4 at 2 p.m. At 4 p.m., there will be an open mike hosted by Tim Hunt at Avogadro’s Number- giving budding musicians the chance to sign up and become a part of the festival. Then Avo’s is set to rock with a diversity of bands including Blues Is Blood, Wasabi, Mimic, Giant Spiders and Tuku. Meanwhile, Archer’s will be presenting the Boogaloo Communicators and the United Dope Front. Also on Saturday, singer-songwriter Joe Kissell will be hosting an acoustic performer’s showcase featuring Kevin Jones, Kirsten Bolton and Judith Avers, Russ Hopkins and more at Starry Night coffee house.
On Sunday, March 30, the festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. at Avogadro’s Number with the “Taste of the Town Brunch.” This is an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy the fine acoustic music of guitarist Steven Wiseman and multi-instrumentalist Steve Eulberg while sampling food from area restaurants. Then the fun at Avo’s continues with a variety of acts including the spoken word/musical exploration of SETH with Art Compost and the Word Mechanics, as well as other acts including Maggie Simpson, Tara Lee, the Just Jazz Quintet, Cowtown Boogie and more. Also on Sunday evening, Archer’s will be hosting a special community jam/individual performer’s showcase, designed specifically to give musicians of all levels a chance to get up and play. For up-to-the-minute details, tune in to KRFC at 88.9 FM- and celebrate the arrival of a new public radio station!
Lincoln Center: The OpenStage Theatre production of Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is now playing at the Lincoln Center Mini Theatre through March 22. Director Richard Strahle describes the play as “a backstage look at a live comedy variety show.” Grammy Award-winning violinist Mark O’Connor brings his Trio to the Lincoln Center on March 22. The Showstopper Series continues March 24-27 with “Swing,” a collection of “short stories” that are “danced and sung like a novel.” The Travelogue Film Series continues on March 31 with “Indonesia, Borneo and the Falklands” by Rich Kern. Coming to the Lincoln Center in April: the Front Range Chamber Players perform an “All Ravel” program in the Mini Theatre on April 6. Johnny Rivers returns to the Lincoln Center April 7-10 to close out this year’s Showstopper Series.
Afterword: By the time veteran vocalist Eric Burdon- known for his early hits with the Animals- left the Rialto Theater stage in Loveland on February 6, he had the crowd on its feet clamoring for more. The reason was that this sold-out crowd had been treated to a treasury of great, gritty blues, rock and pop, presented with the distinctive flavor of the original recordings and colored with contemporary musicianship. “When I Was Young” maintained a brooding, dark mood complete with the exotic sounds of electric violin. “It’s My Life” had the crowd singing along as if they still believed in Burdon’s rebellious declarations of independence. Burdon himself seemed like a feisty character, wheeling around the stage, making some obtuse comments into the microphone, but that did not stop him and his band from carefully building the musical tension until the crowd erupted in cheers. All in all, the concert was one of the best I’ve ever seen at the Rialto. Coming up at the Rialto: Leo Kottke on May 14.
On March 4, the Canadian performing group Barrage brought their high-energy stage production to the Lincoln Center. The action centered around seven violin players who roved the stage and danced while a backup band underscored the musical drama. The name of the show was “Vagabond Tales” and a pushcart full of instruments, large stage props, costuming and lighting all aided in creating a loose scenario about a troupe of musicians coming to town. The story was all but unnecessary as the group plowed into an 18-song set that was heavy on fast-paced Celtic and American fiddling, but also included some pop and jazz. Like the recent Shockwave show, the energy level was mostly in higher gear with plenty of legs kicking, arms thrusting and dramatic posturing to keep the visual aspect of the show exciting. But for all the energy, the musical palate was much more limited than Shockwave. Still, there’s no denying that Barrage makes a joyful noise and for the second time in only a few weeks, the Lincoln Center scored high marks with a better than average presentation and an aggressive artistic concept. Let’s keep these types of shows rolling in!
March Concert Check
The biggest weekend of the year for local music in the Fort Collins area is coming- and there’s a lot to celebrate! Musicfest 2003 is scheduled for March 28-30 in various Fort Collins area venues such as Avogadro’s Number, the Sunset Events Center and Archer’s. Musicfest is an annual event designed to showcase local and regional musical talent, as well as benefit public radio. Since 1996, Musicfest has been a benefit event for Public Radio for the Front Range, a group of community members working to put public radio back on the air in Fort Collins. PRFR has finally succeeded and the result is the new community public radio station, KRFC, 88.9 FM- now broadcasting with 3000 watts of power. That means that Musicfest 2003 will not only showcase a wide diversity of area music, but it will also be one big grand birthday party for an important new media outlet for northern Colorado.
While some details for Musicfest 2003 are still being confirmed, some shows can be reported. On Friday, March 28, Musicfest 2003 will be featuring a bluegrass show at Avogadro’s Number. At the Sunset Events Center, the line-up on two stages will be the Three Twins, the Michelle Roderick Band, Russ Hopkins, Pamela Robinson and TVS and two fingers. Also on Friday, Archer’s will be presenting TransHypnotic, Kids Eat Free and Barstool Messiah.
On Saturday, March 29, afternoon activities include a Children’s Show and a special workshop for musicians. At 4 p.m., there will be an open mike hosted by Tim Hunt at Avogadro’s Number- giving budding musicians the chance to sign up and become a part of the festival. Then Avo’s is set to rock with a diversity of bands including Blues Is Blood, Mimic and Tuku. Meanwhile, Archer’s will be presenting the Boogaloo Communicators and the United Dope Front.
On Sunday, March 30, the festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. at Avogadro’s Number with the “Taste of the Town Brunch.” This is an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy the fine acoustic music of guitarist Steven Wiseman and multi-instrumentalist Steve Eulberg while sampling food from area restaurants. Then the fun at Avo’s continues with a variety of acts including the spoken word/musical exploration of SETH with Art Compost and the Word Mechanics, as well as other acts including Maggie Simpson, Tara Lee, the Just Jazz Quintet and more. Also on Sunday evening, Archer’s will be hosting a special community jam/individual performer’s showcase, designed specifically to give musicians of all levels a chance to get up and play.
You can tune in KRFC at 88.9 FM. The station is completely independent- definitely not a part of any chain or national organization. KRFC is a nonprofit organization and will depend on community members for programming, music, volunteer work and, of course, financial support. Community members can get involved by becoming KRFC members, by buying an “Adopt a Watt” certificate for only $20 and by joining one of the many committees that have rapidly formed to help get this station on the air and stay on the air. The interim station manager is Deborah Anne Howard and the new station’s location is at 619 South College, #4. For more information, call KRFC at 221-5075. And come out to the Musicfest this year to help kick off our new radio station in style.
In review: When vocalist Eric Burdon first hit the airwaves in the mid-1960’s with his band the Animals, his voice was like an older man’s in a younger man’s body. Now Burdon is that older man- and his voice retains the emotional power and expressiveness that made tunes like “House of the Rising Sun” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” hits.
At the Rialto Theater in Loveland on February 6, Burdon lead his current band through a full selection of the gritty blues rock and pop that made Burdon a radio staple for more than a decade, including “When I Was Young,” “It’s My Life” and “Boom Boom.” While Burdon has developed a rather loose and irreverent stage manner, the music was right on. The pacing of the concert showed the depth of Burdon’s experience as a showman and his four-piece band was able to muster the original flavor of some pretty old numbers while giving them some contemporary power and flair. The surge was ever upward and the audience reacted by jumping to its feet to demand an encore. The best moments included a reading of Burdon’s hit with War, “Spill the Wine,” which included some extra spoken word parts going far beyond the original record. The encore- a jubilant “Sky Pilot”- mixed some intense psychedelic guitar stylings with a willingness by the audience to join in and shout along. All in all, this was the best show I have seen at the Rialto and the best one produced by Loveland company Smiling Dog Productions. Other upcoming Smiling Dog shows at the Rialto include dates with Patty Larkin on March 7 and Leo Kottke on May 14.
The Eric Burdon show came right on the heels of the great Rolling Stones show that pulled into the Pepsi Center on February 1. That’s two-thirds of the original British Invasion in only a few days, proving that some music transcends contemporary trends and keeps on delivering.
O.A.R. (aka Of A Revolution) will kick off the second leg of their 2003 North American headline tour beginning April 15. One of the most successful independent artists in recent history, O.A.R. has sold an impressive 300,000 albums through their own Everfine Records label before signing to Lava Records. The quintet continues their reggae inspired roots-rock journey with the release of “In Between Now and Then,” expected May 27 on Lava/Everfine Records. O.A.R. intends to honor their organic beginnings by including a special limited edition live bonus DVD with the new album, including two new tracks recorded at their sold-out concert February 24th at New York’s legendary Irving Plaza. O.A.R. is singer/guitarist Marc Roberge, lead guitarist Richard On, bassist Benj Gershman, drummer Chris Culos and saxophonist Jerry DePizzo. The band formed in 1996 in the suburbs of D.C. and will be co-headlining with Gov’t Mule at Moby Arena at CSU on April 29. Call 491-6444 for info.
Hapi Skratch: Hapi Skratch Entertainment, home of Hapi Skratch Records, Avant-Acoustic Records, and Big Bender Records, celebrates its 8th Anniversary with two upcoming events. Born on April 1, 1995, Hapi Skratch celebrates its best year yet as Colorado’s top independent music production company. Over the course of the last 12 months, Hapi Skratch has worked with some of the region’s top artists, including Nina Storey, The Indulgers, the Railbenders, Matthew Moon and Love.45. Join Hapi Skratch as they co-sponsor the following events: April 11th at The Gothic Theater in Denver for the Denverlocalmusicscene.com CD release concert featuring Ion, Accidental Superhero, You Call That Art?, D.O.R.K. and Lyndzie Taylor. And April 12th at Archers Backstreet Bar in Fort Collins for the Official Anniversary Celebration at 8pm including performances by GasHead, Hollowbody and Tyfoid Mary.
More music: Singer-songwriter Vance Gilbert has it all- virtuoso singing, accomplished guitar playing, outrageous humor and artful songwriting. His most recent release is titled “One Thru Fourteen” and he will be making a rare Fort Collins appearance at the Northern Rose Guitar Store in Fort Collins on April 12. Fort Collins singer-songwriter Kevin Jones opens. Call 493-3080 for info. Also on April 12, the innovative guitarist Charlie Hunter brings his trio to the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, with opener the Yonder Mountain String Band. On Friday, April 18, Fort Collins band Victor Barnes presents “insurgent bluegrass” at the Aggie Theatre on April 18.
Larimer Chorale: On Palm Sunday evening, April 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, the 90-voice Larimer Chorale will present the rarely performed piece, Haydn’s “The Seasons.” With orchestral accompaniment, the pastoral story is told in Haydn’s Classical style, with many pieces based on the Croatian folk tunes of his youth. Haydn’s text was adapted from a poem by the English poet James Thomson, and the Chorale’s arrangement was translated from the German by Alice Parker and Thomas Pyle. The Larimer Chorale with orchestra will be conducted by Dr. Jim McCray. The soloists will be Maureen Sorensson, soprano; Todd Queen, tenor; and John Lueck, bass. Tickets are available at the Lincoln Center box office. For further concert info: www.fortnet.org/lc.
Theatre: Join the Fort Collins High School Tower Theater for two performances of the interactive murder mystery “Murder’s in the Air.” Audience members are given the opportunity to vote on the characters and action in the play and then the actors comply. “Murder’s in the Air” is being directed by Kari French and will be playing at Fort Collins High on April 24 and 25. Call 416-8021 for info.
Afterword: The Lincoln Center once again presented a better-than-average, innovative, creative and thoroughly satisfying production when Momix performed on March 7. After enjoying Blast II Shockwave and Barrage so much earlier in the season, it was hard to believe that Momix could be even better. Thanks to exacting lighting, thrilling costuming, meaningful movement and alluring visual effects, it was just that. The show was titled “Opus Cactus” and created its own world on stage based on desert themes- including fanciful critters and primal images all morphing out of the intricate entwining of bodies, light and props. To say that this was a dance concert is to neglect the bigger picture when Momix is concerned. The troupe creates environments that come alive and beckon the audience to leave all other worlds behind. Their world- and ours for a short time- is calm, colorful and purposeful as well as humorous.
Pearl Jam’s show at the Pepsi Center on April 1 was certainly no April Fool’s joke. Sure, vocalist Eddie Vedder kidded with the audience when he announced that this was the band’s “farewell tour,” but the rest of the evening was nothing but searing, passionate rock. Blasting through a 25-song set, much of the audience was on its feet throughout, singing along with a fervor you rarely see these days outside of U2 concerts. The Pepsi Center date was the opening show of Pearl Jam’s 2003 North American tour and a generous amount of material from the band’s latest, “Riot Act,” mixed easily with the old. Vedder’s voice still cut through the thick wall of guitar rock the rest of the band was making, but it was guitarist Mike McCready’s rapid-fire solos and wonderfully convoluted feedback that made the jaw drop. Interestingly, when Vedder started a rap against the war in Iraq, audience members sent audible signals that made him temper his comments. Opener Sleater-Kinney Band received as many boos as cheers when they tried to rally the crowd around the peace movement. Pearl Jam’s Denver set is already available from the band’s “bootleg” program, which offers fans the opportunity to buy CDs from each of the tour’s shows.
Anyone familiar with the Blue Man Group is acquainted with the three blue, bald characters that do crazy, artful things on stage. One of their characteristics, in their long-running shows in New York, Chicago, Boston and Las Vegas, is that while intense electric rock is churning all around them, they themselves stay silent. That’s why the news that the new Blue Man Group album on Lava Records/Blue Man Records, “The Complex,” had vocals was a surprise. How can this be true to the established Blue Man character?
Blue Man Group fans can put all misgivings aside. “The Complex” works. Vocals by guests as diverse as Esthero and Dave Matthews do not distract because they are only a single part of the full proceedings. Just like their first record, “Audio,” there is plenty of unusual music-making going on here with their trademark tube instruments and other original sound constructs. The music’s oftentimes intense and their frenetic energy is upbeat. The mix even includes some friendly instructions for dancing. It’s all based on a traditional rock approach, but with that distinctive Blue Man tweak.
Music fans were given a tantalizing taste of this new material during the Area: 2 tour last summer. But “The Complex” is now here and Blue Man Group will be bringing their new touring production to the Pepsi Center in Denver on May 25. Guest vocalist Tracy Bonham is scheduled to appear with the group- and those wild blue men who are likely to be doing just about anything. Venus Hum opens. This is a chance to see their antics live in Denver. I recommend you see the Blue Man Group, my vote for one of the new millennium’s most creative outfits.
New Found Glory: With their latest album, “Sticks and Stones,” New Found Glory found new maturity in both their songwriting and sound. But that’s a natural progression for a band that has only been rocking since 1997. The group released an EP on a local Florida label, and caught the eye of Drive-Thru Records, who released their full-length debut, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and an EP in 1998. In 2000, Drive-Thru teamed up with MCA Records to release New Found Glory’s self-titled album that spawned hits such as “Hit Or Miss.” “Sticks and Stones” follows up with more of that pop punk energy, but with a more aggressive, purposeful edge and a broader sonic palette. The songs aren’t all about girls, either. New Found Glory will be headlining an especially strong show at Red Rocks on Friday, May 23. Also on the bill will be Good Charlotte, who Rolling Stone magazine recently called “megapopular pop punkers,” as well as Stretch Armstrong and MXPX.
Ticket Alert: If 2002 was a slow year in the concert industry- one where the really exciting shows were few and far between- 2003 is coming back with a vengeance. The summer concert season calendar is already stacked and you have to act fast if you want the best tickets. One important date for concertgoers is May 17. That’s the day tickets go on sale for two events of particular note. The first event is the return of the Dead. No, not the Grateful Dead, or the Other Ones, as they have called themselves, but the Dead. The members of the Grateful Dead who have survived the 1995 death of guitarist Jerry Garcia by playing with various solo units and occasionally as a group have reformed with new energy and are calling themselves the Dead- which is what everyone calls them anyway. The Dead will not only feature the reunion of Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, but will also reportedly include guitarist Jimmy Herring, keyboardist Rob Barracco and vocalist Joan Osborne. The new unit will be playing Red Rocks, July 6-8 and touring with Bob Dylan later in the season.
The second event is the return, after several years lay off, of the Lollapalooza. Originally founded as a roving festival spotlighting the best in “alternative” music, Lollapalooza returns with a line-up including the founding band, Jane’s Addiction, as well as Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus and the Donnas. The Lollapalooza comes to Fiddler’s Green in Denver on August 13 and tickets go one sale on May 17.
Tickets already on sale include Matchbox Twenty with Sugar Ray and Maroon Five at the Pepsi Center on May 30. Trey Anastasio, from Phish, returns to the Fillmore in Denver with his 9-piece band on June 2 and the Foo Fighters play the Fillmore on June 4. Alt-metal band Godsmack celebrate the release of their new hit album, “Faceless,” at Red Rocks on June 10 while Beck and Dashboard Confessional play Red Rocks on June 14.
Afterword: Fort Collins got a taste of big time rock and roll when a three-band bill came to Moby Arena on April 29. We don’t get many events in Fort Collins that are not in the night clubs or on festival stages and Moby fit the bill for a comfortable alternative venue. Headlining was O.A.R. (a.k.a. Of A Revolution) whose energetic, positive music had their enthusiastic fans on their feet and singing along throughout most of the set. The five-man band from Maryland responded by pumping up their melodic, stirring pop-rock ala Dave Matthews underneath an ever-morphing display of lights. The group’s music proved to be inspiring and ultimately triumphant and the audience greeted each tune warmly.
Preceding O.A.R. was the contemporary guitar rock band that has redefined the genre in recent years- Gov’t Mule. Featuring superguitarist Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule twisted together blues, Southern rock, and dashes of reggae, jazz and even metal into a dark ball of brooding electricity. It didn’t matter what song they played- from an instrumental version of Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself” to Haynes’ own “Soulshine”- just as long as Haynes dug into his guitar to pull out sharp strings of rough and ready leads. The biggest shame of the evening was that opener Franky Perez went on way earlier than the advertised 7 p.m. start time so most of the crowd missed this passionate and charismatic new artist. Perez is out promoting his debut album, “Poor Man’s Son,” and on the Moby stage, he and his band delivered a powerful, dramatic sound. By the time they revved up the celebrative tune “Cecilia,” Perez was seriously impassioned, mixing a demanding stage presence with riveting vocals. We’ll be hearing a lot more about Perez in the future, if his performance reflects his fortunes.
Local promotion company Whitebird Productions has a full slate of activity planned for the summer. Whitebird is an organization dedicated to promoting local music and they have established a free Sunday concert series in Old Town Square throughout the summer. On June 15, the White Bird concert will feature Eldon Smith, Dave Harris, Tim Hunt and Phonee Below Knee. On June 22, Sharon Holbrooks, Work Release Program, Bare Bones and Jaar play the series. Whitebird is also organizing the Festival on the Green series at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a series of free events featuring all acoustic music on Thursdays, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm through June. Also watch for the Local Legends Concert, set for June 26, featuring longtime area musicians and their younger generations. The show occurs upstairs at the Rio Grande Restaurant.
Mark Van Ark: One of the enduring talents in the regional music scene is guitarist and pianist Mark Van Ark. Van Ark and band have just released a new CD titled “Slow Squeeze” and it takes you right into the nightclub with raw, driving blues. It’s not a live recording, but it may as well be thanks to the gritty, rough and ready sound. The album includes Van Ark originals, as well as tunes by BB King, Leon Russell and Freddie King. The Mark Van Ark Band, also featuring David White on drums and Steve Nye on bass, will be celebrating the release of “Slow Squeeze” with a free concert on Old Town Square on Friday, June 27, starting at 6 pm.
Santana: Master guitarist Carlos Santana has announced that proceeds from the United States portion of the Shaman World Tour will be donated to Artists For A New South Africa (ANSA). The cash will be earmarked for “grants and material aid to effective South African non-profit organizations working on the frontlines to combat HIV/AIDS through prevention, treatment, care, destigmatization, advocacy, infrastructure development and mitigation of impact.” To help, all you have to do is buy a ticket. Santana and band will be playing at Fiddler’s Green in Denver on July 8. The opening act is Angelique Kidjo.
More music: The annual Denver Blues & Bones Festival is set for June 14-15 at Invesco Field and will be hosting the “Jimi Hendrix Red House Tour,” a multi-media traveling exhibit honoring Hendrix. It gives festival attendees a chance to view Hendrix memorabilia, hear his blues-based, jaw-dropping music and learn more about one of rock’s pioneers. The festival’s live music schedule is also full. On Saturday, June 14, the Blues and Bones festival features Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials, and Marcia Ball, along with many others. On Sunday, June 15, the festival hosts Bernie Worrell and The WOO Warriors, Joe Bonamassa, The subdudes and The Derek Trucks Band. Washboard Chaz and The Tin Man, Tyrin Benoit and The Shuckers and Chris Daniels and The Kings also play the second stage on Sunday.
A revived Jefferson Starship, featuring Paul Kantner, plays at the Rialto Theater in Loveland on June 16. Opening will be Fort Collins singer-songwriter Tara Lee, with band. Poco is at the Rialto on June 20. The Universal Lending Pavilion at the Pepsi Center grounds opens their summer season with India Aire along with Hazel Miller and Wendy Woo on June 20. Blues diva Susan Tedeschi will be at the Pavillion on June 21. The Eagles bring their “Farewell I” tour to the Pepsi Center on June 24. John Stewart performs at the Rialto Theater on June 27. Looking ahead- The Dead at Red Rocks, July 6-8.
Afterword: There was a time when punk rock was an underground music, raw and unpredictable. Since then, it has become a well-defined genre that has become highly professional and energetic. The four-band bill at Red Rocks on May 23, including Stretch Armstrong, MXPX, Good Charlotte and New Found Glory, fully demonstrated punk’s new clothes. Though both Good Charlotte and New Found Glory have developed powerful sounds, with plenty of guitars and lots of stage movement, the best of the night was MXPX, who played as a trio with occasional special guests. Their sound, unhampered by extra instruments, was cleaner and more direct. But the music itself wasn’t nearly as important as the constant crowd-pumping that all of the bands emphasized. On this score, both Good Charlotte and New Found Glory excelled. The show was sold out and, amazingly, most of the crowd had arrived early enough to cheer for the opening band, Stretch Armstrong. The Good Charlotte and New Found Glory segments of the show were being filmed.
On May 25, the Blue Man Group brought their first rock concert production, “The Complex,” to the Pepsi Center in Denver. Building on the successful touring show that joined Moby’s Area: 2 festival last year, this production featured big lights, a massive electric sound and lots of action. Violinist/vocalist Tracy Bonham opened, followed by electronic art band Venus Hum. Both performers are featured on the latest Blue Man Group album release and also joined the band on stage. A half-house setting at the Pepsi Center achieved a more intimate experience for fans who willingly yelled when the video screen told them to, stood up and waved their arms en masse, and bobbed their heads during a piece that instructed the audience in rock concert movements. All the while the three silent blue figures that are the namesake of the band, moved about the stage- and the concert area- playing odd instruments and staring off with that alien expression. What was missing were any of the theater bits that fans have come to expect thanks to shows in Las Vegas and New York. Instead, the audience got a big weird ball of volume, rhythm and lights.
Attending the matchbox twenty concert at the Pepsi Center on May 30 was like winning the contemporary progressive pop rock jackpot. Opening was the powerful new band, Maroon 5, who combined soulful vocal crooning and scatting with progressive rock instrumental arrangements. Next up was the hitmaking group Sugar Ray. The stage was set for the band’s penchant for unabashed fun- including a full on-stage bar and bartender- and vocalist Mark McGraff proved to be an expert rabble rouser, constantly moving from side to side. The pure emotional pay-off, of course, was when they performed their hit “Fly,” the audience singing along in full voice. But it was matchbox twenty- now a veteran of the scene- who showed the depth and power that suggest the group has graduated into the top tier of performers. It helped that the group had a super sharp projection system and an ever-changing battery of lights. But the real success of matchbox twenty’s set was in the accessible music and vocalist Rob Thomas’ dramatic, emotive performance. Again, the audience sang heartily. matchbox twenty’s set ran for nearly two hours and was expertly paced between ballads and full-on electric rockers.
It may seem old-fashioned- taking a stroll in the town square with the family, enjoying the weather and the lively sounds of music. Or maybe you’re spreading out a blanket and breaking into a gourmet picnic while concert sounds entertain all ages. No computer screens, no cash registers- just good times with family, friends and a hot band. Old-fashioned or not, northern Colorado has embraced the tradition of summer concert events that lure residents away from their television sets and arm chairs and get them out into the community.
In Fort Collins, the tradition of live music during the summer months usually begins in Old Town Square. For years, every Thursday night has been a special night of music and socializing for area residents. Sponsored by the Downtown Business Association, this concert series has brought in a wide variety of Colorado and national acts that appeal to most music tastes. In 2003, however, the Thursday night events will be moving to a new location- the Justice Center Park at Laporte Avenue and Howes Street- and there’s going to be more than music.
“Along with the concert, there will be a farmer’s market, food vendors, craft vendors and street performers,” says Peggy Lyle, entertainment coordinator for the DBA. “It will be like having a mini-festival every week.” This new series of events- called the Thursday Night Market- begins on July 17 and will occur every week until August 21.
But there’s no need to worry, because even though the Thursday concert series has been moved, Old Town Square will still remain alive with the sounds of music. “Every time you come down to Old Town Square, things will always be happening,” says Lyle. That includes a Friday FAC concert series sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Starting on June 27 and running through the middle of August, the series is part business and part passion for Ben and Jerry’s owner Lee Swanson. “I’m a music lover and to me it’s a priority to get it out to the community,” Swanson says. “We’re working to keep this whole place happening, and it will if everybody does their part- even individual businesses.”
The DBA also sponsors a series of concerts held in Oak Street Plaza called Noon Time Notes. Held every Tuesday at noon, the series starts on June 3 and runs until August 12. And don’t forget- live music is cranked out on both days of the Colorado Brewers’ Festival, scheduled for June 28-29, and on three stages at the annual NewWestFest, scheduled for August 16-17.
The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins also sponsors two free concert series- the Out to Lunch Series, featuring a variety of entertainment for all ages, and the Children’s Series, geared toward younger listeners. “We always get such positive comments from audience members because they appreciate that it’s free and that we bring in such good performers,” Lincoln Center publicity director Libby Colbert says. “But we don’t just present music. There is also some theater and dance. We try to cover the whole spectrum of the performing arts in our programming.”
The Lincoln Center has been presenting their summer concert series on the Terrace Stage outside the main building since the stage was erected in 1988. The Out to Lunch Series occurs on Fridays, from noon to 1 PM, starting on June 20 and running through July 25, except for July 4. The Lincoln Center recruits area restaurants and food vendors for these events. The Children’s Series begins on Wednesday, June 18 and occurs every Wednesday through July, except July 2. The Children’s Series performances start at 11 AM and go until noon.
Other cities in the region have also jumped on the summer concert bandwagon. In fact, the city of Estes Park has a head start on the season with Jazz Fest, two days of free concerts held in Bond Park in conjunction with Art Walk, scheduled for May 17-18. Starting in June, Estes Park hosts free musical performances on the weekends in Barlow Plaza through Labor Day. Also starting in June is the regular Thursday Night Live series in the CACEP parking lot at 304 E. Elkhorn Ave. Featuring classical, jazz, folk and contemporary music, concerts start at 7 PM, weather permitting.
In Greeley, the “ultra successful” Friday Fest returns to the 9th Street Plaza. The series, featuring live music and food booths, happens every Friday from 11:30 AM until 1:30 PM, from June 14 through August 23.
Of course, music also rocks the rest of Colorado all summer long in nightclubs, festivals and concert venues such as Red Rocks, Fiddler’s Green and the Pepsi Center- but that’s another story. This one is about that old-fashioned feeling of enjoying a summer’s evening full of sights and sounds without emptying your wallet.
Since its start in 1897, Cheyenne Frontier Days has grown into the world’s largest rodeo and Western celebration. There’s plenty to do in Cheyenne when Frontier Days again opens for business, July 18-27. Besides the usual rodeo stuff, there are new attractions including chariot races, matched horse racing, mare and colt racing and trick riders. There’s a carnival midway, an air show, the Indian Village, a Western art show, the Old West Museum and chuckwagon cookoffs.
But more, Frontier Days has achieved the reputation of being an exciting summer venue for hot country and rock concerts. This year, the schedule does not disappoint. The Frontier Nights concert series at Frontier Days begins on July 18 with Staind, Static X and Lo Pro. On July 19, the ACM Entertainer of the Year, Toby Keith, will be joined by Blake Shelton. On July 20, Frontier Nights present 3 Doors Down, Our Lady Peace, Seether and Shinedown. The perennial rodeo favorite Chris LeDoux joins Diamond Rio on July 23. Willie Nelson and Montgomery Gentry perform in Cheyenne on July 24. Then Alan Jackson, winner of the ACM Album of the Year award, and Joe Nichols, winner of the ACM Best New Male Vocalist award, wrap up the Frontier Nights schedule with two shows on July 25-26. For ticket information, log on to CFDRodeo.com, call 1-800-227-6336, or visit a TicketsWest outlet at a participating King Soopers store.
Poets in the Park: The annual Loveland poetry festival, Poets in the Parks, returns this year with several special events. On July 11, past Poets in the Park readers Mary Crow, Veronica Patterson and Bill Tremblay will be a few of the writers taking the podium at the Loveland Museum/Gallery Reading Room for “A Poets in the Park Retrospective Celebration.” The event will focus on the work of regional poets and others such as US poet Laureate Billy Collins and Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakka who have participated in the festival. The celebration begins at 7 pm. At 9 pm, the festivities move to the Java Lounge in Loveland for an open mike music and poetry jam, headed up by guitarist Dave Beegle. On July 12, there will be a lecture and address by poet Natasha Saje, author of “Who Are We to Judge,” at 11 am at the Loveland Museum/Gallery Reading Room. Then starting at 6pm the main event poetry readings will feature Saje, Dick Bakken and Kathryn Winograd at the Foote Lagoon (rain location: Rialto Theater.) All events are free.
David Lindley: Most fans who know David Lindley’s music might just call him a guitarist. But that label is just too limited for a musician that is still growing after all these years. Lindley’s brand new CD with percussionist Wally Ingram, “Twango Bango III,” offers not only Lindley’s trademark slide guitar sounds, but also the sounds of exotic stringed instruments such as the oud, the bouzouki, the saz and the chumbush. Just as exotic is Lindley’s choice of material- from mad cap originals such as “When a Guy gets Boobs,” to folk-flavored traditionals and even classic country tunes. There’s blues, reggae, light rock and more all colored by the sounds of unusual instruments. On percussion, Ingram keeps right up with Lindley on every twist and turn, proving that the duo have developed a strong lifeline of musical communication. Lindley is out on the road with Ingram, plays some solo gigs and will be doing several weeks of touring this summer with his old band El Rayo X. Lindley and Ingram will be performing at the Mishawaka Amphitheater on July 13.
Hawgfest: The sixth annual Hawgfest, scheduled for July 26-27 at Winter Park, is bigger and better than ever this year. The festival will offer motorcycle parking, music, entertainment and the Hawg Village featuring food, drink, clothing, jewelry and “babes and bikes, bikes, bikes.” Better yet is the searing rock that will be pumping out on the main stage on both days. The line-up on Saturday July 26 is David Lee Roth, Buddy Guy and Little Feat. On Sunday July 27, catch sets by Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick and the Marshall Tucker Band. Lewis and Floorwax and the Groove Hawgs will be performing on both days. Buy tickets for individual days or as a two-day package. Music starts at noon on both days.
Metallica: It has been several years since the heavy metal kings, Metallica, has released a new album. Well, here it is- “St. Anger,” which arrived in the stores recently not only as an audio studio album, but also as a DVD. The album features Metallica playing a raw, tough new music that showcases the band without any kind of production trickery. It’s just Metallica down and dirty, James Hetfield blowing off steam vocally about hate, anger, confusion and overcoming it all while the guitars meld into those great deep rolling riffs and the drums pound like a precision rhythm machine. The DVD features the same songs, but played live- and videotaped- in the rehearsal space. Hair flies, sweat trickles and the music becomes a big ball of electric therapy. Better than watching the DVD is the opportunity to see Metallica live on stage when their Summer Sanitarium tour pulls into Invesco Field in Denver on August 1. Joining Metallica will be Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, the Deftones and Mudvayne.
Afterward: On June 10, Boston alternative metal band Godsmack brought their new stage show to Red Rocks, playing for a half-capacity crowd. But the lack of numbers did not stop Godsmack from unleashing both musical and production fire. Eight flame jets periodically punctuated Godsmack’s tough, rumbling music. A pair of nearly naked belly dancers writhed on pedestals while two supplemental percussionists rose out of the riser flooring, playing their kits. Vocalist Sully Erna was all over the stage, belting out old favorites as well as new tunes from the “Faceless” album. He also played guitar and jumped on the riser and played drums in tandem with regular drummer Shannon Larkin. Guitarist Tony Rombola, however, was the glue that held the band together, adding deep, powerful riffs as well as blinding lead runs. The band ended the show with the triumphant new song “I Stand Alone,” which transformed into a rousing and poignant statement of survival. Opening the show was Breaking Benjamin, offering a hybrid punk-metal, and hed (P.E.), playing a rap metal that would on occasion break out into foul-mouthed indulgence.
The Lincoln Center is revving up to celebrate their 25th anniversary season in style. Kicking things off will be a string of performances by multi-Grammy award winner Natalie Cole, September 15-22, with a matinee on Sunday, September 21. But there’s much more, like blues great BB King, October 14-18, the Shaolin Warriors on October 20 and the great dance group Pilobolus on October 28. For full details on the Showstopper Series, the Anything Goes Series, the Dance Series, the Classical Music Series, the Super Series for Kids and the Travelogue Films Series, log on to www.lctix.com, or call the box office at 221-6730. Opening in the Lincoln Center Mini Theatre on August 23 is the OpenStage Theatre production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder at the Vicarage. The play runs through September 20.
Mishawaka: Singer-songwriter/guitarist Keller Williams is back with a new studio album, “Home.” He recorded this first-ever solo studio recording in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia and is back on the road. Williams joins moe and Umphrey’s McGee at Universal Lending Pavillion in Denver on August 16. He’ll also be performing a two-night stand at the Mishawaka Amphitheater on August 29-30. Also coming to Mishawaka will be the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on August 15, a two-night stand by the David Grisman Quintet, August 23-24 and legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytalls on August 31. Call 482-4420 or log on to www.mishawakaconcerts.com.
Avo’s: Seattle-based singer-songwriter Jill Cohn has not only produced six albums full of original material and toured nonstop for seven years, she also was a national finalist in Jewel’s Soul City Café contest. Her most recent release is “Window to the Wise,” but her new “Seven Year Surrender” is due in October. Cohn makes her debut Fort Collins appearance at Avogadro’s Number on August 30 at 8 pm. Regional singer-songwriter Judith Avers opens. Also coming to Avo’s is a free concert by James Scott, formerly of Gourmet East, and Bill Johnson on August 29.
White Stripes: Tickets have already gone on sale for a date with the White Stripes at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on September 19. The White Stripes are Jack and Meg White, a pair who have stirred up some controversy because of an ambiguous past as either spouses or siblings. But more, the White Stripes are currently leading a pack of garage rock revival bands also including the Hives and the Strokes. The sound is raw, direct and electric. “Elephant” is their fourth release since the White Stripes’ 1999 self-titled debut album and the White Stripes are featured on the cover of the September issue of Spin magazine, heading up “The Cool List.” The Soledad Brothers open the Fillmore show.
Ian Anderson: Tickets are also on sale now for an appearance by Jethro Tull leader and flautist Ian Anderson at the Lincoln Center on October 3. Anderson recently celebrated his fortieth anniversary as a performer and a recording artist. Jethro Tull formed in 1968 and has released 30 albums, selling more than 60 million copies. Anderson is releasing his fourth solo album, “Rupi’s Dance,” on August 19. The October 3 date is a rare chance to see Anderson in the relatively intimate confines of the Lincoln Center. Anderson will also be playing the Boulder Theater on October 4.
Last month I reported the wrong dates for the upcoming string of concerts for vocalist Natalie Cole at the Lincoln Center. The correct dates are September 29-30 and October 4-6. The matinee on October 5 begins at 4 p.m. Also coming to the Lincoln Center is a production of Anne Nelson’s “The Guys,” a play written in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Ririe Woodbury-Nikolais Dance Company opens the Dance Series at the Lincoln Center on October 2.
More music: Check out the cool of G. Love and Special Sauce, along with Flogging Molly and others, at Legacy Park in Fort Collins on September 13. Spin magazine calls the White Stripes “the most celebrated underground band to go pop since Nirvana,” and they’ll be at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on September 19. Get a double dose of rock showmanship when Aerosmith and KISS take the stage at Fiddler’s Green in Denver on September 30. Also on September 30, American reggae band John Brown’s Body celebrates the release of their new album, “Spirits All Around Us,” at the Aggie Theater. Soulful rocker Steve Winwood is back with a new album, “About Time,” and will be at the Fillmore on October 2. Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull, is celebrating the release of his new solo album, “Rupi’s Dance,” at the Lincoln Center on October 3. On October 5, see Garage a Trois, featuring innovative guitarist Charlie Hunter and wild saxman Skerik, at the Aggie Theater.
Afterword: The Lollapalooza 2003, at Fiddler’s Green on August 13, featured fifteen groups shuttling on and off two stages throughout a day that celebrated the power of alternative rock. Every band on the bill had a uniquely different sound, from power pop to deep, progressive rock. The main stage featured Rooney, the Donnas (an important nod toward female rockers,) Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Audioslave and Jane’s Addiction. Both the Queens and Audioslave produced progressive and ultimately inspiring sets. Audioslave’s guitarist Tom Morello proved to be the Lollapalooza’s most creative musician thanks to his constant experimentation in tone and attack. Jane’s Addiction, featuring Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell, completed the evening with an aggressive set complete with campy theatrics.
But more interesting was the parade of up and coming talent that filled the Lollapalooza’s second stage. Standouts included Elements of the Outer Realm, 30 Seconds to Mars, and the Kings of Leon. Other performers included MC Supernatural, the Music and the very energetic Mooney Suzuki. There were even some fireworks: only a few songs into Mondo Generator’s set, the drummer suddenly had a fit, kicked over his drum kit and left the stage. The Lollapalooza also featured the Bellydance Superstars on both the second stage and main stage. Add information booths and a huge gaming tent and you’ve got an all day event that does everything to please. Once again, the Lollapalooza is the leader in concert production and creativity.
Mountain Jam: The inaugural Coors Light Mountain Jam at Red Rocks on August 30 was tough going as frequent rain marred what was the summer’s most ambitiously diverse bill. That is, throwing reggae legends Toots and the Maytals on the same stage as Korn. Rapper DMC spun his quality rhymes, American Hi-Fi played a dynamic pop punk and the Roots beat back the weather with funky, soulful grooves. Also appearing was the Groove Armada, playing a DJ set, Gov’t Mule, Evanescence and P.O.D.
Most interesting, however, was the set by the Doors of the 21st Century, featuring original Doors members, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robbie Krieger, and Cult vocalist Ian Astbury. Astbury was, of course, no Jim Morrison, but he played Morrison’s role with aplomb, ably singing the vocal parts with the right timbre while also exhibiting an individual sense of feistiness that lent a contemporary power. It was especially a treat to hear the great instrumental break in “Light My Fire” being played by Manzarek and Krieger- all the while, lightning streaking horizontally above the stage. Korn, though, stole the show with their harsh yet slickly choreographed hard rock. Rapper 50 Cent closed the show. By that time I was on my way home, soaked and exhausted.
The Budweiser Events Center welcomed a new era in northern Colorado entertainment with the sound of laughter when veteran stage, TV and screen star Bill Cosby became the first performer to play the brand new facility on September 27. Despite traffic backups, long lines at the entrance and a little showtime adjustment of the sound and lighting systems, the mood in the full house was upbeat thanks to Cosby’s warm, rambling comedy. His show is considered family-oriented, and he delivered approximately two hours of it. But that does not mean Cosby backs off from subjects such as sex and relationship issues.
You see, Cosby is many performers in one. “Big Bill,” as he explained to the rapt audience, is an adult who performs in places like casinos. Big Bill talks with a sharp wit about the psychic tug-of-war between men and women. But at times, “Little Bill” comes out to play. Little Bill is a youngster who sees the mysterious wonders of growing up through inexperienced eyes- often arriving at hilarious conclusions. Throughout the course of his show, Cosby changes back and forth between Big Bill and Little Bill (and a number of other Bills) many times. Whatever age Cosby represents, however, he does so with a keen understanding of perspectives.
The Budweiser Events Center, a part of the Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events Complex dubbed “the Ranch,” is a large room, seating 7200. That means that without the benefit of the four large video screens hanging above the stage set in the middle of the arena, most of the audience wouldn’t have been able to enjoy an essential part of Cosby’s comedy- his facial expressions. It seemed ironic that to fully appreciate a live performance by one of television’s most respected stars, you had to watch a television screen. Still, the technology brought the performance to every row. Cosby had a lot of very funny stories, but there were times when his biggest laughs came from taking a quick silent pose, his big eyes alone often making the point. He was rewarded by waves of laughter and generous applause and the Budweiser Events Center was christened in style.
Coming up at the Budweiser Events Center: Skating legend Scott Hamilton brings a first class ice show, featuring Olympic champion pairs skaters Jamile Sale and David Pelletier, to the Budweiser Center on October 23. On November 15, rock band matchbox twenty becomes the first contemporary pop band to play the facility. On December 4, the Budweiser Center presents singer Kenny Rogers’ production, “Christmas from the Heart.”
Lincoln Center: The Classical Music Series at the Lincoln Center opens on October 13 with Australia’s Ten Tenors, known for surprising repertoire choices ranging from “Rawhide” and Broadway tunes to Irish and Italian folk songs. The Anything Goes Series presents the Shaolin Warriors on October 20, transporting audiences to ancient China to reveal the martial arts practices of secretive monks. The OpenStage Theatre production of “Macbeth” opens in the Lincoln Center Mini Theatre on October 25 and runs through November 22. The Fort Collins Symphony performs “Firsts in France” on October 25 in the Performance Hall. The Larimer Chorale presents “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” featuring “Halloween entertainment,” on October 26. The Travelogue Film Series opens on October 27 with “India.”
Combining athleticism and creativity, the Pilobolus Dance Theatre comes to the Lincoln Center as an extra attraction for the Dance Series on October 28. The Classical Music Series continues on October 30 with the Chilingirian String Quartet. The Front Range Chamber Players continue their 19th season with “Compositions from the Paris Conservatoire” on November 2 in the Mini Theatre. The Showstopper Series continues with the classic musical, “Kiss Me, Kate,” featuring the music of Cole Porter, November 11-14. The matinee on November 13 begins at 2:30 pm.
Afterword: The sold-out crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver knew just what to do with the White Stripes’ stripped down rock and blues music when the duo pulled into Denver on September 19: boogie. There was no standing around philosophizing about the rough, raw electric music, just a lot of bobbing heads and swinging hips. On stage, the White Stripes didn’t waste any time either, segueing from song to song with a seamless ease. It was seamless because the pair- Jack and Meg White- just kept on pushing from one tune to the next. The ease was underscored by the necessarily intimate relationship between Jack’s guitar and Meg’s drums that becomes the group’s ferocious sound. But none of what the White Stripes did was smooth or pretty.
The White Stripes, instead, played a mean, lowdown blues that dug into the groove with a fuzzy, fully amplified intensity. Meanwhile, Jack moved between a choice of three microphones while delivering shrill and biting vocals that matched the tension of the instrumental arrangements. On occasion the music would calm down- especially for the sing-songy “We’re Going to Be Friends” and the one tune Meg took over the vocal chores for, “In the Cold, Cold Night.” But for the most part the show was full bore musical muscle. A power trio, the Soledad Brothers, opened with much the same kind of excessively-amped blues-based rock, benefiting at times from the deep honk of a baritone sax.
Coming up at the Fillmore: On October 14, the king of shock rock Marilyn Manson performs at the Fillmore. A special date has just been announced for progressive rock progenitors King Crimson, along with Living Colour, performing at the Fillmore on November 5.
Springsteen: The problem that a performer as intense as Bruce Springsteen faces is bringing that intensity onto the stage and delivering from the first song to the last. At Invesco Field in Denver on September 25, the beginning of Springsteen’s set was uneven and out of synch. The first tune was a rocker- Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver”- and the next was his latest emotional anthem, “The Rising,” but the intensity was lost in the muddle of sound and the process of the band finding its pace.
It wasn’t until the Boss and band kicked into a version of “Because the Night” that the passionate fireworks he is known to deliver began to shoot into the night sky. Springsteen took the spotlight to turn in a searing, fiery guitar solo. The sound cleared up, the band was finally ready to rock and the show kicked into high gear. With the masterful pacing that only a veteran performing unit can muster, they segued immediately into “Badlands” then “No Surrender.” Springsteen became a dominating figure on stage and never looked back.
By the time the show had reached the two hour mark, Springsteen had drawn the entire stadium under his spell and he worked the front of the stage like a rock and roll king. The band’s first encore kicked in with the old chestnut “Kitty’s Back,” segueing immediately into “Born to Run.” The stadium lights were up full and excitement surged. The second encore, however, ignited with what Springsteen called an “end of the summer treat”- a hot version of “Rosalita,” complete with all those great dramatic stop/start parts. The show ended with “Dancing in the Dark.” The crowd was indeed dancing, but it wasn’t in the dark.
The Fort Collins Children’s Theatre will be presenting “The Wizard of Oz” at the Lincoln Center November 20-23. Directed by Peter Muller, the production will be the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of the classic children’s tale, which was also used in the original 1939 movie. In addition to classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the show will also include some scenes cut from the film. This year’s cast of 48 ranges in age from 10 years to over 65 and the production will include a live orchestra, lavish costumes and a custom-designed set. Call 221-6730 for information.
Also coming up at the Lincoln Center: “Kiss Me, Kate” continues the Showstopper Series, November 11-14. The Rainbow Chorus performs in the Canyon West Room on November 15. The OpenStage Theatre Company’s production of “Macbeth” runs through November 22 in the Mini Theatre. The Travelogue Film series continues with “Thailand” on November 24. The Dance Express will be collaborating with students from the River Song Waldorf, Laurel Elementary and Cache LaPoudre Junior High for their production of “The Christmas Rose,” playing in the Mini Theatre December 1-2. The Larimer Chorale presents “Messiah and Carols” at the Lincoln Center on December 7.
“A Time for Christmas”: Free tickets will be available beginning November 16 for the Faith Evangelical Free Church production of “A Time for Christmas,” a “Broadway style musical” being performed with a live orchestra. The production will be presented December 18-19. Call 226-2095 for information.
Aggie: Two great shows coming up at the Aggie include the return of Ozomatli. Their show at the Starlight a few years ago was a top ten experience thanks to their exciting mix of soul, rock, hip hop, funk and Latin influences. Ozomatli will be playing the Aggie on November 14. Also coming to the Aggie will be the infectious world rhythms of Rusted Root, scheduled for November 17. Lead by songwriter and vocalist Michael Glabicki, Rusted Root’s breakout radio hit was 1994’s “Send Me On My Way.”
Drums and Tuba: Known as an innovative instrumental trio, Drums and Tuba began as a headturning street act in Austin, Texas. Since then the original pair of musicians- playing, of course, drums and tuba- picked up a like-minded guitarist and a taste for electronically looping and tweaking their music even as they play it. Drums and Tuba will be appearing at the Starlight on November 29. Opening will be That1Guy, a musician that performs on a unique, one-of-a-kind instrument made partially out of a metal pipe.
The Fillmore: The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver has a full fall schedule in progress. That includes an upcoming date with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Setzer has just released a new album, “Boogie Woogie Christmas,” and brings his 16-piece band to the Fillmore for a “Christmas Extravaganza” on December 10. Also coming to the Fillmore: Phil Lesh and Friends with Gov’t Mule, November 14-16; Maroon 5 on November 17; Boston trio Guster on November 21; Five Iron Frenzy, playing their final show as a band, on November 22; pop vocal stylist Seal on November 24; and Robert Randolph and the Family Band with the North Mississippi Al Stars on December 3.
Poetry: Local poets will be performing to benefit community public radio station KRFC-FM at Everyday Joe’s on Friday, December 5. The event is being called “The Word Circus” and will feature regional poets and performers as well as hosts of KRFC’s poetry and spoken word programs. Donations will be accepted at the door.
Art: Over the past few months, The Fort Collins Portrait Artists have illustrated the fact that there are many views of the same subject. On Wednesday nights this local group of artists have asked each member of the Fort Collins city council and the city mayor to sit as models while their portraits are drawn, painted and captured from different points of view. The results are currently being shown at the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, 225 South Meldrum, through November 26.
Afterword: October was a powerful month of live entertainment at the Lincoln Center. The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company kicked things off on October 2 with a mixed bag of special effects and set pieces drawn from the repertoire of choreographer Alwin Nikolais. Often the effects- interaction of the dancers with mirrors, sheets of rubber and long streamers- overshadowed the dance, but succeeded in creating other worldly images that were riveting. The next night, October 3, Ian Anderson brought his “Rubbing Elbows” tour to a sold out crowd. Frontman and flautist for Jethro Tull, Anderson performed new tunes from his solo release “Rupi’s Dance” as well as selected chestnuts from the Tull catalog. He also interacted on stage with local DJ Steve Cooper and members of the audience in talk show segments. This was capped with a performance with Loveland guitarist Dave Beegle, who joined Anderson and band on stage for a brisk version of his original tune “Ecstatico.” The climax of the show came when Anderson performed “Locomotive Breath,” featuring hilarious kazoo solos from selected audience members.
Natalie Cole brought her cool jazz singing to the Lincoln Center on October 6. As a representative of the smooth, polished pop and blues singing popularized by her father, Nat Cole, Cole turned in a performance that was letter perfect, down to the blown kiss at the video screen at the end of her duet with a recording of her father. What was missing was any kind of feeling of spontaneity. In contrast was the happy energy of blues master BB King. Between his swaggering vocals and rough-edged guitar solos, King makes you forget he’s an elder statesman of the blues and gets your foot tapping. His theme song is now “Key to the Highway” and he makes it clear that he’s “going to roam this highway until the day I die.” Pilobolus wrapped up my October at the Lincoln Center on October 28 with a show devoted to the new forms that occur when human bodies entwine. Pilobolus did not depend on special stage effects to transport the audience to other worlds but rather used smooth, graceful kinetic movement to create and dissolve body combinations that both relayed emotion and created stunning images.
A quick weekend jaunt to Las Vegas afforded the opportunity to catch a show by “Mr. Las Vegas,” Wayne Newton at the Stardust on October 25. It quickly became apparent that Newton has lost a good part of his vocal range. Still, his performance included some dramatic musicmaking, thanks in great measure to his 22-piece orchestra that included a horn section, strings, a harp and a full electric band. Newton, however, is also a multi-instrumentalist, taking quick turns at the keyboards, violin and banjo throughout the show. He was an especially impressive acoustic guitarist. Stage effects and musical numbers mixed with comic bits and plenty of crowd interaction for an evening of upbeat entertainment. Newton’s salute to American veterans was touching and he seemed to genuinely enjoy walking through the crowd, shaking hands and soaking up kisses. Newton remains an old school performer- depending on personality and stage charisma to entertain- in a city brimming with spectacle.
Variety magazine called “Lives of the Saints “…witty…entertaining…laugh out loud.” It’s a compilation of several short comedies by writer David Ives, a Yale School of Drama graduate and a television and screenwriter. The Bas Bleu Theatre production of “Lives of the Saints,” directed by John Hill, continues to play through December 20. Next up at the Bas Bleu: “Beast on the Moon,” opening on January 16. The OpenStage Theatre production of “Proof” opens at the Lincoln Center on January 3.
Holiday Events: The Canyon Concert Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” is scheduled for December 11-14 at the Lincoln Center. The Rialto Theater in Loveland hosts “This is Christmas!” December 11-14. Faith Evangelical Free Church presents “A Time for Christmas” with a live orchestra on December 18-19. This Broadway style musical tells the story of “Bill”- a man who is too busy for Christmas- and his encounter with a mysterious stranger who reveals “the spirit in the hearts of Christmases past.” Call 226-2095 for information.
Live music: The matchbox twenty show scheduled for November 15- postponed because of sickness- has been rescheduled for December 15 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. Tickets from the November 15 date will be honored. For funky hornwork, plan to join the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Aggie Theater on December 18. Mando kings Mike Marshall and Chris Thile will perform at the Boulder Theater on December 22. The Steve Kimock Band, one of the jam world’s leading groups, will play the Fox Theatre in Boulder on December 29 and at the Gothic Theatre in Denver on December 30 and 31. Other regional New Year’s Eve events include Sam Bush at the Boulder Theater.
Afterword: Fans of deep electric rock gathered to hear two generations of heavy progressive bands when King Crimson and Living Colour played a double bill at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on November 5. Living Colour, reunited and plugging a new album, opened with their ferocious metal-drenched rock. Guitarist Vernon Reid remains a jawdropping instrumentalist, changing tone every few bars while ripping through blinding leads. But there were times when vocalist Corey Glover matched Reid’s guitarwork for dramatic effect and intensity. The new stuff was powerful, but it was also a pleasure to see the group plow through “Cult of Personality.”
King Crimson, a long time removed from considerations such as hits and reunions, simply peeled into its usual show, maintaining a balance between the highly cerebral nature of the music and the madcap personality of guitarist Adrian Belew. Crimson mastermind Robert Fripp kept to the shadows, but his trademark guitar tone and effortless playing remained essential to the experience, despite Belew’s outgoing approach to both vocals and guitar. In general, King Crimson doesn’t so much play songs, but rather create a mood, oftentimes dark and ominous. As each piece progresses, the structure becomes more and more complicated until the piece achieves full strength, then subsides. For a music that is very calculated and intelligent, it is also surprisingly emotional. Coming up at the Fillmore: Big Head Todd and the Monsters along with the Hazel Miller Band on New Year’s Eve.
On November 29, the Starlight hosted a great evening of progressive music, featuring the powerful instrumental trio Drums and Tuba. The band combines drums, tuba, guitar and a wild mix of electronic effects all swirling around kinetic rhythms and dramatic flourishes of melody. The groove was the important thing for Drums and Tuba, then the ability to play all around that groove with multi-layered horn parts, fully effected guitar and drumming that simultaneously nailed down the basics while adding plenty of offbeat rhythm.
But even more interesting were the antics of the opening act, That1Guy. Playing a very unique musical creation he calls “the Magic Pipe,” That1Guy set up funky layers of rhythm that he would rap to and tap to. He played a musical saw during his performance, but mostly whapped, sawed, strummed and bowed the Magic Pipe while adding talk-singing and mouth percussion. It was a crazy, tongue-in-cheek performance that would have made someone like Frank Zappa proud.