TELLURIDE – At last, lads and lassies, spring is nearly upon us, and with the change of season comes a barrage of rocking concerts, spring break festivities and St. Patrick's Day revelries where music lovers can hear everything from rock to reggae, hip-hop, bluegrass, swamp, folk, and Celtic.
The Plunge Music Festival highlights the busy weekend, with the hippest of hip-hop and funk hitting the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon again tonight. The festivities kicked off with the incredible Brian Jordan last night, and the club will heat back up with APOC and Bionik Brown ready to rock the underground club tonight.
Bionik Brown needs little introduction, as he’s well known as one of the hottest soul-rappers on the scene. His website may best describe his sound as “what would happen if you threw Big L, Q-Tip, Saul Williams and Jesus Christ in a blender with one cup of gumbo and a quarter-cup of Mississippi River water!”
Slam dunk, this will be a funk throw-down, with APOC joining in for more than a few words.
A bit of a nomad, APOC appears in Telluride from time to time, and since 2003 has established himself as a mainstay in both the San Diego and Chicago hip-hop scenes. APOC's live shows are known for their dizzying array of rhyme, humor and intensity, and the Moon will pump with these two dynamic performers tonight.
Saturday night, it’s DJ Kinetik, who says he's stoked to return for the phat spring festival. "I am definitely excited and honored to come back to Telluride for the thirrd year in row to rock that town,” he exclaims. “Telluride is heaven on earth, and the gondola ride up to Mountain Village is by far the most beautiful view I have ever seen. Don't take it for granted!"
The talented DJ knows from experience that certain places are special. An Ohio native, Kinetik went to school in Louisiana, where disaster struck not so long ago. "Katrina washed away my house and everything inside it. But to be honest with you, it was a change for the better. A rebirth, a kick in the rear, to wake up and grow up. They don't call New Orleans the Big Easy for nothing!"
Nothing easy here. Kinetic explains that he and Bionik Brown have a long history. "Bionik and I went to school together at Loyola University where we met about 12 years ago during the fall of our sophomore year there,” he recalls. “I thought he has one of the funniest people I have ever met. A few years later a group of friends of mine started a record label and Bionik was our first artist we tried to promote.”
Soon after that, the spark was lit. "Bionik was in a live band called Mental Metropolis around the same time as the record label started. Watching that band made me want to be a DJ, so I decided to buy a 'DJ in a box' kit that was garbage, but I managed it for a couple of years. About six months after practicing in my room for 20 hours a week, I got a shot to open for Mental Metropolis at the Howling Wolf in New Orleans.”
The initial gig bolstered the young spinner’s confidence, and soon he was gigging around the Crescent City. “I began to gain weekly gigs at the Red Room and the Whisky Bar. I used to play my underground style when most people wanted to hear what was on the radio, but I kept telling myself to keep doing what I wanted to do and not to conform. Soon I began to get gigs with connections that I’d made around New Orleans as a promotions manager, including playing with Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes and Ellipsis. I was in a band called Crazyface for a couple of years leading up to Katrina and we recorded at Galactic's studio a few years ago," he adds.
Kinetik says he wasn’t the only one from the scene to end up in Colorado. “Bionik and I played a few times together back in New Orleans but once we found each other in Denver we began to play together a lot more. We were so amazed that we ended up in the same city, so we put our heads together and started getting shows around Denver and Boulder as much as possible.”
Look for everything from the Pharcyde to Sinatra to The Meters at this tribute to Biggie Smalls on Saturday night, and keep your ears open for special guests, including luscious local DJ Ryan Smith.
Monday night at the Moon, keep the party rolling with the Hot Strings, who’ll rip it up and have you jigging at the St. Patrick’s Day Party.
Blarney, it’s going to be a long weekend, so pace yourself, lassie!
Back to the present, the New Orleans' influence will be thick and heavy around town tonight, not only at the Moon, but at the Sheridan Opera House, where the Eric Lindell Band is ready to kick it down with swampy fervor.
Lindell wowed fans with his appearances at last fall's Blues & Brews Festival, and the California-born, New Orleans-schooled songwriter and guitarist is bringing a full band this time, and swinging through Colorado in support of his phenomenal new CD, Low on Cash, Rich on Love.
"We're getting out behind the record," drawls Lindell. "We recorded it in New Orleans, and banged it out, so it really has a live feel."
The CD is being streamed on Rhapsody, and is pushing Lindell into the big leagues, including landing him a slot on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last month.
So who is in his band?
"It's top secret," laughs Lindell. "There's five of us, I'll say that much."
Lindell is known to bring heavy-hitters along on the road, and a little side project often sees him collaborating with some familiar names. "I've been doing Dragonsmoke for about five years now," he explains. "It started during Jazz Fest at a bar called the Dragon's Den, hence the name.
"We did a couple of nights in San Francisco and it went over pretty well, so we decided to do it at Tips, and it was slammed, so we've kept it going," he adds. "It's me and Ivan Neville, Stan and Rob." By Stan he means, Stanton Moore, and Bob is Robert Mercurio, both of Galactic fame.
Hmmm. I guess you'll just have to go to the show to see who might be joining him, but one thing is certain: Lindell delivers with his soulful voice, funky guitar licks and swampy grooves. “We’re bringing it to Telluride! Leave the light on for us!”
Get down with the exceptional Eric Lindell Band tonight at the Historic Sheridan Opera House, starting at 9 p.m. Swampy, funky fun.
Next week at the Opera House, another festival favorite, the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band returns to town.
On a roll after their unprecedented double win at both the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and RockyGrass band competitions last year, the sensational Spring Creek has been back in the studio and has released their new CD, Lonesome Way to Go, which was produced by Sally Van Meter.
“We’re really excited,” says bassist Jessica Smith. “We were hoping to have it out by Wintergrass, so we got that accomplished.” Smith notes that the band has a big summer in store, as the double Planet Bluegrass wins grant them opening slots at both festivals.
Smith adds that this will be the first time the band has played in Telluride since the Bluegrass Festival sent them on their upward spiral last year. “It’s our first time to play a real gig in Telluride besides the competition, so we’re super-excited. Plus, we have a bunch of new material, and this will be the CD release party for the Western Slope, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Spring Creek dazzles with their amazing songwriting, immaculate harmony vocals and expert musicianship. Don’t miss them next Thursday at the Opera House, with special guests The Turkey Creek Ramblers opening the show.
In the meantime, yet another Telluride favorite is about to roll in to rock for KOTO. Get ready for a whole lotta love, when Lez Zeppelin takes the stage at the Telluride Conference Center on Saturday night.
All girls, all Zep, the band is arguably the best female rock band on the planet, and gets out the led like you’ve never heard it.
Rolling Stone Magazine recently called Lez Zep the “next best thing” following a little media snafu that pushed the girl rockers into the international spotlight.
“Google Lez Zeppelin and Bonnaroo and you’ll see what it’s all about,” says guitarist Stephanie Paynes. “We were really excited that we were asked to play at Bonnoroo, it’s a really big festival. Then a little rumor on the Internet was floating about which said that Led Zeppelin was going to be headlining the concert to open their world reunion tour.
“The AP wire came out with Led Zeppelin headlining Bonnoroo, and it was picked up by UPI and a lot of publications. Then they had to correct the press worldwide, so it took days of the crazy publicity machine to straighten it out, and we became a household name. It’s really been rockin’ our world!”
But the big bad girl band is still humble, and Payne adds that the band is glad to play the benefit for Telluride’s Community Radio Station this weekend. “I’ve always enjoyed KOTO when I’ve been in town and my friends have had it on. It’s important to have that kind of unadulterated source of music, where people can play and listen to what they like.”
If it’s been a long time since you rock and rolled, it’s time to get to the Conference Center in Mountain Village this Saturday night for the unparalleled Lez Zeppelin for a misty mountain hop!
Ramble on, there’s loads of other great live entertainment in town and around the Western Slope this weekend. In fact, the whole place will be bopping.
At the Bubble Lounge, it’s time to reggae, with the Mountain Mystics coming in for two shows, this Friday and Saturday nights. The band is phenomenal, and grooves with rootsy funk and dub. Git wid ’em this weekend at the O2 bar, and celebrate Troy and Kelly’s wedding on Saturday night!
Coming up for St. Patty’s Day, it’s the marvelous Steve Felberg performing solo from 5-8 p.m. at the Bubble Lounge, and The Kirkpatrick Project, and phenomenal acoustic rock duo out of Ft. Collins heads in for two shows on Monday and Tuesday night.
Also, don’t miss the Holden Young Trio next week at the Bubble Lounge.
Tommy’s continues to rock along, and après ski is lively at the local watering hole next to Elks Park. Check out Part-Time Bad Habit this afternoon from 4-7 p.m., with the T&A String Band on Saturday après ski. Yes, that’s members of the Turkey Creek Ramblers, and look for the boys to be priming for next week’s opener for Spring Creek. Down the street you’ll find live music at the Floradora this weekend too, when Eagle & The Sky Ponies make an appearance on Sunday après ski. Featuring Gregory Eagle on guitar and vocals, the ever-evolving Ponies include special guests Carrie Stuckert on violin and Jennifer Lockwood on cello for this gig. By the way, you can catch them in a live appearance on Plum TV in Heritage Plaza on Sunday morning, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Hillbilly Hotel will be on it, with the full band at Two Candles in Norwood Friday night, and at Backstreet Bagel in Ouray on Saturday. The band is cooking, with Joey Lindly's soaring vocals and Tony Rosario grooving on guitar. HH has added a bass player, and Kevin Vernon kicks on drums and percussion. Check out their recent performance at the Shawn Colvin concert on YouTube. Vernon's tambourine with brushes is reminiscent of the Subdudes, and the band is on the move.
Happy St. Patty’s Day!