TELLURIDE – The days may be cooling off, but the music scene is about to heat up, with The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival now just a week away, and look for the energy level to go exponential for the final blast of summertime fun in the coming days.
It could get more than a little steamy this weekend at Las Montañas with the return of the funky, crunky Mike Dillon’s Go-Go Jungle on Saturday night. Dillon is the monster percussionist and vibes player who was here recently with Ani Difranco at the Bluegrass festival.
"I always have fun in Telluride," says Dillon. "I was there earlier this summer with Ani, but it's been awhile since I've been there with the Go-Go Jungle, so I'm excited to be bringing my band."
The band's debut CD, Battery Milk, saw the Go-Go Jungle exploring fresh territory, and Dillon says fans may be in for a tasty treat this weekend. "We just finished a new record, which will come out sometime in January," he explains. "I'm really excited about it. It’s more aggressive than the last one, a little more punk rock." Dillon adds that the band is energized by the new material. "Last night we played for three hours straight, and did all kinds of stuff, so we're gonna be bringing it for the show this weekend in Telluride!"
Dillon calls New Orleans home, and had just rolled into town when Gustav hit last week. "I spend most of my time in hotel rooms, and hadn't been home all summer. So I got back, and the next day it was like 'Hurricane! Get Out!' I had hoped to stay for a few days, but I thought, all right, I guess we're gonna leave. Ani was also in New Orleans at the time, so she got to evacuate, too. I'm just glad it wasn't a category 5 that flattened the city. Anyway, we were gonna get out on the road anyway, so I guess we'll get to higher ground and have some high times in Telluride."
Dillon adds that he'll be touring with Difranco later this month in support of her new CD, so he's a busy guy. "I've got my bands, Go-Go Jungle, Hairy Apes and Billy Goat, and you know I’ve worked with Les Claypool for many years. We're gonna do this tour with the Go-Go Jungle and then I'll be with Ani. But it's cool, everyone that I'm playing with are my friends."
Dillon is a phenom and always delivers with the help of his heavy-hitting band, including Go-Go Ray and JJ Jungle who kick it down with their funky, jazz-tinged grooves. Get down and go bananas with Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle, Saturday night at Las Montañas.
In fact, it seems that jungle fever is taking over in the final throes of summer, and things could get a little bit ape-y at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon this weekend too, starting tonight with the hip-hop-jungle-trance dance party featuring DJ Ryan Smith and The Krittah.
Saturday night, get down with Grand Junction’s sensation, The Pineapple Crackers, who gleefully mix up Hawaiian rock with Reggae roots for a sound that's all their own. In two short years, the band has jelled, and recently released their live self-titled CD and DVD from last year's performance at the Mesa Theater in Junction.
The group is headed up by Benson "Big Sexy" Broyles on vocals and – get it – ukelele. Broyles says he has a vision for the band that’s as big as his booming voice. "We come to spread positive vibes of love, peace and life to the people of the world through our music."
Wildly fun, go island style with The Pineapple Crackers on Saturday night at the
At The Bubble Lounge this weekend, it's the return of Denver’s monster fusion band Meniskus, which is hitting the O2 bar for a two-night stand on Friday and Saturday. Funky, rock nouveau, Meniskus is marvelous, weaving electronic textures with Latin and alt-rock influences to create their sound, which they captured in their tremendous full-length effort Foreign Beyond last year.
Eric Singer says the band has been getting out and going big this summer. "We just played Rock the Vote at the DNC, but the highlight of the summer was The Mile High Music Fest in Denver. (Guitarist) Bryan Bardusco's father flew in from Venezuela. He said he'd wanted to see Steve Winwood play for 30 years. When he finally gets to see him, Winwood's playing with his son! He couldn't have been more proud."
The band has been on the fast track, and doing some recording, too. "We've been back at Coupe Studios working on some new stuff – it's really inspiring to work in the same place as bands like DeVotchka, FloBots and Rose Hill Drive," says drummer Chris Wright. "The new material is definitely a departure from the last album. You can hear last year's trip to Europe in there – there's a lot more electronica to the new stuff."
Violinist and singer Eric Ostberg recently had a baby, but as Bardusco says, the band ready to hit the road. "We're psyched to be back in Telluride. The last time we were here, we were short a man because Eric was home birthin’ a baby, so our manager stood in for him on trombone and keyboard. This time, we're back in full force and ready for two serious nights of it!"
Seriously rocking, that is. Get your groove on with Meniskus at least once this weekend!
Next week at the Bubble Lounge, start getting in festival mode with Paradigm, who hail out of Louisville, Ky. Well, actually from Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Maine.
A powerful instrumental jazz funk outfit, sax player Myron Koch says the band hooked up down south. "The band's about 4 years old. We all met through the U of L's world-renowned jazz school and two of the members have performance masters degrees."
Koch adds that his band also has a new CD out. "We're actually touring to support our Ropeadope Records release Melodies for Uncertain Robots, which is sort of in the same vein and on the same label as Medeski/Martin/Wood, Benefento/Russo and Charlie Hunter."
Good company to be in, Koch says Paradigm is stoked to come to Telluride. "We've never been there before, but have heard that it's the most beautiful spot on the planet, and that the festivals are some of the most exciting events in the music world. So we're ready to rage! Hopefully we'll be back to play one of your city's famous signature events sometime."
Let’s hope so, Paradigm rocks, and look for them to kick it down on Tuesday at the Bubble Lounge.
Then get ready for a taste of Chicago funk and blues with the return of Lubriphonic at the O2 bar. More on these guys next week, but you can be sure they will rock the house, starting next Wednesday night.
And of course, bands and fans will be rolling in for the grand finale to Telluride’s fabulous festival season with the Blues & Brews Fest about to launch.
In addition to the already stellar Main Stage and Juke Joint line-up, the festival has announced the addition of Warren Haynes in concert at the Telluride Conference Center on Saturday, Sept. 13. There will probably be a few special guests for this show, which will likely sell-out. Get your tickets and the latest at tellurideblues.com and look for in-depth coverage on the festival in next week’s Telluride Watch, starting in Tuesday's edition.
Ooh baby, it's a wild world. Brace your feet for the Blues!