No doubt there will be tunes from some of the folks whose music I have been enjoying live, on the next weekly songlist. This past weekend I took in lots of great music, including 2 CD release parties, several hours of street performances, and two solo shows that kicked off the whole weekend. If you are looking for great new music to discover, these are some of the folks whose music I can personally vouch for (and, after all, isn’t that really the point of a music blog?).
My weekend kicked off with a small farewell solo show by Ryan Zwanziger, who as I’ve mentioned will be moving to Minnesota next month. His show fell on the same evening as all the graduation parties in town, so hardly anyone showed up, but the random people who wandered into the Fat Shack while Ryan was playing seemed to enjoy the show a lot. One has only to listen to Ryan’s solo acoustic set to realize just how much of Better Than Bacon’s stellar songwriting came from Ryan. Once he gets settled in up North, he’ll probably be putting on some truly excellent shows for audiences in and near Minnesota. I had no problem with the tiny turnout for his final solo show here, either- my own private Ryan Zwanziger concert? What could possibly be wrong with that?
|Cary Morin at Equinox|
The following evening (late afternoon really) I hung out with Ryan on the audience side of things for Cary Morin‘s show at Equinox Brewing, a pleasant smallish venue on the south end of Old Town. Cary is one of the best guitarists in town, according to most musicians I know who know him and his music, and so of course his show was fantastic, and with the nice weather we had all weekend it was an outdoor show on the patio. The patio at this venue is tiny, for how many people wind up inside it, so lounging with friends around a table within view of the performing musicians can be tough, but there is always seating inside as well, and one can usually still hear the music from this patio all the way to the pedestrian mall, so sitting indoors does not mean missing the music.
Cary also played a 3hr street show on Old Town the following day through the Streetmosphere program, and will be playing several more Streetmosphere shows and other concerts around town this summer. His brand new CD has also finally arrived, as of this week, so hopefully he’ll have copies available at his upcoming shows. Besides Cary Morin, I also enjoyed street shows from two other musicians this past weekend, Dee Tyler and Britton Deuel. I only stuck around for 2 songs of Britton’s set (I seemed to be making Britton uneasy, and he was set up just outside Nature’s Own, my favorite rock shop, so I got distracted by shiny things). Britton is one of the singer-songwriters who has played at the Avo’s Open Mic several times this season.
Dee Tyler plays guitar in the band HWY 287, and turns up on stages around town plenty, so he’s a familiar face for those of us who follow the local music scene, but like Ryan Zwanziger, Dee Tyler doesn’t often play solo acoustic shows. Both these men do plenty of songwriting, though, and it was fun to hear Dee on his own with his set of original songs this weekend. It did threaten rain while he was playing, of course, but once I put my laptop away the rain went away again. The cooler windy weather drove more people indoors, though, so there were fewer people sitting outside to enjoy the live music. There were people at Lucky Joe’s though who were listening and clapping for songs they enjoyed, so while it looked like a sparse audience, Dee probably had a pretty respectable collection of listeners over his 3hr set.
In addition to all these street shows and solo sets, I also enjoyed 2 shows with 3 acts each this weekend, celebrating new CDs. The first of these was directly after Cary Morin’s show, so I had energy enough for the first band, but probably not quite enough for all 3. The show was celebrating Bill Smith’s new CD, and while I’d never heard Bill Smith, I’d heard of them enough to vaguely recall that they are a band, not just some guy named Bill. FunkyTunk Heroes was opening this show, though, and I’d heard them under less ideal conditions already at FoCoMX a few weeks ago. I enjoyed their show this weekend a lot more than I did their FoCoMX show. The big stage and great stage lighting helped, but actually having elbow room was a huge factor too. And, for all that I have heard many stories about how rude and unhelpful the staff at the Aggie are, the venue staff I interacted with were all perfectly pleasant and helpful. FunkyTunk Heroes may not be quite at that stage of band development where they are ready to headline a show at the Aggie, but their music was very effective at drawing people towards the stage and by the time they get to their next CD release they’ll probably have a pretty solid following.
|Bill Smith at the Aggie|
Bill Smith was actually pretty good too, though not quite what I was into that night. (My shorthand excuse ‘not my genre’ is probably only loosely accurate, as one of the people I was hanging out with at this show plays music which at least intersects with Bill Smith’s heavily electronic progressive rock, and I like that friend’s music a lot.) I stuck it out until the last 3 songs, at least, and enjoyed the music well enough, but I was exhausted and when some random guy walked by and planted a kiss on my forehead, I decided maybe I could go home. I get the feeling that I might enjoy this band a lot more if I see them next when I am awake and not as the very last band of the night. Their CD release event incorporated visual arts with a live painter working on the balcony (though he only added a few small areas of green to his canvas the whole night that I could tell) and glass-blown pipes as give-aways and prizes. The audience didn’t look like the Boulder Park crowd, but the Boulder crowds might really appreciate the combination of arts in this show.
My favorite of these events was of course the Post Paradise CD release for their new album, Digging Secrets. One of SpokesBUZZ’s new artists, Shatterproof, opened the night, followed by a band I have been hoping to catch for months, Rachel and the Kings. Shatterproof’s band line-up includes one fellow on a violin, an appropriate start to a night celebrating a cello rock band. This band plays a straightforward rock set, though with bits of violin as their distinctive trademark highlights. They are part of the SpokesBUZZ Class of 2014, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of them soon.
|Rachel and the Kings|
Rachel and the Kings also includes a fellow on a violin, so there was a definite strings theme to the night. This band, with a lead singer whose name is actually Rachel, plays that flavor of rock music that makes it onto Top 40 radio shows, rock music with just a bit more of a commercial sound without turning pure pop. Their best cover song of the night (and they played mostly originals) was an Alanis Morissette song, “Uninvited”. They could do a whole Alanis tribute show and I’d be perfectly happy- they’re that good at covering her songs. Their originals are just as strong though, just not as familiar. I always love coming across more bands with strong female leads, and this is certainly one of the best in our region right now.
Post Paradise closed out the night, with their luscious well-fogged brilliantly colored lightshow accompanying all their songs, including a new toy, a strobe light that wreaked havoc with my photos but made for really cool visual effects. If it is tough to capture a Tyler T. show in a recording, capturing the full richness of a Post Paradise show in audio or video recordings is definitely impossible. You just have to see these guys, though in between they also do make excellent studio recordings too. The live shows completely eclipse any captured recordings though. Oh, and when Post Paradise took the stage, they brought on Josh Lee of Eldren to play violin for the last few songs of their set so maybe it is violins, not just strings that were the running theme for the night. (Actually, I took in another great cello rock band this week, greyweather, who play a show at Odell Brewery every month. Their cellist plays a gorgeous electric cello, but it is still most definitely a cello. So the week’s theme may still be rock music with strings.)