Brackets, Return of the Kings and Survival Revival

by Mike Sheahan

O nly two words can describe the events of last week: Brackets, schmackets. As Krusty the Clown would query, "For this I waited a year?" Anyone who saw Connecticut beat Georgia Tech for the NCAA men's championship gets the point. We've all seen better basketball games played in Unitarian Church parking lots. From a personal standpoint, the only good thing to come from this year's tournament was being in the same room with a smattering of Duke fans as the Dandy Boys went down. That's always a nice treat, but the truth is that if the old wives tale about the office secretary who knows nothing about basketball and fills her brackets out based on uniform color and wins the office pool is true, this year should provide the proof.

"That's why they play the games," some so-called genius at ESPN will say, but that ain't gonna bring any of my money back. Conversely, these are guiltless ways to spend your scholarship, Pell grant or actually hard-earned cash.

Given Durango's fickle touch-and-go economy, each time one of our local eateries turns five years old, it's a remarkable event. When one particular eatery has been putting food in my fridge and Huggies on my daughter's butt for almost as many years, then the event becomes splendiferous. On Friday, April 9, Cuckoo's will mark the occasion of its fifth year with specials all day and, most importantly, a performance by the suddenly reclusive Lawn Chair Kings . The once ubiquitous LCK has been hard to catch lately, but these anniversary shows at Cuckoo's have become a tradition and are always great fun. Knowing lips are sealed, but rumor has it that the longtime three-piece has added a fourth member to round out the sound, and the new lineup will make its debut Friday night.

While fully aware of the blatant shamelessness of this plug (so spare me the jabs while online at the coffee shop), the Lawn Chair Kings always provide the soundtrack for a fun-filled night, and Friday gives no reason to think otherwise. The music sets off at 10 p.m. and the cover? We don't need no stinking cover.

The next night, April 10, and only one door over from the night before, the Abbey Theatre will host Sand Sheff's third annual Survival Revival variety show. The show is a CD release party (more on that below) and much more. Sheff's organized efforts to "party in the face of madness" are precisely that a well-designed evening of concerted wackiness. Attendees will see many live musicians perform in varied forms and, among other acts, jugglers will be present.

To find Sand at the Office Spiritorium on Mondays or at Scoot 'n Blues from time to time is either a great score or happy accident. To make this show is to enjoy one of the most fun and eclectic nights to have been dropped on any local stage lately by anyone. Members of the Reeltime Travelers will open the night, and while that seems like enough in itself, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Doors open for the Revival at 7 p.m.

The Arizona based ska/funk/punk band Warsaw will drop into the Summit for what seems like a bi-annual visit on Saturday, April 10. Conventional wisdom has it that the band hasn't changed much in its 10-plus years, but as with punk and country music, ska seems to be an acceptably narrow genre. With three chords and a few horns there isn't much room for derivation. And really who cares? Ripping those three chords, turning the horns up to 11 and pasting on a syncopated back end are enough to keep you skanking with pride through songs you heard a million times before, right?

Quote of the Week: "Dudes, I guarantee Duke will win it all."

Web site of the Week: Due to an unplanned failure of personal technology, I recently found myself without all connection to the virtual world. It was during this disconcerting time that I was able to reconnect with my wife, daughter and the ever-growing pile of dishes in the sink. Whether your hook is the Internet, dog races or heroin, we all need such a break from time to time. Take yours this week.

Album of the Week: The above mentioned CD release party at the Abbey Theatre happens around Sand Sheff's latest release "Free on This Mountain." It's an expansive record that boasts a regular who's who of local musicians culled from almost every local bluegrass, country or folk band.

Sheff himself comes across a bit like a "Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings"-era John Prine without the self deprecation but with all the honesty and revelation. Also, the album's lone cover, Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You," from Dylan's jaw-dropping "Nashville Skyline," treads on sacred ground.

In lesser hands such powerful company would be damning but, with the help of his many backers, Sheff not only effortlessly meets his influences but also lets it be known that the whole thing could be settled in the alley if need be. 'Course that won't be necessary, anybody's free to decide Saturday at the Abbey, where copies of "Free on This Mountain" will be available.

For this I waited a year?




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