Meltdown, the Big Top and Retisonic

by Mike Sheahan

T opping all the fun and excitement of last week will be nearly impossible this week. The nighttime roster was full of great options all seven days, Phil Mickelson won his first major golf tournament in what was one of the most exciting Sunday finishes ever, and a couple of local dish divers in a restaurant basement provided us with punch lines to jokes all week. Yeah, last week had it all: tragedy, tension, comedy, great music, the whole kit and caboodle. I don't know about you, but I could take a time machine back to last Thursday, relive the whole thing and have just as much fun.

If, after last week, the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College doesn't soon announce a weekend double bill featuring '70s soft rockers STYX and Supertramp, we may all be left feeling a bit deflated. That said, and before you book your one-way ticket to Austin or Las Vegas, there is enough happening this week to keep even the least self-entertainable of us happy.

For starters, the 10th annual Durango Bluegrass Meltdown takes place this weekend, April 16 -18. This yearly event features more bluegrass than you can shake a banjo at in three different venues, the Abbey Theatre, the Diamond Circle and the Durango Arts Center, and there is a little something for everyone. Whether you're into the traditional or progressive sides of bluegrass or even the music's Celtic influence, you'll find something that suits you.

The reasonably priced, all-weekend advance ticket price easily makes the Meltdown the most affordable of any of the festivals that happen in our area and gets you exclusive entrance to the kick-off party Friday. As a huge bonus, the whole thing happens in town so you can just go home at the end of the night rather than having to worry about camping around a bunch of smelly jerks or buying ridiculously overpriced festival food. Enticing, no? Visit for further enticement.

If getting out of bed at 10 in the morning to go check out bluegrass isn't in the cards for you, there is nothing to worry about. Most of your favorite late-night haunts will feature bluegrass or a close approximation of said style. The Abbey, for example will host local fave Bruce Hayes on Friday night. The Summit will, in what has become a Meltdown tradition, feature the Front Range-based Fret Knot , and at Storyville, 2002 Rockygrass and 2003 Telluride band winner, Hit and Run , will take the stage. So, if like me, you refuse to leave the house before the sun goes down, there is still plenty of action to keep you going.

The weekend fun actually gets under way tonight, Thursday, April 15, at the Durango Arts Center for the third annual KDUR Furniture as Art Auction . The items up for auction will mostly consist of cast aside pieces of furniture that have spent the last few weeks or months in the hands of some of Durango's most creative artists. The result is always interesting and sometimes very funny.

The event will feature music by Grammy award-winning Tom MacKlusky, catered food and a cash bar with wine and beer. All of this makes the night well worth the door charge, and you just may just wind up with a new conversation piece for your family, rec or dorm room. All proceeds benefit KDUR so we should all attend for the sake of principle alone.

Not a huge fan of the circus, I had no idea that there are actually two kinds. First there is the circus with lion tamers, elephants and happy clowns. The second kind of circus has mysterious music, smoke and sad, French clowns. This is the kind of circus that we in Durango have become used to. However, this Friday, April 16, the first kind of circus comes to town. The Carson and Barnes Circus boast five rings of juggling, tigers that jump through rings of fire and, so I hear, a baby elephant that can play a tambourine and harmonica. Now that's what I call a circus. Sure the animals may not look happy, but I guarantee that anybody given room and board to wear a fez and ride around on a moped has no choice but to be ecstatic. The big top fun happens twice Friday, once at 4:30 p.m., and again at 7:30 p.m.

Website of the Week: The web is truly an amazing place. Just when you think you've seen the most inane thing the internet has to offer, your friend Bryant goes and sends you a link to a site called At first you find yourself wondering what kind of freak show has the time or inclination to collect hundreds of pictures of strangers tossing their cookies, create a rating system and then post it all on the web. After a while, though, you find yourself saying "OK, just one more picture then back to work." This site is not recommended for those of weak intestinal fortitude, it's really icky. If you do go, just be aware that your visit only contributes to the general moral desensitization of modern society.

Album of the Week: Retisonic is a three-piece band made up of veterans of the indie rock world. Led by Jason Farrell of the D.C. band Blue Tip, Retisonic recently released its full length debut, "Return to Me." It's an album full of sharp, angular, nearly math-rock like edgy, pop-punk songs. If that description confuses you, don't feel bad. I wrote it and don't fully get it. Just know this about Retisonic's "Return to Me": It is an album that combines the pace of Husker Du's "Flip Your Wig" with the stuttering guitars of Fugazi's "Thirteen Songs" without sounding dated in today's alt-rock landscape. Still confused? It's OK, just buy it, and you'll know what I know, that it's a superb, timeless rock record.

No felines were harmed in the writing of this column.




News Index Second Index Opinion Index Classifieds Index Contact Index