by Mike Sheahan
S pring, at long last, has sprung in
many ways. The early bulbs are up and deciduous trees are leafing,
the promise of one last inexplicable snow storm seems far off, and
young ladies everywhere are walking around town often wearing
nothing more than short pants and cleverly arranged bandanas.
Spring, though called an off-season here in the Four Corners, has
to be in the top three on the list of the best of the four seasons.
Baseball season is close to reaching full stride, the NBA and NHL
are about to finally become exciting, and the Animas River looks to
be fun for one last year before A-LP drains it to a
Local pessimists will
endlessly complain that the Animas will soon run dry, the Rocket
Drive In will close its gates, and surely the only live music to be
heard in town will be a jazzy-funk-bluegrass-rock combo at one
place with the only competition a bluegrassy-funk and jazz-with
Latin grooved hybrid somewhere else. These pessimists may be right:
the Animas will soon run like my kitchen faucet, the Rocket will
soon be a Target and eventually all Durango bands will sound
exactly alike. There really isnmuch evidence to refute any of these
That is why, and this is
the important part, we all must make concerted efforts to see that
none of those things happen. I'm not exactly saying you should
monkey wrench A-LP, but I am saying you should support that which
makes our small town lifestyle worthwhile. Go to the drive-in, shop
downtown before Wal-Mart, and try a locally owned eatery before
heading for a bloomin' onion for chrissake. If Durango is to carry
on with the charm that brought us all here, it will take a revolt
against the bloomin' onion and all other forms of cookie-cutter
public satisfaction. After all, Farmington is just a skip down the
road if that's what you want.
The important local
activity begins tonight, April 29, at the Diamond Circle Theatre
with a benefit
for Melissa Crabtree . Some of our personal favorites
including Durango's best bluegrass band The Badly Bent and local troubadour Sand Sheff will entertain crowds starting at 7
p.m. The Wild
Benny Galloway and the
Wayward Sons round out a bill that rightfully
should raise a pile of dough for Ms. Crabtree.
The very next night,
Friday, April 30, presents something of a scheduling challenge. My
personal favorite local band, The Lawn Chair Kings , now fortified with eight essential
vitamins in the form of lead guitar work from Steve Stokes, play at
The LCK's switch from a
trio to a quatro has predictably led to a new depth in the band and
has added more melody to the Kings' rhythmic sound. If, like me,
you find yourself settin' around and complaining about the current
state of entertainment in our burgh, this is a great chance to
check out to an old favorite wearing a slightly new
On the same night, the
Abbey Theatre hosts the farewell, at least for a while, show by
another favorite Freewill Recovery . Many, many will join the boys on
stage to make the night akin to one of Sand Sheff's old time
revivals. Members of many local bands will sit in to create a
freestyle party atmosphere.
My advice on Friday
night? Pay cover at both places and work off the Jager or kamikaze
shots by jogging back and forth up and down Main.
If your idea of a good time is watching a squeaky clean Harlem
Globetrotters-like basketball team from Fort Collins perform
basketball trickery, then the Harlem Ambassadors are the ticket
for you. On Tuesday, May 4, The Whalen Gym at FLC will
host The Harlem Ambassadors , who combine acrobatic basketball
skills with a life affirming message. I have never been to the
Harlem section of Fort Collins but if the "old town" section
of Fort Collins is any indication, I never will dig farther
north. The Front Range, I mean, Harlem Ambassadors take the
court at 7 p.m., the evening is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity.
They do good things.
Album of the Week: Before Elvis Costello earned the angry
young man tag and Nick Lowe was the sole voice of English
mod-pop, Graham Parker
and the Rumor were
making their own splash. At his best and with albums like
"Squeezing Out Sparks" or "Mona Lisa's Sister," Parker has been,
along with Billy Bragg, one of the true post-punk pop trend
setters. Parker has never been one to hide his influences; his
latest "Your Country" nods at his decades long attempt to mock and
simultaneously pay tribute to American rock and country styles.
Does it work? Depends on the song.
The lead-off track
"Anything for a Laugh" is as self- deprecating as anything Parker
is famous for and makes me want to wake my neighbors. Later on, the
unexplainable version of the Grateful Dead's "Sugaree" makes no
sense. Here is the only man to come out of the late '70s making as
few compromises as Neil Young or Elvis Costello and then this? A
rote version of an already stupid song.
That tune marks Parker's
career. Hit and miss; good here, bad there. If you can catch him at
his best (the above albums but add "Live: Alone in America") there
really is none better. "Your Country" will become a new country
The new Loretta Lynn is
in stores. Buy it now.