by Ted Holteen
Every year, there are a few weekends during
which you may find yourself asking,
“Where are all my friends?” or “Where is everybody?” if you don't really have
any friends. It happens during Telluride Bluegrass, some holidays and, if you're
really lucky, that awful soccer shootout weekend what with all those damn kids
and all. This is one of those weekends, thankfully without the damn kids. I
don't like kids. They should be few and far between in Telluride this weekend,
as The Telluride Blues and Brews Festival loosens things up in a town that
used to be among the loosest in the U.S.A. Now, it's Telluride. But time was,
one could wander aimlessly about the mountain hamlet, drinkin' and smokin'
and generally carousing, with no one to answer to but a hippie or two trying
to score a buzz. I mean, Rasta Stevie used to be a Town Council member up there.
Hearken back to those days of yesteryear with three days of live music in the
park interrupted briefly by three hours of beer “tasting” on Saturday afternoon.
And the music is good. Sure, big names like B.B. King, Government Mule (with
Gregg Allman) and The Neville Brothers will bring in the crowds, but so will
the beer. I swore off B.B. even before he started doing Burger King commercials,
but I'm looking forward to some of the second and third bill performers. They
include Elvin Bishop, Edgar Winter, Shemekia Copeland, Anders Osborne and Lonnie
Brooks. Note that all of these are actually blues musicians, a fact that shouldn't
be lost when discussing a blues festival. There are still tickets available,
sort of, but it's confusing. Go to tellurideblues.com and figure it out.
If you just can't get away this weekend, or you don't
want to spend your mortgage payment on a condo for
two days, you can catch a preview on Thursday night
at the Abbey Theatre. Papa Mali , who will play on
Friday in Telluride with Richard Johnston, gets a head
start with a late-night solo show here in Durango.
Mali, born Malcolm Welbourne in the Shreveport, La.,
area, is different. He's a hyper-high energy slide
guitarist who usually performs as part of a trio, but
I don't know if they'll be accompanying him or not.
That's why I referred to it as a solo show. Either
way, I will put my reputation on the line and give
this one my full endorsement. Here's yet another plea
to support live music in Durango. If Chubby Checker
can bring in 800 souls, how about a couple of hundred
for a national act making new and creative sounds?
Do the right thing.
Sticking with the Louisiana theme, albeit about a
hundred miles south, the Fort Lewis College Community
Concert Hall welcomes New Orleans legends the Preservation
Hall Jazz Band on Saturday night. This is the real
deal. The PHJB embodies everything about The Big Easy
but the beads-for-breasts exchange program. That said,
ladies, feel free to prove me wrong. Anyway, get used
to good things happening at the Concert Hall, as this
is just one of a slew of top-notch acts that Gary Penington
and his staff have lined up for the year. It's not
Dixieland, but real New Orleans jazz, and the musicians
range in age from thirty-somethings to 80-plus. I don't
know how Preservation Hall will get by without them
while they're on tour, but it doesn't happen every
week, so take advantage of this opportunity. It really
is very special.
Saturday also gives me an opportunity to finally tell
you about one of the best local bands that Durango
has to offer. Satyrica doesn't usually show up for
some of the white bread events that attract so many
local acts (not that there's anything wrong with that),
saving themselves for the occasional chance to give
an audience a well-deserved musical ass-kicking. Saturday
night at The Summit is one of those chances. Satyrica
plays metal the way metal is supposed to be played:
loud, scary, offensive and generally destructive. And
frontman Russ Hallock has the tools – ripping guitar
and disturbingly powerful vocals. They've got a CD – “Memories
of the Future” – and another one in the works. Shut
the #^*% up and support local music.
I should have brought this up earlier, but that's
why you read the whole article. Come into the Abbey
on Friday night and say hello to the new owners, Brad
and Erika Merlino. It's kind of a housewarming party
for a really cool house, and The Badly Bent and The
Wild Blooms will dispel that awkward silence that can
really be a buzzkill at parties. Bluegrass aficionados
need no sales pitch for these regional favorites, and
I'm almost sorry that I'll be in Telluride to miss
the festivities. Almost. I imagine that Brad and Erika
are inundated with suggestions as to what sort of entertainment
would be best for the Abbey, so please give them a
break, enjoy the music and keep your opinions to yourself,
if just for one night.
My latest Superbowl pick? Eagles over Broncos! Stay
tuned for weekly changes of heart.
Who do you have to insult in this town to get some
hate mail? firstname.lastname@example.org . Vote yes on 37. (Look it