The music of the future

by Ted Holteen

As someone who strives for little and displays no ambition to achieve even that end, I often find myself in guilty admiration of those who display what is colloquially referred to as “character.” You know, the kind of character that allows autistic kids to drill 3-pointers and get on “Sportscenter,” albeit way too much, character that reveals itself when a single mother works two jobs to raise four kids while her alcoholic ex-husband gambles away her alimony in Towaoc, and the kind of character it takes to bounce back from a near-death bout with hepatitis and revitalize a musician to be even better than he was before. Fortunately, that annoying J-Mac boy is still overstaying his 15 minutes of dubious fame back east, and we would seem to be safe from any future inspirational visits. But this latter tale, that of the nearly-dead neo-rocker, will come to life tomorrow night at the Abbey Theatre, when Alejandro Escovedo and his orchestra pay a welcome visit via the nice people at Durango Acoustic Music (DAM). Escovedo really did have a time of it with the deadly liver ailment, but an old adage is again proven as his latest work, “The Boxing Mirror,” shows him to be not only alive but stronger. It’s produced by Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale, who has had his share of health bounce-backs himself over the years, and the product of the combined experience of two calloused but grateful artists is being called Escovedo’s best. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. following the 6:30 p.m. screening of “A Scanner Darkly,” which looks like a good flick despite starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. And by the way – I’d like to add my best wishes and congrats to Brad and Erika Merlino, who are probably still enjoying the company of little Wesley, even after three weeks.

Let this next item be a lesson to all you aspiring musicians and groups out there looking for a little free ink in this space. Nothing’s free. And so in the spirit of the nascent NFL season, I give you my five-star lock of the week. It’s Aftergrass at The Summit on Friday night, returning to the stage circuit after a summer spent breaking into rental properties for gas money. (I’m speculating on that last bit, but as I haven’t heard from them recently, I am forced by management to make unfounded assumptions to sell newspapers. Even free newspapers.) Aftergrass is a great semi-local bunch who play that rock and roll music in a jammish style, and have also promised to play a Ween cover or two. Very nice, but why the five-star lock you ask? They have also promised to cover my bar tab for the evening, and while I usually only venture out of the house between “Matlock” marathons on the Hallmark Channel, a bribe’s a bribe, and I guess I’ll go check it out. Plus I think Hallmark’s showing a made-for-TV thing starring Marilu Henner as the single mother mentioned in the above character analysis. Ugh. And with all those crazy kids back in town with a new semester under way, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that no less than the “music of the future” will be onstage Monday night at the Summit.

At least that’s what Art Voice magazine thinks of the Pnuma Trio, which plays music under the ethereal umbrella description “electronic.” Keeping in mind that could include anything from Jan Hammer to MC Hammer, this is more along the lines of classically influenced acid jazz with some drum and bass and unrecognizable sounds thrown in to further befuddle the ear. If it doesn’t sound like your bag, there’s always Monday Night Football. It’s a doubleheader, you know.


What started for me as a Desert Storm-like attack on the town of Telluride has withered to a Granada-ish occupation more resembling a beach party. My early venom at being shut out of a spot for my boss Winnebago for next week’s Blues & Brews festival was tempered by the announcement of Lou Reed as a headliner, and next thing I knew, I had shelled out two grand for three nights in a condo owned by some Florida sugar baron’s bastard son. Probably. But I’m determined to enjoy myself despite both the scurrilous lodging fees and the inexplicable appearance of John Mayer. The rest of the lineup is solid if not star-studded, with predicted highlights to include Eric Bibb, Watermelon Slim and Blood Ulmer. As of this writing, three-day passes and single tickets were still available at, and you’re welcome to sleep on my floor for just $200 a night.

Ever wanted to say something horrible to me but shied away because of that intrusive caller ID? Well, next Tuesday is your chance to issue death threats on an untraceable line. From 3 to 6 in the afternoon, I’ll be manning the phones for KSUT’s annual on-air fund-raiser, which will actually run the whole week beginning Monday even without me on the phones. I guess someone else will fill in the rest of the time, but if you call then, please don’t threaten whoever answers. Instead, pledge some money to the station. It keeps them on the air, which is key, but more importantly it gets you entered to win all kinds of neato stuff every day. Stuff that includes but is not limited to tickets to Blues & Brews, other concerts, CDs, food and weird stuff like candles. Call 563-0255 and tell them Ted sent you. Then tell them you’re just kidding before they curse and hang up on you.

I told you bribery works – it’s a character thing. Broncos struggle to win eight this year. •