Snowdowner, Split Lip Rayfield and a Top 9

by Chris Aaland

I must confess, I’m somewhat of a Snowdowner. My annual Snowdown highlight is rushing to the liquor store to pick up a bomber of Ska’s souvenir beer for my bottle collection. I’ve seen the Follies and the Parade a few times. I’ve held my own at Spellabration and Magical Musical Mystery Tour. But that’s about it.

As a music guy, I get bummed out when the venues shelve live acts to make way for our weeklong winter fiesta. Fortunately, this year is different.

One of the greatest bands in the world in any genre, Split Lip Rayfield, brings its punked-up bluegrass and alt-country to the Abbey at 9 p.m. Monday. The Kansas trio features Wayne Gottstine on mandolin and guitar, Eric Mardis on banjo and guitar, and Jeff Eaton on bass … a one-string bass made from a gas tank. He even uses duct tape as a capo. I’ve only seen these guys once, at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a few years back before the band lost its guitarist and chief songwriter, Kirk Lundstrom, to cancer. SLR blew away the hippies waiting around for the next Sam Bush reggae cover. If their latest album is any indication, they haven’t lost a step, even if they did lose their soul mate.

In what’s beginning to look like a Snowdown tradition, Aftergrass will play following Friday’s parade. Music actually gets started with the Egyptian Scoundrels Band from 5-9 p.m. After their set, Durango Belly Dance presents Queens of Da Nile from 9-9:45, followed by The Sweats, a Dialogue reunion and the aforementioned Aftergrass performance. The whole shebang is also free.

Punk takes over the Summit on Saturday with Fort Collins’ Underminer. Although these guys have played together for a little over a year, Karl Alvarez’s new crew is quickly becoming a Colorado favorite, having played regularly at the Gothic in Denver and the Aggie in Fort Collins. The Freeman Social and Smut Vendor are also on the bill.

Jason Hahn and Michael Travis (drummer/percussionist for the String Cheese Incident) bring EOTO back to the Summit on Sunday night. This 100 percent improvised breakbeat/house/drum & bass/trip-hop project is always unique, and no two shows are the same.

Carver’s gets into the Snowdown spirit with live music this weekend. Waiting on Trial brings its newgrass to the brewery on Friday, while Sourmash offers the perfect compliment to dancing barefoot on Saturday. Both concerts are 21-and-over and run from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Steamworks hosts post-parade madness with house/electronic/dance by Mr. Anderson, Niko & Michael Dark at 8 p.m. Friday and the return of the Vegas-style lounge and comedy act of Vanilla Pop at 10 p.m. Saturday.

Tired of walking like an Egyptian? Get all white trashy at the Dalton Ranch Clubhouse on Saturday during their Southern homestyle buffet night. The menu includes fried chicken, collard greens, cheesy grits, green bean & corn salad and Mudd pie. Kirk James also plays solo blues at the shin-dig. There’s no truth to the rumor that PBR will be served in Dixie cups, but with those zany golfers, one never knows.

Swing on by the Hollywood Bar in Dolores at 9 p.m. this Saturday for the traditional country of Vanishing Breed. Fronted by Otis Sykes, Vanishing Breed features a host of top local musicians.

The FLC Alumni Association hosts an après-ski party at Purgy’s from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, featuring free appetizers, discounted drinks and live music by James & the Devil, a rock outfit from Fort Collins that features fiddle.

One of Top Shelf’s predecessors was the Society Page. One of the Telegraph’s former society scribe (who chooses to remain unnamed) has found time in his sell-out life as a daily newspaper reporter to provide this week’s list. Read on for his Top 9 Snowdown events, because he couldn’t think of a 10th. The author’s caveat: these are the ones he’s actually participated in, unless otherwise noted.

9. The Parade. Been in it, watched it. My favorite was when I drove a vehicle in a float for a well-known children’s organization. My co-pilot was a distinguished woman with said organization, and I had two friends riding along in the back doing what are commonly called “lines.” True story.

8. Broomball. This is a rough game. In addition to numerous bench-clearing brawls (which is every bit as pathetic as it sounds), the year between the destruction of the old rink and construction of the new, the tourney was played on a frozen pond at Tamarron. My friend Woody fell through the ice — all the way through the ice, like yeah, his hair was wet. Very funny, unless you’re Woody.

7. The Gong Show. Yes, it has been discontinued for the better mental health of founder Jen Prosser, but it was really a good time. And I’m not just saying that because I was the host. It was good in spite of that.

6. The Follies. Only included because kudos go to those brave souls who are so dedicated and give so much of their time for our amusement. They’re awful.

5. Gelande Jump. No, I’ve never actually done this, but this is the kind of stupidity for which Snowdown was created.

4. Fashion Do’s & Don’ts Luncheon. Has anyone else noticed that Snowdown is really just an excuse for women to dress like sluts? I like sluts.

3. Magical Musical Mystery Tour. I don’t get to participate in this anymore due to scheduling reasons, but it’s great except for when the jackasses in the crowd yell out the answers. I’m often amazed how stupid some people are and even more so how willing they are to display that stupidity. And the dancing portion is terrible. But it’s fun.

2. Lady F’s Lunacy. My team happens to be two-time defending champions and they give you a bar tab for winning. It’s like Jeopardy! without Alex Trebek and there’s more beer. Very cool.

1. Outlaw Josey Pete’s Golf Fiasco. I drink liquor once a year, and I carry a golf club. Where are the cops when you need them?

Have fun out there and be safe. But if you can only choose one, I suggest the former. •

All the cops are hanging out at the donut shops? Email me at

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