‘Cinderblock Bookshelves,’ Cruzers & Space Camp

Seminal skate-punk band Agent Orange returns to the Abbey Monday at 10 p.m.

by Chris Aaland

I’ve become disgruntled with so-called music fans lately. Not the diehards who own giant record collections or support live music each week, mind you, but the Durango-after-midnight drunks and deadbeats who think they’re entitled to free admission whenever they want.

Case in point: last week, Durango Acoustic Music brought an up-and-coming alt-country group, Genuine Cowhide, to the Summit. The show was very inexpensive, even by Durango standards, at $7. A free drink coupon to the Palace on the back of the ticket added even more value. Still, people felt the need to bum-rush the door, haggle for admission, call volunteers every name in the book and even throw things at them when free access was denied.

The bands that come to Durango aren’t getting rich by any means. In fact, most of them barely get by. Many of these musicians don’t have health insurance and struggle to pay the bills, but toil in obscurity because of a love for their art. The Cowhide fellas made around $125 each for their efforts while paying for gas and travel expenses from Austin, Texas. The DAM date was a relatively big payday for them, with a pair of rooms at the Iron Horse and some beer and BBQ thrown in. Their tour consisted of three shows — two in Southwest Colorado, one in New Mexico.

They’re not the only ones hurting. If you haven’t noticed, four major Durango venues (the Hank, the Abbey, Durango Arts Center and the Community Concert Hall) changed management or ownership in the past year. The pressure of breaking even during tough economic times certainly factored into some of these changes. Most regional festivals have seen downturns at the gate. The Taos Solar Music Festival is taking 2009 off after a strong decade-long run.

Certainly, the average Joe faces similar economic hardships. But picking fights with volunteers or taking money out of the pockets of the people trying to entertain you is no way to act. Get out there and support live music!

Agent Orange returns to the Abbey at 10 p.m. Monday, with the Freeman Social opening. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mike Palm, Agent Orange was California’s original punk/surf power trio and heavily influenced the skate punk and skate-core genres. While they aren’t the most prolific band around (just three full length albums and three EPs during their 30-year career), Agent Orange has remained fiercely independent and never sold out to the music biz. Their 1981 breakthrough album, “Living in Darkness,” is a classic.

Reggae is back in the Four Corners this weekend, as the Mighty 602 Band plays the Mancos Opera House on Friday and the Summit on Saturday. For years, they’ve backed some of reggae’s biggest stars, including Danny Clarke of the Meditations, the original General Smiley, Sister Carol, International Farmer and Bad Brains’ HR.

The Porter Draw, an Albuquerque band with Kansas roots, comes to the Summit on Friday. They play old-time country and bluegrass with punk energy. Porter Draw is as influenced by East Coast hardcore and Oakland punk as it is by singer-songwriters like Steve Earle and Robert Earl Keen. One of Durango’s top young bluegrass bands, Waiting on

Singer-songwriter Rain Perry performs her one-woman musical memoir “Cinderblock Bookshelves” on Saturday at the Fort Lewis College Mainstage Theatre. Perry is no stranger to Durango. She attended the Colorado Timberline Academy during the early years of “Hoods in the Woods.” “Cinderblock Bookshelves” touches on those days, along with Perry’s wild child upbringing of sex, drugs and folk-rock. To wit: she was told to never smoke pot as a kid — unless it was with her father. This project is actually a three-part piece: a performance, an upcoming book and an album that features the likes of Eliza Gilkyson, Victoria Williams, Sara Hickman and Andrew Hardin (best known for his 20-year stint as Tom Russell’s lead guitarist).

Rick Carney of Moe’s Starlight Lounge is starting a new club called Durango Cruzers. Beginning this week, the Cruzers will meet each Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Starlight, then cruise on their bikes to two or three different bars. There’s also a theme to each adventure. This week, wear a toga and get a free drink. All of the bars visited by the Cruzers will offer drink specials to members. A very nice cruiser bike will be awarded to the member who has attended and completed the most rides at the end of the summer. “This should be a blast,” Rick says. “Imagine 30 or 40 people cruising around Durango in costumes. Our slogan is, ‘Eat, drink, cruise.’”

Appearing at the Starlight this week are Gyles at 6 p.m. Friday during FAC, DJ Kainos at 9 p.m. Saturday and Colin at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Durango DOT Comedy holds its third annual fund-raiser on Saturday at the Durango Arts Center to help area kids get to Space Camp later this summer. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the show at 8. This year, they’ll help raise funds for Danny Jacques from Ignacio Middle School, and Diana Speegle from Miller Middle School. Both Danny and Diana will join the comedy troupe for Saturday’s performance.

This week’s Top Shelf list features regional music festivals that are coming our way in the next month. Many of these offer discounted advance ticket prices.

1. 2nd annual Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass, June 5-7. Don’t miss the Infamous Stringdusters, Belleville Outfit and the John Jorgensen Quintet.

2. 3rd annual Silverton Jamboree, June 12-14. Headliners include Southern Culture on the Skids, Mountain Heart and Papa Mali. Sunday features Bloody Marys made with Goat vodka.

3. The inaugural Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Music Fest, June 12-14. The North Fork Bluegrass Festival moved to Palisade and changed its name. Mollie O’Brien, Cadillac Sky & the Kruger Brothers are on the bill.

4. 36th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 18-21. All the usual suspects, plus Elvis Costello, David Byrne and Conor Oberst.

5. 5th annual Who’s Your Daddy street fest, June 20. This free event closes down Main Ave. and features live music, food and family activities. Dave Insley & the Careless Smokers will perform along with local acts. The beneficiary is the Durango Discovery Museum. •

Blood stains, speed kills? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.



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