Religious experiences, Lunar Base 4 and funky foodies

by Chris Aaland

ast week saw the last road trip of the summer … the last two, in fact. First there was Phish in Telluride on Monday and Tuesday. Then three days of Rockies baseball in the Mile High City over the weekend.

These treks led me to two conclusions. First, younger East Coast trustafarians seriously get on my nerves. I’ve been to 14 straight Telluride Bluegrass Festivals and countless shows in Mountain Village, the Sheridan Opera House and the Fly Me to the Moon. Older West Coast hippies and Colorado mountainfolk treat the town, environment and each other with much more respect. The trail that follows the San Miguel River and most of the streets were littered with empty beer cans and bottles, cigarette butts and other assorted trash. That doesn’t happen at most Telluride festivals. And recycling? I can think of no other town as green as Telluride, but without Planet Bluegrass’ enormous recycling and composting efforts (the entertainment giant AEG Worldwide ran the show at Phish), it meant waste receptacles overflowed. And the lines to the shows, restaurants, bars and gondolas became free-for-alls, not unlike New York subways.

For the record, Phish was outstanding, digging deep into their catalog for oldies, fan favorites and classic rock covers served up with energy, enthusiasm and just the right mix of polish and jam.

The second conclusion was that baseball is a religious experience. And I’m not talking the Rockies’ annual “Faith Day,” which brought a near sell-out crowd clad in a variety of t-shirts adorned with their favorite scripture (eerily similar to Phish heads with t-shirts emblazoned with characters from “The Simpsons” and “Star Wars” that reference their favorite song). No, I’m talking about the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of America’s pastime. About getting goosebumps while singing like “Take Me out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. I’ve caught eight Rockies games this year and the live experience never gets old. And I even recycled some plastic beer and water bottles in the stadium, where recycling bins flank every garbage can.

One bonus during the week was getting to witness a DJ at the impromptu Marmot Fest adjacent to the Camel’s Garden hotel. I’ve always wondered what the younger crowd sees (and hears) with folks who spin vinyl and have claimed ignorance in this column more than once. But to hear DJ Logic surrounded by members of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Ween and others opened my mind. Rock, jazz, funk, reggae, R&B was all fair game in Logic’s capable hands.

This brings us to this week’s big event, Lunar Bass 4, an all-day fiesta Friday at Echo Basin Ranch near Mancos. Sponsored by Digital Boombox Entertainment, the Starlight, Mountain FREAKquencies Productions and Gumstro Productions, it features three stages, music from 1 p.m. until 4 a.m., beer from the Bootlegger’s Society (Ska, Carvers, Steamworks and Durango Brewing), and a veritable who’s who of regional DJs. Headlining the event is Jon Bishop, considered to be the world’s top hard house DJ. Bishop

tours the world, playing monthly shows in the UK. Save $5 by purchasing your ticket in advance at Southwest Sound, Canyon Music, the Fallen Angel, Magpie’s, the Starlight or the Hermosa Market.

Hip-hop fans can get their fill at the Abbey Friday with Nappy Roots. This hip-hop sextet originated in Kentucky in 1995 and is best known for its 2002 single, “Awnaw.” Their music is often categorized as alternative Southern rap. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Chicago’s Lubriphonic plays funky rock at the Abbey tonight (Aug. 19). Their tight, raw sound fuses the roots of soul with explosive rock and sensuous R&B. There’s also a strong blues influence, as members of Lubriphonic have backed the likes of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Koko Taylor. Doors are at 8 p.m.

There’s a nasty rumor out there that the popular Salsa Night is no longer part of the Starlight’s weekly routine. Au contraire. The event is bigger and better than ever, with a new DJ (DJ Edit), drink specials and a longer running time (8 p.m. ‘til 2 a.m.). Free dance lessons are still part of the drill for those who show up early.

The constant buzzing of vuvuzellas is but a month in the past, yet soccer is once again upon us as the defending NCAA champion Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team highlights the college’s slate of alumni games Saturday. The volleyball squad kicks off action against their alumnae at 11 a.m. in Whalen Gym, followed by women’s and men’s alumni soccer matches at Dirks Field at 1 and 3:30 p.m., respectively. It’s also Durango Youth Soccer Association Day, appropriate because numerous DYSA alumni have gone on to star at the Fort. The best part? Admission is free to these exhibitions.

Of note: local acoustic trio Telekav’e at the weekly Ska-B-Q tonight; Kirk James playing solo at Rylee Mac’s from 5-8 p.m. tonight and with his band at the Purple Haze from 6-10 p.m. on Friday; the Lawn Chair Kings return to the Balcony from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday; and the weekly DBC barbecue at the Starlight features Psychedelic Mojo from 4:30-8 p.m. Saturday.

This week’s Top Shelf list rates the cuisine that Chuckles, Miller and I sampled this weekend in Denver:

- Gomez’s on Park Avenue West: vastly underrated Mexican fare right next door to the magical La Quinta Inn. Home of the 99-cent burrito.

- Blake Street Tavern: damn good nachos. Two-fer Flying Dog beers after Rockies games don’t hurt, either.

- No. 17 Burger Shack, Coors Field: a friend told me they were the best burgers he’d ever eaten. He didn’t lie.

- Edgewater Inn: the Howdy Special has won awards as Denver’s best pizza for 57 years. I’ve eaten them since 1981.

- Coney Island, Bailey: I’ve driven by it for 30 years and finally stopped. The jalepeño-cheese-elk dog was delicious.

- The Logger, South Fork: formerly the Hungry Logger, now with new management. It’ll do if you’re hungry.

- Twist & Shout, East Colfax. Although I didn’t eat, I fed my ears and soul with eight used CDs and a vinyl copy of Joe Ely’s solo debut. •

Chili con carne for Barney? Email me at



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