Superbowl Sunday, April Verch and who’s Who

by Chris Aaland

Some people throw parties on New Year’s Eve, Halloween, the Fourth of July or Christmastime. My big day is always Super Bowl Sunday, when hunting, fishing and sports buddies rally at my house. Like other holidays, the kitchen is center stage. It’s a chance to test new dishes on hearty eaters who aren’t squeamish about what they devour. I’ve been known to poach fresh-caught trout and stuff olives with them to garnish martinis (or troutinis, as I call them). Elk, venison, pheasant, quail, grouse, salmon and even mountain lion have all been featured in the past.

This year’s theme is Cajun. Ironically, it has nothing to do with the New Orleans Saints making their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. Bored and snowbound over Christmas break, I fired up my Little Chief smoker for the first time in many years, inspired by a smoked duck jambalaya recipe in an old Cajun cookbook I’d stumbled upon. I didn’t have any ducks to smoke, but the freezer was full of pheasants we brought back from a Thanksgiving trip to Kansas. My first stab at the smoked pheasant jambalaya also incorporated andouille, elk sausage, smoked bacon, ham and shrimp, plus the trinity, okra, tomatoes and a dark roux that required an hour of stirring.

Kickoff for Super Bowl XLIV is officially 4:28 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Sunday. For the record, I’m cheering for the Saints, bowl of jambalaya in hand.

Dynamic Canadian fiddler, singer and stepdancer April Verch performs at the Community Concert Hall at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday). Verch’s music blends Celtic, bluegrass and folk. She was raised in the rich music and dance tradition shaped by lumber camp immigrants in Ontario’s Ottawa Valley. There’s a local tie, too: former Durangoan Travis Book of the Infamous Stringdusters sings harmony vocals on Verch’s latest release, “Steal the Blue.”

Acoustic folk-blues guitarist Eric Bibb channels legendary Delta bluesman Booker White at the Community Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Bibb was once approached at his London hotel by a fan carrying a guitar case that held a relic from the past: a 1930s resophonic National steel-body guitar that had belonged to White. The chance encounter led to a song, the song to a full album, and that album became a rite of passage for Bibb.

Up-and-coming Texas troubadour Hayes Carll plays the Abbey on Friday. Championed by Ray Wylie Hubbard and weaned on Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, Carll is a name to remember.

Reggae returns to the Abbey on Monday with Anthony B. Draped in the rich colors of African cloth, his trademark staff in hand and dreadlocks wrapped regally on his head, Anthony B embodies all that it is spiritual and proactive about Reggae music. KDUR’s DJ I-Gene opens.

Get your fill of twang at the Summit at 9 p.m. Monday with a free show by Drag the River and opening act Cheap Girls. The Fort Collins-based alt-country outfit has long been a Durango favorite.

The Summit’s First Friday art/music experiment features Artikle, DJ Mowgli, a live visual artist and live tattooing. Summit owner Scottie Sindelar will get inked by Cali from Iron Elephant. Roger from Your Flesh will also tattoo someone.

Also at the Summit: DJ Tricerahop tonight, an acoustic happy hour with Eric Keifer from 6-9 p.m. Friday, another acoustic happy hour with Rupnow & friends from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, and Telluride’s Back of the Bus late-night Saturday.

Live comedy comes to The Hank at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday in the form of Erik Griffin and Shannon Gettins.

The Durango VFW hosts a fund-raiser benefit for Michael Malarsie, a 22-year-old who was wounded in action in Afghanistan on Jan. 3 by an IED while on foot patrol. The event includes a spaghetti dinner, silent auction and raffle, and takes place from 4-9 p.m. Saturday. Malarsie is currently receiving treatment at the Walter Reed Medical Center for severe injuries to his face, neck and head. He suffered the loss of his left eye, a punctured ear drum, skull fractures, broken jaw and the possible loss of his right eye. Silent auction and raffle items include artwork, jewelry, a single action Colt 45 and more.

The Purple Haze features Neil Nelson & the Saloonatics from 8-midnight Friday and Saturday, plus a 5-7 p.m. Friday Afternoon Club set by Back Alley Blues.

The Starlight’s slate this week includes the Mac Jazz Trio from 6-9 p.m. Friday, DJ Kulprit at 9 p.m. Saturday and Kentucky Deluxe at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Also a-happenin’: CC&N, featuring Larry Carver, Randy Crumbaugh and Nina Sasaki, rock the Derailed Saloon at 7 p.m. Friday; while the Kirk James Blues Band plays the Schank House at Vallecito from 7-11 p.m. Friday.

I saw the Who at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium and Boulder’s Folsom Field in 1989 and considered it a religious experience. Since they bring their maximum R&B to the Super Bowl XLIV halftime show, this week’s Top Shelf list recalls 10 of my favorite Who songs:

1. “My Generation,” 1965. Rolling Stone called this the 11th greatest song of all-time. Who am I to argue?

2. “Substitute,” 1966. What do the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and Great White all have in common? Each covered this early Who hit.

3. “Boris the Spider,” 1966. John Entwistle’s finest lead vocal.

4. “I Can See for Miles,” 1967. The Who’s only Top 10 hit in America was rarely performed live, mainly due to the near impossibility of duplicating Keith Moon’s complicated drumming.

5. “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” 1968. Tommy’s coda includes the famous “See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You” reprise.

6. “Behind Blue Eyes,” 1971. Like many songs intended for Pete Townshend’s “Lifehouse” project, this first appeared on “Who’s Next.”

7. “The Real Me,” 1974. One of Entwistle’s greatest bass lines and the central theme behind “Quadrophenia.”

8. “Naked Eye,” 1974. An obscurity that appeared on the “Odds & Sods” compilation. Dennis Lum used to quote this in class.

9. “Squeeze Box,” 1975. Yeah, there’s plenty of sexual innuendo, but Townshend wrote it about an accordion. And that’s him on banjo, the first instrument he learned to play.

10. “Eminence Front,” 1982. The Who’s last big hit was also used by 9News as the background music to the Wheat Ridge High School basketball highlight video during my freshman year. •

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