Superheroes, local blues and the Durango Roller Girls

by Chris Aaland

Beer guys are superheroes. Witness how Oskar Blues saved Father’s Day brunch at last weekend’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Scott Spencer and I struggled to find a deep fryer inside the festival grounds to fry some fresh oysters and catfish for po’ boys. Enter OB.

Many of you know the Lyons microbrewery as being the first to offer hand-canned craft beer when they wrapped Dale’s Pale Ale in 12-ounce aluminum vessels in 2002. Some have eaten their tasty barbecue and Cajun fare. A few of you have visited their establishment for blues, alt-country and other roots music.

Two of OB’s finest, Bart and Scotty, not only allowed us to use their deep fryer, they even breaded and fried the seafood for us, stopping occasionally to make sweet potato fries for their paying customers.

So we were able to feed more than 40 people on our tarp with oyster and catfish po’ boys, my four-meat gumbo (smoked pheasant, grilled elk steak, ham and andouille sausage), crab legs, crawdads and strawberries.

The OB boys can rest assured I’ll stop by their brewpub for suds, crab cakes and live music when I’m in Lyons for RockyGrass in July. Meanwhile, I’ll have plenty of options for the blues this week right here in Durango.

Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King have played blues together for nearly 20 years and bring their act to the Purple Haze at 8 p.m. Sunday. Kubek cut his teeth playing rhythm guitar for the legendary Freddie King in the 1970s. Bnois, on the other hand, is a jazz cat and soulful vocalist. With thousands of live dates and 13 albums (most on traditional blues record labels like Alligator, Bullseye and Blind Pig) under their belts, Kubek & King front a quintessential roadhouse band: raw, powerful and capable of running the gamut from Texas shuffles to fierce boogies to deep, slow blues.

The Purple Haze isn’t the only establishment to present a blues guitarist of great renown this week. Walter Trout, whose resume includes stints with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, Percy Mayfield, Joe Tex and Deacon Jones, has an 8 p.m. engagement at the Abbey Theatre tonight (Thurs., June 24).

Devon Allman’s Honeytribe returns to the Abbey at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The son of Allman Brothers frontman Gregg Allman, Devon is a singer/guitarist who formed Honeytribe in 1999. The apple didn’t land too far from the tree; Honeytribe is a rootsy, jam-oriented Southern rock outfit. Devon and his crew are currently wrapping up their second album, “Space Age Blues.”

The Summit welcomes New York rapper Cage and Northeastern hardcore band Hate Your Guts in a four-band hip-hop and indie rock bill on Friday that also features … In a Day and Duncan Jewett. Cage founded the underground hip-hop supergroup the Weathermen and has released three albums and a pair of EPs during his career. Hate Your Guts is touring in support of its debut album, “Bastard’s Disease.”

The Ghost Town Blues Band makes its way back to Durango from Memphis for shows tonight at the Purple Haze and Friday at Steamworks. The trio is known for its danceable Southern funk.

Ana Sia, one of the pioneers of the West Coast future sound movement, plays the Abbey at 9 p.m. Friday. Peter Robot & Benjamin K are also on the bill.

The Deedles are back at the Summit Sunday. Emerging from the thriving Kansas bluegrass scene where they were part of the DeWayn Brothers, the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Jamie (guitar, percussion, vocals) and Garrett Briggeman (guitar, banjo, vocals) have reinvented themselves as true grit rockers. The quartet is rounded out by fellow DeWayn Brothers mandolin shredder Josh Finley (drums, vocals) and former Oakhurst mandolin wizard Adam Smith (bass, vocals).

“It’s our first time … and it’s gonna hurt.” That’s what the posters for the Durango Roller Girls promise. The group, formed a year ago, hosts its first-ever intramural bout Saturday at the Chapman Hill ice rink. Their ultimate goal is to become a recognized league by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the bout between the Pain Conductors and the Helter Smelters to start at 7:10 p.m. Tickets are required and it’s cash-only at the gate. Ska beer is available for purchase. Following the match, El Rancho hosts an after-party.

Larry Carver was the original guitarist for the long-running San Francisco rock band Void Where Prohibited. He and his former bandmates are reuniting for a pair of shows at the Derailed Saloon at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Void plays classic rock and blues, a la Hendrix, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, the Doors, the Stones, Cream and Petty.

This week’s Starlight lineup includes the weekly Salsa Night with Twelfth Night DJ and free salsa dance lessons from 8-close tonight; jazz with Prattle from 6-9 Friday; the weekly DBC barbecue featuring cheap pints, hot dogs and burgers and live music from RedEyedJinn from 4:30-8 p.m. Saturday; SOB from 9-close Saturday; Musica del Mundo from 9-close Sunday; and a retro ’70s and ’80s dance party from 8-midnight Tuesday.

Also of note: U-47 brings rock with country and punk influences to the weekly Ska-B-Q at 5 p.m. tonight; Jonezy spins vinyl at the Cosmo from 9-close Friday and Saturday; the Assortment plays the Durango Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning; and Seven plays the Summit Saturday.

This week’s Top Shelf list captures some of the musical highlights at Telluride last week:

- Imelda May. The Irish rockabilly star lived up to her billing.

- 18 South. Jon Randall’s newest outfit, featuring Mike Bub, a Hammond B3 and a ton of Southern rock.

- Dave Rawlings Machine. Solid.

 - Larry Keel. One of the greatest guitarists alive.

- Del McCoury Band. Always perfect.

- Carolina Chocolate Drops. Where Africa and Appalachia intersected hundreds of years ago.

- Lyle Lovett. Classic, with Jerry, Sam and Béla joining the Large Band.

- Peter Rowan & Crucial Country. One of the better Rowan sets I’ve seen in years.

- Hot Rize. Duh.

- The Hillbenders. Here’s a band with Durango written all over it.

You’re not the only oyster in the stew? E-mail me at



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