Fish and game, cosmic cowboys and covering Angus

by Chris Aaland

I survived yet another Super Bowl party. If you’ve read this column in the past, then you know that my signature fiesta revolves around fish and game. Thanks in part to no blizzard this year and a win by the boys from Titletown, Wild Game Super Bowl 2011 was an overwhelming success. Ten different critters and fishes were appetizers or main courses and the leftovers in the fridge made it look like the day after Thanksgiving.

The overflowing beer tub featured a cornucopia of suds. For the record, varieties included Ska (Pinstripe, True Blonde, Euphoria, ESB, Dubbel Blonde, Modus Hoperandi, One Eyed Monster), Durango Brewing (Wheat, Golden, Dark, Amber), Steamworks (Third Eye Pale Ale, Colorado Kolsch), Odell’s (Cutthroat Porter), Sierra Nevada (Torpedo Extra IPA), Tecate, Bohemia, Old Style, PBR and Coors Extra Gold. Not one ounce of wine was consumed, aside from what was used to cook.

Some thoughts bounced through my head Sunday night as I finished cleaning the man cave, music room, kitchen, living room and deck at 11:30 p.m. First, the host gets little or no TV time. Aside from sprinting out of the kitchen whenever a big play happened or watching Fergie and Co. at halftime, I was constantly cooking, dish-dogging, emptying the recycle bin and refilling the beer tub. Delegate, my friend! Second, make the friends leave their whiskey at home. My little brother and his friend, Cheeks, polished off a bottle of Jeremiah Weed – never a good idea. And, finally, the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, simply for recovery’s sake.

All partied out? I hope not. This week brings some legendary tunes to town.

Fishbone is one such act. Back in the 1980s, the band transcended genres by fusing ska, rock, funk and soul, much like SoCo contemporaries the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their current touring lineup features a collection of ringers, including past members of Suicidal Tendencies. The Freeman Social and Type Jordan are also on Sunday’s Abbey Theatre bill, which starts around 9 p.m.

Great American Taxi returns to the Abbey for a 9 p.m. gig Saturday. This group has truly evolved as the perfect vehicle for Vince Herman … which isn’t a knock to Leftover Salmon, a band that achieved deity status in the jam-band universe and will always be a favorite of mine. But with their second album, “Reckless Habits,” Taxi has become a cosmic cowboy outfit in the vein of Gram Parsons, NRPS and early ‘70s Grateful Dead. Looking back at my Top 10 list from December, “Habits” surely warranted a spot amongst the year’s best.

Michael Rose, one of the greatest voices in reggae, plays the Abbey at 9 p.m. Friday. Rose helped create the “Waterhouse” sound back in the day and, as the lead singer for Black Uhuru, became the first reggae act to win a Grammy. He sang lead on all of Uhuru’s most beloved hits, including “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “Shine Eye Gal” and “General Penitentiary.” Rasta Stevie emcees the event with musical selections by the Healing of the nation.

KDUR’s much-anticipated AC/DC Cover Night happens at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Summit. Bands as diverse as the Lawn Chair Kings, Jaki & the Joysticks and Carute Roma, among others, treat

Bon Scott, Angus Young and Brian Johnson with the respect these Aussie rockers deserve.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet brings modern and traditional jazz to the Community Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Friday. Sons of the legendary Dave Brubeck — Dan and Chris — bring their own unique sound to jazz traditions.

Get your “Glee” on with the new Gershwin musical, “‘S Wonderful,” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Community Concert Hall. Celebrating the genius of George and Ira, five mini-musicals are woven together by real events that occurred in the lives of the Gershwin brothers.

Ska Brewing teams with Nectar, Signature Salon, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and April’s Garden for the Bottoms Up lingerie fashion show from 7-10 p.m. Friday at Ska. Have a beer and scout out the perfect Valentine’s gift for your sweetie.

Tonight (Thurs., Feb. 10) marks the 55th anniversary of Elvis’ recording of “Heartbreak Hotel.” As if seeing the Miserabillies pay homage to classic country music at the Diamond Belle Saloon at 5:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Feb. 10) wasn’t enough already.

This week’s Starlight slate includes Swing Night with free dance lessons at 8 p.m. tonight, Spark Madden and DJ Kulprit at 9 p.m. Friday and a special Valentine’s Musica del Mundo dance party at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Finally, Thom Rader plays acoustic rock at tonight’s Ska-B-Q.

The week’s Top Shelf list recounts my menu to my Wild Game Super Bowl party, rated from my favorite to least:

1. Grilled oryx steaklets, marinated in Woody’s Cookin’ sauce. My buddy Elwin Johnston could hold his own with top pit bosses. The steaks from these African antelopes were about a quarter-inch thick and tender as all get-out.

2. Moose meatballs, improvised from the recipe from the Soprano’s Family Cookbook (Bullwinkle was substituted for beef and pork). Browned in olive oil to get a crispy crust, then slowly baked in homemade marinara sauce in a Dutch oven.

3. Partridge & pheasant marsala. Not just a fishing guide anymore, Aaron Hyder mastered these gamebirds.

4. Pheasant pot pie. One of my staples.

5. Elk sausage stuffed with cheddar & jalapeños. Brian Stahlin came through in the second half with replacements for the beer cooler and this tasty appetizer.

6. Smoked salmon artichoke dip. Kudos to Heather Knight for this surprise.

7. Elk chile. Elwin’s old standby didn’t fail.

8. Queso dip with green chiles & ground bison. Jerry McBride brought this for back-to-back playoff weekends.

9. Poached trout. I meant for this to work as the stuffing for olives for trout-inis. The cocktail was borderline gross, but the remaining poached trout in lemon, fresh sage, dill and olive oil made for a solid fish course.

10. Quail Sinatra-style. This bombed, and I apologize. My quail, shot in 2008 and 2009, was way too freezer-burned. Slow roasted and stuffed with fresh sage & parsley, Italian sausage and braised in white wine, it’s usually a hit. But old birds taste like old birds. Note to self: cook the quail immediately next season. •

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