Top Shelf

Fireworks, bubbas  and Dumpstaphunk

by Chris Aaland 

Fireworks are as much a part of Fourth of July celebrations as apple pie (or Rhubarb, thank you Silverton!), cold beer and hot dogs. And I love ‘em. It’s just that with Independence Day a week off and new fires springing up in these parts on a near-daily basis, whether they actually fly is probably in doubt.

As I type, 12 wildfires rage in Colorado from the high plains of Last Chance to a quartet in our own back yard. And my home is 14 miles away from the Weber Fire, which was reportedly started by bullets ricocheting off rocks.

I’m no fan of target practice in the outdoors. And before you paint me as an anti-gun type, keep in mind that I own several hunting rifles and shotguns. I believe firearms should be treated with respect, which includes sighting them in before each season at a rifle range … not on public lands. A stray bullet equals trouble. They teach you that in hunter safety class.

I’m worried about the Fourth and the fires that may arise, but not by firework displays put on by cities and towns, which employ trained professionals and good judgment. Rather, I’m concerned about Billy the Bubba, be he a local yokel or a weekend warrior visiting from afar. My experience with the Bubba sect is they tend to ignore rules when it comes to shooting off fireworks, tossing their cigarette butts out the car window or building a campfire — especially when said Bubbas have consumed too many Buds and Lone Stars.

I’ve taken two short vacations this summer along with an up-and-back, same-day trek to Colorado Springs for my grandmother’s funeral. All three trips took me frighteningly close to wildfires: Little Sand for grandma’s services; High Park on a trip to my cousin’s wedding on the Front Range; and Weber while returning from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last weekend. All were smoky affairs.

Do us all a favor and use a little common sense this holiday season. I don’t want any more homes to go up in smoke.

The Summit hosts an eclectic bill tonight (Thurs., June 28), as they welcome the Coast into Summer Tour with Old North State, indie rockers Rookie of the Year, and pop-punk songstress Eryn Woods, among others. You’re probably already familiar with Old North State, a local act that blends elements of bluegrass, folk, rock and punk. Woods sports a signature red Mohawk, a style best classified as vintage clothing store and a school-girl voice. She’s already been featured on VH1 and MTV and is the queen of her brigade of young fans she calls “Kupcakes.” The Rookies were formed seven years ago as the backing band for singer/guitarist Ryan Dunson and have appeared on the Warped Tour.

The Summit welcomes D. Bess on Friday. This one-man band utilizes modern technology to perform his beats, bass and funk live. Using a cajon (a wooden box) as his seat and drum, he records and loops the beat and adds layers of percussion, guitar, bass and vocals. His style fuses blues, reggae, funk, folk and hip-hop — basically anything with really big bass. Eric Kiefer opens.

Local newgrass heroes Waiting on Trial (sorry, boys, I walked right past your Telluride bar gig last Friday night in order to get to Yonder’s Sheridan Opera House date) paint the Summit red, white and blue following the parade Wednesday.

Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk headlines the Telluride Mountain Village Red, White & Blues event, which takes place at the Sunset Concert Series stage (the lawn area near Lift 1) on Tuesday. Activities — including bungee trampoline, bouncy castle, face painting and an ice cream social benefitting the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program — begin at 2 p.m., with music to happen rain or shine at 4. As always, the Mountain Village shows are free. Neville is a member of the first family of New Orleans music, the son of Aaron Neville and nephew to the rest of the Neville Brothers, an outfit he plays keyboards for.

Dumpstaphunk is an offspring with a direct lineage to the Meters and the Neville Brothers and creates a new standard for N’awlins funk.
Get ready for Moe’s Femme Desire All-Girl Lingerie art show from 8 ‘til close Saturday. This event is billed as “Paint the Body Electric” body painting art show with dancing to the sounds of Peter Robot and Niko. Moe’s lineup also includes Salsa Night with DJ Caliente from 8 ‘til close tonight, FAC with Kentucky Deluxe at 6 p.m. Friday, and the Jazz Church freeform jam session at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Elsewhere: tonight’s Ska-B-Q features the soothing reggae of DJ I-Gene from 5-7 p.m.; the full-band version of Black Velvet plays the Derailed Saloon at 8 p.m. Friday; the Lawn Chair Kings make a rare road trip up north to play Telluride’s Last Dollar Saloon at 9:30 p.m. Friday; Jack Ellis returns to the Animas River Café from 5-9 p.m. Saturday; Red Eyed Djinn and Kentucky Deluxe share the Summit on Saturday; and Andrea’s Fault rocks the Silverton Brewery at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

This week’s Top Shelf list recounts a half-dozen highlights from last weekend’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival:
1. John Fogerty bringing a three-guitar assault and attacking Van Halen’s “Eruption,” which segued into “Keep on Chooglin’.”
2. Sam Bush’s second encore, which featured five or six guys pounding out the bass line to Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom.” Edgar Meyer, Ben Kaufmann and Bush himself were among the bassists cranking it up to 11.
3. John Prine delivering the goods with style, as always.
4. The Devil Makes Three causing the crowd to kick up dust devils during the middle of the day Saturday with their high-octane, old-time sound.
5. k.d. lang’s haunting take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I’m not a huge fan of lang’s “Ingénue” style of work, longing instead for her shit-kicking sounds of “Absolute Torch and Twang.” But her take on Cohen’s classic took it to a place only visited by lang and the late Jeff Buckley.
6. Doc Watson Tribute: Bryan Sutton, Jerry Douglas, Bush, Luke Bulla and Greg Garrison fired a 90-minute salute to the late flat-picker. Nearly every song jerked tears and caused goosebumps among the 2,000-plus folks who packed into Elks Park.

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