Top Shelf

Brewski tour, Queensrÿche and Talking Heads tribute

by Chris Aaland

“This Is Spinal Tap” is the greatest movie ever. If you disagree, please reference the title of Nigel Tufnel’s “Mach” piano piece in the movie. You’ll understand by the end of this week’s Shelf.

String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth brings his band and BrewSki Tour to the Animas City Theatre at 10 p.m. Saturday. When he’s not tickling the ivories on tunes like “Close Your Eyes” with SCI, Hollingsworth fancies himself quite the home brewer. On this tour – and, of particular local importance, at the ACT Saturday – he’ll serve up Kyle’s Manipulated Modus. The folks at Ska Brewing worked with the beer aficionado to tweak their Modus Hoperandi IPA with orange peel and dry-hop with Mandarina Bavaria hops. The keyboardist swears “it’s an explosion of orange, citrus and pine reminiscent of that drum solo that blew your eardrums but instead went straight for the gullet screaming over your palate. This sonic boom of flavor goes way over 11.” Yes, he worked a “Spinal Tap” reference in there. Nice.

No heavy metal cliché needed for Saturday’s other musical choice as Geoff Tate’s version of Queensrÿche (there are competing Rÿches on the road now) plays the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. What the band should be known for are Tate’s lyrics in the late ’80s and early ’90s. 

Listen to “Spreading the Disease” from 1988’s “Operation: Mindcrime” and you’ll realize that while the Poisons and the Crües of the world were singing about getting laid, Rÿche was foretelling Occupy Wall Street some two decades early. This was a thinking man’s metal, somewhat softer than the equally socially scalding thrash of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and others. (Forgive my sexist qualifier; the ladies weren’t lining up to get in the pit back in ’88.) But, no, Queensrÿche is now the butt of so many metal jokes thanks to a brawl before a Brazilian show in 2012. Tate got into the donnybrook with bandmates Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton – his wife had been fired as band manager earlier in the day. Fast forward two years, and Tate’s new band includes some rock royalty: bassist Rudy Sarzo cut his chops alongside Randy Rhoads in Ozzy’s “Blizzard of Ozz” band, went on to reach multiplatinum superstardom with Quiet Riot and Whitesnake, and later played with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Dio. Drummer Simon Wright was a member of AC/DC for seven years and recorded six albums with Dio. Scoff if you want. I’m still kicking myself for missing the Rÿche at Red Rocks in ’89.

As far as tribute bands go, few have gained the reputation as This Must Be the Band, which returns to the ACT at 10 p.m. tonight to once again pay homage to The Talking Heads. Chicago’s only (and, therefore, best) Talking Heads tribute band formed in 2007 and cut its chops on the Windy City’s pizza joint circuit. It’s since taken to the road to New York City, San Francisco and all points in between. Two things to know about these guys: First, they rely on audience requests and participation, flavored slightly with improv. Second, they recreate “Stop Making Sense” in its entirety, the Talking Heads’ famed 1984 concert film. This must be a hot ticket, too: they sell out every time they come to town.

You want free? I-Gene and the folks at the ACT got free for you. DJ noDJ is a 10-piece musical assault team that lands at the ACT at 10 p.m. Friday. There is no DJ in this band. What normally takes just one guy and a laptop now takes 10 super-focused musicians. The upside is that you get a 10-dimensional musical experience, with all the churning and grinding of a runaway train that only a large group of separate humans can achieve. The catch? You gotta be 21 or older … and likely get there ASAP to guarantee entry.

Cody ChestnuTT – yes, he with two capital Ts in his name – fills the Community Concert Hall with soul at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thurs., March 20). A troubadour whose frank, socially conscious ruminations on life continue to challenge popular notions of what modern soul music can look and sound like, ChestnuTT has been called a “raw storyteller for the people, wearing a guitar and a toothpick-chewing smirk.” Durango’s own Robby Overfield & the Breaks open.

Music in the Mountains hosts its KickstART Martini Party from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Toh-Atin Gallery. Bid on live and silent auction packages, including festival musician ensembles for your own private party. The top 10 submissions for its 2014 poster art will be auctioned and the winning submission unveiled. Of course, it’s a martini party, so sample signature martinis, fabulous wines and tasty hors d’oeurves. Cost is $50, benefitting Music in the Mountains.

Speaking of mountains, trek north to catch reggae legends Steel Pulse at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village tonight. Tickets still remain.

In honor of Geoff Tate, who is truly one of my favorite heavy metal singers, here’s a quintet of noteworthy rock brawls:

n Operation: Mindcrime, 2012. Prior to a show in Brazil, Queensrÿche’s Tate reportedly spit upon bandmates and punched drummer Scott Rockenfield and guitarist Michael Wilton. Tate’s version has Rockenfield provoking him (indeed, the band fired Tate’s wife as manager earlier in the day).

n Appetite for Girls, Girls, Girls, 1989. At the VMAs, Izzy Stradlin reportedly tried to hook up with Vince Neil’s wife. The Mötley Crüe frontman then cold-cocked the GNR guitarist on-stage. Boys, boys, boys.

n Who the F*** Are You? 1973. Pete Townshend claims Roger Daltrey hit him so hard in a fight over the recording of “Quadrophenia” in 1973 that he lost two days worth of memory.

n All I Have to Do is Dream, 1973. Don Everly was so drunk that he kept forgetting lyrics on-stage in 1973. Phil’s response? Smash his guitar over Don’s head. The two only spoke once the next decade – at their father’s funeral.

n Every Rose Has Its Thorn, 1991. Poison guitarist C.C. Deville was so wasted at the 1991 VMAs that he played “Talk Dirty to Me” while the others churned out “Unskinny Bop.” Singer Bret Michaels, in his pre-“Rock of Love” days, went postal backstage.

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