Top Shelf

Ralph gets serious, electronica and Skalloween

by Chris Aaland


Remember the good old days of Farquahrts? If you do, you probably crammed onto the dance floor to groove to the likes of Leftover Salmon, Hot Rize, Matt “Guitar” Murphy or the unofficial Farquahrts house band, Ralph Dinosaur & the Fabulous Volcanoes. One of my highlights was when the late, great Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers joined Ralph following a Beat Farmers gig at the college in the early ’90s. The Fabulous Volcanoes covered a BF song or two and were blown away when the deep-throated drummer surprised them at the venue now known as the Derailed Pour House.

Durango’s seminal music bar of the ‘80s and ‘90s will hold a reunion at the VFW starting at 5 p.m. Saturday. For the first few hours, it’ll be a social gathering – drinking, of course, will be the focus. Then at 7, the aforementioned Ralph Dinosaur & the Fabulous Volcanoes will take the stage with their canon of classic rock covers. Just don’t expect the sixtysomething frontman to be sporting drag anymore. He’s mellowed with age.

Durango Massive presents Michael Menert & the Pretty Fantastics with openers Marcelo Moxy & Willdabeast at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Based in Denver, Menert is an electronic music artist and producer. A multi-instrumentalist, he incorporates live guitar and keys into his final production for a full sound and rich feel. His new album is the highly anticipated “Space Jazz,” which combines vintage vinyl samples with rich analog synthesis and organic, hard-hitting beats.

Ralph Dinosaur and the Fabulous Volcanoes, seen here during their Farquahrts hey day, play a reunion show at the VFW on Saturday night./Photo courtesy Paige Oswald

Creating magic by fusing technology and performance art, Enra performs at the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Oct. 22). Enra formed in Tokyo in 2012. They match motion graphics and animated background images with live performances. Bridging contemporary art and engaging entertainment, Enra’s innovation unites ballet, Kung-fu, acrobatics, juggling and rhythmic gymnastics.

Rejuvenating the ancient art form of Japanese drumming through innovative and exciting music, Nagata Shachu comes to the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Nagata Shachu is an ensemble that features a vast array of Japanese taiko (drum), gongs, bells, wooden clappers, shaker and bamboo flutes. The group is under the direction of Kiyoshi Nagata, Canada’s pre-eminent taiko soloist with a career that spans 25 years.

Sharpen your knife skills! Ska’s annual Skalloween Pumpkin Carving Contest takes place from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at the World Headquarters in Bodo Park. There will be Halloween candy and dirtnap-cheap pints of dark ales. The top three carvers will receive prizes of beer and gift cards. To reserve your pumpkin, call 247-5792.

Albuquerque’s Gregg Daigle Band mixes up bluegrass, blues and Americana from 5-9 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Oct. 22) at the Balcony. Daigle earned a music degree in classical guitar performance from UMASS-Lowell in 1992. While living in Cambridge, Mass., he was exposed to the bluegrass picking scene.

Lawn Chair Kings play their final show of 2015 from 3-7 p.m. Saturday when they return for the venue’s anniversary party. The festivities continue indoors after the show with live music from Elder Grown at 8:30 p.m. at the Balcony Backstage.

The Met: Live in HD continues at 10:55 a.m. Saturday in the Vallecito Room of the FLC Student Union with Verdi’s Othello. Director Bartlett Sher’s new production of the masterpiece, inspired by Shakespeare, probes the Moor’s dramatic downfall with an outstanding cast led by Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role.

Moe’s madness this week includes DJ Kaztro from 9 ’til close Friday and DJs Noonz & Imperfect on Saturday night.

Durango Nursery & Supply holds its annual Harvest Festival from noon ‘til 5 p.m. Saturday with live music from Bob’s Yr Uncle, a barbecue, hay rides, kids’ activities, dog costume contest and scarecrow stroll benefitting participating nonprofits.

Finally, the Black Velvet Trio plays the Derailed Pour House at 8 p.m. Saturday.

I’ve been watching a bit of football lately, what with the Broncos’ surprising 6-0 start, young Otto’s first year of football (the third-grade Demons are in the Super Bowl this Saturday in Farmington!) and plenty of Saturday leisure time in front of the idiot box. When I happened to change channels in the nick of time to see the miraculous ending to Michigan vs. Michigan State last Saturday, I was stunned. This week’s Top Shelf list recalls five of the most bizarre football plays I’ve ever seen:

1. The Holy Roler, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers, Sept. 10, 1978. Ken Stabler, Pete Banaszak and Dave Casper managed to bat and fumble the ball forward after the Snake was ready to be crushed. The game’s final play produced a Raiders’ victory and massive changes to the rules in the offseason.

2. The Play, Cal vs. Stanford, Nov. 20, 1982. After Stanford had taken a 20-19 lead with four seconds left, the Golden Bears used five laterals on the ensuing kickoff to score the winning touchdown in a 25-20 win, ending John Elway’s collegiate career. During the third lateral – when Cal’s Dwight Garner appeared to be tackled by five players – the Stanford Band rushed onto the field. Two laterals later, Golden Bear defensive back Kevin Moen rambled across the goal line, smashing into Stanford trombonist Gary Tyrell in the process.

3. The Miracle at Michigan, Colorado vs. Michigan, Sept. 24, 1994. With just six seconds left on the clock, CU quarterback Kordell Stewart launched a 64-yard bomb into the Michigan end zone. Michigan’s Ty Law and Chuck Winters collided. The ball caromed to Michael Westbrook, who dove and caught it. 27-26 Buffs!

4. The Kick Six, Auburn vs. Alabama, Nov. 30, 2013. With the game tied at 28-28 and just a fraction of a second left on the clock, ’Bama’s Cade Foster launched a 57-yard field goal toward the goalposts. It fell short and was fielded by Auburn’s Chris Davis nearly 109 yards for the winning score. Otto, who rolls with the Tide, cried for about 20 minutes.

5. The Hip-Breaker, Michigan vs. Michigan State, Oct. 17, 2015. You know the drill. Blake O’Neill bobbled a low snap, tried to make a kick, gets smothered by Spartans, ball pops into the air, Jalen Watts-Jackson rushes the other way and Sparty silences the big house in a 27-23 win. Watts-Jackson’s MSU teammates smother him in the endzone and his hip dislocates and gets broken. Run-of-the-mill Saturday shenanigans!

From lake to lake and shore to shore? Email me at