With so many young, unknown bands writing music and touring nonstop across the country, it’s hard to get excited about any of them.
There are too many choices and not nearly enough time to listen to them all.
For example, the annual South By Southwest Music Festival that wraps up on Sunday, March 22, in Austin, Texas, hosted over 2,200 bands during the six day event.
Let that sink in for a minute.
That’s an average of about 365 bands playing each day at an event that supposedly eliminates the riffraff and features only the hottest up-and-coming acts.
There’s no way anyone can sort out that madness.
Music journalists try to provide context, highlighting the cream of the crop. But when every headline out of the festival hypes “(insert band name here) as the next (generic superlative) band from random big city,” it’s not helpful when deciding how to allocate my time.
For me, the best way to discover new music remains my local, community network including friends, family or record stores.
Out of the madness of giant music festivals and the endless touring cycle for young musicians, the cream does eventually rise to the top. And I trust that someone in my network will discover it and turn me on to something new.
Take a band such as H. Grimace, a complete unknown. I wasn’t aware of the band until a friend excitedly turned me on to H. Grimace’s sound a couple weeks ago and let me know the band would be making a Grand Junction tour stop.
First off, it is not often that a young band of British rockers decides to stop in Grand Junction, even for fuel. But digging into H. Grimace’s music catalog, it starts to make more sense why the band booked a Tuesday, March 24, show at the Local.
This east London quartet touts uniquely American influences, mainly surf rock, only it has added its own layer of tonal dreariness.
How a group of young urban Londoners took influence from the reverb-heavy sounds of 1960s California and turned it into a melodic combination of beach blanket chill and Brit pop punk rock is beyond me, but this band has managed to create its own style in the process, setting it apart from a crowded field of guitar-driven rockers.
Touring with H. Grimace is the self-described lazy slacker rock trio from San Francisco: Couches.
Couches embraces that skate surf sound of early Weezer records and the lo-fidelity simplicity of bands such as Pavement. Complete with crunchy blasts of well-placed feedback, Couches’ music is a throwback to the summer soundtrack tunes from bands such as The Replacements, Hsker D, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth that dominated ’90s radio.
Grand Junction’s own duo Wavebaby brings a similar feel to the table and will round out Tuesday’s bill nicely.
The music of H. Grimace, Couches and Wavebaby is a sound that has always found a home in Grand Junction, as we’ve seen with bands such as Bad Weather California, Sauna, The Blank Tapes and countless other bands that have set up their Twin Reverb Fender Amps to vibe out with local crowds.
For decades, music has been a glue, binding people together, and this skate surf sound that all three of bands employ has obvious strength.
The music is danceable, yet chill. It has enough pop sensibility to bring people in while still maintaining enough edge to satisfy an edgier audience.
These bands create an atmosphere where a people can dance, laugh, hangout, talk and share new band discoveries. It’s the type of community in which the buzz of being the “next great whatever” rings loud enough for even sleepy Grand Junction to wake up.
For less than the price of an actual movie ticket, you can yell things like “slut!” and throw condoms as the movie rolls, or do pretty much all the things frowned upon at “50 Shades” showings.
Of all the rebellious comedy horror musicals, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” takes the cake as the most entertaining movie watching experience, ever. For four decades, Brad, Janet, Dr. Frank-n-Furter and Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s sexual abomination Rocky have entertained and shocked audiences with campy, over-the-top libidos and made for some of the most memorable movie characters of all time.
For example, watching Tim Curry strut the silver screen in black lingerie and singing “Sweet Transvestite” is a sight you cannot unsee.
As a Gothic transvestite scientist from Transsexual, Transylvania, Curry’s Frank-n-Furter is a glam rock nightmare and the character most recognizable from the film.
Curry’s role transformed “Rocky Horror” from a B-list flop to the cult phenomenon it is today, something unimaginable when the movie debuted in 1975.
The cult classic, which has entertained and confounded audiences for decades, only now has life because some wild New Yorkers turned a late night showing at the Waverly Theater into a controlled riot, adding lines to the script and throwing rice and toast across the theater.
Initially panned by both critics and audiences, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” didn’t take off until the counter culture latched onto the film and turned it into an experience reliant on audience participation.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” by itself is not what you’d call a great film, but it can be quite enjoyable mainly because of its total bizarreness: A stranded couple seeks help from freaky strangers holed up in an androgynous sex castle run by an alien transvestite.
With a plot like that, it’s amazing the film ever got made.
Watching the film at home is not the same as watching it in a theater packed full of freaky strangers, each dressed up as a favorite character and acting out scenes as the move plays. The experience isn’t remotely comparable.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” does have some nice moments like a young Susan Sarandon singing “Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me.” And the golden- voiced (but horribly named) Meat Loaf literally crashing the party on a motorcycle and quickly banging out a sax solo on “Hot Patootie — Bless My Soul,” only to be coolly disposed of by mad scientist Frank-n-Furter with an ice pick in the deep freeze, is perfect schlock horror.
It’s these select scenes and a soundtrack of rock ’n’ roll standards that are the real seducers of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
If you are a virgin to this whole “Rocky Horror” thing, “it’s just a jump to the left / and then a step to the right.” Everyone deserves the chance to dance to “Time Warp” at least once.
And if you’re worried about being the weirdest, strangest person there, don’t. Someone will undoubtedly slide into a pair of thigh-high black stockings and steal the spotlight.
Go on. Give yourself over to absolute ... pleasure.
Zolopht has been on a pretty good run of late. The immensely popular local outfit released its best album yet in “Ph Balanced,” played to packed Ale House patios, opened for Dirty Heads (at only the second sold-out show at the Mesa Theater and Club since new owner Eric Smith has taken over) and headlined last weekend’s grand opening music festival at The Local.
Zolopht is a band on the verge of conquering Grand Junction, if it hasn’t done it already.
The band dominates in all areas. It is loaded with great tunes, backed by a legion of dedicated fans, devoted to playing spectacular live shows, and, most importantly, its members are still hungry for more.
“Fortunately, we do feel a sense of accomplishment here in Grand Junction,” percussionist Greg Indivero said. “With our fans’ support, we will continue to play hometown shows to help us grow as a family and a band, as well as nurture our live art.”
Different bands have different skill sets. Some happen to be genius in the studio, others make a living on the stage. Zolopht happens to prosper on the latter, proving to be the feel-good antidepressant its name implies.
Zolopht’s signature tight live sound comes from touring the region and the West Coast, playing four to five nights a week.
Living on the road with six band members (Zolopht currently plays with eight members) and a sound engineer, the band forged the cohesive unit that recently has been crushing local shows.
“This past tour there were seven of us on the road and we all maintained our happiness, excitement and passion. Live music is what each of us lives for. Being given the opportunity to play 4-5 nights a week naturally charged us,” Indivero said.
The energy generated from its live shows is an addicting agent for both the band and its fans. As Indivero says, “(It’s) a huge positive musical energy that moves us forward and genuinely makes us feel good about life.”
He’s not wrong. Watching the band play live you can almost see the energy Indivero talks about and how both the musicians and audience flourish. What the band gives in playful staccato guitar riffs, the audience sends back with loving carefree vibes.
At any given show, you may hear the crowd sing back the lyrics to the more popular songs. There is a certain ebb and flow that takes place between the band and its fans, which makes each show a unique experience.
It’s easy to see why Zolopht has become a favorite among college students and music fans alike.
“The energy we receive from our fans motivates us in a huge way. The energy our fans continually give us is going to keep us pushing forward to spread our music as far as possible. We have a great time if they are having a good time. Being able to genuinely connect with a large fan base is honestly very humbling,” Indivero said. If recent events are any indication of what’s to come, Zolopht is on trajectory to push its music well beyond the boarders of Mesa County.
The band is working on a follow-up to “Ph Balanced” and it continues to court new fans through a string of live shows and good old-fashioned street teamwork.
For the past five years the band has hit the pavement doing whatever it takes to get people to come out for live shows.
That early hard work is paying dividends as word is clearly getting out: Zolopht is not a normal run-of-the mill local bar band.
It is a band oozing with more style than Grand Junction knows what to do with and gives a hell of a good show.
With another fun bill planned Saturday night, Feb. 21, at Barons with the excellently named Salt Lake City folk/ punk band Folk Hogan, you can see for yourself why Grand Junction is addicted to Zolopht.