By David Goe
Friday, September 20, 2013
Dirtylektric playing a street corner at last year's SXSW. The GJ band plays tonight at Localpalooza.
A little over a year ago, I wrote an article pleading for the formation of a local music showcase in Grand Junction. I argued a local showcase would be good business. It’s good for bands, good for venues, and most importantly, good for fans.
Since publishing that piece there has been important headway in developing a showcase for local talent. Just last May, the WestCO Music Fest blazed the trail at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens with a three-band show: The Williams Brothers Band, Pineapple Crackers and Jack+Jill.
Friday night, Sept. 20, we are on the cusp of the second all local showcase with LocalPalooza at the Mesa Theater and Lounge.
LocalPalooza takes what WestCO established one step further, featuring four bands: Zolopht and the Destroyers, Shotgun Hodown, Dirtylektric and Jack+Jill. Throw DJ Dusty Thunders and his mix of deep house and nu disco jams into the mix and you’ve got an eclectic collection of Grand Junction’s best.
On the surface LocalPalooza looks like a pretty decent show. The lineup is tried and true and each band is individually strong enough to carry its own gig. What is really exciting about this showcase, though, is what it means long term for Grand Junction’s music scene.
What I didn’t fully understand a year ago, and now realize, is events such as LocalPalooza and WestCO need to happen for the long term success and stability of our music scene.
The unfortunate truth about Grand Junction is we generally don’t care about music beyond a casual interest. We’ve seen it time and time again, when it comes to our festivals and live shows, the quality of performer and crowd attendance varies wildly and only a select few seem to care about doing anything about it.
Curing these inconsistencies and making the local music scene a dynamic part of our community is not an overnight fix but should be a priority. The quality of any local product is a reflection of the community it comes from. So I ask this question: Are you satisfied with Grand Junction’s local product? I’m not. Our indifference bothers me.
When approaching this issue, there are various factors to consider, but I think the solution and the focus of our attention should be on what we can immediately control, our own local talent.
Growing interest in our scene starts with events such as LocalPalooza. Grand Junction is very cliquey when it comes to music, and it is segmenting our interested music population to death. The genius behind a local showcase such as LocalPalooza is it brings everyone, fans, bands and DJs, together under one roof.
Fans following their favorite group to the showcase now have the opportunity to discover a different band they otherwise wouldn’t have heard. Maybe they fall in love with that band’s sound and go to shows twice a month instead of just once. Or better yet, while watching a set someone thinks, “I can do better than that,” and starts his or her own band.
Bands benefit by getting to see their peers’ live performances, stoking a competitive fire and hopefully creating some friendly competition. To some extent, all musicians are driven by ego and watching another band strike the perfect balance between showmanship and musicianship should spurn envy.
With just one event, you can create a cycle that begins to drive a healthy local music scene. The good news is we are already seeing this happen. Just look at how LocalPalooza already hasraised the bar over what WestCO started.
A healthy, vibrant local music scene needs events such as WestCO and LocalPalooza. Without our fixed attention to local music there’s no accountability, no reason for current bands to improve and, worse, no reason for new bands to form.
As with any product, the power lies with the consumer, the fans. The cycle starts Friday night with your attendance at LocalPalooza. Your attendance makes a difference. Our collective interest begins with you.
By David Goe
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
BBC Radio 1's YouTube channel is incredible. If you hit play any plans you made today will be totally ruined. With over 60 live performances from the biggest artists in the world, the live lounge is essential viewing.
Usually each band visiting the Live Lounge plays a couple tunes, one of which is a random cover of a pop song. For example, in this playlist you've got Kings of Leon covering Robyn. Thirty Seconds to Mars covering Rihanna. Arctic Monkeys covering Drake. It's fun to see each band's take on songs out of their wheel house. Take a look.
By David Goe
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The Zombie Prom 2013 lineup is out and it is massive. This year's lineup features DJ Strangefellow, Chamber Bot, Dusty Thunders, Denim Party, Much Less Pants, DeeJay EsJay, Warrior One, and Toby Danger. Zombie Prom is a benefit for KAFM Community Radio. For more information about the Prom and to get your tickets check out kafmradio.org.
By David Goe
Monday, September 9, 2013
With Arcade Fire teasing their new album "Reflektor" on Spotify this morning, it got me thinking about all the great albums coming out in the immediate future. Here is a quick selection of the music I'm looking forward to. You'll notice right off the bat is a trippy new video from the Arctic Monkeys, my absolute favorite band playing right now. Their new album "AM" is getting great reviews and I can't wait to hear it in full when it comes out tomorrow.
By David Goe
Friday, September 6, 2013
In many respects, tonight marks the end of an era and the beginning of another for the Grand Junction local music scene.
This evening at the Mesa Theater and Lounge aloha means goodbye.
It’s time for us to say farewell to the Pineapple Crackers, perhaps the most popular and beloved band the area has ever known.
The man who put the pineapple in Pineapple Crackers, ukulele strumming lead singer Benson Broyles, is headed home to Hawaii. His departure marks the end of the Hawaiian reggae vibes that dominated area PA systems for nearly a decade.
Virtually everyone I know has seen the band play. Personally, checking out Pineapple Crackers shows were some of my first bar experiences as a newly minted 21-year-old. Chilling with “Big” and “Slim,” aka my Mesa State College bookstore hommies Marcus and Ike, we ended up at its shows whether we intended to or not. Pineapple Crackers played everywhere, and we were there in the beginning when original guitarist and the “Cracker” Paul Roach was with the band.
We saw them at the Rockslide, always at the Rockslide. They’d be there at the Mesa Theater, likely playing with fellow reggae group Lion Vibes. I think we even ran into them at the Rose, now Club Infinity, in some battle of the bands contest for a spot at one of the first Rock Jams.
Pineapple Crackers played anywhere and everywhere and outside of a few lineup changes, little has changed since its beginning. The band’s constant gigging and easy sound earned them thousands of Facebook likes, headlining shows at any local venue, and slots at local festivals such as the inaugural WestCO Music Festival last May.
Regardless of how you feel about the band and its music, they have been the most consistent performing group and the consensus safe pick for anyone booking live music for their event. With Pineapple Crackers now officially calling it quits it begs the question, who is going to step up and take its place as Grand Junction’s go-to band?
Look no farther than the Friday, Sept. 6, night show opener Zolopht and the Destroyers.
For some inexplicable reason, Colorado loves reggae music. It’s a statewide affliction.
From my experience in the local music scene, reggae bands always have been the biggest draws.
In Grand Junction, though there seems to be a bit of a Rastafari Highlander situation going on. There can be only one reggae band, mon.
The reggae torch has passed down from Lion Vibes to the Pineapple Crackers, and now to Zolopht and the Destroyers.
Zolopht is primed for a break-out year. The band has spread its smooth jams and positivity vibe for quite some time and steadily grown a loyal fan base. This fall, look for them to take a big step forward.
Besides opening Friday night (sure to be one of the bigger local shows of the year), Zolopht also will headline two upcoming local music festivals.
First, off Zolopht will headline “Localpalooza,” a four band local showcase at the Mesa Theater on Sept. 20.
Second, they are one of the key headliners of the most ambitious local music project I’ve heard about, Cody Jacob’s two-day, two-stage outdoors event, the “Localeyez” Music and Arts Festival on Oct. 12–13.
Zolopht has that rare quality among local bands: It enjoys cross over success while maintaining artistic credibility. Its members play music they love and write their own originals. It’s an appealing mix.
While it may be sad to think about Friday’s farewell show as the end of an era, I prefer to think about it as the start of a new chapter. Pineapple Crackers will be missed, but the band taking its place is more than worthy.