Icelandic folk band Árstíðir (Arstidir) and Brooklyn piano-violin duo Gracie and Rachel perform tonight at the Coloraod Mesa University Moss Performing Arts Center.
“Árstíðir is a group I have known and loved for many years. When we got in touch with them, Lauren and I jumped at the chance to bring them here to share their incredible music with the Grand Junction community,” Joseph Moher, a music performance major at CMU who is promoting the concert, said.
Arstidir’s music defies genre borders and like fellow Icelandic musicians Sigur Ros, might best be described as classically influenced indie folk rock.
Accompanying Arstidir is Brooklyn-based piano-violin duo Gracie and Rachel. Their forthcoming debut album "Go" is a penetrating record of a lifelong friendship, which flows freely between virtuosic violin textures to sylphlike melodies, highlighting seasoned songwriting. The result is a heartfelt glimpse into two artists' intertwined lives.
Exterior view of the 970West Studio, looking northeast from Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue.
Mesa County Libraries plan to break ground in early July on a digital recording and production studio that will offer opportunities for the public to learn and perform professional-level audio and video recording.
The studio also will enhance Mesa County Libraries’ ability to document and preserve Mesa County’s unique and vanishing cultural assets.
Approximately 3,000 square feet in size, the studio building will be constructed on vacant land owned by Mesa County Libraries at Fifth Street and Ouray Avenue. As designed and proposed, the studio will include a 654-square-foot studio/training room (capable of holding 10-20 people for training), a 436-square-foot control room, a 245-square-foot space for an artist in residence, storage space for equipment and materials, and parking for approximately 10 vehicles with access from the alley. Visually, the exterior will resemble the Central Library building.
The facility will be named the 970West Studio. 970West is a pioneering digital initiative by Mesa County Libraries to provide the community with unique, locally focused online content and the technological tools to produce such content.
“The 970West Studio is a huge step forward in bringing 21st century library services to Mesa County,” said Library Director Joseph Sanchez. “New media and digital technology enable people from all walks of life to create high-quality audio and video content for a variety of purposes. This studio gives the library an opportunity to create unique, valuable content of local importance, and it also gives the citizens of Mesa County a chance to learn and use professional-level facilities and equipment for their own projects.”
Several potential users already have indicated interest in using the studio upon completion. For example, K-12 students could use it to produce audio-visual senior portfolios, local bands could use it to record music, and individuals could use it to produce video histories of families or local businesses.
Library staff also will make significant use of the studio for various projects associated with 970West Digital, an online collection of photos, videos, artwork, and other elements that visually capture the unique aspects of life in western Colorado. 970West Digital includes collections such as Veterans Remember, landscape and wildlife photography, and images and information about hand-tied flies for fishing in western Colorado. 970West Digital can be found at mesacountylibraries.org.
Estimated cost of the 970West Studio is approximately $1,350,000, funded primarily by the Mesa County Public Library District’s cash reserves. Library administration is confident that construction of the 970West Studio can be accomplished while maintaining a safe and prudent balance in the library district’s reserves. The Mesa County Public Library Foundation has launched a capital campaign for the studio and has committed $250,000 toward the project. The capital campaign will continue through Dec. 31, 2015.
Asset Engineering of Grand Junction, which provided preconstruction services on the project, is expected to be the general contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2015.
“The Board of Trustees is excited about the potential that this studio holds for Mesa County Libraries,” said Elaine Barnett, president of the Mesa County Public Library District Board of Trustees. “Not only will the library be better able to provide technology education and training to the community, but our capacity to help record and preserve many of the unique aspects of Mesa County will be greatly improved. We view this studio as an important and critical investment in the future of Mesa County Libraries and our community.”
With the snow-capped San Juan Mountain Range in the background, the reception was picturesque.
Snatched right out of the pages of a Colorado wedding magazine, the Wild Bunch Ranch was the perfect setting for a perfect evening.
The DJ table was set up next to manicured lily pond, lined with a brilliant selection of wildflowers. As the warm western Colorado sun slowly set behind a grove of mature willow trees, I checked then rechecked all my cables and connections to make sure I had everything in line.
A couple weeks earlier, as a favor to the bride and groom, I agreed to DJ their wedding. Having never done it before, I did what I do best: over-prepare.
Determined not to ruin the happiest day of my friends’ lives, I bought backup XLR cables just in case something failed. I even downloaded an app that would allow me to mix on my smart phone in the event my whole system went down.
To my relief, everything was in working order.
As guests arrived, I kicked the music off with classic Motown, “My Girl” by The Temptations, and sprinkled in little shots of 1970s-era pop such as “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.
Hovering right around 110 beats per minute, the energy level was perfect for settling in, sipping cocktails, snacking on smoked barbecue, and enjoying each other’s company.
I kept one eye peeled on the crowd, looking for any indication that the music was not totally on point. So far, so good.
As the evening continued and dinner finished up, I started to ratchet up the BPMs and build momentum for the ensuing dance party. First though, it was time for the wedding toasts. After some nice words from the best man and a ballsy musical dedication from the bride’s sister, the celebration was officially under way.
White Christmas lights twinkled against the night sky and camera flashes popped across the property. The mood was celebratory so I opened up the playlist, dropping House of Pain, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bee Gees, Taylor Swift, ABBA and Run DMC. People were dancing and having a great time.
As the guests loosened up, they approached me with request after request.
All my preparation and planning went right out the window as they started asking for songs such as the “Chicken Dance” and the “Hokey Pokey.” Someone asked for a random country song I didn’t have. Another person requested the title track from a Disney TV show. Someone even requested that I play a YouTube video.
As a DJ, especially at an event like a wedding reception, you try and accommodate everyone’s requests. I briefly did my best to comply, franticly attempting to download songs to my iPhone. However, with no Wi-Fi and a weak cell connection, it was futile work trying to pull songs from the Cloud down to the banks of the Uncompahgre River where the reception was in full swing.
Some of the requested songs I did have. Michael Jackson, ACDC, Calvin Harris and others. Those led to some interesting dance floor moves, memorably the child who busted out of the kiddie coral and did an excellent rendition of the running man.
Thankfully, I was able to meet the only request that truly mattered, that of the groom’s grandmother. She wanted only one song for one last dance with her grandson, the appropriate “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge. Fulfilling her request made the whole night worth it.
The wedding DJ experience pushed me out of my comfort zone, but you know what? Everything turned out great. That wild bunch lead me down some interesting paths and looking back, I can’t imagine a more lovely event to play.
The Loudwire Music Festival starts Friday, June 26, and by this point you’ve already made up your mind about attending this Rock Jam replacement.
You’re either going, or you’re not.
Some of the bands playing this year are great and some of the bands suck, but no matter how you come down on the lineup, you’ve got to hand it to Loudwire for assembling a unique collection of talent for this inaugural event.
From Harvard scholars to roadiesturned- rock stars, the bands playing Friday through Sunday, July 26–28, are full of surprises.
SURPRISE NO. 1
Aside from this whole music thing, Sunday headliner Rob Zombie is credited with an astounding 73 film and television projects.
Sure, he’s directed twisted horror flicks, episodes of “CSI Miami,” and is working on a movie about Groucho Marx, but it’s his work on the 1996 movie “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America” that got the middle school version of myself excited.
In an uncredited role, Zombie was the animator for the desert hallucination sequence Beavis and Butt-Head trip through after eating peyote. It like, rules.
SURPRISE NO. 2
After the Blue Album scored a pair of rock hits with, “Buddy Holly” and “Undone (The Sweater Song),” Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo temporarily left the band in 1995 to enroll at Harvard University.
As a 25-year-old undergrad music major, Cuomo wrote six songs for the cult Weezer classic “Pinkerton.” After attending classes off an on for a decade, Cuomo graduated in 2006 with a degree in English.
SURPRISE NO. 3
Saturday headliners Linkin Park played its first show at the famed Sunset Strip nightclub, Whisky a Go Go. Since the early 1960s, the night club has launched the careers of numerous California-based bands including The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield, and most notoriously The Doors, Mtley Cre. Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses.
Linkin Park opened for SX-10, featuring Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, and System of a Down, playing a quick 30-minute set to a sparse room of supportive friends.
Whiskey a Go Go, on the other hand, has had such an impact on popular music that the entire venue was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
SURPRISE NO. 4
Theory of a Deadman lead singer Tyler Connolly teamed up with Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), Josey Scott (Saliva), Mike Kroeger (Nickelback) and Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam/Soundgarden) to record the smash song “Hero” from the “Spider-Man” soundtrack.
Connolly replaced Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell on the song and played the guitar solo. “Hero” went 4x platinum in the United States and was ubiquitous hit in 2002.
SURPRISE NO. 5
Needless to say, Sunday performers Hoobastank have a memorable band name.
Formed in high school, the band took its name from a German street and it has stuck with them ever since. The band, however, never intended to use the name long term.
When it came time to sign the band’s first record deal in 2001 with Island Records, Hoobastank filled out the contract as “the band formerly known as Hoobastank.”
Unfortunately, Hoobstank was well on its way to mainstream success and decided to stick with the name. Shortly after signing with Island, the band dropped the single “Crawling in the Dark,” which solidified its popularity and locked in the name for good.
SURPRISE NO. 6
There are literally thousands of Metallica cover/tribute bands. There is Misstallica, an all female tribute band; Blackened, the “ultimate Metallica tribute”; Battery, the “premiere Metallica tribute”; Metallagher, a Metallica / Gallagher Tribute show; and Beatallica, a Beatles/Metallica tribute.
So what sets One, the “Only tribute to Metallica,” apart from the others?
Members of One have worked on the Metallica tour crew and even played live with the real band. Working closely with the real Metallica, One learned how to stage a live show. It focuses on recreating the theatrics and pyrotechnics from Metallica’s ’80s and ’90s tours. It even tours with past Metallica stage props such as the Lady Liberty statue and, of course, an electric chair.
Coming off the high that was the Grand Junction Off Road and Downtown Art + Music Festival, I’m more excited than ever to see what the summer holds for live music.
June alone is jam-packed with so many festivals that even the most hardened “there’s nothing to do in Grand Junction” haters have had to backtrack on their insufferable opinions.
Starting Friday through Sunday, June 12–14, with the Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival featuring Trout Steak Revival, Jackie Greene and Elephant Revival, Mesa County plays host to a major festival for each of the remaining weekends this month. Country Jam, June 18–21, features a stacked lineup with the likes of Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and The Band Perry, and the Rock Jam replacement, the Loudwire Music Festival set for June 26–28, brings a mixed bag of rock ’n’ roll with headliners Weezer, Linkin Park and Rob Zombie.
If you plan on attending one or all of these events, you need to get your festival game tight if you want to survive with your dignity in tact.
As someone who has attended way too many music festivals, here are some tips for making it through the weekend.
I’m not going to cover the basics such as “wear sunscreen,” because if you don’t know to apply sunscreen before standing out in a field for 10 hours under an unrelenting summer sun, then you’re an idiot and you deserve to get toasted.
These practical tips have served me well in the past and should ensure you have a great weekend filled with live music.
1. Know your toilet situation
Unless you are going VIP (highly recommended) or were smart enough to reserve a personal toilet at Country Jam, you absolutely cannot trust that any bathroom you come across is going to be clean and well-stocked.
If you can, avoid any toilets near alcohol sales stands. That’s where the drunks are, aka that’s where the urine and vomit-soaked port-a-potties are.
Instead, look for something around the festival perimeter or near vendor booths. It’s a little farther of a walk, but the reward will be worth it. Also, before you go out each day, remember to pack a good wad of toilet paper. You will absolutely regret it if you don’t.
2. Learn to spot the douche
Whether it’s a drunk, shirtless bottle of Muscle Milk come to life or an aging hippie who somehow smuggled a hula-hoop into the grounds, these are the people who will ruin your day and should be avoided at all cost.
Spotting the douche is easy. They are the people who yell “wooooo” and “Free Bird!” any time there is a break in the music. They are the people who try and turn every audience into a mosh pit. They are the attention whores, “high fives” guy and burnouts.
Do not, under any circumstance engage with these people.
3. Be smart about drugs
Absolutely bring your painkillers (over the counter) and allergy tablets. Those are lifesavers, especially if the wind picks up or if you are camping.
As for the rest of your stash? We don’t want to know about it.
That especially means no drug stories. “Oh man, this one time I was ragging on ketamine and cough syrup ...” Stop. No.
We’re not impressed you’ve survived your own stupidity. Keep your moronic anecdotes to yourself, and stop blowing your crap weed smoke in my face.
4. Ditch the cellphone
Cell service is notoriously spotty at music festivals. If you have to communicate with your friends get some walkie- talkies. They are way more fun than you remember, plus they are reliable.
Forget about posting to social media. The last thing I need to see on my Instagram feed is a blurry picture of insert-headliner’s-name-here.
Same goes for campground photos. Just because you ripped a clean beer bong at your campsite does not mean you are #winning. It means you’re probably in line for #stomachpump or #chlamydia.
5. Learn to navigate the crowds
Ever watch a zombie movie? Crowds are terrifying. Nothing is more frustrating than battling your way in and out of festival crowds.
As soon as you get to the event survey the area and find the paths of least resistance. If you’re trying to cut to the front of the crowd, attack from the sides, not the middle.
People gravitate to center stage so walk as far as you can down the flanks, then cut across to the middle. You’ll find it easier going and limit your chances of tripping over endless, annoying rows of camping chairs.