Music On The Goe
David Goe on music
Follow David's weekly Out & About column ON THE GOE
By David Goe
Thursday, January 15, 2015
With a new year comes new changes and new resolutions. If you pay attention to the early signs, 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year for music in Grand Junction.
Collectively, the Grand Valley music community seems determined to have its best, most exciting year yet, and that’s got me thinking that western Colorado may finally capitalize on the state’s exploding music community, maybe.
In true Internet list-o-mania fashion, here are five reasons why Grand Junction’s music scene will totally rule 2015:
1. Skylark Events
A new production company, Skylark Events, is wasting no time making a name for itself.
The brainchild of Cash Kiser and Lloyd Hutchinson, Skylark is an independent music promotion company with the sole goal of bringing quality live music to Grand Junction.
Starting with Saturday’s The Yawpers and The Conifer show at Barons, Skylark has lined up a number of Colorado’s burgeoning rock bands for local shows. Denver based bands In Transition (Jan. 16), Rubedo (Jan. 30), Rossonian, and Raven at the Writing Desk (Jan. 31) will all swing through Grand Junction this month.
That’s a substantial pace that I hope holds out over 2015.
2. The Avalon Theatre
Partially remodeled and ready for the masses, is Avalon Theatre ready to be the major music venue for Grand Junction?
While the theater won’t reach its true potential until the stage remodel is completed during phase two, early announced concerts are a positive sign that maybe the Avalon will once again be a music destination.
Banjo superstars Bèla Fleck and Abigail Washburn perform live on Jan. 17 and Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang perform on Feb. 20.
Both shows feature world-class talent — Fleck alone has won 15 Grammy Awards — and more importantly have enough crossover appeal to draw in wider audiences. If these are the type of shows the Avalon continues to book I’d say it’s a good sign for downtown Grand Junction.
3. The Local
Speaking of downtown Grand Junction, another live music venue has opened for business.
Occupying the old Dolce Vita space, the new spot known as The Local is a mixed-use space and looks like a future haven for local musicians. It’s a restaurant, café, bar (liquor license in process), art space and live music venue.
It’s open later than any other downtown location (serving the full menu until 4 a.m.), and gives the people what they really want after a night of bar hopping: food.
In case you are wondering, with the Local now open there are at least eight locations just on Main Street that regularly host live music. It’s no 6th Street in Austin, Texas, but Grand Junction’s Main Street is slowly turning into the central activity hub it so desperately wants to be.
4. Loudwire Music Festival
Replacing Rock Jam this summer is the Loudwire Music Festival. Little is known about this event other than it’s supposed to be a rebooted modern take on the Rock Jam festival formula and that multi-platinum selling faux metal group Linkin Park are confirmed as headliners.
Taken from a previous Daily Sentinel report, the festival “will feature some of the world’s greatest rock bands from all genres of rock — hard, classic, alternative, metal, and indie” on three stages.
Depending on how the festival lineup fills out, this could be an exciting yearly addition for the Grand Valley.
The Loudwire brand is a major player in the rock world, so I hold out hope that this event will worth the $80 general admission ticket.
5. Country Jam’s Toilet Initiative
First off, the announced lineup is the best it’s ever been. Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and The Band Perry are all worldwide superstars and they are playing in our backyard.
Second, and good lord is this a doozy, Country Jam just made the most innovative festival move in history by allowing festival-goers the option to reserve their own port-a-potty.
No joke, for $130 you can reserve and lock up your own toilet. Multi-day festivals are notorious for nose curdling toilet banks, and the thought of renting my own personal port-a-potty sanctuary sounds like heaven.
By David Goe
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
With Christmas in the review mirror, it’s time to wind down and focus on what really matters: your New Year’s Eve plans.
If you’re like me you probably need a vacation from your Christmas vacation. It’s exhausting work making Christmas cookies, out doing the neighbors with your light display, decorating the tree… You love the holidays, it’s your favorite time of year, but it’s a lot of work.
Let’s face it; you deserve a party. For the last month you’ve been scouring stores and beating away other shoppers for the perfect gifts, doing your best to wrap them nicely, and you probably did your fair share of stressing over budgets and finding a hideous Christmas sweater for the office holiday party.
It’s time to shed all that work and worry, and celebrate the end of something great and the start of something new. This New Year’s Eve there are plenty of reasons to hit the town for dancing and drinks. A number of the area’s favorite musicians are gearing up for one last hooray and you are cordially invited.
If you don’t mind a little walking or you just want to attend all the New Year’s Eve parties you can then Downtown Grand Junction is the place for you. From Charlie Dwellingtons on the far end of Main Street to Baron’s on Colorado, there are a number of parties and drink specials to take advantage of.
The place I suggest you start is Barons for the “Tight Gun Thump Down New Year’s Bash”. First off, the bar is huge so it’s unlikely that you’ll be completely packed in like sardines. There’s plenty of room to spread out, talk to your friends, and dance, dance, dance the night away. Second, what better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than with two of Grand Junction’s most celebrated bands: Shotgun Hodown and Tight Thump.
I don’t know about you but I want my New Year’s Eve party to be unpredictable. As it just so happens, both these bands are predicated on unpredictability. Oh, there will surely be some odd moments at this party. You’ll probably question your own sanity, maybe experience moments of delirium, but when you loose it to their funky bluesy, booty shaking music, all that holiday stress will be long forgotten.
A block up from Barons at Sabrosa, DJ Phoenix and VJ Coltrain will be spinning dance tunes leading up to the midnight hour. If pumping bass and non stop dancing is your preferred way to send out the year (it’s also a great way to sober up if you’ve hit the sauce too hard, too fast), Sabrosa is your spot.
If you’re looking to spend New Year’s Eve sipping on tasty drinks and snacking on delicious appetizers, then the far end of the Grand Valley at Palisade’s Peach Street Distillers is the place to be. One of Grand Junction’s favorite bands, Jack n Jill, is playing all night long and Grand Junction’s best restaurant, Bin 707, is providing appetizers for the evening. Keep in mind, if you commit to this event you’ll be anchored there all night. Distillery drinks are devilishly good, so make sure to have a designated driver lined up.
Wednesday may seem like an odd day to go out for a party, but if you’re lucky you get Thursday off to recover and Friday is going to be a total waste of a workday anyway, so you’ve basically got a four-day weekend coming up. Be selfish and cut loose this New Year’s Eve. You worked hard in 2014 so treat yourself.
By David Goe
Friday, December 12, 2014
Olga Preobrazhenskaya as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nikolai Legat as Prince Coqueluche in the original production of "The Nutcracker." Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, c. 1900.
As ubiquitous as eggnog and Christmas trees, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous score to “The Nutcracker” symbolizes the return of the holiday season as much as anything.
Act II’s “Waltz of the Flowers,” for example, is a seasonal staple that feels just as cozy as Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.”
“Waltz of the Flowers,” “Trepak” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” are so instantly recognizable, memorable and enjoyable, it is easy to see why “The Nutcracker” has become such a popular holiday treat.
In fact, the entire score is so good it’s uninteresting to discuss. It’s an absolute masterpiece, end of story.
However, how “The Nutcracker” came to be one of the most well–known ballets of all time is an interesting tale. From adaptations by legendary authors and composers, to what is now a time-honored tradition, “The Nutcracker” is an unlikely success.
When most people remember “The Nutcracker,” scenes with the Sugar Plum Fairy, dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers and sparkling snowflakes dance through their heads.
But what is often forgotten is the odd and twisted source material from the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, and the wild, century-long transformation the story went through to make it stage worthy.
Written in 1816 during the German Romantic period, Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” is a tale on par with the original Grimm Fairy Tales, the gruesome ones full of death, torture and general misery, not the Disney-fied versions.
In Hoffmann’s story, a young girl named Marie escapes into an imaginative dream world to shed herself of her overbearing family. There’s a seven-headed mouse king, the execution of a number of children, transfiguration curses and love between Marie and a nutcracker.
“The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” is a strange tale, but underneath the dread is a whimsical story that appealed to a number of influential artists.
One such artist was French playwright and novelist Alexandre Dumas. It wasn’t until Dumas, author of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers,” adapted Hoffmann’s tale in 1844 and stripped out many of the darker elements that “The Nutcracker” we now know started to take shape.
Forty-eight years later, using both Hoffmann’s and Dumas’ stories as reference, Tchaikovsky, Russian choreographer Lev Ivanov and French choreographer Marius Petipa delivered the modern “The Nutcracker.” Debuting in St. Petersburg in 1892, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” was whittled to a two-act ballet maintaining a fluffed up version of the original story line.
Considering Tchaikovsky’s incredible body of work at the time — he already had composed the masterpieces “Swan Lake” in 1876 and “Sleeping Beauty” in 1889 — “The Nutcracker” was initially considered something of a flop. It was the staging of the ballet, not Tchaikovsky’s music, that received most of the criticism.
“The Nutcracker” was shown off and on during the early 1900s and it wasn’t until the San Francisco Ballet performed the show on Christmas Eve in 1944 that it became associated with the holidays. It was another 15 years before the entire United States embraced “The Nutcracker” and performed it annually around the time of the holidays.
Interestingly enough, in the early 1980s children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (“Where The Wild Things Are”) led the Pacific Northwest Ballet in a production of “The Nutcracker” true to Hoffmann’s original story arch. Sendak even went so far as to create sets and even illustrate a children’s book featuring Hoffmann’s tale.
Enjoy the music and artistry next time you sit down to watch “The Nutcracker,” but don’t forget how the story came to be. Considering its global journey and the legends involved, it’s an absolute wonder the ballet exists and thrives for our holiday enjoyment.
By David Goe
Friday, December 5, 2014