Music On The Goe
David Goe on music
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By David Goe
Friday, April 4, 2014
There is an episode of “Seinfeld” in which George Costanza goes for the trifecta: a combination of his three favorite things — television, food and sex — in one civilization destroying conquest.
In typical fashion, everything comes crashing down around him, and in one classic scene with Jerry, George explains the situation, “I got greedy. Flew to close to the sun on wings of pastrami.”
I’ve been thinking about that episode a lot lately as I also have a deep fondness for salted, cured meats, and like George, have worked that love into my own trifecta.
Yes, I too have turned into a pleasure-seeking Caligula of sorts, but unlike George, I promise to never to combine my loves into one disgusting uncontrollable urge.
That being said, it may be difficult to keep that promise as the sandwiches at Barons are pretty damn delicious.
My trifecta is good food, craft beer and live music and Barons is the temptress waving all three in front of my face.
While many bars have late night food, beer and live music, a deep fried plate of cholesterol is not half as delicious as say, the Italian Combo.
At Barons’ grand opening a couple months back, I remember snacking on the Italian, a made-to-order sub with salami, ham, fresh mozzarella, provolone, artichoke hearts, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, tomato and organic baby greens, all soaked in a balsamic reduction sauce.
Sitting back with my sandwich, a cold Dirty Hippie and watching Tight Thump’s local debut was when my version of the trifecta was born. Since then, it’s been nothing but a free love buffet for this columnist.
Last Friday, I found myself at Barons once again sipping on a Kannah Creek beer enjoying We Speak Imaginese’s set.
Such a great quartet, We Speak Imaginese is the heir to the Americana throne recently vacated by Lowlands, who called it quits last month. Featuring mandolin, double bass, piano and acoustic guitar, the band sounds great playing folkgrass grooves about everything from budding romances to fly-fishing.
Pianist Talya Dewey and guitarist David Jergensen do most of the singing and sound great harmonizing together and individually. Dewey in particular can hit some notes that make you shake your head and say, “wow.”
What really struck me about Barons that night was how much of a turnaround that space has made. Before, when it was one of the previous pool hall incarnates, the space never felt safe. It had a nasty reputation and kept many people away.
Now, with new owners, a fresh cleaning and mouth-watering food, Barons feels like a safe place to hang out.
In fact, I’ll be at Barons again on Friday, April 11, to indulge myself on a sub, a beer and to the music of The Knew.
Fresh off playing the Snowball Music Festival in Denver, The Knew finally brings its classic rock attitude and groove-heavy baselines back to Grand Junction.
It has been well over a year since the band last played here and it has been sorely missed. The Knew are another one of those Denver bands on the cusp of making it big. It has played a bunch of music festivals, been featured in multiple press outlets, and even had a song featured on an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
The obvious comparison is to call The Knew a poor man’s Kings of Leon, but that doesn’t really do it justice. Yeah, I guess it is a quartet rock band but The Knew also are “front row boys” who clearly love the music, the lifestyle and the fans who comes along with it. Their energy is contagious, and their show is going to be a blast.
Just thinking about The Knew, plus a “SuperDave” and an Oskar Blues is getting me all flush with excitement.
By David Goe
Friday, March 28, 2014
Local artist Hayley Anna Nikkel has been doing wonders with band posters lately. Check out her two most recent designs, one for tonight's We Speak Imaginese show at Barons and a past Diet Acid Disco / Tight Thumb / Bronco Country show. Each poster is hand drawn and illustrated and pulls from the styles of designers Milton Glaser and Wes Wilson.
Pretty cool stuff.
By David Goe
Friday, March 28, 2014
"Like the work of a master Impressionist, it will truly be one-of-a-kind—in lieu of a traditional major label or independent launch, the iconic hip-hop collective will make and sell just one copy of the album. And similar to a Monet or a Degas, the price tag will be a multimillion-dollar figure."
Are the Wu-Tang Clan set to change the way music is consumed and monetized? Maybe.
Check out this article from Forbes Magazine about the hip-hop crew's plans for releasing their next album. They plan to produce one copy. One, and sell it basically to the highest bidder. There are no plans to release it online so they only chance you would have of hearing it is to visit an art gallery, where the album will likely end up, and view it like the "Mona Lisa" or "Starry Night."
Of course, the Wu-Tang Clan are only able to get away with this because they are an already established, successful group with multiple revenue streams, but their idea is really interesting. By releasing only one copy they ensure the value to their work. The only downside is on a select few will be able to hear the album, as of right now anyway.
It's an interesting proposition and anyone interested in the music industry should read the full article.
Read the full Forbes Magazine article.
By David Goe
Friday, March 21, 2014
After a slow, bitterly cold couple of months of nothing but eating, drinking and Netflix marathons, spring is finally here to spell us from miserable temperatures and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
It’s finally warming up to the point where I’m ready to put on some pants and feel optimistic in the morning. Thank God, it’s March!
March means new life for the music scene. It was dull, dull, dull this winter, but bands are starting to tour again. March also means South By Southwest.
Not only is SXSW is the biggest music event of the year, it sets the tone for the next 12 months. Thousands of underground bands across all genres and industry professionals all trying to make a name for themselves descend on Austin, Texas, for one week of pure madness.
It’s an overwhelming mass of hysteria, so let’s only think about what we can see and hear and not about who got run over by who, and why someone was throwing up all over Lady Gaga at her Stubbs showcase.
Thanks to SXSW, March is typically a very productive month for the Grand Valley music scene. Due to our prime location, many bands funnel through Grand Junction on the way from SXSW to the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho.
The Grand Valley happens to sit almost smack dab in the middle of two major music festivals. It’s a golden opportunity to book some very good, young bands for local shows and a couple savvy local promoters are all over it.
The first crew making the SXSW to GJ trek are Rose Quartz from Denver, playing Friday night, March 21, at the Cavalcade in Fruita.
The Cavalcade, which continues to book the most progressive shows in the valley, is on it once again. Last year, it got the show of the year hosting SXSW studs Radiation City, Brainstorm and Social Studies. This year it snagged Rose Quartz just before the band heads off to Boise.
Formally known as Flash/Lights, the electronic duo Rose Quartz make vocal, hook driven, synthesizer music that I categorize as indie electronic dance music. Its bass lines are often steady and predictable but never heavy handed in delivery.
Rose Quartz isn’t going to blow out your chest with massive bass drops typical of mainstream EDM, but what it will fill your soul with infectious and melodic dance rhythms.
Rose Quartz made a name for itself in Denver’s DIY scene, and certainly knows how to play to an intimate crowd. It should be a fun night as our own DJ crew Chamber Bot also will be there to keep the groove moving well into the evening.
The other band making a stop in Grand Junction is Useless Eaters from Memphis, Tenn.
Playing Wednesday, March 26, with local outfit Wavebaby and DJ Roughstuff and Brownskul at Sabrosa, Useless Eaters is exactly the type of band you’d expect to find at SXSW. It plays garage, ‘60s throwback and punk rock music that is equal parts attitude and skill.
Useless Eaters is not masterful tacticians, but that hardly matters. For this band, it is all about feeling. Useless Eaters is able to pull a very specific vibe out of purposely miss-bent guitar notes and slightly off tempo bass lines. It walks a fine line between not giving a crap and caring just enough to bother tuning its instruments before shows.
Sabrosa has turned into the downtown dive bar du jour and Useless Eaters will be right at home there.
While the spring runoff from SXSW may be a little shallow this year, it brings new life to Grand Junction. Get out there and see a show because, who knows, one of these bands might be the next big thing.
By David Goe
Friday, March 7, 2014
Where most bands fizzle out, over stay their welcome, or break up over petty issues, a few manage to go out on top, ending things on their own terms.
The Band did that with its farewell concert “The Last Waltz” and if you’ve seen the film think back to the title card, “this film should be played loud!”
Well, if possible, this column should be read loud, Lowlands would prefer it that way.
Lowlands, Grand Junction’s favorite adopted sons, is calling it quits, staging its own last waltz tonight at Sabrosa. With lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Rizer moving to Big Sky Country, it’s a bittersweet goodbye for a band at the top of its game.
“It’s the celebration of a fantastic time we’ve had together, but I for one am terribly sad about this band going away,” Willie DeFord said.
DeFord, who contributes on guitar, lap steal guitar and fiddle, isn’t the only one feeling that way. There’s no way around it, Grand Junction is losing a really good band after Friday, March 7, night’s final Colorado performance. The band will reunite for one more show at the end of the summer in Minot, N.D., but for all intensive purposes this is your last chance to see Lowlands play live.
Since 2011, Lowlands has been a group of friends bonded over country, Americana and rock ‘n’ roll music. With members from all corners of the United States, the band combined everything from Southern blues and Texas swing to bluegrass and fuzz rock into a sound uniquely its own.
“As a band, we never really set out to be anything really,” Rizer said. “This band exists because Willie wanted to play loud. I think we have succeeded.”
If Lowlands is anything, it is a perfect example of balanced energies working together as one focused force. Never once could you detect a hint of individual ego from any band members on a record or at a live performance, and that is very appealing. Even when DeFord shows off with a screaming fiddle solo or Rizer steals a song with a grizzly vocal, Lowlands never takes the excess to the point of rock ‘n’ roll ridiculousness.
Clearly each band member is self-aware and plays while knowing the strength of the group is greater than any individual performance. They don’t seem to crave the glory that comes with being in a successful band and definitely don’t seek that attention.
In talking to the group about this article they seemed more concerned with thanking all the fans who showed up to every show and danced the night away with them, than gushing over personal achievements.
“It’s just the coolest thing to start out loving to make music in my basement and then get to where people know your songs, and come to get down at your shows, and have as much fun as us. It blows my mind,” Rizer said.
For Rizer, DeFord, Dick Sterling (bass, harmonia, vocals) and Alex Slorby (drums, banjo) Friday night’s show is a last chance to be selfish and play music with each other and for some great people, and enjoy one last Lowlands’ tradition: a post-gig, Village Inn visit.
Lowlands is a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit honky tonk and a whole lot of humility. The converging talent of these four musicians is ideally suited to play anywhere from a block party to a dive bar, and for anyone willing to come down and listen.
It is as close to a perfect band Grand Junction has ever seen and it is unfortunate Lowlands only has one show left to give to the Colorado faithful.