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Weekend Shows Dominated by Local Musicians

By David Goe

In the almost four years I’ve written this column, I’ve noticed considerable change in our music community.

Once reserved for a smaller, fringe audience, local music has spread into the general population.

Our little music scene now travels well beyond the four-block radius of downtown Grand Junction. On any given night, it’s not unusual to find shows at any corner of the Grand Valley. From Cruisers Bar on Horizon Drive to Barons on Colorado Avenue and from the Palisade Brewing Co. to The Hot Tomato in Fruita, there are more options than ever to see live music.

Outside of traditional bar venues, places such as Colorado Mesa University have grown to include local music. The Point, the university’s new coffee shop and pub, is wise to the musicians playing around town. Hosting everything from open mic nights to live request club nights, The Point is another option for college students and the public to see live music.

The campus radio station, KMSA, has changed formats and now pumps local music out over its airwaves.

The same goes for KAFM. As the only community radio station in the valley, KAFM is still dedicated to providing local musicians access to a local audience.

From our agriculture, restaurants, mountain bike trails and now to our music scene, Grand Junction has put an emphasis on local.

Once the dominion of weekends, local music has expanded to weeknights. Local performers have kept the Thursday Downtown Farmers Market lively all summer. Touring groups, such as the country and roots band Carson McHone, are finding weeknight homes at places like Cruisers, which is a sneaky good venue bringing in a wide variety of national acts.

This weekend, Sept. 4–6, is a perfect sampling of what our music community has evolved into. There are shows across the valley in a wide variety of genres, offering a little something for everyone.

The talk of the town has been New York City Cops, a local music supergroup comprised of members from Wavebaby and Mount Orchid. (Full disclosure: I play guitar for New York City Cops.)

Playing a note-for-note cover of The Strokes’ classic first album “Is This It,” New York City Cops brings its raucous act to The Hot Tomato in Fruita at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5.

After packing out Sabrosa during its first show, don’t be surprised if it is standing room only at The Hot Tomato. Get there early and stake out a spot, for modern rock fans or fans of the Strokes, New York City Cops is worth the wait.

Playing at 10 p.m. Friday night, Sept. 4, at Barons are local funk heroes Tight Thump and the Denver band Branded Bandits.

Brought to you by Skylark Productions, Branded Bandits fits right in with past Skylark shows. If you liked In the Whale or the Yawpers, then you’ll most likely be into Branded Bandits.

Prepare for a blitzkrieg of hoots and hollers as this guy/girl power trio channels the likes of early Black Sabbath, Jack White’s Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age. (This show is 18 and up.)

Also playing Friday night at The Local are guitarist Tim Jennings and percussionist Richard Crespin, who teamed up for a new project called — you guessed it — Tim+Richard. The duo plan to record the entire performance.

With Will Whalen playing the First Friday Art Opening at The Art Center and Chris Epic holding down his usual Saturday night DJ spot at Sabrosa, this weekend again proves that there is more going on in Grand Junction than we give it credit for. 

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