On the Goe: Give it up for the GJ music scene in 2012
Man, what a year for Grand Junction. The live music scene has been pretty exciting, dare I say, all time great. And no, I’m not just talking about Michael “Jack Sparrow” Bolton at Avalon Theatre or his band’s awesome surprise appearance at the Blues Jam at Mesa Theater and Lounge.
There were so many music moments in Grand Junction this year that I’ve had a hard time remembering my favorites. Normally, just having Zac Brown Band or KISS grace us with their presence would be too much to ask.
Not in 2012. It was loaded with talent, and I loved every minute.
It’s hard to decide which show was my favorite. Truthfully, I still don’t know. But two shows continually rise to the top. You can’t recap 2012 without mentioning Explosions in the Sky on April 6 at the Mesa Theater and Radiation City on March 3 at the Rockslide Brewery.
Both were great for their own reasons. Explosions was an incredible, sensory overload. Seeing the Mesa Theater packed to bursting with hometown energy was special.
Just like Explosions, Radiation City played a fantastic set. The five piece Portland band has the catchiest collection of critically acclaimed indie pop songs around, but for some reason they fell on deaf ears in Grand Junction. If you were one of the 20 or so people who stayed around for their set, then you know why I count them as perhaps my favorite show of 2012. For a band on the verge of big things, they essentially played a private show. It was a great moment.
Getting two new bands in their prime touring through Grand Junction is special. The thing is, by my count, we had at least three other indie bands roll through town who are well their way. The Allah-Las and the Growlers both played the Mesa Theater and seeing Bad Weather California twice this year was a highlight.
Even though the band is Denver-based, their shows feel like homecomings. I always meet a new friend at their shows. They bring out the best of Grand Junction.
After Bad Weather California’s July 6 set, Jason Anderson rocked the Mesa Theater Lounge, crowd surfing while playing guitar and singing. Meeting Anderson’s keyboardist, Joe DeGeorge, was a surprise. Turns out DeGeorge is one half of Harry and the Potters, the best wizard rock band around. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The most surprising show had to be Raekwon and Freddie Gibbs. Live hip-hop is notorious for being less than advertised, however, this show was a blast. Freddie Gibbs’ flow was liquid smooth and you can’t beat The Chef running through Wu-Tang Clan’s deep collection of masterpieces.
The local EDM scene also had a strong year. Not only did big time DJs Robotic Pirate Monkey and Kill Paris crush the Mesa Theater, the crowds for EDM local shows continued to grow.
On the local front, two new bands really caught my eye.
If you haven’t seen Bronco County play, do. Lead singer Matt Zurek has the chaotic stage swagger of Jim Morrison or Joe Cocker. It is the most entertaining local band to watch by far.
The guy/girl DJ duo Chamber Bot is raising the bar for local DJs everywhere with each show they play. If you need a night to rage away your worries, find out when Chamber Bot is playing next and go to that.
It’s impossible to talk about how good the Primus, Chris Issak, The Parlors, Sauna, The Knew, Races and Orca Team shows were in this column.
What makes me happy, though, is where the Grand Junction music scene is headed. The combination of local talent and more and more bands making touring stops here has me pumped for 2013.