I suppose it speaks volumes about Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires' incendiary performance that it was even a bigger adrenaline rush than when I nearly barreled into an armed security guard at Bristol's Freewheelin' Music Fest and Indy Music Awards. When the members of Bradley's backing band each took an extended solo toward the end of his set, it was, you know, hotter than the 84-degree sunshine that bestowed a wicked sunburn upon me by the weekend's close.
I could continue with these clumsy metaphors, sure, and throw in a pun about Bristol's Beehive honey wheat and the many bees inexplicably flying about the stage areas, but what really mattered was the music.
Modern audiences are frequently spoiled by the sheer breadth of excellent performances available live and online, particularly in the overarching rock and hip-hop genres. But it's a rare opportunity to see a classic soul performance such as Bradley's, which included James Brown-esque dance moves, a costume change into a stylish red blazer, and numerous paeans to his love and appreciation for his crowd. The "Screaming Eagle of Soul" and his band put on a performance that honestly rocked harder than most of the rock bands present.
That's not meant as a slight to the other acts, mind you. Aside from Bradley, the weekend was packed with performances that kept the festival from dragging. The atmospheric yet rootsy sound of Porlolo, the power-pop-influenced rock 'n' roll of Pujol, local favorite Chauncy Crandall's soaring vocals, and indie-pop cellist Ian Cooke's whimsical odes to dinosaurs and romantic longing were personal favorites.
Likewise, Chimney Choir's eclectic everything-and-the-kitchen-sink arrangements, Patrick Dethlefs' pedal-steel-driven folk, Natural Child's bluesy Krautrock motor rhythms, Joe Pug's wry acoustic narratives, and Phosphorescent's shimmering indie rock ensured there was enough variety to satisfy just about everyone.
Meanwhile, in the front yard of Ivywild, the local IMA winners were putting on charismatic performances of their own. Popular hip-hop act The ReMINDers seemed to have everyone within a five-mile radius dancing in jubilation, while punk rockers The Mostly Don'ts weren't far behind in crowd participation. Woodshed Red, Charlie Milo, and Stoney Bertz turned in vibrant and dynamic sets, too.
But one of the best surprises of the day was when metal veterans Malakai stopped on a dime from their more thrash-inspired material and delivered a hilariously spot-on rendition of Rick Astley's blue-eyed soul oddity "Never Gonna Give You Up." I think those kids are going places.
It would probably fill the entire issue to mention all the great musical moments over the weekend, so suffice to say that all the performers who participated in the Indy Music Awards and Freewheelin' Music Fest deserve kudos for their sets, as well as continued success and support from Colorado Springs' musical community. In case you missed them in the previous issue, check the features on each IMA winner online.
Now, for the week ahead:
• Local singer-songwriter Molly Boyles debuts her new project, titled The Really Big Show, at the Millibo Art Theatre on Friday, Sept. 25. A collaboration with members of Lipstick Voodoo and the Very Nearly Comedy Troupe, the show combines sketch comedy, film and live music.
• Grammy-nominated Southern rockers Rhett Walker Band and folk singer Stephanie Pauline perform a benefit show at Discovery Church on Friday, Sept. 25, to support More than Music, Inc., a nonprofit that produces concerts in correctional and treatment facilities, among other services.
• Also on Friday, the Flux Capacitor hosts a multi-genre hip-hop/punk/grindcore extravaganza, featuring Kevin Mitchell and AlreadydeaD, Sonic Vomit, Shiii Whaaa, MyCelph, and Teqnik G.
• Rounding out the very busy 25th, you can catch a night of post-rock and experimental electronic music at Zodiac, featuring Denver's Altas (see interview, p. 27), with Blind The Thief and Church Fire.
• Saturday, Sept. 26, brings a legitimate black metal event to the Flux Capacitor: Music from Iceland's Dynfari and Romania's Negura Bunget and Grimegod will be augmented by the work of Belgian artist Christophe Szpajdel, who has designed well over 7,000 logos for metal bands.
• Finally, thanks to an additional, final show added in October, you can enjoy the now-penultimate edition of the Kiowa Sessions September 27 at the Gold Room. This month's lineup includes Smith House, Andy Tanner, Swelter & Burn, and We Are Not a Glum Lot.
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