Scour any local music venue's upcoming performance schedule and you'll notice something: There's not a single out-of-town act playing anywhere in Colorado Springs between Dec. 20 and Dec. 27 (unless you count a handful of Denver bands). Not at The Black Sheep, not at The Rocket Room, not at Union Station, not at theElement, not at Cowboys. Not even at the Pikes Peak Center or World Arena.
We're faced with a barren national music landscape in Colorado Springs.
The scapegoat? According to local venue managers: the weather.
(Not that local venues have exactly been killing it with their bookings so far this season. Offhand conversations with workers in the local scene show a lack of enthusiasm about the acts that have come through town recently.)
"Bands are learning that you don't want to tour through Colorado in the winter," says Geoff Brent, the Black Sheep's general manager. "Plus, most people want to stay home around Christmas time."
It's not just the national acts who are being less active. Randy Kotterer, who owns, manages and books Union Station, says he's having trouble even getting local acts to play his stage this week.
"Right now's not a difficult time to get people to come out," Kotterer says. "But it's a real difficult time to book bands. Most local bands have one or two members going home for the holidays."
It happens pretty much every winter: Colorado loses acts because of weather concerns, and then loses out on even more acts because of holiday obligations.
"People want to play California in the winter," Kotterer says. "They do really well this time of the year. We do better in the summer."
Still, The Black Sheep and Union Station have events planned for the week.
Friday and Saturday, The Black Sheep will participate in a swap with Denver's Marquis Theater. A total of eight bands, four from the Springs and four from Denver, will play the two venues on back-to-back nights. Friday, The Black Sheep will host locals The Murder Formula and Drive In Massacre, plus Denver acts Viper : Viper and Aristea.
When those bands head to Denver on Saturday, the Springs will see the bands that played the Marquis the night before: locals Eyes Caught Fire and leer43, with Denver's The Pickup Artist and Genre Theory.
At Union Station, Kotterer's doing a little exploration. A recent addition to his staff, DJ Chris Diablo, who normally spins between sets at the venue, will host a couple of nights on his turntables. And on Friday, local punk acts Stab Crew, 3 Grams Over an Ounce, The Brown Noise and The Anarclitz will come to Kotterer's stage unusual considering the venue's taste for metal, hard rock, stoner rock and hip-hop.
Is it the best music week ever? Hardly. But it could be worse. Brent, at least, sees a silver lining.
"It's good for local bands," he says.