Fall is kind of a mixed bag when it comes to music these days: The heavy summer tour season is just a sunburned memory, the pre-holiday record release schedule — once stuffed with heavy-hitters — nearly as anemic as the industry that supports it.
On the surface, this might seem problematic. But do a bit of digging, and it becomes apparent that there's still a lot going on, though some of it may be a bit more underground than in autumns past. And while it's true that fall doesn't officially begin until Sept. 22, let's kick off with a few preseason highlights.
Darius Rucker, an artist who will be forever haunted by his Hootie & the Blowfish past, will be bringing his more countrified fare to the Colorado State Fair on Sept 5. Other musical breaks from the livestock exhibits, chocolate-covered jalapeños and booths where you shoot water into clowns' mouths — I love those things! — include Sawyer Brown on Aug. 29, Foreigner (minus 25-year frontman Lou Gramm) on Sept. 3, and Boulder's marginally interesting 3OH!3 on Sept. 7.
Hardcore "Rock of the '80s" fans will want to pay a visit to the Boulder Theater on Sept. 11 to catch up with the Psychedelic Furs and Happy Mondays. (Shoulder pads and Ecstasy optional.) Those who are a decade more advanced can make their way to Blink-182 (they're back) with Weezer at Fiddler's Green on the 6th.
If you need that one last summer festival fix, you can either stop by Cañon City's three-day Belvedere Blues Festival — which kicks off Sept. 11 with Jake Loggins and Flash Cadillac — or Red Rocks' Monolith Festival, with Yeah Yeah Yeahs headlining on the 12th and the Mars Volta on the 13th.
And while you may not be able to see Pearl Jam this year, you will be able to hear the band when its season-straddling Backspacer album comes out. This exclusive summer release for Target shoppers hits the superstore's shelves on the 20th, after which it will be available through real music outlets on the 22nd, along with new albums from the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band (which features none of the original members, some of whom may still be alive), Stephen Stills' Manassas (which does feature all the original members, but consists of outtakes only), the Big Pink (a British electro-shoegazer duo currently captivating critics on the other side of the pond) and Monsters of Folk (starring Jim James, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and M. Ward as the world's most sensitive indie supergroup).
Is it October already? Then say hi to every band you've ever wanted to see reunited. OK, that's a total lie, but we do get Loggins & Messina, riding high on their reunion hit "Footloose at Pooh Corner," at the Pikes Peak Center on the 19th. After that, there's Roger Daltrey (who will reunite with himself on the 20th at the Paramount Theatre), the Pogues (who will drink all of you under the table on the 23rd at the Ogden Theatre), Urge Overkill (yes, Urge Overkill, as in Pulp Fiction, "Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon," that Urge Overkill, on the 24th at the Larimer Lounge) and the lovely Dinosaur Jr. (on the 29th at the Boulder Theater). As for reunion albums, come Oct. 6, two words pretty much say it all: Backstreet Boys.
Also in October, you'll find Brother Ali at the Black Sheep on the 1st, Hope Sandoval at the Bluebird Theater on the 1st, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt at the Pikes Peak Center on the 7th, New Model Army at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on the 10th, Mastodon at the Fillmore on the 10th, State Radio at the Black Sheep on the 14th, and ... And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead at the Bluebird on the 20th.
Moving on to November, if you've always wondered just why it is that no one's ever released a 70-CD Miles Davis box set, wonder no more. The Complete Columbia Album Collection contains more LP tracks, alternate takes and live performances than you can shake a bright red trumpet at. The package also includes one very lonely DVD. Priced to sell at $369.98, this big-ass box is slated to hit — and possibly crack — store shelves around the world Nov. 10. We can also expect lots of more diminutive box sets as the holiday shopping season approaches.
As for the remainder of the fall season, there just isn't a whole lot that's been booked (or, apparently, recorded) at this point. Here in the Springs, you can hold your breath for Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the World Arena on Nov. 4 — or not. The same goes for Mannheim Steamroller at the Pikes Peak Center on the 22nd.
Further afield, Deadmau5 scurries into the Ogden on Nov. 4, Skinny Puppy plays the same venue on the 7th, and the Black Crowes come to the Fillmore on the 13th. After that it's mostly non-animal acts, including the Pixies at the Fillmore on the 16th, Gunfire 76 at Cervantes on the 18th, and Erin McKeown at the Walnut Room on the 27th.
As for December, don't even ask, at least not yet. Hey, it can only get better, right?Click here for the complete Fall Arts Preview 2009 table of contents!