MeadowGrass won't begin announcing any of its 2014 bookings until later this month, but already Colorado Springs' largest music festival has sold $3,000 worth of VIP passes as part of an indiegogo campaign that runs through this coming Sunday. Proceeds from the crowdfunding effort will go to Rocky Mountain Highway, a new local nonprofit with an ambitious agenda that includes taking the reins of the Memorial Day weekend festival and turning the Mountain of the Sun Music Festival into an ongoing concert series.
Although the VIP ticket allotment has sold out, you can still donate to the cause at indiegogo.com/projects/rocky-mountain-highway in exchange for perks ranging from ballcaps and CDs to having a band come to your house and play for 50 of your closest friends, with refreshments and production costs included.
While you're there, you can check out a slick (but heartfelt!) video about the festival that includes performance footage of past MeadowGrass favorites like Damien Jurado, Frazey Ford and Chubby Carrier's Bayou Swamp Band. A big part of what makes MeadowGrass unique is its ongoing commitment to pairing widely acclaimed touring artists with up-and-coming local acts who've rarely, if ever, had the chance to play for 1,000-plus crowds.
All of which gives festival-goers the opportunity to sample some of the best of Colorado Springs' music scene in one rustic setting. As Changing Colors' Conor Bourgal puts it in the promotional film, "It's not just a bunch of bands that wish they could be in Denver. We like it here and we're Colorado Springs bands and that's fine. Some of us are pretty good."
Actually, a lot of them are really good, including local hip-hop emcees Bullhead*ded, whom I caught the weekend before last during Agents of Sound's "Soul" showcase at the Subterranean nightclub.
The group is now down to a trio — Che Bong, Zetfree FoundDed and Nato Lucero — but favorites like "Breakdown" and "Raise Your Glass" sounded as vital as ever, not least because of the addition of drummer Nicholas Hureau (Audible, Robbie Wicks), who first hooked up with the three emcees when they played last October's KRS-One show.
Headliners the Wandering Monks also ventured into live-instrument terrain, with a full band complementing their engaging mix of reggae harmonies, hip-hop rhymes and progressive politics.
I also have to mention Rocket From the Crypt's reunion tour date this past Saturday at Denver's Summit Music Hall, just because they're the best live rock band in the world. The group's horn-driven post-punk onslaught was a beautiful thing to behold, as was the reaction to frontman John Reis' tongue-in-cheek description of Byers — population 1,160 and host to last summer's Riot Fest — as our state's "true capital." (If you missed the show, you can still go back and read our Rocket From the Crypt interview in last week's issue.)
As for the upcoming week, here's a quick rundown of live shows you can check out: The Fanning Brothers are a new trio featuring the Haunted Windchimes' Sean Fanning on vocals and drums, his twin brother Aaron Fanning on vocals, guitar and tenor banjo, and Windchimes bandmate Inaiah Lujan on bass and vocals. They'll be playing this Thursday on a bill with Grant Sabin & the Full Moon at the Braveworks Woodshop, a custom furniture business that made its debut as a performance space when Josh Dillard and Changing Colors played an acoustic show there back in October.
On Friday, local glam punks the Roxy Suicide will be making a rare Colorado Springs appearance at Zodiac. Saturday sees the Royal Southern Brotherhood, featuring members of both the Neville Brothers and the Allman Brothers, paying a visit to Stargazers, which just happens to be celebrating its fifth anniversary. Then on Sunday, look for Head and the Heart frontman Josiah Johnson on a bill with Carleigh Aikins, Caroline Smith and Ark Life at Ivywild.
And finally, you have until Feb. 13 to catch The Works of Mathias Valdez at Pueblo's kadoya gallery. The LastLeaf Printing founder has created numerous visually arresting posters for local musicians, as well as for groups like Daft Punk and Mudhoney. The opportunity to see the originals exhibited alongside his other creations should be well worth the effort.