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Playing Around: Boondoggle 

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There's something funky in the air around here, something that smells like -- no, wait, it couldn't be -- a live music scene.

It's possible, considering the A-level acts that have come through in the past year, the numerous venues that have begun to host live music, and the show of support at these shows. Currently the public is in a heated debate over not God or sprawl but house concerts, and, why, not one month ago, I even saw old white people dancing to a hippie funk band at the Ritz.

The local music makers have also caught a whiff of this infectious urge to merge the citizens of El Paso County with actual culture. Lance May has taken the bigger-is-better route, causing scenes with Looks Like Me on downtown roofs and, last weekend, sending mass e-mails pledging to perform with only an acoustic guitar and a tambourine around his ankle when bad weather threatened the Back to School Bash in Acacia Park.

And then you've got Boondoggle. Pillars of the local rock scene, the six-member band wrote their own rock opera, Ursa, about a Russian circus bear, which was performed here only a few times before the band headed off on a bizarre tour of the southern United States. They've been back for a while now -- just long enough to get it into their heads that this town is ready for not only a reprise of Ursa but a full-blown rock carnival, too.

And they may be right. Energetic junk rock such as Boondoggle's lends itself to a fire-breathing, knife-juggling, laser-show kind of atmosphere, and they've chosen the Smokebrush Cabaret as the venue. The opera reprise is also the first chance for Boonies to purchase the band's new EP, and tickets are only five bucks. Call 685-5196 or visit www.boonie.com.

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