Hellhounds take note: Highly revered local blues channeler John-Alex Mason will debut his latest deep roots trio with a tribute to Robert Johnson at Stargazers Theatre on Friday, May 8. Not so coincidentally, this date would have been the blues legend's 98th birthday.
A local legend in his own right, Mason was the winner of the 2001 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition, has charted No. 1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Chart, and has performed with B.B. King, James Cotton, John Mayall and other icons of the genre. This evening, in honor of the "Grandfather of Rock 'n Roll" and the man whose coattails have been ridden harder and longer than any musician before or since, Mason's new trio will be joined by musical guests from around the region to deliver a set of Johnson's most cherished songs, to be followed by a set of Mason's original material. Tickets are $10 and the doors open at 7; more info can be found at stargazerstheater.com.
It will be an equally remarkable evening on the "other" side of the tracks, as Kinfolks Mountain Shop is hosting what's certain to be a real house-rocker. "It's going to be insane in this town Friday night," promises Josh VonLoh, promoter at Kinfolks, which will host Corey Branan, a Southern singer/songwriter whose talents have been compared to those of Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst and John Prine. He is also a known associate of the band Lucero, and is quickly gaining a national reputation as a highly skilled and emotive alt country yarn-spinner. Opening the free show will be the Jack Trades' Mike Clark and Grant Sabin.
Afterward, Josh writes, "we're encouraging everyone to walk 400ft up Manitou Ave. to see the Changing Colors, Haunted Windchimes and Martha Scanlan (who with her band, the Reeltime Travelers, has toured along with Alison Krauss and the incomparable Ralph Stanley, and were also featured on the Cold Mountain soundtrack) at the Ancient Mariner." What's this? Coordinated efforts to support a vibrant music scene? Who needs Austin's Sixth Street?! We got Manitou Avenue!
But back to Branan: He'll also be playing on Saturday, May 9 at the Triple Nickel with Chad Price of Drag the River, and with the Jack Trades, though that one will cost you seven of your precious monies. And back to Sabin: He'll be playing at the Ancient Mariner este sábado también.
Now, at last, back to downtown: The newly de-keyboard-ified power trio Orchid Riot will debut as a psychedelic/indie/rock "power duo" at Jack Quinn's on Friday, May 8. According to an official statement, they are "very excited to be performing all new material, and unveiling our new sound." As are we, gentlemen, as are we.
Sunshine Studios (3970 Clearview Frontage Road) is throwing another one of its patented all-ages core-core showcases on Friday evening. The lineup includes Single Triple Double, the Shift Below, Tribes of Asher, Paralysis, Four through Six and AKA. Doors are at 7, and it's only $6 U.S.
Experimental indie rockers Tango Red Tapestry, along with the freshly minted power-prog-poppers the Guilt Complex, will play pretty for the kids Friday at theLoft (2502 W. Colorado Ave., upstairs). Have fun, y'all, but please don't leave trash outside — the neighbors have been complaining!
And, if none of that gets your motor running, well, head out on the highway Friday night. Go see Bob Log III, the Evil Knievel of one-man bands, who will be at Denver's Bluebird Theater (3317 E. Colfax Ave.) in support of his brilliant new album, My Shit is Perfect.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get in there and smell it, already!