As you've no doubt heard, recently passed legislation will require all indie bands to include at least one cello player as of Jan. 1, 2012. So it's no surprise, really, that downtown gallery/performance space S.P.Q.R., which is always at least six months ahead of its time, will host its own Cellosplosion next Thursday, Aug. 18.
The event will demonstrate the instrument's crossover potential via three cello-wielding eclectics. Ian Cooke, a Denver-based innovator who's shared stages with artists ranging from the Dresden Dolls to Flaming Lips, uses his live-looped cello and voice to create a genuinely original form of pop music. Sharing the bill are Chicago cello-and-drum duo The Loneliest Monk and former Springs bowslinger Lisa Show.
Also happening next Thursday, in this very newspaper, is the announcement of winners in the inaugural Indy Music Awards. Now this is not to be confused with our Sept. 1 Local Music Issue, in which winners will be profiled. Nor is any of it to be confused the Indy's Best Of Colorado Springs readers' poll, which has been going on for 18 years and no longer contains local music categories for the above reasons. Got all that? Anyway, be sure to stop back next week for the big reveal.
In other news: I was really impressed by last Saturday's season-closing Acacia Park performance by the great El Toro de la Muerte, particularly with Mike Nipp's driving bass lines and the disturbingly faithful cover of the Queen/Bowie collaboration, "Under Pressure." Word from El Toro's Ryan Spradlin is that the band has a full album recorded and set for release around Halloween.
Also on the record-release horizon is the youthful (average age less than 17) We Are Not a Glum Lot. The group, whose complex alt-pop tunes are further complicated by the band's violinist Colin Foxwell — start saving up for that cello now, kids — has launched a kickstarter.com page to raise funds for a five-song EP it's planning to record at Denver's Macy Sound Studios. The project only gets funded if they raise $1,500 before Sept. 7, and incentives include, at the $100 level, a performance at the office or funeral of your choice. The group will also be playing the Black Sheep this coming Saturday with Leftmore and the Great Hotel Fire opening.
So have I mentioned lately how much I hate most jam bands? (With the exception of your jam band, which is totally awesome.) And yes, I know that most genre categories are pretty arbitrary. But when the guitar solo meanders longer than the war in Afghanistan, I'm willing to stereotype.
Anyway, Denver's the Congress doesn't really do that, but it is making a name for itself on the jam-band circuit and beyond, thanks to some serious musicianship. A fairer comparison might be the Band. Or the Nocturnals. (Except that instead of Grace Potter, you get a bearded guy in a Sherpa hat. Sorry.)
Based on tracks from a forthcoming EP co-produced by Daniel Clarke of Ryan Adams and k.d. lang fame, I'd say the Congress is well worth catching at Sunday's Craft Lager Fest in Manitou.
And finally, as long as we're talking jam bands, Leftover Salmon bassist Greg Garrison will be doing a jazz gig with the Jacob Herold Quartet on Sunday afternoon at the Olympian Reception and Event Center. Pianist Eric Gunnison and drummer Paul Romaine round out the former Springs saxman's quartet. Info at ppjass.org.