It's not often I go to the same venue two nights in a row, but this past weekend was well worth it.
Let's start off with Inelements' Friday night performance at the Black Sheep. Colorado Springs' premiere alt-metal act tore it up during an incendiary set of originals at the Rock for Sophie Valdez benefit. Songs from Post Stress, the band's 2011 full-length debut, were even more brutally brilliant live. The group also debuted a new song, "Star Crossing," that bodes well for an Inelements EP that's slated for early 2013 release.
Steven Huckaby, who grew up singing in a church choir, can shift from a soulful croon to a hellacious scream, while his bandmates splice more genres into a single song than most explore in the course of a career.
"We love our influences enough to try to emulate all of them," says the frontman, who rattles off favorites like Glassjaw, Deftones, Blood Brothers, City and Color, Bad Rabbits and Amos Lee. "We really try to put all of that in what we do. Both as a band and as musicians, we're always learning and discovering how to play and write what we want to hear."
Catch Inelements this Thursday at the new venue, Rawkus, where they'll headline KILO's Loud and Local Throwdown, along with seven other acts ranging from Melting Temple to Malakai. Details, including set times, at facebook.com/events/545759698772126.
OK, back to the Black Sheep. While at the Sophie show, I also ran into Soda Jerk Presents owner Mike Barsch, who was down here paying a visit to his very first venue. (He and his team now own and operate Denver's Marquis Theater and Summit Music Hall, as well.)
Barsch shared obscure Colorado music trivia — Munly from Slim Cessna's Auto Club, it turns out, is a "rippin' hockey player" — talked about the club's commitment to booking local acts, and recalled how Soda Jerk had started out as a record label before it became obvious that tickets were selling better than albums. Mostly, it was just cool to meet someone in the music business who's actually into music, because that's never a given.
On Saturday, I headed back to the same venue to catch A Black Day, and am happy to say that the hip-hop collective's debut gig more than lived up to expectations raised by its new "Letter to the Non-Believer" track.
The set opened big with a full-on assault called "B.L.A.C.K. D.A.Y. (Why Stop)," and never let up. Between songs, the four well-pedigreed rappers (Milogic from Sound Powered Engine, HoTT from Audible, Jayoin from Mad Trees, and Ahmad Mitchell from Fidel Redstar) served up solo a cappella raps. Ahmad's, which was in French, was from a song by Accumen, his former group with ReMINDer emcee Samir, who was also in the crowd. The verse, he later told me, is basically about how he and Samir "paint with words and speak for all of those suffering and struggling."
Of course, this is also a group that comes up with lines like "Saw us onstage / Now she wants a black baby," so there's depth there. Upcoming A Black Day gigs include Soul Sessions at the Zodiac on Dec. 23, and a show with DJ Abilities at the same venue in March.
In other news, the Mansfields have quietly gotten back together for an Xmas album. Ghosts of Christmas finds the local gothabilly legends taking a whack at holiday chestnuts like "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Decked with jingle bells and tons of tremolo, the CD will be in local shops this week.
And finally, while you're counting the days between now and the Grant Sabin album release show (see cover story, here), you can catch him playing in two other bands this week.
On Friday, he'll be performing with Daniel James Eaton, Sam Erickson and Alex Koshak. Yes, it's the Briffaut lineup, but they're calling themselves the Appolites, because they'll all be taking turns as frontmen.
"Briffaut is Dan's baby," explains Alex. "The Appolites is shared custody." The event is called Live in Deep Space, and will also feature performances by Desirae Garcia, Luna Moth and Dear Rabbit. The show will be held at 228 W. Cimarron St., with an 8 p.m. start time.
Then on Saturday, Grant will be playing in Mike Clark's band Sugar Sounds at a house concert fundraiser. Showtime is 6 p.m., address is 1002 Oxford Lane, and the suggested $15 donation will benefit the Montessori Prep School. Call 244-2445 for additional info.