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Shuttered doors and troubadours 

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Granted, it was never exactly a destination spot for live music. In fact, most Meadow Muffins frequenters would barely notice the front-room entertainment as they made their way toward the main bar and the cavernous party pit below.

Still, it's never good news when a local establishment goes under, especially one that hires local talent and has been around for 30 years. The Old Colorado City neighborhood bar shuttered its doors last week, after playing host to countless musicians.

"Any time we lose a venue in town, it makes the economy harder on working musicians," says Sean Reid Pyrtle, bassist for Justus League and the Robbie Wicks Band. "Meadow Muffins didn't always have the best audience for live entertainment, nor did they have a stage, but they did compensate the bands very competitively. They did a good job of making the artists feel welcome. They also did a better job of promoting than most music venues in town."

In recent months, 40oz. Freedom Fighters, Johnny Graves & the Blue Waves, Suga' Bear & The Show Time Band and GOYA have all played Meadow Muffins. DJ Tony G, DeeJayBee and numerous others have manned the turntables. Now, Hatch Cover owners Rob and Susan Hirt plan to renovate and reopen the restaurant under a new name later this year.

As for the coming weekend, two Southern-born and semi-legendary singer-songwriters will be paying separate visits to Colorado Springs.

Butch Hancock started out with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely in the alt-country supergroup the Flatlanders. He's also collaborated extensively with fellow Lubbock native Terry Allen and had his songs recorded by artists like Emmylou Harris. You can catch him this coming Saturday at Stargazers.

The following evening, Chris Smither will be playing the new Gold Room performance hall in the Mining Exchange complex. Like Hancock, he's often seen his music covered, most famously by his friend and colleague Bonnie Raitt. Smither's most recent album features performances by Loudon Wainwright and Allen Toussaint.

And finally, for all of you fans of minor motion pictures about neurotic British musicians who wear giant papîer maché heads 24 hours a day, I can definitely recommend the new film Frank, which features Michael Fassbender in the title role.

Given its quirky subject matter, it's actually a surprisingly nuanced film. Fassbender comes across, both physically and emotionally, as a kind of art-damaged hybrid of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and Claymation character Davey Hansen from the Christian TV series Davey & Goliath. His masterful performance is easily the best by an actor in an oversized fake head since John Hurt in The Elephant Man.

A limited release that's very unlikely to make it to the Springs, Frank is currently showing at Denver's Mayan Theater, where I made a point of seeing it this past weekend. As you might guess from the premise, it's not for everyone. In fact, the person I went with kind of hated it. But if you've ever been in a miserably failed band and/or have an appreciation for darkly wistful humor, this one's well worth the trip.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com; follow our updates at tinyurl.com/indyreverb.

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