Although you might not initially tag Colorado Springs as a hip-hop mecca, our fair city has been graced by plenty of hip-hop heavyweights in the past few years, including numerous Rhymesayers acts and the truly legendary, politically eloquent KRS-One. Now comes word that tickets have gone on sale for the Atlanta-based Waka Flocka Flame, a rapper whose ambitions include nothing less than the presidency of the United States.
In a video with Rolling Stone, the emcee outlined his plan to make America great again, which includes immediate legalization of marijuana, stopping dogs coming into restaurants, and banning people with feet over size 13 from walking on sidewalks and "taking up all the concrete." Quite frankly, he's the candidate that we both need and deserve.
You can meet our forthcoming commander-in-chief at the Black Sheep on Aug. 15, and you might want to pay attention to the lyrics, as his educational reforms will include comprehensive testing on them. If you flunk, you'll be sent back to the third grade.
Meanwhile, it's hard to say if floods, fires, or perhaps tornadoes will be making the headlines this summer, but as the temperatures rise, you can find some relief in the many recently announced upcoming shows. The Westword Music Showcase, Colorado's largest single-day music festival, will be held in Denver's Golden Triangle district on June 20. There, you'll find a veritable cornucopia of genres from which to choose. Among them are a hundred local acts, including esoteric hip-hop band Wheelchair Sports Camp, guitar-pop heroes Bud Bronson & the Good Timers, and Colorado Springs' own Modern Suspects.
The national acts on the main stage are similarly eclectic, including Australian electronica beatmaker Flume, Austin's spooky, neo-psychedelic rockers The Black Angels, New York indie-pop ensemble MisterWives, and Denver's own synthpop outfit AMZY. The event runs from noon to 10 p.m.
If you'd prefer to head down south, Pueblo's Bands in the Backyard festival runs June 20 to 21, featuring country star Toby Keith as the headliner. Other acts will include the Grammy-nominated Eli Young Band, Anglophile guitar-slinger Landon Williams, Knoxville singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini, and long-running Southern hair-rockers 38 Special.
Of course, if you like your country music a little more alt-country (or, as I call it, "country"), you don't have to travel far at all. The Black Sheep will be hosting Texan one-man-band Scott H. Biram on June 24th. Biram combines Americana, blues, punk, metal and deranged preaching into a fiery, country-fried mix reminscent of Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, and is not to be missed live.
Speaking of Americana, Woodshed Red, the local quartet who turned plenty of heads with a standout performance at the MeadowGrass Music Festival, will be the headliners at the second annual Rocky Mountain Human Services-Homes for All Veterans benefit concert. The show will raise money for the Jumpstart Fund, which provides assistance to local veterans in need. Along with Woodshed Red's uptempo folk stylings, local singer-songwriter Jason Bennett and pedal steel guitarist Rich Currier are also performing. The concert will be held at the Gold Room on June 19th.
Meanwhile, local saxophone virtuoso Tony Exum Jr. has announced the release of a new single, "She's Bad," available on iTunes and CD Baby. The jazz-soul number anticipates Exum's upcoming new album, 5, as well as his tribute show to Luther Vandross at Stargazer's Theater on June 20th.
Finally, it is with a heavy heart that the Colorado Springs music and art scene mourns the passing of Natasha Spence, aka ItsReaLight, after a battle with Lupus. Light is remembered by fellow artists as a vibrant performer, singer, poet and inspirational friend to many in town. In her own words, "I don't necessarily want to be remembered as I want to be understood. Remember me by living your life ... bright."