Trust me, the last thing I'd planned to do on Friday the 13th was spend the evening loitering in a downtown alley. But stumbling upon Paul Riola's Bottesini Project playing out behind the Modbo and S.P.Q.R. galleries, where painter Lorelei Beckstrom and curator Brett Andrus were holding their opening receptions, left me no choice.

For those who aren't familiar with him, the Denver-based saxophonist is a rising star in the admittedly rarefied world of improvisational jazz, the kind of guy who gets people like Wilco's Nels Cline to play on his albums. Riola's current configuration has a sound that suggests early '70s Miles Davis or a more spacious Lounge Lizards. It's arty but totally accessible. Watch this column for info on future dates.

While listening to Riola, I also got a chance to catch up with fellow East Coast transplant Chris Bullock. The former keyboardist for the (sadly defunct) Nicotine Fits is best known these days for his autoharp-driven Tall City solo project, but he's also been getting increasingly involved in electronic music.

To prove it, Chris handed me the headphones he apparently carries around his neck at all times, and shuffled through a couple of his tripped-out hip-hop beats, including one that samples Dutch prog-rock band Focus, whom he read about in the terminally hip Wax Poetics magazine. (You can go hear "Where the Glory Flows," a new song Bullock produced for local rapper IslatiTheRevo, on our Reverb blog.)

Bullock also spins everything from Marvin Gaye's "T Plays It Cool" to Can's "Vitamin C" during his DJ gig most Sundays at V Bar, where he also hosts a Wednesday night acoustic and a cappella open mic.

What's next? Well, in some parallel universe, I'd recommend seeing Tornado Rider, a self-professed "powerful bird band of swirling goat god victory." According to Pollstar, the band will be playing Brewer's Republic this Saturday night. Unfortunately, I couldn't confirm this with the nine-month-old venue, which has yet to set up its voicemail box. And when I go to the band's blog, all I find is James Joyce-like entries like: "Angels fow, thunder cow Slippin on down to the miggerick linky Astro back, lightning crack Flyin back home to the base of god's pinky."

So no help there, either. Too bad, really, because it would be fun to see this NoCal band fronted by Rushad Eggleston, who wears his cello like a guitar and thrashes it like a maniac. If you're a fan of bands like Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly —or don't mind people who are — you can at least go watch the video for Tornado Rider's hilariously stupid and undeniably catchy "Golden Apple Dance."

OK then, let's move on to a few shows that we're pretty sure will actually materialize.

Hip-hop fans can head to Denver on Friday to catch our own Black P at the Marquis Theater, just so long as they get back down here to see Curren$y at the Black Sheep on Sunday.

And on Saturday, Cedric Burnside's partner-in-blues, Lightnin' Malcolm, steps out on his own at the Silver Tongue Devil Saloon, while over at Zodiac, you can catch Kiowa Sessions promoter Ishhod Collins and his band the Heartless, along with area rock talents Deuce and the Flumps.

Or just ditch town Saturday and head up to the Bluebird Theater for Man Man and the amazing Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers. Can't lose, really.

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


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