I hate to come on all Garrison Keillor here — although my favorite mumbling corpse is coming to the World Arena next month — but as you readers are putting your flower gardens to bed, canning your vegetables, and packing those summer swimming suits in mothballs, I hope you'll pause for just a moment to reflect upon those fading memories of small-town picnics, slow evenings on the front porch, and little Tommy pulling his red Radio Flyer wagon full of kittens down Weber Street.

Actually, I hope you'll do none of those things, because there's too much going on this week to even think about hibernating.

To begin with, there's the return of the more-or-less monthly Showcase at Studio Bee series, which brings local talents to the Pikes Peak Center's junior stage. Organizers are super-sizing this year's programs, packing in three acts and still getting you home in time to watch Millionaire Matchmaker or Man-Eating Super Snake.

This Thursday's showcase is totally eclectic, with half-hour sets from art-damaged post-punk Americana geeks the Wild Hares, "hot, righteous, profanity-free" soul and hip-hop from Smooth Stones, and acoustic pop originals from Brandon Henderson. Find the full schedule, along with videos of past performances, at pikespeakcenter.com/showcaseatstudiobee.

For those who'd prefer to mainline music of a more metallic variety, nearly two dozen bands will perform Friday and Saturday at Sunshine Studios' Live, Loud and Local Metal Fest. Shows start at 5 p.m., and a two-day pass is just 10 bucks. From Tattooed Grin to Last Savior of God, Transit Vibes to the Ingrates, there'll be something for everyone. Or at least everything for someone. Info at sunshinestudioslive.com.

Anyone here feel like celebrating a local CD release? Of course you do, especially when it's for Blackbeard's Dream, the debut solo album by Ben "Blackbeard" Lewis. Best known in these parts as the violinist in indie-grass outfit Grass It Up, the bearded one shows off his instrumental chops and songwriting skills on this eminently listenable new release. Closest analogues I can come up with are mid-period Dirt Band and Railroad Earth, but you can always invent your own on Wednesday at Front Range Barbeque. And don't forget to request my favorite track, "Jettison," because it has a really great chorus and I'm too shy to ask for it myself. J Miller, Stolen Thyme and Grass It Up will also be on hand.

And finally, before returning you to your own private Wobegon, I want to let you in on an odd event this weekend. Clem Snide frontman Eef Barzelay, who opens at CC's Armstrong Hall Sunday for Low (see interview, here), is also hosting an evening of his videos and music at Marmalade at Smokebrush on Saturday. It's free if you show them your Low ticket, $12 if you don't. A small price to pay for what Barzelay describes as a "fanciful attempt to transform the ugly and mundane into something deeper and sadly beautiful."

There's a "that's what she said" joke in there somewhere, but I'm obviously above that.

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


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