According to my very scientific research, Barb Wire Dolls — who will play the Triple Nickel this coming Friday — are the only band that's been taken under the wings of both glam-rock KROQ personality Rodney Bingenheimer and grunge rock's best-known producer, Steve Albini.
L.A.'s mop-topped "Mayor of Sunset Strip" caught on to the Greek band from its very beginning, bringing Barb Wire Dolls over here for a 2010 appearance on his "Rodney on the ROQ" show as well as a sold-out date at the famed Roxy Theatre.
A subsequent relocation to California led to tons of press, including a Guitar World interview titled "The Return of Punk." From there, the band went on to record last November's debut album Slit, produced by aforementioned Nirvana/Breeders producer Albini. It also doesn't hurt that frontwoman Isis Queen looks like Blondie's Debbie Harry and rolls around the stage like the Dead Boys' Stiv Bators.
Coincidentally enough, Barb Wire Dolls' Nickel show, which will include an opening set from local punk bashers Hussy, happens to fall on one of those rare weekends when Colorado Springs has a choice of more great acts than our neighbors in Denver. Fortunately for the more indecisive music fans among us, they cover a broad enough spectrum of genres that deciding among them shouldn't be that difficult.
On Saturday, for instance, the Pikes Peak Center is bringing in genuinely legendary singer-songwriter John Prine, who's performed at the Library of Congress and had his songs recorded by artists like Miranda Lambert, Bon Iver, the Avett Brothers and Johnny Cash. Prine also has some two dozen albums of his own, which include such signature songs as the chilling "Sam Stone" and the timeless "Angel From Montgomery" (which has itself been covered by artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to Cameo).
And yes, there are more Saturday night options: Denver's politically progressive Flobots — best known for their chart-topping alt-rock anthem "Handlebars" — will be at the Black Sheep, Texas blues-rock road warrior Chris Duarte is bringing his band to the Crystola Roadhouse, and itinerant "Hell's Angels meets the Amish" desert-rock duo Hymn for Her will be at Front Range Barbeque.
Plus, for the L.A.-hair-band fans among us, Bang Tango frontman Joe Lesté has, against all odds, kept his pop-metal franchise alive through some three dozen lineup changes since the late '80s. So naturally the band will be at Union Station on Saturday, with Quitters Anonymous (none of whom were in Bang Tango) doing opening honors.
Meanwhile, let me just add a musical incentive for you to check out the opening-night celebration for Lorelei Beckstrom's new fuzzy-animals-gone-terribly-wrong paintings at S.P.Q.R. this Friday. (See this week's cover story on p. 22). And that, of course, is Paul Riola's Bottesini Project, who will be providing musical accompaniment for the event. Denver's free-jazz, post-rock, all-that-and-more ensemble has featured guests like Wilco's Nels Cline and Tortoise's Jeff Parker on its recordings. And while those two musicians won't be on hand Friday, I've seen the group enough times to vouch for the quality of their performances regardless. Plus, anytime you can see a teddy bear re-enact the death of Icarus, you should do that.
And finally, for those who engage in longer-range planning, Blues Under the Bridge has just unveiled its 2013 lineup. This year's event will take place July 20 with sets by JustUs League, DB Rielly, Slide Brothers, Blues Caravan, John Hammond and headliner Watermelon Slim. You'll also want to set aside the evening of the 19th, when Slim and local blues giant Big Jim Adam will be playing a free Blues Under the Bridge 2013 Kickoff Party at the Mining Exchange.