- Blue Sun has already made it into the Best of the Bands finals. Help choose the next finalist on Wednesday at Rum Bay.
Take your music with a dose of not-so-subtle double-entendre tonight. Big Muff -- an all-girl punk rock venture, natrlich -- rocks tonight at Industrial Nation (2106 E. Platte Ave.) with Ill Gotten Gainz. Things are getting started at 8 p.m., and the cover will run you $5 for the underage and $2 for the over-21ers. Call 520-0980 or hit up www.indynation.net for more.
If prepackaged angst and power chords ain't your thing, check out blues guitarist Bernard Allison at the Navajo Hogan tonight (2817 N. Nevada Ave.). Recently returned from Europe, Allison is hailed as a progenitor of fusion for contemporary and traditional sounds. Plus, he totally wails. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Navajo Hogan. Steer the ol' 'puter on over to www.bernardallison.com for more.
Today in Woodland Park, take part in the annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. This alcohol-free event will feature performances by the Woodland Park Community Singers, a karaoke and dance contest just like the pioneers had, and patriotic music by the Woodland Park Community Band. All proceeds from the event will benefit local nonprofits. For more information or for a complete list of activities, call 687-4239.
Also today, Rock Ledge Ranch (just inside the east entrance of the Garden of the Gods off of 30th Street.) presents "A Family Fourth," an all-day fte-o-freedom. Activities will include a historical scavenger hunt, traditional readings of the Gettysburg Address, an exhibition by the Sweetwater Plains Indian Dancers, a re-enactment of a Civil War encampment, a reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Gen. Palmer (from beyond the grave!) and enough Sousa to clog your gallbladder. Admission for the event is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and teens, $1 for children ages 6-12, and free for military families. Events are taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 578-6777 for more.
Fort Carson will set off a huge fireworks display at 9:30 p.m., and it's open to the public. Horseshoe pitching, pie-eating contest, watermelon eating, three-legged race, music, food, etc. starts at 4 p.m. at Iron Horse Park on Sheridan Avenue on the Fort Carson base. Call 526-1264 for more.
Manitou Springs celebrates the Fourth in Soda Springs Park (at the end of Manitou Avenue) with an all-day buffalo barbecue, music by the Elders (see Saturday, June 5 for more) and the usual fireworks atop Red Mountain. Call 685-9655 for more.
- Mark Byzewski's "Palmer Park Bluffs" at The Bridge Gallery on Friday.
If fast cars and rock 'n' roll be what you need on the Fourth, the Pikes Peak International Raceway (just off Interstate 25, between Colorado Springs and Pueblo) has plenty of both on tap today. Midget cars, sprint cars and bands like Accidental Superhero and Tiny Barge and the Big Chill will be performing before the 'splosions go off. $20 for adult, $5 for kids. Call 888/306-7223 or go to www.ppir.com.
And hey, if you're not in the mood to celebrate freedom, the Bridge Gallery and Phototroph Gallery will be hosting art openings tonight. At The Bridge we've got Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region an exhibition of paintings and photographs by Mark Byzewski, Spica Stolfus and Tim Carpenter, who used Robert Ormes and Robert Houdek's Pikes Peak Atlas to explore and synthesize the region. At Phototroph you can look forward to the WWII photos of Jim Bates. Both receptions take place from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, and the shows run until July 27. Call 329-1574 for more.
The internationally acclaimed Celtic rock sensation the Elders bring their fiddle-mando-'cordion-core to Tres Hombres, 116-1/2 Midland Ave. in Woodland Park tonight. We're hoping for at least one song about either whiskey, fisticuffs or throwing down your plows preferably all three. The Kansas City group is touring in support of their latest release, Pass it on Down. I can't imagine what they're referring to. Call 687-0625.
Too many beers, burgers and dangerous flammables over the holiday weekend? Relax and swing this afternoon at the Pikes Peak Center with the one and only Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The orchestra, perhaps led by the reanimated corpse of Mr. Dorsey himself, jazzes up that jazz at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. For more information call 520-SHOW.
The Best of the Bands continues tonight at Rum Bay, 20 N. Tejon. Bands like Love .45, Ben Park Drive, Distant Warning, Tron, Velvet Jesi, Fail-yerz, Blue Sun, The Martini Shot and others have all made it into the finals so far. Come out and follow the action as the contest whittles regional talent down to its finest point and a final showdown on July 30 that will determine who gets to appear in an upcoming Ted Nugent movie and have their song on the soundtrack (no this isn't a joke). It's $5 and 21+. Call 634-3522.
-- Aaron Retka