You may recall that in last week's column, we talked about two upcoming 'Rock for Sophie' benefits. Well, now there are four.
To backtrack just a bit, Sophie is the 3-year-old daughter of LastLeaf Custom Print & Design's Mathias Valdez, who does all those timeless-looking posters for the Haunted Windchimes and the rest of the Blank Tape Records crew. After Sophie was diagnosed with childhood leukemia last month, friends of the family began organizing two benefit shows, which will be held at Phil's Radiator in Pueblo this coming Saturday and at the Black Sheep the following Friday (Nov. 30).
So this past weekend, upon hearing of Sophie's plight, JJ Grueter decided to make her the recipient of proceeds from the two-night cancer benefit he's hosting at the Triple Nickel this coming Friday and Saturday. After losing his mother, sister and older brother to the disease, JJ had already begun donating $100 every month to cancer research foundations, while a benefit he held at his club last year raised $4,800 for the cause.
"Every year, for as long as I own the bar and people want to get together, I really would like to do this and find somebody who needs it," says JJ. "You know, it's five bucks [per night] to see these bands — and we're gonna drink — it's what we all do every weekend anyways! We're just all gonna do it on one weekend, right here, and we're gonna help somebody out."
Actually, these shows would make an excellent Thanksgiving weekend choice even if they weren't for a cause. Friday's Triple Nickel lineup features local hip-hop heroes Fidel Redstar, California pop-punks City Mouse, El Toro de la Muerte offshoot Rifle, and JJ's own punk band the Nobodys.
Saturday, look for El Toro themselves, Mark Wilkins, the Jack Trades (first show in a year and a half), and JJ's other band Drag the River. The evening will close with an unannounced — except by me, ha! — reprise of Mike Stevens and friends' much-acclaimed David Lee Roth tribute from the recent Monsters of Mock Halloween shows.
Each lineup represents a broad cross-section of musical genres, as befits a concern that directly or indirectly affects us all. In fact, this'll be the first time the Nobodys and Fidel Redstar have seen each other perform, let alone shared the same stage, even though JJ and Fidel leader Ahmad Mitchell have been buddies for years.
"I love him, and we hang out all the time, but we don't go to each other's shows," admits JJ. "You know, hip-hop is just not my thing. And he don't come see the Nobodys — I mean, we're a dirty, shitty punk rock band, you know what I mean?"
But as the two friends discovered last month while talking about the benefit, blood is thicker than genres. "He just pulled me aside and he was like, 'You know, I lost my mom a few years ago to cancer.' And so we're talking and it's like two grown men in the corner of my bar just fucking bawling. And he's like, 'I would love to have something to do with it.' And I'm all, 'You're on the same night as me.'"
After Friday's show, Fidel Redstar will head up to Denver's Summit Music Hall to open for the Coup, whom I happened to interview on p. 40 of this issue. And don't miss drum 'n bass phenom Dieselboy — who was interviewed in our last issue — when he plays tonight at the grand opening of the Rawkus nightclub right here in the Springs.
Also, as long as we're talking cultural difference, let's send an all-too-rare shout-out to the town of Manitou. As much as I love Wiccans and Trustafarians, what I like best about the runner-up Berkeley of the Front Range is that it has two good venues literally within crawling distance of each other. Which means that, last Friday, I was able to take in the conscious hip-hop of the Wandering Monks and Che Bong at the Ancient Mariner, then slip out between sets to catch the more singer-songwriterly strains of Chauncy Crandall and Indy colleague David Jeffrey at Kinfolks.
Both shows were great, but bonus points to the latter for the several dogs in attendance, one of whom kept chasing his tail, whirling around like a Grateful Dead fan.
Until next week, then, have a great holiday, stay safe, and, as my predecessor would no doubt say, smell you later.