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Season's gratings



We now find ourselves well into December, and that means we are fast approaching the season that stands as a beacon of hope and light, and brings all of us together.

I speak, of course, of the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has awakened the inner child in all of us. Also, incidentally, the upcoming film has brought me one of the more ... specific music items I've seen in a while.

As is well-documented, some were skeptical of director J.J. Abrams' ability to take the reins of the storied franchise, including, apparently, former Colorado Springs songwriter Andrew Jones.

As an apology for his initial misgivings, Jones — who performed with 3 Inches of Blood, Crisis and local power metal outfit Jag Panzer before embarking on a solo career and relocating to Texas — has released a single, "I'm Sorry, J.J. (and Thank You)." The track features drummer Pete Parada of The Offspring, and all proceeds from the single will be donated to the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation and the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. Jones, it should also be noted, is at work on his debut LP, No, following a period of journeyman songwriting in which he worked with the late Michael Jackson and others.

I suppose the fact that Star Wars is closely followed by those nationally recognized holidays can't be overlooked, and one long-running local holiday music event of note is the "Classic Broadmoor Christmas" series.

Grammy winner Melissa Manchester, whose 'Midnight Blue' became an adult-contemporary standard, will play six nights at the Broadmoor.
  • Grammy winner Melissa Manchester, whose 'Midnight Blue' became an adult-contemporary standard, will play six nights at the Broadmoor.

This year, the annual variety-show concert series features Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester as its headliner, joined by country-tinged guitarist and singer Jim Salestrom, jazz saxophonist Nelson Rangell, the Pikes Peak Singers and Summit Ensemble of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, and Ken Miller and the Broadmoor Pops Orchestra. The series opens Dec. 12, running Dec. 18, 19, 20, 24 and 27.

Meanwhile, as you prepare for the onslaught of holiday songs and hymns of commercialism on the radio, TV, in the air and everywhere else you turn, here are some more local music events to keep you sane:

On Dec. 10, in what is sure to be one of the more satisfyingly eclectic shows of the remaining year, Neurosis frontman Scott Kelly brings his beguiling acoustic solo act to Flux Capacitor.Rounding out the evening's bill is Bruce Lamont, frontman of the jazz-influenced, avant-garde metal band Yakuza, Denver country/blues/heavy rocker Randall Conrad Olinger, Denver freak-folk artist Kiel Grove, and local music fixture Brian Elyo's doomy shoegaze project, Mobdividual.

At Stargazers Theatre on Dec. 11, you can catch Boulder-based acoustic guitarist Trace Bundy, who has apparently earned the nickname "The Acoustic Ninja" for his finger-tapping techniques.

If you feel like heading north and hearing something noisier, Genesis P-Orridge's seminal experimental industrial group Psychic TV appears at Denver's Summit Music Hall Dec. 11.

Of course, if you'd prefer to keep things wholly local, prolific local singer-songwriter Andy Clifton also hits the Townhouse Sports Grill Dec. 11.

Dec. 12 brings the 103.9 RXP "Christmas Bash" show to the Black Sheep, featuring Californian alt-rockers Night Riots, Brooklyn "cosmic rock" act Dreamers (see interview), Canadian alternative dance duo USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker), reggae-influenced California pop-rock quartet Common Kings, and locals Maxine and the Eskimo Brothers.

Finally, if it's a black Christmas you seek, look no further than Flux Capacitor on Dec. 12, featuring Texas crust/hardcore act Wildspeaker, local sludge metal duo Saus, Denver's Modok, and many more.

The night celebrates Saus' inclusion on the third volume of the Crushing Intolerance black metal compilation series, which raises money for human rights charities fighting fascism and racism in music and society as a whole.

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