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Big-screen musicians and old-school country




'I really stretch my acting muscles," says Malakai frontman Chris Forsythe of his "two-second role" in the new short film Project 5. "I'm Guy Drinking in a Bar #1. I appear with Daniel Harvey from the recently reunited Matterhorn. He's Guy Drinking in a Bar #2."

The 24-minute short film will premiere Saturday at the Black Sheep, where Malakai and Denver hard-rock chanteuse Lola Black will also perform live sets. Based on its trailer, the film had an, ahem, modest budget and is not necessarily for the overly squeamish.

"We used whatever we had, as this was essentially a no-budget film," clarifies Joshua Bower, who drummed in Dave Cantrell's band Cobra Kai and has also taught film editing at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Bob Morsch and Shawn Webb, who wrote the script, are also the lead actors, playing brothers who liven up their mundane lives with an act of vandalism that leads to increasingly violent behaviors.

Project 5 also features local singer-songwriter Xanthe Alexis. "I did a small role, Lilly, in trade for a guitar which I desperately needed at the time," says the musician, whose Hopeful Heroines have just finished up a short tour of California.

In the film, Lilly has just left her hometown, where her brother and mother were murdered for no apparent reason. To the best of Alexis' knowledge, things don't end well for her character, either.

"I was too scared of the subject, so I only read the scene that I was in," says Alexis, while praising the quality of what she did read. "I wouldn't normally do a film like this — I don't really like these sort of dark topics — but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do when you need a damned instrument!"

Meanwhile, for those who'd like to hear Matterhorn in the flesh, the instrumental band will be performing at a cancer benefit for Dawn Kelly, who's the mother of Black Sheep security staffer Monte Kelly. The show takes place Feb. 22, and will also feature sets by Inelements, Autumn Creatures and Tiger Wine.

Getting back to the week at hand, Urban Steam will be hosting an all-too-rare live show this Friday, and a fairly aggressive one at that. Murder Hat, who placed first in the punk category at the 2013 Indy Music Awards, will be doing its ska-core thing, along with the Santa Muerte Four and Passing Out on Porches.

On Sunday, Chris Forsythe's other band, Tree of Woe, will be opening for beloved New Orleans sludge-core band Eyehategod at the Bluebird Theater. The local band is currently putting the finishing touches on its first full-length album, so keep an eye out for that.

And finally, for fans of fiddle-fueled, old-school country, you can't do much better than a Saturday night with George Duncan & the Moonlighters. A longtime Colorado Springs musician who's been known to sit in on pedal steel with the Lo-Fi Cowboys, Duncan will be bringing his band to Johnny's Navajo Hogan, where he performed regularly in the late 1960s and throughout the '70s. To celebrate his first return since 1989 to the Nevada Avenue hangout with the giant neon Indian head out front, he'll be bringing along a few special guests, including traditional country singer Brenda Cook. Should be a pretty special evening.

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