- Flash Cadillac will soon celebrate their 50th anniversary with a special evening at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
So any band lasting 50 years is rather extraordinary, and that’s certainly the case with Colorado legends Flash Cadillac, who celebrate their own 50th anniversary with a special performance at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center on Saturday, April 20. Perhaps what’s even more impressive is that the band has enjoyed such durability and piled up accolades while staying true to what they’ve always done: playing classic, ’50s-style rock and roll.
The band was formed in 1969 at Boulder’s University of Colorado, and their rise was fairly meteoric. They made their first appearance on American Bandstand in 1971 (before even releasing a record, making them the first band to do so) and were featured in George Lucas’ acclaimed film American Graffiti in 1973. The film’s triple-Platinum-certified soundtrack was stacked with a curated retrospective of early rock and doo-wop hits, and Flash Cadillac contributed the only original music — no small task, to be sure.
Most bands would be satisfied with only appearing in one major-impact American film, but Flash popped up once again in Martin Scorsese’s 1979 epic Apocalypse Now. Within their discography, you’ll find a well-received run of four LPs in the span of three years (1973-1975) and a much-loved live album collaborating with the Colorado Springs Symphony, 1992’s A Night at the Symphony. The band was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2012. And, hey, we haven’t even touched upon the Happy Days episode written especially for them.
There’s clearly something more at play with Flash Cadillac than pure nostalgia, then, as nostalgia for its own sake usually has its own particular shelf life. (Think of the bewildered audience response to Sha Na Na at Woodstock, an event that took place the same year Flash Cadillac formed — and barely a decade after Chuck Berry released “Johnny B. Goode.”) Perhaps their raucous live energy has always recalled something more honest about the spirit of rock and roll before the counterculture associated with, say, the Vietnam War, an era usually scrubbed clean of anything too wild in our collective memory. Perhaps that era and its trappings maintain a particular place in the American psyche, one that still resonates out of time in the works of David Lynch and Todd Haynes.
Or, of course, maybe there’s a much simpler and tidier explanation: Flash Cadillac has never stopped being a good time.
Elsewhere, Record Store Day lands on April 13 this year, and in between looking for gems at Independent Records and the Leechpit or, you know, beating a fellow shopper to death with that last copy of The Days of Wine and Roses, don’t forget to keep an eye out for local releases.
For instance, local producer/emcee eLiMenCe recently dropped a new single, “Candle Light,” which is currently available on his Bandcamp. The track is a great example of both eLiMenCe’s subtle, pristine production work — he’s assumed production duties for a slew of local hip-hop standouts, from Stoney Bertz to TEQNiK G — and his formidable skills at the microphone. eLiMenCe also dropped the often outright beautiful, nine-track effort Sleep Gallery in late 2018, which is available on all the major digital platforms.
A new album, tv.ant.race is also on the near horizon from noise-pop outfit Cocordion, who relocated from Colorado Springs to Philadelphia last year. Of course, we should all be happy to continue to claim and enjoy the output of the brothers Macura and, in the meantime, you can head to Cocordion’s YouTube account to check out their music video for the upcoming album’s second single, “Innocent.”
Finally, 4/20 is still a week away, but, frankly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this week’s Denver appearance for English doom metal titans Electric Wizard, who will do their best to deafen the Fillmore crowds on April 12. Electric Wizard’s downtuned, impossibly heavy music is well-known to fans of the genre, but I’d imagine the sheer power and terror of their musical presence would be something to behold, even for outsiders. If you don’t want to make the trip north, though, at least throw on a copy of their 2000 LP Dope throne and prepare to get freaked out, man.
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