- Darren Bastecky
- Charles Bradley will be a headliner at the new Freewheelin' Music Fest.
If Colorado Springs has ever been criticized for a lack of soul, we'll get a chance to prove otherwise come September. Bristol Brewing Company has announced the headliners for its Freewheelin' Music Fest at Ivywild on Sept. 11 and 12: fiery soul singer Charles Bradley and singer-songwriter Phosphorescent.
Friday night's headliner, Bradley, was 62 years old when his 2011 debut album, No Time for Dreaming, was released. He's since received universal critical acclaim for his funk-informed, emotionally charged retro-soul sound. Meanwhile, the trajectory of his unorthodox life and career has been the subject of a documentary, Soul of America, which describes his impoverished childhood, 20 years of hitchhiking and odd jobs, the tragic murder of his brother, and overcoming stage fright as a James Brown tribute act, Black Velvet.
While Bradley's circumstances were humble, at best, his impassioned performances as Black Velvet eventually caught the attention of Gabriel Roth, aka Bosco Mann, bandleader of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and co-founder of Brooklyn's independent soul label Daptone Records. Bradley was subsequently invited to a rehearsal of the Menahan Street Band, who played while Bradley improvised lyrics.
A series of singles and two albums later, "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" enjoys critical success and a reputation as an intensely passionate live performer.
Meanwhile, Saturday night headliner Phosphorescent (the moniker of singer-songwriter Matthew Houck) brings an alt-country, psychedelic-tinged folk sound to the proceedings. Phosphorescent has similarly enjoyed acclaim, releasing seven albums since 2003, including a critically lauded tribute to Willie Nelson.
In addition to the headliners, the Freewheelin' Music Fest features a dozen acts on three stages, including national acts — including Joe Pug, Paper Bird, Pujol, Chimney Choir, and Natural Child — plus local winners of the 2015 Indy Music Awards competition. Tickets are available, with the first hundred two-day passes available for $20. Following that, tickets are $50 for the weekend and $30 for an individual day.
In the meantime, July comes to a close with an array of interesting live music opportunities:
Avers, a shoegazey garage-rock ensemble from Richmond, Virginia, headlines the Black Sheep on July 30, joined by local bands Ides of Mae and Atlantic Panic and Greeley's Harkener. Also on July 30, you can catch beloved Colorado Springs chamber-pop act Edith Makes a Paper Chain at the Underground.
If you're a local punk fan, you'll definitely want to be at the Zodiac on July 31 for the "Punkocalypse Birthday Riot," featuring The Mostly Don'ts, The A-Holes and the debut performance of Terrible Tom & The Dingbatz. The night will also be catered by the rightfully popular burger joint next door, the Green Line Grill.
Las Vegas-based KISS tribute act Sin City Kiss are at the Back Lot on July 31 and Aug. 1, and if such arena-rock excess frightens you, fear not — they'll be joined by San Francisco's all-girl Ramones tribute band, The Hormones.
On Aug. 1, it's a night of heavy alt-rock at the Black Sheep, featuring Michigan's Pop Evil, Ohio's Red Sun Rising, and Denver's Lola Black.
For those still in withdrawals from the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" performance, you can catch "Dead Head Gold," a Jerry Garcia tribute at the Gold Room on Aug. 1, featuring Big Sky, MuleTrain Express and The E.T.s.
Finally, Santa Fe's anarcho-hardcore band Elected Officials bring their "political punk rock for modern times" to the Flux Capacitor on Aug. 1, joined by Denver's The Uglys and local favorites Youthful Nothings and 45 Revolutions.