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Itchy-O’s Sypherlot Drive-In Radio Bath

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Itchy-O’s parking lot extravaganza might be just what it takes to let you slip the surly bonds of Earth. - BACKSTAGE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Backstage Flash Photography
  • Itchy-O’s parking lot extravaganza might be just what it takes to let you slip the surly bonds of Earth.
I’m always hesitant to use the phrase “the new normal” because it’s inherently understood as a qualifier of restriction and disappointment — as the great Bruce Cockburn said back in 1983, “the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.” So, while it certainly seems like we all have to settle for worse in various aspects of life, there’s no need to take it lying down.

For instance, the most feasible way to take in live music (aside from a virtual, livestreamed experience, the novelty of which is likely wearing thin for both performers and audiences) is in different spatial circumstances than we’ve grown accustomed to... socially distanced, limited-capacity, and generally outdoors. If anyone can take those parameters and produce something artful and meaningful out of it, however, Denver’s wonderfully eclectic drum-corps, taiko drum and electronics-fueled performance collective Itchy-O seems well poised to take up this mantle.

Itchy-O will be taking over the parking lot adjacent to Denver’s Mission Ballroom at 4242 N. Wynkoop for the weekends of Aug. 21-22 and Aug. 28-29 (following the kick-off performances last weekend) for “Itchy-O’s Sypherlot Drive-In Radio Bath.” Marrying CDC-recommended public health guidelines and all the spectacle of the interactive, psychedelic “happenings” of yesteryear, this looks to be a whole new take on the drive-in concert.

To hear Itchy-O describe it, through their website, “In the wake of pandemic-delayed performances, the time is right to launch a cosmogenic conflagration, laying waste to notions of concerts in ‘the new normal’ by ushering in a joyful bath of post-apocalyptic unifying magic.”
Well, I couldn’t state it better myself. Although, me, I’m still waiting for someone to seize on the whole “demolition derby as mosh pit” concept; perhaps offering junker rentals at a subsection of the merch table. There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true, I suppose, and Itchy-O is clearly laying the groundwork for that glorious new dawn.
Back on Earth, meanwhile, there’s some good news for some of Colorado Springs’ favorite terrestrial music venues. Firstly, The Black Sheep is now open for limited capacities. Yes, the return of live performances to the Black Sheep stage is still yet to come, but the venue’s doors are open and, following a safe and successful re-opening on Aug. 7, now is the perfect time to stop in for a drink and DJ set and resume local support of the Sheep.

It’s also probably well worth the advance notice that the postponed Black Sheep stop of folk-punk standouts AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad), Xiu Xiu and Emperor X has been rescheduled for June 10, 2021, and all purchased tickets will be honored for this new date. Until we get there, AJJ’s latest LP, Good Luck Everybody, feels like required listening for our current sociopolitical moment, provided you don’t mind gazing into the abyss for a while.



But let’s face it, you’re probably reading this online right now, and that means you’re already gazing into the abyss.

Also, in an unusually positive thrust of the endless news cycle, we didn’t have to wait too long for a bit of good news after eulogizing the untimely passing of the Zodiac, as Zodiac owner Gentle Fritz and Triple Nickel Tavern owner JJ Grueter have announced their plans to launch a new venue “combining the attributes of [their] former locations.”

So, RIP also to the Triple Nickel, another casualty of COVID-19’s reign of terror against performance spaces via rent increases. Fritz and Grueter are raising funds for their new, multi-level space through a GoFundMe campaign, have stated their intentions to retain “as many staff from both venues as want to join” and hope to open in the autumn or early winter.

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