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- Get outta the house this Friday and head to the drive-in concert at UCHealth Park (but remember to get there early).
As we officially slip into the latter half of 2020 and people presumably start slowly dipping their toes back into the realms of live music and performance, I’d wager we’ll start seeing some experimentation with nontraditional performance venues, and with any luck we’ll start to see a groundswell of DIY ingenuity for new ways of performing. In fact, I’d argue that experimental mindset will be completely integral to the return of live music in a period still marked by uncertainty surrounding reopening venues and social distancing mandates.
Listeners are probably starting to yearn for a bit of variety beyond livestreamed performances, but realistically, we’re still likely a ways off from indoor venue shows. (Unless, of course, we collectively master the art of astral projection into the Black Sheep, and I do think that’s a worthy ambition.) That said, this Friday, June 19, brings an experiment in shared live music for a socially distancing world, as Rage Cage Entertainment is holding a drive-in rave at UCHealth Park.
Appropriately, I suppose, for the home of the Rocky Mountain Vibes, the night will feature music from HAMI, Autokorekt, JMOSS, Oreoku, Psys’mic and B2B Kvrl, and attendees can vibe out together from the safety of their own vehicles. In other words, it’s like a drive-in movie, but for music.
Ticketing information and full details are available on Rage Cage Ent.’s Facebook page — attendees should arrive no later than 7 p.m. (gates open at 5, and as you might expect for such a logistical feat, the earlier you get there, the better). And before you ask, I’m sorry, but there will not be a demolition derby mosh pit.
In the lush sonic vocabulary of shoegaze and dream pop, it’s often easy for the vocals to slip back into a more supporting role, but singer/guitarist Charlotte Rogers exhibits a tremendous gift for melody and turns in remarkably nuanced vocal performances on every track here, making When You Were Still an immediate, inviting listen. Indeed, the opening track “Hey” is immediate in every sense, with Rogers’ vocals acting like a burst of sunshine, buoyed by jangly guitar, and even featuring a whistled hook.
Further into the EP, the band returns to the hazier sonic territory of shoegaze. “Paper Man” is gauzy, dream-pop balladry in the vein of Hope Sandoval or Mojave 3, led by a delicate, lilting piano and featuring exquisitely tasteful instrumental work from the entire band. “Dysthymia” has a watery undertow to its free-floating ambiance, while “All the Time, Sometimes” has some real drama and heft behind its ethereal beauty — it’s crafted like a vintage pop song, almost like a Roy Orbison ballad filtered through dream logic.
David Lynch himself would surely be proud of the stylistic fusions present here, and moreover, this is soothing music for turbulent times. Rogers says Stale//Mate has been intentionally quiet about promoting the EP’s release, stating the ongoing protests against police violence in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths are more deserving of everyone’s attention. The band will also be donating proceeds from their EP’s Bandcamp sales to the Black Lives Matter Action Fund.
If you’re looking for even more listening material, in the spirit of Juneteenth, I’d highly recommend browsing the Institute for Composer Diversity (composerdiversity.com), a research and archives organization housed at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Classical and art music repertoire can often be narrow in scope — i.e., the works of dead white guys — but the Institute’s work and sprawling database shows that this certainly doesn’t need to be the case. In particular, the monthly “Spotlights” highlight works by underrepresented groups, currently featuring music from Black composers for the month of June. It’s not only much-needed promotion for the art music world; it opens up an absolute wealth of music waiting for listeners to discover.