All art may be political, but some art is more political than others. This coming Friday night, punk-rock-turned-Americana musician Tim Eriksen — whose Across the Divide album with Afro-Cuban world-jazz pianist Omar Sosa was a 2010 Grammy nominee — will collaborate with the local Ormao Dance Company and members of Ensemble Peak FreQuency during a free performance commemorating the 100th anniversary of southern Colorado's tragic Ludlow Massacre.
If America's deadliest strike didn't make it into your western history textbook, don't be too surprised. History, as Winston Churchill famously noted, is written by the victors, and the image of National Guardsmen and hired strike-breakers machine-gunning mineworkers' families doesn't quite fit the portrayal of benign job-creators shielding their employees from union exploitation.
Friday's performance, titled "Resistance and Rebellion: Remember the Past to Carve the Future," will take place immediately after an opening reception for GOCA's "Protest" visual art exhibition. (Details here.) The first in a series of commemorative events that UCCS has been planning since early last year, it's also likely to be one of the most musically experimental.
"This is a particular focus of mine now — combining and integrating musical genres in sound-art presentations that aren't usually tackled," says Peak FreQuency founder Glen Whitehead, whose group Psychoangelo will serve as both opening act and backing band for headliner Eriksen. The performance will draw upon American folk songs, composer Louis Andriessen's "Workers Union," and original works, all accompanied by Ormao's choreography.
Also on Friday, another eclectic albeit less-serious event will take place at Sunshine Studios, as the second annual Red-Headed Zombie Awards present five musical acts (Passing Out On Porches, Joe Johnson, Still Catching Wreck, Knight in Colors and A Bad Night For A Hero) plus more than a dozen visual artists' booths.
Meanwhile, RHZ's C.J. Hackett is currently in the process of taking over LocalFM, the online station devoted to Colorado Springs music that Brian Elyo launched as a one-man operation back in 2012.
"When Brian told me he was no longer able to run LocalFM, I knew immediately that I wanted to keep the station going," says Hackett. "We'll go out to more local shows, interview musicians, artists, local business owners, and invite people to host their own shows on the air. I want to give a voice to the people in our community, and now we've got another platform to do that."
Also this week, you can hit the Black Sheep on Wednesday to catch Run River North, the L.A. indie band that snagged NPR and Jimmy Kimmel Live appearances based on one viral video and a half-dozen homemade demos. The band, which was interviewed in these pages last week, will be sharing a bill with Moon Taxi, Bad Suns and Bridges Will Break. Also appearing are electro-pop duo Eros and the Eschaton, who moved to Colorado Springs last fall after a three-month tour promoting their Bar/None debut album, Home Address for Civil War.
Then on Saturday, hip-hop/R&B crooner Terrill Paul, aka Rellion, will be playing Rawkus to celebrate his own upcoming album. The Springs-based artist and frequent Tony Exum Jr. collaborator has been touring as Bobby Brown's backing singer for the past half-decade, and was recently featured as the newest member of Troop on TV One's Unsung series. Steve Frazier and Ciroc Boyz South will also perform.
And finally, for musicians interested in something a little more interactive than your standard open-mic slot, Andy Clifton will be hosting a singer-songwriter workshop at the new Manitou Springs venue, the Lower Deck, this coming Sunday. The local artist, who pledges "no cover charge and no cover songs," is inviting musicians to bring their acoustic guitars along for an evening of discussion, performance and networking. There'll also be beer and positive vibes, he promises, although in Manitou, that's pretty much a given.