It seemed like weeks would go by this winter with practically no live performance to catch here in town — even if your engine block did thaw out long enough to get you there and back. But as Memorial Day draws ever nearer, we're starting to have the opposite problem, which is a lot better.
Take this Saturday alone. You can surround yourself with blissed-out college students in face paint and the coolest festival lineup you could want at Colorado College's Llamapalooza, where acts will range from the politically conscious hip-hop of Blues Scholars to the Talking Heads-goes-jam band antics of the Motet. This year's must-see act is trip-hop collagist Flying Lotus (see interview, here), who ruled the Internet last week after Thom Yorke joined him onstage in Los Angeles.
Easy choice, right? Maybe not, though, when everyone's favorite retro-folk-Americana sweethearts, the Haunted Windchimes, play a CD-release celebration at Stargazers. The Pueblo group's Live at the Western Jubilee album includes a sweet Lead Belly medley alongside original favorites like "American Dream," which Inaiah Lujan wrote during a cross-country hitchhiking tour. It all makes for a fine intro to the former Indy cover subject for anyone who's yet to make their acquaintance.
Just to make planning even more impossible, the Doomtree Collective's Dessa and Sims, two of underground hip-hop's brightest talents, play the Black Sheep this Saturday as well. (Yep, interview here.)
Or how about Ricky Sweum, the phenomenally talented saxophonist who'll be joined by Andy Burtschi on bass, Britt Ciampa on drums, and Jeff Jenkins on piano at Motif. (The pianist will also be backing Benny Golson at Dazzle Jazz in Denver this Thursday and Friday.) As noted in a recent column, Sweum will be playing just a couple more local shows between moving out of the Springs, so you'll be wanting to take that into consideration as well.
In fact, the only thing disappointing about Saturday involves Dave Mansfield's Joey Ramone Birthday Bash at the Triple Nickel Tavern, which was canceled this week due to unforeseen circumstances. Dave's been throwing the annual celebration for a decade, ever since the punk-rock hero left this mortal coil to beat on brats up in heaven.
But there's always next year, right? Plus, Dave and his band the L.A.M.F.'s will be back next month, channeling the spirits of Joey Ramone, Johnny Thunders, Lux Interior and other dead guys into their original music via their own CD-release shows. They'll be playing Zodiac on June 11, along with other dates at Denver's Gothic Theatre and out in L.A. at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go. (Meanwhile, diehard Ramones fans can also take some solace in the fact that C.J. Ramone will be at Kim's Pixie Inn in Pueblo on Aug. 2.)
Recommended shows that are definitely not taking place this Saturday: On Friday the 13th, local hip-hop heavyweight D.Rich — whose "Ridin Thru the City" video could, in a perfect world, do for the 719 what E-40's Hyphy movement did for the 415 — will hit Union Station on a bill with Steel, The FAMM and J. Craft.
And on Sunday, you'll definitely want to catch the one-year anniversary of the monthly Kiowa Sessions at V Bar, where you can hear Grant Sabin, Arach Attack, Ryan Braithwaite and Long Live the Liar, all for free.
As for out-of-town picks, I'm calling it a tie between the aforementioned Golson shows and Brooklyn garage-pop trio Vivian Girls at Denver's Larimer Lounge on Thursday. Extra credit if you go to both.