Colorado Springs has a new Oi! band on the block, one that's racked up a dozen gigs over the last month or so. But chances are, even if you're one of this city's most devoted skinheads, you weren't at any of them.
You can make amends this coming Thursday at Zodiac, where Justice Blocc will be playing their first local gig since returning from a two-week national tour. "We traveled over 4,200 miles — all the way out to Hartford, Connecticut — and the total drive time was 80 hours," says Sebastian Nutter, who's also in Colorado Springs' other Oi! Band, 99 Bottles. "It was exhausting, especially when you're hung-over every day," he laughs, "although at the end of the day it was very rewarding.
"This was the first tour for the band and, for many of the members, their first time on the road," he says of the trip, which included a slot on Hartford's Oi!-friendly TNT Fest. "We had the pleasure of playing with some bands that were very influential on us growing up, including The Jook, Cro-Mags, Judge, Defiance, Patriot, X, and The Templars. Getting the opportunity to not only play with these bands, but also party and drink with them, was amazing."
From a Springs perspective, Justice Blocc are something of a skinhead supergroup: Three members have played in 99 Bottles and two in Gutterrunts. Their collective résumé also includes stints with Stab Crew, Get Outta My Face, Murder Hat, and also the A-Holes, who will also be on Thursday's bill along with Detroit psychobilly band Koffin Kats.
Nutter's other band, meanwhile, has been kind of low-profile lately. "99 Bottles isn't on a hiatus per se," he assures us. "Our guitar player is expecting his first child so we have been quieter than usual, but we will be picking up again very soon."
In fact, both bands will be releasing new music by year's end. Rebel Sound Records is putting out a new 99 Bottles song on a 7-inch single that will also include tracks from The Potato Pirates, Court Street and The Bad Engrish. (Oi! songs are nothing if not concise.)
Justice Blocc, meanwhile, are finishing up a record for the Oi The Boat label, which is also home to The Old Firm Casual, a band led by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen. Based on what I've heard so far, it should be a good time, in a fist-raising shout-along kind of way. Favorite lyric: "How many times has this happened to you / You're sitting on your barstool drinking with your crew / Some asshole makes a comment about your shaven head / He winds up in a coma, well lucky he ain't dead."
Meanwhile, if your Doc Martens are still at the cobbler's, you can find tamer fare around town this weekend. On Friday, for instance, New West recording artist Ronnie Fauss, whose latest album features guest vocals by Rhett Miller of the Old '97's, will be playing the Gold Room.
On Saturday, fans of jazz and/or experimental music will have three gigs to choose from. The Pikes Peak Jazz and Swing Society is bringing critically lauded West Coast crooner Trish Hatley to the Olympian Plaza Reception Center. The more avant-garde inclined Bottesini Project will be kicking off the Peak FreQuency collective's 2014-15 season at UCCS' Heller Center. And the even more avant-garde itchy-O, everyone's favorite 32-piece electro-marching band out of Denver, will be paying a return visit to Stargazers.
The more rockist among us, meanwhile, can head to Zodiac on Saturday for a benefit on behalf of Steve Sledje, the Suspension 9 guitarist who underwent heart surgery last June. Performers will include Inelements, Goatsilk, Suspension 9, Deophagy, and the Mostly Don'ts.