CeleFunktion, Mayors Ball and Elmore's Corner

CeleFunktion, Mayors Ball and Elmore's Corner

U.K. dub artist Ott headlines Celefunktion on Friday night at the ACT

Chris Aaland - 04/26/2018

The long and winding road to CeleFunktion finally arrives at its destination tonight through Saturday at the Animas City Theatre and Balcony Backstage. It’s a block party, with music filling all the stages at College & Main. Let’s break it down day-by-day (single-day and weekend passes are available at various price levels). Elder Grown and Liver Down the

River highlight tonight’s bill. Elder Grown, of course, is known for its fusion of funk, rock, hip-hop and pop and is driven by the Brothers Hoffman (Josh, John & Paul), with sax player Sam Kelly and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Clark rounding out the quintet. Liver Down the River has reached the rarified air of mass regional success that few Durango groups have attained, what with their blend of bluegrass, funk and psychedelic sounds. I’m a big fan of theirs. The Jack Cloonan Band opens the ACT. Meanwhile, Pandasaywhat, Melody Lines and Ralphsta perform at the Backstage.

UK-based dub and downtempo composer, producer and engineer Ott headlines the ACT Friday, with Blockhead bringing distinctive, funky and emotive music from New York City. The undercard is The Monogahela, Astrologic and Dancing Arrow. Meanwhile, JCalvin’s Funk Express holds court at the Balcony Backstage Friday.

It all concludes on Saturday with the CeleFunktion Block Party at the ACT, Balcony & Backstage. The ACT hosts Atomga, Dubskin and JCalvin’s Funk Express while the Backstage gets rocked by Farmington Hill, Robby Overfield & the Breaks and the Crags.

Last year, outgoing mayor Christina Rinderle decided to launch a new tradition, the Mayors Ball, to raise money for local charities. This year, it benefits KSUT Capital Campaign, which raises money for the NPR affiliate to move into a new, modern facility in Ignacio. Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams with special guest Tyller Gummersall will entertain, with appetizers from DuranGourmet, beer from BREW Pub & Kitchen and wines from Four Leaves Winery also available. The $50 ticket includes food and two drinks, with a cash bar available for those who choose to indulge. Doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Powerhouse Science Center, with music running through 10:30. “Durango black tie” is the suggested dress, meaning blue jeans, a Western shirt and cowboy boots will suffice for those who don’t want to dress to the nines.

The Hi*Beams are no strangers to the Four Corners, having played countless festival and bar dates here through the years. Fronted by Wofford, whose classic country voice and clever song-writing drive the quintet, the Hi*Beams are both retro and contemporary ... no surprise, since Wofford considers country songwriting icons Cindy Walker, Harlan Howard and Don Gibson as his primary influences, yet points to Paul Burch, Jim Lauderdale and Gillian Welch as recent role models. Steel guitarist Bret Billings and multi-instrumentalist Greg Schochet are two of the best Colorado roots musicians, while the rhythm section of Ben O’Connor (upright bass) and Damon Smith (drums) keep the time. Having been together nearly two decades, these guys are tight. Last summer, the group dropped their first new album in four years, the concept album “Missing Link,” which explored 

Wofford’s fascination with the music of Johnny Cash, Link Wray, Lou Reed and Nick Cave. They’ll be joined on a handful of tunes by Gummersall, one of La Plata County’s musical treasures whose voice is both whiskey smooth and maple syrup sweet.

Carute Roma and the Afrobeatniks will perform at the Living with Wildfire resource fair, FireWise auction and dance party from 1-9 p.m. Saturday at Mancos Brewing. Obviously, this summer has the potential to be an especially dangerous fire season, and FireWise Southwest Colorado is committed to education and prevention. Admission is $10 at the door, with kids 16 and younger free. Carute Roma plays Gypsy music from 3-5, with the Afrobeatniks bringing their world fusion vibe from 6-9.

Erik Nordstrom & Bubba Iudice, the two singing guitarists from Farmington Hill, have a new acoustic duo project they’ve named Elmore’s Corner. Catch them at Raven House Gallery (120 Grand Ave. in Mancos) from 5-9 p.m. Friday as part of the Spring Hat Gala, which celebrates local art and music. The Nord’s sweetie, Crazy Hat Lady Shanti, will sell her handcrafted hats at the event.

Allie Wolf returns to the Henry Strater Theatre for the third year with the fierce drag performances of DRAGRANGO at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. This is a strictly 21- and-over event.

The Met: Live in HD concludes its season at 10:55 a.m. Saturday with Jules Massenet’s “Cendrillon.” It’s the inaugu-ral Met performance of Massenet’s interpretation of the Cinderella story, which features Joyce DiDonato starring in the lead role. Run time is approximately 2 hours, 47 minutes, with one intermission.
Keeping it classical, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship welcomes the Southwest Piano Trio at 7 p.m. Friday in the fourth of its recital series this year. The trio features Kay Newnam (violin), Bonnie Mangold (cello) and Marilyn Mangold Garst (piano), with special guest Lori Lovato (clarinet). They’ll tackle the works of Haydn, Stravinsky and Brahms.

The best thing I’ve heard this week is the debut album from Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock.” I helped bring these two Americana veterans to town 14 months ago for a sold-out concert at the Hank. The meeting of Alvin’s bluesy rock & roll and Gilmore’s country twang came across as a campfire pick between two old souls, swapping their originals and collaborating on favorite covers. In the studio, the laid back feel is mostly gone, replaced by a polished, rootsy sound. Alvin’s two originals, the autobiographical “Downey to Lubbock” and the outlaw protest anthem, “Billy the Kid and Geronimo,” are standouts. The remainder is made up of covers – many of which Alvin & Gilmore performed live at the Hank. Gilmore’s urgent wail on Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” showed border racism dates back decades; Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” retains its N’awlins stomp; Alvin proves yet again his tenderness as a balladeer on Steve Young’s “Silverlake” and John Stewart’s “July, You’re a Woman”; and traditionals like “K.C. Moan” and “Stealin’” are given a contemporary treatment while retaining their rootsy origins. This is my early favorite for Album of the Year.

Peace and love, beans and brown rice? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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