Montana bluegrass, Kansas City blues and sexual repression

Montana bluegrass, Kansas City blues and sexual repression

The Lil' Smokies

Chris Aaland - 02/06/2020
My, what a repressive time we live in. The uproar over the outfits that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira wore during the Super Bowl halftime show, not to mention their provocative dancing – with poles, no less! – should be viewed as comical, if it weren’t so sad. What, are these Victorian times? Is this mid-19th century England? Or present-day Utah? Or is the issue that these were Latinas strutting their stuff?
Imagine the shock of millions of Americans sitting in their man caves in these Trumpian times, pounding Bud Light seltzers and watching roided-up gridiron gladiators pummel one another, only to be exposed to Latin music and dance during their halftime show … by strong, talented 40- and 50-year-old women with bodies sculpted to perfection, unashamed of their heritage and sexual identity. The horror!
To think that the entire spectacle was a nod to Afro-Latin culture, including salsa, mapale and champeta. And that weird tongue thing that Shakira did? Surely it was a nod to LGBQT culture. (In reality, it was an expression of joy in Arabic culture … Shakira’s parents were Lebanese immigrants to Colombia, after all.)
And to get political! Children in cages with another child singing “Born in the U.S.A.” was unimaginable to many. Predictably, White Twitter blew up. Every Karen or Becky who ever sat through Sunday school rallied on their cellphones to vent.
And the Brads and Chads were right behind them. The presidential candidate with 40-plus sexual assault complaints and who openly bragged about “grabbing women by the pussy” was their guy, a pillar of American values. He protects their 401Ks and right to bear arms, after all, while stripping women of the freedom to make choices over their bodies.
I applaud the NFL for choosing J-Lo and Shakira to perform in the city known as the Capital of Latin America. The league that muzzled and blacklisted Colin Kaepernick for exercising his First Amendment rights actually got it right this time. My old man was right. Even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn. Bravo!
The Lil Smokies return to the Animas City Theatre for 8:30 p.m. shows tonight (Thurs., Feb. 6) and Friday. The Missoula bluegrassers are touring in support of their third album, “Tornillo,” which was released in January. In just a few short years, the group has won the Telluride Bluegrass band contest (2015), appeared numerous times on Reservoir Hill in Pagosa Springs, and at other venues and festivals like Red Rocks, LOCKN’ and High Sierra. Their prior two albums, 2013’s eponymous effort and 2017’s “Changing Shades” have become favorites on local bluegrass and Americana shows with tunes like “The City,” “Might as Well” and “California” showing a sophistication beyond their years. This isn’t surprising, given they draw on the Laurel Canyon songwriting of the 1970s as much as newer bluegrass jam bands. Still, their live energy is that of a rock band, as many fans can attest. The Front Range bluegrass quartet, Chain Station, opens each night.
Black Sabbath Cover Night, the latest installment of the KDUR fundraiser, is now sold out, which is a shame if you missed out. Those with tickets will get the chance to see such local bands as Lawn Chair Kings, Farmington Hill, Carute Roma, Ragwater and Bob’s Yr Uncle ock out to their favorite Sabbath. Doors open at 7 Saturday at the ACT, with music to start soon after.
International Guitar Night returns to the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight, with performers from England, Turkey, Finland and Hawaii showcasing their chops. Mike Dawes is an English picker best known for his work as lead guitarist for Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. The Turkish-born Cenk Erdogan is an award-winning jazz guitarist who specializes in fretless guitars. Finland’s Olli Soikkeli is schooled in the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. And Hawaii’s Jim “Kimo” West is a slack key maestro who dabbles in West African and Middle Eastern guitar.
The Met: Live in HD screens the beloved “Porgy and Bess” at 10:55 a.m. Saturday. One of America’s favorite operas, James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to the Charleston waterfront with vibrant music, dancing, emotion and heartbreak. Critics rave about their treatment of the Gershwin opera. Run time is nearly 3½ hours.
Many have become fans of Kansas City blues singer/ guitarist Samantha Fish through her sets at Blues & Brews. She’ll return for an intimate, rocking performance at Club Red in Mountain Village at 8 p.m. Sunday. After recording for years on Germany’s legendary Ruf label, she’s moved to the esteemed Rounder imprint back in the States for her latest album, “Kill or Be Kind.” There’s still a bit of her old edge (her cigar box guitar on the album’s lead track, “Bulletproof,” is incendiary), but the now 30-year-old showcases her songwriting skills and soulful balladry as well.
Trout Steak Revival plays Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House at 8 p.m. Friday, followed by a free aftershow party at the bar with our own Badly Bent. Trout Steak burst into our collective imaginations in 2014 when they won the Telluride Band Competition, earning them a main stage set the following year. Their latest record, “Spirit to the Sea,” was produced by Chris Pandolfi of the Infamous Stringdusters. The Front Range quintet has continued to appear at festivals throughout the region, including a couple of appearances on Reservoir Hill. Fret not if you can’t make it up to T-Ride this weekend; they’re one of the headliners at this April’s Durango Bluegrass Meltdown.
Celtic multi-instrumentalist Dave Curley will perform a house concert at 6 p.m. tonight at 2356 County Road 220. Curley, who hails from Corofin, County Galway, has made big waves in the Irish music scene across Europe and America. He’s performed in Durango in the past with Runa, the Hydes and One for the Foxes. Durango’s own Lyn Boyer will also perform. Tickets and information are available at durangocelticfestival.com.
Elsewhere: Smelter Mountain Boys bring bluegrass back to Durango Craft Spirits at 6 p.m. Friday; and the Black Velvet Trio plays Down the Rabbit Hole at 7 p.m. Saturday.
 
At the dollhouse in Fort Lauderdale? Email me at chrisa@gobrain storm.net.

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