Musical convergence and more festering
The Animas City Theatre welcomes the Old 97's for a 9 p.m. show, Sat., Aug. 5.

Musical convergence and more festering
Chris Aaland - 08/03/2017

Every once in awhile, the planets, stars, moon and sun align perfectly. Musically speaking, this week is one of those times. In astronomical terms, it’s more of a meteor shower. There’s just too much for a music fan to possibly take in, unless you own a lear jet and an army of sober drivers.

Let’s get started with what’s shaking in D-Town. On Friday, KSUT brings the Iguanas and Shinyribs – two of its favorites – to Buckley Park for its 14th annual midsummer concert, known since as the Party in the Park. The Iguanas are no strangers to town. I have no exact count but am guessing they’ve played here nearly 10 times since the early ’90s for various promoters. They’re one of the seminal bands that broke out of the Crescent City in the late ’80s, right up there with the Radiators and Subdudes. They blend all the usual influences – a bit of blues here, plenty of New Orleans R&B there – but add overlooked ingredients to the Louisiana gumbo such as Latin and Caribbean influences. Shinyribs? Call them the natural devolution of Austin alternative country back to its swamp pop roots. (Read my interview with Shinyribs’ frontman, Kevin Russell, in this week’s Telegraph). Gates open at 5 p.m., with music starting at 6. This isn’t one of those freebie shows where you smuggle your own booze into Buckley; KSUT bought a liquor license and will be selling Ska beer, Durango Craft Spirits cocktails, wines from Wagon Wheel and more.

On Saturday, the Animas City Theatre welcomes the Old 97’s to town for a 9 p.m. show. The Dallas quartet is among the forefathers of alternative country music, with the same four guys putting out exceptional music throughout the duration. Singer Rhett Miller is the best known of the four guys and occasionally drops an outstanding if underappreciated solo record. The rocking core includes lead guitarist Ken Bethea, bassist Murray Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples. Albums like “Wreck Your Life,” “Satellite Rides,” “Drag it Up” and their latest, “Graveyard Whistling” are essential alt-country, indie and garage rock listening. Just imagine Uncle Tupelo if Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy actually liked each other. This show alone will keep a couple of hundred folks from attending festivals in Telluride and South Fork this weekend. And don’t sleep on the opening act, the Vandoliers, a group that sprung up from the fertile Dallas soil plowed by the Old 97’s some 20 years earlier. Their new record, “The Native,” is excellent.

Up Telluride way, the 41st annual Telluride Jazz Festival takes over Town Park Friday through Sunday. If bigger festivals like Bluegrass and Blues & Brews scare you away, Jazz is a nice change of pace. The crowd is usually half the size (or less), but the musical talent often amazes. And, like Bluegrass and Blues & Brews, it attracts artists from all genres and isn’t just limited to standard jazz. Take the headliners, for example. Macy Gray (Friday night) is an R&B crooner who is comfortable in a jazz setting (just listen to her reinvention of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”). Mavis Staples (Sunday) is the pre-eminent gospel vocalist, whose hits with the Staple Singers provided a spiritual backdrop to the Civil Rights Movement. The dream New Orleans pairing of the Funky Meters and Dr. John (Saturday) pits Crescent City masters together who have taken the funky Mardi Gras vibe well into the international stratosphere. A number of jazz and soul acts ranging from local (our own Stillwater All-Stars play the main stage on Friday) to national (Lee Fields & the Expressions on Friday) round out the bill.

Saturday’s headliner was supposed to be legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins; however, Collins had a tumor removed from one of his ears earlier this year. You can only imagine what that does to the former James Brown and P-Funk bassist’s equilibrium. Collins says he expects a full recovery and is even working on a new album with guitarist Buckethead. Here’s wishing Bootsy well. The Mothership needs him!

You may want to consider heading up to Telluride early. If you’re a patron of Telluride Jazz, you can catch Macy Gray in the intimate confines of the Sheridan Opera House tonight (Thurs., Aug. 3). Or, you can park yourself in the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village for bluesy singer/songwriter Joan Osborne at 8:30 p.m. tonight at Club Red. It’s hard to believe the “One of Us” and “St. Theresa” crooner is the consolation prize for those who aren’t well-heeled enough to get into the Sheridan.

Bluegrass hippies, jam-banders and campground pickers also have a festival of their own to look forward to at Rhythms on the Rio in South Fork this Friday through Sunday. Perhaps the biggest highlight is the Larry Keel Experience featuring Jeremy Garrett & Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters and Alwyn Robertson of Leftover Salmon (9:30 p.m. Saturday). Another off-shoot band to look forward to is Elegant Survival, which features members of Elephant Revival and the Deer (9 p.m. Friday). Shinyribs will wrap the whole shindig up at 5:45 p.m. Sunday. In between are such national and regional favorites as Head to the Hills, Euforquestra, Trout Steak Revival, the Jon Stickley Trio, Brothers Comatose and even Durango’s own Elder Grown and Robin Davis Duo. What makes this fester extra special is the laid-back camping and picking scene and the affordable price.

A few local things of note that you might want to check out: the Lawn Chair Kings play the free Three Springs Concerts in the Plaza series from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight; chase down Party in the Park at the Balcony Backstage with the Moetones at 9:30 p.m. Already Montezuma County favorites, they’ve recently added Dale X-Allen on lead guitar (he used to ply his craft with Dave Insley & the Careless Smokers); and wiggle your toes to the Pete Giuliani Band while you soak at Trimble Hot Springs from 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

I’m working a two-week sobriety cleanse as I train for beerfest season. Get those tickets to the San Juan Brewfest (Sat., Aug. 26) now! This one always sells out.

Got 96 tears and only these two eyes? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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