Music Showcase, Take Three

Nominated in Rock/Pop
9 p.m. The Soiled Dove

The open stage that singer-songwriter Baggs Patrick oversees each Sunday night at Cricket on the Hill is a microcosm of music in Denver. "We get everyone from folk musicians to cross-dressers, and they all feel at home," he says. If so, Patrick deserves much of the credit. He's been a constant figure in local venues for a decade, helping out fledgling performers even as he constructs ditties of his own that usually exist on the far edge of sanity. Circus in My Head, his first CD (made with helpers dubbed the Baggs Patrick Band), contains "Wet, Sloppy Kisses" and "Please Don't Take My Penis When You Go"--which novelty DJ Dr. Demento has featured on his nationally syndicated radio program--as well as a multitude of efforts intended to get you chortling. The disc, which Internet users can sample at, also contains a few tunes that can't be categorized as gags, but they're few and far between because, Patrick admits, "when I sit down to write a serious song, I usually get so disgusted that I start tearing them apart, and then I start laughing at myself." Since forming the group, Patrick has increased the focus on his own performances. But he's keeping a watchful eye on other acts as well--and he likes what he sees. "I think the city is really cooking right now. And I'm not just blowing smoke on that. There's some really fine players that are coming out, and I think some of them have a real shot at doing some good work."

Nominated in Folk/Acoustic

Most Denver musicians thinking about touring have to consider the effect their absence will have on their employment situation. But Joel Van Horne, vocalist and lead guitarist for the punk/ska act Petrol Apathy, is more concerned with the potential impact on his grade point average. "I'm a senior at Bear Creek High School, and even though my parents have been really supportive about the band and all, they don't want it to interfere with school. So if we want to play in, say, L.A. during the school year, the rest of the band will drive out to the venue, but I'll fly in and then fly back, so I don't miss any school." Van Horne's ability to afford this mode of transportation likely says something about his parents' income level, but it also speaks volumes about the success that Petrol Apathy is enjoying. The group, whose other members (vocalist/guitarist Matt Whitesides, bassist Ryan McCutchen and drummer Jeff Soder) are all recent high school graduates, got its start in November 1994. But since being taken under the wing of local promoter Dan Steinberg, it's opened for outfits such as Fishbone and Snot, headlined tours of its own, and inked a deal with One Wipe, the indie company that put out Petrol Apathy's six-song EP, Heartless Society. As the disc's title implies, many of the group's lyrics have a political bent. "One of our songs is called 'Nation in Distress,' and it's basically saying that America is not a perfect country, and there are a lot of things that need to be changed. And our first single, 'Holiday?,' refers to Columbus Day. In the past ten years, people have turned Columbus from a national hero to a villain, and we really agree with the villain side." As Van Horne tells it, a few labels are looking at picking up Petrol Apathy and releasing its next recording, a full-length that the musicians are in the process of amassing--"but we're not in any rush. I mean, I'm in school until late May."

Nominated in Punk
10:30 p.m. Rock Island (all ages)

Late August found Trevor Williamson, bassist for Denver's pop-punk Pinhead Circus, back in town--but one of the main reasons he was here didn't make him too happy. "Our van's in the shop. It's a 1983 Ford Econoline: Six cylinders, baby, 273,000 miles, second engine, and fucking ten miles an hour up the passes. Our last show before we got here was in L.A., and on our way back, it started whining really bad. It turned out to be the transmission, which I replaced myself last time it went bad. But this time, I just don't have time." If that excuse sounds suspect, take a gander at the road schedule staring at Williamson, guitarist/vocalist Scooter Wellensiek and drummer Otis. After having completed an August tour with Murphy's Law and Youth Brigade, they are committed to traveling the Midwest, East and South for more than a month. Then, after a couple of weeks back in Colorado, they'll travel for another six weeks alongside John Cougar Concentration Camp, Brand New Unit and Pezz. Along the way, the Pinheads will hype their new CD on L.A.'s BYO Records, the home of Youth Brigade, the Bouncing Souls, 7 Seconds and many other elite purveyors of punk. Called Detailed Instructions for the Self-Involved, it incorporates fourteen songs plus a bonus track--although Williamson says, "I don't know if you can really call it a bonus, because it's a Night Ranger cover: 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me.' But it's a fun song to play. It's all about the metal." Circus fans undoubtedly will know the track intimately by the time the three-piece finally returns to Colorado for an extended stay--although there's no telling when that will take place. As Williamson puts it, "That all depends on the van."

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