Music Showcase, Take Three

Nominated in Punk

Drummer Evan Eisentrager was a member of the 'Vengers when that group went down for the count. But he was able to jump almost immediately to a reggae combo that he enjoys playing with even more: Preacherman and the Congregation. "I was losing interest in the whole 'Vengers ska thing," he concedes. "But I'm really enjoying playing with Preacherman." Herman Winter, aka Preacherman, is a Jamaican who decided to jam with Eisentrager, guitarist Ash Kirby, keyboardist Dave Edgar and bassist Chris Wright on a lark, and no one was more surprised than he that the music they made in tandem sounded quite fine. They started playing together less than a year ago, and over that period, the band has gradually reduced the number of covers in its set, replacing them with originals that will monopolize a CD slated for pre-holiday release. Eisentrager is proud of the full-length's eclecticism. "We pretty much try to do every reggae beat that we've heard. We do little steppers, little rockers, a little dancehall--as much variety as we can beatwise. We just mix it up." Kirby and Wright are also members of Zestfinger, a Boulder outfit that is in the process of being resurrected, so balancing commitments could be tricky. But Eisentrager sees plenty of commitment to the Congregation. "Herman is so into the CD that he's talking about taking it down to Florida and Jamaica and seeing if anything comes of it. And if something does, I'd love to get down there in the wintertime. I'd quit my job in a second."

Nominated in Reggae/Ska
10 p.m. The Soiled Dove

Trumpeter Darryl Abrahamson has some news to report. The Psychodelic Zombiez, a funky collective that's been on the cusp of the big time more than once during the Nineties, is in all likelihood nearing a key point in its history--and perhaps its Waterloo. The Los Angeles band Weapon of Choice, which includes former Zombiez keyboardist Keefus, invited current guitarist/songwriter Josh Lopez to audition for an open slot, and he passed the test. Upon accepting the job, Lopez began making plans to move to Southern California, leaving Abrahamson and the other Zombiez (trumpeter Eric Schneider, saxophonists Dav Hoof and Kurt Moorehead, bassist/vocalist Chevy Martinez, singer Mike Friesen and drummer Jason "Hoju" Segler) in quite a quandary. "We'll be playing with Josh through October, if not longer, but somewhere in there, he'll be going, and that's why everything's up in the air. The band will carry on no matter what, but we have no idea if it'll be as the Psychodelic Zombiez, or under a different name, or what." Because Lopez was a founding member of the group and wrote songs that helped define its style, there's no telling what the band might sound like without him. As a result, the Zombiez feel some urgency to document as much as they can before the parting. "We've had a good portion of another album, Things That Are Brown, in the can for the better part of a year, and we're going to finish that up as quickly as we can. And we also want to do a live album--hopefully, a double-live album--so that we'll have a record of the band at its peak." Whether these efforts will be the start of great things to come or a last hurrah won't be known for a while yet. But Abrahamson is trying to look on the bright side of the situation. "Some of the people in the band have been talking about side projects for a while now. So who knows--we could end up with five great bands coming out of this one."

Nominated in Hip-Hop/Funk
11:45 p.m. The Great Room at Wazoo's

"I just got off the road with Bobby McFerrin," announces Boulder singer-songwriter Beth Quist. "We were in Europe in July doing a tour supporting the album Circle Songs, which I sang on, and it was incredible. There were twelve singers, and it was totally a cappella and completely improvised every night. That's a very challenging format, but I've never felt so much support and encouragement in a group." Not that Quist is unhappy with her musical situation back home. She is part of Sharese, a combo that plays traditional Turkish and Greek music, and has just written a dance-music score for The Women Who Took, a piece by choreographer Jerri Davis that will debut at the University of Colorado in Boulder during the middle of October. Furthermore, she's excited by the sound she's come up with in collaboration with guitarist Dave Beegle and bassist Mike Olson, both of Fourth Estate. "Dave is seen as a hard-rock player, but he's studied Bulgarian music and is really sensitive and listens well. And the same with Mike. They can both play weird time signatures like it was nothing at all." Quist, who decided not to seek several career opportunities dangled before her in New York City because "I grew up in the mountains of Boulder, and it's nice to feel that I can escape to them if I need to," will begin putting together demos with Beegle and Olson in October, with an eye toward making a CD, her first under her own name since last year's well-received Lucidity. "I'm trying to figure out the funding for it right now." She laughs. "Although maybe the easiest thing for me to do is to just apply for a bunch of credit cards."

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