By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
Nominated in Major Label Act
Blister may have recently celebrated its first birthday--it was formed in July 1996--but that doesn't mean its members are new to the scene. Guitarist Philo, vocalist Chris Dillinger, drummer Chris Reser, bassist Andy Pfeiffer and programmer/sampler Joe Sego have done time in outfits as widely varied as MF Groove Machine, Oscar and Psycho Holiday. This combination of influences results in a sound that Philo describes as "hardcore-rap-metal-techno, and probably some other things, too." Philo sees the group's first CD, Throw It In Dry, which came out a few months back, as a good introduction to the Blister universe. "It's got some things that are a little bit political, like 'Intolerance,' which is about fighting racism. But other songs, like 'Sick Little Mind' and 'Kick Me' and 'I Did Your Mom,' are just for fun." Because Sego came aboard only a short time before the completion of the disc, Philo looks forward to the band's next trip to the studio, set for October. "Now that we've started writing with Joe, I think we're completing the vision of what we want Blister to be. We're in a very embryonic state, because this is a fresh product. But we know we're going in the right direction. And we have one of the highest energy live shows you'll ever see."
Nominated in Hard Rock/Industrial
11 p.m. The Soiled Dove
"We were having a little trouble with our old bass player," reveals Garrett Brittenham, Boss 302's guitarist. "But, luckily, we knew a good one." The bassist in question, Matt Bischoff, has a resume that includes the Frantics, the Fluid and '57 Lesbian, and he's seen by a lot of folks as the best bassist to emerge from the Denver musical underground in the past two decades. Bischoff has been a Boss 302 buddy for a while now, engineering nearly all of its recordings to date, including Rock Songs, a first-rate 1996 CD that bears the 360 Twist Records stamp. Brittenham, Bischoff and their cohorts (vocalist Rich Goskopf, drummer Tony Weissenberg and guitarist Cheyne Bamford) have a slew of new ditties that they're eager to get down on tape. Brittenham feels that they're "probably better than anything we've done so far. They're still pretty garagey and punky--whatever you want to call it. But things are more cohesive than they used to be, and Matt definitely adds a new element to it. All of a sudden, there are real live bass lines in there." The musicians are in discussions with the folks at 360 Twist about financing the project, but according to Brittenham, "Nothing's firm yet, so we're looking around a little. We're not waiting for any kind of major deal or anything. I don't care if we put it out on Joe's Records. I mean, the main thing is that we get to play together--and with Matt here, that's been great."
Nominated in Punk
9:30 p.m. Comedy Sports at the Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Corporations all over America love Brethren Fast. Guitarist Don Messina, bassist (and brother of Don) Mik Messina, and Courtie Barnes, who's held down the drum chair for eight months (making him what Don calls "the longest survivor"), are currently sponsored by Budweiser, among the nation's largest breweries. "The deal doesn't include free beer," Don admits. "Which is probably better for us." In addition, the boys have been working to promote the virtues of American Crew, a men's hair-grooming product; Don crows, "We're satisfied customers." And they've contributed their brand of twisted country and hillbilly funk to a couple of MTV videotape projects, one culled from a series of programs starring basketballer/role model Dennis Rodman and the other a workout cartridge due to appear in stores in November, just in time for Christmas giving. As a result, it hasn't been easy to find time to make a followup to their debut CD, Sideburns From Hell. They hope to get started next month, however. "We're taking three weeks off to do it," Don notes. "We have enough material now for a full CD, but we want to throw in some newer stuff and try to capture the live sound." If all goes as planned, these efforts should be available for public perusal as early as Thanksgiving. After that, Don claims, "We want to really try and concentrate on the ski towns this winter, because we're finally getting to a point where we're making better money on the road. That way, we'll be able to slow down a little bit." And watch those corporate profits come rolling in.
Nominated in Rock/Pop
8:30 p.m. Skybox at Jackson's Sports Rock
An act that's as much a theatrical experience as a band, Cabaret Diosa has charmed uncounted Denverites since it germinated in the summer of 1995--and as the Showcase guide was being assembled, Cabaret members were in the midst of making converts in far-flung locations. "We're visiting the West Coast," reveals violist Miguel Ramos, "going up and down between Seattle and San Francisco and a few places in between." Taking to the highways isn't easy for an ensemble as sprawling as this one: Members include Ramos, vocalists David Sherman and Willow DuHamel, guitarist Darrin Feder, drummer Jon Rademaekers, percussionist Mendel Rabinovitch, bassist Paul Mrozek, trumpeter Grant Reider, saxophonist/flutist Ari Dvorin, keyboardist/horn player Kevan Brown and dancer Alyson Covert. But there's little doubt that those nightlifers who give Cabaret a try will discover an intermingling of Latin music, neo-lounge affectations and mid-century dance stylings capable of transporting them to another time and place. As Ramos told Westword earlier this year, "That's something we have been successful at achieving every performance: presenting a whole environment that people can come and be in. More than just it being a place where you go and hear some music or maybe you go and dance, you go and you're in this world where we're all dressed up, and we have plants on stage and candles, and we invite people to dress up and dance together."