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Music Showcase, Take Three

Nominated in Punk
9 p.m. McCormick's Fish House & Bar

FIVE IRON FRENZY
Dennis Culp, trombonist for the ska messengers in Five Iron Frenzy, is with his comrades in the Bay Area, where a sequel to the group's slamming debut CD, Upbeats and Downbeats, is being willed into existence. Upbeats, on Cerebellum/Five Minute Walk Records (assisted, distribution-wise, by Warner/Alliance), has moved more than 50,000 copies since its release, and it continues to be a favorite on college radio stations all over the country; particularly prized by programmers is "Where 0 Meets 15," a single that was inspired by the bus stop at Colfax and Broadway. But this acclaim doesn't mean that Frenzy contributors such as drummer Andrew Verdeccio, bassist Keith Hoerig, guitarists Micah Ortega and Scott Kerr, trumpeter Nathanial Dunham, saxophonist Jeff Ortega and vocalist Reese Roper are trying to clone their popular bow. "I'd say this is an evolution," Culp says. "I think there's more diversity this time. We're still skacore, but there are a lot of pop hooks on the album. It's less punk rock, because we're using a lot more ska techniques as far as the beats and the guitar riffs go. The flavor is pretty interesting." Given the impressive sales figures that the octet has racked up, it's only natural that major labels have started sniffing around, but Culp is in no hurry to leave the Five Minute Walk family. "I'm really pleased with what they've done for us. They've got a small roster of six bands, and they're all outstanding. Besides, larger labels seem to use formulas for the music; it's not so much art as business." By contrast, Five Iron Frenzy is as dedicated to their Christian faith as they are to providing listeners with wild party music. "Some people want to hear you say 'Jesus' every fourth word or they don't approve, while some people shun the name," Culp says. "But I think our ministry is mostly who we are and what we believe."

Nominated in Reggae/Ska

THE FOGGY MOUNTAIN FUCKERS
According to Graham Haworth, the Denver Joe associate whose main gig is as drummer for the country outlaws in the Foggy Mountain Fuckers, "We've been writing sounds like crazy, and I'd say at least three quarters of them, if not more, have something to do with drinking whiskey." When he's asked if the goal of the Mountain men (Haworth, singer Pat Kincaid, guitarist/vocalists Robert Blue and Christian James, bassist Aaron Rettich and harmonicat Tony Mustoffa) is to advocate liquor consumption by their listeners, he responds, "Well, I guess we kind of encourage everybody to drink, but it's kind of sarcastic at the same time." A pause. "No, really, it isn't." The ubiquitous Bob Ferbrache is the man charged with recording the Fuckers, and Haworth marvels at the job he's done thus far. "We've already gotten enough songs for some vinyl, where we could put two cuts on each side. But we're going so strong that after we're done with that, we might just keep going and put out a whole CD." To him, "Our music gets back to real country music and real subject matter. It's not like how sappy modern country is these days. We just try to keep it raw, and our arrangements are pretty loose--and not only because we've been drinking. Actually, sometimes when we've been drinking, the arrangements get tighter." Haworth isn't sure when these efforts will be completed, in part because Blue has committed to playing bass for the La Donnas, a Westword Music Awards Showcase nominee last year in the punk division, on a forthcoming tour. But he feels confident that the final product will be worth the wait. "I think people will like it--because we're a good-time kind of band."

Nominated in Country/Bluegrass
7:30 p.m. Comedy Sports at the Wynkoop Brewing Co.

FOOL'S PROGRESS
Reed Foehl, lead vocalist, guitarist and alterna-folker Fool's Progress, should be enjoying some well-deserved domestic time about now. After all, he celebrated the birth of his first child, a boy named Jaden, this spring. ("He was eight pounds, seven ounces when he was born, and now that he's more than four months old, he's in the 100th percentile in every category," Foehl exults. "He's huge.") In addition, he and Jaden's mother, Jennifer Hutman, tied the knot in Boulder on August 23. But in lieu of a honeymoon, the family headed to the Midwest, where Fool's Progress had concert commitments to fulfill. Such is life for Foehl, multi-instrumentalist Tim Roper, bassist Curtis Thompson and drummer Matt Coconis, who've been beating the bushes for months in support of their self-titled debut on the Capricorn label. The disc has made considerable progress at Triple A radio thanks to its lead single, "Think About It," and even though Capricorn hasn't ponied up the money for a video yet, the band (formerly known as Acoustic Junction) has received considerable publicity through a series of events staged by the cable network VH1, including a charity bash in Boston that also featured Edwin McCain. Foehl is uncertain that VH1's support will convince the label to finance a clip for the group's next single, "East Side Story," but he notes, "I think it could make a really interesting video, because it's based on street people in New York and Boston, and we could use it to set up something to help the homeless. I've always wanted to be in the position to contribute in that way, so it would be great to give something back." In the interim, the four will make like road warriors, traveling from one end of the continent to the other before the end of the year. (Several of the gigs on their calendar will pair them with Leftover Salmon, another Westword Music Awards Showcase nominee.) Then, and only then, will Foehl and Hutman be able to consider a honeymoon. "We've talked about maybe going to Hawaii," he says. "But we travel so much that wherever we go, I'll probably just want to sit down and not move."

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