By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Trios Enoteca: A new room for the Showcase, Trios was jammed for most of the night. Steve Crenshaw channeled Stevie Ray Vaughan; Adrian Romero and Love Supreme displayed abundant technical skills; the Perry Weissman 3 found a way to fit a Sun Ra cover into its quirky lounge-jazz approach; and David Booker took his swingtet out for a ride.
The Soiled Dove: Many of the bigger draws at the fest gathered under this roof. Money Plays 8, the evening's sharpest-dressed band, milked the jump-blues trend for all it was worth, while Mary Flower proved that a single guitar and the blues can still satisfy. Conjunto Colores got wristband-wearers prepared for the arrival of Hazel Miller, whose appeal remains undimmed; she packed 'em in. Kingdom followed with an all-star rap-off that included cameos by Hydro Bass and fellow Showcase nominee Bumpy Chill, and Brethren Fast kept the party going; the boys' first number was a good-humored version of a Budweiser commercial.
The Sports Column: Matthew Moon sang sweetly, and Lionel Young found the blues inside his high-tech violin. Afterward, Tony Furtado put on an astounding display of finger-picking skill, and the aforementioned Bumpy Chill gave a hip-hop primer with the help of his group, the Don Kronicals (see page 74). Finally, Paul Galaxy and the Galactix rocked until their daddies took their T-Birds away.
Jackson's All-American Sports Rock: Marty Jones and the Pork Boilin' Po' Boys helped fill Jackson's for the Healers, who spooned out their usual dose of ultra-accessible reggae. Other styles of dancing were encouraged by the jump blues of the Shaken Martinis and the rockabilly frenzy of the Hillbilly Hellcats. Wrapping things up was Sick, which has graduated from punk-funk to melodic hard rock of an extremely commercial sort.
Lodo Music Hall: The reconfiguration of the hall made for a much better space than when it was known as the Blake Street Baseball Club. Yo, Flaco! threw some Latin spice on its soulful/jazzy originals, and Chris Daniels and the Kings showed that they can still inspire booty-shaking when they put their minds to it. Next came Blister and Electric Summer, furnishing disparate types of aural pugnacity, and Judge Roughneck, whose ska grooves keep going and going and going...
Tabu: Yeah, yeah, Concentrated Evil. But Tabu also lifted the covers on Wailer B. and Axiom (a worthy successor to Roots Revolt), Nyke Loc (Snoop-there-it-is West Coast hardcore), Zeut (a jaunty gloss on the Boulder sound), Latin Crossover (highly danceable stuff) and the Hate Fuck Trio (wonderfully daft, as usual).
Which of these acts will win prizes at the Showcase awards ceremony--slated for 8 p.m. Sunday, September 27, at the Bluebird Theater--is anyone's guess; at press time, some poor, overworked souls were still plowing through the thousands of ballots filled out by readers and attendees. But you're invited to drop by Sunday for the awards announcement, a performance by Nina Storey, a local musicians' jam session, and a chance to breathe the same air as some of the finest entertainers in Denver and Boulder. Doors open to the public at 7:45 p.m., admission is $5: Save a cubic foot's worth for me.
As you no doubt know by now, reports of Howard Stern's invasion of Denver turned out to be false alarms. On September 15, as last week's edition was heading to the printer, David Juris, vice president and general manager of Tribune Denver Radio, announced that KKHK-FM/99.5 (The Hawk) would not begin airing the Stern show the following morning, as had been previously announced. This public-relations catastrophe spawned unending speculation about what actually happened. Jim Bryan, a talk-show host at KNUS-AM/710, has claimed on the air that he helped spearhead a phone-and-fax campaign that scared the Hawk into backing away from Stern. But many area observers believe that the folks at Jacor Communications, the company whose stations would have been most impacted by Stern, were actually behind the anti-Stern responses--a hypothesis that Jacor's Don Howe rejects out of hand.
Still another theory holds that Juris planned the whole thing himself in a wild grab for publicity. Juris laughs off that suggestion, and there is no shortage of reasons to believe him. After all, he spent much of the September 10 edition of this column picking apart the weaknesses of the Hawk's current morning programming: "The show was clearly falling behind the ratings we were getting with the rest of the station," he said, adding, "We did surveys that showed that people want high entertainment value in the morning, and that put our more-music stance in the mornings into a secondary position...Our goal is to be the number-one rock station in the marketplace. And to get there, we needed to make some changes."
Today Juris is characterizing the Hawk's non-move as a sign that the station is responsive to its listeners: "They told us that there's enough smut on the air with Lewis and Floorwax and the Alice morning show and that the Hawk was a safe haven for listening to rock and roll in a clean and adult format." Instead of making other changes in the drive-time slot, currently overseen by Dan Mitchell, Juris says, "we are simply going to look to improve the Hawk's music and continue to grow the station, but in a non-offensive, music-intensive environment."