By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
Steve Watson--a guitarist, not the former Denver Broncos wide receiver--lives in Colorado now, but during the Eighties he was part of the Other Kids, a Wisconsin power-pop band that was prized in its home state but didn't break through beyond the state line. Neverland, a double-CD set, compiles material from three albums cut between 1985 and 1990--and for the first two (Living in the Mirror and Happy Home), the man behind the boards was Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana's Nevermind prior to starting up his current combo, Garbage. The songs are very much a product of their era, but the sweet hooks, strong melodies, keening singing and exuberant harmonies of rockers like "Livin' Downtown," "Flamin' Drag Queen" and "I Wanna Be Gone" and heartfelt mid-tempo pieces such as "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Is She Being Tortured" sound no worse for wear. The results aren't revelatory, but they're plenty entertaining (Spinolio Records, P.O. Box 1761, Arvada, CO 80001-1761). The title of the latest recording by the irrepressible Garden Weasels--Filler--is a provocation aimed straight at the band's doubters, and so is "Green With Envy," a ditty in which head Weasel Rusty Shears croons, "Well, crankin' tunes is what we do/When no one pays to go see you/You say we suck and we'll agree/But watch us grow just like a tree." In truth, the act's growth isn't all that obvious: "I Don't Wanna Know" is a catchier tune than they've managed to date, but "Speak to Me," "Wrecked" and "Bang" are pretty typical of a group whose brand of punk ska is, um, pretty typical (Rodent Record Company, P.O. Box 748, Arvada, CO 80001).
This is the week for the Roots of the Blues festival, one of the biggest events being put on by the Swallow Hill Music Association in this, its twentieth year of existence. On the evening of Thursday, April 22, Otis Taylor, Mary Flower and Lionel Young appear at the Eulipions Cultural Center, 1770 Sherman, for absolutely nothing--the performance is free to the public. The following night, Friday, April 23, 91-year-old blues fiddler and mandolinist Howard Armstrong and electric bluesman Robert B. Jones can be seen at Swallow Hill Music Hall; and on Saturday, April 24, Henry Townsend, who's a mere ninety years old, is joined by Roy Rogers (the blues musician, not the dead cowboy singer) and Shana Morrison (Van Morrison's daughter) at the same location. For details about any of these shows, dial 303-777-1003.
The Indulgers, a recent Westword profile subject ("Indulge Yourself," January 14), won the Jim Beam's Back Room Band Search contest held at the Hard Rock Cafe earlier this month. The group will compete against the top vote-getters in competitions staged in Boston, New Orleans, Phoenix and Chicago on May 13 at Chicago's Hard Rock Cafe. If the Indulgers emerge victorious there, you'll probably read about it here; if they don't, you probably won't. In the meantime, bands interested in showcasing at the Colorado Springs Music Festival are invited to send audition tapes or CDs to J&B Productions, P.O. Box 4929, Woodland Park, CO 80866, before May 15. Call James Buck at 1-214-823-3966 if these instructions make no sense to you.
Or else just go through life dizzy with confusion. On Thursday, April 22, Space Team Electra flies all the way to the Boulder Theater, with Munly and DeVotchKa; Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts screw around at Cricket on the Hill; and ebb-n-flow washes into Soapy Smith's. On Friday, April 23, DJ Juliette and Jerry Bonham take over the turntables at Boulder's Soma; the Hate Fuck Trio, on the eve of a tour with NOFX, gets together with Koala and King Rat at the 15th Street Tavern; Jux County and the Kalamath Brothers get cozy at the Lion's Lair; Zeut and Turnsol turn up at the Soiled Dove; and Wendy Woo plays for the first of two nights at Jazz@Jacks. On Saturday, April 24, Chupacabra speaks Latin at the Fox Theatre; Big Shark Jackson introduces its new disc at Quixote's; Corruption spreads at the Ogden Theatre, with Rogue; Neil Satterfield, Jill Russell and Dave Evans get Brazilian at the American Lutheran Memorial Church, 501 Raleigh Street (call 303-629-0677 to learn more); and the 32-20 Jug Band, the subject of a Westword article of its own ("The Jug Is Up," March 18), huffs and puffs at the 15th Street Tavern, with the Breezy Porticos. On Sunday, April 25, Rainbow Sugar sweetens a special 2 p.m. appearance at the Bluebird Theatre. And on Wednesday, April 28, at the Boulder Theater, singer-songwriter Marie Bear celebrates the release of a new CD, Cherry Tree. Sorry, beavers: It wouldn't be much use in building dams.
Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@ westword.comMichael_Roberts@.