By Team Backbeat
By Amber Taufen
By Jon Solomon
By Tom Murphy
By Jesse Livingston
By Alejandra Loera
By Stephanie March
By Tom Murphy
When Gil Scott-Heron first meandered onto the small makeshift stage for the first of two performances at the Lion's Lair on Saturday night, he launched into a truly amusing monologue that seemed more suited to the Improv than the tiny East Colfax music club. For the first ten or fifteen minutes of his set -- which he played to a house so packed that obtaining beers or entry to restrooms was hardly worth the effort -- a lanky, indomitable Scott-Heron paced the stage jesting about corporate sponsorships, television and the media, a topical trinity that has informed much of his work since the '60s. Yet the drum kit, organ and guitar stands on stage put to rest any suspicion that Scott-Heron was on some kind of stand-up tour, and when the band kicked in, it was clear that, jokes aside, he had come to play.
Though the Lair may have initially seemed like an ill fit for the performance (nobody in particular presents honcho Doug Kauffman says the show was booked a mere ten days out, when the rest of the company's venues were already spoken for), the almost-floor-level stage and proximity to Scott-Heron himself allowed attendees to actually follow the game of his witty, biting, sometimes devastating wordplay. Accompanying himself on organ, Scott-Heron took a moment to point out the diversity of the crowd -- there were as many young, bearded hippie types as there were hip-hop heads and well-dressed older couples -- while relaying lyrical narratives firmly rooted in the political, social and economic struggles of black Americans. As strong as his litany was, Scott-Heron shared the light with his band, which ripped easily and powerfully through instrumental segments that included everything from bluesy guitar to Afro-Caribbean-style percussion. The mixture was presumably designed to arouse the dormant radical in us all, and it seemed to work: At the show's close, one audience member deadpanned that he felt a distinct urge to go find a university classroom to sit in on. The revolution will be humorized.
Two area acts containing members that a) know each other and b) rehearse their music will be releasing CDs this week. Yo, Flaco!, the funky, hip-hop, jazzy fusion band that recently scored a recording grant from the Jim Beam Emerging Artists in Music program, reveals its Skeptamisticside in release parties on Friday, March 3, at 'Round Midnight in Boulder, and Saturday, March 4, at Herman's Hideaway, with the United Dope Front. Local punk outfit the Gamits, which includes Forest Bartosh, formerly of Pinhead Circus and the LaDonnas, and current Potential Gateway Driver member Chris Fogal, releases its first self-titled album for the locally based Suburban Home Recordings on Saturday, March 4, at the Raven, with the Fairlanes, Qualm and Contender. -- Laura Bond
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