The Beatdown

Kiss me, Iím a rock star -- at least for one night.

Nearly a decade later, more people have died than I care to count, and life's done a good job of rounding off my edges. I've become desensitized and jaded. With the exception of Johnny Cash and Layne Staley, few recent deaths have had much impact on me.

But this past Wednesday, when I heard of Elliott Smith's passing, I felt the same way I did when Cobain died -- although this time for completely different reasons. Smith's music, especially the earlier material on Roman Candle and Either/Or, was so intimate that every time he opened his mouth, it seemed like a close friend was pouring out his soul in my living room.

But Smith was also a friend with whom I'd lost touch. Unlike almost everyone else, I didn't care for the glossy production on his later albums, on XO and Figure 8. And I never saw Smith when he came through Denver, because by then I was busy devoting my time to other musicians. Besides, I'd heard horror stories of his lackluster performances, and I didn't want to tarnish my earlier memories. And now, sadly, all I'm left with is regret and the beautiful mess he left behind. For more on Smith, see Brendan Kelley's piece on page 96.

Upbeats and beatdowns: Believe it or not, there are some worthy shows this week that don't require a costume. On Saturday, November 1, heads will be bobbin' to the sounds of anticon when Sage Francis, Sole and Alias hit the Boulder Theater. On Monday, November 3, KRS-One will be back in D-town to drop some science at You Night at the Soiled Dove. And on Thursday, November 6, the Fray will unleash its new EP, Reasons, a disc that continues to push me over the edge (Beatdown, October 16), at the Climax Lounge, with Like Young, Raised by Tigers and For the Holiday getting things started.

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