The synthesizer is a powerful tool that has suffered much abuse since its entrance into the pop world. Cheese-doodling, lipstick-wearing hairspray bands of the '80s are to blame for the synth's lowly place among "real" instruments like guitars and snare drums. But Sci-Fi Uterus, a Denver electronic trio, has reclaimed the keyboard's unique ability to create other-worldly audio. Mystic antenna chick, DoHo and stif spring craft a strange musical universe that encompasses the paranormal, mythology and both outer and inner space. Their output feels like a musical battle between good and evil, an electronic, synthesized comic book that you can dance to. This combination has earned the band a steady cult following since the release of 1998's Into the Bloodbath, as well as an invitation to Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival in 2000. And it's birthed some thrillingly unusual creations: Released in 2003, Songs to Lynch, the band's third album, is a collection of six songs inspired by the films of David Lynch. Like the work of that iconoclastic director, an SFU show is both darkly engaging and amusing. Entertain your brain when the band performs tonight at 8 p.m. at Revoluciones Collective Art Space, 3519 Brighton Boulevard. For details, visit www.revoluciones.com. -- Laura Bond
Enhancing Vance TUES, 5/31
Not that Vance Kirkland's impressive artistic oeuvre has been overlooked, but sometimes it pays to shake things up.
After all, the prolific artist, who died in 1981, created so much during his 54-year career -- ranging from realist works to space abstractions -- that the Kirkland Museum in Capitol Hill can't display it all. There's plenty more that could see the light of day, along with archival stuff the museum has culled from other Colorado creators. Giving the art exposure is the reason for Revealing the Muse, an exhibit that opens today and showcases nearly 100 pieces by Kirkland and 21 other Colorado originals. Kirkland Museum curator Hugh Grant selected the works, which cover much of the twentieth-century art in the state. Some of them are by painters and sculptors who he says have "fallen through the cracks and been forgotten."
And that's a shame, Grant adds, because "people have no idea what a great art history Colorado has."
To learn all about it, visit the show at the Heritage Center's Radius Gallery, 801 South Yarrow Street in Lakewood. Admission is free; for more information, call 303-987-7844. -- Ernie Tucker
Good Wood Give Peace Tree a chance.SUN, 5/29
When does a felled stump prompt a benefit concert?
When it's a Peace Tree. D'oh!
Paul Sterling found himself in a quandary this past February: What to do with a dead tree sitting between his Estes Park home and the road? The towering evergreen had passed several years earlier, so Sterling had it cut down to a twelve-foot stump, into which a chainsaw artist later carved the words "peace tree" and the Japanese symbol for peace. Then on March 7, CDOT came and cut down the stump, declaring it was an illegal sign along U.S. Highway 34.
But the Peace Tree isn't going quietly. Beginning today at 2 p.m., it's getting a sendoff from singer-songwriter Wendy Woo, Sanskrit rockers Shanti Shanti and the peace-oriented groups Wall of Dogs and Blues Is Blood. Proceeds from the First Annual Peace Tree Benefit Concert will go to eight nonprofits, including veterans-aid project Homes for Troops.
Stop by the Mishawaka Amphitheatre, 13714 Poudre Canyon in Fort Collins, to meet the tree, which Sterling is lugging along. Tickets are $10 in advance at 1-800-325-7328 or $15 the day of the show. For information, visit www.thepeacetree.org. -- Amber Taufen