"Everything you've been listening to lately sucks."
That's the bold proclamation made by Shane Etter, primary organizer of the first-ever Boulder Unheard Music/Punk Festival (or BUMPfest). The festival, which takes place Saturday, October 20, in the Boulder Bandshell at Canyon and Broadway, is designed as an antidote to the painfully familiar music that dominates local radio and, to a lesser extent, local stages. None of the ten acts scheduled to perform play anywhere regularly, nor do they have CDs in local record bins. That, Etter insists, is precisely the point.
"I feel that there's a lot of talent in the area that, a lot of time, gets overlooked or is not given a chance because they are small-time or whatever," he says. "Everyone certainly deserves the opportunity to be heard. This is something we've been wanting to do for a long time. We finally got up out of our lazy chairs and did it."
Although BUMPfest's very name emphasizes punk, the lineup's diversity suggests that the term is interpreted rather loosely. While the politically charged Raised Under Reagan and Greeley's "drunk punks" Liverneck Never (who open the program at noon) offer some of the usual bombast that makes punk so darned much fun, the maneuvers of Bomb Congress might induce squirms in the liberty-spiked kids at the 15th Street Tavern: The band fuses electronica with punk songwriting to create "big-beat punk." Other music -- including that of the Echo, Dysarranged, This Film, Project 12:01, Burn 32 and Reverb & Verse -- ranges from power pop to modern rock, emo, goth and hip-hop. Etter has his multi-dexterous fingers in three of the ten bumpin' bands: Reverb & Verse, Bomb Congress and e-Lab, an experimental electronica project.
One of the bonuses of shows this diverse is that there's a good chance you're going to hear something you like. There's also something intrinsically appealing about a mini-festival that operates solely on the premise that music doesn't have to be familiar to be appreciated: Etter believes that listeners will find that the journey into the unknown is worth taking. And he's right.
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Nika Garcia is an artist who, in her own way, proves Etter's point. While the young jazz vocalist is not as well known as some of her songbird peers on the Boulder music scene, her debut CD, Bring It On, is a sparkling discovery. The album sees official release on Friday, October 19, at Boulder's Trilogy Lounge & Wine Bar. Bolstered by appearances from local lights including Ron Miles, Christian Teele and Erik Deutsch (as well as a cameo from the oft-hilarious Dan Bern), Bring It On draws on Garcia's unusual roots (her background includes Mexican, Spanish and Russian-Jewish ancestors) without overextending them. She's sensual, playful, and something of a firecracker.