Music News

Backwash

If you've gotten in the habit of heading up to Nederland for that mountain community's Monday-night Acid Jam -- an activity that sounds all the more appealing as Denver swelters -- you might want to leave early next week so that you have time to figure out just where those jams are being hosted these days. After years of noodling and grooving inside the Wolf Tongue Brewery, players and fans have been forced to find another venue to call home: Late last month, the Wolf Tongue closed its doors and put itself up for sale. The move came as a surprise to everyone -- including "Michigan" Mike Torpie, who has booked some of the area's finest jam-leaning artists into the club during the four and a half years of the Acid Jam's existence.

Over the past year, Torpie had expanded his Wolf Tongue booking activities to include a Wednesday-night jazz jam and regular weekend shows from local and touring artists; the venue had slowly grown into one of the region's most unexpectedly prestigious outlets for newgrass, hippie jam fare and neo-jazz sounds. In the wake of the Brewery's closing, Torpie says he's been forced to cancel and postpone shows he'd planned to present as far out as September.

Yet with typical good-natured mountain-man spirit, he claims the Wolf Tongue's closing has actually been a blessing in disguise, as it's allowed him more time to focus on the gargantuan upcoming Nedfest scheduled for Saturday, August 4, and Sunday, August 5. (Torpie's lineup currently includes Merl Saunders & His Funky Friends, Yonder Mountain String Band, Runaway Truck Ramp, Single Malt Band and the Charlie Hunter Quartet, among others. See Michiganmike.com for a complete roster.) In the meantime, he's finding temporary locations for the Acid Jam -- in Nederland restaurants, in friends' backyards, in the forest.

"It's sort of returning us to our roots in a way," Torpie says. "In the early days, it was just a handful of people and a mellow environment. It felt really intimate. Until we find a new place, it's sort of going to be that way for a while. We'll just land where we fall, but we will continue jamming."

Hungry Acid Jam fans can call Torpie's hotline -- 303-415-KOOL -- to find out where the event will be held each week (that feature might appeal to rave fans, as well). As for his days at the Wolf Tongue, with more mountain-man mellowness, Torpie says he's ready to move on.

"We always had a good time there, but they are trying to find a new owner, and we're not going to rely on the idea of going back," he says. "Really, I'm just going to miss the free beer. But I'm sure I can find that somewhere else."

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Laura Bond
Contact: Laura Bond