Music News

Hot Fun in the Summertime

It's almost June in Denver, and you know what that means, right? Yep. The beginning of summer is upon us. Listen, folks, I've seen the future, and here's what we all have to look forward to: heat. More heat. Sweltering. Unbearable. Suffocating. Heat. As much as I'd like to pretend that I'm as stoked as everyone else for the dog days, the truth is that I hate summer. Almost as much as I hate winter. Being the card-carrying princess that I am -- a pampered fat man who melts like margarine in temperatures that exceed a cool 74 degrees -- I'd be happy if it were always spring.

But that would mean, of course, that I'd be retired, livin' La Jolla Loca in paradise with Sweetie, and wouldn't be able play hypeman for one of the only redeeming things about summer in the Mile High: the Westword Music Showcase, the ice cream truck of local music, the one time during the year that we open up all the fire hydrants and dance in the streets.

Last week we revealed the artists on this year's Showcase ballot, many of whom will appear at the June 16 event that will play out on ten stages in the Golden Triangle. And as soon as the list hit the streets, our Backbeat Online blog began buzzing with intriguing chatter regarding this year's nominees.

A reader named EZ was one of the first to weigh in: "We've had pH10 in town for over a year and the Westword missed them for the best of and the showcase two times in a row. These guys are world class Electronic producers and have been all over the world. What does it take for this ridiculous rag to pay attention to its local artists and give them the recognition they deserve?"

And Googleboy offered this: "What about Adrenaline Sky for Electronica? Saw them perform twice and think they are far better than a number of 'acts' in Denver. Who puts these lists together?"

These were among the kinder, gentler posts. Other folks were a little more pointed with their opinions. Gusto Octavio, for example: "This probably won't be approved anyhow, but I have to vent. As usual Westword has failed to create any kind of reasonable ballot. Once again I will not vote due to the utter incompetence of the categorization. Black Lamb is not metal. They are rock. Yerkish, though a fine band really isn't avant garde or arty at all. They are either rock or indie rock. How is Bright Channel any more Indie than Tarmints? If Ion is Metal then Slayer must be...who knows? I can't see how Ion and Cephalic Carnage are anything similar at all. This is a ridiculous hype generating machine put together by amateurs who don't even bother to check out the scene. The only category worth looking at is the Americana category. One last point: How does Devotchka get air time on the Grammy's and no nomination for this stupid little poll?"

One particularly astute reader was quick to point out Gusto's notable oversight. "Hey Gusto: Reading is fundamental," Adouble chided. "Granted, world music is a weird place for them, but Devotchka are nominated."

Scotty V won the prize for the most earnest post with the most egregious disregard for capitalization and the most consecutive sentences without periods (Dude, I'm a freaking editor; you had to see this coming, right?): "where is monofog? fucking orange? magic cyclops? do you guys hate bands that do/used to live in ft.collins?? all this thing does is hurt feelings >>and make folks feel left out! real bands don't need awards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That post was followed by this one from Tricia: "i vote for The Brotherhood of Dae Han," a band that's from -- uh-huh, you guessed it -- Fort Collins.

If you agree with many of the people quoted above and think that with this year's Showcase ballot we dropped the ball, screwed the pooch, dissed you and your homies -- don't climb a clock tower or wander into traffic. Instead, let us know that we missed the mark by writing in the name of your band -- er, the name of your favorite band, that is -- in the write-in slot provided. And if you have a rant that you absolutely, positively, have to get off your chest, don't be shy: Send a note or weigh in on the blog. We're all ears, as they say. And your input could make a difference.

Every year, the Showcase continues to evolve and improve, with many of those changes based on the feedback we receive. This year, for instance, we've added five entirely new categories, making room for 57 acts to appear on this ballot for the first time. And some of those acts will be performing with our still unbelievable headliners (seriously, I'm still pinching myself) Lucero and Dinosaur Jr.

On with the Showcase.

Upbeats and beatdowns: This Saturday, May 19, the Trampolines will release their brand-new DVD/CD, One Night Live, at the Bluebird, with support from the Fong Jones Band, Rob Drabkin and Angie Stevens & the Beautiful Wreck. The DVD features a live set taped at the Walnut Room and contains bonus footage of the Tramps' Film on the Rocks gig a few summers ago.

Massive props go out to the Needle Point Records family: Cat-A-Tac's latest effort, Past Lies and Former Lives, checked in at #66 on CMJ Top 200 chart (after claiming the #9 spot on last week's Top 20 adds chart), while Rabbit Is a Sphere's Laps in the Sleep Saloon earned the #13 spot on this week's adds chart. Nice work, gang! And right on for Spiv, whose song "Everybody's a Rockstar" is prominently featured in the promos for The Next Best Thing: Who Is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator, ABC's latest reality vehicle, which the network describes as "diabolically outrageous and raucously entertaining." What a score for Chris Barber and company. Let's hope that this one lasts longer than, ahem, the last One I wrote about in the August 3, 2006, Beatdown.

Fooking brilliant. Those were the exact words that came to mind when I heard the Swayback's recent cover of "I'm Waiting for the Man." The band's treatment and Eric Halborg's vocals more than do justice to the original; check it out for yourself at

Finally, I'm sending best wishes for a speedy recovery to Augy Zhivago (aka Augy Rocks). When Zhivago -- who once fronted one of my all-time favorite Denver bands, Pil Bug, as well as a slew of other acts, including MK Ultra -- and I spoke last week, he informed me that this past December he'd suffered a major heart attack. Since then, he's been taking it easy and is steadily getting back to health at his home in North Hollywood. The timing of the attack couldn't have been more craptacular, as just a few months prior he was stricken by a bout of E. coli poisoning. "The whole time, all I kept thinking was that I had to keep my eyes open," he reports. "They say it's like a pain in the chest. It's more like getting hit with a sledgehammer."

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera