15 August 2008

Fate and Favourites

As some of you may have noticed, I am continually suggesting shows I reckon to be worth the while to attend over at The Donnybrook Writing Academy's regular Friday feature The Problem of Leisure. My favourites tend to appear a lot, but since the folks running things over there haven't complained about my continual recommendations of Bad Luck City, Bad Weather California, Bela Karoli, Overcasters, and Porlolo, I will keep recommending them, as I deem apt.

This week was no exception:

The Truth: The Mercury Cafe.
Porlolo, Joseph Pope III and Ian Cooke. 9 PM

I’ve never been to the Mercury Cafe. I realize that might be hard to believe. This place has been around longer than many interesting Denver places and it’s often talked about by an eclectic and large set of people. One look at it’s calendar will evidence that this is an involved and community-minded place. And you can eat very healthy sounding food there too. So, why wouldn’t I have been there at least once? I can’t explain.

The eternally hip Radio 1190 presents an all-ages show at the Merc this Saturday. That means youngsters can come. The always lovely Porlolo, the ever charming Ian Cooke and the equally endearing Joseph Pope III will all perform. And it is only $7. I am tempted to ferry myself and my little entourage over there for a listen. According to the calendar, if you get there too early you’ll run into a Green Party benefit…is Ralph Nader really still running for president?

I thought this would be a good show to take the kids to, they love Porlolo and Ian Cooke and I think they'd like Joe Pope's music too. But then I remembered that $7 means per person. With my little entourage, that gets outta my current budget for an evening. So I decided, well, I guess not. But then, fatefully, my rental car wouldn't start. Why fatefully? And what does that have to do with the show? I'll tell you.

This is the story of how I got stuck in a Chevy Cobalt listening to Radio 1190 late Thursday morning and ended up with a plus one to the show.

Wednesday I took my none-so-gold-as-mine minivan for a major tune up. I was overdue. Oh, I mentioned, could you check the brakes? They seem a little off. I guess that happens when all the brake fluid has drained out of the rear drums. They weren't working at all the auto repair place told me. Oh and the transmission solenoid is leaking. And the front axle something. And something, something. I couldn't take listening anymore than to find out I could get it all fixed for a little under 2K. But, they would put me in a rental car for the next day no charge. Okay. That's how I got the Chevy Cobalt. It was the only car they had.

Besides feeling a little like the Yugo I learned to drive manual in, it was okay. At least it was getting me around to places I needed to go. Until I was in the parking lot of that assisted living center, needing to get to a lunch appointment. The key wouldn't turn. I called the rental place and they said, um, yeah that's happened before. Try jiggling the steering wheel. Do you have your foot on the brake? Take the key out and put it back in. No? Jiggle the wheel again. Near to ten minutes of this in the sun, and finally it starts. And at that very moment the dj was giving away tickets to the show. Third caller. I called. You are the second caller. Oh no I said. But you can call back he said. So I did. And I won. Now I only have two tickets to pay for and that is much better.

As for that Cobalt...when I got home, the key wouldn't turn again and all the jiggling and finessing of the key was for naught. I had to call the rental car travel club rescue service. The tow truck driver tries the same to the same effect and says, Oh, I know how to fix this. He jogs back to his truck and comes back with a hammer, smiling, It just needs a little TLC. My eyes bugged out as he starts hammering on the key in the ignition. And you know what? Yeah, it fixed it.

06 August 2008

cd release: Blue Million Miles

Blue Million Miles cd release this Saturday 9 August 2008 at the Hi-Dive in Denver.

Each time I listen to Blue Million Miles, I appreciate them even more. One part dream-like, one part driving, they kind of creep into your memory and stick. And you're not sorry for the invasion. There are a few Denver bands I've actually felt relieved to find out they were definitely recording their songs, so no matter what happens, they'll always be there for another listen. Friday, I'll be in line to get my own copy of Blue Million Miles newest release, Of Building Walls. And as if that weren't enough reason to get to the show, the fabulously amazing Bad Luck City and consistently spectacular, The Overcasters, will both be playing too. I'd not miss it.

03 August 2008

dpums 2008: a couple lists

Too tired to write in sentences. Mostly. So, lists:

Who I managed to see at least some, and in some cases, all of:

American Relay. Reverend Deadeye. Bad Weather California. Overcasters. Bad Luck City. Orangu-tones. Rachel Pollard. Jason Cain. Aaron Collins. Ellison Park, George Inai, Blue Light. Joseph Pope III. Andy Tanner. Married in Berdichev. Andrea Ball, Jen Korte, Jack Redell. Cowboy Curse. Hearts of Palm. Bela Karoli. Hot IQs. Porlolo. And a few others bits here and there walking up and down Broadway. I didn't get to listen to everything I wanted to hear, but I listened to all I was able.

Some of the worst parts:

People talking louder than Porlolo’s set in the Skylark,
then the jukebox starting up.
Sketchy sound systems.
House music playing at Blue Ice during Cowboy Curse,
and American idol on a wide screen TV.
Trying to see two bands at once.
Not trying to see two bands at once.
Leaving in the middle of a set.
Just missing someone you really wanted to see.
Griping about this stuff.
Blisters on feet.
Being hungry and thirsty.
The hot hot sun.
Sitting on the itchy grass.
Forgetting to bring earplugs for the kids.
Being overwhelmed and overtired.
Sweaty and over-packed Hi-Dive.

Some of the best parts:

I hate being packed in, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the show.
Friday night, appreciating what a great club the 3 Kings Tavern is.
The Overcasters and Bad Luck City back to back.
Not being able to stop smiling.
All those fabulous all-ages venues.
Being able to bring my kids Saturday.
My kids thanking me (so much) for taking them.
The people who stopped chatting and started listening to Porlolo.
Roger Green learning a Porlolo song on the stage,
and it still sounding amazing.
Cowboy Curse playing a great set in spite of the club.
My daughter napping on a stack of carpets
Mellow singer/songwriter round sets.
Volunteering. Really.
Just the right-sized outdoor stage.
Nathaniel Rateliff pushing his gear around in a K-mart shopping cart.
Cold drinks.
Aaron Collins child-like-playful solo performance in Rock the Cradle.
Marching my children into the Skylark to hear Porlolo
and nobody stopping us.
Inviting people who don’t usually come out to the shows
and seeing them there.
So many creative and diversely talented folks doing their stuff.
Feeding my kids those yummy Sputnik french fries
one order sweet, one order white.)
Feeling the genuine and impossible-to-fabricate good-will vibe.
All the cool stuff I actually caught.
Realizing some festivals are not so bad.
And all this in Denver.