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Brews and tunes at the Basin

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI

ARAPAHOE BASIN – Fiery entertainment and cold brews blast into the laid-back, beach atmosphere at Arapahoe Basin this weekend.Bring on the brewsThe Basin’s biggest party of the year starts today with the third annual Festival of the Brewpubs from noon to 4 p.m. Participants 21 and older can sample mugs of beer from local brewpubs including Pug Ryan’s, Breckenridge, Dillon Dam, Backcountry and Great Northern Tavern.This year, the Basin has expanded its brewpub festival to three days instead of just one. The reason? Quite honestly, the organizers couldn’t choose which specific day to have the festival.”The snow’s still really good, so we wanted to celebrate that, and we couldn’t decide on Saturday or Memorial Day, so we did it all,” said Hierholzer, A-Basin spokesperson.Sunday’s festival features the A-Basin 6th Alley beers, and Monday’s festival features several Front Range brewpubs.Heatin’ up the beach ambiancePolynesian Fia Fia heats up the celebration from 1-3 p.m. today at the base of the ski area.The band features South Pacific music, hula dancers and a fire dancer.Drummer and vocalist Siaosi Talitimu started the outfit in Phoenix, Ariz., in the late 1970s then moved to Denver around 1979.The four dancers originate from either Hawaii or Samoa, and their styles show the distinctive movements between the islands of Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand and Tahiti. Hawaiian hula, for example, focuses on telling stories with hand movements, while frenzied hip shaking characterizes Tahitian dance.The first dancer ignites a hot performance with a machete, customized into a fire knife.”It’s very colorful and high energy,” said Marsha Talitimu. “It’s entertaining, but it’s authentic.”Holler if you like bluegrassWildwood Holler! has been pickin’ and grinnin’ its way around northern Colorado for the last few weeks. It plays from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Basin.”Beer, bluegrass -kinda – and the mountains … how could this go wrong?” the band members wrote on their Web site about the show.Wildwood Holler! is an acoustic trio, and though it has the traditional instrumentation, it’s not quite traditional bluegrass.”We’re not trying to re-create something that Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs did pretty well to begin with,” said banjo player Josh Beard. “We are trying to make our own sound with the pared-down bluegrass instrumentation. We play some traditional bluegrass tunes, some cover tunes in our style, and a lot of our original music. Our influences go way beyond bluegrass and newgrass, including European classical music, jazz and even Karnatic music – two out of three of us went to music school at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Our mandolinist, Michael Kirkpatrick, is an accomplished opera singer, and I’m a tuba player.”Getting funky at the BasinDenver-based Opie Gone Bad has pounded out funky, in-your-face pop, soul and rock with edgy guitar riffs for several years.But Opie (a.k.a. lead singer Jake Schroeder) first started the boys-gone-bad more than a dozen years ago. Originally, the band covered soul tunes like Otis Redding hits. Then it got into rock. And then it got a little funky.Now the band plays an 80/20 original-to-cover mix, and each player brings a different flavor to the music, ranging from old soul to avant-guard jazz.”They’re all skilled, gifted back-beat style players,” Schroeder said. “You don’t find many bands with every position being as talented as they are.”And that’s not just Schroeder’s biased view. Denver’s Westword and 5280 magazines, the Denver Post and Denver.City.Search.com have taken turns praising Opie Gone Bad with best-band honors since 1998.”They are the very best (musicians) in Colorado at what they do,” said manager Kristin Nolan. “They appeal to a wide variety of people because their music is so energetic and based in funk – you can’t help but move around when you hear them. When they play in Denver, they pull huge crowds at the Soiled Dove, Little Bear and Herman’s.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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