When the biggest names in snowboarding show up in town, so do some of the best entertainment acts touring today. The snowboarders will be competing every night and then heading to the clubs. Vail’s clubs will have acts that cover it all – reggae from Jamaica, jazz and funk from Chicago, and DJs from both coasts. This doesn’t even include all the talent that calls this valley home and shows everyone what they have on a weekly basis.
nFriday- the weekend begins with DJ Harry at the Bridge. This Colorado favorite always surprises with his combination of tribal and progressive house. At Sanctuary Mike McGuin plays your favorite tracks. Ask him, he’ll play what you want to hear. On the floor below Mike are The Short and Tall of It, also known as Chris Kuchler and Nathan Parish. These locals get the lounge scene going. Chill out with a tall martini while they start the night off with funky house and mushroom jazz, bring in the down-tempo and build the vibe till its time for the deep house. Changing gears while staying behind the wheels of steel is the DJ playing the Gravis Shoes party at 8150.
For those of you who follow more than just who is on the microphone in a hip-hop act, the DJ at 8150 might be someone you’ve heard of. DJ Rectangle has come to town, to show you what a technician can really do. Rectangle is Warren G’s touring DJ, a gig he won by beating all the best in battle competitions around the world. His style is to amaze, you will have to pay attention because you might not believe what you see him do. If you would rather play some foosball or have a drink while listening to music you might know well enough to sing along to, the Platzl and DJ Late Night might be more for you.
nSaturday – The hip-hop continues at the Bridge with Steve Stone and Z-28. Whether you like the underground scene or more popular hip-hop, the two can satisfy the continuing need for urban music styles. Those urban styles get a bit more tropical at 8150, with Ripton Hylton, a.k.a. Eek-a-Mouse. This well known reggae artist has been performing his humor-filled and soulful jams since the late ’70s, when he started in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica. This show has him playing with the Jah Family Band. I have seen Eek play and if you’re even a middling reggae fan, it’s a show worth attending. Sanctuary is going through a full transformation again with the arrival of Unity Gain. Back for another lo-fi experience from 30th Street Productions are DJs Liondub, Psychonaut, Ivy, and Sex Clown. While these guys are spinning on tables throughout the club, Scott Stoughton will be adding his live percussions and vocals. Of note is the redecoration of the bar with tapestries, candles and movie screens to view a montage of photos and movie clips. It is a full sensory experience for your Saturday night in Vail.
nSunday – The weekend’s end has a few interesting choices. Two nights designed for the locals at The Bridge and Sanctuary start it off. At Sanctuary is SIN (Service Industry Night). This week everyone has a chance to wind down with DJ Wyatt Earp behind the wheels of steel. Sunday Night Solutions is the Bridge’s attempt to bring something new into the valley. DJ .Com lays down the dub tracks with live vocals and percussions played on top. Every week offers something new, with different special guests showing up to add extra flavor. This week it’s Greg Warren of Jive tossing his live horns into the mix. All this and drink specials added, you can’t lose. While these places are more about chilling out and ending the weekend, 8150 is ready to start the new week with a bang. They’re bringing in Chicago’s acid jazz innovators Liquid Soul. This 8-piece collective stirs up a concoction of urban dance music, jazz and funk. They have won Grammy Awards with their studio albums, but there forte is live performances, so don’t miss out.
nMonday – Everybody has a chance to hear breaks, progressive and hardhouse from either up-and-comers or established DJs of the valley outside their normal village haunts. Agave in Avon brings the club scene down valley with Groove, a night hosted by DJ Gibby with a number of locals playing their records in this booming sound system. 8150 is hosting Open Turntable Night The first six DJs through the door get 45 minutes each to prove they cut the mustard.
The rest of the week is about local DJs and promoters. The Bridge brings in Steve Stone and Z-28 for another night of hip-hop on Tuesday, and Chris Kuchler makes his presence known on their decks on Thursday. 8150 lets one of its residents take over the club on Thursday for the first of three nights put on by Kid Twist. New Direction brings in DJ MLE from Denver, Swerve and Mygatt, from New York and Straight Nate, Paris, Kid Twist and KFC of Vail. With two rooms playing house, progressive, hip-hop and acid jazz it could be the start of something completely different.
Wherever you choose to go this week you are sure to experience something worth finding. There’s a local level of talent only Vail can attract.
Brian Ross is a snowboard instructor on Vail Mountain and a bartender at 8150. Club Scene appears every Friday.