Free Snow Daze concerts continue Saturday in Vail
If you go ...
What: Snow Daze featuring Rusted Root and 10,000 Maniacs.
When: Saturday. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Where: Solaris in Vail Village.
More information: www.vail.com/events.
Ahhh, the ‘90s: Back when the term “White House intern” had a different meaning, Will Smith was still the Fresh Prince and wearing a neon windbreaker was considered cool. For bands that were big in the ’90s, the recent revival of the decade’s fashion and music trends can be both a good thing and a bit unnerving. New younger fans may be discovering their tunes for the first time, while us old fogies might just want them to play the songs we already know. Unsurprisingly, many of these bands realize that not everyone in the crowd is aware of their deep cuts.
“There are (fans) who really understand us and the way we think and the way we feel, and then there are people who have no idea about any of that and are there to hear the hits,” said Michael Glabicki, lead singer of Rusted Root.
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Rusted Root will headline the second round of Snow Daze concerts Saturday night at Solaris in Vail Village. Best known for their 1992 earworm that still gets played on the radio regularly, “Send Me On My Way,” the band’s robust career has spanned 25 years and keeps going. If the last time you listened to Rusted Root was on the “Party of Five” soundtrack, it’s time to catch up. Glabicki’s unmistakable voice sounds more powerful now than it has in decades.
“I can do a lot more with my voice now,” Glabicki said. “The stamina of my voice is much stronger. It’s a learning experience, creatively expanding the voice but also expanding (its) stamina at the same time. I work really hard on that.”
We may never have ever heard Glabicki’s signature warble in the first place if it wasn’t for a second chance at rock stardom in junior high, with a little help from Van Halen.
“In the fourth grade, I tried out for the choir and I didn’t get in,” Glabicki said. “It kind of really bummed me out. … At that point I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll never sing.’ Then later on in the seventh grade, I was at a jam session with these other musicians and they were playing Van Halen’s (version) of ‘You Really Got Me.’ … I went up and sang it and everybody was looking at me, just really surprised, and I was like, ‘What?’”
Few will be surprised with Rusted Root’s sound at the concert this Saturday, which promises to bring both Glabicki’s voice and their jam-friendly tunes that soothe even the most tentative listener.
MAKING OLD SONGS NEW AGAIN
Playing at Snow Daze on Saturday night before Rusted Root is 10,000 Maniacs, a group that’s also faced with both the burden and blessing of having songs that made the Top 40 when acid wash jeans seemed like a good idea. After a few lineup changes in their 30-plus years together, 10,000 Maniacs are still playing sold-out shows and expanding their sonic horizons. Most recently the group recorded an album of traditional folk songs from the British Isles, which bass guitarist and founding member Steven Gustafson referred to as “not your grandmother’s folk songs.”
“(The songs) are sort of definitive of our early songwriting — simple, straightforward and not too weird, but a little bit,” Gustafson said. “We didn’t have any recordings of these songs when they were written because they were that old. To learn the songs, we listened to other people’s versions.”
Gustafson said their new tunes work best in a more intimate venue. For their Snow Daze show, 10,000 Maniacs plan on catering to the crowd.
“We give 100 percent to our show and we want people to like it,” Gustafson said. “(There was) a point where (we thought) maybe this is the time to disassemble the band, give up and do other things. But there was still the passion for it and we like each other’s company. We still like playing our songs for people.”
Even if every last teenager today starts rocking combat boots and sporting a fanny pack, we’ll never quite return to the era of dial-up Internet and call waiting. The bands playing at Snow Daze this Saturday night may have had their heyday two decades ago, but this doesn’t mean their music has gone out of style. Dynamic voices, moving melodies and funky grooves you can move to are always on trend. For Gustafson, the hits may stay the same but the job never gets old.
“As a musician, when you get done working at the end of the day, people stand up and applaud,” Gustafson said. “You think, ‘Oh, I could do this again tomorrow.’”
Unlike the Tamagotchi, good music from bands like Rusted Root and 10,000 Maniacs is built to last, even after we wise up and stop wearing scrunchies.
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