Just your average acoustic bluegrass/dub/house party | VailDaily.com

Just your average acoustic bluegrass/dub/house party

Andy Stonehouse
Special to the DailyOff the road for the first summer in five years, Vail and Boulder-based rockers Sucker perform for the first time in a long time with a big show tonight at State Bridge Lodge.

Given the choice between spending the summer stuck in a van with four guys or chilling by the banks of the Colorado River, we’d have to say we’d side with musician and band booker Scott Stoughton’s decision to favor the latter.

Stoughton, co-founder and vocalist for perennial Vail/Boulder-based rock outfit Sucker, says he and his bandmates opted to take this summer off – the first time they’ve done so in the past five years.

And that’s what makes this evening’s Sucker show at State Bridge something a bit out of the ordinary, given the band’s low profile in recent months.

“We had to make a decision to either commit to going out on the road or, as it actually happened, spend time doing other things,” Stoughton says. “Our keyboard player got married and a couple of guys bought houses, so it made sense for them to chill out and get their finances in order. There ain’t no money on the road.”

Stoughton’s own summer plans have worked out pretty well – he’s been living in a teepee at State Bridge and working as the venue’s music booker and promoter, which has given him plenty of time to contemplate his long-standing band’s future.

At present, Sucker’s lineup is in a bit of flux, with drummer Aaron Ficca having recently parted company with the band. For this evening’s show, Stoughton enlisted the help of drummer Tyler Bender, a regular with Boulder favorites Jive.

And tonight’s Sucker performance promises to be a bit different from the straight-ahead rock-fests of yore. The show will open with a solo acoustic performance by Stoughton’s friend (and former part-time employer) Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, with the whole gig seriously changing gears as Stoughton and company take the stage with DJ Peter Blick – DJ dotcom as he’s known when Stoughton, Sucker guitarist Rodney Coquia and other guests get together as the Solution ensemble.

“The whole night’s going to morph from acoustic bluegrass into rock and house and dub, with DJ Peter Blick also kicking in as it rolls along,” Stoughton says. “There’s not really a huge focus on it being just a Sucker show.”

Off the road, Stoughton says he’s been kept busy bringing some great bands out to the legendary Colorado River lodge, even getting the chance to sit in with groups occasionally. He says the experience has given him some new ideas about pursuing his musical career, both with Sucker and on his own.

“We’re continuing to write new music and have a whole bunch of stuff we have yet to record, so we’ll probably do that later this year. Our plan is to focus on quality rather than quantity, but we also want to have fun and to be able to play for significant crowds when we do go out.”

Stoughton says he’s looking forward to some work this fall with El Buho, a notorious horn legend who’s worked with musicians from Phish to Bob Marley. Stoughton met up with he and ex-Leftover Salmon drummer Jeff Sipe when they appeared at State Bridge last year and was enlisted to play some dates this year in an ensemble that also includes Blick and the ex-bassist from the Steve Miller Band.

“I also really want to focus on putting out a record that features all of these players and bands that I’ve worked with. I loved playing with Particle and Hamsa Lila – I kinda figure that’s the future of music.”

Until he heads out again, Stoughton says he’s happy with his summer gig at State Bridge – and the chance to work with bands such as Vinyl (who appear Sunday night) and upcoming favorites like the Dark Star Orchestra.

“Booking bands at State Bridge has been pretty much like what I do with Sucker anyway. It’s been a tough summer with all of the jam bands out on tour this year and the Dead playing 300 million shows or whatever, and people have gotten a bit burned our on live music – but things have been good. I’ve just been having a good time sitting up there and vegging in the teepee, taking guitar lessons and hanging out.”

Sucker appears this evening with Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman and DJ Peter Blick at State Bridge Lodge in Bond. Call 653-4444 for details and ticket information.

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