Music to your ears |

Music to your ears

Ben Quirk
Special to the Daily

As January bows out to the Hawaiian lines of Pepper, February strolls into Vail all brash and full of beans.

Night after night of wicked music promises to keep us punters smiling and pogoiing long after the lifts have closed, the sun has set and the apres hour is but a distant memory. The valley plays host to a true mish-mash of music from hip-hop to freestyle jazz, latin-edged reggae, soul and funk and bluegrass garage rock.

Hip-hop’s Aceyalone is a rarity in this world; innovator in a scene of imitators, thinker in a genre too often full of empty words and obsession with image. The former Freestyle Fellowship artist has been treading his own path for over 10 years now releasing work defined by its originality and intelligence. Aceyalone delivers tight, complex lines and with RJD2 helping produce on his last album, another layer was added to the Fellowshippers, using synthesizers and his now trademark beats to create a more experimental sound to set off the musings. With Atlanta’s Collective Efforts supporting with their laid-back rhymes and self-styled positive hip-hop, Thursday at 8150 is sure to be a heady stream of beats, bass and lyrical mastery. The B-Side Players are a band that will have you scratching your head for about five seconds before they have you bounding over the floor, stupid grin plastered to your face and mind lost in the melding of trumpet, saxophone bass, drums and guitar. Combining everything from rock to funk, reggae to soul and often edged with a Latin flavor, B-Side Players have toured everywhere on a near religious mission to spread their music and, dare I say it, the love. Claiming, “The greatest compliment we’ve ever received is the movement we see on the dance floor night after night,” it’s easy to believe that B-Side Players deliver consistently on the night and that this high energy show at 8150 tonight is the perfect end to a day spent riding the white stuff.

Energy is clearly something that Split Lip Rayfield have in abundance. Returning from last years support slot with Reverend Horton Heat these Wichitan’s go all out at 8150 on Friday with their punked up bluegrass and headline slot. Eric, banjoist with the band, was clearly amused as he described the shows, “We’re really a rock band with bluegrass instruments, people should come ready to rock rather than sit in a folding lawn chair like at bluegrass festivals.” Unashamedly mixing all their favorite music SLR sing about middle America with passion, enthusiasm and an open, self-deprecating wit. Excited about coming back to Vail, Eric enthused about touring in the winter, “We ski but management get a little worried because Kirk and I are a bit banzai, we just point straight down. Not the best technique but very little fear.” With every band wanting that most elusive of attributes: originality, Split Lip Rayfield may well be the real deal; something you have never heard before. “We love playing Vail, last year I remember the floor bouncing up and down all night and it felt like I was dancing on the stage, it was a great vibe.” Doesn’t sound like bluegrass to me.

Liquid Soul fills 8150 on Saturday with their freestyle jazz and crossover sounds in what promises to be a great show. Taking jazz back from pointless meandering and banal noodlings Liquid Soul plants it firmly back on the dancefloor. Throwing hip-hop and breakbeats into what’s already one of the most experimental art forms the jazz band can switch from light to heavy in the slide of a trombone and have you gyrating with wild abandon just as effortlessly.Not to be outdone in the live music stakes, Sandbar offers a treat to the live music loving snow hound. Outformation are a Kansas three piece playing on Thursday, a rock band with an organic sound to their music, they’re not unknown to slip into a jam while playing and watch everyone groove along. Drawing ideas from bands they all listened to growing up the band takes what it learnt from Widespread Panic, Phish and more mellow artists like Willie Nelson and fused it into their own sound. Menagerie play on Friday at Sandbar, this young band from Boulder shifts from reggae to heavier, rockier jams and back again. Only four years old big things are expected from the local lads and the addition of extra percussion and keyboards to expand the band from its three member inception to current five piece setup has allowed the band to widen its horizons and try new things. When it comes to veterans of the music industry one need not look further than Vince Herman. Playing live music for the last 25 years has given Herman a wide repertoire of not only songs and tunes but experiences as well. Founding member of Salmonheads and later Leftover Salmon he’s credited with being able to play just about everything you can on a guitar. For those who want to listen to a piece of American heritage, Vince Herman will be playing Sandbar on Tuesday.Vail Colorado

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