Slopeside sounds in Vail, Avon
One of the best parts of spending a long day up on the hill is the cold beer, nachos and great music waiting for you at the bottom.Eagle County is home to some of the best aprs skiing and snowboarding in the world. Whether you live in town or are just visiting, you should make the rounds and check out the performers lighting up the local pubs.If you’re looking for the classic ski bar experience, complete with the smell of stale beer, or a swankier scene, there’s something for everybody just steps from the base of the hill. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not cool to dance in your ski boots. It’s still cool.
The Red Lion in Vail Village might just be the quintessential aprs ski bar in America. Located steps from the Vista Bahn in Vail Village and featuring live aprs tunes seven days per week, a quick beer at The Red Lion can turn into a long night.They have two great acoustic acts with Phil Long (Wednesday through Saturday) and Brendan McKinney (Sunday through Tuesday). Long has been a musical fixture at the Red Lion for 23 years.”I think it’s a combination of it being such a historic place, the location, the consistency as well as making it fresh and fun every year,” Long said. “I think the people that come back year after year develop nice relationships with the people around them. That has been a great contributor to our success – people just enjoying themselves and establishing great friendships.”Long said he likes playing the classics like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Tiny Dancer,” but he will also try and keep things current by playing tunes from bands like Cold Play or Train. McKinney, who recently released an album out of Nashville, has been playing the Red Lion for about eight years, and he is by no means a “B night” musician. Check out both of their acts from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, call 970-476-7676.
If you’re looking for a break from the acoustic rock scene, look no further than Avondale in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, at the base of the gondola in Avon. Tony Gulizia and Brian Loftus (a.k.a. BLT) are the newest aprs ski show in the valley.With piano and drums, the duo will be playing contemporary and standard jazz for a nice mellow vibe every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (starting this Sunday).”For me, it’s an absolute pleasure to play with Tony G because he knows so many songs,” Loftus said. “He can really accommodate anybody at any time. He can pretty much do it all.”They will be playing tunes from artists like Nat Cole and Frank Sinatra, which is definitely a sound you won’t find at too many other places around town. The gondola won’t be fired up until Dec. 11, but if you live in Avon, it’s a great way to access the hill, with some fun music waiting at the bottom. Check out the show every weekend through April from 3:15 to 6:15 p.m. For more information, call 970-790-6000.
Steve Meyer, the Good Times Man, has been living up to his nickname for years at The Club in Vail Village. If you’re looking for a show that is not suited for the entire family, rather for people who like to party – a show that encourages a healthy amount of drinking, raunchy jokes and good times – check out Steve Meyer. He might call you out and bring you up on stage. But if you’re a team player with a sense of humor, there’s a tequila shot with your name on it. Pretty girls are especially susceptible to shots of tequila, which are served by the dozens.”My music is pretty diversified – I play everything from reggae to country, rock to comedy, classics to alternative. You name it,” he said. Meyer likes playing The Club because there aren’t any windows, so there’s no danger of offending passersby. He will be playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through the month of December and will add a Wednesday show in the New Year. The party goes from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 970-479-0556.
Longtime local musician Peter Fontanese has assembled an A-list cast of performers for the winter season at Tavern on the Square in Lionshead. They will be mixing things up with the schedule from week to week.Among the performers are Fontanese, Donny Z, Don Watson, Beth Swearingen and Kevin Danzig.”We have a roster of what I think is the finest talent in Colorado,” Fontanese said. “I put this group together based on musicians that played Arrabelle in its inaugural season and some of my other personal favorites from living and playing music in Vail for 30 years.”There will also be special guests sitting in throughout the season, playing what Fontanese likes to call “crowd-friendly, variety music.” “We love to do requests, rock and roll, country and western, swing, jazz, folk and Americana,” he said.The show will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. everyday. For more information, call 970-754-7777.
Guitarist Roy Bloomfield, whos performs at the Avalanche Club in the Vail Marriot, says his show walks a fine line between kicking back and high energy. “It’s mostly covers. I do some of my own stuff too. But the show is anything from Sinatra to Green Day,” Bloomfield said. “It’s a pretty wide range of music, from blues to classic rock ‘n’ roll.”Bloomfield is known for his guitar work in numerous bands around the state, and he has played alongside artists like Bo Diddley, Sam Moore, Gretchen Peters and Edwin McCain. Check out the show every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday this season from 4 to 7 p.m. For more information, call 970-949-9400.
Jonny Mogambo has been playing throughout Colorado, as well as nationally and internationally, for more than 15 years. This winter he’ll be back at Finnegan’s Wake in Avon every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can always catch Mogambo in the wintertime slopeside performing his high-energy solo acoustic act from Vail and Telluride to Aspen and Breck. It’s a great time that caters to all crowds, especially the crowd that caters to the shot-ski.The show starts at 6 p.m. and usually wraps up at 9 p.m. For more information, call 970-748-4619.
Another mainstay of the aprs music scene in Vail Village is Rod Powell, who has been playing Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant for 27 of the last 30 years. Located minutes from the Vista Bahn, he plays 99.9 percent covers, mostly of the “sing-along” variety, because that’s what the people want to hear, Powell says. “Apres ski in Vail during the season is like Saturday night in any other town,” Powell said. “The house is always jammin’.”Powell plays every Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. with Jonny Mogambo filling in on the off days. For more information, call 970-476-4671.
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