Snow Daze-d and amused
Snow Daze, now in its sixth year, has become the unofficial kickoff party to the ski season here in Vail. The week-long festivities started Monday and go through Sunday. But the music really gets going Thursday night. Kicking off the Snow Daze concert series this year is Guster, who will take the stage at Solaris in Vail. This alternative, folk-rock band from Boston has been playing together for 20 years now, and though they began as a kind of underground college band, they eventually broadened their base while retaining loyal fans who were there with them from the beginning. Guster played Vail two years ago for the Spring Back to Vail concert series. The band has six studio albums under its belt and is working on material for a seventh, and they’ve toured with the likes of Ben Folds, Pete Yorn and John Mayer.”We’re all over the place,” said Adam Gardner, lead vocals and guitarist for Guster. “We have songs that rock pretty hard and songs that are pretty mellow.”When asked how he would describe that band’s sound, Gardner just laughed and said, “I usually just tell people to come (to the show.)”Folk rocker The White Buffalo will open the show tonight at Solaris. Born in Oregon and raised in Southern California, Jake Smith is the singer/songwriter known as The White Buffalo.
Gardner also pulls double duty with the band Yukon Kornelius, which is the headlining act at this year’s Snow Daze. The band will perform Saturday night at Ford Park in Vail. Kornelius is a super group of sorts made up of Gardner on guitar and vocals, Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard, singer and guitarist Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and drummer Eric Fawcett of Spymob. It will be there second time in three years the band’s played at Snow Daze.Yukon Kornelius is more of a loose affiliation of musicians who just love to play together and have fun than a serious band looking for industry recognition. And for Gardner and the other members of the band, playing Vail is a chance to get out on the snow while in town.”I’ve been a skier for a while,” Gardner said.He said the first time they ever played together was during a taping of the Warren Miller film “Children of Winter” in 2008. “That’s a big part of Yukon Kornelius. We do have to rehearse but it’s also real important that we get out and ride and ski and have fun together. That’s part of what the band is,” Gardner said.Gardner said it was more like a working vacation for the members of the band and their families.Yukon Kornelius has played only a handful of times since they first came together according to Gardner, and two of those times will have been in Vail after Snow Daze wraps up. They play mostly covers of other bands like Blue Oyster Cult, Rolling Stones and Talking Heads with a few songs from the member’s respective bands thrown in. So you might hear “Don’t Fear The Reaper” followed by “Center of Attention” by Guster – you just never know.
And you can expect some guest appearances by other musicians as well, Gardner said. He revealed three musicians who will join the group on stage Saturday, including Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Rashawn Ross, trumpet player for the Dave Matthews Band and Marc Roberge, guitarist and singer for O.A.R.”Some other special guests who I can’t tell you about” will be there too, Gardner said.”It’s always a big event when we come together because it’s a lot of fun for us and hopefully everyone that’s there,” Gardner said.This year’s Snow Daze lineup features a broad cross-section of the music industry – along with Yukon Kornelius and Guster, the the next four days will also include performances by hard rockers Lit, singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan and Oakland-based DJ The Polish Ambassador. You could say there’s a little something for everyone, and that’s not an accident.”An important consideration is that we’ll try to sign bands that appeal to a broad range of our diverse customer base; from younger to older and with different genres represented,” said Adam Sutner, director of sales and marketing for Vail Mountain.Highline Sports and Entertainment is once again producing the event and the company’s public relations director agreed.”It’s a really strong lineup this year,” said Kelly Paton, public relations director for Highline Sports & Entertainment. “It’s a great diverse lineup … it definitely will give the years prior a run for their money. Every year it gets better.”