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Soul fun in the sun

Ben Quirk
Special to the DailyMaceo Parker performs a free concert Friday at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village. Little Hercules will open. The music is from 6-10 p.m.
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There was no denying it was never going to happen. One day you’re cruising through 19 inches of fresh powder, goggles iced to your head and the tip of your nose resolutely blue, despite your best efforts. Then suddenly a couple of double shifts later, there’s no snow on the driveway, beer tastes that much better and you’re screaming down the mountain in a T-shirt.So, two weeks to go and abruptly plans have to be made, flights purchased and parties thrown. In among all of this seasonal shimmying and spring shenanigans is our penultimate round of bands, which are trucking in from far-flung locales to play for our aural delectation and musical well-being. It is a collective responsibility to welcome them to our enclave and show them why spring in the Vail Valley rocks so damn hard.For many of us winter work is either over or very close to being finished and the real world may very well soon be beckoning with its credit card claws and time-to-use-that-degree eyes. So before those car payments hit and the babies start falling we should acknowledge that it’s time to ride hard and play harder. Today, go out and pull a 360, soak away your aches in a hot tub and then go out on the town and go listen to one, some or all of the bands coming through this week. Remember: Tomorrow brings the mud season, no riding and the asteroid-like impact of reality. Today should clearly not be wasted.

Oteil and the Peacemakers spread the loveFrom John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s love-in to peace marches and demonstrations, the majority of people in this world would much rather make love than war, make peace than war or indeed make toast rather than war. Oteil and the Peacemakers are all about love, the groove and having a good time. Playing for free on the streets of Vail is certainly one way of getting the message across. Perhaps, though certainly not in my lifetime, it will go someway toward defusing the volatile situation between tyrannical skier, mild mannered snowboarder and minority insurgent, what-were-they-thinking snowblader before it erupts into terrible jihad. Oteil you’re our only hope …Dead Zone is far from the final resurrectionComing back from the other side more times than a particularly vicious vampire in a teen horror flick, Dead Zone resurrects the sounds and feel of the Grateful Dead and will play with Vince Welnick, keyboardist from the behemoth of jam band.

Nick Peraino and Blue Moon Risin’ lighten upPeraino originally trained as a jazz and blues musician but soon found the call of rock ‘n’ roll too strong to resist. Strong elements of funk and instrumental sections hilight his musical education as Peraino and his band storm through southern and classical rock infused with soulful melodies.



Maceo Parker is a one-man experienceWhen you listen to Maceo Parker you’re not listening to a quick composition scribbled down on a napkin in between breakfast burritos and coffee refills; you’re listening to a fat chunk of American musical history. You’re listening to the life’s experiences of a musician who played for 20 years with James Brown before working with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. Every time Parker blows his alto-sax he’s expelling a lifetime of performances and pure soul music.Part of the Spring Back to Vail celebrations, Parker will be playing live on the streets at Checkpoint Charlie. Relax, breath deep, dance long, and live and learn from a master who has seen it all and done it all and still loves every second on stage.Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe not so small

Karl Denson is a musical journeyman who has traveled from an important role with Lenny Kravitz through support musician for funk ubermeister Fred Wesley and his own band Greyboy Allstars. It is in Tiny Universe though that he feels he has found the perfect vehicle for his dream trip and he is totally in control of the destination. Although Tiny Universe are hard to pin down as their music grazes through multiple genres there is always a strong funk feel to it and a groove that hold sit all together and audiences riveted to the dance floor, captivated from start to beginning.Family Groove Company play for all ages, tastesFamily Groove Company (FGC) are a jam band who are all too aware of the limitations of a genre full of potholes and dead ends. With their focus fully upon strong composition and innovation FGC know that a 20 minute guitar solo and rhythmic shaking of body parts doesn’t make a great jam band. With this in mind their music veers intriguingly between the Beatles, Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock. You won’t get lost with these guys, but you might find yourself somewhere new and exciting.



Toots and the Maytals with Mixmaster Mike sings old music to new disciplesIt’s not often you come across artists who have been accredited with naming genres, but Toots, so the rumor goes, gave reggae its name with his 1968 single “Do the reggay.” So there you go. An artist from the old school of reggae Toots plays Vail with his band the Maytals and Beastie Boy vinyl spinner, Mixmaster Mike who will, unsurprisingly, mix it up. Saturday will combine the two sounds under the sweet spring sun to get the crowd swaying and grooving on the streets. Vail, Colorado


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