Spearheading the music revolution in Vail | VailDaily.com

Spearheading the music revolution in Vail

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Megan Gentile

VAIL ” Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded public place is illegal but you’re sure to get somebody’s attention if you do it. That’s the idea behind the song “Yell Fire!” by Michael Franti and Spearhead; the lyrics are a damning indictment of politically and religiously motivated greed and violence. Not one to shy away from voicing his opinions through music, many of the band’s songs hinge on political and social themes such as poverty, war and freedom from oppression.

This weekend Michael Franti and Spearhead will play two shows at the Dobson Ice Arena in Vail, doing their best to melt the frozen surface of the venue with their fierce blend of rock, reggae, hip-hop and soul, which has earned them a large and faithful fan-base. Easy Star Allstars ” a band who plays reggae covers of classic-rock songs ” will open the show.

Spearhead, Franti’s San Francisco-based backing band, is Carl Young on bass, Dave Shul on guitar, Manas Itiene on drums and Raliegh Neal on the keys. Since the band came together in 1994 they have toured furiously and released seven studio and live albums.

“They’re a very popular band in mountain communities frequenting a lot of ski-resort towns. They do the high country circuit and pack it accordingly,” said John Monson, marketing director for the Vail Recreation District. Monson calls Franti’s music “rocked-out reggae with conscious lyrics.”

Tom Robbins, owner of Eagle Valley Music, said that he won’t be able to attend the shows this weekend because of his work schedule, but ticket sales in his store for the event have been very good.

“It’s just kind of funky, jammy, you know, good-time music, not quite the hippie stuff, but close. I think it appeals to a pretty wide age range so, you know, I just like the funky edge to it, that’s what I really like,” Robbins said.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

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