Spotlight lands on local talent |

Spotlight lands on local talent

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyThe Schmidt Brothers Band is among the local groups coming to Vail for the Vail Rocks free concert series.

“I think there’s a complete lack of a local music scene around here,” he said. “There have been times in the past when it’s gotten going, but not lately. I decided it was time to do something about it.”

That something comes in the form of a six-concert locals showcase series, Vail Rocks. On occasional Thursday nights throughout the summer, Snow’s band, The Schmidt Brothers, will host an evening of local music at the Half Moon Saloon. They and two other bands will play a free show.

“There are a lot of good bands here,” he said. “It’s fun to have a series, get the synergy happening. I don’t think anyone really grasps the depth of talent in the valley, and this should be a great way to discover it. Besides, there’s free beer.”

Because three bands will be playing, they’ve had to hone down their set lists to one hour of their best music. Today begins with Desmo Red, SoundField and The Schmidt Brothers Band. Throughout the summer, genres will include jazz, rock, bluegrass, folk and funk. Dave Laub and Friends, WherzFloyd?, A Mouse Relocation Project, Bad Little Doggies, Terry and Joe with members of Little Hercules and OneHandDry are some of the bands who will be participating.

The Schmidt Brothers Band has been called upbeat funk, a description they shy away from.

“We’ve been beating ourselves to a pulp to not sound like something you can stereotype,” said Snow. “We’ve become more diverse, less derivative.”

Invariably, people are going to want to pigeonhole us, but we’re pretty non-stylistic.”

SoundField kicks off their busy summer season tonight. The group specializes in alternative melodic mountain-style jam with a touch of Panic, and has been adding to their stockpile of compositions.

“The originals we’ve written are starting to come into their own,” said Leeds Butcher of SoundField. “The old stuff and the ones we’ve just written are all coming up in quality. We’ve really spent some time mapping out the intricate parts. We’re getting really tight, and the audience is starting to notice it, too.”

Desmo Red makes its Vail debut tonight. Matt “Shmoo” Shamala and Mike Doran are a two-piece bass and guitar act who have both seen several incarnations of bands in the county. Desmo Red is a punk-meets-hillbilly group.

“It’s as if Tenacious D went to bed with Brian Setzer,” said Shamala.

They play “originals somebody else wrote,” opting for b-sides and obscure tunes.

“We plan to do 15 songs per set, in 50 minutes,” said Doran. “That’s 3:33 per song, no breaks, no introductions, no jamming or two-chord swirly stuff.”

Vail Rocks kicks off tonight at the Half Moon Saloon in West Vail at 10. Call 476-4314 for more information.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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