Swirling soundstorm hits town Wednesday night | VailDaily.com
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Swirling soundstorm hits town Wednesday night

Ben Quirk
Special to the Daily Djate, former guitarist of Culture, rocks the Sandbar Saturday at 10 p.m.
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I have always been a bit envious of people in bands. I’ve always wanted to be up there onstage, furiously hacking at my guitar and pouring my heart out in song. I’ve wanted to get caught up in the moment and see the crowd go delirious.

A few small but essential details, however, have stood in my way: I can’t play the guitar for toffee, can’t even tune one. I learned the intro to Nirvana’s “Come as you are” and thought I was Cobain himself.

I can’t sing. Really I can’t. I can’t hit notes, and I have the vocal range of a half-strangled baboon with a shocking case of strep-throat. I can’t even shout in tune.

The final detail is possibly the most important: I have neither the dedication nor the willingness to make sacrifices to develop skills I might have had. Professional musicians didn’t pick up a guitar and launch straight into a Pink Floyd solo. It took days, weeks and ultimately years of sitting in a room, a dank garage or outside in the yard mindlessly practicing scales, chords, arrangements.

They learned to read music and later how to write it while constantly listening and absorbing all the music around them so that one day it could be re-transmitted sounding new, fresh and exciting.

That is why I’m envious of bands and why I love music and going to shows. Live music is a culmination of all that sacrifice combined with the skills and craftsmanship of the artists being created for the crowd’s listening pleasure.

While true greats only come along intermittently, the fact that these bands may not have a Cobain in their ranks, or a Hendrix or Morrison, doesn’t take away from everything they have achieved thus far and the fact that they are all sailing on the same turbulent ocean of musical genesis. Only time will tell where they’ll make port.

The Motet change the beat

To say The Motet likes to be different is to say that Homer Simpson likes the odd beer. They make being different a cornerstone of their existence and still manage to come up smelling of the proverbial roses. Where other bands have tried to be unique and lost themselves in the maze of musical identity with aimless, moseying songs, The Motet has pulled it off. Progeny of drummer Dave Watts, who composes all of the music, the band draws from a wide array of styles. Having traversed from Cuban and Brazilian through funk and jazz, its current incarnation rests on Afro-Beat ” and tonight’s show will be no exception. Having released an album last year called “Music for Life,” where Watts and his ensemble of accomplished Motets started out on their Afro-Beat journey, this tour is time for the band to play their new, inspiring sound while retaining the deep soulfulness they’ve always had.

Little Feat jam at Golden Peak

When a band has been playing for 30 years you have to give a little respect. Little Feat has been doing exactly that and look like they are nowhere near running out of steam. Little Feat, named after the proportionally challenged lower appendages of deceased founding member Lowell George, will be entertaining the snow-loving hordes at the Street Beat series at Checkpoint Charlie with their experienced brand of jamband.

Donna the Buffalo: no time for grazing

Distancing themselves from bestial also-rans Rachel the Antelope and Michelle the Porcupine, Donna the Buffalo plays its final triumphant show in these parts. With a rapidly growing fan base and increasing industry attention, the future is sure to be interesting for these Cajun-reggae folk rockers.

Djate rides wave of future of reggae

Djate has been places, lots of places in fact. He was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to Guadeloupe, spent a little time in Jamaica before moving to Canada and eventually the United States.

He’s been here a while now and making music for much of his residency. Former guitarist in the backing band for Culture he currently lives in Steamboat and sings and plays with a band from Boulder. His brand of reggae-rock has fans up on their feet and moving in synchronicity with the groove. He’s skied for three years but won’t go near the parks that Colorado is famed for.

“No way. No way. It’s dangerous. I can’t afford broken bones. The music has to take priority,” he said.

Leaving an established act, even as a backing musician and striking out on your own can be a risky move. But Djate has no doubts about what he did, where he’s come from and where he’s going with his fresh-sounding rock-reggae vibe.

“I was in Culture for three-and-a half years and it was a cool time and a very good experience, but they’re just the singers, a vocal trio and a backup band you know. I first started in Chicago where I helped develop the whole reggae scene. But now I’m playing a lot around the Rockies and trying to work on a new CD.

With the whole rock-reggae thing I’m trying to add a little touch. A little edge to it,” Djate said. “We’re in 2005 and the music needs to elevate and progress. When I write I try to keep that in mind. The lyrics need to be in tune with what’s going on in the world. We live in the now, and we don’t live in the yesterday and we don’t live in the tomorrow. We live in the now.”

The Railbenders:

the real honky-tonk

Honky-tonk is not just a cool-sounding combination of words; it actually exists as a genuine genre of music. It’s country but louder and more brash, and The Railbenders are some of the boldest of the lot. Drawing on traditional country themes and then injecting them with energy and a raw dose of rock, The Railbenders will have you dancing to rock ‘n’ roll Ozzy Osborne covers and crying into your PBRs with dark ballads about the trials and tribulations of constant whisky consumption.

DJ Logic spins spring breakers into overdrive

You don’t need anything special to get spring-break kids in a party mood, but it certainly helps. DJ Logic will be rolling out his rainbow style of tunes and seamless mixing while I’m sure the party-goers will be rolling out their plethora of dancing moves. I for one hope to see someone do “The Worm.” Just for old time’s sake, you understand.

Christopher Hawley goes it alone

It seems that Christopher Hawley subsists solely on a diet of playing live and writing music. Touring across North America and parts of Europe have left this artist with plenty of material to let flow over audiences with his soulful lyrics. Catch him Thursday and Friday apres ski at Sandbar from 3-8 p.m.

Polytoxic play big men for the cameras

Denver trio Polytoxic is interested in what you think in approximately the same way my late grandmother was interested in what I thought of the X-Games: A few little nods, a couple of quiet, “Oh reallys?” Before tapping you on your back and going off and doing their own thing. It doesn’t matter what mood you’re in and it doesn’t matter how your day has been, Polytoxic will play whatever and however they feel. Friday will see camera crews in the Sandbar, as well, documenting the multitude of songs that are sure to be played out over the evening.

Jim Messina still top-gun of his class

It’s rare to find artists that were considered at their height more than 20 years ago still going strong, exceptions such as The Rolling Stones aside. Jim Messina was, and still is, a producer and musician of note who managed to blend country’s sensitivity with rock’s direct power and instant groove. It’s now 2005 and the artist who is still well-known for his collaborations with Kenny Loggins and contribution to the soundtrack of ’80s homo-erotic classic, “Top Gun,” comes to play in Beaver Creek and remind people why he was so popular.

Soulive hits all

the right notes

Soulive has come a fair distance since a casual jam session in Woodstock, NY, which resulted in an inaugural E.P. and began their concerted assault on the minds and ears of the world.

Instrumentalists who play anything as long as it’s as funky as a break-dancing monkey in a karate suit, they are on a single-minded mission to explore the realms of hip-hip, jazz soul and funk. If they should have to raise the dance floor to ashes each time they play, then so be it. Ground-breaking and deeply involving, this line-up of talented innovators is bull dozing its way through new musical landscapes and caring not for those they leave behind.

Jonny Lang finds plenty to be blue about

For someone in his early 20s, Jonny Lang doesn’t look like he’s been particularly busy. Fresh-faced, his youth conceals a fairly extraordinary talent for playing blues on the guitar and a voice that veteran blues singers would be envious of. Already a multi-platinum selling artist, Lang comes to Beaver Creek to play songs from his new album, “Long Time Coming.”

Vail Colorado


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