By Tiffany Childs
Christmas may be the biggest holiday of the year for the commerce-minded, suburban, mall going shopping zombies of the country, but true music freaks know that New Year’s Eve is, in fact, the holiest day of the year.
Promoters have always given audiences shows to rave about on Dec. 31, and this year is no exception.
The following are some of the examples of hot shows taking place on New Years Eve around Colorado’s Front Range, in no particular order. Check our full music calendar, which begins on page 32, for a full listing of shows.
Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots
Often called the thinking man’s country music, Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots have been delighting audiences with personal tales of earthly anguish for years. Local photographer Gary Issacs once said that the band possesses “Edgar Allan Poe-meets-Tom Waits-meets-Jack Kerouac storytelling.” The band creates a rare sound through a combination of strings, violins, cellos and an upright bass, strengthened with vigorous drums. Voted Denver’s #1 Band by a Denver Post poll of more than 100 music industry professionals, Munly has been garnering a wealth of attention as purveyors of “The Denver Sound.” Munly is also well known in the Denver music scene for his roll in Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.
Rose Hill Drive
Rose Hill Drive rings in the New Year by playing a classic album of their choice in its entirety. Last year they performed an amazing rendition of Led Zeppelin I. This year they have their sites set on even more auspicious heights — Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, the classic live album that originally was performed by Hendrix, Buddy Miles and Billy Cox on New Year’s Eve 1969-1970 at the Fillmore East in New York City. There’s no doubt that Rose Hill will be able to pull this off, musically, the only question is whether or not the patriotic banner will hang from the balcony like it did during Hendrix’s performance.
Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Big Head Todd and the Monsters are one of Colorado’s great musical success stories, and their New Year’s shows have become epic homecomings in recent years. This year, Big Head Todd is doing things a little different — opening for themselves. The band is going to play an acoustic set before coming back out for a full electric set. This ought to tide Denver fans over for some time, as the band has no plans (as of yet) to play another home-town show until after they return from their show in Hawaii this summer.
Yonder Mountain String Band
YMSB has been a Fillmore staple for the past several years, and has written the book on high-octane jamgrass. Their newest album has the band adding drums into the mix to create a modern folk sound. For Yonder fans, New Years will be epic as the band caps its three-night run as the calendar flips to 2007. Never a band to miss an opportunity to have friends join them on stage, Yonder will most likely be having a slew of folks join their pick at the Fillmore, including Futureman from Bela Fleck and The Flecktones.
Dark Star Orchestra
New Year’s Eve Grateful Dead shows were almost always legendary performances, so who better to recreate them than the band that has fast become one of the best tribute bands in America today. The Grateful Dead were the best at what they did and Dark Star Orchestra is the best at what they do. We can’t have The Grateful Dead anymore (and we don’t really want “The Dead”), so Dark Star Orchestra might be the best we can hope for.
Denver’s Kinetix has a philosophy which states “keep the beat up in your body.” Naming Stevie Wonder as a main influence in their music, this band crosses funk with pop and adds in a little rock to round it all out. Called “energy in motion,” the band members are all students of The Lamont School of Music. The band has just released a live CD recorded at both the Fox and Gothic theatres in 2006.
Shanti Groove is mountain grown grass grooves that fuse acoustic and electric lines and mix improvisational with traditional bluegrass. Cut from the same cloth as Leftover Salmon and Yonder Mountain, Shanti Groove’s performances are renowned for the vibe, intricate paraphrasing, funky percussion and powerful soundscapes.
Great American Taxi
Gold Hill Inn
Great American Taxi could well be one of the most unique and fun bands to roll down out of the Boulder foothills in recent years. A star-studded cast of men who mostly found and developed their chops immersed in the jam band world, Taxi’s great mission is to return some twang to Colorado, without becoming a country band. The result are tracks that range from danceable sing-alongs to road-trip anthems that are impossible to pull out of your CD player. With Jefferson Hamer and Vince Herman doing much of the fronting of the band, the party vibe always follows the Taxi — no additional fare required.