No-cover concerts to cure the Aspen off-season blues
As tumbleweeds blow across town, the calendar of Aspen events thins out and locals start counting down the days to ski season, Belly Up keeps the lights on and the acts coming through town.
During the quietest stretches of spring and fall, the music club dependably lands some marquee names for offseason shows that shake the whole town — like Deadmau5 last weekend — and book some buzzworthy national acts (mark your calendars for Ookay on Nov. 4) while also bringing in some tried and true local favorites like Dead Floyd on Nov. 11.
The club also, like clockwork, fills the shoulder seasons with free performances from local, regional and touring artists that are well worth checking out.
So far, this offseason has included free Belly Up shows by rock band Wild Adriatic, electronic artist Com Truise, alt-Americana act the Drunken Hearts and Nederland jam band the Magic Beans among others. These are six more upcoming no-cover shows worth checking out:
Today, 9:30 p.m. Local Electronic Showcase
Three of Aspen’s rising star DJs will take over the club. DJ Knuttybird, best known as KDNK’s late night electronic host, will play a set of hip-hop-infused bass music. Sublog, an Aspen native who as a membr of Dishti Beats has made it onto dozens of festival bills around the U.S., showcases his solo skills. And DJ Lo_G, who local electronic music fans have gotten to know through opening gigs for the likes of Bob Moses, Thomas Jack and Cedric Gervais — gets a showcase of his own at Belly Up.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Shakedown Street ($10 after 10 p.m.)
Over the decades since it was formed in 1987 during barroom jam sessions in Manitou Springs, Shakedown has become a Colorado institution and one of the best regarded Dead tribute bands anywhere. With regular sets at Belly Up a few times a year, Shakedown has become a staple for the Aspen Deadhead set — often recreating complete sets of specific shows from decades yore.
Since the Dead’s 50th anniversary “Fare Thee Well” shows two years ago, Shakedown’s fan base has been both invigorated and expanded.
“The 50th anniversary changed things up a little bit, it gave it all a fresh start again,” keyboardist Joe Weisiger said during one of the band’s countless stops in Aspen. “More people are coming out and I attribute it to the anniversary and how it went a little mainstream. … The crowds are younger, which is surprising because the Grateful Dead hasn’t really been around since 1995.”
Thursday, Nov. 2, 10 p.m. The Stone Foxes ($5 for those arriving after Thursday Night Football)
A throwback rock ’n’ roll band out of San Francisco, this six-piece plays a brand of hard-charging meat-and-potatoes rock that’s increasingly hard to find. They’ve become a sort of house band for San Francisco over the past decade, with a fervent regional following that fills shows around the Bay Area and in venues like the Fillmore and has landed them opening gigs for the likes of The Black Keys and ZZ Top (and in a Jack Daniels TV ad).
Their most recent album is 2015’s “Twelve Spells,” but the band also recently released the single “Broken.”
Thursday, Nov. 9, 10 p.m. DubSkin ($5 after 10 p.m.)
Stalwarts of Colorado’s reggae scene for more than a decade, Fort Collins-based DubSkin plays a crowd-pleasing high country spin on Jamaican dub reggae that draws on the legendary greats of reggae’s past while trying to craft its future.
The band is currently touring in support of the new album “Light the Dark.”
Sunday, Nov. 12, 10 p.m. The Reminders
The husband-and-wife duo of emcee Big Samir and vocalist Aja Black, based in Colorado Springs, plays a folksy brand of socially conscious hip-hop. Though they’re often on the road supporting artists like Brother Ali, The Reminders still play regular shows around the Front Range and in the mountains and remain on top of Colorado’s rap scene.
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 10 p.m. Earphorik
This jam band out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, mixes elements of funk, prog-rock and reggae with technical skill and adventurous improvisation. Working in the mode of fellow Hoosiers Umphrey’s McGee, the band has made inroads on the national jam band scene at big festivals like Summer Camp and Electric Forest.
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What: Oktoberfest at Sunlight