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Sunlight slams peaceful summer with show

Sunlight Mountain attracts friendly folk. The mountain gets skiers and bikers out in brightly-colored nylon and Lycra enjoying blue skies and green grass or fluffy snow. They smile at one another on the trail, striking up friendly I-couldn’t-be-happier conversations about telemark gear, mountain bikes, the weather, Leftover Salmon or the String Cheese Incident.It’s a sunshine and dandelion world.Ah, but for one weekend a year. When the Beaver Cleaver attitude gets not a sing-songy spoon full of sugar but a punch in the face and a kick in the guts.Leather and black denim take the place of spandex and fleece, Doc Martens replace Chacos, and skinny, pale, punk singers croon not “Go sing it on a mountain,” but “revolution” and “drugs for weapons.” This weekend is the second annual Sunlight Slam, a daylong punk, metal, and thrash fest featuring six Western Slope bands. Among them are Glenwood’s BEMF and Grand Junction’s Boner Donors. “One show … we had a couple a strippers on stage,” said Dustin Boner, the Boner Doners’ singer and guitar player. “Another we had some blow-up dolls.” “(We are) a little offensive at times,” said Boner, whose band plays rock-hard rock. Other bands range in genre to from straight punk, to metal, to rock. For their part BEMF (an acronym that stands for a pretty gross kind of cannibalism and a sex fetish), plays “like, thrash funk, I guess,” said Chris Heffernan, 16, the band’s guitarist. For metal and punk bands like BEMF and the Boner Doners Sunlight Slam is a big event, with an obvious lack of venues for them to play in the Roaring Fork Valley.”They got nowhere to play,” said Brian Brown of Big B Productions, the event’s organizer. Instead of playing in bars and clubs around the Valley, metal bands go do “dirt shows,” out in the woods, Brown said.Though BEMF has played a few legitimate venues around the Valley (La Fontana Plaza in Carbondale, the Eagles in Glenwood, and Dead Hippy Fest in the hills north of New Castle), “It’s easier to get a generator and go up in the woods,” Heffernan said. Sunlight Slam is the only festival on the Western Slope for metal and punk bands, said Brown. As curious as it is that metal and punk music take over Sunlight for a weekend is the man behind the festival.”I’m actually a hippie,” Brown said. He has played in classic rock and Grateful Dead tribute bands for years, but then started to get into metal. “I was really light and fluffy,” said 33-year-old Brown. But, “I was getting older, and I started expressing a lot more anger against like, the government, and politics.”And with Brown’s change in musical taste, it became hard for him to get gigs. “It was so weird because I was used to going to bars and getting gigs right away,” he said. But with his metalband, American Defiance, “Nobody would call me back.”So Brown took it upon himself to make gigs, starting with the Sunlight Slam last year. Last year Brown lost about $3,000 on the Sunlight Slam, but the festival was still a relative success, with about 300 people at the show. And Sunlight, which rents out space for much less money than other mountains do, did well with the Sunlight Slam – better even than the bluegrass festival it held.”We made a couple of bucks, which was a couple of bucks more than we made with the other events,” said Kevin Horch, Sunlight’s Communications manager.Both Horch and Brown are hoping to grow the festival each year and are hoping for a 500-person crowd this year. Brown, who is booking and publicizing events more than playing music these days, is convinced that there is a market for heavier music on the Western Slope. “Every week there’s a new band popping up,” he said. “There’s a demand and I’m going to show everybody.”And that is what keeps Brown going in heavy music, “that and I like punching my bass a little harder.”Sunlight Slam doors open at noon, and the show starts at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 at the door, kids under 12 are free. The schedule is as follows;1 p.m. – Dementia from Carbondale2 p.m. – Friendly Dictators from Snowmass3 p.m. – Dark Reflections from Golden4 p.m. – TBA5 p.m. – SMUT from Rifle6 p.m. – BEMF from Glenwood7 p.m. – Boner Donors from Grand JunctionInformation: Brian at 947-9949, or Sunlight Mountain at 945-7491


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