Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Calexico Summits in Boulder, CO

It's the first hump through August and for Colorado radio fans it means that KBCO "brings" slews of artists to town for intimate live studio performances and handfuls of concerts. What the locals really don't know is that there is a significant Radio and Records conference happening in Boulder throughout the week. KBCO, being in the same location as the conference, milks the hell out of it and gets a bit (just a smidge) of free publicity through this...further distinguishing them as one of the best stations in the U.S.

The Mountain Tempo will take a couple days off as I have to attend the R&R Triple A Convention through my full time work for the next several days. The festivities begin Wednesday afternoon with over 32 concerts and dozens of meetings scheduled between now and Saturday evening. Many of the concerts are small, exclusive performances held at the pristine St. Julien Hotel and Spa during private luncheons, meetings, and cocktail hours. However, the town gets a real treat as the Fox Theater showcases three larger artists each evening during the week. During set breaks at the Fox, the audience can then travel across the street to any number of cafes, bars, and smaller venues to catch other highlighted acts brought to town by any number of the record labels and execs at the convention. Basically, it's a miniature music festival brought to Boulder in hopes to expose the latest and greatest acts to the radio honchos, blogger moochers, indie reps, and label execs in hopes that maybe "we'll" be a catalyst for these artists to reach the masses.

Who will be attending the party?
Comparatively, I'm still a young pup in the music industry. During these conventions, there really is only a tiny handful of attendees that are under the age of 30. When I say "tiny" I am saying that maybe there will be 5 of us under 30. That being said, it's quite ironic that a bunch of 45+ year-old males (generally) dominate and basically determine what younger generations are exposed to. Now, it can get complicated so that statement above is not exactly true. Triple A is a radio format primarily enjoyed by listeners in a specific age range. However, it seems that as an active participant in the music and social scene in Boulder, the "target" age range for this specific music format is drastically decreasing in age, further separating the ages of the actual listeners from the coats that are making executive decisions. I'll admit that many of these elders are rather hip...or maybe need hip replacements. But, if you're walking the streets of Boulder this week, I promise you'll notice HANDFULS of pale 55 year-olds wearing Hawaiian shirts, plaid cargo shorts, white tube socks and either Birks or fully-strapped Teva sandals...just yearning to match the Bouldersphere they've heard about. It's odd that a Texan wearing a "Don't Mess With Texas" t-shirt and a cowboy hat could honestly mix into a Boulderite crowd twice as easy as a record rep/radio exec. Regardless, that's how "they" roll and that guy wearing the black leather fanny pack may also be the same guy that is responsible for putting the likes of Feist, LCD Sounsdystem, Grace Potter, !!!, Bright Eyes, or the White Stripes on your "indie" iPod. In fact, if you can take your eyes off of his balding spot and those hairy legs, you may notice he's sharing dinner with Oasis.

In the years before I attended, it was not uncommon to have headliners like David Gray, Dave Matthews, Coldplay, and John Mayer perform at this gathering. But, despite the slump in the economy and the depth of the record label pockets due to a multitude of political, economic, and artistic happenings, the Triple A Convention is still showcasing a handful of great artists. I will say the OVERALL magnitude of artists showcased this year will have a tough time keeping certain reps and execs from schmoozing outside the venues instead of listening. Among the acts that I'm really excited to see is Calexico, a folk-alternative band from Arizona. They're set to release a new album, Carried To Dust on September 8 from Quarterstick Records. You can download Calexico's new single, "Two Silver Trees" from their site now, for free! Or, how about one of my favorite covers from them:

Calexico - Corona

Who else? Oh yeah, Ray Lamontagne is in town with Ingrid Michaelson for a sold-out etown performance on Friday. You may know Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) and Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley). We're also having Mofro, Donovan Frankenreiter, Brett Dennen, Augustana, Michael Franti, Newton Faulkner and a even a dozen more. Actually, when you write them all down together, it really is pretty impressive. Eh...I'll give you one more song since I'm ditching out for a few days. It's a pretty poppy song but I'll be the first to admit that their "hook" really does just that. Augustana (Epic) will be at the Fox Theater on Thursday evening and I'm guessing they wouldn't NOT play their new single that has been doing quite well on radio across board.

Augustana - Sweet and Low

The Mountain Tempo should back in full force next week after a LONG week of music. Thanks as ALWAYS for reading, listening and sharing!

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