Kimberly Nicoletti
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February 9, 2012
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Summit County bar bands: An entire musical range this weekend

Who: Mark's Midnight Carnival Show

When: 9 tonight

Where: Alma's Only Bar - the A.O.B.

Where'd the name come from? '80's animated movie "The Last Unicorn." There was a character named Mommy Fortuna, and she ran Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival. It inspired Mark to name the band. Goes well with our whimsical sound.

Home base: Pueblo West and Colorado Springs

Type of music: Rock 'n' roll. Some call us powerpop; others use indie rock or college rock, but it is all rock 'n' roll - Beatles influence with jazz chord voicing and danceable rhythms.

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be, and why? A blue-haired elephant playing quietly in the corner. Mark has blue hair, and our sound is big but unexpected.

Why do people love ya? We surprise them. We put on a well-polished show with plenty of reasons to dance.

How do you keep it fresh? We play what we want to play and let the moment take us where it will. We know there is an audience and we want them to have fun, but if we aren't having fun then it becomes stale and dated.

What's the craziest thing you've done/weirdest experience? Easily the "dancers" we get at some of our shows. Some people have the most beautiful way of expressing themselves, and others are just amazingly odd. Either way we love it and would not have it any other way.

Who: Ragbirds

When: Monday

Where: three20south, Breckenridge

Where'd the name come from? I use a lot of bird imagery in my art, poetry and music so when I was brainstorming for a name I was starting with that in mind. I wanted to convey something humbly homemade and patched together that still has the capability for flight.

Home base: Ann Arbor, MI

Who are you? We're a female-fronted, five-piece, nationally-touring band that plays high-energy folk rock with a lot of world music influence, ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms to Celtic and gypsy fiddling with an emphasis on songwriting.

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be, and why? A passport, because it will give you access to a journey across many cultures but still be somehow familiar, like a thing in your pocket that bears your own image.

Why do people love ya? Because we smile a lot. We have a blast on stage, and the music lifts people up, us included.

How do you keep it fresh? By changing up styles and instruments. (I play violin, mandolin, accordion, banjo, melodica and dunun) and singing lyrics with depth so that there is always new meaning.

What's the craziest thing you've done/weirdest experience? Performing at the Green Room festival in Yokohama Japan to over 5,000 people, some of whom were singing along to our songs.

Who: Ultraviolet Hippopotamus

When: Tuesday

Where: three20south, Breckenridge

Where'd the name come from? We stumbled across a fictional band with the name Ultraviolet Hippopotamus in "The Illuminatus" trilogy books. Band members felt it worked as a perfect representation of the ridiculous nature of the band, and so it stuck. 

Home base: Grand Rapids, MI

Who are you? UV Hippo is an explosive five-piece progressive-rock, improvisational band that deftly journeys between funk, jazz, livetronica, space rock, reggae, bluegrass and progressive rock within a single show and, sometimes, within a single song. We mix tight, funky jams with new dance beats, heartfelt lyrics, compelling composition, eccentric effects and a vibrant light show for an incredible, one-of-a-kind musical experience. We also perform an eclectic selection of technically demanding compositions and improvised material along with unconventional and fun covers. Exploring new ground and taking risks make every performance unique, and fans are never sure what exactly the band will deliver each night, other than exceptional music.

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be? A speeding city bus stuffed with fuzzy koalas.

People love us because: We play from our hearts. People also enjoy our tight, energetic jams and outstanding vocals coupled with the band members' spontaneity and strong songwriting and our most recent album, which was named "2011 Studio Album of the Year" by Home Grown Music Network.

We keep it fresh: By not playing the same songs every night, offering finely crafted songs and re-inventing the word "jam" within our musical context.

Craziest/weirdest thing we've experienced: In our New York Tour in February 2011, our brakes went out while crossing the George Washington Bridge going into Manhattan. After waiting all day to get the brakes fixed, our bus slid backwards down an icy alley and got wedged between two buildings. We ended up replacing the transmission about a week later on the same tour.

Who: Oakhurst (with Greensky Bluegrass)

When: Wednesday

Where: three20south, Breckenridge

Where'd the name come from? It's a Tennessee thing - but a grove of oak trees is a beautiful thing, too.

Home base: Denver

Type of music: We play American music - from an acorn grows a mighty oak!

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be, and why? A campfire, because it provides something wonderful, and the smell stays on ya afterwards.

Why do people love ya? I think it is very simple. We love playing music, and people see our sincerity with each performance. Plus we make folks dance. They have to love you for that!

How do you keep it fresh? Each night we encounter a new batch of humans, and we feed off of their energy.

What's the craziest thing you've done/weirdest experience? We played five floating festivals in a row for Sixthman, with a dizzying array of headliners and a different demographic every few days. No one should be on a cruise ship under those circumstances for that long. But we did get to watch Lyle Lovett eat a lobster.

Who/when/where: Greensky Bluegrass plays three20south Wednesday with Oakhurst

Where'd the name come from? The name started as a joke, sort of. Greensky is the opposite of bluegrass, so it's obviously a play on words, but as we've grown as a band, that juxtaposition of bluegrass and anti-bluegrass has actually taken on more meaning to us. We play bluegrass instruments, but we also often feel and sound more like a rock band.

Type of music: Some call it bluegrass, some call it new-grass, some call it jam-grass. We have a hard time really putting a name on it, though. We bend a lot of different genres to create what we want to hear and play. There are lots of different soundscapes that can be created with a bass, a guitar, a mandolin, a banjo and a dobro, so we try to take full advantage of the possibilities and create something unique. Most of the music we play is original, so we try to do what's right to serve the song best. Sometimes that can be a super-fast three-minute bluegrass type of feel, and sometimes it's a 15-minute exploratory improvisational jam.

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be, and why? I think it would be a very old acoustic guitar plugged into a stack of Marshall amplifiers on top of a keg of tequila. And since we are playing in Breck again, I think that tangible item would probably all be strapped onto a pair of powder skis.

Why do people love ya? People seem to love Greensky because of our songs, first and foremost. Good original music is a powerful force. People also seem to really dig our style of jamming and creativity when we get to rocking out. Above all, I think it's important to note that Greensky shows are really fun. We try to throw a party for our audience every night, if that makes any sense. Our shows tend to rock pretty hard compared to any sort of preconceived notions of "bluegrass."

How do you keep it fresh? We keep it fresh by writing new music constantly and learning new songs to cover. Since we play so much, we strive to keep it fresh for our own selfish reason so that we don't get bored with it. Fans seem to appreciate it too. Each time you come to a Greensky show, it is different.

What's the craziest thing you've done/weirdest experience? Well, last summer we got the two drummers from the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, to sit in with Greensky Bluegrass at the Hoxeyville Music Festival in Michigan. It was a crazy experience, for sure, and quite surreal. I've been a deadhead for a long time and used to go see Dead shows a lot. To be on stage playing with my band and look back and see those two drummers locking up with each other and rocking out and having a great time while we were playing the jam between "China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider" was an amazing feeling.

Who: Future Rock

When: Thursday

Where: three20south

Tickets: $8 advance, $10 day of show

Home base: Chicago

Type of music: Live electronic rock band. We combine elements of electronic music while performing them in a live rock band setting.

If your music were a tangible item, what would it be, and why? An F-18 Fighter Jet. Sleak and sophisticated yet capable of dropping bombs.

Why do people love ya? Because we love music, and we've been true to the music since our inception.

How do you keep it fresh? That gets tough. We basically had to tell our management "No more shows till we finish our new material." If the music doesn't feel fresh and new to you, the audience will notice. The show will suffer. We have to be passionate about what we do, and it must translate to the audience. This Colorado run should be quite fresh, coming off an extended break since our New Year's Eve show with the Disco Biscuits in Chicago.

What's the craziest thing you've done/weirdest experience? One time we played a cave in Southern Illinois that was owned by a Santa Claus look alike with a huge outtie belly-button. He wandered the grounds with his shirt off (protruding belly-button in plain site) with his harem of girls that were probably 20 years younger than him in tow. That was weird. But not as weird as when we were leaving Manhattan and our van's breaks stopped working. When we finally managed to pull off the road (which is its own story), a homeless man ran up to our van with a huge mallet, yelling "I know what's wrong with your truck!" He proceeded to pound the sh*t out of our van with his hammer while we watched in disbelief. That was pretty weird too. As a band that's been around several years touring nationally, I could go on for a while on both weird and crazy, but there's probably not enough room in this newspaper. If you come to the show, I would be happy to share more stories with y'all.


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The Summit Daily Updated Feb 9, 2012 10:05PM Published Feb 9, 2012 10:05PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.