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Thursday, June 12,2014

Rock and roll masonry

By Christian James Wilhelm
Courtesy of Fort Frances

Something about summertime in Boulder seems to bring out the true colors of its community, as if the sun unleashes the great vibes emanating throughout this diverse and lively town; vibes that can be found in abundance at Boulder’s annual Bands on the Bricks series, which runs June 11 to Aug. 13.

For the uninitiated, Bands on the Bricks is a ten-week series in which local musicians perform free shows at Pearl Street Mall every Wednesday from 7-9 p.m.

Sean Maher, executive director of Downtown Boulder Inc., conceived the idea for Bands on the Bricks in 1997 when he was the owner of a Boulder Ben and Jerry's franchise. The Burlington based ice cream maker was the sponsor of a similar event in Vermont, and Maher wanted to emulate it here in Boulder, bringing people downtown on what would otherwise be an uneventful summer evening. Ever since, Bands on the Bricks has been a huge success.

Especially with the bands. 

“I’ve never experienced anything really like performing in Colorado, especially Boulder,” says lead singer of the Tripping Griswolds, Kent O’Dell. “You play a show down on Pearl Street and see such a wide variety of wonder ful people. Everyone here just gets so into the music, giving off great vibes and making Boulder such a fun place to play!” 

“We love the energy of this town,” says Mike Tallman, guitarist and vocalist for Euforquestra. “We love any chance to go out and play music and to get people to want to dance and enjoy themselves. In Boulder, we have managed to achieve that given the lively styles of this community and we love that.”

Both the Tripping Griswolds and Euforquestra have played Bands on the Bricks for a couple years now, gradually growing more eager to perform for Boulder’s lively crowd.

Bands on the Bricks’ lineup this year also consists of The Samples (who kicked the series off on June 11), Hazel Miller Band, Mountain Standard Time, Soul School, The JV3, Fort Frances, the Country Music Project and The Goonies. Every year, the lineup consists of a wide variety of music, ranging from dance music to ’80s and ’90s covers to bluegrass and original indie rock. As the members of each band typically have their own musical background, ranging from bluegrass to reggae to classic rock, most of these bands come together to create their own unique set of music that an audience of any type is bound to enjoy hearing.

“When we play in Boulder we don’t find it very hard to be able to fit to people’s needs,” says guitarist Stan Sutton of Mountain Standard Time. “One thing I’ve come to notice, especially in these ticket-free events, is that there is a huge variety of people within the crowd who tend to enjoy whatever type of music you play — this is the type of crowd we see in Boulder and that makes us love playing here.” 

Alongside returning bands this summer there will also be a few newcomers ecstatic to perform for Bands on the Bricks.

“As a band, this will actually be our first time ever playing in Boulder,” says vocalist/guitarist David McMillin of Fort Frances. “From our performances in Denver in the previous years, we have gotten a great impression of people in Colorado. The crowd here in Colorado noticeably seems a lot more appreciative in art and music more so than in other places we’ve toured to, and that makes us very excited to be playing in Boulder for the first time.”

In addition to the performances at Bands on the Bricks, there will be beer available from a rotating cast of local breweries. With good beer and good music in the heart of town, Bands on the Bricks is sure to host another successful summer on Pearl Street.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com 

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