It's a simple question: When did Boulder become a town of inoffensive folkies, directionless jam bands and generic dubstep? Go around town any night of the week, and you're likely to hear an acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter or two or an eight-minute guitar-sitar-banjo jam, but you're not likely to hear any rock ’n’ roll. What gives?
Writer Dale Bridges gave the following explanation in this week's cover story about Boulder country-rock outfit The Yawpers:
Here is my theory: Boulder, you’ve gone soft.
There was a time when this town was a lightning rod for artistic innovators and social rebels. People came here from all over the country to shake things up. Talk to any Baby Boomer who was living in the People’s Republic during the hallowed 1960s, and they will tell stories of war protesters blocking major highways with flaming tires and psychedelic poets who consistently raged against the dying of the light. Boulder was plugged into the national consciousness. It was relevant.
But, alas, that Boulder is no more. Somewhere along the way the culture began to curl in on itself like a set of crusty, yellow toenails that had gone unclipped for far too long. The long hair and tie-dyed clothing of yesteryear eventually became costume pieces that local teenagers wore as part of a nostalgic Passion play designed to remind everyone of the good ol’ days. Open mic poetry nights filled up with Ginsberg wannabes and Kerouac ripoffs. The true social malcontents who wanted to change the world were driven out and replaced with affluent nirvana seekers who wanted to change their gluten intake.
And in all that time, the soundtrack never altered.
Today, someone dropped off Boulder group Veronica's album Emerging From Troubled Days, with a note saying, "Just so you know — this band is from Boulder. I am fairly sure they are far from 'soft,' as you say. They may not be a staple at the Fox, but they do play out — In Boulder."
It goes to show that there are rockers in Boulder trying to keep alive a genre that has seen better days. Whether the community will sustain it, who knows.
Prove us wrong, Boulder. If you're in a rock group in Boulder and you've been frustrated by the lack of a scene, then send a note to buzz at boulderweekly.com. Send us your music. In the next few weeks, we'll be posting tracks from Boulder rock bands (and any other disaffected musicians) to prove that this town still has an edge. If you want to be a part of it, let us know. If you're not a musician but love music, then give the most valuable gift you can this holiday season: your time. Occupy a venue. Get out there and support your local musicians.
Check back every week for new songs from your favorite local artists.
Update: Part one: Black Sleep of Kali