Rocking on Main Street
By Greg Hartman
Last year, Colorado Mesa University hosted their first Tour de Rock. Collaborating with the Rockslide, a stage was erected at 4th and Main with a beer garden. Students were encouraged to dress up in crazy attire and then bike down to the event from campus. Bicycle Annie provided a mix of rock covers for the revelry, however cold rain kept the attendance lower than hoped.
For this year’s event, the date was moved up to September 6th. This happened to coincide with the second to last farmer’s market, which eventually lead to connecting the events. The beer garden was expanded to reach from 3rd to 7th street and started at 5:00. While this has been done before in May, it was a first for a farmer’s market. The two events flowed seamlessly, with a focus at the stage at 4th and Main.
Continuing a strong second year, the first music of the event was located on the Avalon Theatre’s Sunset Terrace. Accessible through three flights of stairs or elevator, the location has been used for live music on Thursdays and private event rentals throughout the week. The October cover shot comes from that location during sunset, facing away from the stage. The music on the 6th was courtesy of Clyde of the Milltailers playing a solo set.
Heading west along main, past food trucks, produce, and a booth for the Mesa County Library was the next music event. Set up in front of Triple Play Records, DJ Squatch continued his Thursday run of spinning wax for an appreciative crowd. Mixing in classics with a few modern selection, all the music came from vinyl. While some weeks Wave 11 has joined in at the location, this week they were already booked down the road.
Originally scheduled to play at the chrome buffalo sculpture at 4th and main, Union of None was incorporated into the Tour de Rock stage. A major reason for that is the beer tent was set up where the band would have been playing. This allowed them to use the full force of the sound set up from Snob Productions. The group plays an energetic mix of 80’s and 90’s covers, which is keeping them busy playing in the valley and mountain towns.
Before the following band started at 4th and main, two more stop provided music on main street. At Marlo’s Lounge inside SpringHill Suites, Shea and Larren have been providing regular music on Thursdays. During the summer, they can be found playing their mix of rock covers and pop originals on their patio for guests and those who are strolling by. They’ve been known to throw in a truly eclectic mix of music, everything from a song from The Lord of the Rings to gangsta rap with piano. Further down the road is Charlie Dwellington’s, where an After Market series of music has been welcoming those done with their shopping. On the 6th, Coral Skye was holding things down, although many people were still downtown anticipating the later bands. The music series brought several favorites who tend to play out in Palisade and don’t get as many chances to play downtown.
After the farmers market officially ended at 8:00, Wave 11 took the Tour de Rock stage by storm. Just as entertaining on a large stage as they are with just a tent. The mix of CMU students, loyal fans, and farmers market shoppers continually responded to Charles’s crowd check of “Kew-ey”. The duo mixed in mash ups of classic rock with their soon to be recorded originals to win over another crowd, warming them up to the main attraction. Not that much warming up was needed, as the late summer night was clear and inviting.
Zolopht headlined the event, returning to Grand Junction after a summer hiatus focusing on out of town festivals and song writing. A free downtown show kept the crowd late, despite it being on a Thursday. The group mixed in new songs, as well as those from their first two albums. After a short break after an hour, the band returned for an extended encore that included an acoustic duet between Zac and Cam and a rowdy crowd. By the time the show ended, the crowd had started to dissipate, but many more were grinning and wanting more.
What started as a scheduling overlap turned into an amazing night of music and culture. The Mesa Theater also held a show that night featuring Jazz bands from local High Schools and touring artist Marbin. Main street was as alive on that Thursday as it was since the downtown festival at the end of May. Hopefully the success of this event will lead to more in the future, such as the second annual Community Streets on October 20th.