“And in that Cheyenne wind he could still hear her say…”
-- George Strait
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Cheyenne is always about ups and downs, but Cheyenne’s music caliber is on the upswing. I wish I had the money to attend everything happening in town. Maybe I could get on the permanent guest list writing reviews for a blog? My mind has been blown this entire year.
Let’s start off with my arch nemesis Cheyenne Frontier Days. Holy shit. Post Malone. If you guys keep these kind of acts coming in, I might change my tune.
I still like the wild horse race in the old format, but I could look the other way this year because you brought
Post Malone to Cheyenne. The pre-sales alone should’ve shown you that the same regurgitated nonsense isn't filling the stands. I’m still singing your praises for getting him here.
|Post Malone brought down the house at Frontier Days.|
Can you try to get Metallica? You have the venue. Let’s get them here once Metallica singer James Hetfield sobers up!
The very same week that Post Malone graced the CFD stage, Sir Mix A Lot preformed at the Depot. I’ve already written about this show (https://cutt.ly/SeaH0iP) and folks in the community are still talking about it – we want more acts like this!
Please make the rumors true that LL Cool J is on the list for 2020. I don’t care if the mayor does take credit and uses Bloomberg funds to bring him here. Mama said, "Let’s make LL Cool J happen."
Speaking of mayoral funds, how about throwing $225K to the Presidential and West Edge Collective so we can get Snoop Dogg? Let us do it on the top of the Spiker Parking Garage so we can call it “Raise the Roof." Of course, the contract rider will have to include any citations Snoop and the entourage get for Wyoming’s dumb marijuana laws.
How many of you have been to an Ernie November show? Goatwhore and Ringworm killed. The Casket Huffer CD release was sick, and the Casualties are coming back again.
You know you have a good venue and vibe when touring acts keep coming back and try to include Ernie's on their tour. Crowd donations, merch and a down-to-earth crowd take these bands back to their roots and they love it. When the pit knocks over the drums, now you’ve got a show. Go look at the flyers above the register if you don’t think they haven’t done their upmost to promote local and traveling bands.
Recently a Phoenix has been reborn with Jake Byrd back in the swing of things. Hinder, Smile Empty Soul and soon Mushroomhead will be rocking the Asher. Jake is still showing local love by having Josh Gonzales and Y-O play soon.
Jake is always looking out for new things in Cheyenne, so get out there and support him. Just wait until he gets his country series going at the Terry Bison Ranch.
On the topic of local, it was locals artists ruling it when Sugar Hill Gang came to town. Their 1979 hit "Rapper's Delight" was the first rap single to become a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The background videos were on point and the crowd was awesome. Tons of people in their were 60s were stoked to see a band celebrating its 40th year of making great music together.
The demographics are flipping in Cheyenne. It’s not just the young-uns who want things to do; 3,500 people can't be wrong. I’m sure even the police watching the shows shook their assess a little while also keeping the peace. In the words of Sugar Hill Gang, “Cheyenne’s hospitality. London, Dallas, Denver? Nah, we love Cheyenne.” They wanna come back.
More music of every genre. When it comes to the young Indie rock indie pop alternative rock soul crowd, Warehouse 21 has kept its fingers on the pulse of hot stuff these last two years. The crowds at Bishop Briggs, her single “River” was a No. 3 hit in the US Alternative chart, and K Flay, nominated for two awards at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, were mind-blowing.
I hear these game changers are cooking up something big for Edgefest 2020. Thank God nobody drowned in the detention pond! Those who love good music will never succumb to the tide of desperation rising with the egos at 2101 O'Neil Ave. We all float down here!
Hey Warehouse 21, you know you’re bringing Class A talent when they even buy bracelets for their girlfriend from a local vendor. Keep up the good work guys, I love what you’re doing!
Even my second arch nemesis, the city, gets accolades. I’ve already praised David Soules before, but acts like Kansas and Los Lobos are keeping the Civic Center thriving as a worthwhile commodity deserving of community support.
Even bringing March 4th back to the swamp-bottom/kicking rocks event known as Superday was awesome. David is still one of my favorite game changers in Cheyenne. Its rad he is pushing the boundaries while also staying humble.
Where you at Archer Complex? Let’s make a friendly rivalry between you and the Ice and Events Center on who can bring in the biggest act. Only the community wins.
Rumor has it that planners for Cheyenne Fridays in the Asher are once again raising the bar. Mike Morris and crew are still filling the room with wintertime jams.
Thank God Boogie Machine isn't on the roster! I’ll take locals Rush Archives for nine straight weeks. Fernando and the boys are breaking the generational gap with parents and kids stoked on the same music.
How many of you knew Tantric was at the Redwood Lounge? Where you at, Outlaw Saloon? You guys used to kill it. I want you guys to bring Hank III and Gary Allen.
Let’s see a summer 2020 of outlaw country. I’ll promote the crap out of that. New ownership, perfect time to put this plan in motion. Cheyenne is missing a classic Philo Beddo honkey tonk again. I’ll do a duet with Clint Eastwood, “Beers to you.”
If you’re like me, you end up wandering around downtown and show up at The Crown Bar. When Robert isn’t begging us to keep our clothes on, we are usually yelling at Cheyenne's newest Michael Degreve, the human jukebox, Bobby Phillips.
Bobby jams back to back with Queens of the Stone Age followed by Prince. If Willy Mergard is with you, Bobby
will play “Iris” by the GooGoo Dolls over and over. If you buy him a shot he'll play Bob Seger. When you head downstairs DJ (B)Infamy is mixing all the hip hop you could ask for. The Crown also has several touring acts and locals play. Move that pool table because it’s time to get raw.
|Bishop Briggs plays EdgeFest 2018.|
During the summer Freedoms Edge does many a street party. When they aren’t teaming up with Lebron, you can sit back and listen to all kinds of music while eating from many a food truck.
Danielmark offers its patio to many musicians. You can go listening to the heartthrob Ross Lindstrom or throw down with Whiskey Alibi covering a country version of Pac and Dre. Either way, you’re having a good time drinking a Copper Thief to live music.
Who doesn’t like a hole in the wall bar like the Wigwam at the Historic Plains Hotel? One can spend many a night drinking a road soda with The Road, swap stories with Rusty Chaps or sing along with Two Guys with Bowties. It’s one of the best places to meet after Friday Nights in the Plaza.
Another music enclave is Midtown Tavern. This was the go-to for Beatgrass, and Shawn Hess and Jeff Daugherty still come back to jam. YOTP and de Gringos y gremmies might be playing as well. Midtown can be as fun as laying out your city councilman over a hot wing eating contest
Where are my rogue kids at these days? Club 218 and basement shows. Scene Zero 20-year reunion. I need my punk, ska, and hardcore fix. I’m thinking Sunnydale High opening for The Dwarves. I heard former Mayor Jack Spiker loves the Dwarves and their posters.
Last but not least, the Lincoln Theater is making headway. Sure the click baiters on KGAB kicked Jon and Renee in the teeth, but a few weeks later they were 20K up in donations for the nonprofit, the wall came down, exhibits and auctions are happening, and bands are even recording live videos there. It’s just one more thing to make Cheyenne awesome.
Don’t like what we’re doing? Move. We live here and want our town awesome.
Or am I missing the theme? Is there a soul? In the words of one Cheyenne music enthusiast, “As we compete with northern Colorado and the rest of the Front Range to bring in the types of immediate satisfaction the city wants, are we giving Cheyenne what it deserves?
The citizens want to see it as a turnkey operation, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Every day there are people behind the scenes getting acts to come to town and pushing entertainment. They see the potential not in the acts that are coming, but in the people who have always wanted just a touch more out of their town in terms of good entertainment.
For the first time in years, even CFD saw there is more than archaic culture. People need to be entertained, and they hit the proverbial nail with a hammer of pure bliss with Post Malone.
The dull malaise of entertainment in Cheyenne has been coming to an end for 25 years from what I've heard. But this year, with so many good acts, with so much genuine local music out there that people want to see, I believe we are on the cusp of greatness.
In the words of Pantera, “We are taking over this town!”
Richard Johnson is a former City Council member from Ward 3 on Cheyenne’s east side. He also is a regular contributor to Truth to Power.