MUSIC BOX: JH Rendezvous celebrates 10 years of free music

By on March 25, 2014
Karl Denson
Karl Denson

Karl Denson

JACKSON, WYO – It’s a genuinely cool event for our valley. The reinvented Jackson Hole Rendezvous will mark the 10th annual celebratory end of ski season with an even bigger bang. Billed as Jackson Hole Mountain Fest for the last nine years, Rendezvous is aptly touted as a “three-day lifestyle and music festival.” Alongside the Marmot Coombs Classic competition and the legendary Pole Pedal Paddle race, the big stages will feature English roots-reggae headliners Steel Pulse as well as the return of Michael Franti and Spearhead and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe among a smattering of opening acts, not to mention Music Under the Tram.

Rendezvous Thursday
In case you missed Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe last month at Knotty Pine, here’s your chance at redemption. A tireless performer and tour hound, Denson has already put his stamp on contemporary funk/jazz saxophone and flute. A former member of Lenny Kravitz’s band and a co-founder of the pioneering, timeless band The Greyboy Allstars, there’s still a fire lit underneath Mr. Denson.

KDTU is a super-tight sextet and will roll into town armed with a fresh album released just last month, New Ammo. An acoustically challenged concert space, it’s best to position yourself close to the stage for this one.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Mandatory Air, 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Snow King Event Center. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Free, all-ages.

Steel Pulse

Steel Pulse

Rendezvous Friday
Formed 39 years ago, England-based Steel Pulse is truly living up to its name. Founded by and still led by vocalist, guitarist and songwriter David Hinds, the eight-piece reggae unti has not lost an ounce of the power or urgency that defined them from the outset. Still singing against political and social oppression, Steel Pulse won a Grammy Award for its 1986 album Babylon The Bandit, while 1978’s Handsworth Revolution is considered by many to be their best effort. A classic band to celebrate 10 years of slopeside concerts.

Steel Pulse with DJ Logic, 5:30 p.m. on Friday outside in Teton Village. Free, all-ages. Local hair metal cover band, 86, plays 3 to 5 p.m., Friday, under the tram.

Michael Franti

Michael Franti

Rendezvous Saturday
Michael Franti and Spearhead have played the Tetons more times in the last five years than I can count. The ultra-positive, pop-produced hip-hop/funk show is highly entertaining if you haven’t seen it, but who are these Groovetrotters?

A family band from Baja, Mexico, the Groovetrotters don’t often play in the United States. Led by their guitar-player father, four brothers round out the band: Claude (drums, age 12), Jerome (keyboards, 16), BJ (bass, 18), and Pierre (congas, 14). They groove a funk/jazz/reggae blend and pulling from their website, it appears this stage will be a little bigger than the “weddings, parties, and restaurants” they frequent.

Michael Franti and Spearhead with Groovetrotters, 5:30 p.m. on Saturday outside in Teton Village. Free, all-ages. Local country-soul band Bootleg Flyer plays 3 to 5 p.m., Saturday under the tram, and reggae-roots eight-piece Chanman Roots Band, 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday under the tram.

Private Reserve tickets ($50/night, $75/two nights) are available to concertgoers at the Teton Village shows who prefer access to a private viewing area adjacent to the stage as well as complimentary food and beverages. No dogs are allowed in the concert spaces. Enjoy responsibly and utilize the extra START buses that will be running each night.

The Blackberry Bushes

The Blackberry Bushes

Alt-folk alternative on the Westbank
If you’re not into the masses of folks that will converge on Snow King Center on Thursday night, consider taking in an evening of alt-folk string band The Blackberry Bushes from Seattle. Taking cues from other contemporary folk bands like Nickel Creek and The Be Good Tanyas, the trio draws from the deep roots of American traditional music with a delicate, virtuosic fiddle-laced sound of their own.

The Blackberry Bushes, 7 p.m., Thursday at Q Roadhouse. Free. 739-0700.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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