MUSIC BOX: Grey Days, Neon Nights

By on May 2, 2017

The DJ scene at The Rose sizzles into the off-season.

An anecdote to off-season doldrums: The Rose pumps the bass through May.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – The lights drop low and a moody romance sets over the plush red booths. While a conversation ensues, the floorboards rattle with bass, the lifting gain—the roar of the Friday night DJ.

Jackson Hole’s island-like wonder can be suffocating at times, so what Pink Garter entertainment manager Ethan Oxman and his crew at The Rose provide is the closest escape: a smattering of urban grime.

“We’re two things,” Oxman said. “We’re a craft cocktail bar, but we’re also heavily involved in the music scene.”

More than five years ago Oxman and venue owner Dom Gagliardi felt the beat reverberating around Jackson Hole. There was a burgeoning DJ scene. Players like Brian James, better known as Cut la Whut, Chris Howell, or DJ Whipple, Jeff Stein, a.k.a. Dj Jefe, and Rocky Vertone, or DJ Vert-One, were giving the mountain crowds a taste of the city, even hosting all-star acts before they made bigger stages.

 “There was this contingent,” Oxman said, “and that’s when Pretty Lights came and played 43 North to 100 people, and Bassnectar played the Q. That crew I think was a big part of creating the DJ scene. It’s kind of just gone and built from there.”

Today, Town Square Tavern frequently turns its stage over to the local DJ crew Wyobass. Locals laud Thursday’s disco night at the Stagecoach. Stein of Nomadic Events took it further with a Saturday night special at Lotus that packed a dance party beyond capacity. But consistently over these past 60 months, the Pink Garter has played home and host to Jackson’s vinyl scientists.

As Oxman likes to extol, the off-season is the real time for this scene to shine. “The DJs who I’m booking are who are here and want to play and also who are excited by the idea of playing in the off-season,” Oxman said. “You’re playing to a smaller group of people, a smaller house, but it’s probably going to be the majority of your friends, a core group of Jacksonites.”

 The Rose is poised for this musical flavor. It’s romantic atmosphere splits at night. Consider the blend and precision of the speakers in the same confined area where Jackson’s finest dance parties happen in the front section while patrons carry conversations in the back corners of the bar, sipping on the artifice of mixologists.

 “It works so well … because it’s a tight space,” Oxman said. “People feel comfortable. You can bring a girl or a guy and sit in that booth and have a private conversation and still be in that scene.”

Other venues where Oxman has traveled allow visitors a similar sonic experience, but because of the larger spaces, the farther they go from the source, the further they feel from the scene. The Rose offers intimacy, romance, dance and rage.

Mr. Whipple electrified the schedule last Friday with his signature dance style. Senior Hun follows this week with Park City’s DJ Dolph keeping it going with a May 12 return to town. Elliott “E.R.A.” Alston kicks the bass on May 19, and Fiesta Bob finishes out this shoulder series on May 26.

“A lot of establishments change their service due to the fact that they rely on tourists,” Oxman said. “We ignore the fact that it’s off-season.”

Speakers pump 10 p.m. Fridays this month at The Rose.


Aural pleasures all summer

There’s no lack of alternative musical tastes this summer as concert announcements continue to pour in. The Center for the Arts announced Lyle Lovett, the country crooner that plays to the town’s Western sensibilities.

Town Square Tavern is taking May with EDM dynamo Phutureprimitive playing Saturday, May 6. Some may remember Phuture’s brand of psychedelic dubstep from the 2016 Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine party. Then on May 19, ska-reggae-punk band Opskamatrists touch down at the Tavern.

For those looking to find their indie fix, the Pink Garter added another artist to its summer lineup of city-inspired instrumental experimentation with the announcement of Future Islands. The band’s elegantly toned studio tracks take on an entirely different tune when performed live. It’s a much edgier and aggressive show than Spotify acknowledges.

“Sometimes you listen to their tunes, and they almost sound like 80s synth pop, and then you go see them live and the singer is growling on stage like a metal singer,” Oxman said.

JacksonHoleLive unveiled the first concert of its outdoor summer series at Snow King: The New Orleans Suspects perform with Boondocks June 18. The bands will be the soundtrack to the annual Crawfish Boil with RaptorFest happening before the music.

Then come Idahome heroes Reckless Kelly at the Pink Garter August 5. Austin-based band founders Cody and Willie Braun grew up under the auspices of their White Cloud Mountain father, picking country with their younger brothers and reaching commercial success as cowboys playing bluegrass backups to country poetry. PJH


Vinyl Night (The Rose)


Senior Hun (The Rose)


Phutureprimitive (Tavern)

Seis de Mayo Latin Dance Party (The Rose)

Cary Morin’s acoustic finger-pickings (Silver Dollar)


Songwriter’s Alley featuring Maw Band, Robert Infanger and Pearson Beasley (Silver Dollar)

Church with the “World Famous Stagecoach Band” (Stagecoach)


Silent Space (St. John’s Episcopal Church)


One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

About Jason Suder

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