BoomBox to play Aspen after New Year’s in Denver
IF YOU GO …
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Friday, Jan. 3, 9 p.m.
How much: $40-$50
Tickets: Belly Up box office; bellyupaspen.com
Few things have been as dependable in Aspen over the past decade as a good BoomBox show with a full house at Belly Up.
The Alabama-based electro-rock duo has found the heart of its fanbase in Colorado and in ski country, sound-tracking parties with regular stops up this way.
The duo played a big New Year’s Eve show at the Ogden in Denver this week, with additional stops in Steamboat, Crested Butte, Frisco and this Friday night in Aspen back at Belly Up.
Three years ago BoomBox debuted its new lineup for local fans at Belly Up — with founder and songwriter Zion Rock Godchaux bringing new partner DJ Harry — to the club for the first time. A year later they returned to showcase new BoomBox songs from the new lineup. Those songs have filled the duo’s latest album, titled “Western Voodoo,” the first BoomBox record since 2014 and the first made with Harry.
Godchaux, during a swing through Aspen last year, called it “the most musical and varied” of the BoomBox catalog, “yet it’s tightly wound in respect to that syncopation. There are only a few rules: It should be heavy groove; it should make you want to move. Overall, I’ve further developed the sound people are used to.”
Yes, the chilled-out psychadelia and funk aesthetic that the band established in its 2005 debut disc, “Visions of Backbeat” and early songs like “Stereo,” is intact on “Western Voodoo” in new songs like “Restless Too.” But there’s also a lot more organic instrumentation.
The title comes from Godchaux’s sense of the American West’s spiritual and magical traditions.
“The West, in general, has its own voodoo influenced by the blues,” Godchaux, who grew up in San Francisco, said upon the album’s release. “That’s what shaped me as a musician growing up in this country. It’s hard to put in the words, but you know it when you hear it.”
The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is the son of 1970s Grateful Dead vocalist Donna Godchaux Mackway and the late Dead keyboardist Keith Godchaux. So the freewheeling chill that is BoomBox’s signature is in his blood, though nobody would mistake BoomBox for a jam band or lump the duo in with the current generation of Dead-derivative acts.
“Our music is about release and it’s supposed to be healing and relaxing and freeing — very disarming by nature,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s a universal sound. Something anybody can cue into.”
DJ Harry has helped revitalize some older BoomBox songs and shape the new ones for live renditions.
“He’s an amazing DJ and an excellent musician,” Godchaux said.
Since its first Aspen shows around 2010, BoomBox has become a local favorite and a regular at Belly Up, including these annual spring offseason shows that have reliably become a live music high point of the often-quiet mud seasons.
Colorado is home to some of the Alabama-based band’s most fervent and loyal fans and has been a touchstone for BoomBox since its inception in 2004. Godchaux plucked DJ Harry from Boulder to join him.
The original pairing of Godchaux and Russ Randolph split amicably after a 2016 New Year’s Eve concert at the Gothic Theatre in Denver.
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