The Sweet Sounds of World CupThree nights of free concerts in Wagner Park during the big race weekend
World Cup Village Concert Schedule
THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 7 p.m.
Michael Franti & Spearhead
As the world’s best skiers descend on Aspen Mountain to do fast and furious battle on behalf of their countries at the World Cup Finals, a fitting lineup of internationally minded musicians will be taking the stage in Wagner Park.
The downtown square has been transformed into the World Cup Village, hosting parties and family-friendly activities, with food and après-ski events through the weekend.
Along with the big-name headliners — Vintage Trouble, Gogol Bordello and Michael Franti — the village is playing host to world music showcases Thursday and Friday.
The Alps are in the spotlight Thursday, with a troupe of traditional European kick-dance schuplatters performing, along with the alpenhorn band The Rhinelanders (and generous servings of German sausage and beer) during a party running form 2 to 6 p.m..
Friday belongs to Irish, during an afternoon of post-race St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including mysic by the Juice O’ the Barley Band and traditional Irish dancers.
And Aspen gets the spotlight Saturday, for what’s being billed as an “Aspen Crud Party,” featuring an apres-ski party performance by The Airborne Band.
As for the headliners, all three are returning acts to Aspen: Vintage Trouble played the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival in 2012; Gogol Bordello makes regular stops at Belly Up, most recently in November; and Michael Franti, a local favorite, plays Aspen several times most years. Here’s what to expect from their big World Cup shows.
This Los Angeles-based retro soul and blues rock outfit has a well-earned reputation as one of the best live bands on the road today. Frontman Ty Taylor brings a ferocious, high-energy mix of vocals and dance moves that often draws comparisons to James Brown, while the rest of the band plays a hard-charging Led Zeppelin style of rock. In recent years, Vintage Trouble has toured with and opened for the likes of The Who, The Rolling Stones and AC/DC and appear to be on their way to joining them in the pantheon of rock legends.
Their most recent album is 2015’s “1 Hopeful Rd.”
“We are the immigrant punks!” Gogol Bordello drummer Pedro Erazo told a crowd at Belly Up during a fierce and sweat-soaked November concert. “Our message is peace and love and unity.”
The band is a walking embodiment of the international spirit of World Cup competition. Its nine members come from five different continents, and their shows are wild and worldly spectacles that marry old world European sounds with the thrashing guitars of punk rock. Their anthems include “Transcontinental Hustle,” “Immigraniada” and “Think Locally, F-k Globally.” Singer Eugene Hütz also is an athlete — he’s credited his tireless energy on-stage to his years as a long distance runner as a teen, and he’s recently been developing something he calls “musical mixed martial arts.”
Along with the World Cup Village show Friday, Gogol Bordello will headline Belly Up Aspen on Saturday night.
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
After years of playing his distinct brand of folk and hip-hop, Michael Franti began integrating some electronic sounds and dance beats on his past two albums — 2013’s “All People” and 2016’s “Soulrocker.” These sunny, celebratory dance tracks have only enhanced the feel-good vibes of his live show.
“It all wraps up in a giant dance party,” he told the Aspen Times in December.
Franti is a true citizen of the world, who has become a leader on social justice and peace issues around the globe. He’s also developed an intimate relationship with Colorado over the years, including volunteering with the Buddy Program and Aspen Yoga Society and launching his nonprofit Do It for the Love Foundation in Aspen in 2013. His affinity for the mountain folk of Colorado, he has said, is linked to the people’s traditions of environmental stewardship and connection to nature but also, of course, to its love for music.
“Nowhere else in the world do people say, ‘Hey let’s hop in the car and go to a concert’ and that’s a four-hour ride. It’s the best music fans in the world.”
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