By Nicholas Stock
FoCoMX is coming up quickly and they have finally announced their mind-boggling gargantuan lineup. With over 300 bands performing on 30 plus stages across the entirety of Fort Collins, choosing a game plan can be overwhelming. For two days in April, The Choice City is transformed into the Choose Your Own Adventure of music festivals. It’s impossible to see it all so you have to pick and move quickly. The vast majority of the venues are conveniently located in Old Town. Tickets are only $30 so you can more than get your money’s worth in two days. Here are a few gems from the prodigious lineup assembled for FoCoMX XI
Equally Challenged – Friday – 5:45 PM – Colorado Room – There are lots of lesser-known bands on the bill. The thing is you probably know all the people in Equally Challenged. This band is full of Fort Collins gigging musicians who decided it was time or an original project. These guys have all played in seminal Northern Colorado acts such as The Holler!, Delicious Hotdogs, Fatty Jenkins, Zydeco Zombies, Bourbon Toothpaste, among others. Head over to the Colorado Room on Friday to get your FoCoMX started with a blend of funk, rock, Americana and more with Equally Challenged.
Joe Lessard and Hanna Doreen Brown – Friday 6:30 PM – Fort Collins Museum of Discovery – Nothing like seeing two highly respected musicians in your local scene collaborate. As the fiddler for local bluegrass powerhouse Head For The Hills Sloppy Joe Lessard needs no introduction. Hanna Doreen Brown’s bucolic vocals and delicate fingerpicking are simply enchanting. When she’s not on the road gigging it out she moonlights as a saint. Bringing joy to seniors in care facilities across Colorado through the power of her music. These two will undoubtedly create magic early Friday night.
Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band – Friday 9:30 PM – The Mayor of Old Town – If you want to get your body moving head over to The Mayor and check out local sensation Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band. This is one of the tightest horn sections in Colorado bringing some New Orleans fire to the Front Range. They were named ‘Best Brass Band in Colorado’ by the Westword last year, so do yourself a favor and get there early. Not to mention, The Mayor has about a hundred beers on tap so that’s nice too.
Colony Funk – Friday – 10:30 PM – Prost Brewing – Amanda Hofer is no stranger to the Fort Collins music scene, but she works best as a lead. She has found firm footing with her band which is basically a who is who of local musicians. They are funky and full of momentum with a focus on original material and building their audience. You’re going to want to check out Colony Funk at Prost; you won’t be disappointed.
Slow Caves – Friday – 12:00 PM – Aggie Theater – The Slow Caves have been making waves in the indie rock scene since their formation in 2014. Brothers Jakob and Oliver Mueller along with David Dugen make up this Danish-American power trio. They have spent the last few years touring relentlessly. The Slow Caves are currently working on their debut album so it won’t be long before they blow up. Before that happens you can see them rocking at the Aggie to close out the first night of FoCoMX.
53:14 Film Festival – Saturday 5:00 PM – Washington’s – The 53:14 Music Video Experiment takes the 2 Day Film Festival format and smashes it against a collaborative music video concept with FoCoMX as the backdrop. This is the second year that The Northern Colorado Music + Video Cluster with the help of NoCoast Artists, The Music District and Create Places has hosted this truly unique event. Local video producers are paired up with a wide range of local bands and musicians to create a video in just 53 hours and 14 minutes. Participants will have to conceive, shoot, edit and deliver a finished video in that time. They are given a budget of $500, but they don’t get to know who they are working with until the event starts on April 12th. This is art and collaboration at its highest form.
Grace Kuch Band – Saturday – 6:00 PM – Hodi’s Half Note – The young and talented Grace Kuch will have her impressive band over a Hodi’s for about of bluesy goodness this year. At just 15 her skills are well beyond her years. She has twice been voted the “Best Youth Performer” by the Colorado Blues Society Member’s Choice Awards in 2017 and 2018. She is a woman on the rise and it’d be best to catch her now maybe at FoCoMX.
Fierce Bad Rabbit – Saturday – 8:30 PM – Washington’s – Local Indie Rock icons Fierce Band Rabbit will be bringing their signature sound to Washington’s on Saturday. Their songs range from delicate and poetic to hard-hitting rock and roll. After ten years of performing live, they have matured and their sound has as well. If you like bands like Arcade Fire and The National give Fierce Bad Rabbit a listen.
Bevin Luna – Saturday 11:00 PM – Hodi’s Half Note – Bevin Luna is the next in a long line of hard-hitting female singer-songwriters that call Northern Colorado home. She is now fronting a rowdy band that features a riff-heavy sound that is sure to please. She’s half country half grunge and all heart. Her set at Hodi’s will be a memorable one. She is fresh off the heels of her 2018 release Baby Dragon which features her full band. Bevin Luna is one to watch out for and not just at FoCoMX.
WhiteWater Ramble – Saturday – 12:00 PM – Avogadro’s – Why not wrap up your night with seminal Colorado pickers WhiteWater Ramble? Fronted by the talented Patrick Sites, WhiteWater Ramble is a band evolving well beyond their jamgrass roots. They are in the process of releasing a series of videos in anticipation of their new album. This band has loads of new material and they have had a heavy tour schedule in recent months spreading the word. I can’t think of a better way to close down FoCoMX XI.
Here’s the thing, with so much music in one place you’d be hard pressed to have a bad time. FoCoMX is something special and it happens right here in The Choice City every spring. Take advantage.