Big Bend Music Co-op breathes new life into Alpine music scene
March 9th, 2017 under Arts
By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA
ALPINE – The long-comatose Alpine underground music scene was seemingly awakened Saturday night, as an unusually large crowd gathered in a North 5th Street space to hear Alpine and Marfa musicians perform at the inaugural Big Bend Music Co-op concert.
The event featured performances from Alpine groups Time Waves, Desert Lion, Jeffro and Stevie, and the Marfa trio No Nombres.
The co-op, founded by Colin Gjemre and Ricky DeLaO of the Alpine dub quintet Desert Lion, was recently pieced together by the two musicians to provide a space for local musicians to hone their talents, as well as to give young musicians just getting started a chance to see music groups in action.
“Basically, Ricky and I have been playing locally for a while, and we wanted to create an alternative venue for music with a diverse arrangement of artists and to showcase local music and unite the local music community,” Gjemre told the Marfa Big Bend Sentinel.
For the past few years, Gjemre said, complacency among musicians has run rampant through the scene, with Alpine venues not diversifying the acts that have played on their stages.
“Right now, there are more local bands and more interest. People are looking for an alternative venue, something like Marfa’s doing,” he said. “I used to see great bands, like Tidal Waves from Africa at the Railroad Blues, but lately it’s more bar bands, like country rock. Local bands haven’t really had a venue, so most people don’t even know they exist. There’s an idea that there are no punk rockers or metal heads here, but there are. They just haven’t had a place to play.”
The hope for the co-op, he added, is to influence others to book their own shows and work on the scene; bringing it back to what it was a decade ago.
“When I first moved here around ten years ago, Alpine had more of a DIY feeling. There was a looser format and people were more active, but it kind of died out,” he explained. “The last couple of years, Rick and I have been playing, and we saw a niche that no one else was doing and started doing it. Hopefully more things like what we’re doing will start popping up.”
Rock shows aren’t the only focus of the co-op, however, as DeLaO, a multi-instrumentalist who studied at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles will head their education program.
“We’re looking to start workshops and a rock school in the summertime, similar to the DJ camp in Marfa. We want to get young kids inspired to play music and encourage them to be involved,” he said. “Ricky has a fundamental approach to teaching music, but he can still cut loose and rock on.”
Currently, DeLaO offers private lessons for $15 per half-hour with monthly discounts available.
Showcasing local talent, however, remains the co-op’s main focus.
The co-op is currently planning their next show.
“Right now, we’re looking to do another show. We eventually want to put on a fest of some kind. We benefitted a bit from the last show with ticket sales, but we’re looking at doing a more bonifide fundraiser. We’re not doing this for any financial gain, but for the love of music,” he said.
The co-op is also hoping to draw more outside interest in the city.
“Hopefully, instead of us going to Marfa to see a great show, Marfa people will come to Alpine to see a great show,” he laughed.
Appointments for lessons can be made by calling the co-op at (432) 837-5305 or through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bigbendmusica.
Walk-ins are also welcomed at their location on 106 North 5th Street.
Story filed under: Arts