I met Erik Nordstrom in 2000. I was the music director at KDUR; he hosted a 3 to 6 a.m. radio show. Since that time, he’s become a valuable friend; he came to the hospital when my kid was born and has always been a great source of music, whether it be new stuff recorded in some random studio in a random town, or old music I should have heard about years ago yet somehow my narrow ears missed.
We’ve had hundreds of beers together and just as many late nights filled with hilarity, and he’s a dude whose musical opinion I respect and trust. His bands, Lawn Chair Kings and Farmington Hill, are local staples, two acts that showcase his guitar playing, knowledge of the rock genre in the country and punk variety, and his own songwriting.
I know many people may say “no good music comes to Durango.” That’s a load; here are some of the Nord’s favorite shows from the last decade and beyond, some of which involved liberal drinking, the spilling of said beer, and general revelry that more than likely ended up with a handful of the Durango 40-something, aging punk rockers ending up in Nordstrom’s kitchen drinking more beer that they didn’t need and eating questionable pizza of the frozen variety.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy2003, Storyville
Nordstom says: I remember there being about 20 people at this show, but everyone was mesmerized by his extremely unique songs and delivery. Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s voice conveyed genuine pain and redemption. The band went from deceptively simple folk arrangements to intricate moments of cacophony. The most spoken word of the evening was “wow.”Hank Williams III2002, Storyville
Nordstom says: The house was packed for this one. The first set featured Hank’s outlaw brand of country music, and the direct lineage to his grandfather was apparent with his vocal inflection and long face under the cowboy hat. The hat came off for the second set, allowing Hank’s long-haired mohawk to freely fly. The band transformed into “Assjack” and they played aggressive punk/metal music that featured indecipherable lyrics. There was lots of thrashing, spilt beer, and good times.Punk Rock Breakfast featuring The Thirteens2003, Storyville
Nordstom says: I’m not sure that everything I witnessed that morning is fit for print. There was a strange sense of spirituality on that Sunday morning, with Erik Mischker screaming in our faces and climbing on the rafters to expose the skimpy undergarment that he had selected to wear on that ignoble occasion. Spilt beer, good times, and some eggs.BR5-492002, San Juan Room
Nordstom says: Featuring their original lineup that included songwriters Chuck Mead and Gary Bennett, as well as multi-instrumentalist Don Herron, BR5-49 brought everyone to their feet. I can’t say it was always pretty, with novice dancers twirling each other across the wood floor, often spilling beer in the process. There were smiles all around on that fine evening in Durango.My thoughts on the aboveI never should have skipped Bonnie Prince Billy, but I think my kid had just been born.
Nordstrom left out “The Legendary Shack Shakers” opening for Hank III, and that dude Joe Buck playing in multiple bands.
Punk Rock Breakfast may have been the greatest, most degenerate-filled event this town has ever seen, a glorious mess of friends.
BR5-49 killed it.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. email@example.com.