Montana After Dark This Saturday Night
Steve Brown is no stranger to the stage. In fact, last year he was handed the Stillwater Stage on Montana Avenue where, in years past, Blues Fest organizer Tim Goodridge booked acts such as Chuck Prophet, Marc Cohn, Charlie Musselwhite, and many others. With the Blues Fest growing into a two-location-three day festival, Tim suggested Steve take over the stage. Steve quickly formulated a plan and saw it as a great opportunity to bring in original acts from around the area to play shows with his band, The Sons of Billings, which was gaining popularity as a local favorite. Steve was successful at filling the parking lot for six Fridays with acts such as Clumsy Lovers, The Forestry, Dan Page, Flowers from Her, The Kemmick Family Band, and Cure for the Common.
At a new location (30th and 1st Ave. North), and motivated by the thought of ”where is the Alex Nauman Organ Trio (Big Band or ANT) going to get to show off their music?”, Steve decided to make this year’s Montana After Dark a venue to showcase his favorite musicians. Steve laments over the fact that the Blues Fest is the only venue in town where deserving local acts would get to show their talents on a professional stage, “What I was/am trying to do with Montana After Dark is have a community based event that features music from the local area, the show is a testament to how rich the talent in Billings actually is.” He didn’t envision playing this year but wound up putting his own band, Steve Brown 3 on the bill, “I wanted to play because most of the fun comes from jamming on this system!”-The system he is referring to is that of Jeff Lord Alge. Part of what makes a great show is not just the performers on stage, but the visual and aural aspect of the show that are provided by the sound and light man. Jeff Lord Alge plays that double duty perfectly and caught Steve’s attention when he was the sound/light technician during Grooving on the Gallatin Music Festival in Bozeman, MT. Steve made friends with Jeff and hired him to travel from Jackson Hole, WY, haul his sound, lighting, and stage to Billings and work his magic.
With the idea of featuring local talent solidified, and an audio/visual professional at the helm, Steve chose the following bands to create this year’s line up.
Reconnaissance, 8:00-8:30 P.M. Featuring blues/rock original music from Peter Tolton (Poetry Slam organizer, Arc of the Communal), backed by David Banuelos and Wainson Atax, has a sound that is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street”, with the modern edge of the Black Keys “Brothers” album.
The Steve Brown 3, 8:30-9:00 P.M. Steve Brown’s original music fits tightly into his newly developed trio with Bryce Doak and Dr. Chaos. With Steve playing lead and rhythm guitar, he also has the duty of lead vocalist, showcasing how his talents have developed since the early days of Tyler Burnett.
Schuster, 9:00-10:00 P.M. Ron Schuster’s name is synonymous with great music on the Billings scene. His guitar playing and singing are an inspiration to many who perform music in the area. Ron and his quartet, featuring the bass stylings of Bob Brown (Peach Pickers, Denez Tek, and Tyler Burnett), will be playing original tunes mixed with some obscure and must hear covers.
Alex Nauman Organ Trio (Big Band), 10:00-11:00 P.M. On New Years Eve, Alex Nauman made his debut as the leader of what has been aptly named “Big Band”. Featured artist of this year’s Montana After Dark, Ron Schuster, has said that the Big Band is something you would hope to catch in a larger club in a big city like San Francisco or N.Y.C. – not Billings, MT. Blending styles from jazz, fusion, funk and soul, the ANT is fortified with some of Montana’s best funk and jazz players: KEMC’s voice of jazz, Brad Edwards on drums; RMC professor, Anthony Hammond on trombone; Wyoming’s pride, Erik Olson on organ; Bozeman’s Ben Johns on tenor saxophone; and Parker Brown on bass.
This is a must see lineup for everyone and the venue is family friendly. Montana After Dark will take place this Saturday night, August 18th. Pug Mahon’s will be serving food and Intermountain Distributing will be serving drinks. The show is taking place on 30th and 1st Avenue North. Admission is five dollars.
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