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Which came first- the snowboarder or their playlist? Each and every participant at this week’s Burton US Open will likely have his or her ‘go to’ tunes.  The music that gets them stoked.  Even in a state where smoking artificial stimulants is legal, most boarders will turn to music for their pregame high.

Ear buds and portable MP3 players have made screaming through a half pipe ever more enjoyable to a point where these athletes ‘playlists’ are often fodder for website blogs and news reports.  But here in Vail, home of the 2014 Burton US Open, we go one step further by bringing live music to the mountainside with three major performances planned this weekend.

Each October we celebrate Columbus Day as moment true of false that America was discovered.  On Wednesday, The Vilar Center will celebrate the American discovery of Reggae.

Though the genre traces its origins to the fields of Jamaica in the late 60s  when artists like Jackie Mittoo and Jimmy Cliff cooked up a potent mix of Ska and rock steady -most rock historians today consider the release of Legend- The best of Bob Marley and The Wailers as the birth of a movement.   This package of previously released songs came from a band and artist who at the time was experiencing significant success in Europe and most African nations though they had yet to penetrate the American shores just 900 miles to the north of their birth place.

During the late 70s and early Eighties, Marley and his band, which at times included the likes of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer Livingston had a string of Top Ten hits in the United Kingdom but only a scant following in the states.  That all changed on May 8th 1984 with the release of one of the greatest selling compilation albums of all time- Legend.

A generation of college boys ripped down their Farrah Fawcett posters and replaced them with the dreadlocked icon of a musical genre.  The Wailers themselves will be performing this legend-Dary document of grand significance in its entirety.

The LP which remains on the Billboard chart 1500 weeks after its release is second only to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the longest charting of all time.  The  15 songs rooted in Calypso music as much as American jazz became the soundtrack of college quads and frat houses across the country and the Wailers subsequent tour of America in support its release is still considered one of the top ten concert tours of all time.  The recreation of classics “No Women, No Cry” “Buffalo Soldier” and “I Shot The Sherriff” will be a musical portrait of a time that endures through the ages.  A generation of music lovers have been raised on the off beat rhythms and staccato chords that also managed to inspire and influence no less a force than the UK punk movement

The rock steady beats, religious sentimentality and harmonies of togetherness – accented of course with a nice dash of ganja speak- makes the sound of Rastafarians a universal language of One Love. It’s Jah Love and for one glorious magnificent evening reggaes seminal document will be celebrated by the artist who brought it to us.-The Wailers.


Friday night the open-air sound stage at Solaris will come alive with the electronic jazz/hip-hop of Boulder’s Big Gigantic. The dynamic duo of Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken will turn the new Championship Plaza into “Rowdytown” with their unique version of EDM. Combining live sax playing from Lalli with Salken’s power drumming, the two ignite in live performances.  The free admission will allow all snowboarding music fans a chance to see, hear and rage to an eclectic mash up of electronica with jazz sensibilities.


Then the week concludes with a blast from a band on the verge of big things- Capital Cities.  This band, formed off a Craigslists’ ad, has slowly grown in popularity powered by their first hit “Safe and Sound.”  The song took nearly two years to reach the Top Ten and has helped the Los Angeles’ duo get some well-deserved attention. And though their album debut “In The Tidal Wave Of History,” has garnered them critical raves, it is their live shows that set them apart.  The twosome gets terrific back up support from three very strong live musicians including some of the best ‘rock trumpeting’ you’ll ever hear.


I can’t say for certain what they will be wearing in the cold mountain air but they most definitely will be coordinated.  Part of this band’s live appeal is their almost Temptations-like presentation of their sound.  As a fivesome on stage, Capital Cities’ members share a ton of infectious fun and even if you’re not familiar with their music, the bouncy rhythms, happy lyrics and the sterling trumpet play of Spencer Ludwig will have revelers bouncing in the streets of Vail.  I mean who cannot love a band whom has a song titled “Farrah Fawcett Hair”?


Sure personal soundtrack playlists are great for improving your slopestyle, but it’s the style of these three live acts that will have the slopes grooving into the night this weekend.