Minnesota jam band to play Saturday in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — Minneapolis band Circle of Heat made its way to and through Colorado for the first time this week. It played Quixote’s in Denver and spent a couple of nights playing shows in Crested Butte and Boulder the past few days.
For guitar player Tom Alane, it was his first time driving in the mountains, and as of Friday, the band hadn’t hit much weather.
“It’s pretty cool,” Alane said. “We’ve been checking out the bars, and we see stickers from bands from Minnesota. It definitely feels like home. Denver felt a lot like Minneapolis.”
So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the jam scene Circle of Heat left in the Twin Cities has a similar feel to the mountains of Colorado.
Circle of Heat plays at 10 p.m. Saturday at Old Town Pub.
The band considers itself jammy but also features a crisp intellect in the sound. The four members met at the University of Minnesota where they were enrolled in the music program. They don’t play the instruments they played in college, but the sound resonates with any jam band fan.
“The classical music scene doesn’t always lend itself to the music we play,” Alane said. “We just all liked the same music and went out and checked it out. We got together and would release by just jamming on other instruments that we didn’t have to spend hours and hours on each day for class. Sometimes, it’s just nice to rock out once in awhile.”
The sound is much like Umphrey’s McGee progressive rock and high tempo jamming style.
But there is evidence of classic rock in its roots, from Led Zeppelin to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and even traces of early Metallica — think “Ride the Lightning” and “Master of Puppets.”
“Our dads contributed a lot to that,” Alane said.
The band released its debut album “Bigwheelin’ Hotstuff” last year. The group formed in 2009 and graduated from music school in 2010.
It started getting recognition in the Minneapolis jam scene after opening for The Big Wu at The Cabooze in Minneapolis.
It’s been a climb up since then. The band’s latest tour has started to expand its reach to a regional audience.
On its fall tour, it’s been to Iowa, Nebraska and throughout Colorado.
Saturday marks the band’s final stop before returning home.
“We’ve been casting a line out and seeing if the people bite,” Alane said. “People seem to like it. Our sound has been pretty welcoming here.”
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Colorado New Play Festival has created a new role within its organization and has named Steamboat Springs resident Dagny McKinley to to fill it.