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Mixed in Mancos rocks the historic Opera House

Farmington Hill on stage at the Mancos Opera House. on Saturday, March 2, during the Mixed in Mancos event. (Matthew Tangeman/Special to The Journal)
Three local bands – The Crags, Little Wilderness and Farmington Hill – perform during live recording

The energy and excitement were palpable in the Manco Opera House Saturday night for the first annual Mixed in Mancos concert and live recording event.

The event was sold out long before the doors even opened. Three local bands – The Crags, Farmington Hill and Little Wilderness – played a 4½-hour show in the historic building, while Flak Records from Austin, Texas, made a straight-to-vinyl live recording to be released soon.

“I had never done a live recording before – it added some stress, but it’s a great process,” said Tracy Ford, lead vocalist and guitarist for The Crags. “I think it went great. Feels like the kickoff to, hopefully, a new tradition.”

The crowd and the other musicians seemed to share the same sentiment: The event was a needed outlet for the local music scene, and the start of great things to come.

The Crags open up the Mixed in Mancos event Saturday, March 2. Tracy Ford on guitar and lead vocals, Tim Lillyquist on guitar, Dan Leek on bass, and John Ford on drums.

Each band turned up the volume just a little bit more than the last, resulting in perhaps the loudest show the Opera House has seen in some time. Boots stomped and toes tapped on the dance floor as the audience matched the high energy rock ’n’ roll. The beverage of choice for the evening was a smoky Kolsch created just for Mixed in Mancos by Mancos Brewing Co. Like the music’s bright guitar riffs and spacious vocals, it too conjured up feelings of the high desert of the Four Corners region.

Farmington Hill guitarist and vocalist Erik Nordstrom, who also serves on the board for the Mancos Creative District, is the man who made the event happen. He modeled Mixed in Mancos after a similar live recording event in his college town of Lawrence, Kansas.

“[Live recording] is a lot more challenging than studio recording, it's just kind of a one shot deal,” said Nordstrom. “But I felt it went great. It was cool to see the enthusiasm of people and the support of the local music. I'm feeling overwhelmed with the joy that it went well.”

Nordstrom hopes to expand the event next year – potentially adding nights, bands and more folks in the crowd. This was the first event of it’s kind for Southwest Colorado, and Nordstrom said other local bands are already interested in participating next year. He emphasized the importance of supporting local artists and nurturing the local music scene.

“I think sometimes (local music) is taken for granted. We just go out to music and assume that it's going to be there,” Nordstrom said. “And my hope with Mixed in Mancos is that we can also preserve it, and we can pay tribute to all the hardworking bands in Southwest Colorado, and capture their live energy and make it a part of the historical archive and celebrate it.”