Best bets

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000

Music and nature are your best bets this weekend.

The final Concert in the Park for summer 2000 may well prove to be the year's best. The show tonight features Mucho Mojo, Nancy's Army and Yukon Ryder. The free concert runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Marine Park.

I've sung the praises of the a cappella group Mucho Mojo before. These five talented singers have engaging stage presence and good material, which is pretty much exactly what you want. This weekend is your last chance to hear them for a while. Fortunately, the group performs three times this weekend.

In addition to the gig in the park, Mucho Mojo performs at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Cafe Myriad and at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Backroom at the Silverbow. They'll do a mix of doo-wop, be-bop, jazz and gospel. Several of the members head off to college in the coming week, and hopefully their plans to regroup next summer will work out.

Yukon Ryder a four-piece folk-rock band from Anchorage will be in town this weekend. The band is also playing in Marine Park tonight, then heading next door to the Hangar on the Wharf for a more extended performance. Ryder plays Saturday night at the Hangar as well.

I confess I've never heard the band, but I've talked to several members and have a good feeling about the music. All shows are free. Guitarist Jon Dystra said the group is sort of like a picnic with Hank Williams and the Grateful Dead, and Phish shows up. That may be some folks' idea of existential Hell, but I'm intrigued.

They've been together a few years, have two CDs out and quit their day jobs to play music full time. The band has a northern Southeast tour going for the next few weeks, then they head back to Anchorage to record a new CD. They'll lay a passel of original tunes on us.

Nancy's Army is the third Concert in the Park act. It's a fairly new band and this will be my first chance to hear it. Juneau has produced some pretty entertaining high school rock bands, and maybe these four girls are on to something.

The Concerts in the Park is a great concept, but in practice it's totally unpredictable. Between the weather, the acts and the sound it can be a real crap shoot. Unfortunately, that shelter creates an extremely challenging acoustic environment. A talented sound person working with excellent gear can make it work, if he or she is working with a group that knows its own sound and doesn't throw curves every other song (like switching instruments or adding guests).

Last week sound man Roger Wark did a fine job. Tonight looks promising, and hopefully the weather and everything else will cooperate.

Beautiful dime-bright coho are moving in, and coho fishing is picking up. The fish are not far up into fresh water, but they're well into the area. Pinks are all over and they're in good shape. This is prime time to get out and wet a line. Next weekend is the Derby, and unless you plan to participate, that's a good time to stay off the water.

This is a great time to be out enjoying the Southeast environment. The ridges and high valleys are accessible, so if we get decent weather, seize the moment.

Deer are up there as well, and deer season is open. If you're not hunting the high country, keep in mind that there may be folks up there who are, especially the Douglas Island ridges. Deer aren't particularly abundant up in the mainland high country, but Douglas is another story.

Next Tuesday the classic film ``Sunset Boulevard'' opens at the Backroom at the Silverbow. It shows Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m. and next Saturday at 9 p.m. This is always in those lists of ``The Best 100 films of All Time'' and it's worth a look. Especially if the weather turns on us.

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