The Gourds start off double-decker Gordons' weekend

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By Kelly LeVan

Double your pleasure, double your fun this weekend with two Gordons’ Concerts.

The party begins at 7 p.m. Friday, when The Gourds take the stage at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. The annual ski hill show is always a community favorite, and concert organizer Russ Gordon is sure this year’s band will become a favorite as well.

“The Gourds are alternative country rock, which I’d never heard of,” Gordon said. “They’re kaleidoscopic country rockers, which I can picture.”

He said at times, the group reminds him of The Rolling Stones and The Band.

“The Gourds are relevant and irreverent,” Gordon said, “and are tremendous wordsmiths and rockers.”

The band members – Kevin Russell, Jimmy Smith, Claude Bernard, Keith Langford and Max Johnston – refer to themselves as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonks” and say their latest album, “Noble Creatures” (Yep Roc Records, 2007), puts “irony and redneck post-modernism on the backburner” while sticking close to the band’s “non-sequitur lyrical style and laidback country groovings.”

The concert will be made even better with a few libations from Santa Fe Brewing Company, which the ski hill will serve at the show.

The party continues at 11 a.m. Saturday at 15th and Central with the jazzy Pete Amahl Quartet, featuring Amahl on drums, singer Hillary Smith, keyboardist John Rangel and bassist Louis Guerra.

Los Alamos audiences might remember Rangel and Guerra from the Greg Abate Band, which played downtown just last month.

Audiences will definitely, after this weekend, remember the sweltering sounds of Smith’s vocals.

“She’s probably the best female vocalist in New Mexico,” Gordon said.

Gordon added that along with some original numbers, the quartet will play a variety of jazz standards, from George Gershwin to Cole Porter to the Beatles.

The show is held in conjunction with the Next Big Idea festival, which will offer a full-day of demonstrations, hands-on activities and opportunities to learn from contemporary inventors and innovators. Read the cover story in today’s Kaleidoscope for more information. Both concerts are presentations of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series.