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Magic Beans thrives on supportive musical community

They’re a band that exists in a fertile musical community built out of a fertile musical community.

It’s no secret that the Front Range of Colorado has a solid jam-band scene, based around long tenured bands that have flourished out of Boulder Canyon, up into Nederland and stretching West into the mountains. These are bands made up of friends who have picked in campgrounds at numerous festivals throughout the state, while also being inspired by seeing larger bands at clubs around Denver and Boulder or at storied venues like Red Rocks.

Magic Beans is one of those bands, a now 10-year-old quartet that bangs out high-energy funk, jazz, rock and sometimes roots music into an improvisational swirl of sounds.

Magic Beans will return to the Southwest this weekend with two shows; tonight (Nov. 19) they perform at Lauter Haus Brewing Co. in Farmington, and Saturday, they will play at the Animas City Theatre with local band Profetic Calaveras.

They’ve been a band making their own scene from the get-go. As students at CU, they’d provide the soundtrack for social gatherings in rural areas outside Boulder, busing in friends and fans for, as guitar player and vocalist Scott Hachey describes, “crazy psychedelic parties.” During that time, he was also interning at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, learning the ropes of a thriving and busy music scene. Soon after, the band shacked up around Nederland, where they were learning how to navigate the Front Range jam scene from some of its longtime players, while also digging on the scene’s accessibility and communal nature.

If you go

WHAT: Jam with Magic Beans and Profetic Calaveras.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 20; 9 p.m. show, doors open at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Animas City Theatre, 128 E. College Drive.

TICKETS: $22/$25, available online at https://bit.ly/3FjQNe3.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit https://bit.ly/3FjQNe3.

Note: Show is for those 18 and older.

“We used to go down into town and see all these guys hanging out at the local bar, and you can pick up a guitar and jam with them. We’re seeing Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), Billy Nershi (String Cheese Incident) and Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band) and we’re seeing those guys on a monthly basis,” Hachey said. “They’re imparting advice, and it was very cool. And that’s what’s great about the Colorado music scene. We’re an island out here, there’s a lot more support that goes on than in some of the more competitive markets out east or in LA. It’s all about helping support what we got so we can maintain our scene. We’re lucky.”

A jam band’s bread and butter is the live performance, and when you spend so much time on the road you need to make time to get into the studio. Making that time hadn’t been easy for Magic Beans. You can however thank the pandemic for making that time for them, helping them off the road and into the studio for the recording of “Slice of Life.” It was a necessary studio step the band had to take to keep a ball rolling the pandemic was trying to stop.

“The live show is everything sometimes,” Hachey said. “If you’re a hammer, then everything looks like a nail, and if you’re a touring musician, everything looks like a gig, and you forget that there’s other ways to make music. The pandemic was a reminder that there’s ways to make music without having to hop in the van.”

This fertile community will continue to grow, and more bands inspired by The Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic or The String Cheese Incident will jump on board. Magic Beans welcomes the company and are up to the musical challenge to keep things fresh.

“We really strive for some originality, especially within our own scene, the jam scene,” Hachey said. “That’s another thing I like about the record. There’s some songs on there that are indicative of where we are as musicians. I think we’re at our peak as a band. I feel really great about the music, and we’re excited about the next record. We’re always looking ahead.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.