Bandleader celebrates 18th b-day on stage

       Wowing a crowd of more than 100 people with his cheery demeanor and a fiery style that had him playing at times behind his back and with his teeth, Colorado Springs guitar prodigy Austin Young celebrated his 18th birthday with a free concert in the Paint the Town Blue series Aug. 8 at Bancroft Park.

Austin Young (foreground) and keyboardist John Stilwagen share a laugh as they converge their instruments during a song at Paint the Town Blue in Bancroft Park Aug. 8. Sponsored by the Pikes Peak Blues Community, the annual summer series on Thursday nights has two more shows scheduled - Aug. 15 and 22. The free concerts start at 5:30 p.m. See calendar listings on this page for more details.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Two more shows are scheduled in the seven-concert weekly (Thursday) series sponsored by the Pikes Peak Blues Community - Aug. 15, Molly Boyles and Lipstick Voodoo; and Aug. 22, Justus League.
       Young, a student at Air Academy High School, has been increasingly making a name for himself in the blues world, playing gigs around the state and even an upcoming blues festival in Lewellen, Nebraska.
       His first-set band at Bancroft included his father Tim on drums, Alex Goldberg (also 18) on bass and local keyboardist John Stilwagen. Then Young switched to a bassist and drummer from Boulder that he's been working with on different songs.
       “He's a good kid, and humble too,” summed up Brenda Knight, president of the Blues Community. “I've known him for a while. We offered him four dates he could pick from [for Paint the Town Blue], and he decided on his birthday.”
       She said the annual series, now in its eighth year, has been going well this summer. Despite the recent rains, only once has the weather forced a concert to relocate from the park to the backup site, Jives Coffee Lounge on Colbrunn Court. And in that case, with the Tribe playing, “the place was packed and the sidewalk was packed,” Knight said.
       The Austin Young crowd was even bigger. “I was glad it didn't rain,” she said. “We couldn't have fit it into the coffee shop.”

From a press release