**The blog below was originally published in 2014, hence our #TBT to the #TBT. We are beyond thrilled to welcome back one of Fort Collins favorite bands, Tickle Me Pink to Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest for a very special performance this year. It's their first time on stage together since they quietly called it quits a few years ago. They are one of our must see artists performing on Friday August 12th at 5:55 PM on the Mountain Ave Stage.**
For my first ThrowBack Thursday post, I picked Tickle Me Pink's set from 2008. I chose this because it was one of the most touching and powerful performances I have ever witnessed at Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest. This show was a little over a month after the death of bassist Johnny Schou (pictured below on the far left). As most of us remember, he passed away on the day that the band released their album Madeline through a national label. The release party that night at the Aggie Theater tragically turned into a private memorial for Johnny.
The group decided to move forward with their national tour, so they added guitarist Joey Barba from the Brotherhood of Dae Han and moved lead singer Sean Kennedy into the bassist role. A few days after the funeral, they set out on a cross country tour. They returned home to play for Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, which was their first show back in Fort Collins after the loss. The crowd packed out Mountain Ave Stage to show their support. Although a storm had rolled through the festival grounds earlier that morning, the skies cleared for Tickle Me Pink's set. When the band got to their single Madeline (which is about the death of a friend), you could hear Sean's voice crack with emotion and just at the climax of the chorus, a huge gust of wind ripped the back drop cloth from the stage. It literally took the crowd's breath away and as cheesy as it may sound, it was incredibly powerful to see our friends and fellow musicians push through the pain as they stood their ground and let the music take over. That show was beyond special to me and that's why it's one of my very favorite Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest performances.
The harsh reality we all experienced with Tickle Me Pink showed me that life sucks and life can be wonderful at the same time. And through it all, we ultimately learn that life goes on. Tickle Me Pink may not be a band anymore, but the members of the group are still making music in Colorado and beyond. Sean writes non stop and after a string of projects around town, he recently formed powerhouse band Magician in the Machine. Steven Beck has enjoyed his own success performing with a number of local and national artists. Both Sean and Steven are proud papas to 2 of the cutest kiddos I have ever seen! Joey is a well respected studio producer and tours internationally with Tyler Ward. Stefan Runstrom is most definitely an animal on his drumset and although he plays in so many bands that I can hardly remember them all, you can see him at this year's Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest with Wiredogs on Sunday August 17th at 2:15 PM. And because it's #TBT (can you hashtag a blog?!?), check out Tickle Me Pink's video for Madeline below. Cheers to Life!