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Winter Park / Live Music: Experience rock ‘nouveau’

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Band Meniskus is making its rounds in the Fraser Valley with performances scheduled Friday and Saturday in Winter Park.

They call their music “rock nouveau,” an acoustic fusion and trance rock. “Whatever you call it,” the band biography reads, “the unique dynamic of the band starts with a violin and a nylon-stringed guitar – both enhanced by a barrage of effects – and gets driven by an arsenal of percussion.”

Members include Bryan Bardusco on guitar and percussion, Eric Ostberg on violin and lead vocals, and Chris Wright on drums, keyboard and vocals. Wright and Ostberg both have extensive classical training and Bardusco is a self-taught guitarist.

Wright was born to a musical family in upstate New York and he served as the “youngest roadie on tour” for his father, an accomplished funk and blues drummer.

He grew up playing on that same set and jokes about earning “academic distinction by being the first student in a decade to fail band class.”

But he slowly gained some local success playing with several bands in the New York Area, and he later joined Ostberg to tour with The Tripping Billies. Wright’s brother also introduced him to the Boulder music scene and he started coming to the area to jam with Bardusco.

“It quickly became clear,” he said, that he and Bardusco “had a chemistry” and Wright decided to make the move to the Rocky Mountains to play together.

One day, the two were “pensively gazing” into their overflowing margarita glasses noticing that the liquid was higher than the edge of the glass, “and a term from high school chemistry class popped to mind: Meniskus was born.” They ended up using a German spelling for the name, “for no apparent reason,” Wright said.

“Meniscus lets you fill something to beyond its capacity,” Bardusco said. “And to a certain extent that’s representative of our music. It’s sure as hell more sound than three guys ought to be able to produce.”

Wright’s turn-ons include speaking French, perusing museums and attractive women. Turnoffs include fast food and “not being on tour.” Personal influences include Pink Floyd, The Police, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam and Van Halen.

Thanks to his sister, a Latina TV producer, Venezuelan-born Bardusco grew up listening to the popular music of the 1980s. He said he “squandered” most of his youth “skateboarding on the bumpy streets of Caracas and surfing on the northern coast of Venezuela.”

His musical talents began to shine playing drums for a metal band before he switched to guitar, which he said he quickly picked up and “instantly fell in love with.” Bardusco said his playing style is heavily influenced by that metal music he enjoyed as a youth and his Latin environment, and that it “is further distinguished” by the fact that he “plays both guitar and bass parts on his classical Spanish guitar thanks to some fancy pedal work.”

Turn-ons include cooking, snowboarding, fine tequila and being asked where the bass player is. Personal influences include Pink Floyd, Metallica, Pantera and Spanish guitar music.

Ostberg, whose adoptive parents encouraged his musical talents at a very young age, picked up the violin at age 4 and played Carnegie Hall before he even graduated high school. Although he is said to be somewhat modest off stage, he has an energetic stage presence, which sometimes earns him “big applause from audiences,” and has “been known to cause outbreaks of swooning among women in the crowd.”

After touring with The Tripping Billies he moved to Colorado from New York in 2005 and completed the Meniskus trio. As the youngest member Wright and Bardusco nicknamed him “Baby” which they find amusing now because Baby’s got a baby due in June of this year.

Ostberg’s turn-ons include bleu cheese, rear-entry ski boots and TGI Fridays. He dislikes ranch dressing, ESPN and dentistry. Personal influences are U2, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Rush and Tool.

With around 70 original songs, Meniskus celebrates its second full-length album, “Foreign Beyond,” which was released in May of last year. They are also gearing up to cut a couple new songs next month, including “The Partier,” which members say has become a favorite at lives shows.

This will be the first time the trio has played in the Fraser Valley.

“We’ve played at almost every other ski are in the state, so we’re excited to finally get the chance to rock it with Grand County,” Ostberg said.

“We just love to see people having a great time,” Wright said. “These shows should be cool because there will be a lot of people who’ve never seen the band before, and it’s always a great feeling to watch people getting blown away by the sound for the first time.”


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