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After four years on the scene, local favorite Dusty Sunshine says goodbye

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Dusty Sunshine, playing its final show September 12 at the Bunkhouse.
Jason Harris

“My heart is in a million pieces,” Heidi Guinn told me after she and the rest of Vegas band Dusty Sunshine played their final show after a four-year sisterhood this past Friday at the Bunkhouse.

Truthfully, this felt less like a goodbye show than a get-it-over-with show. Multiple members later expressed that Dusty had reached its natural conclusion and that it was time to move on, and watching them burn through eight songs in 30 minutes and tell the crowd to stay tuned for the rest of the night’s bands hardly felt like the send-off a group of this significance merited.

Then again, this was not the purposeful set Dusty turned heads with as the band prepared for last year’s North by Northeast Festival in Toronto. The breathtaking harmonies that made them so unique fell a little flat and lacked their signature force. They were not the tight, lock-stepped unit of the past.

Conflicting schedules and divergent interests were just too much. As Guinn put it, “a six-person democracy with strong personalities is hard to manage.” As for what’s next for the remaining original members, Chani Riiell and Summer Soll plan to take a break from music. Riiell wants a normal life. Soll told me she’s going to Sri Lanka to volunteer at an elephant orphanage (I don’t know if she was joking). Guinn is planning a solo album, and then might put together a new band. And Megan Wingerter will continue on with her other local bands.

At the end of the show, embraces and tears were shared by all members. But that isn’t the image that I find most striking. The postcard in my mind is of a gentleman in the front row, singing every word to every song, wearing his Neon Reverb T-shirt. There he was, saying goodbye to a band he clearly cared about, one that helped revitalize the local music scene, wearing a shirt of a now-defunct fest where he might have discovered them, in a venue that has washed away most of those memories. Downtown, the scene, it’s changing.

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