The band Atman Roots seems to attract natural disasters.
Its band members were beginning a tour when they got stuck in traffic caused by people fleeing Hurricane Katrina.
¤ Atman Roots
¤ 10 p.m. Saturday
¤ Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill
Two of the band members lost their homes in the hurricane and relocated to Steamboat Springs at the end of that tour.
"Where I grew up was destroyed," said Koan, guitarist for the band. "In some places, you go down the street and there are no houses. Both sides of the street are rubble."
"The whole city has changed," said Gabriel Velasco, Atman Roots' drummer. "You see a fridge on the side of the road, and that's natural."
The band describes New Orleans as now having 150-year-old mansions next to ghettos. The culture and character of the city is a melting pot of as many musical influences as each band member brings to the table -- jazz, Latin, funk and hip-hop.
Koan and Billy Franklin, a singer, started playing music in the first and second grades, respectively. "It's something we can't shake," Koan said.
"We're past doing just good music. What is that doing for the world?" Franklin said. "Music is the only thing besides politics that can get that much exposure."
Band members say they send a positive, simple message. "Be tolerant -- peace through action, not through talking," Franklin said. In their songs, they state obvious problems and offer solutions.
"Here's my thoughts, now let's fix it," Velasco said.
Each song has a theme that addresses religion, politics or a social issue. Some of the songs are sung in French and Spanish.
Franklin admits that Atman Roots is not the only band addressing these issues.
"I see these bands with the same message, and they are part of the same movement," he said.
In a few years, the music scene will be different, Franklin said, and so will Atman Roots' name. After this tour, the band will become EOE -- Equal Opportunity Employment.
The name change comes as the band solidifies its cast. "Only since the hurricane has the lineup solidified with the characters of the band," he said. "The name change reflects that."
Brandon Daniels, bassist, joined the band after answered an ad on Craig's List. He joined Atman Roots on tour before meeting its members.
Daniels describes their coming together as "the epitome of destiny."
It is this camaraderie that has allowed the band to persevere through the challenges it has faced.
When Daniels first joined the band, he got stranded on a plane, missed his shuttle, and the airline lost his luggage.
Band members have driven through blizzards and missed a show because a semi-truck jackknifed in front of them.
And that's not all they've faced.
"My house got hit by a tornado a couple of weeks ago," Daniels said.
"Disaster seems to follow us," Velasco said.
"But all the disastrous things lead us to something better than if we stayed on the previous path," Daniels said.