'Does This Look Infected?' 15-Year Anniversary Tour Hits Denver With a Birthday Bang

By: Nathan Sheppard

Denver was treated to a party this past Monday as we celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Sum 41’s iconic album Does This Look Infected? at The Ogden.

 Deryck Whibley of Sum 41.

Deryck Whibley of Sum 41.

The festivities were kicked off by Super Whatevr, who recently released their debut album Never Nothing, with their unique blend of sad topics with upbeat lyrics and melodies. This was the band’s third trip through Denver in the past few months and each time their show gets better and better, as was seen when people throughout the crowd were singing along to “Bloomfield” and “Someone Somewhere Somehow.” Their fun loving attitudes were infectious and a great way to get everyone excited for the night.

Seaway, who is arguably one of the best modern pop-punk bands today, followed Super Whatevr and absolutely smashed it. The band’s charismatic frontman Ryan Locke brought so much energy to the set as he jumped and danced all over the stage. Seaway had the whole crowd bouncing along with them to older song “Slam,” along with new tunes from their album Vacation like “London.” It was a great set to pump everyone up for the main event of the night, Sum 41.

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With confetti flying, Sum 41 started the set off with a bang and a slight pause to pick a couple of fans to watch the whole thing from the side stage. Frontman Deryck Whibley called it a birthday party for the fans, saying without their support none of this would have been possible. With it being a birthday party, he encouraged people can do “whatever you want,” and with that rule in place they did things a little differently than other anniversary shows and played a “setlist that they would have played back in 2003” and mixed all the DTLI songs up. The set included their hits “Over My Head,” “Still Waiting,” and “The Hell Song,” with a new song “Fake My Own Death” (inspired by a demo tape from DTLI). The show finished off with a three-song encore ending with their breakthough song “Fat Lip” for a fitting way to end this birthday bash.

 The crowd. 

The crowd. 

It’s pretty crazy to think that one of the essential albums that many pop-punk fans grew up listening to is 15-years-old today! Sum 41 gave us a night to remember and a night to relive the glory days of 90s and 2000s pop-punk. You can follow the remaining dates of the Does This Look Infected? tour and keep up with Sum 41 here.

See all the photos from this show in our gallery.

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Elder Grown Release First Record In Seven Years & With It, They've Found Home

By: Julia Talen

The Durango-based band Elder Grown released their sophomore album last month, and though the band's been playing music for a little over 10 years now, they haven't released a record since 2011 (Fire on the Way). Sam Kelly, the band's saxophonist gave insight into why the group decided to self-title this record: "[it] well represents the band because the group… blends so many different genres throughout a set and can kind of sound like a mixtape… this felt like the best representation [of us as a band]."

 Elder Grown.

Elder Grown.

The record certainly showcases a range of talent and skill with a bit of a mixtape vibe. The tunes are explorative organically, highlighting the group’s knack to dig into different genres, yet because Elder Grown has a "jam band" improvisational quality to their compositions, the movement between each genre, whether it's funk, jazz, reggae, or hip hop, flows and works.

The motif nature, a connection to Colorado's landscape, runs throughout the record. The first track, "Feel you in the Sun," brings listeners into the album slowly, like a sun peaking onto the Front Range. The instrumentals including the soft percussion and whiny saxophone linger and wander before the band begins to sing lyrics, "Home lies in this dirt, in this earth/Hope lies in your hands, always now, in your hands." The group's vocal harmonies are rich and layered, similarly to their instrumentals, as the track traverses jazz and rock genres over the course of seven minutes, ending full circle on the same notes that it opened with.

The next track, "I Like You," is a more upbeat switch from the opener. The tune has a lo-fi feel with hazy vocals. The funky sax and bass carry through this short track, and the song has an energy to it similar to the adrenaline rush of having a crush that the lyrics allude to, with twists and turns that reflect the ups and downs of human emotion.

The third track "Dreamin'’" showcases another side of Elder Grown: hip-hop. It opens up with a bit of a disco feel but dives into hip-hop with facets of the track and a reminiscence to Jurassic 5. Once again the sax brings a bit of a funky edge to the tune as the lyrics tell a story we can all relate to of a relationship that has ended, but both parties "dream" of what it would be like to go back to the good times.

As the album continues on, the tracks continue to survey the skillful variability this group's tapped into. "Animal" reminded me of Portugal the Man (another very versatile band), "Rolling Thunder" has an Eastern European feel to it with rootsy instrumentals, and "Never Stop Dancing" has a catchy electro-pop ambiance.

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"Made or Ate the Bread," another longer track, was one of my favorites. Lyrically the tune is poetic: "Be mindful how you made or ate the bread/Remember you don't always catch the fish you’re fed/With this in mind I give my thanks and I get my rest." The tune picks up with a groovy beat and more reggae vibes before cascading into a dreamy and wandering interlude juxtaposing the upbeat pieces of the song and holding a mirror up to one of the albums themes: that though you may wander or stray, you always come home to yourself.

Elder Grown has come home to themselves with this album. The sax carries through their tracks, as do the themes of relationships, human complexities, and nature allowing them to seamlessly and organically survey all sorts of musical genres that represent the band's musicality. There's a fearlessness embedded in the tracks. Elder Grown goes for it because they've come home to themselves in this self-titled record.

Check them out this weekend Saturday, May 26th at Denver Day of Rock at the Welton Street Stage.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Compass & Cavern Release New Music Video For "Before it Begins" ...In Reverse

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based pop/rock duo Compass & Cavern have been working hard on bringing you quality media since 2015, and their newly released video for “Before it Begins” doesn’t disappoint!

At first you may be thinking this video isn’t anything groundbreaking. I mean, sure the song is cool, but they’re just kind of singing and playing instruments. But then maybe it’ll dawn on you as it did for me, the ENTIRE video is put together in reverse and then reversed again to play forward! And then I really started looking closely: Is frontman Will Timbers playing that solo accurately backwards? Is synthesist Chris Frucci also playing the correct keys in reverse? It seems like it!

Though yes, this technique isn’t their original concept, you have to give them some big props for putting together such a well rehearsed production that most bands wouldn’t spend a quarter of the time on. And it’s especially cool when considering the real-time actions they have in the background of different scenes, like Chris spray painting walls while Will is singing and playing. Moments like these give you the unmistakable knowledge that the band didn’t edit the crap out of their footage to make these things work.

 Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

Compass & Caverns. Photo Credit: Jason Neal Menon

“Before it Begins” is the title track from Compass & Cavern’s 2017 full length release. As with a decent amount of their music, C&C show a definite influence from other hip-hop-meets-pop-rock acts with nods to bands like 311, Twenty One Pilots, and Fall Out Boy.

The band has a good amount of performances booked for the rest of the month and into June, so check out their dates here and try to make it out to one of their upcoming shows!

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

KABOO Announces Stellar Lineup For Music Festival Under the San Diego Sun

 KABOO. 

KABOO. 

While most music festivals reward those with extensive knowledge of alternative artists, KABOO Del Mar gears toward those who listen to artists commonly heard on the radio, and their 2018 lineup certainly does not disappoint. Held at the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds in San Diego on September 14th-16th, the festival hosts multiple forms of art with a star studded music and food lineup.

Huge names in rock will grace the fest, including Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, and legendary Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant. Other artists performing include pop sensation Katy Perry, Jewel, Blondie, Cake, Jimmy Eat World, Robert Delong, and The Spencer Lee Band.

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The comedy portion looks just as appealing as the tunes this year. Craig Ferguson is the top billed gutbuster, along with Iliza Shlesinger, Nick Offerman, and Chris Hardwick. On top of that, featured chefs of the festival include Troy Johnson, a regular face on Food Network, and Dakota Weiss.

KABOO is certainly worth making the trip for even if you don’t reside in San Diego. With plenty of hotel options like L’Auberge Del Mar and Doubletree Del Mar, there should be nothing stopping you if you want to see some of music’s top performers of current and late. Get your tickets here if you want in on the fun!

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Splash House Returns To Palm Springs For A Sixth Year of Pool Parties

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This June and August, Splash House festival returns to Palm Springs, CA for its sixth year of EDM-fueled pool parties and concerts. So far, the lineup has been announced for the first weekend, June 8th-10th, and it includes all-stars like Duke Dumont, Blacklizt (Zhu), and What So Not.

What is so unique about Splash House is that it takes place in three different hotel resorts in Palm Springs: The Renaissance, The Riviera, and The Saguaro, all of which are equipped with pools that the DJ’s play near. It’s the fun of Las Vegas day parties, just with a bit more laidback California attitude. Following the pool parties, there are late night shows at the Air Museum, an incredibly unique venue which has helicopters and airplanes scattered around its grounds. Playing the after-hours shows so far this year are Nora En Pure, Autograf, and SNBRN, among others.

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If you can make it out to Palm Springs, the rest of the festival is surprisingly affordable, with a number of different hotel and ticket packages. Currently a general admission ticket goes for $135. Although June hotel packages are sold-out, there are still a select few tickets available for the August 10th-12th event. These packages start at $700 and include two tickets and a two person hotel room for three nights.

Make sure you bring your favorite pool floaties and dress in your brightest colored clothes for this one! Splash House definitely plays on the colorful design of the hotels in aesthetic and sound. You can even check out The Saguaro in Neon Trees’ music video for “Feel Good.” Buy tickets here for the June event and here for August before it’s too late! We can’t wait to cannonball with you into great music!

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Why Rainbow Kitten Surprise Is Slowly Taking Over the Rock Realm

By: Benjamin Tillis

In March 2017, Rainbow Kitten Surprise performed in front of 500 people at Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. Just over a year later, in May of 2018, the alternative folk rock band headlined one of two sold out shows at Hollywood’s Fonda Theater, a venue that seats 1,200. Needless to say, RKS’ rise to fame has been quick, and based on their electric performance and quality new album, it is likely they will soon be a well-known name to most rock music fans.

On April 6th, Rainbow Kitten Surprise released their third studio album How to: Friend, Love, Freefall, a space-themed, 36-minute record that expands on RKS’ raw sound and witty lyrics. The biggest development from previous albums was lead singer Sam Melo’s addition of rap verses as heard in songs like “When It Lands.” RKS primarily performed songs from their new release, but still stayed true to old fans by playing classics like “Devil Like Me” and “Seven.”

 Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Photo Credit: Emily Quirk 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Photo Credit: Emily Quirk 

What was most exciting about the band’s recent Fonda performance was each member’s energy throughout the show. Melo, a trained dancer, never stopped twirling around stage, bouncing from front and center upstage to playing the piano across stage, often multiple times in one song. He seemed to be acting out each of his theatrically written lyrics with every dance move and hand gesticulation. Lead guitarist and backup vocalist Darrick “Bozzy” Keller didn’t refrain from showing his energy either. He rocked back in forth to the music and did not hold back when he briefly took the role of lead singer for parts of their song “Recktify.”

The performance of the night had to be on “Hide,” which is arguably the best received single from the new album. Written by Melo about recently his personal journey of coming out as gay, the song touches on finding and accepting love, and the track was released with a powerful music video which follows drag queens in the rural south who revealing their identities to their family in the video. Fans have been quick to claim this as their favorite new song, and all were pleased, but not surprised, when RKS started playing "Hide" track near the closing of their set.

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After announcing the band had two more songs, RKS went ahead and delivered three tracks before coming out for a five-song encore that finished with a head-banging “Run.” The crew blew the fans away throughout their entire set, and there is no telling what size venue they will play on their next Los Angeles run. But something tells us it’s going to be big. Bowl show anyone? Fingers crossed for RKS' rock takeover. 

-Benjamin

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Rumours Follow Set to Release New Wave Single "Mr. Miserable" This Week

By: Norman Hittle

Denver based new wave act Rumours Follow have been steadily gaining momentum in the Colorado scene since winning Denver alternative radio channel 93.3’s Big Gig in 2014. Nearly four years later- not to mention four years stronger- the band are set to release their new single “Mr. Miserable" later this month with a show at Lost Lake Lounge. 

 Rumours Follow.

Rumours Follow.

To say the least, the track is an exciting blast from the past, fortified with the tech of modern electronic music. It’s easy to call it new wave and synth pop on the surface, but there’s a lot more going on than can be gleaned on a first listen, such as the band’s nods to 80s greats like Prince and Duran Duran.

Rumours Follow successfully fuse elements of jazz, funk, synthpop, and alt-rock together, while maintaining a high-fidelity production value that definitely couldn’t be heard in the 80s when their brand of music inspiration was in its heyday. Yet regardless of era, this band is making 2018 a staple in their career. Just earlier this year, the band released their single “Spitting Rain."

In accordance with continuing to be noticed, Rumours Follow will be officially releasing their single for “Mr. Miserable” with a debut release show at Lost Lake Lounge Saturday, May 19th. Event details and tickets here.

Keep up with Rumours Follow on Facebook.

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Modest Mouse Gave Us All a Mother's Day Present at Sold-Out Red Rocks Show

By: Nathan Sheppard

For a day filled with Mother's Day events, Modest Mouse put an extra cherry on top of a great Sunday with an epic performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

 Modest Mouse. 

Modest Mouse. 

With a few sprinkles of rain here and there, Portland natives Mimicking Birds started off the festivities with a very mellow set. It's not easy to be an opener for such a popular band at a place like Red Rocks but they did a solid job. That being said, it didn't seem like many people knew who they were but it’s definitely worth looking them up if you are into the spacey jam band sound.

With people still streaming into the sold-out show as they started their set, Modest Mouse took the stage and played some throwback tunes “3rd Planet” and “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” to get everyone moving and grooving. The band who started out as just a trio over 25 years ago has now grown into an eight-piece supergroup which includes violin, horns, and a few keyboards. Their ability to evolve shows they know how to keep the entertainment going strong by adding all of these different elements to their music, and it showed even more when 10,000 plus people were singing along to their songs. The mix of old favorites like “Float On” and new songs from their latest records filled the 15-song set and was followed with a marathon encore of six songs!  The house lights turned on but people still wanted more and they got what they asked for: a SECOND encore! The guys played another four tracks for everyone and topped off the set with “The Tortoise and the Tourist” from their last album Strangers to Ourselves.

You can follow Modest Mouse and see their upcoming shows here.

See more photos from this event in our gallery. 

-Nathan

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Daphne Willis Is Bringing the Freak to Boulder's e-Town Hall This Week

By: Julia Talen

To classify Daphne Willis as one type of musical artist is a difficult feat. She’s been immersed in the music scene for over ten years, having released several records, her most recent being 'Freaks Like Me.' On it you’ll find gorgeous ballads like “Somebody’s Someone” mixed with pop dance tunes like “Out of the Black” and “Just a Little Bit.” Her music gives listeners a glimpse into Willis’ personal experiences which she’s honest and open about.

 Daphne Willis. 

Daphne Willis. 

Her latest single, “Do It Like This” (which includes a sweet music video shot on the Queensboro Bridge in NYC featuring dancer Shereen Jenkins), is the perfect upbeat track to blast and sing to in your car with your windows rolled down this summer. Not only that, but she’ll be in Boulder Friday, May 18th bring her vibrant spunk and rich voice to e-Town Hall. We spoke with Willis to hear more about the evolution of her multifaceted musical career and what to expect at her upcoming show.

When did you start playing music and how has your career evolved?

Sure. Well I grew up in a musical family. Both my parents went to UT Austin; my mom was a vocal major and my dad was an engineering major so I grew up singing in a musical family. We always used to listen to music and sing. My parents had me taking piano lessons when I was little. I did that for a while. Played a little bit of saxophone. And then I ended up getting really into poetry when I was in sixth grade. I learned how to play the guitar when I was in high school. I originally started playing cover songs, and once I kind of got more comfortable with the guitar I started writing my own songs.

And then did you study music in college?

No, I’m completely self-taught. I started writing songs in school, and then I went to DePaul University -I’m from Chicago originally- and I started playing out at open mics in the blues clubs and stuff like that. I had written a handful of songs and got a band together and we would play the bars in Chicago, and then we started touring around in the Midwest.

I had this little acoustic EP I had made, and I submitted it to some sub-licensing companies, like you know when you’re in P.F. Changs and you hear music playing? I had my song playing in a catalogue like that. And it was playing on American Airlines flights. The president of this record label was on the flight, and his iPod died, so he plugged his headphones into the armrest and my song was playing. It was crazy. I was eighteen/nineteen at the time and they flew me out to L.A. and the whole thing. The A&R guy that actually signed me, he’s based in Nashville so he was having me go to Nashville for co-writing and to work on the record that I was going to do with them.

So basically I signed a deal and dropped out of school. I took the opportunity and started doing co-writing in Nashville. I did a couple of records with Vanguard Records and then left the label. Now I’m independent as an artist, but I’ve signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV so I’m now a song writer. I write pop music for Sony ATV, and I’ve been with them for three years.

Cool. Speaking of songwriting, what does your process look like?

Well, I write all the time. I write four to five songs a week, and I co-write a lot which is pretty standard in the music industry. A lot of my writing is done in New York, L.A., and Nashville. And I collaborate.

Sometimes we start with the melody. Sometimes with lyrics. Sometimes someone already has like a track made so we write to a track. I often kind of categorize the writing sessions. So if I’m writing for somebody else, it’ll go a little differently than if I’m writing for me. Or, you know I do a lot of film and T.V. writing so the film and T.V. writing is always a little different too.

It all kind of just depends. For me I try and draw inspiration from things I know. I like to write what I know, things from my friends and family’s experiences, kind of just what I see in the world and experience in the world.

That’s awesome. You have kind of a range of different sounds. You’ve got some dancey pop songs and more mellow ballads, like “Somebody’s Someone.” I’m curious, what are some of your musical influences?

I grew up with The Beatles and Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. And I grew up with a lot of jazz and blues influence being in Chicago. I also grew up with a lot of you know the R&B of the nineties- Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. And with all the hip-hop so I have kind of like a hip-hop influence too. I don’t know. It’s kind of all over the place, but it’s fun to be able to blend the genres by just weaving a message and theme throughout the music.

Nice. With your upcoming show at e-Town together, I have to ask. Have you and Dave Tamkin ever played together before, or how are you two connected?

Oh my gosh, it’s so fun because we go so far back! I’ve known Dave for ten years. He’s from Chicago too and we used to play the same clubs and were in the same circles in Chicago. Then we finally played a show and hung out and really hit it off. We stayed in touch though both of us moving away, and he’s just the best. He’s my homie.

That’s great. What should audiences expect at your Boulder show?

I like to talk about the song and give people a little bit of insight into my world and how I wrote it. I’m super open about my personal experiences, and the show is going to be heavily revolving around mental health. That’s the theme of the show. I’ve been in recovery for two years and have a lot of experiences, like pretty much everyone else on the planet with the mental health stuff. So I think it’s just gonna be a nice, open atmosphere. It’s going to be really fun.

Get your tickets to Daphne Willis and Dave Tamkin’s e-Town show here.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Making Movies' Music Powerfully Explores The Modern Day Immigrant Experience

By: Julia Talen

Latin-indie-rock band Making Movies serendipitously forged when singer/guitarist Enrique Chi played music at a “Day of the Dead” street festival in Kansas City. Upon hearing him play, Maria Charaund, the leader of a folkloric Mexican dance group for children, encouraged Chi to play at her restaurant up the street and to meet her sons. Turns out Maria just so happened to be the mother of Juan Carlos and Andres Chaurand (now Making Movies’ percussionists).

Chi connected with Juan Carlos, who’d grown up playing Latin and salsa music and dancing to Mexican folklorico. Chi shared all along that his musical vision was “always to grab those Caribbean rhythms, those Latino rhythms, and re-link them to rock’n’roll. At the time I didn’t know how linked they already were to rock’n’roll. I just had like this gut instinct that they were. And once we started playing with Juan it was just like it instantly it all made sense.”

 Making Movies.

Making Movies.

The bilingual band evolved into a group of four; two sets of brothers: Enrique and Diego Chi alongside Juan Carlo and Andres Charand. Their Latin cultural backgrounds pulse through their music, charging their songs with important messages and themes critically relevant to the country’s current political climate. We spoke more with Enrique Chi about the band’s cultural background, ideology, and their upcoming show May 14th at e-Town Hall in Boulder.

You spoke a bit about the band members familial roots in the music. I’m also wondering, were there any sort of influences from Kansas and growing up in the Midwest that have shaped your music?

I have a lot of thoughts on this. I feel lucky as an artist to be so introspective all the time, because I’m always forced to answer those sort of questions you know, ‘How did you get here?’ and it’s good for humans in general. On one hand, you have Juan Carlos and Andres who have Mexican-American roots, and you have the disconnect from Mexico, which inspires you to get more folkloric. It was something that happened with me too. Like their mother started that dance group in order to keep their roots.

One thing about being in the Midwest, when you feel so disconnected from people that are like you, you can find small pockets, but you’re always the small minority. So you cherish the things about your cultural identity at a heightened level. I think a lot of people try to like shed their parents’ culture, like, “Ah my parents, they were like this or that. I’m different.” But when you’re an immigrant from an immigrant family those things about the old versions of your culture, they become super, like you romanticize them. And so everybody in the band loves old, old Latino music. We don’t really listen to contemporary Latino artists very much. We listen to the classic stuff that we remember hearing at our grandparents’ house or grandmother’s house or with our mothers or whatever because of that longing. Because it brings us back home. So that’s one weird influence.

The other thing is that by being in the Midwest, in Kansas City specifically, Kansas City has a vibrant jazz scene. And it has come back up in the last few years. There’s a ton of history there. Like Charlie Parker is from there. And I think the first time I saw Juan Carlos perform I didn’t even know him but he was playing at the jazz museum in a Latin jazz band of sorts. Because the Latino bands, like salsa bands, almost have to play in the jazz environments. Juan Carlos has that… so the improvisational components and those things have kind of stuck with us.

And then Kansas City doesn’t have a really successful music scene. When I was growing up there was like one band that had broken through, that I knew of. It was the Get Up Kids. But outside of that there was hardly anything. And their path was the same path. The scene was all about you rent a van and you play basements or punk-rock venues or you play art spaces. There’s no other tools to a musical career. Which is not totally true, but it is kind of true because in Kansas City, their network runs out pretty quickly if you’re trying to build a real national or international career. So you kind of have to leave one way or another. And if you’re a broke artist you have to buy a crappy van and do whatever you have to do to be playing in New York or Chicago or L.A. and be building connections and experiences. So that thing really stuck with us.

Growing up, I looked up to this band called Shiner. And Shiner’s like this really angular rock’n’roll band. But they became fairly successful through that kind of path. Sometimes the guitarist can be kind of dissonant and angular and that actually comes from the Kansas City indie rock scene or punk rock scene.

Whatever the underground scene may be [that angularity is] almost a necessity. Because you’re playing oftentimes when you’re touring like that with no resources for people that didn’t want to see you. They’re just randomly at the bar, or they’re there because the other band is a local band and they’re not that good but they have friends and the friends came. You’re friends are there because it’s a night out. And you’re the opener and you’ve just drove like seven hours for your one shot in Indianapolis. And you’re gonna make it you know? And you’re opening up to these people and they’re not really there to see you so you almost have to be noisy. You almost have to like yell at them. Like, ‘Hey hey hey! Pay attention over here!’ And it’s almost a gimmick to attract attention and be like, ‘Okay so now that I have your attention, here’s the music we make.’ And so there’s some of that in the Kansas City scene and I think that we have a little bit of that… a little angular.

I’ve seen the photograph of you guys with “DACA” written in permanent marker on your skin, and I’m curious, has the band’s message or political stance shifted since the election?

It’s shifted. It’s kind of both you know. We made the first record about an immigrant neighborhood and the kids who grew up disenfranchised. And even before we made that record we’d put out a video about undocumented kids. ‘Cause I remember, to bring it all full circle, that day I met Juan Carlos and his mother, I also asked this guy who looked like he was in charge, I was like, “Hey this is really cool. A lot of young people they’ve made stuff and they’re selling it. And he was like, “Yeah we have an after-school program for kids in the neighborhood,” and so I was like, “Oh I’d love to volunteer and we can give some guitar lessons.”

And I resonated with, like, I can tell when a kid just moved here from another country. Like I remember that feeling of feeling a little disconnected… And so I’ve been writing about those experiences- about how these kids when they become aware of the fact that they’re not suppose to be here. They’re “illegal” or whatever the words are and how much that shifts their psychology, and so I would write about it because it was on the top of my head. And I remember we used to say, “Oh you know we’re not a political band, we just write about social topics. We write about what we’ve seen and what we’ve lived.”

We already had for four years put up the “We are all immigrants” flag at shows because to me that’s like the story of all music… how do you make any kind of music? It is a mix of all these people’s culture… without human migration nothing is anything. Everything comes from this beautiful mix of what people do. And so you can take pride in your own heritage, but you should do that with this education that human beings have been moving and mixing cultures and language since the dawn of time. We’re just some small part of that huge conversation.

And then we had this opportunity at the Folk Alliance Conference [in February 2017]. We did a musical piece right before the keynote speech by Billy Bragg. A lot of things he said in the speech that day really resonated with me and he told me, ”You know it’s your turn now. Pete Seeger once told me it was my turn now, [that he couldn’t] write songs for your people, your generation… [And] just like that it’s your turn now,” and he looked at me and pointed at me.

After hearing Billy Bragg, I was like, you know, we can be political because the reality is that when you pull out an ideology like that, like a crazy idea like, “All humans should have the same rights as you and I have” and you pull that out of an ideological discussion and you try to implement it into the world in any capacity,  it becomes political. I can’t just say, “Hey these kids who are undocumented, we need to do something” and pretend that that’s not a political decision that needs to be had. For me it’s my life. I know this kid. He is undocumented, and I wish he could go to college and he doesn’t have any other options. He grew up here. But to solve that very human personal problem, it’s a policy, and we don’t claim to know the political answers, you know, but we can raise awareness and ask people to engage. I think if people really look inside themselves they know the answers. Even people who are judgemental, you know, if they meet someone from a different culture and then build a bond that opens their minds, they’re like, “Oh shit maybe I was looking at this all wrong.”

 Making Movies at their NPR "tiny desk" performance. photo courtesy npr. 

Making Movies at their NPR "tiny desk" performance. photo courtesy npr. 

And what about the name of the band, Making Movies? How did that come to be?

My dad loved rock’n’roll. He was almost like an outcast in small town Panama, small town Central America, and he would dig for rock’n’roll records. So during my childhood musical experience, I was always going through his vinyls and he really loved Dire Straits. And I loved them as a kid too. I would sing their music. Even before I spoke English, I would sing this song called “The Walk of Life.” And one of their albums is called Making Movies.That’s where I lifted it from. I always thought that’s a cool meaning you know. I loved that music before I knew the language. And so I loved it for the other languages that music carries. And here I’m in a bilingual band. It kind of represents that fearlessness of you know- our music can communicate the story to them through some other mechanism. ‘Cause I still remember the feeling of being elated by that song and I didn’t know words. It just moved me.

Anything our readers should expect at your upcoming e-Town show on Monday, May 14th?

I would just say that the opening act, Alex Cuba, he’s from Canada and he’s like a legend. He has multiple Juno Awards and is really respected, but he hasn’t toured the U.S. very much. So it’ll be a real treat to have him with us, and he’s also won Latin Grammy Awards and stuff like that too, so definitely come out early and don’t miss Alex Cuba.

And be prepared to move a little bit! It’s kind of hard to be at a Making Movies show and not move your hips a little.

Get tickets for Making Movies e-Town show here.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

joemurray. Drops New "Greater Than I Am" Music Video

By: Julia Talen

At the end of April, Denver-based indie musician Joe Murray (stylized as joemurray.) released his latest single, “Greater Than I Am” with a music video composed of visual representations reflective of the song’s intent and lyrics. “Greater Than I Am” speaks to the very human experience of wanting to be something “great than” you are in the current moment while grappling with the long journey it takes to get there.

The video opens with a bird’s eye view of cars moving through a circle drive, as well as opening credits that introduce the strong accompanying font that will run throughout the video with the lyrics. As Murray begins singing the lyrics, “I can’t breathe when I’m underwater/But I can see all the way to Mars,” each syllable of a word pops onto a black background in bold white font. The syllables don’t come on the screen in the same places, or even in left-to-right linear order, and your eyes can’t seem settle on one focal point when you’re watching. This visual element to the video emphasizes the theme of taking a spiralized pathway toward your goals, rather than something straight forward. Additionally, because the words to the song are segmented on the screen, the step-by-step process of building and reaching one’s goal is further showcased.

As the tune moves toward the refrain, the backdrop changes to a tape of fireworks lighting up the night’s sky within a frame of water moving over rocks and swimming fish. Murray’s careful to put the fireworks video inside the frame because the end goal (or to the “moon” as Murray references lyrically) is enveloped in experiences of feeling stuck (“underwater”) and moving through those emotions.

As the track progresses, and our eyes search the screen for the next syllable of a lyric, images- like a pathway up a mountain, a band playing for an audience, the carp swimming, a train passing, a bird- become layers of one another, mixing and meshing, like the instances that bring us to our achievements.

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It’s no doubt that Murray’s music video has been intentionally crafted to accentuate the meaning of his new single. Viewers don’t miss a beat trying to understand where Murray is coming from. If fact they’ll relate to the human experience of moving through life, wanting something more, but having to be patient and work a little bit each day to get to where they want to be.

-Julia

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

 

Gasoline Lollipops Gear Up For a New Beginning In Lieu of a Departure

By: Brody Coronelli

Drummer Adam Perry reflects on his decision to leave the band, and what’s on the horizon.

The Gasoline Lollipops have been a fixture in Colorado music for over six years. What began as a bar band became a group that can sell out the Fox Theater, open Red Rocks, get on the bill of some of the state’s most popular festivals, and have their name recognized all across the state. This meteoric rise wasn’t a passive one, though.

 GasPops. Photo Credit:   George L. Blosser

GasPops. Photo Credit: George L. Blosser

Clay Rose’s songwriting was always too immense for the bars and breweries that gave the band their break, so their rise was always imminent. However, those who follow the band closely will notice that their rise to popularity happened right around the time their drummer Adam Perry joined back in 2016. The two met in a music class at Naropa University and became fast friends, which eventually led to Perry stepping behind the kit.

“I agreed to play some shows with the band until they found someone else. But in the middle of one of those shows, I had a moment where I realized, ‘Why would I not do this?’ So, it kind of took off, and we started playing all the time,” Perry says. “I did what I always do when I play in a band: I think about how it could grow, and how we could be on the radio. It was a bar band at the time, but the music [was much more than that]. Clay is an incredible songwriter, and it shouldn’t [have stayed] at [that] level. I started booking shows, contacting press, and getting us on the radio.”

Perry’s skills at working with press, booking, and promoting the band was the driving factor behind the band’s acceleration over the last two years. He helped turn a bar band with a performance that far outweighed their counterparts into a household name throughout the Front Range.

“Adam pushed us to a level where we were getting statewide recognition, and a lot of people knew our name. Booking agents started talking to us, but we weren’t really chomping on the bait, because as long as Adam was with us, we didn’t really need one,” says Clay Rose, the band’s frontman.

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Two years later, Perry has decided to leave the band. Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, focus more on work, and generally have less on his plate, his departure is completely amicable.

“Beyond music, Adam has been our manager. He’s built the railroads that we’ve been travelling on,” Rose says.

The amount of responsibility Perry took on- serving as the band’s drummer while also behind the wheel of all the bells and whistles it takes to keep a band relevant and in the public eye- was a lot, and what ultimately motivated his decision to leave the band.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to build railroads while you’re also on the train,” he says.

In addition to his duties with the band, Perry works at a law firm in Boulder, has an eight-year-old daughter, writes for Westword, and is an avid cyclist.

“I’m really embracing those things right now. It’s a great way to feel calm and still,” he says.

While the band has cultivated new friendships, connections, and a list of accomplishments that many musicians are never able to cross off their list, this sense of calm and stillness is something that’s often missing in his life.

“When we were on tour in Europe [in 2017], I was having a bit of a nervous breakdown. I realized that I can’t do this and everything in my life well if I’m putting it all into the band. But it’s nice that it’s an amicable split this time around,” he said, alluding to the musical fallouts he’s seen multiple times throughout his career.

 Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Perry has been playing in bands since he was 16. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, music has been at the center of his life since the beginning, and as he’s gotten older, it’s remained important, but he’s ready to re-center and set his sights elsewhere.

“My only education in music was through punk rock in high school, so my form of drumming is very primitive and loud. I was playing in clubs and bars when I was 16, and it was just about how fast and hard you could play,” he says.

His background in punk-rock shines through loud and clear. His presence on the songs is pummelling and thunderous, giving the band a density that most alt-country and rock acts have a hard time capturing.

Perry’s other notable project in Colorado was The Yawpers, a band he helped form in the aughts. After his time with that band came to an end, his plan was to turn his back on playing music entirely. But meeting Rose and stumbling upon the magic of the Gasoline Lollipops changed his mind.

“I left The Yawpers in 2012 and told myself I’d never do the band thing again.” he says.

Perry’s decision to leave the Gasoline Lollipops comes six months after the band released Soul Mine, their fourth album. The record came from a band with a long history, but it carries the pent up energy and polishing of their raucous, gritty, and often sweeping blend of alt-country and rock‘n’roll that renders it more similar to a crashing, bombastic debut than an album from a band with steady footing.

 Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

“I didn’t know how to push a band [before Adam joined]. You have to have an interesting story or a project to pitch to press, and he showed me how to do that and lit a fire under me as far as making [Soul Mine]”, Rose says.

Perry speaks of Rose with similar fondness of his role in the band, and the opportunities he’s granted them.

“With Clay, there isn’t a wall between him and his songs. Every other band I’ve been in, what the singer/songwriter is writing aims to portray something. I don’t think Clay could do that if he tried,” he says.

Perry’s last show with the band is their headlining show at The Bluebird on May 18th. With support from RL Cole & The Hell You Say and Grayson County Burn Ban, the night will be a celebration of where the Gasoline Lollipops have been, and where they’re headed from here on out.

Rose wants to dedicate his time to other projects at the moment as well, so it could be a year or two before we get another GasPops album, but until then, the band is just as alive as ever. They recently opened for The Tallest Man On Earth at Bluebird Music Festival, and they’re on the bill to play Grandoozy this September, sharing the stage with Kendrick Lamar, Sturgill Simpson, and St. Vincent, among other high profile acts. This is where the band was headed from the beginning, and they couldn’t have done it without Perry.

“Eventually, we might’ve reached the point we’re at now, but without Adam, it would’ve taken a really long time. This is where I always wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get here,” Rose says.

There’s a lot on the horizon for The Gasoline Lollipops in wake of Perry leaving. Whatever it ends up being, Rose assured me that it’ll take on a new sound.

“[Our new music is] going to sound a lot different. I’ve always had a definite direction where [my music] is heading, but I never see it until the last minute. It’ll definitely be more psychedelic and dreamy,” he says.

Here’s to a new beginning for the band, in lieu of a departure. Get tickets for GasPops Bluebird show here.

-Brody

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Rain In July Are Keeping Pop Punk Out of the Dark

By: Brody Coronelli

Pop punk is at an interesting junction. With many prominent bands in the scene pushing past the genre’s boundaries in favor of a different sound, the Vans Warped Tour heading out for its last run this summer, and incrimiating allegations towards certain figureheads in the scene, Man Overboard’s “Defend Pop-Punk” shirts are needed now more than ever. This isn’t to say that it’s completely gone dark; Colorado’s own Rain In July are keeping pop punk alive and pulling no punches in the process.

 Rain In July. Photo Credit:   Liv Thrush

Rain In July. Photo Credit: Liv Thrush

The band played a headlining show at the Marquis Theater in Denver last weekend, still fresh off the release of their 2017 debut EP Trying To Breathe. With support from the hard-hitting 1000 Miles of Fire and the pop-sensible, harmony-laden hooks of Silver & Gold, the night brought me back to pop-punk shows I used to go to as a teenager, maintaining all the heartfelt and fun energy that made growing up in the scene feel so special.

Silver & Gold kicked off the night, with their slick vocal harmonies adding a hooky brightness to their diverse sound that falls somewhere between pop-punk and indie-rock. 1000 Miles of Fire took things up a notch with their unmistakable energy and hardcore-influenced sound, which struck a balance between aggressive and melodic.

 Photo Credit:   Liv Thrush

Photo Credit: Liv Thrush

Rain In July played most of their debut EP, along with “Beachside,” a new song, and some covers of classic pop-punk staples. Standout songs from their EP like the bombastic “Knockout” and effortlessly nostalgic “Last September” were immediately met with cheers and a room full of people that knew all the words. In addition to their originals, the band’s version of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ infectious classic “Facedown” also lit up the room. Despite being a 12- year-old song, the whole crowd sang in unison to it’s memorable hooks.

The band’s energy onstage was contagious, as frontman Griffin Tobey darted around onstage and passionately beckoned to the crowd with a seemingly endless amount of energy. Their two guitar players Yuta Young and Reilly Ng both maintained a commanding yet melodic sound, while Ethan Knight’s tasteful yet thundering drumming held it all together.

Through their balance of strongly written and performed originals and well-placed covers, Rain In July showcased what they do best: they make you appreciate the inherent nostalgia of pop-punk, while also making it feel fresh and new.

-Brody

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners are still TBA but tickets last year were only $5-$10 so you could invest soon without buyer’s remorse later. The fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne- get more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and more TBA, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. Local artists should be announced soon. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. We’re excited to see what they do with it, and though the lineup is TBA right now, we’ll bring you more info once it’s announced.

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights will announce their richly saturated Colorado lineup in mid-June, and BolderBeat will have that for you! Check back soon.

Local Jam GJ August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year with more TBA. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Glass Animals, Cold War Kids, Vince Staples, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have already been announced for this year’s fest; more to come. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Where Legends Are Created Right Before Your Ears

By: Cy Fontenot

Every year festival-goers and music lovers of all types make their way to the historic mountain town of Telluride to experience the annual tradition of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Surrounded on three sides by the rugged San Juan Mountains at 8750 feet in elevation, this festival seems to be the spawn of everything great about the Colorado bluegrass scene. This year, the fest takes place June 21st-24th.

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With various workshops and collaboration amongst artists happening all four days of the festival, there are many opportunities to meet and discover your new favorite bluegrass artists. Bands such as the Dixie Chicks, Greensky Bluegrass, The Lil Smokies, and Trout Steak Revival have all gained well-deserved success and notoriety by winning the Telluride Band Contest. This is a festival where legends in the genre are born.

This year’s lineup, including Sturgill Simpson, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck, and many more phenomenal acts, is bound to be one to remember! It’s the festival’s 45th annual year running, and outside of the main stages, keep an eye out for the weekend’s late night shows where you might just catch the next big bluegrass rising star.

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Staying the whole weekend to catch every show possible? Camping in Telluride is nothing short of breathtaking. There are several campgrounds within walking or shuttle distance of the festival so make your tent plans here.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival! Tickets and all other info can be found here!

-Cy

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Teen Group Eighty Percent Human Cut Their Teeth On Familiar Radio Rock Covers

By: Pete Laffin

In terms of raw talent and potential, new Boulder pop-rock outfit Eighty Percent Human can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the Front Range. Comprised of siblings Carly and Coby Mandell, Jed Alpert, and Ty Schwarzer, these kids (and by kids I mean kids- two of them aren’t in high school yet) have begun cutting their teeth on familiar radio rock covers, but with unfamiliar energy and candor. For now, this is their calling card: infusing what is “played out” to the older set with a vibrancy only the recently familiar can generate. At their most recent gig at Jamestown Mercantile, they managed to make “Smells Like Teen Spirit” smell fresh with singer/keyboard player Carly howling Cobain’s lyrics about teenage alienation with authority and authenticity. You can feel that these kids feel it. It’s damn cool.

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And here’s the fun part. Front man Coby can write an original rock song that sticks to the ribs at his ripe young age. His maiden voyage into the craft didn’t just succeed in a generic sense; it won the eTown “Handmade Songs” competition in 2017. Other original work I’ve been privileged to hear shows similar promise.

That’s the word that defines them now. Their raw talent nearly ensures that they will bud into something special. But into what exactly? Brother Mandell’s songwriting will determine that. For now, though, you won’t want to miss these kids should they come to a venue close by. The coolest part of the storm is its gathering. And that’s just what Eighty Percent Human is up to: kicking up dust and howling through the trees.

-Pete

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Jaden Carlson Band Releasing New Record With Release Party This Saturday (04/28)

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Jaden Carlson Band is set to release their latest album on May 4th, 2018 and it’s going to sound very different from their earlier work. Heavily leaning into the electro-funk jamscapes, JCB’s upcoming album Keep It Moving is chock full of electric guitar and synth shreds, with groovy bass and drums to smooth it out and literally keep you moving.  The album release party is set to take place at The Lazy Dog in Boulder this Saturday April 28th, so mark your calendar and come for a free show with high quality music and talent!

 JCB.

JCB.

Jaden Carlson, born and raised in Boulder, Colorado is known around the Boulder-Denver music scene as a young guitar prodigy who can really shred. Jaden’s undeniable wizardly guitar skills have gained her respect and a shining spotlight in the scene- and all of this before she was even a teenager! Today, at the age of seventeen, she is leading JCB into new heights while experimenting with hip-hop, synth-pop, and electro-funk jams. She has played a huge role in bringing Keep It Moving to fruition, from leading the band with vocals, guitar, and keys to producing the new record. The band has been raising money for their new album on PledgeMusic and they are 95% of the way to getting all or nothing on their campaign. You can help them with the homestretch by going to donate here.

And finally, for your listening pleasure and preview of what’s coming, here is a track titled “Outer Lands” off the upcoming album, exclusively shared with us for you to hear. The track features Adam Deitch (Lettuce; Break Science) on drums. Enjoy!

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Dragondeer Are Set To Be Colorado's Next Big Music Name

By: Meghan Hargaden

Dragondeer, a heavy blues American rock band from Denver, CO, is gathering quite a bit of esteem for their newest album, and first full length LP, If You Got The Blues. Sighted for their singularity and strangeness, this Denver band is doing something different, and has us all turning our heads and our hips.

They draw inspiration from all angles of the American sound including the soul and sincerity of the electric blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the modern-day dread of The Black Keys, a bit of pre-heavy metal influence from Black Sabbath, and the swamp rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival. These influences have helped Dragondeer claim a first-class seat on Jefferson’s airplane, as it takes off into the future of American rock music, and pays homage to all the artists that set the runway for this band to jet. The members of the band include Cole Rudy (electric guitar/lap steel/mandolin), Eric Halborg (lead vocals/harmonica/guitar), Carl Sorensen (drums), and Casey Sidwell (bass).

The album begins with the self-titled track, “If You Got the Blues,” setting the stage for the sincerity and soul that occurs throughout the journey of this production. A production, I might add, that couldn’t have happened without the help of accomplished producer Mark Howard, who has worked with legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, REM, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and Willie Nelson.

 Dragondeer.

Dragondeer.

The album saunters us in with the ethereal notes of Eric Halborg’s voice merging magically with the harmonica, as it soars over the chortling cuts of low-end accompaniment in this psychedelic Americana ballad. “Don’t Go” pleads the song’s opening line, and from the moment the words first burst forth from his lips, the pure longing in his voice lends credence to the name of this track, and the entire project. The discordant harmonies of the chorus resolve into a melancholic, distorted fuzz, leaving us reminiscent of dusty guitars plucked by the firelight, and amplified by the neon lens of modern reality. The second chorus cuts with a solemn breakdown, drifting off into the chasm of our isolation. Both the lyrics and the voicing of the instrumentation echo our worst fear of being truly alone; listening to these tunesmiths, it’s as if our entire psyche has been cloaked in an iridescent haze of the weirder parts of the 1970s. A bold and beautiful love song, this first track stands as a testament to Dragondeer’s songwriting, musicianship, and purity. The band describes the track as a personal manifesto, with inspiration drawn from the belief in a shared human experience and a desire to connect with others.

The next track, “Amarillo Bump,” begins with the sustained sounds of Rudy’s electric guitar, leaving us suspended in time only to be saved by Halborg’s harmonica once again. We are then escorted into the thumping and driving kick of Carl Sorensen’s drum beat, which becomes the outboard motor for the entire track, propelling us into the murky waters of the 1950s and out into the swampy southern rock of the 70s. Like a bunch of Scottish teenagers out for a boating holiday on Loch Ness dropping acid before hearing thumps at the bottom of the boat, the electric guitar and harmonica attempt musical cries for aid, calling until their voices grow raspy, realizing that there is no help coming. And so, we lay back and accept our fate, letting the bass tones and percussive rhythms of writhing tentacles and electronica bring us deeper and deeper into the darkness.

The album continues with Halborg’s raw vocals, rambling harmonica solos, and groovy instrumentation that fuse all together into a unique genre of country funk and American rock. Like taking a long swamp ride along the rolling waves of the Florida everglades, brought up and turned on by the slow, isolating tracks like “Believe,” “Easy With Me,” and “When I See You,” and then brought back down into slow, isolating tracks like “Same Train,” “Let it Ride,” and “Part of the Flow.” This vacillating progression, capturing the beautiful desperation of blues music.

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Alone, If You Got The Blues stands as a declaration of the band’s genius, but their live performance brings an entirely alternate layer of talent, captivating the audience with their impressive improvisation, harmonizing harmonica, heavy metal mandolin, lap steel played untraditionally through delays, and a ripping rhythm section that can’t keep us from getting down and dancing.

You can see Dragondeer perform their new album live at The Grandoozy Festival this summer in Denver, CO on September 14th. The band is stoked to be coming back to their hometown to perform alongside a variety of internationally renowned artists of all different genres.

Be sure to follow Dragondeer on Spotify and iTunes and keep a look out for all of their other upcoming shows in Atlanta, Telluride, and right here in their hometown of Denver. You can buy tickets for Grandoozy here!

-Meghan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Alex Dezen Strikes New Ground on ///

By: Brody Coronelli

Veteran songwriter formerly of The Damnwells takes influence from the ‘80s on his third album as a solo artist.

It’s been three years since The Damnwells— the Americana/rock band from New York City responsible for putting their frontman Alex Dezen in the spotlight—called it quits. Throughout their time, they released five studio albums and came within inches of major label success, but ultimately faded out. Since then, Dezen has been working diligently to build a solo career, and it fits him well. He’s evolved more as an artist over the last three years than he did in the 15 he spent making music with The Damnwells.

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Since 2015, Dezen has released three EPs, three self-titled solo albums, and a live album. It all started with the endearing, magnetic Bedhead EPs, and was followed with the stripped-down, memoir-esque I, the nostalgic and experimental II, the live album Alive in America, and now III. His solo material has managed to strike a strong balance between the personal and political, while also functioning as a tribute to the music that inspired him when he was young. III is no different in this regard, and it stands out as his most ambitious solo effort yet.

III (stylized as ///) is Dezen’s first solo album made in close creative proximity with his partner and collaborator, the actress/comedian Amber Bollinger. Bollinger’s backing vocals are at the center of these songs. Dezen’s third solo endeavor is a spacious, synth-driven romp through the vast, danceable, and hook-heavy songwriting of ‘80s rock. This influence is the most obvious on anthemic tracks like “Run Away From You,” a playful and shadowy duet that echoes emotional turmoil at every corner. The carnal and self-aware “Animal” moves at a similar velocity, utilizing bright synthesizers and slick, pop production. It’s one of the angriest songs Dezen has ever written, but it’s shining and infectious at the same time; two energies he’s able to bridge together masterfully. “From Your Knees” maintains the anger of “Animal,” and is also one of the most left-field yet memorable additions to III. With fuzzy, synth-heavy verses that drown his vocals in static, the song eventually makes a headfirst slide into a melodic chorus layered with vocal harmonies from Bollinger and a jagged guitar refrain.

 Alex Dezen.

Alex Dezen.

The pop side of the ‘80s comes through at its most irresistible on the bracing, political “The End of America.” The song is romantic and fatalistic all at once, with tongue-in-cheek lines like “I am not your judging jury/I am your Judge Judy,” all wrapped up by one of the most masterful and infectious hooks Dezen has ever written. “Let me be your jester today/We can blow the heavens away/We can drive to the end of America,” he sings, maintaining a sense of youthful sentimentality while also acknowledging that it’s all going down in flames.

Despite the glitz and experimental flash of many of the songs on III, Dezen doesn’t hold back from stripping things down. The lead single “When You Need Me”is a vibrant, ambitious love song that uses ethereal and spacious production to make a sweeping declaration of infatuation. It runs at over six minutes and is bound together by a simple, two-note piano lead that remains the same, but feels brighter and brighter as the song progresses. The album closes with “Cool Places,” a piano-clad duet that uses youthful, simple language to portray a vibrant romance. “I wanna go to cool places with you/I wanna take you cool places tonight/I wanna go where nobody’s a fool/And no one says ‘Hey girl, need a light?’” The song is unconcerned with any lyrical or instrumental frills, and distills love down to its most forthright.

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Alex Dezen is a veteran songwriter who has grown increasingly more comfortable with himself and his artistic range, and III is one of his finest works yet. In many ways, these solo albums he’s diligently spent the last three years working on have served as a deconstruction of Dezen’s history as a songwriter; they’ve taken apart the musical conventions he abided by for so long and made something new from the disassembled parts. These songs are a long way from the Americana-laced balladeering of The Damnwells, but they’re not any less successful at leaving a lasting impression.

Keep up with Alex here.

-Brody

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Hollywood Undead Bring Unique Rap-Rock Blend to the Fillmore This Week

By: Nathan Sheppard

Rap-rock group Hollywood Undead, best known for their debut album Swan Songs, will be hitting the Fillmore Auditorium this Wednesday, April 18th for a co-headlining show with In This Moment and support acts Ded and The Word Alive.

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The five-piece band from Los Angeles, known for their intricate mask designs, released their fifth studio album Five last October and are taking their new beats on the road this spring. You can anticipate a mix of their new material including “California Dreaming” but also some fan favorites like “Undead” from the guys. Hollywood Undead are known for their crazy live shows, so with the first stop of the tour being in Denver, expect the energy to be through the roof as both headliners put on an epic performance. You can check out the newest album here and tickets for the event can be found here.

Keep up with Hollywood Undead on Facebook

-Nathan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.