Kwolek's 'Masks' Was Recorded at the Women's March in Denver, in South Africa, & Everywhere in Between

By: Norman Hittle

Kwolek released his fourth solo LP Masks earlier this month. Take a gander at the link below to check it out:

Having formerly played guitar in Lima Research Society, Kwolek has since been focused on creating highly textured sonic art with nods to Arcade Fire and The Talking Heads. In actuality, his music is reminiscent of the movie Juno, with it’s highly indie rock and lo-fi vibes delivered in relentless torrents of high energy and borderline weirdness.

For Masks, it’s been a three-year endeavor for Kwolek to get all the meticulous layers of sound and texture just right, while spending his days recording and mixing in his Boulder, CO apartment. An impressive gem in the listed credits is all the field recordings included in his songs, as well as the locations. There’s everything from the Women’s March in Denver to Cape Town, South Africa and half a dozen in between.

On the few songs that follow a more somber and cinematic vibe, there’s a definite inspiration noticeable from bands such as The Dear Hunter, Radiohead, The Smiths, and hints of The Beatles’ White Album. Though, overall a bit less cohesive than any of those artists, Kwolek still managing to convey a true sense of self throughout each track.

Give Masks a list above and keep up with Kwolek and his music on his official website as well as on his Instagram.

-Norman

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

Why Rock'n'Roll Won at This Year's KAABOO Del Mar Festival

 KAABOO Del Mar. Photo per Alive Coverage.

KAABOO Del Mar. Photo per Alive Coverage.

This past weekend, KAABOO Del Mar Festival returned for its fourth year of bringing Southern California music fans together to celebrate and dance to musicians of all genres. Katy Perry brought the pop, Wiz Khalifa and Post Malone brought the hip hop, and Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power brought the funk. But even with these star-studded artists, it was evident that rock’n’roll stole the show this year to make the point that while your streaming service might disagree with us, rock’n’roll is alive and well.

Friday, the first day of the festival, Jimmy Eat World took the stage and set the precedent that although there were a handful of bands performing at the festival that haven’t seen a huge hit in the last decade or so, it does not mean they’re no longer making great music and giving one-of-a-kind live shows. Of course Jimmy Eat World stirred up plenty of energy in the crowd when they played classics like “Sweetness” and “The Middle,” but the group still received plenty of positive reception when they played their 2018 release “Love Never,” a song that seems to captivate everything people love about the band while still providing something new and never-before-heard.

Later on in the day, Calabasas, California band Incubus began their late afternoon set with zero apologies. Lead singer Brandon Boyd opened with arguably two of Incubus’ most rambunctious songs: “Anna Molly” and “Megalomaniac.” The energy stayed constant thereafter. For a group that has released only 40-minutes of new music in the past six years, it was surprising that the younger attendees of the festival were jumping and singing as if it was their favorite band growing up. It goes to show that these rock legends have created songs that remain memorable in the collective consciousness of American rock music.

 Foo Fighters. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Foo Fighters. Photo per Alive Coverage.

To close out Friday night, Nirvana-alum-turned-Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl embodied rock’n’roll throughout the band’s set. It wasn’t just the classics he was playing that proved his incredible reign as a rock lord- originals like “Learn To Fly” and covers like Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust” were heard- but the sheer confidence and appearance that he was hardly trying, yet epicly succeeding in firing the crowd up really amped things up. At one point, teasing at his legendary status, Grohl yelled to the crowd, “We have 35 minutes left to play 116 songs!” At another point in the band’s set, a train loudly passed by, distracting the band and fans. Seizing the moment, the band played a one minute blues-sounding song just for kicks. It was just another example that proved these performers are professionals, and are still as lively and fun as ever.

Saturday was another rock-filled festival day, and this time with more of a focus on rock that is currently popular. Early in the day, Austin groove rock band Mamafesta brought a completely new style to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. With a hint of funk and plenty of jam band qualities in their sound, this melodic four piece group is one to definitely watch out for in the near future if you’re not already!

 Imagine Dragons. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Imagine Dragons. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Closing out the second night were international stars Imagine Dragons. It seemed that the band played hit after hit for a full 90-minute set. Not only was the music good, but lead singer Dan Reynolds was simply inspiring. Speaking out about mental illness and suicide prevention, he acted as a true leader to the younger fans in the crowd. After his words of wisdom, once again the group got the crowd jumping with the epic number “Believer.

Sunday closed out with, you guessed it, even more rock, this time both new and old. Many fans stayed at the “MGM Resorts Grandview” stage from 3:00PM to festival close to see bands like The All American Rejects, Alice In Chains, and Robert Plant.

The All American Rejects did a great job of not taking themselves too seriously. Although the band played fan favorites like “Gives You Hell” and “It Ends Tonight,” they joked between songs that while they may not getting much radio play now, in the early 2000s, it was “hard to escape our music if you walked in a TJ Maxx.” Still, the group gave it their all and played new songs that they were clearly proud to perform.

Following All American Rejects was Alice In Chains, a band that had a larger crowd considering the KAABOO attendees were a bit older than other festivals. Alice In Chains did not disappoint, and it is safe to say that their hit song “Rooster” had the loudest-singing crowd of the festival.

 Robert Plant. Photo per Alive Coverage.

Robert Plant. Photo per Alive Coverage.

As exhibited by a large number of KAABOOers walking around sporting Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant shirts, it was clear that Plant was the most anticipated act of Sunday, even while competing with Katy Perry during the headlining time slot. It was no surprise that Plant payed homage to Led Zeppelin by opening up with the tracks “Good Times, Bad Times” and “Lemon Song.” His 13-song setlist was filled with impressive guitar solos and a little headbanging. Closing with an artist from the iconic Led Zeppelin was the nail in the coffin that rock stole the show this year at KAABOO, and a sign that this genre will hopefully continue thriving at this festival!

Dates for 2019’s KAABOO have already been announced for the weekend of September 13th-15th. Get your early bird tickets and festival passes here! 

-Ben

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

Same Same But Different Festival Bringing New Vibes to Lake Perris This Weekend

By: Benjamin Tillis

As this year’s music festival season comes to a close, Southern California is graced with yet another music filled weekend. Same Same But Different, taking place 90-minutes east of Los Angeles and San Diego at Lake Perris this weekend September 22nd and 23rd, boasts much more than just music. They’ve got “camping, hiking, yoga, swimming, and interactive art” planned for the weekend as well.

With headliners Lettuce, The Floozies, and Boombox, the festival is bound to attract more free spirited and dance-loving festival goers, which should make for a fun and open experience. Other musical artists include Dirtwire, a country/dance fusion group that includes members from Beats Antique, and LYFTD, the Colorado-based electro-funk group. And although the music ends at 2:00AM both Saturday and Sunday, the dancing will go all night, with a late night dance party beginning right after the fest’s final headliner sets.

The visual artists whose work will be featured throughout the festival include Hannah Rowan and Krystal Dyer. Yoga and mindfulness workshops will also be taught by leaders in the community.

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It will be very interesting to see how having a lake in the middle of the grounds shapes the festival. It is very likely that most of the attendees will be taking it easy on the beach or in the water during the performers that they may not know as well, making this festival a great combination of a party and a relaxing vacation.

Bolder Beat can’t wait to attend this festival this weekend to get the inside scoop on what Same Same But Different Festival has to offer, and we are confident it will not disappoint. Tickets still available here.

-Ben

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

'Mourning In Amerika Tour' Keeps Red Rocks Amphitheatre Crowd on Their Toes

By: Nathan Sheppard

The Mourning In Amerika tour was everything that you would expect: a perfect mix of politics and great punk rock. All those who made it to Red Rocks Amphitheater this past Saturday were treated to three of the best punk bands from the past few decades.

Running onto the stage first was Anti-Flag, who is arguably the most political band out there. They made it clear from the start that they stand for no racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, or discrimination but also love having a good time. Normally you would see some moshing or crowd surfing at an Anti-Flag show but being at Red Rocks, jumping around had to suffice.  

The crowd geared up for every inner emo kids’ favorite band AFI. Everyone in the band ran out onstage minus lead singer Davey Havok, as the rest of the band played the hard-hitting intro “Strength Through Wounding.” They then flowed into “Girl’s Not Grey” as Davey made a dramatic entrance on stage. About halfway through the set, Davey went out into the crowd and then climbed on top of a rock on the south side of the venue to sing the rest of the current song. They then finished with their most popular song, “Miss Murder” to top off the epic set.

Rise Against was finally up and the Red Rocks veterans captivated the venue from start to finish. Rise Against is a perfect combination of the openers- they’re political and they rock the hell out. Frontman Tim Mcllrath frequently talked about current events and environmental issues between songs. After playing through eleven tracks, we were gifted with a mini five-song acoustic set, starting with “Voices Off Camera.” The band played this from the soundboard in the crowd. The set was then finished with a three-song encore with the final song, “Prayer of the Refugee” closing out the night and everyone singing along and dancing.

This is a collective of artists you don’t want to miss live! The remaining dates of the Mourning In Amerika Tour can be found here.

-Nathan

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

'Game of Thrones' Brought Its Incredible Live-Concert Experience to Denver's Pepsi Center

By: Nathan Sheppard

As many Game of Thrones fans are gearing up for a long wait through fall and winter for the final season of the iconic HBO series, Denver fans were treated to a night of musical and visual adventures at the Pepsi Center. The concert featured Ramin Djawadi, who composes all the music for the TV show, along with an 80-piece orchestra and choir.

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The show started with a parade of “White Walkers” and a build up into the classic GOT theme song. From there, Djawadi & Co. went in semi-chronological order through the first three seasons of music. One act featured a violin solo performed with the musician suspended in the air in a long dress to represent a weirwood tree as red leaves fell from the rafters. This created the first of many amazing visuals. Another highlight of the opening act was the wildling attack- in this part, snow fell and a 30-foot wildling horn shook audience member’s seats. Between every couple of songs, Djawadi told us stories about how the next song was composed and what inspired him along the way.

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After a short 20-minute intermission, the show continued with the next four seasons, starting with Djawadi shredding on guitar as pyrotechnics shot out behind the choir and dragons flew around on the production screens. Working through to season seven, the entire outfit played through many of the most intense scenes of the show, culminating in an organ solo which occurred with the player suspended 15-feet in the air.

Overall, it was a wonderful show and a great way to experience Game of Thrones from a different perspective. It was interesting to see what goes into making the music behind the legendary show. It was also a fantastic way to recap what has happened in the series so far in order to get ready for the highly anticipated season eight in early 2019.

The live concert experience still has a handful of shows left so make sure you get out to see this amazing concert! Remaining shows can be found here.

-Nathan

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

Grandoozy Captures Mile High Vibes With First Superfly Festival in Denver

By: Taylor Naiman

Music is integral to the soul- it fosters a great opportunity to make connections with other people and expand horizons. Superfly has established a quintessential destination for enriching that soul and nurturing the spirit, and in Denver, its name is Grandoozy.

 The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

The moment you walked through the gates this past weekend, you soon realized this particular festival was going to be unique, and it was. Walking the grounds of Grandoozy on the freshly cut Overland Park grass, Denverites could choose from a plethora of activities to engage in while the smells of tasty treats from local food trucks and curators wafted through the air. There were Colorado-based companies and artists in every element of the festival: food, drink, shopping, art, non-profits, and even onstage.

It was a pleasure to just sit back and observe the surroundings at times. There were couples, there were old friends reconnecting, and there were new friends conversing. Many of the festival-goers we spoke to lived in or around Denver, but some traveled to meet up with Colorado friends for the fest. It was clear that this community held a unique vibe, though it is one that is just beginning. Friends were laughing with each other and parents were dancing with their children. Grandoozy had something for everyone, whether you came for the music, the experiences, or just to chill. With Grandoozy’s relaxing vibes and Denver-focused curation, this festival was a serious Colorado hit.

Whether we were watching Bishop Briggs smiling as she ran onstage, a couple dancing together during the Florence and the Machine set, or a group of friends grabbing a beer together at the “Arts & Crafts” tent, Grandoozy brought Denver’s people together. Across the field, concertgoers were throwing frisbees with a beer in hand; others relaxed in the festival’s ample shade. People were content and were just living and the overall energy of the fest was calm, genuine, and pure. Of course there were moments of explosive energy, like during Kendrick Lamar’s headlining set or The Chainsmokers’ wild pyrotechnics. But overall, Grandoozy became its own little oasis for the weekend in a choose-your-own adventure sort of way. There was an immense amount of beauty in enjoying the entirety of the concert experience while witnessing other people savor in this atmosphere just as much as we did. Grandoozy has fostered a very cultivated Denver community, unrivaled and alluring for the Mile High audience.

 Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

Messages of friendship and acceptance were abound onstage throughout the festival as well, like when Mavis Staples quoted the The Staple Singers during her set saying, “Reach Out. Touch a Hand. Make a Friend” or when Florence Welch of Florence & the Machine paused her set to tell the audience to hold each other’s hands or to hug the person next to them. Stevie Wonder even concluded the festival with, “Let’s make love great again.” These were the core tenets of Grandoozy, and shining moments throughout the festival. All of the artists conveyed a strong message of unity in these divisive and difficult times

Overall, this is a festival living up to its namesake. It was grand, and it was a doozy. Its size and magnitude for a Colorado music festival are unparalleled and huge milestone for the community. Though it may be corporate owned, Grandoozy did a wonderful job of including local partners, vendors, and musicians in their fest, which is one reason so many felt right at home. Here at BolderBeat, we’re very thankful to have attended the first-ever Grandoozy and look forward to many years of doozyin’ to come.

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

-Taylor

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

Grandoozy's Finale Ended a Great Weekend of Music, Art, & Exploration

The final day of Grandoozy was full of exploration, lots of laughs, and of course, some sweet tunes.

We wandered “The Break Room,” where attendees danced in a circle of speakers outside with live DJs spinning on deck. This was a popular spot in the early evening when it cooled down and people got their groove on. The “80s Ski Lodge” was more of the day dancing spot since it was fully enclosed and cool. Similar to “The Break Room,” a live DJ spun tunes for attendees who had access to a full bar, seating areas near a fake fireplace, and most importantly, full shade in the 93-degree heat. We also checked out the South Park carnival area, where festigoers could play various carnival games themed like the show.

The Backyard” had ample seating as well- there were chairlifts to people-watch in and even a full gondola that attendees could jump inside of for a picture. The small shopping district featured various vendors including Topo Designs, Kleen Kanteen, and even Never Summer snowboards because why not start thinking about that powder now, Colorado? Some vendors even included exclusive Grandoozy products, so if you wanted a sweet souvenir, this was the place to look!

 The gondola in “The Backyard.”

The gondola in “The Backyard.”

Artist highlights of the day included soulful jams with Daniel Caesar, St. Vincent’s incredible and artistic set, a high-energy good time with De La Soul, a serious pyrotechnic adventure with The Chainsmokers, and a nightcap from legend Stevie Wonder, who played hits from across his catalogue with a massive band and even did a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin covering “Respect.”

 St. Vincent. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Overall, we were very impressed with all that Superfly Presents had in store for festival attendees at Grandoozy. The weekend featured incredible headliner sets, great shows from local bands, live mural and canvas paintings from Denver artists, delicious Denver food and drinks, and so much more. This festival felt at home in Denver, and we can’t wait to see what’s next from the production team behind this fantastic festival.

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

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

St. Vincent Slays Set at Superfly's Inaugural Grandoozy in Denver

 St. Vincent. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent, otherwise known as Annie Clark, electrified the audience on the Scissors Stage at Denver’s Grandoozy music festival on Sunday afternoon. With a 45-minute set, the audience left craving for more and screaming for an encore.  There is no one like her in the music industry right now and no one who has her indie-rock sound and being in that audience made you feel revived, energized, and youthful.

 Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent’s music is both emotional and beautiful. She has found the perfect balance between rock and pop, establishing her own path in the industry. The lyrics are wonderfully crafted and her Grandoozy live performance was perfectly executed. Though her last tour she performed solo, she was joined by a band at Grandoozy. She captivated the audience and showed us what it means to rock out the St. Vincent way on her multiple, custom-colored guitars. Every color and every piece on the stage contributed to her aesthetic and her visuals were stylish, fun, and interesting. With her black slicked-back bob, orange latex dress, and lavender latex arm sleeves, her style for Grandoozy was pure chic.

 Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent’s style is vibrant, yet minimalistic just like her performance and her stage presence was immense and demanding. Although, she had three other band mates, at times, it almost felt like it was just her- her voice, and her guitar on that stage. Her set was powerful, youthful, and raw. She played songs including, “Digital Witness,” “Masseduction,” “Fear the Future,” “Savior,” “Sugarboy,” “Los Ageless,” and “Slow Disco.” She gave us the opportunity to both dance and rock out. The audience was also treated to an acapella intro to her song “New York” tailored to the Denver audience with “Colfax Avenue” added to the lyrics. It was an empowering experience to see such a strong, talented woman dominate the stage and shred on the guitar.

 Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent is a must-see live experience. It was one of the best sets we saw at this year’s inaugural Grandoozy, so if you haven’t yet, check out St. Vincent on Spotify here.

Find the rest of our Grandoozy coverage at this link.

-Taylor

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

Grandoozy's Second Day Was All About The Chill

 The crowd at Snow Tha Product.

The crowd at Snow Tha Product.

Vibes were noticeably more chill yesterday at Grandoozys second day. Festivalgoers beat the heat in the Capital One Cardholder Lounge, in the shade under trees near the craft cocktail “Flight School,” and in tents near the “Arts & Crafts” area. An ice cold beer seemed to be on nearly everyone’s Day Two agenda, whether they sampled pours from spots like Elysian Brewing, Left Hand Brewing, or Breckenridge Brewing, or grabbed a Bud Light four-pack from the Bud Light “Dive Bar.”

 Pours in the “Arts & Crafts” tent.

Pours in the “Arts & Crafts” tent.

Notable performances of the day included Snow Tha Product, Sturgill Simpson, Young the Giant, and of course, the show-stopping Florence and the Machine, who closed out the night under the stars with the evening’s large crescent moon seemingly floating above the stage. Her performance was magical with a live harpist, her powerful vocals, and her messages of self-love and consciousness for the crowd.

Unlike Friday, where festival attendees seemed more dressed for the heat and comfort, Saturday’s goers came in full costumes, lots of glitter, and fun festival fashion pieces. It was entertaining to see everyone expressing their creative clothing choices, and added to the day’s fun, yet laid-back vibes.  

Today, Stevie Wonder will close out the festival. Logic, St. Vincent, and The Chainsmokers will also be on deck. We’ll be exploring “The Break Room” and “The Backyard” at today’s fest, so come dance with us! Day passes for Grandoozy’s finale are still available here.  

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

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

Grandoozy Starts Their Denver Reign With a Bang

 Phoenix.

Phoenix.

Denver’s Grandoozy festival kicked off yesterday with solid musical performances, a great Denver food truck selection, and though there is no parking at the fest, getting there and entering was seamless for almost anyone we spoke to. This is not Superfly Presents’ first rodeo- the production company are the brains behind Bonnaroo and Oustide Lands- and it shows.

 Get your unicorn on at Grandoozy.

Get your unicorn on at Grandoozy.

Yesterday’s sets were hip-hop and indie rock heavy. Phoenix, Miguel, The War On Drugs, Ty Dolla $ign, and Bishop Briggs played across the Rock, Paper, and Scissor stages. Local outfits Tennis, Flaural, and AMZY could also be heard across the Overland Golf field. Kendrick Lamar closed out the night with a set that included fireworks, incredible visual productions, and bangers from across his catalogue. Overall, the music for opening day was very solid.

 Mac N’ Noodles is bomb.

Mac N’ Noodles is bomb.

Grandoozy’s incorporation of local food and drink curators is definitely a festival highlight. Yesterday, we tried the “Bacon Mac & Cheese” from Mac N’ Noodle, which was delicious. This food truck was a popular spot among festivalgoers, and there were also notably long lines for Super Heady Tacos, Ba Nom a Nom, Sol Tribe, and Carbon + Habit Doughnut Dispensary. The eats game at Grandoozy is strong.

We’re ready to brave the heat with you on Day Two today, and we’ll be exploring the craft brewing “Arts & Crafts” area, along with the “Flight School” craft cocktail spot, among other things. Come down and grab a drink with us- day passes and weekend tickets available here.  

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

Five Experiences We Can't Wait to Try at Grandoozy

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Yes the music’s gonna be rad, but if you’re anything like us, you want to know what other exciting experiences you can check out at Denver’s Grandoozy this weekend. When you’re not sweltering for your favorite set, the three day festival (which still has weekend and day passes available here) has given you plenty of options to beat the heat with food, booze, art, yoga, and more! Check out some of what we’re stoked on:

Festival Food

When a festival as big as Grandoozy plants itself in your backyard, you tend to worry if you’ll be forced to eat shitty pizza while your friends nom funnel cakes for three days, but that time in life is over my friends. Grandoozy has partnered with a ton of local and national culinary artists to provide you with a seriously (lip)smacking buffet of deliciousness. Wondering who will be there for your taste buds? The mouthwatering includes: Adobo, ash Kara, Bar Dough, Barbed Wire Reef, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Brider Rotisserie & Kitchen, Carbon + Habit Doughnut Dispensary, Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Generous Coffee, Highland Tap Burgers, Hippie Dips, Illegal Pete’s, Mac N’ Noodles, Maine Shack, Morin, OG Burgers, Peak Pops, Rocky Mountain Slices, Señor Bear, Snooze: an AM Eatery, Sol Tribe, Steuben’s, STK Denver, Stoney’s Bar & Grill, Sugarfire Smoke House, Sunshine Bowls, Super Heady Tacos, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, Torchy’s Tacos, and Ba Nom a Nom.

Flight School

Get ready to take off at Grandoozy’s craft cocktail Flight School.” Denver’s Chad Michael George, named one of Food & Wine’s Best Mixologists in 2016, will be on hand all weekend to serve you Smoky Spirits, Rhums of the World, an Agave Tour, and a Colorado Whiskey Flight. Each flight will consist of a series of different spirit tastings and four signature cocktails will be available too. Your thirst is calling.

Backyard Chats

If you’re looking for something a little more intimate and mind-stimulating, Grandoozy’s “Backyard Chats” in the 80’s Ski Lodge area of the fest will soothe your soul. Take a break in the shade and listen to discussions on topics around passion for the outdoors and business as activism. Panelists will include Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Blieler, environmental activists Amy Roberts and Alexander Boian, and Pro Slopestyle skier Bobby Brown. There will be a number of DJs on deck to keep the sounds flowing between panels too, making this a fun spot to learn and hang.

Yoga with a Beat

Three days without your regular hiking trails Coloradans? Can you make it in the name of good music? Though your trek to the grounds may be a workout in itself due to the festival’s zero parking policy, if that’s not hittin’ your fitness itch, there’s more. At “The Break Room,” yoga instructors from Sunny Trails Presents and Corepower Yoga will lead flow classes. After each practice, the space will turn into an all-day dance destination with artists from Weird Touch, Soul Clap and Eli Escobar to Jon Hopkins and Kim Ann Foxman. Sounds like this is where you need to be if you wanna keep it movin’ folks.

Art, Art Everywhere

Denver’s been crushing the art scene as of late, and Grandoozy will be showcasing more of those creative Mile High forces this weekend. Yes there will be live mural painting. Yes there will be crazy stage installations. Yes there will be artwork all over the grounds for you to peruse, some of it interactive. But best of all, the local artists involved in Grandoozy include Hollis + Lana, Dinkc, Detour, Anthony Garcia and Extra Vitamins among others. We love seeing local talent in all areas of this fest, and the art world is no exception. Keep your eyes peeled!

There’s still time to cop your last-minute tickets for Grandoozy. Click here to see your options and we’ll catch you on the course.

Desert Hearts Brought Their Creative & Colorful Vibes to Boulder on Current Tour

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It was a house and techno gathering without the grit: the Desert Hearts’ party last week at Boulder Theatre was a homey vibe with a very young crowd, and yes, most people showed up in costume. The 15+ and up show was full of colorful vibes.

Desert Hearts began in 2012 at Burning Man as a dream founded by Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Porky, and Marbs. Since then, it has evolved into a mission of radiating love and a conscious ethos of house and techno. The quartet takes turns on the turntables and projects heavy percussion for hours, and last week’s party was no exception. The band’s vibe is approachable and lighthearted, which is why any age interested in getting into the techno and house scene would find Desert Hearts a non-threatening beginning.  

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Much like Burning Man, coming dressed up in costume is totally a thing at a DH gathering, and highly celebrated. There was an aura of a music festival like Electric Forest, where the crew also threw a party this summer. With a whiff of innocence in the air and plenty of time and space to dance it out, Desert Hearts won’t bring out the dark side of the bumpin’ house genre if that’s what you’re into, but if lightness and percussion within the comfort of your living room is what you’re after, this is a band you’ve got to check out.

Catch a Desert Hearts show for yourself here.

-Mirna

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

Why You Need Grandoozy's Official App to Maximize Your Festival Experience This Weekend

 This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

From the festival lineup to the food, Grandoozy just released an app with it all! If the countdown to this weekend’s first Denver Superfly fest isn’t enough to get you excited, learning the ins and outs of this app definitely will.

After your download Grandoozy’s app, customize your schedule and who you want to see under the “Lineup & Schedule” tab. You can set the alerts for your favorite artists so you don’t miss their sets when you’re off at Flight School or Arts + Crafts. You can even see how many people added a particular artist to their schedule and who the most popular artists are if you’re not sure who might be this year’s best kept secret.

Next, move to the “Map” tab and explore where the food, stages, merch and other events are located. In the “Eat, Drink & Explore” tab, you can further customize how you want to experience the festival and see all of this year’s local craft brewers, food trucks, and more!

Make sure to check out the “Go Backstage” tab once you get to the fest too. This gives you the opportunity to get an inside look at what’s happening backstage. There might be artist soundchecks, or just your favorite musicians hanging out.

Finally, make sure to set up Apple Pay! It will give you a secure alternative to bringing cash to the fest, and it makes life on the crowded fest grounds that much easier. Using it will allow you to order food ahead of time, avoid the lines, and enjoy more of the festival. You can seriously maximize every minute of your festi experience with the Grandoozy app!

Still need to grab your passes for the weekend? Do it on the official app or on the Grandoozy website! We’ll see you there.

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

Parkway Drive's Current 'Reverence Tour' Is a Must-See, Once in a Lifetime Production

By: Nathan Sheppard

Parkway Drive’s headlining Reverence Tour made its Denver stop at the Ogden last Sunday and featured some of the hardcore scene’s biggest names.  

 Polaris.

Polaris.

Australian band Polaris, who are on their first ever tour in the U.S., started things off for the eager, sold-out crowd. While many didn’t know their songs, they made up for it by moshing and jumping around.

 The Devil Wears Prada. 

The Devil Wears Prada. 

The Devil Wears Prada were next up and rocked hard. Lead singer Mike Hranica set the tone by running across the stage to get the crowd going. The band’s songs were a great combination of hard hitting breakdowns and calm, smooth melodies.

 August Burns Red.

August Burns Red.

August Burns Red were the last of the openers for the night, and continued to build off the heavy-hitting songs of their predecessors. The Grammy-nominated band showed why they are one of the best: Jake Luhrs brought his brutal screams, and the intricate tapping solos from JB Brubaker were the main attractions for their set.

 Parkway Drive. 

Parkway Drive. 

For those whose necks weren’t already sore from headbanging, Parkway Drive made sure everyone went home sweaty and sore. The Australian band made their U.S. debut in Denver 12 years ago, so they always make sure to bring their best for the Mile High crowd. Parkway features some of the heaviest breakdowns in their genre, and accompanied by Winston McCall’s screaming, it makes for one insane show. Their 15-song set finished off with “Bottom Feeder,” sending everyone home on a high note.

This all-star lineup was easily one of the biggest and best shows of 2018. The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red could easily sell out their own headlining shows, so to have them with Parkway Drive on the same tour made for a once in a lifetime experience. For your chance to be a part of this tour check out the remaining dates here.

-Nathan

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

Which Are the Best Digital Pianos Right Now?

 Source: Deposit Photos

Source: Deposit Photos

Digital pianos found their way from student’s practice rooms to major concert halls and recording studios all over the world. They are a more affordable and comfortable alternative to classic pianos and their sound manages to reach perfection. Digital pianos are versatile and address both beginner and professional musicians and artists. However, one question we will try to answer today is which are the best digital pianos right now?

In order to answer this question, we will look at some of the most high-performing digital pianos on the market to help you make better choices!

1. Casio Privia PX 750

Casio makes some of the most interesting and valuable musical instruments to date, and the Casio Privia PX 750 does not fall short of the brand’s reputation. With its proprietary tri-sensor scaled action hammer system and class compliant MIDI technology, the Casio Privia PX 750 is both a technological and artistic wonder.

While the piano is not a model of portability (it weights over 70 pounds), it is an impressive instrument ready to satisfy the most sophisticated of tastes. We also recommend you to check out this Casio Privia digital piano review as it emphasizes some of the most important tech specs, aesthetic considerations, sound quality, polyphony count, device compatibility, touch sensitivity, and more.

2. Yamaha YDP143R Arius Series Console

Yamaha is one of the most reputable musical instruments manufacturers in the world, and for all the good reasons. The YDP143R Arius Series Console is a digital piano with bench, helping the artist achieve amazing and almost hypnotic sounds. It provides the musician with weighted key action – same as a classic piano – and superior tech specs, together with impeccable sound.

The Yamaha YDP143R Arius Series Console provides the musician with an expressive and dynamic artistic experience based on the untainted CF sound engine. While the piano comes with a song memory containing 50 classic piano songs, this highly performing instrument is able to create the warmth and wonder of a Jessica Eppler album.

As training and experienced musicians probably know by now, the competition between Casio and Yamaha is fierce. If you want to pick a specific digital piano from one of these two brands, you will have to perform thorough research before a purchase.

3. Roland RD-800

Roland’s signature SuperNATURAL technology gives an entire new meaning to the concept of “live performance.” The Roland RD-800 comes with an 88-note keyboard and hammer-action design, offering the most authentic rendition of a grand piano’s sound to date. With its five acoustic piano types with 34 variations, the RD-800 offers all the versatility an accomplished musician needs: the ability to perform in solo concert and make outstanding music in the studio.

What is more important in the RD-800 is that fact that a concert audience may never notice the difference between digital and acoustic when it comes to the clarity, crispness, warmth, and color of piano music. This is a product for the seasoned professional who wants the perfection of a grand piano at the price of a digital one.

4. Kawai ES8

Kawai pianos are elite instruments dedicated to those musicians whose life oscillates between live performances and studio recordings. The Kawai ES8 is an exclusivist 88-keys digital piano with Responsive Hammer III action, Harmonic Imaging XL sound technology, 256-note maximum polyphony and 37 sounds. Beyond the advanced tech specs, however, which you would clearly expect from a Kawai product, the ES8 impresses with its clear sound, on par with acoustic pianos.

The Rhythm Section is particularly of interest for the live performer, as it allows all the dynamism and versatility you want on a stage. Moreover, the One Finger Ad-Lib function allows the artist to have full control of the music and constantly improve the repertoire and the performance.

5. Korg SP170s

The Korg SP170s is an 88-keys digital piano intending to be the more affordable version of exclusivist instruments in this category. It is a rather minimalist model, but you will not be able to move it around a lot, as it is a bit heavy. The SP-2 sustain pedal with style action for keyboard, the 10 built-in-sounds, and the excellent construction of the keyboard makes this Korg a good choice for the beginner student or performer.

While it will not be able to sustain a major concert one a major stage, you will be able to use it for practice, small solo gigs, and some music creation in your studio. An affordable choice if you are just exploring the path of digital music making and playing.

Final Thoughts

Digital pianos come in many makes and models and some can even play by themselves. The main lesson you should take from this is that you need to choose a digital piano that best fits your skills, your needs, and your career plans. Investing in an expensive, elite digital piano if you are a beginner may prove a poor choice on the long run. However, if you are a musician looking for upgrades, these pianos are the best you will find on the market for your particular interests.

Premiere: Future Joy's New Music Video for "Thirsty" Is Saxually Satisfying

Denver’s Future Joy are known for their sultry sax sounds. They’re self-proclaimed as a “saxually active glitch hop” outfit and 303 Magazine recently called their new self-titled record the “sweet spot between the heavy hitters and sexy saxophone serenades.” Today, the band dropped their music video for the track “Thirsty” and we’re stoked to premiere it for you here:

Future Joy, comprised of Zach Simms on saxophone (MLIMA) and Frederic Park on percussion, is a seriously tasty combination of all things electronic with sax, funk, and hip-hop thrown in. The result is saxually satisfying, and “Thirsty” feels like a banger from its opening riff.

 Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Denver’s Annabelle, whose whisper vocals are featured on the track, stars in the video alongside dancers Gina and Sheridan. Annabelle choreographed the video, which was filmed and edited by Connor Tieulie. She also sings on much of Future Joy’s latest record.

The video’s location may look familiar to some Denverites- it was shot at Tetra Lounge and The Bolt Factory; later Jeffrey Charles Stanley added in the animations and graphics. These give the video a real psych party vibe.

Said Simms of filming the video, “We didn’t have too much planning- we just went with the flow of the locations and let the editors do their thing.”

 Simms and Park.

Simms and Park.

The track “Thirsty” was recorded in Simms’ living room before the duo made their way to Side 3 Studios for finishing touches, which included Annabelle’s vocals and her opening a can of seltzer water because everyone knows LaCroix is the best way to booze these days.

Simms and Park have already started working on their next record, and are planning for an early 2019 release. Prior to, they’ve got a Colorado tour in the works, so keep up with their live dates here and turn up with “Thirsty.”

Review: NIGHTS New Single "Over & Over" Stands Out From the Haze

By: Julia Talen

Blogger, fashionista, poet, and musician Mel Denisse has been growing her latest musical project NIGHTS since the start of the year, first with her single, “Hollow” released in January and then the followup single “Gone,” which has a new music video. Just recently, her latest tune “Over and Over” dropped. The track, which was produced by Carlos de la Garza (Teenage Wrist, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World), has already snagged a spot on Spotify’s “New Rock” playlist.

NIGHTS alt-rock vibe radiates from her latest track, but the intensity of this song’s shoegaze elements differentiates it from her first two gripping singles. “Over and Over” starts off with a soft, balanced melody incorporating electric guitar and bass as well as a steady drum beat. But as the song moves forward, the residual sounds of the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals carry subtly through the track, amplified in the catchy refrain. It finishes off with nearly twenty seconds of thick amp echoes that slowly fade, a poignant compositional choice. All of the haziness embedded in the track mirrors the lyrics and themes of the song-the inescapable and nebulous rumination of the mind “over and over” again.

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Additionally, for each of Mel Denisse’s singles comes exquisitely photographed album art. For ”Over and Over,” Denisse stands amongst mist, fog, and haze in several photos that have been layered, reiterating the tune’s ideas and concepts.

With the intriguing content in her latest single and the talent evident in all of her music this year, it’s no doubt that NIGHTS career is just beginning to bloom and flourish.

-Julia

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

The SIR Band Brought Power and Passion to Their Globe Hall Set Last Saturday

By: Will Baumgartner

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when attending Saturday’s concert by The SIR Band at Globe Hall in Denver last Saturday. I knew they were a local band getting some buzz, playing at a venue I’d also heard enough about to want to check it out, and that was enough reason to go. In this sense, being a music journalist is the same as being a dedicated music fan, because if you only listen to and go to shows by bands and artists you already love, you’re limiting yourself and not helping the scene to grow. Of course there’s always a chance of being underwhelmed, but without exploration there would be no discovery, and I happened to discover a local treasure Saturday night. An unassuming little trio with a rather innocuous name, The SIR Band will surprise you with the amount of power, passion, and artistry that can be packed into such a small frame.

Speaking of small packages, the band’s frontwoman Sarah Angela doesn’t come bounding onstage looking larger than life. A rather petite woman dressed simply in cutoff jeans and a white blouse, SA (as she is also known to fans) let her voice and songs do the business of winning us over, which she most emphatically did, without resorting to any flashy theatrics or excessive costuming. She didn’t just stand there, of course, but her onstage energy was something that seemed to come up organically through the depth and richness of her singing with the simple beauty and layered architecture of the songs themselves, and with her interaction with the formidable talents of her bandmates Kim O’Hara (guitar/backing vocals) and Luke Mehrens (drums/percussion).

 The SIR Band. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of   BLDGBLKS Music Company .

The SIR Band. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of BLDGBLKS Music Company.

Most of the material performed during this show came from the band’s stellar debut album So Cold (released January 2018 and available through iTunes and other digital platforms), but I was also impressed by their choice of covers and unique takes on those songs, including a rousing version of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” enhanced by two more exceptional female talents who’d already graced the stage that night, R&B/Pop powerhouse Chloe Tang and Vicoda’s firecracker of a frontwoman Shivani Bhatt. There’s something about getting that much female energy and talent onstage that’s just overwhelmingly beautiful and inspiring. These women clearly enjoyed it at least as much as the audience did, and that was an awful lot.

Overall, it’s difficult to say what I was most impressed with during The SIR Band’s performance. Between SA’s bits on synthesizer and acoustic guitar and her dynamic and varied use of her vocal skills, O’Hara’s switching between different guitars and settings, and Mehrens’ precise and expansive drumming, there was so much going on. But I’d have to say that the moment I was most affected emotionally was definitely the quietest part of  an otherwise pretty rocking evening, and that was the performance of “Abby’s Song.” It was an achingly beautiful piece that I knew nothing of except that it got to me, to the point of creating a lump in my throat and a bit of mist over my eyes. As is so often the case with live performances, I wasn’t devoting a lot of my attention span to the lyrics either, but when I mentioned the song afterward to Kim O’Hara, she told me the bittersweet story behind the song, and all I could say was, “Well done.” Without any intellectual knowledge of its subject matter, I was still able to feel the love, beauty and heartache that went into its creation.

 Sarah Angela. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of   BLDGBLKS Music Company .

Sarah Angela. Photo Credit: Joel Rekiel of BLDGBLKS Music Company.

Another reason I wanted to see this show was because I saw Chloe Tang’s name on the bill, along with the note that it was her last Denver show before moving to Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of being introduced to Chloe’s music about a year and a half ago when I wrote Millennial Wise: Chloe Tang’s ‘Passion//Aggression’ for BolderBeat, but in the time since, I’d regrettably not gotten around to seeing her live. I can now say unequivocally that it was worth the wait, and I’ll be continuing to follow her closely. Talk about little bombs: this young woman packs an incredible punch into her small stature, and her material has continued to grow into something even more powerful than the great stuff I’d already been exposed to, as evidenced by her recent EP Stranger. Wherever you are, listen to her and go see her when you get any opportunity to do so; you will not be disappointed. This bill was truly a satisfying evening of sounds, and wouldn’t have been so complete without Vicoda and Shivani Bhatt who are hurricane of a band with a lightning rod of a singer at its center. They blew me away not only with the joyful fury of their performance, but also with the precision and skill of their attack.

Denver is one of the most happening places in the whole wide world of music right now, so I cannot encourage you enough to take your chances more often than not. You may be fearful of the possibility of wasting an evening, but as The SIR Band and their wonderful guests showed me again this weekend, it’s much more likely that you’ll end up grateful, happy, enriched and the exact opposite of “underwhelmed.”

-Will

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

Denver's DJ Low Key & Red Bull Music Have Partnered for the Ultimate Block Party This Weekend

By: Nathan Sheppard

This Labor Day weekend Red Bull Music & DJ Low Key are hosting the 7th annual Goodness Block Party; a staple of Denver’s vibrant hip-hop music scene since 2012. The event will take place between 27th and Larimer St. centered around the events long time home The Meadowlark in the RiNo neighborhood this Saturday, September 1st. The party is an 18+ (with valid ID) event and starts at 4PM.

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DJ Low Key has been an integral part of Denver’s hip-hop community for over a decade, beginning with his collaboration with DJ Lazy Eyez and weekly hip-hop parties (The Solution) for over 11 years. His parties have featured local artists and brought in national acts to highlight Denver’s unique hip-hop, soul, and DJ culture. This year DJ Low Key has partnered up with Red Bull Music to feature Denver artists like Sur Ellz and YaSi, as well as national artists TiRon & Ayomari and DJ Jazzy Jeff .

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of, you can purchase yours here.

-Nathan

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

Sin Fronteras: Folks Fest Raises Voices in Solidarity

By: Riley Ann

Music from across the globe took the stage at the 2018 Folks Fest, including acts from the Saharan Desert, Canada, and the tasty melting pot of American folk music. Despite the lyrics being sung in various languages, spanning English, French, Spanish, and Tamashek, one message rang clear: strength in togetherness.

 Las Cafeteras.

Las Cafeteras.

The East L.A.-based band Las Cafeteras took the stage by storm on Friday with their Afro-Mexican dance party. Vibrant choreography and hip-shaking rhythms amplified their Spanish and English lyrics advocating for social justice. Band members shared the spotlight trading off lead vocals, and they gave shoutouts to various causes, including Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, and more. They also performed a new rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” by blending Spanish phrases, new melodies, and a mariachi groove into the familiar tune as a modern commentary. You can see their live performance on KEXP and read the lyrics on their website.

Representatives of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County joined Las Cafeteras onstage to recognize their contributions as artists to social justice issues. The chamber invited Las Cafeteras to Colorado on the band’s previous tour and thanked the band for the work they do through music as well as educational programs throughout the country.

Later that night, Los Lobos, another East L.A. band lit up the stage with their unique blend of traditional Latin American styles with rock, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, R&B, blues, and soul. The group made waves in music history by bringing Latin American folk music back to top charts in the late 80s, revitalizing Ritchie Valens’ take on the traditional tune “La Bamba,” along with several other hit songs. While Valens was an early trailblazer in the Chicano Rock movement, Los Lobos carried the torch and kept the movement steady via mainstream radio airplay decades later. With their popularity, multiple Grammy Awards, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they’ve made their mark not just within the Chicano Rock movement, but also with deep ties in the ever-colorful tapestry of American folk music.

 Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Saturday morning opened with Heather Mae, the artist who won last year’s Folks Fest songwriter competition. She moved the crowd with musical confessions about mental illness, overcoming oppression, and body image evidenced in her song “I Am Enough.” As an advocate for body positivity, LGBTQIA rights, people of color, and more, she thanked the festival organizers for curating such a diverse lineup throughout the weekend, saying, “They are trying to elevate marginalized voices, and that includes women. Thank you.” She concluded her set by inviting a chorus of performers to join her on stage for her power anthem “Stand Up.”

When Darrell Scott took the stage Saturday afternoon, he performed a song that he said was written by his friend Marcus Hummon. The narrative showed the life of a Honduran girl named Rosanna who escaped the physical and sexual abuse of the underground sex trafficking industry, bore a daughter, was profiled and arrested by police, was deported by I.C.E. back to Honduras, and nearly died in the desert trying to reunite with her daughter. Her true story is documented here, and you can hear Hummon’s album version here. The song left the crowd frozen and teary-eyed for Rosanna, the representation of people targeted by strict immigration policies and facing not just unfair, but impossible playing fields.

Saturday evening closed with the Indigo Girls. Despite heavy rains concluding their set early, they shared many of their signature songs, including “It’s Alright,” which is one of many that uses music as a vehicle for social change. The Indigo Girls served as one of the first bands to not only be public advocates for the LGBTQIA community, but also to be publicly out. Beloved by the crowd, the duo was joined by the sea of smiling faces singing along in the rain.

 Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine opened Sunday with the help of the “Cottonwood Choir” and instrumentalists featuring many familiar faces from the Front Range, including other members of Elephant Revival. The ensemble inspired the crowd to sing along with spirituals originating from slaves’ field songs about overcoming oppression.

That evening, Tinariwen quickly became a crowd favorite. The band’s fascinating blend of African stylings with American blues idioms created a strikingly unique sound. Furthermore, the band’s formation in refugee camps and resilience despite the backdrop of warfare, strife, and revolution speaks through the music even if listeners don’t know Tamashek. Over several decades, band members have survived against the odds and continue writing songs fighting for human rights and equality. They’ve even been called “Music’s True Rebels” by NPR. You can read more about the band’s background here.

 Tinariwen.

Tinariwen.

Once again, Planet Bluegrass curated a powerful festival, giving festivarians an opportunity to see household names, like Regina Spektor, the Indigo Girls, and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) alongside the acts you didn’t know you wanted to see. Stay tuned at the Planet Bluegrass website for their lineup of next year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass, and Folks Fest.

View the full photo gallery from this event here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.