Our Favorite Four Performances From Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Pitchfork Music Festival 2018 has come to a close and we are already having withdrawals. The lineup this year was a truly incredible mashup of great indie, rock, hip hop, and alternative music. They did a splendid job at snagging some top level performers, both established and up and coming. Despite some nasty weather throughout the weekend, the rain pretty much held off or remained light, allowing for the festival to remain relatively cool rather than the typical mid-July heat that typically swamps Chicago. If you have your ear to the ground in terms of music, then this was a weekend you surely did not want to miss.

Ravyn Lenae.

Ravyn Lenae.

Some of our favorite performances we caught were The War on Drugs, Ravyn Lenae, Saba, and Circuit Des Yeux. The War on Drugs’ sonically large sound carried off throughout the festival grounds really well. For such a large band, their execution was tight and refined.

Ravyn Lenae performed on the same stage the next day, and for a 19-year-old just beginning to pop off, she had the most captivating stage presence. The audience really loved her, which was  made most evident when a stagehand brought out a microphone stand wrapped in a pink feather boa and people roared in applause at how great she was before she was even on stage. Lenae played a mix of songs from her various EPs, commanding the audience’s attention and really dominating her set.

Saba, another young Chicago artist on the come up, bounced across the stage for his first Chicago show since the release of his latest album, CARE FOR ME. He had his whole Chicago crew behind him, and brought out a whole bunch of other Chicago artists for the last song of his set, “Westside Bound 3.” Of all the Chicago artists who played Pitchfork this year, Saba definitely encapsulated the love and community that is happening in the city right now.

Saba.

Saba.

Circuit Des Yeux also impressed us very much. Haley Fohr, the voice behind Circuit des Yeux, stood rather unassumingly still on stage. With some gentle lights and smoke behind her, her simple stage presence was surprisingly captivating. Her voice is deep, and her concentration on her music was so evident that it made the audience really care about listening to it.

In addition to all the great performances, Pitchfork also hosted a variety of local food, clothing, jewelry, poster art, and vinyl store vendors. It would have been easy to spend the entire day eating and shopping, as every vendor is excited to share their story of creation with you. This is a fest that provides ample opportunities to take breaks between sets, and offers up nice places to cool off and relax.

Overall, we couldn’t have enjoyed our time at Pitchfork in Chicago this year any more than we did. We can’t wait to keep up with all the artists who performed, and are already looking forward to next year!

Chicago Came Out For Their Own at Final Day of Pitchfork Music Festival.

DAY THREE

Day Three of Pitchfork Festival started off weary with a sheet of gray clouds in the sky and forecasts for thunderstorms. Attendees prevailed and the weather obeyed, remaining relatively cool and dry for the entire day! The sun blinked out at moments, most notably during D.R.A.M’s set when he thanked the audience just as the sun came out, and the day grew brighter as he and the crowd celebrated the rays. One of the few artists slated not from Chicago, despite being a frequent collaborator with Chicagoan artists, was D.R.A.M. He played new music that people were already singing along to (such as “Best Hugs”).

Ravyn Lenae.

Ravyn Lenae.

Sunday’s lineup was stacked with some of Chicago’s top artists, making a day for the books as they all ran between each others sets to support and rally the crowd. Evanston’s Kweku Collins delivered a fiery set, spitting rhymes energetically to the masses. He somehow managed to keep his breath for his long tangents of lyrics while flitting and dancing around all four corners of the stage. Ravyn Lenae then delivered my personal favorite set of the entire weekend. Crowds swooned as a stagehand brought out her pink feather boa microphone stand. She came out skipping in a silvery tassel outfit, performing a mix of songs from her latest EP Crush as well as her first EP, Moon Shoes, and Midnight Moonlight with The Internet’s Steve Lacy. At only 19-years-old, Lenae has an incredible stage presence and strong ability to command an audience.

Smino was up afterwards, hopping onstage carrying squeaky clean white sneakers while donning a bright orange safety vest with hair ties to match. He and his band grooved out energetically on stage; at one point his manager even broke out into some serious dance moves as the crowd egged him on. Noname was next up. She seemed a tad shy in the beginning, but once the crowd started rapping her lyrics with her, she couldn’t stop smiling to her music. Her background singers boosted her overall sound as it carried across the festival grounds, making the music that much more impactful.

The legend Chaka Khan then graced Pitchfork’s presence as someone on the mic introduced the ten time Grammy award winning artist. Her band and backup singers had the best energy onstage; each and every one of them could not wipe the smiles off their faces as they played some of her greatest hits.

Closing out Pitchfork 2018’s successful weekend was Lauryn Hill, performing her one and only album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, on her 20th anniversary tour. Slated to go on at 8:30PM, audience members grew nervous as the time ticked over since rumor has it she occasionally blows off performances. 9:40PM came around, and there she was. The energy was insane; the park was packed out to all of the edges with eager fans trying to catch a glimpse of her on stage and hear her historic vocals. She delivered her notable songs with a strong energy, and commanded her band onstage, making an effort to have her art come out exactly to her expected standard. I overheard in the crowd she had a two hour soundcheck.

Overall, Pitchfork powered through some unwelcome weather to host a truly incredible lineup of acts, from some powerhouse legends to ones that will be headlining festivals in only a few years to come. Pitchfork Music Festival provides a really great space for music enthusiasts of all kinds to mingle, relax, and celebrate in the uniting art form.

Pitchfork Fest's First Day Opened Strong with Saba, Syd, Tame Impala & More

DAY ONE

A little rain here and there never hurt anyone - and it surely didn’t hurt Pitchfork Music Festiva’s opening day this weekend. The majority of the storms skipped over the festival grounds, and attendees remained enthusiastic for the artists on the lineup.

Chicago’s westside rapper Saba gave a powerful performance. Hot off the release of his latest album, CARE FOR ME, this was his first show in Chicago this year and he brought out all the stops. His Pivot crew backed him up as he played a nice mix of songs from his latest album and his debut album, bouncing between his melodic beat-driven songs, such as “Stoney,” to his ferocious lyricism in “LIFE” and “Westside Bound 3.” LA’s musical group The Internet released their second album, Hive Mind, yesterday and came out to support their frontwoman vocalist, Syd. Dressed in a plain white t0shirt and jeans, Syd crooned through her songs such as “Over” and “All About Me.” Though small in stature, Syd commands a crowd with her presence and the love emanating from her audience was palpable.

Syd.

Syd.

Courtney Barnett rolled out with her girl crew and transformed the festival back to the ‘70s in her oldschool rock stylings. Shredding on the guitar, she led a revitalized performance. Mount Kimbie played at the Blue Stage, the infamous one between the trees known for hosting some of the hottest up and coming acts. This electronic duo’s trippy music cast a spell on the crowd as they bounced between instrumentals.

Tame Impala closed out the first day of Pitchfork on an awesome note. The band came out rather sheepishly as they were greeted by intense hollers from the crowd. Halfway into their first song, two blasts of confetti went off just as rain began pouring down, but even with wind whipping directly onto the band, they powered through. The large LED screen behind them had beautiful light imagery dancing along to the songs and the Australian band had a tight sound. They performer as if they’re already indie/psychedelic rock legends.

Day Two is starting off a bit rainy, so here’s hoping this crowd can continue to power through the weather for some killer acts!

Pitchfork Festival 2018 Will Be a Highly Curated Weekend of Great Tunes You Can't Hear at Other Fests

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BolderBeat is excited to announce that we will be attending Pitchfork Music Festival this year! One of Chicago’s most prominent festivals, alongside Lollapalooza and Mamby on the Beach, Pitchfork will be on the west side of the city in Union Square the weekend of July 20th-22nd.

Pitchfork has been held in Chicago for the past 13 years, and is notable for bringing a wide scope of artists to its stages- from music industry legends to some of the most upcoming and talented acts yet, you never know who you might catch. One look at the roster of past artists, and you can get a drift for this fest’s ability to pinpoint talent. The headlining artists this year are new wave stars Tame Impala, indie rock/folk veterans Fleet Foxes, and R&B legend Ms. Lauryn Hill, who will be performing her 20th anniversary of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Over 40 artists are set to play Pitchfork this year, and around 50,000 people will be attending throughout the weekend. The publication’s keen focus on music brings in a special festival crowd, one that is acutely focused on the music more so than other festivals. Being smaller in size lessens the craziness of the weekend as well, and makes Pitchfork a highly curated event. Additionally, the majority of the acts slated to perform are more known to those with their ears to the ground for up and coming acts. You’re not just going to hear what’s on that top Spotify playlist.

Pitchfork also hosts local vendors, a record and poster fair, a “book fort” with select readings and performances, as well as an entirely dedicate kid “zone.” Tickets are available for purchase here- you can attend one day for $75 or get the whole experience for $175- which is a serious bargain in comparison to other festivals.

We will be bringing you coverage all weekend long, providing your front row experience for one of Chicago’s biggest events of the summer. Stay tuned on our site and socials for any and all updates!

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

Catch Drama Duo At The Mint LA This Saturday (02/17)

By: Annie Kane

Drama Duo, the Chicago-based kickass combination of producer Na’el Shehade and singer Via Rosa, are making music that allow you to simultaneously revel and dance in your feelings. And they’re striving to break from tradition to allow you do so too. “Happy sad” music is how they like to categorize their style.

Drama Duo.

Drama Duo.

As Na’el Shehade told Noisey, “When we’re making beats in the studio we get up to see if we can dance to them. If it’s not danceable...” A perfect example of this is “Forever’s Gone” from their latest EP Gallows. Their floral beats backing Rosa’s deep, heartfelt vocals, cascades vibes all across the room.

I can attest to their radiating energy after seeing the duo perform at Soho House Chicago back in November as part of Kevin Coval’s curated “Chicago Next.” Via and Na’el had a palpable friendship onstage. and Via maintained a positive dialogue between the audience that kept the crowd engaged. At one point, she picked up a bubble wand while wearing a crown of fairy lights and with the city lights shining through the expansive windows, Via twirled through the crowd like a fairy tale, mesmerizing the audience.  

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Become entranced by oozy beats, silky vocals, and magic this Saturday 02/17 at The Mint in LA thanks to Sean Healy Presents. Tickets are still available here.  

-Annie

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

Kayla Rae On Working With Other Female Artists & Women's Empowerment In Music

By: Annie Kane

It’s around 10AM in Denver’s holiday clad Union Station, and the place is already humming with travelers passing through and freelancers working diligently amongst the couches. As I sit down with local Denver singer Kayla Rae, we reminisce over what it must’ve been like to have traveled during the heyday of trains. She takes another sip of her green tea before we dive into our thought-provoking conversation on her artistry, the importance of self-love, and the empowering feeling of working with other confident women.

So let’s start with a bit about your background. You’re from Colorado Springs- how was that environment? How do you feel like that shaped you?

It’s kind of a small town, so I had a lot of good friends around me. I went to okay schools, but I liked Colorado Springs because it wasn’t too fast, you know? It was a little more laid back. It was the perfect place I feel like for my mom because there was five of us kids and just her, so a slower city was better ‘cause she didn’t have to keep such an eye on us. She was so busy all the time anyways, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trouble we could get into! But, you know Denver was always the place to come when you were a kid on the weekends or when you’re a teenager and you want to come party and stuff, it’s always like, ‘Let’s go up to Denver, there’s way more happening up there!’ I was a really good kid, I never really got into anything crazy. My sisters were kind of wild but I’ve always been ‘the good child.’ My mom always trusted me a lot, and I think that was because of the friends I had and there really wasn’t shit to do in Colorado Springs! It’s kind of boring. So, Denver’s a lot different.

Kayla Rae.

Kayla Rae.

So were your mom or your friends into music?

My mom used to sing when she was younger- a lot actually- she has a huge passion for singing. But she started smoking when she was really young so she obviously doesn’t have the best voice anymore. She always played really good music when I was growing up, like Sugar Hill, The Carpenters. So she was always really musical, but no one else in my family writes music or makes music, and no one on my dad’s side does either. My dad listened to a lot of jazz and so I was always around good music, but I think I’m the only creator in the family.

So you feel like you fell into creating music naturally?

Yeah, well I think when I was a kid I was writing first as a form of expression, like poetry, and stories, and journal entries, like I always just wrote stuff. So then eventually I turned them into songs because I loved to sing. You know, I feel like I was terrible at it as a kid but I loved to do it, so then when I got older it was kind of just what became of me. It was just who I was.

And then you went somewhere to learn how to produce?

Yeah! So when I graduated high school I actually applied for Berklee College of Music in Boston. I didn’t make it in the fall semester, but I got accepted in the spring, so I started in 2010. When you get there, they give you a Macbook and it comes with all different music programs like Logic, Reason, and Garageband. You take basic classes on music production and music theory, but I was just so excited to have my own software to do it ‘cause I was always in other people’s studios, so I was like, ‘I wanna learn how to make beats and record all my own songs!’ So I would do that- I would just make them. They gave us a little midi keyboard as well and you would just hook it up to your laptop and you could just create and record through your laptop speakers, so I would just make all these horrible sounding songs. But yeah, I was just learning how to produce, how to write and record myself, which I think is mostly why I do all my own recording now, because having that control is a lot better. Then you don’t have to wait on other people’s time.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. It’s definitely easy to link with other people now with social media, but do you feel like your music is more “you” because you have all that control and ability to actually do it yourself?

I think so. It is nice getting to work with other people sometimes because you have other ideas coming into the pot, but it’s also very liberating when you’re by yourself because you don’t have opinions of other people, like, ‘Oh, well maybe you shouldn’t do this,’ you know? So yeah, you don’t have to wait on anybody else. A lot of people are so busy nowadays with their own things that it takes awhile to get stuff back. And me, when I have ideas, I want them out right away. I’m the worst person at planning and making things go accordingly because when something is just buzzing in my head when it’s good I’m just like, ‘Okay, I need to get this out now.’ So it’s really convenient that I have a studio at home and I can do that on my own because I couldn’t imagine having all these song ideas and having to wait to book studio time to do them.

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Would you say you’re protective over who you let into your creative bubble?

Yeah, and it’s not even on purpose, it’s just, I need the right energy around me at this time because I don’t want anything to interrupt this creative process. You know? And I’m never too good to take anyone’s advice who would say, ‘Maybe this would sound good this way.’ So I’ll ask that of people that I trust- I’ll play music for them and ask what they think about it. But I think you have to be selective when you’re in any craft.

And your music is pretty personal.

Yeah, sometimes it gets… yeah. (laughs) It’s like therapy sometimes!

That’s good! So would you say you make music for yourself mostly?

Yeah! You know what’s crazy is that I was talking to another artist about this yesterday, I was actually working with YaSi yesterday. I invited her over and we finally got to work together, which is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile. But we were talking about that- about making music for ourselves, and that’s always how it starts. With any person who does any kind of creative expression, you do it because you need to. And I think once people start catching on to you and they start listening and you see people's reactions, you want to do it for them. You want to do it for their praise, but you have to remember that it’s not for anybody but you. And sometimes some songs don’t need to be heard. YaSi and I were talking about that yesterday too, just like that’s such a good point that you don’t always have to share things with people, and that’s how you keep it for yourself. Some people use music to heal, and that’s really what it is for me because, I mean I write everyday but I really do my best writing when I’m sad. I don’t know why that is! (laughs) And so some of that stuff people will never hear.

So when you perform live, what kind of environment do you try to cultivate?

It’s so crazy that you say that, ‘cause as artists we have the power to create an atmosphere. I just want people to feel comfortable- I want them to feel really in tune with themselves and with what I’m saying, and I feel like it’s like that when I perform. I feel like I’m respected up there which means so much, and I feel like I have people’s attention so I can pretty much say anything that I want. I feel really comfortable up there, and that’s how I want other people to feel- comfortable to kind of just get lost in the music for a second, almost like I’m in my bedroom. I close my eyes a lot when I sing, and I think it’s ‘cause I’m taken back there.

Is there anything you want your audience to take out of your music?

Inspiration to do what you want, you know. It’s so hard to get caught up in this world and what you think other people want from you, what they expect of you. I just want my music to represent me fully, and let people know that this is just who I am and it’s okay to be who you are too, it’s okay to do what you love. You know, you can make money off what you love, you can live happily doing it and it doesn’t have to be a struggle for you, you can do it and be free. And that’s what I want from people to get when they see me perform and listen to my music, like, ‘Wow, she’s just doing this for her.’

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That’s awesome. So what makes you feel the most empowered?

When I’m working with other women. I feel like naturally, we all just feel like we’re so different, we all feel like no one understands us and we’re just all alone in this world, or maybe that’s just me! (laughs) So when I get around other women, I just feel like ten times myself. I just feel like I can do anything. So I like to keep good solid women around me who also have goals, and they empower me. When I feel really confident in myself I’m empowered, when I feel sexy I’m empowered, and I get all that from [working with] other women. Which is crazy.

So how do you feel about breaking into the music industry as a woman?

I feel like it’s kind of hard because most of the workers in the music [industry] are men. You know, the producers and the engineers, and sometimes they get the wrong ideas when you just wanna work. Like, ‘Nah I just wanna get my shit done!’ But I do think this is a good time for women because I feel like there’s so many women doing so much right now. You have so many women in power: Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, even women on the come up like Tori Kelly, Kehlani, just all these great women in music. I feel like it’s probably going to be a little easier now, you just have to remember to be yourself and not try to be like anybody else.

Yeah, I feel like Sza cracked this huge gate of vulnerability.

Hell yeah, Sza’s amazing. Just so many women doing great things and it makes me so proud, because, I was actually talking to my girlfriend about this, and she was like, ‘You know, the women in this city are doing exactly what the women everywhere else are doing. And who knows what the women in other cities are doing and how they’re coming together and holding each other down and lifting each other up.’ It’s just, it’s a women’s world, I don’t care what anybody else says! (laughs)

What female artists do you most look up to?

All of them, oh my gosh. I really, really love Sade. I think she’s amazing and I used to listen to her a lot when I was younger. I took so much from Aaliyah when I was a kid, like I modeled everything after her it was crazy. And still to this day I watch all of her stuff and it just never gets old for me. I just love how she was so cool, just naturally cool. It seemed like she didn’t have to try, she seemed so sweet. Her music was kinda gangsta, but not really, she was sweet over her music so it was a nice balance and I really loved that about her. Now, I really look up to Rihanna, I think she’s amazing. As a woman in music, in fashion and in business. And she’s been doing this for so long. I really look up to Beyoncé, I love her so, so much. (pauses to think) There’s so many. I think Sza is incredible, I think she is such a good storyteller, you know what I mean? She’s not afraid to write about what she’s been through and it sounds like these crazy-ass stories that you get lost in but you’re also like, ‘Me too, I’ve kind of been through that!’

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Outside of the glory and fame of celebrity and things you can get caught up with, where do you really see your music going?

I just want to get a good amount of people who really like it all over the world who I can come to and perform it for. When I think about fame, and the people who have that, I just think about how unhappy they might be, like how much it must to be keep up with always being talked about or people always trying to find you and how that must really interrupt your peace of mind. I don’t want that, it just sounds painful. I just want people who really like my music and who are down to buy it and down to listen to it, and if I can make a living off of just traveling and performing and making music that’s really all I wanna do. The reality is we have to pay to live, and I think you just have to find something you like to do that helps you do that, that keeps you here, that keeps you fed, that keeps you clothed. If you’re good at something and you love to do it then make that the way that you live. I just wanna take care of my family with music and meet a lot of new people and go to a lot of different places. I don’t want all that extra shit! People kill themselves because they’re so caught up in the pressure and I think we live in that world now unfortunately where everyone is being looked at and there’s this pressure to be perfect and to have all your shit together, and it’s like no, nobody is like that in real life. It’s not even about all the attention, like sometimes it’s nice but if that’s all that you’re after, you’re just going to be so unhappy. I think about the things that make me happy, and it’s not that.

How do you stay so grounded? Have you always been this level-headed?

Well, one, my mom would slap the shit out of me if I ever came home trying to be bougie! But I just think, like, it is hard and sometimes I get caught up in it. I get caught up in what people think of me or what they’re gonna think of my next song. I think you just have to remind yourself, ‘Why do I do this? Why do I love this?’ I think it’s an internal thing and obviously the people you keep around you, too. No one in my life treats me as if I’m better than anybody else. None of us should treat anybody like that- we’re all equals. So I think it’s definitely keeping good people around you and loving yourself that is really important. If you don’t love yourself, you’re going to try to find all that from other people. So yeah, just really being comfortable with who you are. I feel like there’s so much to live up to. I don’t want my daughters or my nieces to feel like they have to be something unreal.

If you had a daughter, how would you try to guide her away from that pressure?

I would really just press self-love, because I feel like that’s really where it comes from, is inside. I notice that at times when I don’t feel good about myself, that’s when I try to do more with my appearance or I try to be extra on social media because I feel like I need people to tell me I’m doing okay. But that never fulfills me completely, you know. So I would really just teach her to love herself, and you’re different, and you’re unique, and that’s okay. You’re going to make decisions that people aren’t going to agree with, and that’s okay. I think in doing that you learn to appreciate who you are.

Keep up with Kayla Rae’s latest on her Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.

-Annie

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.

Public Safety On Why There's Nowhere Else To Go In The Mile High But Up

By: Annie Kane

Four-piece Denver band Public Safety believe that there is nowhere else for them to go but up. I spoke with them recently at a local coffee shop prior to their show at The Biergarten in Boulder to pick their brains on their roots, influences, and what they might expect on their ascent.

Public Safety.

Public Safety.

Do you guys want to start off with your background? Where you’re from and how you feel like that shaped the artists you are today?

Bear: Well, Jimmy and I actually founded Public Safety back in Charleston two and a half years ago. We were down at the College of Charleston, and he and I met and we started [Public Safety] as more of a college party band. And then, I decided I wanted to transfer back here and do music and asked him to come with me and he came and we re-formed Public Safety with you guys. (looks to other band mates)

Jimmy: Yeah, we started in September of 2015.

Do you feel like Boulder is a better platform for your music?

Bear: We’ve only played Boulder like, three or four times. We mostly perform in Denver; yeah we’re out of Denver. That’s where I was born and raised and he came six months after I moved back and I kinda got my feet wet in the Denver scene.

Jimmy: This whole area, just like Colorado, is way more of a scene than what we had in South Carolina where we were at, so definitely a good decision to come out here.

Bear: And it’s crazy how quickly it’s growing, too.

Ethan: Oh yeah, the scene is getting a lot bigger for sure.

How do you guys like the scene here in Colorado?

Bear: I don’t know the Boulder scene too well yet, but I’ve definitely seen a lot of bands in Boulder and a lot of bands come out of Boulder. But the Denver scene is crazy, it’s just exploded. It’s so fun to be a part of.

Ethan: There’s some people doing some cool stuff in Boulder, like the Cosmic Collective guys who we just did a podcast with a couple weeks ago. [Eric] is doing some cool stuff, he’s a super nice guy.

Agreed. What kind of environment do you guys like to create when you perform?

Bear: Rowdy! I like it to be lit to the max! (laughs) But, I’m very into hip hop and that stuff so I try to make it really hype.

Ethan: It’s definitely a party feel.

Jimmy: We definitely like people dancing.

Bear: I hump my mic stand quite a bit. (laughs)

Lem: This will be my first time [performing with Public Safety].

Bear: Yeah he’s brand new. Only his second show with us. We had a different drummer for a little while, and we found this guy right here, and we felt he matched the vibe a lot better and I think it’s just the right move. We’re about to record the first really album at Coupe Studios here in Boulder, actually. So we’re excited about that.

What can your listeners expect from that album coming up?

Bear: What do you guys think? (turns to bandmates)

Jimmy: I think it’s gonna be rolling with a way tighter sound; more production. We’ve taken the time to put the songs together in a better way. Last time [we recorded] we didn’t really have an idea of what to create in the studio and this time we have a way more clear vision. If anything else, it will just be upgraded with the drums, so it’s just gonna be way better.

Bear: Just fuego. There’s gonna be some fire in there. There’s some sensual songs, there’s some darkness in there, and then there’s a couple rock songs. A lot of angry songs about my ex-girlfriend.

Ethan: It’s a lot of emotions! The whole spectrum.

Bear: Yeah, if you watch the progression of my lyrics, they’re very indicative of what’s going on in my life. If I’m in a bad mood, I’m writing songs like ‘Retrograde’ just about being mad. ‘Impulse Control’ is about being mad too.

Ethan: (laughs) You’re just an angry individual!

Bear: I’m actually a very jovial man, full of joy and happiness.

Ethan: It’s good to vent.

Bear: It’s good to vent. Yeah, what better way to get back at somebody who’s hurt you than to throw it in a song?

Ethan: Make a bunch of other people sing it with you.

Bear: Yeah, have a bunch of people sing along.

So do you write the majority of the songs Bear?

Bear: Jimmy writes music and I write lyrics for the most part. It’s kind of interchangeable as well. He’s written some verses for ‘Night Call,’ which is a song I’ve been working on for a long time; it’s gonna be on the album. I had the basic outline and he comes in and is like, ‘Alright, well I hear this’ and we put it together. That’s why I think I had Jimmy come out here because we had such a good connection with songwriting and performing.

What genre would you guys classify yourself as fitting into, or not fitting into?

Bear: We say rock and soul.  

Jimmy: It’s a big variety. It’s definitely rock-based, for sure. It’s definitely hard hitting, but we like to get soulful too.

Bear: We get down and dirty. We also get hype.

Lem: I’ve wanted to play rock too and this is the first band I ever get to play rock with. As much as I’ve wanted to, I just always get R&B or gospel or funk. So this is awesome to change it up.

How long have you been playing?

Lem: Professionally, for like thirteen years. But pretty much since I was three.

Bear: Somehow he wanted to end up with this band, somehow he said yes.

Lem: It worked out.

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Is there anybody that you feel like you make your music for?

Bear: The ladies. I think that we fit into the multiple niches or sections of music. We have the rock stuff, almost Royal Blood. We have one song that’s almost like Rage Against the Machine. But we also fit into the pop scene with Kaleo or Twenty One Pilots that you hear on the radio who have a lot of musicianship but also have that sing-along pop. We have more deep tracks as well.

Are those artists that you named who you draw a lot of inspiration from?

Bear: I think we all have different people who are inspirations to us.

Ethan: I know there’s a lot of bands that I listen to that they don’t. We definitely all pull from different music genres and have a lot of overlap. Like I listen to a lot of classic rock, a lot of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, that kind of stuff. Jimmy listens to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and a lot of rock’n’roll.

Bear: I really like Motown. James Brown is probably, on stage, my hero. That’s the guy I really look up to, how he takes control of the stage, takes control of the entire arena. That’s amazing for me.

Jimmy: I think the one thing we all have in common is that we love jamming. The song is the main goal- at the end of the day we just wanna have a good song to start from.

Bear: [Lem’s] best quote ever is, ‘It’s about the feel not the fill.’

Lem: I know that sounds strange- most people are like, ‘What do you mean?’ I mean the feel- like the soul, feelings, emotions you get versus doing a whole bunch of licks on drums. That nostalgia that you get.

Ethan: It’s more about the melody than anything.

Bear: I was sold when I saw that [quote]. I knew he needed to be in the band. That is the quintessential piece. Something I’ve noticed about all these guys is this drive to be better and know that we can always be better. That’s something that I really respect from everybody here. No one’s ever really happy after a show- we find areas where we need to work on. On stage there’s so much confidence and [we] come out with a bang, but at the end of the day we’re always looking to get better.  

Ethan: I think we’re our own hardest critics for sure.

Where do you see Public Safety going?

Bear: 13 nights at MSG.

Ethan: 17 in 17! We just gotta wait for 3017.

Bear: I wanna be one of those bands. When people think about the Colorado scene exploding, and they think about The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, Motet… I wanna be in that list. I think we’re on our way. There’s been a lot of traction, it’s just about finding the right people to get in our corner.

Ethan: I think the only place we’re going is to the top, honestly. There’s nowhere else to go.

Lem: It’s definitely the dream. It’s all we’re trying to do forever, and ever and ever. We have to go to the top.

Bear: We work, we show up to gigs on time, we don’t get shitfaced before shows. Everybody is on it, we know our parts. We have a contract and a bunch of agreements we’ve made. I’ve been in good bands but never had the confidence like I do in us right now. All [of us are] excited about what we’re doing which is really inspiring and motivating.

Ethan: We’ve only been playing seriously for about a year, and it’s pretty cool to see all the crazy things we’ve done in that limited time. We’ve toured around a bit; played some festivals in front of a few thousand people.

Bear: We’re headed down to the East Coast, back to Charleston in March doing a 14-stop tour. We’re pretty excited about that, that’ll be a lot of fun.

To the top it is. Keep up with Public Safety here.

-Annie

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.

Premiere: Yasi Talks To Us On Video About Her Inspirations, Artistry, & Fears

The inspiration behind this video stems from Yasi's strong, feminine tone. I wanted to create a visual train of thought that viewers could follow and engage with that would accurately encapsulate who Yasi is, both as a human and an artist. It was important to me to create something that would interest people that are fans, as well as those who may not yet be aware of her music. I felt that by mixing video, photo, design and text, I could create something unique that would enable this attraction.

Catch Yasi next this Friday, December 8th at Globe Hall in Denver.

-Annie

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

Aminé & Towkio Team Up For Denver Cervantes Show (10/10)

By: Annie Kane

Hailing from opposite coasts but equally matched in their recognizable talent and quirky personalities, Aminé and Towkio will take to Cervantes’ stage this Tuesday, October 10th.

Towkio is a beloved Chicagoan and fellow member of the original Savemoney crew.  His edgy vocals sprinkled with a mix of live instruments and bubbly production have made him an enticing target for features, continuously appearing on songs with the likes of Joey Purp, Kami, theMIND, Vic Mensa, and Chance the Rapper. His lyrics often articulate strong references to his Chicago heritage, club scenes, and introspective philosophical wonderings. His debut mixtape .WAV Theory is a prime example of how he skillfully interweaves these elements all while continuing to critically push the musical envelope. Just this past weekend, he released “Swim,” a celebratory musical experience. His next project, WWW, is reportedly “on the horizon.”

Breakout star and Portland rapper Aminé will headline. Note: He has been wearing and will be wearing the same pants for every night of his 25 city tour. Why? He explained on Twitter, “I’m wearing one pair of pants for the whole tour adding a unique patch for every city… I’m bring 1 fan on stage every show to write on their city’s patch.” Pretty cool reason, I’d say. His debut album, Good For You, dropped this past summer after his “Caroline” video captured the humor and attention of millions of viewers. He snagged features from memorable artists such as Kehlani, Nelly, and Charlie Wilson among others. Aminé’s authenticity to himself is adored by many and proven successful when integrated into his music.

Catch these poppin’ new artists at Denver’s rowdy Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom this week! Tickets available for purchase here!

-Annie

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

Big Wild Really Might Just Be Invincible

By: Annie Kane

It’s been almost a year since we interviewed Big Wild prior to his set at Larimer Lounge in Denver, and we have to make a music snob move by saying: we called it. Over the course of the past year, Big Wild has arguably become one of the biggest rising stars in EDM. The Foreign Family Collective artist sold out Denver’s Gothic Theatre two nights in a row this year, and just last weekend, he brought the house down at his (of course) sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Did we mention he’s also playing Red Rocks later this year?

Despite growing from intimate clubs to massive stages, Jackson Stell, the man behind Big Wild, still manages to have every audience member dancing their face off throughout his entire set. From entering with “I Just Wanna” from his new EP Invincible, to closing out with a collaborative performance with iDA HAWK on his title track hit “Invincible,” Jackson’s unrelenting energy kept the audience fueled well past midnight at Bowery last weekend, and buzzing right on into the early morning.

Listen to Big Wild’s Invincible EP:

Big Wild has a few shows left on his current tour before he hits the festival circuit for the summer, so make sure to snag yourself tickets here.

-Annie

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

Evanoff's "Dream Rock" Is EDM + Rock & So Much More

By: Annie Kane

Let me introduce you to “dream rock,” a new genre that the Boulder-born trio, Evanoff, are carving out on their own. What originally started as JJ Evanoff’s solo guitar vision has since grown into the musical experience it is today, with the inclusion of Jake Hall on drums and Parker Oberholzer on bass and synth.

Their most recent release, “Aesthetic Arrest,” showcases the growth this band has experienced since their inception. The song begins steadily, with a series of funky bass guitar notes that evolve into an electronic explosion which bursts and is then broken back down to instrumentals, with more bass, guitar, drums, and some subtle synth. The song then takes flight again, bringing the listener into this ethereal musical collision of sounds, thus earning the “dream rock” titled genre Evanoff have so carefully ascribed to themselves.

Evanoff.

Evanoff.

The constant thread of the guitar not only grounds “Aesthetic Arrest,” but revives an older genre for the contemporary audience, because rock music should and never will die. The song finishes gloriously in a simultaneous electronic and guitar riff buildup, symbolically uniting these once disparate musical genres into a quite beautiful marriage. Evanoff, Oberholzer, and Hall’s skilled abilities in each of their crafts is highlighted strongly throughout the song, and these talents are what set Evanoff up for unparalleled success.

Stream “Aesthetic Arrest” on Spotify:

Evanoff’s presence in the Colorado music scene is hard to ignore, as they have already conquered prominent and beloved venues such as The Fox Theatre, Larimer Lounge, and Cervantes’. They have also brought their undeniably unique sound to huge festivals including Vertex, Euphoria, and Electric Forest. Now, they’re set to tour throughout Colorado and beyond, spreading their infectious new dance music. Whether you’re a Coloradan who has somehow still not caught these guys live, or if you’ve been waiting patiently for them to roll through your city, now is your time to rejoice. Peep Evanoff’s tour poster and get ready to dance your face off.

-Annie

Follow Annie on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Amoramora's Halloweekend 80s Bash Thursday at The Lazy Dog

By: Annie Kane

Hailing from the Rockies, Amoramora is not your average jam band. Listeners have attempted to encapsulate their style as “mountain-funk”, “fusion jam”, and even “earth soul”. With a new setlist at every performance, and their mix of percussion, guitar, bass, trumpet and vocals making endless room for experimentation, Amoramora is guaranteed to keep you on your toes (quite literally).

Amoramora.

Amoramora.

Amoramora is a favored and loved local Colorado band for good reason. Their blend of sounds as described above not only keep listeners interested, but also inspires a dance party. The band recently played a packed show at The Caribou Room in Nederland; check out a recording of that show here if you don’t believe the hype. Their live sound is so splendid that they are planning on releasing the second volume of their S'moramora, a compilation of their live recordings.

This Halloweekend, see for yourself what Amoramora’s live shows are all about. They will be throwing down at The Lazy Dog tomorrow night starting at 10PM. The theme for the night is 80s, and there is a costume competition, so bring your A-game!

And if your Thursday night is booked, catch Amoramora tonight at The Speakeasy in Fort Collins or at Tony P's on Friday in Denver.

To stay up on everything going on in the Amoramora camp, join the group “Amorheads & Amorons” here.

-Annie

Follow Annie on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Marian Hill Brought an Infectious Blend of Sounds to Boulder's Fox Theatre

By: Annie Kane

Musical duo Marian Hill sparked a dance craze at their recent Fox Theatre show.

Vocalist Samantha Gongol carries songs with her silky and seductive voice, which is then manipulated over minimal scattered beats by producer Jeremy Lloyd. That’s the sound of Marian Hill, though the duo have become more of a threesome as of late, with jazz saxophonist Steve Davit throwing improvisational riffs into their songs. Despite this triad of tones becoming increasingly popular in the music world, Marian Hill’s sound is anything from typical.

Samantha Gongol.

Samantha Gongol.

Marian Hill's electrifying music has really come alive since their 2015 EP, Sway, with its popular jams “One Time”, “Got It”, and “Whiskey”. These songs all perfectly coin their sound, which features a pulsating saxophone, deep bass, and sparkly, haunting vocals.

Jeremy Lloyd.

Jeremy Lloyd.

Marian Hill’s set at The Fox last weekend began with the popular song “Down” from their debut album, ACT ONE. The solemn piano notes underneath Gongol’s classical voice were immediately recognized by the audience, who eagerly awaited that single high piano note that cuts Gongol off right before sending the song into spiraling beats.

Moving with Marian Hill.

Moving with Marian Hill.

Gongol’s voice has an incredible range that she proved in her live performance. She marched across stage with a strong presence that the crowd adored. Whenever Lloyd took over on beats, she watched him sharply and acted as a conductor, making sure their technical sound came out accurately. Producer Lloyd and saxophonist Davit flexed their own skills too. Lloyd created thudding beats and Davit danced around stage prior to jumping into tunes, riffing off of Lloyd’s percussion.

Marian Hill brought their all to The Fox. They showed off their unique blend of inspirations, ranging from blues, to hip-hop, jazz, and classical music, all of which were ultimately led to clarity through the siren-like calls of Samantha Gongol. 

-Annie

Follow Annie on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

"Artist on the Verge" Event This Saturday Features All Local, All Lady Lineup

By: Hannah Oreskovich

This Saturday, October 8th, CU’s Verge Campus chapter will hold its first “Artist on the Verge” event. Hosted by the awesome peeps over at Cosmic Collective, the night will feature music by four local female artists. Povi will headline the evening after Yasi, jilly.FM, and SIXXXD take the stage.

Povi, who recently released a visual arts video for her remix of Lil Yachty’s “Minnesota”, is an electronic soul and hip-hop artist based in Denver. Just last week, she shared a stage with NAO and RumTum at The Bluebird that we caught live, and her set was wicked. Check out our photos by Annie Kane from that event:

Yasi, another Denverette, will be bringing her singer/songwriter vibes to the room with music that she says, “I make to better understand the world.” Tight. Next is jilly.FM, who joined the Colorado scene in 2010 and has been on the come-up in the future R&B dance realm. Just this year, she was nominated for a Westword Music Award in the “Best DJ/Producer” category. Spins from her will be sweet, and SIXXXD will be poppin’ as well. Known as a member of the ZOIDcrew, SIXXXD works with hip-hop, world, trapsoul, and jazz music in her bumpin’ creations.

jilly.FM. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

jilly.FM. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Overall, it’s going to be one awesome night of all local; all ladies. Get your tickets here- they’re only $8 and it’s totally gonna be worth the dough. The show starts at 9PM. Go dance!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

New Jersey Producer Clams Casino Plays Cervantes' Denver Tomorrow Night

By: Annie Kane

The New Jersey producer making unexpected waves in hip-hop is set to play Cervantes’ Masterpiece in Denver this Saturday.

Clams Casino's unique sound, which mixes an ethereal presence with a hard edge, has led the artist also known as Michael Volpe to collaborate with a wide range of artists since his beginnings six years ago. He scored his first collaboration with Lil B in 2010, and since then has been making his way through the industry by predominately working with hip-hop artists (though there are some exceptions).

Clams Casino.

Clams Casino.

CC’s latest album, 32 Levels, demonstrates Volpe’s beat-mixing capabilities and really showcases him stepping out and into his own artistry. The release includes both the instrumental and featured versions of his tracks, inviting other curious artists to try their hand at mixing their own vocals over his productions. Vince Staples, A$AP Rocky, Samuel T. Herring, Mikky Ekko, and others are all featured on the album.

Imagine reinterpreting the film Donnie Darko with an electronic and vocal-infused soundtrack, and you can begin to grasp what Clams’ style is reminiscent of. Take “Thanks to You” featuring Sam Dew, for example. The beat comes and goes like a delayed heartbeat, as Dew’s dreamy voice sings about losing his mind and going insane. The random key notes and electronic riffs throw in an added unexpected effect. It’s this sort of style that makes Clams' unignorable.

Clams Casino is part of a new wave of producers, including Metro Boomin and Kaytranada, who are making headway on their own right and giving fame the man behind the curtain. Come see the once very shrouded Clams Casino this Saturday night at Denver’s Cervantes’ with opening acts from Keyboard Kid, Insightful and RumTum. Tickets are only $20 in advance; get them here!

-Annie

Connect with me on instagram and Twitter.

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

Eryn Allen Kane: A Powerful Force in Soul and Beyond

By: Annie Kane

“Little light you've lost your glow, you just cry and no one knows
That love isn't your friend, your friends are gone
But I say, it's okay, it's okay…”

-“Slipping” by Eryn Allen Kane

These are the lyrics from the song that made me fall in love with the soulful powerhouse that is Eryn Allen Kane (no relation to the author). I had the chance recently to sit down with this artist at her recent Bluebird Denver show, and her strength as more than just a vocalist quickly became evident.

Eryn Allen Kane.

Eryn Allen Kane.

Hailing from Detroit, Kane now calls Chicago her home, after a move to study acting at Columbia College. It was there she realized her passion and knack for singing.

Listen to Eryn Allen Kane’s “Slipping”:

When prompted about the origins of “Slipping”, a tune that mixes heart-wrenching lyrics with an uplifting melody, Kane revealed that it’s about a close friend of hers; a beautiful and talented person who supposedly could not see this about himself, and withdrew into a deep and depressive hole.

“He latched onto me in a parasitic way,” Kane said, adding that her friend believed his only happiness could be found in her. Kane’s pursuits in trying to make him aware of his beauty led her to this song.

Drawing from the people around her is Kane’s common source of creative power.

“I just absorb from my surroundings,” she said.

That being said, she also lets her listeners choose their own interpretations for her music, saying, “People can interpret my meaning however they will”. It is through this symbiotic relationship between herself and her fans that Kane is able to delve into her own emotions and understand them better, and it’s also how her listeners are able to find empowerment through her work.

Eryn Allen Kane strongly believes in self-empowerment. Despite being surrounded by some of the top emerging artists right now, she wants to be recognized for her individuality and capabilities. Her latest releases, Aviary: Act I & II, were done mostly solo. Though she comes from an environment she describes as a place where women didn’t encourage each other to do things, Kane now strives to do just the opposite. In fact, the majority of her music is written and produced by females. “Women should really empower each other,” she told me.

Another current force of female artistry in the industry is Brittany Howard, lead singer of Alabama Shakes, who happens to be on the short list of Kane’s most admired artists. In fact, I could see her eyes brighten as she spoke about Howard to me, excitedly raving, “She’s mixed like me and screamin’ like me!”. Coincidentally, Kane actually helped bring Alabama Shakes to the limelight through her friendship with the late, world-renowned Prince. After Kane introduced the band’s music to Prince, he actually brought the group to Paisley Park, his own recording studio, rehearsal space, and performance venue. Prince was a vital part of Kane’s discovery of her own inner power, and at her Bluebird Denver show, she even dedicated her last song of the set to him.

Prince is not the only musical genius to recognize Kane’s gift. Back in Chicago, she has connected and collaborated with numerous notable artists.

“I met everyone organically,” Kane humbly remarked.

And by everyone, Kane has quite a list. She’s now collaborated with Towkio, Noname, Saba, and of course, the squad of the Social Experiment, which includes Chance the Rapper and Donnie Trumpet. One of her latest collaborations, “Reality Check”, was written and recorded the day before rapper Noname dropped her debut project, Telefone. Kane spoke of Fatima (aka Noname) admiringly saying, “She’s one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met… she’s wise beyond her years… a true poet”.

Kane’s admiration for her Chicago family doesn’t end there. When asked about the possibility of a shift in the environment since Chance and Vic Mensa’s recent jumps to stardom this year, she answered with a response on how much both artists care for their city:

“The Kanyes and Commons just up and left,” she noted, whereas Chance and Vic are giving so much of their fame-derived power straight back to the city. Her closeness with Chance really came through in this part of our conversation when she smiled, “He’s a good dude to the core… [he’s] paving the way for everyone else”.

It’s reasons like these that Eryn Allen Kane appears on so many artists’ tracks. She doesn’t collaborate simply to get her name featured, but does it for the sake of art and friendship.

“I do it because they’re good people,” she told me.

Eryn Allen Kane is spritely and genuine. The love she emanates toward everyone is unavoidable, and her unfaltering belief in her own art, as well as others, is uplifting and liberating. Hopefully you had the chance to catch her at the Bluebird this week, but if you didn’t, peep her tour schedule and get to a show.

Listen to more Eryn Allen Kane’s work here.

-Annie

Connect with me on instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Five Arstists You Should See at Vertex Festival This Weekend

By: Annie Kane

Buena Vista’s inaugural music festival, Vertex, is bringing some huge acts to its majestic landscape.

Vertex Festival, presented by Madison House and AEG Live, is scheduled to bring a variety of big name artists from both blues rock (Alabama Shakes) to electronic (Odesza) genres to the recently rehabilitated ranch surrounded by 14ers in the mountain country of Buena Vista. But the killer lineup doesn’t end after the big names. Many of the smaller artists chosen that are placed on the third tier of the lineup still have huge musical credibility to their name, and most definitely should not be skipped over. Here are our top five must-see acts from that portion of the lineup:

Dawes

California-based rock band Dawes bring their approach to raw old-school touch to their sound. Their vintage feel is a result of recording their live sessions on an analog tape, and inspiration from one of the most classic bands of all time, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their rich sound will echo beautifully Vertex’s grand venue.

Ryan Hemsworth

Ryan Hemsworth is an explorative DJ raised in Nova Scotia. Despite only releasing singles since his last album in 2014, Alone for the First Time, Hemsworth has been riding a wave of fame this year. With access to a computer, it is easy for most anyone to become a producer, but it is rare for someone to be able to truly create art from simple beats. Ryan Hemsworth has this talent. His sound mixes misplaced voices, sometimes even whispers, into deep, twinkly, and ecstatic beats to create something that is like Pop Rocks for your ears. His set will be filled with all sorts of good vibes.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote has dubbed their genre as “future soul”. One short listen, and you can tell that this self-identification is spot on. Nai Palm, the frontwoman of the band, has a full voice reminiscent of Amy Winehouse that when combined with drums, keyboards, and sci-fi space-like sounds creates something you’ve surely never heard before. They’ve collaborated with fellow Vertex artist, Anderson Paak, along with Q-Tip, and have opened for the revered Erykah Badu. Nai Palm tells the Wall Street Journal that their music isn’t “genre specific… If you have enough different influences, it becomes a hybrid of your own. The collective viewpoint defines us." Catch their box-breaking set on Sunday.

Big Wild

We caught up with Jackson Stell, the brains behind the name of Big Wild, while he toured through Denver earlier this summer. Read our interview with him here, and peep a recap video of his show at the Larimer Lounge here. Big Wild is a DJ worth seeing live. He does not sit behind a computer, press a spacebar and then continue to vibe out to his own music; rather, Stell switches between his laptop, drums, keyboards and even an acoustic drum set-up. East coast native and California transplant Stell mixes a variety of super fun sounds into his songs, along with remixing a variety of well known songs, such as “Show Me Love” by Hundred Waters feat. Chance the Rapper. Big Wild had everybody dancing at his show in Denver, and he’s guaranteed to make you move at Vertex too.

BadBadNotGood

Recent collaborator on Kaytranada’s latest album, BadBadNotGood has been making big waves in the hip-hop community despite being a jazz-focused ensemble. The group, consisting of Matthew Tavares (keyboards/synthesizer), Chester Hansen (bass) and Alexander Sowinski (drums), have already worked with Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah and Mick Jenkins. Their shared love of jazz and hip-hop led them to reinterpret famous hip-hop songs, which has attracted the attention of big name artists. BadBadNotGood is one of those almost-underground voices that is driving an  innovative change in music. Check out their song with Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring, “Time Moves Slow”.

See the whole lineup for Vertex Music Festival here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

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

Pitchfork's Fantastic Finale Featured FKA Twigs, Miguel, Chance the Rapper, & More

By: Annie Kane

Day three of Pitchfork Music Festival began with raging thunderstorms in the early morning and ominous clouds lurking overhead for a good part of the day. But finally, the sky broke apart to reveal a shimmery sun and sticky humidity, just in time to rally Sunday’s festival goers with the day’s awesome lineup.

Nao.

Nao.

Not initially part of my agenda of acts to catch, East London singer Nao called me forth to her stage with her unique voice and poppin’ beats. Going barefoot in a bright floral romper, Nao commanded the crowd with her strong presence onstage. She was extremely comfortable in her performing abilities, moving gracefully between the mic and twirly dance moves. Her voice synced incredibly well with her deep, almost 90s-like beats. She even blew herself away, pausing occasionally between the songs to smile brightly and take it all in. Her ability to appeal to everyone in the crowd made her music that much more powerful, and there was even an adorable toddler standing on the barricades with her dad, looking up to Nao and dancing along to every song.

Empress Of.

Empress Of.

Next up was Honduran-American multi-talented electro-pop artist, Empress Of. Despite starting late, her crowd was immense as she stood on stage completely alone, navigating between the keys, drums and vocals. For being one person onstage multi-tasking between instruments, I was surprised by how much Empress Of was able to create a fun environment while keeping the audience engaged. Her music has many elements and layers to it, and each one incited major dance parties.

Jeremih.

Jeremih.

The day continued with Jeremih’s set. Jeremih is revered for having a large amount of radio hits, so every song he played had the crowd insanely hyped. Rumors and sightings of past Pitchfork headliner and Chicagoan, Chance the Rapper, stirred extra excitement in the crowd. When the DJ dropped the beginning of Chance’s “No Problem”, the crowd jammed themselves further to the front of the stage as the smiling rapper emerged. You could literally see a wave move through the audience as people moved closer to see this hometown hero. Jeremih and Chance riffed off of each other’s energy for a few of Chance’s songs, including “Angels”. Jeremih didn’t lose any energy when Chance left the stage; when he tried to jump into the crowd during “Oui”, he fell in-between two speakers and was caught by security guards. But that didn’t stop him; he ran right up to the crowd before being forced by security back around to the stage. Though the set was overall killer, he did close with Desiigner’s “Panda” instead of his own tunes, which was somewhat disappointing.

Miguel.

Miguel.

Miguel delivered an unbelievably beautiful set; his band had such a palpable energy that Miguel made every fan in the crowd fall in love with him over and over again. What impressed me more so than his crooning voice and sexy dance moves was what he said between his songs. Miguel was really the first artist at Pitchfork to truly address the turbulent times going on in the world right now. He urged people to stop posting pictures praying for other people, and to actually go out and do something to change the world:

“This is the kind of solidarity and unity we crave…this moment, is the most beautiful thing to be connected with you…let’s continue connecting, gathering gathering gathering, that’s the only thing that’s gonna heal all this separation…” he said.

Miguel then prompted the crowd to chant with their fists in the air, “We’re all that we’ve got”. The contrast between Jeremih’s all-hype set compared to Miguel’s multifaceted, multi-genre and celebration of love and unity was interesting to compare.

FKA Twigs.

FKA Twigs.

Finally, English singer FKA Twigs closed out Pitchfork for 2016. With a trained dance background and edgy style, she created the most captivating set of the whole weekend. FKA stayed in her zone while performing, and never once broke her set to talk to the crowd and show appreciation. There was one moment during a lull between songs where she simply stared out into the crowd, dressed in a shredded jean outfit with a feather through her nose. Despite trying to keep the mirage without breaking the fourth wall, I could see underneath her face that she was taking in the energy of the crowd to fuel her for the rest of the performance. One of the most creative artists currently in the industry, FKA did not disappoint. Her style is much like Björk in the way that she pushes beyond normalcy or trends. She was extremely cool to see live, and a was an incredible closer to a weekend filled with talent from across the globe.

Check out more Pitchfork Festival photos here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Brian Wilson, Blood Orange, & Anderson Paak: Day Two at Pitchfork Music Festival Was a Success

By: Annie Kane

Day two at Pitchfork was quite a success.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

The weather yesterday was something festival goers wish for every year, and in Chicago, those humidity-free 80 degree days are quite a rarity. With a crowd that seemed almost double in size compared to the day before, every stage was bumping and filled with trendy music listeners.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange’s set was just as magical as I was hoping it would be: donning simple jogger pants and a headband, Devonte Hynes started things off by playing the audio track off of the first song from his recent album, Freetown Sound. The woman’s voice on the track echoed off the park, as she spoke in slam-poetry style about feminism and media representation in today's society. You could feel the audience’s emotion as cheers swelled up in the strong points of her speech. Hynes then sat down on his low-set piano, playing simple notes that hushed the enormous crowd gathered to see him perform. As he rose to grab a mic, two of Hynes’ fierce backup singers strutted across the stage to their mics and the saxophonist grabbed his instrument as they all, in perfect synchronization, began “Augustine”. Later on, Hynes brought out Carly Rae Jepsen for the tune, “All That”. Hynes’ unique style blends the culture of off-pop 90’s music with clear inspiration from David Bowie and Prince, tied into his own unique vision. Hynes seemed so relaxed on stage, as he twirled around singing dreamy notes and with the sun shining behind him, the atmosphere of the set was almost ethereal.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid surprised me with a heartfelt emotion reflected on his face during his performance, and his hardcore drumming skills between songs. His backup guitarist absolutely shredded a few solos of his own, and BJ covered a lot of songs, including tunes from other notable Chicago artists like Kanye West (“THat Part”) and Chance the Rapper (“No Problem”).

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson started his set early, and as I ran up to catch the last spot in the photo pit, I found myself pausing for a second as the group sang “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. The song sounded exactly like the Pet Sounds recording, making me question if The Beach Boys were all somehow back together on stage. Wilson remained behind his big grand piano for the length of the performance, staring at his sheet music and occasionally glancing into the jeering crowd. One fan at the front screamed out during a quiet pause, “This is my favorite album ever!” The band members all smiled, and for the whole set, they seemed happy to be performing some of the most beautiful music ever composed. Chicago natives John Cusack (who played Brian Wilson in the film “Love and Mercy”), along with his sister Joan, both came out for a song and sang at the front of the stage with one of the backup singers. Everyone seemed as if they were in a sweet stupor of nostalgia during Wilson’s set.

Anderson Paak.

Anderson Paak.

Since catching Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals at Red Rocks, I have had my eye set on snapping Paak again. I was buzzing with excitement as he ran onstage and went right into “Milk N’ Honey”. Standing between two speakers that were blasting bass so hard that my dress was being blown around, I couldn’t hear Paak’s voice well over the mic, but I was close enough to actually hear him from my spot near the stage. Being so close, I could feel the energy radiating off of Paak and his whole band. He brought so much more power to this performance, keeping energy high by going right into his almost trap-like song, “Drugs”, from the album Venice. He jumped over to the speaker next to me, singing down into my lens before stepping over my head. After the first three songs, security pushed press back, as I reluctantly left the pit. Despite being back in the crowd, the energy was still palpable as Paak got the audience to dance their faces off. It was fantastic.

Hands Up.

Hands Up.

I can say I’m glad to be here, and yesterday’s shows were incredible. Stay tuned for more Pitchfork coverage!

Check out more Pitchfork Festival photos here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

BolderBeat Will Cover Pitchfork Music Festival This Weekend

By: Annie Kane

July 15th-17th Pitchfork will hold their annual, independently run music festival in Union Park on the West side of Chicago, and we’ve got some exclusive access coming your way.

Based in Chicago, Pitchfork is a cutting edge online music media source. Every year, they hold a music festival revered for attaining a wide variety of voices in the music industry, and they’ve been at it for 11 years now. In 2015, Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Wilco headlined. This year, we’re looking forward to a mix of music legends (i.e. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys), and innovative new voices (i.e. FKA Twigs).

Held in the intimate venue of Union Park, Pitchfork Music Festival brings over 40 artists to its three stages set up between expansive shady trees. The festival draws a unique crowd as a result of its eclectic lineup. From synthy pop (see Empress Of) to jazz (Kamasi Washington) to hip house disco (check out Shamir), there’s something for everybody.

Checkout the lineup below, and stay tuned for further coverage from BolderBeat on the festival!

Friday

Beach House, Broken Social Scene, Carly Rae Jepsen, Shamir, Julia Holter, Twin Peaks, Mick Jenkins, Moses Sumney, Car Seat Headrest, The range, Whitney

Saturday

Sufjan Stevens, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Blood Orange, Super Furry Animals, Digable Planets, Savages, ANDERSON .Paal & the Free Nationals, Holly Herndon, Jenny Hval, BJ the Chicago Kid, Martin Courtney, Kevin Morby, Royal Headache, Girl Band, Jlin, RP Boo, Circuit des Yeux

Sunday

FKA Twigs, Miguel, Jeremih, Neon Indian, Kamasi Washington, Holy Ghost!, Empress Of, Oneohtrix Point Never, Porches, Thundercat, Woods, The Hotelier, LUH., Sun Ra Arkestra, NAO

For more information on the festival and the artists in the lineup, visit Pitchfork Music Festival’s official website.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per Pitchfork. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.