Emissions Festival in Belden Town, California Was Full of Surprise Vibes

By: Taj Leahy

When a friend decided that I simply must join her at a so-called “bass festival,” I at once figured it was not where I wanted to be. Why? I judged the whole thing to be a hyper-masculine meat market with a shitty sound system and profanities on perpetual loop. But surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. It was nothing like that at all. In fact, I had the time of my life, and this “dirt rave” was one of the best parties this old raver has been to in a long time.

Emissions Festival.

Emissions Festival.

With a rocksolid vibe and a fairly insane sound system, Emissions Festival is a gem of an event. Held in the old mining and logging town of Belden, CA, the setting is idyllic as well. The Belden Town Resort is a sprawling building with a restaurant, mercantile, and hotel. The lengthy bar has surely seen and heard many a story, though I didn’t get to add any of my own. Most of the “town” seems to be held up by this single lodge on the banks of the mighty Feather River.

Oddly enough, this oft-used festival site is also a known stopover on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It’s not hard to imagine taking to foot in this lush country. Everywhere you look is either soaring canyon walls, rivulets making their way to the Feather, or some other natural feature reminding you of nature’s enormity and grandeur. It’s little wonder that this area was chosen to be a part of the PCT, though it’s hard to imagine a hiker on a months-long trek pulling into a dirt rave like Emissions. They’d find everything but a respite. The bass cranks all night long; it rattles your waking hours as well as your dreams. Pots and pans vibrate off of stoves. It’s bonkers.

Belden.

Belden.

Another factor that was outside of reckoning was the multitude of Black people at this event. It came as a welcome surprise. Too often, I am one of a handful, and that’s being nice. Honestly, I am more often than not one of perhaps two Black people at a rave. This phenomenon is so normal, and the opposite was so true at Emissions, that when we melinated people did cross each other’s paths, it was hard not to acknowledge it. One Black raver, after commenting on my outfit for the day, pulled down his sunglasses and issued forth a simple and complete statement, “Black people!”

Yes indeed. Judgment be damned. This dirt rave was nothing that I expected, save for the prevalent use of n*gger and b*tch used in the stripped-down and non-melodic music. To be fair, the music didn’t all sound the same, but the genre itself is styled off of Trap music, which is a style of rap with an emphasis on sparse lyrics and a high attention to bass. The funny part is hearing White people play and love this style of music, knowing that it comes from “The Hood” and that it directly contributes to the detriment of Black people, as well as women in general. But I digress.

Speaking of degrading women for sport, the skin at this event was enough to work everyone into a frenzy. But the kicker was that never, not once did this event feel like a meat market, as I had earlier feared. In fact, from the production team to the average partier, everyone I met said that this rave felt “safe.” These days, that’s an important factor. “It’s so good not to have to fight someone off every five minutes,” said one raver to the nods and exclamations of her female friends standing nearby.

Bass. Photo Credit: Audrey A.

Bass. Photo Credit: Audrey A.

Then it hit me: there was something about this party that seemed so good. Partly, I accredit it to being such a small event; they cap the ticket sales at around 600. Coupled with the small area in which the rave takes place, you end up seeing everyone over and over again. It’s ripe for a good time and you can make rave buddies and keep interacting with them for literally days, which took the edge off. Even with the hefty amount of drug use around, most people seemed happy and willing to be there together. Instead of women hiding from men and people lurking, there were spontaneous dance groups and speaker piles, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the 90s. Yes, I’m that old. Yes, I’m still raving.

Rave franz.

Rave franz.

This rave was bliss; ecstasy even. When it was time to go, I found myself sad to leave the new dancer buddies I’d met, which really was a good feeling. The couple of “bromances” I had at Emissions left me feeling very differently than I had expected when first invited to come to this dirt rave in the forest. The plain of it is that I barely want to tell anyone about this festival, but I’ve made an exception for you dear reader. Emissions was such a good party that I’d hate to have it spoiled by too much notoriety.

That said, everyone is welcome, and I myself would love to see Belden from the vantage of a hiker on the PCT. Once again I was reminded of what the raver gods teach us: that all are welcome and that music is life. Life indeed is music, if only we are willing to let it play and be open to its many forms. Everyone is welcome on the dance floor no matter if they have a hiking stick or a Thai stick. Emissions in Belden Town is the place to be.

Learn more about Emissions here.

-Taj

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

Joshua Tree Music Festival is an Oasis for All

By: Moriel O'Connor

I was in Youssoupha Sidibe's vintage aluminum artist trailer, listening to the Kora and drinking coffee with Senegalese spice. I had lost my voice from singing higher than ever before. Raspy and sandy, I sat in reflection and recognized the greatness of Joshua Tree, California and their amazing bi-annual festival.

Life at Joshua Tree Music Festival.

Life at Joshua Tree Music Festival.

The night before, the rainbow sherbet skies turned to black as the full moon rose. She shined golden over the vista. The air was cold and crisp, yet still my heart was warm. Everywhere I looked, there was an art installation or mural. I realized nobody was fighting and everyone was friends. There was no room for hate. We stepped, swayed, and sang together to gather all the precious moments we could.  

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The festival was all encompassing and unconventional. For 17 years, it has been run without corporate interests or greed. The music fit this mood, with rebellious acts such as Vintage Trouble, Earth Arrow, Cole Williams Band and Trouble in the Streets. The collection of local bands included Gene Evaro Jr, The Adobe Collective, Megan Hutch and more. Dynohunter brought some Colorado funk, and Oliver Koletzki and My Baby flew in from overseas. Much more than a dance party, there were yoga classes, workshops, children's activities, a  healing village and songwriter sessions.

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The Mojave Desert Land Trust was there as well, educating us on the land and park. The town and national park are named after the Joshua Tree (Yucca Brevifolia). This is the largest species of Yucca, and it only grows in the Mojave Desert. The Joshua Tree and Pronuba Moth are in an everlasting relationship. They cannot survive alone. Sometimes called the Yucca Moth, it is the only insect that can pollinate the Joshua Tree. Female moths collect pollen while laying eggs inside the ovaries. Larvae hatched from the eggs, then use the seed of Joshua tree as a food source. From this kinship, I learned life itself is incomplete without one another. This was a vibe felt strongly among Joshua Tree festival-goers throughout the weekend.

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If you missed the spring fest, the 14th annual fall Joshua Tree Music Festival will take place this October. North Mississippi All Stars and The California Honeydrops are headlining.

To see more from Joshua Tree Music Festival, view this photo album.

-Moriel

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

My Baby Spill the Scoop on Their Shamanistic Saga from Amsterdam to Joshua Tree

By: Moriel O'Connor

My Baby, a mesmeric trio from Amsterdam, journeyed to the USA for Joshua Tree Music Festival this year. Electrifying, funky, and bluesy, their music goes beyond reality. If you have yet to hear them, listen below. Read on for my interview with the trio:

So, whose baby is it anyway?

‘My Baby’ is our shared, imagined muse. So 'our' baby has resulted from our combined imagination.

Amazing. How did your band come together?

Daniel (guitar) met Joost (drummer) in Amsterdam while traveling from New Zealand. They formed a series of bands/formations that were fronted by a then teenaged sister of Joost named Cato. My Baby is essentially a three-piece split off from those earlier groups.

How was your experience at Joshua Tree Music Festival?

Joshua Tree was gorgeous; so much fun. The audience had such a great energy, and [it was] in such a beautiful part of the world to boot.

Being based in Amsterdam has got to be fascinating. What's one way Amsterdam's music scene differs from North America?

Amsterdam has its share of great venues and jazz and art scenes, but have to say, [it’s] nothing compared to the music history and tradition of North America.

My Baby.

My Baby.

Seems like you've been all over the globe with your music. What is your favorite country to perform in?

We do a yearly tour to New Zealand (Daniel's a kiwi) which is a highlight for us, but the U.S. is getting up there pretty quickly as the place to play.

What do you love about your music?

We love the expression of freedom it allows us to delve into, and sharing that experience with an audience.

Your lyrics are incredibly visionary. How do you manage to merge music and story so well?

Our music, it seems is primarily focused on creating a particular mood. A particular mood can quite easily be fitted to accompany some type of storytelling. It also comes from a natural urge to create characters in songs that resemble something or somebody important. And [they] resemble something you can relate to.

What does your songwriting process look like?

We often start with improvised pieces/jams/moods which Cato sings melodies on. Then we look through words that fit, or scenes that fit the mood of the music. Sometimes a storytelling lyric has already been written and can be edited to suit a melody from those jams.

Your album, ‘Mounaiki, By the Bright of the Night’ was released last year. Tell me about it.

For this album we decided to develop a story around the MyBaby character from which to base songs around. The My Baby character is introduced, and named Mounaiki by a fictitious shaman, and a plot develops following the hero’s journey, a traditional mode of storytelling.

It’s also a coming of age type story, where a young girl is trying to find out what the world means to her, spiritually or any other kind of way. We like to describe her as, ‘a girl in the '70s fantasizing about being a flapper girl and dancer in the '20s. So the songs are loosely connected to a storyline that follows the adventures the character undertakes over the course of a night.

Your trio presents such a profound, layered sound without the use of computers or samples. What are some of your favorite effect pedals to use?

Playing without a bass player forced us to experiment with bass octave pedals. Also, we use a lot of delay on both guitar and vocals. Particularly, layering rhythmic delays over each other has became a signature sound of ours.

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And your go-to guitar?

Cato uses a sixties Teisco in recent years, or at times a Guyatone LG50, both Japanese guitars. Daniel primarily uses a Fender Stratocaster or a Supro Ozark from the early fifties.

Your music reminds me of Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a way. Just as she did, you manage to bring the sacred to the secular. What inspires you to perform this way?

Music has such a power to connect people. Spiritual music has such an awesome power. It serves a higher purpose. Music in general serves a higher purpose in many ways. The feeling of being part of that in some way is inspiring.

With such soul-stirring vocals and hypnotic beats, you are sure to set your audience into a trance. Do you find it fulfilling to facilitate that transcendence?

If that's where the music takes us, then for sure.

What's next for My Baby? Any upcoming tours or projects?

We are gonna work on a live record this year, and hopefully an extended visit to the U.S. is in the near future.

I think we could use all the moody, world music we can get here in the States. Nothing says the blues like having to fight for our basic rights. Thank God music heals, because most of us can't afford to see a doctor. Thanks My Baby.

Keep up with My Baby here.

-Moriel

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

Real Street to be Orange County's Largest Music Festival to Date

Real Street is a new hip-hop and lifestyle festival set to take place at the Honda Center grounds in Anaheim, CA on Saturday August 10th and Sunday August 11th. The festival, presented by REAL 92.3, is to be the largest music event held in Orange County, and will feature all of the biggest names in hip-hop including Future, Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, Migos, and more.  

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Inside the Honda Center, Real Street’s new music experience will feature a West Coast Customs car show, along with Big Boy’s Neighborhood, which will include a barber shop, nail salon, and live artist interviews. Outside, there will be three stages for attendees to watch all of their favorite artists perform. Murals and art walls will be showcased throughout the festival grounds, and there will be an artist alley and vendor village. The two-day event will also feature the California Love Thunderdome bar complete with a pyrotechnic display.

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Real Street festival is a summer must, with 2-day general admission tickets currently on sale for $169, and 2-day VIP for $539. Snag your tickets today here.

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

Trouble in the Streets Brought the Beats at Joshua Tree Music Festival

By: Moriel O'Connor

It's 1AM in the Mojave at Joshua Tree Music Festival. On the rim of the crowd, I rest on adobe walls within windows and swoon the moon through metallic umbrellas sculpted above. Shivers. The desert chills are real. Pulling up my thigh-highs, I stand up to move to what could be a soundtrack to a riot.

Trouble in the Streets.

Trouble in the Streets.

Must be Trouble in the Streets. They play the kind of music that makes you feel ready to overthrow the government: Power, Soul, and Rock’n’Roll.

People are stomping up the sand and it smells like liberation. A sparkly hooded creature dances ghostly and gracefully on, then off the stage. Oh sweet mystery. Feeling the rush of my blood and curve of my spine, I wonder, is the earth really shaking? Or is that just the cactus juice? The beat keeps going, and things keep getting weirder. There’s hip hop, punk, neo-soul and more. The sounds are boundless, psychedelic and polyphonic. The crowd is lifted by influential lyrics such as, “Challenge the evidence and take control of your existence.”

This is more than a set, this is a work of art. Nnedi Nebula Agbaroji plays the keys and activates the crowd with compelling vocals. Andy Leonard honors the bass and keys while Bobby Snakes drums for the people. This trio has chemistry, and they are damn not afraid of entropy.

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If you dare, dip into their density, discover Trouble in the Streets yourself. Listen to their Rule Breaker EP then check out Electro Tribe. Be prepared to lose your mind and move your body. Trouble traveled to Joshua Tree from Austin, Texas and is currently touring California with TV Broken 3rd Eye Open. Catch the remainder of their tour this Friday, May 24th at Surfside Venice, or on Saturday, May 25th at WinstonsOB in San Diego. You can also find them home in Austin at venues such as Stubb’s, One-2-One, North Door, or Empire.

-Moriel

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

3 Lasting Takeaways from Lightning in a Bottle 2019

By: Benjamin Tillis

On Monday, May 13, over 15,000 attendees of Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) music and arts festival departed their five day home of Buena Vista Lake outside of Los Angeles to return to their regular lives. But not everything is simply back to normal. If other festival goers had a similar experience to what my camping group and I had, which I’m sure they did, then they not only returned home with countless great memories, but also a new vibrant energy and attitude on life.

LIB glow up energy. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

LIB glow up energy. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

I was lucky enough to attend the festival as part of a 20-person camping group, many of whom I had never met before. But by the end of the weekend, and really by day two, there was a distinct and strong bond between everyone, and it’s no fluke.

It’s because if you were to remove from LIB the great music, the learning workshops and yoga, the delicious food, and the parties, you would still be left with something special: thousands of people coming together around art, creativity, mindfulness, compassion, and fun! The festival creates a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that makes meeting new people and building on current relationships easy and natural.

Campsite times. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Campsite times. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

And of course, the music and other activities are why we’re all there in the first place. It’s what we create these amazing experiences around. Most importantly, I believe it’s the following three aspects that make LIB the amazing festival that it is, and allowed me to become so close to, and have such an incredible time with, the group I attended the festival with.

Dance dance. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Dance dance. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

1. The Music and Dancing - Lightning in a Bottle curates an incredibly diverse musical lineup. It opens you up to different music tastes and styles, and introduces you to types of music you would never listen to. In addition to that, no stage is ever packed with people, and the crowd is so welcoming that you feel zero pressure or judgement when you dance. More so than any other festival I’ve attended, people are moving to the music however they see fit. Dance is a way for us to interact and communicate with each other in a purely physical sense. It lets us feel things and play with one another. Through dance, one can create a unique bond with a total stranger, or get to know a close friend in a different way than usual. By cultivating a space that welcomes all sorts of dance and movement, LIB made it easy for us to go out of our comfort zones and get down!

Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

2. The Workshops and Art - During the daytime, Lightning in a Bottle hosts countless speakers and workshops on an endless amount of topics. Researches and teachers who are leaders in their respective fields of research share ideas and thoughts that you’ll have never heard before. In addition to that, there are amazing art installations throughout the festival. One notable one was a duo who deconstructed a piano and turned it into a new musical instrument that resembled a harp. You could go inside of it and have others strum the strings, creating a really cool experience for the person inside the instrument.

Typically, the time we spend with our friends is purely social. Being able to learn new ideas with each other and experience artistic creativity can be a new experience that helps you learn more about one another.

Lakeside at LIB. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Lakeside at LIB. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

3. Camping and Nature - Buena Vista Lake is beautiful. The festival grounds have green grass and there's a gorgeous lake and pretty sandy beaches. And when you’re camping with a large group, you’re there as a team! Different people contribute differently to the group, and everyone is valued. Essentially, you are surviving as one unit, and that will naturally bring people closer. We cooked breakfast for each other in the morning, cooled down and washed off in the lake, and prepped for the evening activities with fun pre-games. It felt like we were all part of one tribe. All of this said, LIB is something that could absolutely be enjoyed solo. I spent most of my Sunday roaming the festival alone and I made new friends quickly. In fact, it could open one up to make new connections more than someone who’s already surrounded by a crew of friends.

I understand now why festivals like Lightning in a Bottle are referred to as “transformative”. I feel like I’ve gone through noticeable growth and have a better understanding of myself and my old and new friends. Truth be told, I’ve been on a complete high ever since the festival, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Don’t miss out on the incredible time next year, and stay tuned for news on early bird tickets 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.

Lightning in a Bottle Is One Transformative Experience You Shouldn't Miss

By: Benjamin Tillis

Lightning in a Bottle (LIB), Southern California’s hidden gem of a “transformative” music festival, took place last weekend from May 8-12 at Buena Vista Lake, a few hours north of Los Angeles. This year was the first time LIB took place at this venue and not on Memorial Day Weekend, which led to attendees being wary about what to expect. But it is safe to say the festival was a huge success. Lightning in a Bottle continues to be one of the best music festivals out there and something that truly everyone should experience, and here’s why:

The Music

If you look at Lightning in a Bottle’s lineups, you will definitely see names you know and love. This year, those names included Disclosure, Big Gigantic, Santigold, Flying Lotus, and Toro Y Moi. But more than other festivals, LIB curates music that is so diverse and exciting to listen to- and watch.

Flying Lotus. Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

Flying Lotus. Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

The festival is made up of 7 main stages. Some of the most popular are Lightning Stage and Thunder Stage, where most headliners play. But then there’s Woogie, a bass-lover’s paradise. There are people who come to the festival with full intentions to be at Woogie for the entire festival. And on the other end of the spectrum is my personal favorite, Grand Artique. Grand Artique is the brainchild of a thrift shop in San Diego and has become a staple at LIB. It is so much more than a stage for music. Grand Artique creates a setting that takes you back to the early 1900s and has a distinct “Western” feel. They host one-of-a-kind jam bands and this year that included Ozomatli and WC Thornbush & The Great American Show, as well as talent shows and interactive theater and games.

As opposed to other music festivals where hype is built around certain artists, it seems like discovering new music is what is really encouraged at Lightning in a Bottle. It is safe to say that my three favorite acts were ones I hadn’t heard of and didn’t plan to see. The group that stole the show out of nowhere for me was My Baby. Closing out the night until 4:00AM at Grand Artique, this trio hailing from The Netherlands got the whole crowd going wild. They brought a new energy to psychedelic rock, and people were dancing like crazy.

Clozee and Hellmana. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Clozee and Hellmana. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Other great acts were Clozee, the French DJ who spins incredibly exotic music. Clozee played alongside Hellamana, a fire eating group of acrobatic dancers.

Elohim. Photo Credit: JLB

Elohim. Photo Credit: JLB

Also very fun to watch was, Elohim, an electro-pop DJ and singer who relates to her fans by getting real about mental illness with her lyrics, while also singing incredibly upbeat songs with hooks like “I got love f*ck your money,” “I just wanna go where love is alive,” and “Don’t half love me, love me all the way.” It’s notable that these three best performers (in my opinion) are all females or projects led by a female. The festival does a great job of diversifying their lineup in regards to gender, where artists are from, and genres of music.

The Workshops

During the day you can roam around the festival grounds finding endless music and entertainment. But if you want to go a different route, there are plenty of workshops and classes taking place. This is what truly makes LIB the transformative festival that it is. There are 11 “Arts and Culture” tents/stages that host amazing experiences like a Cacao Ceremony, meditations, and classes on things like painting, keto diets, hula-hooping, and the list goes on. On top of this, there were two tents hosting yoga throughout the weekend.

Vibes. Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

Vibes. Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

One of the most impactful and unique workshops I experienced was Psychedelic Breath & Meditation, lead by Anne Marie Kramer. Just through breathing exercises and partnered activities, a group of around 100 people who hadn’t known each other before became very connected and vulnerable together. It was something I had never experienced before, and it set me up for an incredible last day of the festival.

These countless workshops allow one to really grow over the weekend at LIB. They’re a great way to meet like-minded people or really put yourself out there to learn about something new. These are highly recommended for those who attend next year’s Lightning in a Bottle!

The Atmosphere

The past several years of Lightning in a Bottle took place at Lake San Antonio, about halfway between San Francisco and LA. The grounds had rolling hills that really made you feel disconnected and free from the real world. Many long-time LIB attendees feared the new grounds would take away from this feeling. But this year, we learned it’s not the venue that gives LIB its special vibes, but the people and artists. For five days straight, LIBers roamed the grounds with smiles on their faces and positive attitudes. People came to share a new experience with new people. It was easy to open up, meet new people, dance how you want, and roam freely without any judgement.

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

Photo Credit: Jess Bernstein

On top of that, although it lacked the typical hills of LIB, the new venue was beautiful. There’s a giant lake with plenty of beachy shoreline with breathtaking hills in the distance and green grass on the grounds. During the hot, sunny days, you could go to the lake and party with new friends. Or you could go to the stages and dance alongside people who couldn’t be happier to be there.

Even when it rained the first night, everyone was there working as a team, providing shelter to those who needed it, while many didn’t let the weather get to them and just kept dancing in the mud and wetness. It was a site to see!

Photo Credit: JLB.

Photo Credit: JLB.

Days after leaving the festival I still feel like I am on cloud nine. LIB allows you to get to know yourself and others better than you could imagine. It gives you a better sense of self. And a stronger connection to those around you.

Lightning in a Bottle truly is a transformative experience filled with amazing art and people. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind event, LIB is for you. Look out for details on LIB 2020 at https://lightninginabottle.org.

-Ben

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


Spread the Word Festival Takes Over Denver this Weekend for Its Biggest Year Yet

By: Will Baumgartner

A testament to the vision, drive, persistence and commitment to musical community of its founder and mainstay Alex MacKenzie-Low, Spread the Word Festival (StW) returns to Denver this weekend with an absolutely explosive lineup at top venues Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, Levitt Pavilion, and the Denver Coliseum. Now in its seventh year, Spread the Word has grown from its rather humble beginnings to an unstoppable force, bringing international superstars like Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and BoomBox to head up another powerhouse lineup of local luminaries including Analog Son, Gasoline Lollipops, TNERTLE, Juno What, Magic Beans, Rob Drabkin, and Mackenzie-Low’s own fantastic band A-Mac & The Height. Colorado up-and-comers like The Reminders, Graham Good & The Painters, Eldren, Jaden Carlson Band, Mama Magnolia, Morsel, Dog City Disco, Float Like A Buffalo, Zagriculture and more will join as well.

Alex Mackenzie-Low.

Alex Mackenzie-Low.

It’s hard enough to keep moving forward and upward in the music business as a bandleader: to add the tremendous responsibility and challenges of putting on a festival, do it year after year and keep it growing, seems almost superhuman. As a member and avid supporter of the Front Range music scene, I’ve watched with considerable awe and respect as Alex has struggled with challenges and disappointments, and still managed to persevere. This year’s Spread the Word looks like a substantial breakthrough, so I was happy to sit down with him and get some insight into the process and rewards.

How did StW get started?

I started it in 2013 because I was really into Denver's music scene and enjoyed promoting shows. I loved the layout of the old Quixote’s on 23rd & Lawrence and got comfortable incorporating all three stages in a single event. From there I decided to launch the first Spread the Word Fest at Quixote’s True Blue on 13th Street in April 2013.

That was [also] the year I graduated UCD with a bachelor's in music business so putting on the festival was also my way of launching out of the college world into the music industry. My old band Green River Vibe had just released an album called 'Spread The Word' and I thought it made a lot of sense for the grassroots Colorado-centric festival I was envisioning.

Had you put on festivals before starting StW, or was this your first?

Aside from the aforementioned mini-festivals, StW Fest is the only festival I put on. This is the 7th year of StW Fest and I'm 27 so I've been working on it the majority of my career in the music industry.

StW has consistently grown over the years, from being comprised entirely of local bands with moderate regional recognition playing in small venues, to the nationally and internationally known headliners and top regional acts in huge local concert destinations like the Denver Coliseum and Levitt Pavilion. How did you get from there to here?

Honestly it mainly comes down to putting in a ton of hard work year after year and making the right connections and keeping relationships strong. I try to keep respect and integrity with everyone I work with and believe it all comes back around when talented people work together. I definitely feel blessed to be working with the team we have this year.

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 What acts are you most excited about at this year’s festival?

 Wookiefoot is my favorite band, so that is an honor, especially with Mike Love. BoomBox headlining the main stage after The Werks will be epic, as well as round two of Spread the Word Family Band. Last year's family band was a treat and this year's super group features members of SunSquabi, String Cheese Incident, Thievery Corporation and Pretty Lights Live Band. Karl Denson to end the weekend will be the perfect finale. Stoked!

What advice would you give to fledgling impresarios trying to put their own festivals together? 

Believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it first and foremost. More practically speaking, find an investor. It’s not cheap and it’s a very risky business. Once you have the funding, vision, location, team, plenty advance notice and the drive to see it through… give it a shot!

A-Mac and The Height.

A-Mac and The Height.

You also lead one of the best bands in the Denver area, A-Mac and The Height. Isn’t it a tremendous amount of work to run your band and a festival of this magnitude? How do you balance the two?

It’s very hard. My free time from January to May is extremely limited. I also book the shows at Moe's BBQ, which is my main day job, so it’s definitely a balancing act. A-Mac & The Height is building our management/booking team, and the team supporting StW Fest has grown which helps. Either way, it’s a labor of love which pushes through all the long days.

The proof that MacKenzie-Low’s labor of love has yielded some spectacular fruit, as the old saying goes, is in the pudding. Get out at and taste it this Friday through Sunday May 17th-19th. Tickets and more info available here.

-Will

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

KAABOO Del Mar's Music Lineup Perfectly Combines New and Old

By: Benjamin Tillis

We may be in the thick of spring, but who isn’t counting down the days until summer and summer festival season? One we’re most excited for is the return of KAABOO Del Mar in sunny San Diego. This three day festival prides itself on providing a premium experience compared to other festivals because it focuses on “comfort, hospitality, and good times.” It’s true. The camp grounds are clean, roomy, and filled with friendly faces who are happy to be there.

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Aside from music, KAABOO features delicious food served by trendy restaurants in the area, and they invite world famous chefs to lead workshops for festival goers. Additionally, you can see some of today’s top comics, as they host a full comedy lineup. This year’s laughs lineup includes Pete Holmes, Bert Kreischer, Bob Saget, Wayne Brady, and Tig Notaro.

But we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t the music lineup that has us most excited, especially because of how unique it is compared to other festivals this year. KAABOO’s list of artists provides an incredibly eclectic mix of up-and-coming artists while also booking headliners who have been at the top of their genre for decades.

Bert Kreischer.

Bert Kreischer.

First, let’s start with the classic names. Some of the biggest headliners this year are Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons, Duran Duran, Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, The Bangles, Boyz II Men, REO Speedwagon, and Silversun Pickups. That list alone is packed with musical legends, some of whom haven’t played live in years. It will be a real treat to see these artists underneath the Southern California sun.

Duran Duran.

Duran Duran.

Additionally, KAABOO always has a great eye for fresh artists who are doing something new and exciting. Performers this year include Con Brio, Griz Folk, Cash Cash, Cheat Codes, and Keuning. These musicians are relatively new to the game, with the exception of Keuning, the lead guitarist of The Killers who has recently begun his own solo career.

Overall, we cannot wait to see what KAABOO has in store for us. Learn more about the festival here.

-Benjamin

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 Underground Music Showcase Announced Their Entire Lineup Today

Denver’s favorite music event of the summer is back for 2019! Get all of the details:

Who: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS), Denver’s largest and most iconic music festival, just announced the full 2019 lineup and will once again bring an array of acclaimed national and local artists, creatively curated stages, and host endless surprises across the three-day showcase.

From Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28, the 19th annual Underground Music Showcase will return to the historic and hip Broadway corridor just south of downtown Denver.

What:  The just announced 2019 UMS lineup, with performances by more than 200 artists, includes national headliners Honne, Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Tuxedo, Earthgang, and Still Woozy.

Supporting artists include Empress Of, Yves Tumor, DRAMA, Sophie Meiers, LEIKELI47, Y La Bamba, Gardens & Villa, William Elliott Whitmore, Miya Folick, Tessa Violet, Haviah Mighty, Liza Anne, Spooky Mansion, Greyhounds, Dressy Bessy, DBUK, SWSH, Kainalu, Jackie Mendoza, Clavvs, Rapperchicks, Rich Jones, Divino Niño, Parallelephants, Deezie Brown, Garrett T Capps and more and more than 200 acts from across Colorado. View the full lineup here.

When: Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28

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“UMS is a strong representation of all types of music. This year’s lineup of national and local bands was strategically designed to showcase the volume of musically talented individuals Denver has grown while also inviting some national acts to crash the party. Denver’s music scene is growing and shaping into something special, something worth putting Denver on the map as a nationally recognized ‘music city.’ We have put our heart and soul into ensuring UMS helps grow that positive image for all Denver artists while keeping the soul of this underground music community alive.”

— TOBIAS KRAUSE, EVENT DIRECTOR OF UNDERGROUND MUSIC SHOWCASE

Photo Credit:   Nikki Rae Photography

Photo Credit: Nikki Rae Photography

Where: The Underground Music Showcase takes place in a multitude of venues along Broadway, in Denver, Colorado. More details on specific stages and locations will be announced closer to the festival.

Three-day weekend tickets are now available for $50. The three-day weekend tickets include general admission access to all musical performances and all stages, all weekend long. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/tickets.

Why: Denver is on its way to becoming a globally recognized music city with locally organized festivals like UMS leading the shift towards more immersive, live music events. UMS is the perfect representation of the vastness of incredibly talented artists from in and around the Denver metro area, showcasing the city’s growing music scene.

Two Parts purchased UMS from The Denver Post Community Foundation in January 2018. Since taking over the festival, Two Parts has worked to expand the number of outdoor stages and experiences and to continue building on the success of the past 18 years.

Grab your presales here!

The Top 5 Acts to See at Lighting In A Bottle This Week

By: Benjamin Tillis

Lightning In A Bottle is less than a week away! The music lineup is one-of-a-kind this year, and it’s difficult to go through the lineup without getting excited over and over again. Here are the top acts we can’t wait to see at LIB:

LIB.

LIB.

5. Cautious Clay- A year and a half ago, Joshua Karpeh, a.k.a. Cautious Clay, was unheard of. That is until he released one song on Soundcloud in 2017 which blew up, titled “Cold War.” Most recently, Cautious Clay released his EP Table Of Context. Packed with soul and creative song lyrics, it’s hard not to look forward to his set. Listen to his songs “SIDEWINDER” andSETTLER’S PARADISE” if you want to get an idea of what to expect.

4. Elohim- Elohim is an electro-pop DJ and performer based out of Los Angeles. What makes her sets so much fun compared to other DJs is that she sings over the awesome beats she plays. Her lyrics are uplifting and positive, and her songs are fast paced, giving you no choice but to bounce up and down with the rest of the crowd. Fan favorites that she’s destined to play at LIB include “Sleepy Eyes”, “The Wave,” and “Half Love.” Don’t miss her at The Lightning Stage.

3. WC Thornbush & The Great American Show- One of the most unique things LIB has to offer is its Grand Artique stage. Grand Artique began as an art collective based out of San Diego, and it is now a Lightning In A Bottle staple, coming up on its ninth year at the festival. The Grand Artique stage hosts unique musical acts, immersive art, and fun theatrical performances. Returning once again to Grand Artique is WC Thornbush & The Great American Show. It’s a full hour of comedic songs and theater taking place in old-time America. It’s amazingly creative, funny, and will still make you want to dance!

2. Disclosure- A rare performer in the U.S., Disclosure is no doubt the most popular name on LIB’s lineup, and for good reason. Their 2014 debut album Settle arguably gave artists Sam Smith and AlunaGeorge their first big hits. And their follow up album Caracal in 2015 also had plenty of big songs, most notably “Magnets” featuring Lorde. Since then, the group took a short hiatus of touring, but has returned with some very unique singles, including “Talk” featuring Khalid. Disclosure will be the final act of the week on Lightning Stage, slated for a 90-minute long DJ set.

1. Lane 8- A California-born and Denver-based house DJ quickly climbing in popularity, Lane 8 makes beautifully melodic music which gives you no choice but to feel good. Many of his songs feature incredibly talented vocalists over instrumentals he creates, which can only be described as ethereal. This set will put the crowd through an emotional journey that will vibe perfectly with the spirit of Lightning In A Bottle. Expect there to be tears in everyone’s eyes when he plays “No Captain.” Check him out at Woogie Stage at midnight Saturday night!

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Of course there are an so many other acts that we’re looking forward to, along with the full itinerary of yoga and workshops focused on mindfulness, health, and community taking place throughout the weekend. The sun will be out and the lake will be full. We can’t wait! See you there Cali!

-Benjamin

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

Sabroso Music Festival Had Eats, Lucha Libre, The Offspring, & the Best Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce in All the Land

By: Taylor Naiman

After its inaugural year in 2018, the one-day Sabroso Craft Taco, Beer, and Music Festival made a return to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater last Sunday. Whether the crowd saw Nerf from 93.3 KTCL dressed as a taco or witnessed a record-holding competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi scarf down a bunch of tacos in one-minute, there was no shortage of enjoyment. Music, tacos, and craft beer: what is better than this trifecta? Well it did get even better than that. How? One word: luchadores. But more on that later.

Sabroso’s festival was a spicy taco lover’s delight. There were rows of taco trucks with plenty of food to salivate over and a wide range of flavors to choose from. Sponsored by Gringo Bandito, the brainchild of Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring, there was hot sauce on every table in sight whether mild or extra hot. Holland has established a name for himself outside of the music industry and continues to expand his horizons. The Gringo Bandito Super Hot sauce was the perfect addition to my tacos and chips throughout the festival- it gave everything that nice kick I was looking for. As a devout hot sauce lover, it’s something I would put on my chicken, fries, eggs, and definitely on wings. Over the course of the day, some of my other favorite foodie noms included the shrimp taco from the Denver Taco Truck; the green chile chicken tacos, which the menu described as chicken braised in hatched green chile, smoked jalapeno crema, onions, cheese, and cilantro (call my tastebuds now); and the “Pig Sty” tater tots from the Colorado Pig Rig which were smothered in green chile, cheese, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno.

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As a part of the ticket price, festival-goers were able to go from booth to booth and partake in beer tasting from noon to 4PM too. Besides the definite local favorites (i.e. Ratio and Odell), brews that stood out included Rhapsody from Meridian Hive and the Pome Mel from the Colorado Cider Company. Being in the 70-degree weather, both of these hit the spot as refreshing and sweet. The Rhapsody was enriched with blackberry and honey notes and the Pome Mel boasted notes of “Colorado wildflower honey and granny smith apples, with hints of rosemary & lavender”. Though not your typical brews, these evened out the spiciness of the tacos with a perfect little sweetness.

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With food and drink out of the way, let’s get to the action! Los luchadores! Originating in Mexico and characterized by colorful, ornate masks, Lucha libre professional wrestling has its own particular vibe and flavor. It was a major highlight of the festival and there were people of all ages enjoying the comedy and the animation happening inside of that ring. Each of the luchadors had a character to play, and the audience had a favorite that they cheered on.

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At one point, an onlooker decided to step into the ring (hold my beer!), and the luchador slapped the wanderer’s glasses off of his face, thinking he was a part of the show. (Rather hilariously, he was not.) For the fourth and final match, we were treated to a very special guest, the famous luchador, Cesar Gonzalez, a.k.a. Ramses. For those of you who do not know who he is, watch Nacho Libre! This villainous star gained notoriety from Jack Black’s 2006 comedy and women in the audience were definitely shouting “Sexy Pants!” at him. A lucky few were even given the opportunity for a photo with Ramses in the ring. Following the matches, people were allowed to buy their own professional masks, with prices ranging from $20 to $60 each. Each mask was modeled after Lucha libre’s best wrestlers and yes, there was even a Nacho Libre mask. If all of this ruckus sounds like your kind of get down, make sure to catch a Lucha libre match at the Livestock Arena in Jefferson County (Ramses unfortunately not included).

Black Flag.

Black Flag.

Of course, Sabroso had to sprinkle in some good music somewhere too. With a stacked lineup including The Dendrites, Dwarves, Strung Out, Black Flag, The Vandals, Bad Religion, and The Offspring, there was no shortage of entertainment at the festival. Even though the beautiful weather was replaced with a downpour of rain and 40-degree weather by the end of the night, it was all worth it. During The Offspring’s set, many concert-goers had to mosh or jump around to keep warm. The cold was chilling to the bone but the ones who had stayed and braved it got to hear some of The Offspring’s best songs including “Self-Esteem,” “Gone Away,” You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid,” and “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).” Here’s to hoping there will be many Sabroso Festivals to come!

-Taylor

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









Why You Can't Miss Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival 2019

By: Cy Fontenot

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

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This year’s lineup includes Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck, and of course, the King of Telluride, Sam Bush, along with many more phenomenal acts! It’s the festival’s 46th annual year running, and outside of the main stages, keep an eye out for the weekend’s late night shows where you might just catch the next big bluegrass rising star.

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

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

-Cy

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

Excitement Builds as Lighting in a Bottle Releases Phase 2 Lineup

By: Benjamin Tillis

With less than two months to go until Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) music festival, DoLab released the second phase of their lineup. Phase 2 includes names for the transformative festival’s Grand Artique, Favella, Compass, and The Stacks stages, each of which contribute a different vibe and experience to LIB.

One of the most interesting stages is Grand Artique. In previous years, Grand Artique has curated an eclectic group of artists to perform throughout the weekend, many of which have a folk feel. Notable names playing this year are Ozomatli, Rising Appalachia, My Baby, Swingrowers, and WC Thornbush & The Great American Show. The latter is a comedy act that puts you into the world of America during The Prohibition in the 1920s. They sing fun jingles, including a satirical advertisement for cigarettes, and show off their musical talents all while making you laugh.

LIBPhase2.jpg

It’s shows like these that separate Lighting in a Bottle from other festivals. It’s an event that you can walk into knowing few of the musicians and leave with five new favorite bands and DJs. This is in addition to the yoga, workshops, speakers, and other fun events that take place throughout the weekend.

Lighting in a Bottle will take place in Buena Vista Lake in central California, two hours north of Los Angeles and will host 20,000 attendees from May 8th-13th. Headliners include Disclosure, Big Gigantic, Santigold, Lane 8, G Jones, Polish Ambassador, Toro y Moi, Khruangbin, and a much anticipated “3D” set from Flying Lotus topping the lineup.

For more information on the festival and for tickets, click 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.

Lightning in a Bottle Releases Incredible Lineup, Offers Much More Than Just Music

By: Benjamin Tillis

Now taking place in Buena Vista Lake in central California, two hours north of Los Angeles, Lightning in a Bottle will host 20,000 attendees from May 8th-13th this year, instead of its typical Memorial Day Weekend dates.

After festival creator DoLab announced a new date, location, and capacity for their “transformative festival,” LIB fans were anxious to see the Phase 1 lineup released February 15th. It is safe to say people were pleased.

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The biggest names on Lightning in a Bottle’s Phase 1 lineup for its Lightning, Woogie, and Thunder stages include Disclosure, who went silent after releasing their last full album, 2015’s Caracal, along with Big Gigantic, Santigold, Lane 8, G Jones, and Polish Ambassador.

This year the festival also seems to appeal to a more indie jazz vibe with musicians like Toro y Moi, Khruangbin, and a much anticipated “3D” set from Flying Lotus topping the lineup.

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There are still two stage lineups that have yet to be announced, Pagoda and The Grand Artique, which bring one of a kind musicians and theatrical acts you won’t see at any other festival.

DoLab does a great job year after year of bringing in unique and up and coming artists, but they also curate a festival with so much more than music. With a focus on sustainability, social cohesion, personal health, and creative expression, there is so much to experience at Lightning in a Bottle, including yoga classes, sound baths, and creative workshops. It truly creates its own culture that encourages you to express yourself however you feel.

For more information on the festival and for tickets, check out LIB’s website.

-Ben

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

Desert Hearts Creates Love with Late-Night Los Angeles Party

By: Benjamin Tillis

This past Friday night, following Valentine’s Day, Desert Hearts hosted a cupid-friendly event at The Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, titled Let’s Make Love. Desert Hearts is a music festival and record label located in Southern California. More recently, they host parties like Let’s Make Love and many others around the country. However, to call this event just a party would be a huge understatement.

Let’s Make Love. Photo Credit: Miranda McDonald

Let’s Make Love. Photo Credit: Miranda McDonald

With two stages on two different floors at the historic Belasco Theater, all you had to do was climb up a couple flights of stairs to switch from a music festival DJ set vibe to an underground warehouse party scene. The music was primarily house and techno. On the main stage upstairs, fans gathered with lights and Valentine’s Day-themed decorations to dance to Marbs, Lee Reynolds, and Desert Hearts’ staple Mikey Lion.

Meanwhile, the smaller stage downstairs was hosted by Sublevel, a DJ who also goes by the name Doc Martin. Sublevel played a set following satisfying shows by Aunton Tumas, Mr. Koolaid, and Jeno.

Desert Hearts knows good music, but their biggest draw is the crowd their events appeal to. There is a culture of acceptance, giving, and being yourself, and as a result, you meet people who are happy to be there, decked out in crazy outfits and grooving with new and old friends. It’s an incredible atmosphere that even extends in the common area outside. When you’re tired of dancing, it’s easy to start conversations there with other party goers.

Like most Desert Heart events, the party went until 4 AM, satisfying the dancing needs of all the nocturnal animals of Los Angeles.

Check out DesertHearts.us for more information on parties in your area and the Desert Hearts Festival which takes place April 26th-29th just outside of Los Angeles. You’ll be glad you did!

-Ben

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

From Dusk to Dawn: The Fifth Annual CommUnity Share Fest Stood Out in Its Efforts to Give Back

By: Moriel O’Connor

Home is found in places near and far, where you take off your shoes and no one tries to step on your toes; where you can dance however you please, free of all worries, judgement or insecurities.

There is a place like this in downtown Denver: Circus Collective, a warehouse home to ecstatic dancing, music for all, and classes of creative and mindful movement. The walls are dressed in exceptional decor such as weaved electrical cords, Alex Gray paintings, and lights bouncing to the floor. The ground, slate and stable, is for gathering, grooving and growing. On the ceiling you’ll see wooden beams and aerial silks spun up and up and up. While the setting is serene, the sights fall behind those who show up to be the artistry in action.

The Gaia Experiment.

The Gaia Experiment.

On January 11th, from 7PM-7AM, the collective converged for the fifth annual CommUnity Share Fest. I was greeted with warm smiles on the icy evening. The night began with a gong-sound healing session that swam into an ocean of high and low notes. Music was provided by underground and local Colorado musicians. To name a few acts, The Alcapones spread joy with their love of ska. Totem, Treaphort, Eartha Harris, and Miraja each bestowed their electronic oasis. B Love beatboxed with the best of them. Mackenzie Page , Chloe Brooke and Random Temple formed a sensational trio of strings and sweet rhythm. Tubby Love  even made a surprise appearance, bringing his roots reggae a Mile High. Fierce Le Fey took us on a journey of ‘cosmic pop poetry” after Dank P.H.A.R.T the Pirate Poet spoke his peace. And as always, it was uplifting to witness and participate in Alexis Kegel’s Gaia Experiment, a production of improvisational magic. The community was encouraged to add their flavor while she stirred up the sounds.

The space was complete with local vendors, an elixir bar, floor cushions, cuddle puddles, and world-class art. There was a shallow pool for artistic purposes at the surface floor, with droplets coming from above. This made for many moments spent admiring nature’s patterns and getting lost in reflections. Artists Maya Sierra and Ransom Kennedy also live-painted by the stage all night, offering visual brilliance to those dancing and passing by.

CommUnity Share Fest stood out in its efforts to give back. With an emphasis on unity, success was found in integration rather than profit. Tickets were affordable with no fees. Proceeds went right back to the artists, and everyone was rewarded with appreciation and inspiration. There was a even coat drive at the front door and donations were brought to the Denver Rescue Mission the next day.

After dancing from dusk through dawn, I was Bay Area bound. Feeling grateful to discover such festivity in the winter, I was reminded of the importance of community and celebration. I had the jet plane blues while saying my “later dude” to colorful Colorado. Call me when the wildflowers bloom again, and maybe I'll return with cooler dance moves.

-Moriel

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

Decadence: Bass, Balloons, & Everything We Loved About This Year's Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

After several consecutive years of bringing dance music entertainment to Denver, Decadence has become an established music festival during New Year’s holiday season, and it shows. BolderBeat attended the first night of the two-day, EDM-focused event, and we were impressed to see clear improvements from previous years.

First, the lineup…

The first night of Decadence was clearly geared more to the “hard” EDM loving fans. With names like Zed’s Dead and Bassnectar, there were some big dubstep fans ready to get down. The lineup for New Year’s Eve was a little more dancey and mainstream, with names like Marshmello headlining.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

On January 30th, with two main stages and a smaller silent disco, Decadence had no choice but to stack the lineup with talent, and they did just that. The first notable names of the night were Above & Beyond and Alison Wonderland. Although these two acts are significantly different styles of EDM, this was clearly the attendees’ most difficult decision regarding which show to see. Bouncing around both stages, it was obvious that each show was its own party. But Alison Wonderland garnered a larger crowd, which made sense. The only DJs whose names were sported on fans’ clothing were Allison Wonderland and Bassnectar.

Which brings us to the most anticipated performance of the night. Bassnectar, a Colorado favorite, did what he does best: mixing new and old hip-hop with his hard hitting classics. This night’s set included a fun, sped-up remix of “Teach Me How to Dougie,” which of course got the whole crowd moving.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Meanwhile, if you wanted a break from the big stages, there were always enough headphones to go around at the “Silent Disco.” Always a fun battle of colors, there were constantly three different DJs competing to change the headphones to their own “channel.” It was surprisingly easy to be social at the Silent Disco though; you could take off your headphones and chat it up with your dancing neighbors!

Vegas favorite Skrillex closed the night with an hour-long 2AM set. He played the oldie “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and also the entirety of his newer remixes of rap songs, both Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble“ and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.“ The fans were pleased; this set definitely had the most jumping and moving compared to the others.

Next, the logistics…

New Year’s is inevitably a hectic holiday, and when you pack thousands of partying people into one building, it is easy for things to get out of hand. But Decadence did a great job of controlling everything. Entering and exiting moved smoothly, although security was still diligent. And coat check, which can prove to be a huge time waster at events like this, ran efficiently, which was awesome to see. The only word of advice to those who don’t want to wait out the end of their night in the cold at Decadence is to leave 20 minutes before the last set ends to avoid waiting forever for an overpriced Uber/Lyft. Spoken from experience.

Lastly, the production…

The lights and lasers at the stages were impressive, but you didn’t need to see a show to experience cool visuals. Throughout the Denver Convention Center were different light fixtures and displays that had fans double-taking over and over again. Above the crowd were interesting inflated white balloons, and UFO-looking ships that lowered and raised to the music. It was a playground for adults and a really cool sight to see.

After a very successful weekend, it’s safe to say we’re even more excited now to see what Decadence has in store for ringing in 2020!

-Ben

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

How We Found a Lakeside Musical Paradise at the Inaugural Same Same But Different Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

Allocating your festival budget just got a little more difficult for Southern Californians, as Same Same But Different Festival proved to be yet another music and camping focused experience you do not want to miss. SSBD took place last weekend at Lake Perris and it was truly a perfect time and place to spend a couple of days outside, meeting fun people and listening to great music.

Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Starting with the setting, Lake Perris is 90-minutes east of both San Diego and Los Angeles. The campgrounds are covered with green grass, shady trees, and a large beach leading up to a gigantic lake. It’s a place festival goers could be found doing yoga on paddleboards, making friends in the sand, or partying at the “Coconut Club,” a dance party that began around noon and went until sunrise each night.

The amenities were perfect at SSBD. Even for General Admission campers, there were plenty of indoor restrooms, outdoor showers, canopies, and grills to make the most of your camping experience. Though the temperature went above 90 degrees during the day, it was bearable with the lake and the fact that it cooled down to below 60 degrees each evening.

Boombox. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Boombox. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Because this was the festival’s inaugural year, it was no surprise that crowds were small, but this wasn’t a bad thing. Saturday early evening sets like The Routine and The Family Crest saw intimate crowds of around 100 people. But the actual festival grounds weren’t too spread out, so you could find another 200 people hanging around nearby or getting a bite to eat while still listening and moving to the music. Anyone near the stage though was having a blast. Most were barefoot and frollicking around in the grass. It was clear that this was an open space focused on music, dancing, and community.

Lettuce. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Lettuce. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Attendees on Saturday seemed most excited for Lettuce, which saw the largest crowd of the weekend. Their set was no let down, as people went absolutely crazy during the fan favorite “Do It Like You Do.” Later in the night was the funky, pink-boa-wearing duo Boombox, as well as Late Night Radio, an impressive and entertaining DJ whose past experience includes playing drums for Pretty Lights.

Sunday was yet another great day of shows, but it was clear that those who had to work Monday scrambled out a little early. This only added to the personal feeling of this festival though. The combination of the small community and the fact that only one show played at a time meant that you were bound to find all of your new friends dancing in one place.

Sunday’s music began with San Diego’s Fashion Jackson, a garage punk group that was unique and entertaining. The group ended their set with their song “Gossamer.” They invited their friends on stage, jumping around to keep the energy high. It felt like an Odd Future show and was exhilarating to watch for those in the crowd.

The festival closing bands all had something unique to bring to Same Same But Different. These acts included one-of-a-kind CAPYAC; Dirtwire, who must have played over 20 different instruments throughout the course of the show; Moon Hooch, who kept everyone moving with their funky horns; The Floozies, an endless dance party that included an interesting cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway”; and Colorado-based LYFTD, who closed out the festival sampling the catchy horns in the Outkast song “Spottieottiedopaliscious.”

After the shows, the artists weren’t afraid to mingle with attendees. You could find David Satori of Dirtwire and Beats Antique taking pictures with fans during The Floozies’ set, and the gentlemen of LYFTD were enjoying themselves at the festival’s late night dance parties after their show.

Through The Roots. Photo Credit:   Timothy Bailey

Through The Roots. Photo Credit: Timothy Bailey

Overall, Same Same But Different was a huge success. Logistically it was well organized, the music was great, and this festival attracted interesting and fun people. There is no doubt the festival will be significantly larger after attendees spread the word of the incredible time they had.

Do not miss out! Keep your eye out for SSBD!

-Ben

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.