Westword Music Showcase's 25th Anniversary Brought Together Artists, Friends & Powerful Frontwomen

By: Taylor Naiman

On Saturday, the Westword Music Showcase overtook the streets of Denver’s Golden Triangle. Though it was a 97-degree day with the sun overhead at all times, everyone had a beer in hand and seemed to be unbothered by the heat. People were happy and excited just to hear some brand new music from local and national artists alike. From the bars to the clubs, there were plenty of venues along Broadway and Lincoln Street to escape the heat while enjoying some good tunes. Rather than occupying a bunch of stages outside, Westword Music Showcase nurtures local businesses, with a majority of the sets taking place at various bars and clubs including Bar Standard, Stoney’s, 100% De Agave, Mirus Gallery, #VYBE, Club Vinyl and The Church. This amalgamation of local businesses and bands allowed people to discover new venues, new music, and new people along the way.

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this one-day music festival is a staple of the Denver community. It has been a successful launch-pad for many local artists over the years, including the likes of DeVotchKa and 3OH!3. This year, we caught some big-name acts such as Jai Wolf, Bishop Briggs, Yasi and CHVRCHES, among others on the main stages. Bishop Briggs was a fan-favorite, with her powerhouse voice and contagious smile. The last time she was in Denver was for her set at the now defunct Grandoozy. At Westword, Briggs was loving every minute of her Mile High set, running from one end of the stage to the next, unphased by the altitude or the heat. The audience was treated to some of her new music, while also hearing  the entirety of her Church of Scars album. 

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Denver Westword’s Music Showcase presents an essential platform for artists to share their craft and tell their story. Music delivers a message and over the day, we heard a lot of stories Denver’s local rock’n’roll band Los Mocochetes used their music to address today’s political issues, such as immigration. At the end of their set, they told us, “Dance is a form of prayer.” We definitely love our music out here in Colorado, and it was a blast to see the differing forms of expression coming from the artists and concert-goers.

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Westword Music Showcase is all about supporting the local scene, and thrives on the concept of concert-goers discovering the unknown or what may be an undiscovered talent. The Showcase this year was jam-packed with a culmination of genres curated for diverse tastes. Throughout the day, it was nice walking the grounds, running into friends having a drink together. This fest is a “squad up and see that new band you have not heard of” type of event. It thrives on the idea to not listen to one type of genre, but rather to branch out and hear a new voice. The beauty of this Showcase is that you will, without a doubt, discover a new musician or band to follow on Spotify

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Whether rocking out to Cheap Perfume or The Velveteers, it was a breath of fresh air seeing Colorado frontwomen take charge and own the stage. The festival also featured a number of strong national female acts, including Lauren Eve Mayberry, the lead singer of CHVRCHES, and aforementioned Bishop Briggs.

If you didn’t get the chance to go to Westword Music Showcase this year, listen to their festival playlist here! We’re already looking forward to Westword’s 2020 announcement. 

See more photos from this festival here.

-Taylor 

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

Jesse Rutherford Holds His Own on Recent Solo Tour Without The Neighbourhood

By: Taylor Naiman

Monday night, avid Neighbourhood fans were given a real treat to see Jesse Rutherford on his first solo tour at the Bluebird Theatre. Earlier this year when Rutherford announced his solo tour, many fans assumed this would mean the demise of the band entirely. As a band who has experienced huge success over the years, this seemed a little worrisome. Fortunately for fans like me, the band is headed on the road again for their own tour and jamming at various music festivals this summer. Until then though, Rutherford’s solo tour is a special treat. Fans on Monday got to hear the grooves from his solo albums “&” and “Garageb&”. Rutherford has accumulated a substantial and loyal fan-base over the years and since it has been a little over a year since The Neighbourhood played a show in Denver, everyone at the Bluebird this week was hyped to see him take that stage. We even got a sprinkle of The Neighbourhood when he performed “#icanteven”.

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Genre-blending is characteristic of The Neighbourhood’s music, and also of Rutherford’s own solo sound as well. He combines hip-hop, edgy pop undertones mixed with atmospheric beats, and a sultry voice. Monday’s show was comprised of both slow tunes and funky beats we could dance to. This show was different than the others I’ve seen involving Rutherford; a dichotomy which offered a new way to see him in his element. Same man, same voice, yet he offered a different mood. The beauty of the Bluebird too is the absence of any barricade separating the artist(s) from the audience, creating a true concert intimacy. This offered the opportunity for an energetic interaction, whether it was Rutherford shaking hands with concert-goers or some of the crowd feeling personally serenaded. The set embodied both a dance party and chill vibes all in one.

A strong stage presence and audience participation encouragement is essential from any lead singer and for Rutherford, this mean singing “Rock & Roll DJ” together. Rutherford always manages to show how much fun he is having and graces the stage with a necessary character and captivating charisma. He never takes a stationary approach to any of his performances; he moves around constantly with a rhythm concert-goers can not deny. Looking around the room, everyone knew the lyrics, snapped their fingers, and continued to dance. Between songs, girls were in the crowd shouting “Daddy!” and “I love you!”. You could say Rutherford is popular with the Denver ladies.

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Having attended past Neighbourhood shows in Denver, Monday’s show not only felt more intimate; it also felt minimalistic compared to the rest. It had a raw quality, both in regard to Rutherford’s attire and the overall ambience. Over the years, the frontman is always changing his look, whether with his hair color, his choice in leather jackets versus fur jackets, or his affinity for skinny jeans. On Monday he sported a simple white t-shirt and blue Dickies pants; his set was made up of only him and his DJ and a short collaboration with his opener, Goody Grace.

A major highlight from this Denver show was Rutherford sitting down in front of the microphone without his DJ, just him and his acoustic guitar, singing to his fans. Some people would have considered this tour a risk, but with great risk, comes great reward. This solo tour gave Rutherford the opportunity to spread his wings in an avenue of individual sound. This was his show and we were all here for it. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Jesse and The Neighbourhood.

-Taylor

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.









Of Montreal Brought the Theatrics to Denver Gothic Theatre Set

By: Taylor Naiman

Last Thursday night, Of Montreal brought their eccentricity and psychedelic visuals to the Gothic Theatre. This was a change of pace from their routine stops at the Bluebird Theater in past years. It was a new venue for them and they owned it.

Of Montreal.

Of Montreal.

Of Montreal is synonymous with youth and creativity. This is a group who never fail to create an other-worldly experience and “embrace the weirdness” without hesitation. They are an indie pop band, yes, with their own twist and flair. With quirky song names and unique album titles, it is extremely hard not to enjoy them and dance along to all of their eccentricities. Their setlist at The Gothic included some favorites such as “A Sport and a Pastime,” “Let’s Relate,” “It’s Different for Girls,” “She’s a Rejecter,” and “Gronlandic Edit.”

The production of an Of Montreal show speaks for itself, and there is a high caliber at which it is executed. Attendees cannot help but smile, as they witness the costumes and the innovation comprised on the stage. In fact, this band plays a set that will leave you feeling genuinely happy. Whether it is the dancers donning silver capes and face masks, or the constantly changing visuals in the background, Of Montreal’s shows are theatrical and innovative. To some, it may seem like a strange concert, but this is what makes them unique. It is a stylish time, with sensory appeal and full of fantastic energy. It is all a fantasy; an imaginative experience with characters, such as aliens and robots. At times, you may even feel like you have entered an altered state of mind.

Kevin Barnes. Photo Credit: Will Elmore

Kevin Barnes. Photo Credit: Will Elmore

Whether it is the graphics, costumes, lyrics or musical composition, it took an extremely creative mind to come up with all of these ideas. A major source of all of this creativity comes from Of Montreal lead singer, Kevin Barnes. On stage, Barnes has crafted his own uniqueness, one that challenges norms and the status quo of what a frontman “should” wear. He exudes individuality and gender-bends every chance he gets. His costume changes included multiple colored wigs, dresses, skirts, nylons, and a bra. Fashioned in a blond wig and false lashes, he rocked the full-faced makeup and was unafraid to do so. Through his ability to embrace this openness, he is also encouraging many men to step out of their comfort zone, whether it means wearing a dress, a wig, or a skirt to an Of Montreal show. This cultivated community of being who you want to be was a serious treat to be a part of.

Overall, if I were to describe an Of Montreal show in three words, it would be avant-garde, elaborate, and wild. They are unlike any other artist or band in the music industry and continue to differentiate themselves. They are dramatic, energetic, and fascinating. From the moment, Barnes stepped on the stage, there was immediately a smile on every concert-goer’s face. They are highly recommended and a must-see concert. Make sure you follow their Spotify.

Keep up with Of Montreal here.

-Taylor

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

Grandoozy Captures Mile High Vibes With First Superfly Festival in Denver

By: Taylor Naiman

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

The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

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

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

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

Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

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

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

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

-Taylor

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

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

St. Vincent. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

St. Vincent. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Find the rest of our Grandoozy coverage at this link.

-Taylor

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

From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

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Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

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

The Neighbourhood Sold Out Yet Another Denver Show

By: Taylor Naiman

Last Friday, The Neighbourhood took the stage at the Ogden Theater in Denver. The five-piece are best known for their tune “Sweater Weather,” which first hit the airwaves in 2013. This catchy tune launched them into stardom and put them on Billboard’s Hot 100 the same year. With their song titled “Honest” from The Amazing Spiderman 2 soundtrack, the band continued to stay in the popular music sphere in 2014. This year, the band dropped their self-titled record, which features 12 new tracks, has garnered some buzz, and has afforded the group international tour plans this summer with numerous festival appearances. For such a young band, The Neighbourhood have found a perfect blend of indie rock, R&B, electronica and hip-hop that works well. Their sound is often chilling and moody, and their live shows are riveting thanks to frontman Jesse Rutherford's charisma. Needless to say, when Denver was picked to be the first city on the band's 2018 spring tour, devout fans could not have been more excited.

The Neighbourhood. 

The Neighbourhood. 

Fans began lining up at noon in the freezing weather on Friday in Denver, and the line wrapped around several blocks. This was clearly a crowd who appreciates small venues and loves the intimacy of seeing The Neighbourhood outside of a festival experience. In fact, since 2013, The Neighbourhood have played sold-out shows at Denver’s Ogden Theaterand every year, their audience comes back for another round.

Jesse Rutherford. 

Jesse Rutherford. 

Once in the venue and out of the cold, the crowd suddenly found their voices and dance moves after a somewhat sleepy opening set from Field Medic. After The Neighborhood took the stage, there was not one quiet or motionless individual. Everyone in the crowd knew every word to all of their set. Looking around, you could see how this band’s music has truly formed a community. There were girls, guys, mothers, and even security personnel singing and dancing along to the music. Throughout the duration of their set, frontman Jesse Rutherford demanded attention, and for the song, ”Wiped Out!,” he made his tambourine a quintessential staple in the live song, creating a rhythmic channel that the audience fell right into.

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During the show, fans heard tunes from the band’s first album I Love You along with songs from their most recent album The Neighbourhood. Some of their set included “Dust,” “Afraid,” “Scary Love,” “Daddy Issues,” and “Stuck With Me.” Though the band closed with "Sweater Weather" and didn’t come back for an encore, fans didn’t appear disappointed.

Catch The Neighbourhood next at Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California this weekend, and make sure to follow their Spotify.

-Taylor

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

Denver's Annabelle Raps About The Importance Of Self-Love

By: Taylor Naiman

Annabelle is The Mile High’s very own 20-year-old female rap artist, and she’s making big moves in the industry. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she returned to her native Denver to hone her sound. Her introduction to the Denver scene was over a year ago at her first open mic and at the time, she felt like one of Denver’s only female artists. Still, she kept pursuing more stage opportunities at places like The Gothic and Cervantes’ Masterpiece, and while doing so, explored a range of sounds: hip-hop, jazz, rap, and soul.

Annabelle.

Annabelle.

Throughout the duration of her first EP, The Desire, Annabelle creates a storybook and gives the audience her true raw emotion. She has found a balance both lyrically and musically where she can explore different sounds and her own vulnerabilities. Her music is “melodic, soulful and highly vulnerable with hip-hop and jazz undertones.” It is open, emotional, and conveys her vulnerabilities. She strives to give her audience a spiritual awakening.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Annabelle told me that she is most influenced by artists she herself can dance to, such as Ashanti, Missy Elliott, 2Pac, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and J. Cole. Lyrically, she likes J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, and Kendrick Lamar. She told me, “I think I hold the same potential as any one of those legends.” And maybe that confidence is just what she needs.

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Photo Credit: Bobby Vasquez

Currently, Annabelle is working on three EPs in the studio, composed with a new energy and varied tones. They are going to be all about her life journey and “how people can be dangerous.” Each will unmask more of her vulnerabilities pertaining to relationships, self-love, and her continued growth. She describes this music as being reminiscent of an ambient Odesza sound with a  jazzy feel and a hint of a “50 Cent club record.” When she is not in the studio, you can catch her either riding horses or modeling in front of the camera.

Well-attuned to her style and vibe, Annabelle is someone to keep an eye out for. I recently had the chance to ask her a few more questions about her music:

What was your favorite song to write and why?

Should I’ because of the whole story behind it. I walked in on my ex with another girl in his bed. I was pretty calm about the whole situation at the time and didn’t know how to feel about it right when it happened. I tried to write a song about the way I was feeling and it went a couple of different ways before I finished it. But I went from the honest, vulnerable side when I wrote ‘Should I.’ It’s the battle, where you ask yourself, ‘What should I do?’ For me, it is a very poetic song where I can prove my self-love.

What is one piece of advice you would give to another female in the music industry?

Always know your worth and do not settle for anything less. Do not be afraid to tell people, ‘no’ in this industry. Have the confidence to do so! If your ideas do not align with those of other individuals, do not settle.

Learn more about Annabelle and her music here.

-Taylor

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

The Weeknd's Denver Show: "Starboy" In The Mile High City

By: Taylor Naiman

From the moment, he stepped out on stage for his show in Denver on Friday night, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd commanded the attention of the entire audience at Denver’s Pepsi Center. After four years since a Denver appearance, The Weeknd showed all of us why he is one of the biggest stars in the world and is considered the iconic “Starboy.”

The Weeknd.

The Weeknd.

Over time, The Weeknd’s music has transformed from the funky vibes of his mixtapes to catchy pop R&B tunes. Fittingly beginning his set with the title track of his latest record Starboy, Denver immediately rose from their arena seats and danced. The Weeknd followed this with other tunes from his latest album, including “Party Monster,” “Reminder,” ”Sidewalks,” “Six Feet Under,” and “I Feel It Coming.” We also got to hear songs from his earlier records House of Balloons and Beauty Behind the Madness. Denver craved a beat, the eclectic tones we could dance the week off to, and The Weeknd gave it to us.

Whether he was singing “Angel” or “Earned It,” The Weeknd brought raw, sexy vibes to the stage. He also offered us the tales of dark, erotic, and drug-filled mania with hits such as “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Acquainted,” and “In the Night.” This “Starboy” is all about the vibes and I speak for all the fans who showed up: this wasn’t one to sit out on.

Make sure to catch The Weeknd on his current tour for yourself; dates here.

-Taylor

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

Fergie Returns With Visual Record 'Double Dutchess'

By: Taylor Naiman

It's been over a decade since The Dutchess, and Fergie has finally made her comeback with a graceful and effortless re-entrance to the thrones of modern pop. She’s a woman with soul, an “I don’t care” attitude, and the confidence of a mother who has still got it. Returning with a new visual album, Double Dutchess is a mixture of unadulterated sass, confidence, raw emotion and attitude. From her pop roots, she has integrated a new sexy edge, full of bold tunes and hip instrumentals to supplement her voice. She continues to be a vocal powerhouse and shows us that she is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

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With collaborators including Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj, Fergie proves to be a major influencer in the pop industry. She is unafraid to explore new avenues in her sound and continues to do so throughout the duration of the album. Some her best tracks include “Hungry,” “Like It Ain’t Nuttin,’” “You Already Know,” “M.I.L.F. $,” and “ L.A. LOVE.” Though her musical hiatus was long, it definitely wasn’t for nothing. Fergie is back and possibly better than ever.  

Check out Double Dutchess for yourself here.

-Taylor

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