ZEMBU's Latest Track "Human" Reveals How Transformative Art Can Be

By: Julia Talen

Colorado based musician and producer ZEMBU recently released an inspiring and deeply poetic music video for her latest single, “Human”. ZEMBU shared that the song, “Human,” is about the day she learned that her mother had died by suicide. The verse of this indie-pop tune contains lyrics that examine various realms of human nature, and the video itself enhances the single in a variety of ways.

ZEMBU.

ZEMBU.

It opens up with celestial “ooo’s” and flashes of ZEMBU’s body, backgrounded by overexposed landscape shots. The video immediately sets a sort of seeking and inquisitive tone for this art project, as ZEMBU’s “Human” takes us on a journey.

Series of elegant shots of ZEMBU dancing against the sun near the water and the forest roll as she begins to sing. ZEMBU’s vocals have a rich hollowness to them, like there is space for listeners to move deeply into the facets and dimensions of her voice. Her lyrics in this song, such as, “She won’t say goodnight no more/simplicity comes in a haunting form,” invites a similar dive into the subject of suicide and its connection to our humanity.

The use of light in the video also reflects the shadows, undertones, blurriness, and fluidity of the song’s themes. In some shots ZEMBU is over exposed, the light blurring out pieces of her body and creating new shadows, while in other shots we cannot make out the features of her face in the dimmed lighting, as she blends further into the natural background.

Additionally, ZEMBU’s use of dance and the way she organically moves her body in the shadowy and overexposed images and shots of herself in nature also evoke the embodiment of humanness that the song navigates. Her words continue to match the visual vision of this project with lines like “I was so ready to take the blame,” “What if, what if, what if, what if, what if,” and “We are human after all.”

This project uses music, poetry, dance, and film to express and explore, to capture a piece of what it means to be human, and how open and raw that can be for all of us in different ways. ZEMBU’s latest release reveals how transformative, trascendental, and truly powerful all avenues of art can be.

-Julia

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

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.


The Japanese House Left Us Dreaming in L.A.

By: Elsa Lee

Amber Bain is one of those multi-talented, effortlessly poised artists who can command a stage with the sort of gentle presence that draws you in without you realizing it. The Japanese House is the moniker of her solo indie-pop act, hailing from the UK and now based in London. She has recently risen in popularity after releasing four EP’s: Pools to Bathe In, Clean, Swim Against the Tide, and Saw You in a Dream, as well as touring with The 1975. The release of the latest full length album Good at Falling resulted in a sold-out victory lap tour.

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The LA show was no less of a success for Bain, as a sold-out house at the Fonda echoed with cheers. Greeting the audience like they were old friends, she and her band started out with a rendition of “Cool Blue” from her 2015 EP Clean, and then segued effortlessly into tracks from her new album including “Follow My Girl”, “We Talk all the Time”, “Lilo” and “You Seemed So Happy”. The entranced crowd was reminiscent of a high school art class- equal parts hipster and artsy nerd, caught torn between dreaming and dancing by Bain’s smooth ethereal voice and mellow electronica beats.

The inspiration behind the Japanese House’s music was evident during the performance. The project’s name came from an experience Bain had as a child while staying at a property called the Japanese House, previously owned by actress Kate Winslet. As a child she presented herself as a boy to a neighborhood girl and earned her affection, but the girl was heartbroken when she learned of Bain’s “true” gender identity. The experience led her to question gender identity and sexuality more, and to seek an almost “androgynous space” for her music.

Amber Bain of The Japanese House.

Amber Bain of The Japanese House.

Bain is graceful as a performer and artist; she accepted a bouquet of roses from a fan and danced with them for a song before bashfully starting over when her most popular track “Saw You in a Dream” began in the wrong key. Her voice is one of those rarities that sounds even better in person. The setlist ended with the track “Worms”, and Bain’s smooth singing and encouragement to “invest yourself in something worth investing in.”

The Japanese House is currently on tour in North America. Tickets and more info here.

-Elsa

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

Dynohunter Ending Their Spring Tour at Cervantes' with New Music

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Live tech-house music is not a frequent occurrence, even if you find yourself attending a lot of music festivals. However, if you are one of the festival goers who really enjoys electronic music, then live tech is what you ought to seek out if you haven’t already! What I’m getting at here festheads is Dynohunter, a live tech-house act you might have seen perform at music festivals across the country including Electric Forest, Summercamp, Joshua Tree, Sonic Bloom, Arise and others. They've opened for some of the biggest names in livetronica including Papadosio, Eoto, Opiuo, Sunsquabi, Ott, and The New Deal, and supported world renowned DJs Shpongle, Bonobo, Infected Mushroom, Klingande, and The M Machine. The trio has been on a six-week nationwide tour as of late, and they’re closing it out on May 22nd by headlining Denver’s homegrown music event Re:Search Wednesdays at Cervantes’ Other Side.To add to the shenanigans, the event will also feature Casual Commander (Sunsquabi), Aaron Bordas (Late Set), Mikey Thunder and Jordan Polovina. Needless to say, if you’re a tech-house fan, this will be one for the books!

Dynohunter.

Dynohunter.

It’s an added bonus if you like to dance fellow festi lover, because a live Dynohunter show is a sure way to be moved. With a sound embraced by fans of house and techno, and a live performance fueled by the organic energy of live instrumentation, their music is undeniable on the dance floor. Trust me, I’ve seen a few myself. The group’s sound is dark and tribal, peppered with worldly rhythms and deep hypnotic grooves tastefully mixed in with hard-hitting dance tracks, uplifting melodies, and soulful improvisations. This trio is truly a breath of fresh air to the world of electronic dance music. The band’s creative ways of blending deep electronic influences with live saxophone (Clark Smith), bass (Fred Reisen), and drums (Nic Thornsberry) forges a new path in the vast expanse of electronic music.

Dynohunter has released 12 EPs and three full-length records in the past four years with no sign of slowing down. Their newest releases “Third Rock from the Sun,” “Lyra” with Eli Spiral, and “Ectoplasm” have been running hot during their current tour. They’re also keeping it fresh with a single, “Night Tripper”, due for release on May 31st which you may just get to hear early if you stop by their Cervantes’ set. Come and get your electro fix on Wednesday, May 22nd and experience Dynohunter for yourself! It’s bound to be a non-stop tech-house dance party. See you on the dance floor!

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist 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.

Will Buck Returns to Colorado with New Solo Tunes & Old Bandmates

If you were involved in the Colorado music scene four years ago, it was nearly impossible to miss rock’n’roll outfit West Water Outlaws. What started as a Boulder house party act in 2010 soon found themselves selling out The Fox Theatre and touring nationally with acts like The Meter Men, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Jerry Joseph, and Rival Sons. But just as things really started to take off for the Colorado band, they split when frontman Blake Rooker moved to Nashville to pursue a solo career. The members all went their own way and the band dissolved.

Notably, drummer Andrew Oakley joined several successful Colorado rock acts until he formed A Shadow of Jaguar with Brian Hubbert. But guitarist Will Buck had a harder time trying to find his future in music until recently, when he decided to release his debut solo single “Fuse”. Next Thursday, May 23rd, Buck will return to Colorado for a show with A Shadow of Jaguar and Denver’s Boot Gun at Larimer Lounge. We recently chatted with Will about his new music, his plans for 2019, and why he’s excited to be returning to Denver next week:

You’ve had quite the journey since West Water Outlaws’ breakup. Talk to us about how your current solo project came to be.

In the wake of the West Water Outlaws (WWO) split, I went on my first-ever solo road trip of California in February of 2015. I was lost, shattered and completely open to anything and everything that took me out of reality and into ‘the flow’ as I call it. Aside from writing and the inevitable destructive coping mechanisms that I developed, I found that traveling and really winging it or ‘drifting’ was really the only way [to live]. I would go on to live an entire year of my life ‘drifting’ but that’s a completely different conversation.

Anyway, on that first fateful trip I stopped at an old friends place in Orange County and recorded a demo of this song in one day. I’d had that guitar riff in my head since the end of WWO and I needed to get it out. After that, the song sat dormant for 3 years.

Will Buck. Photo Credit:  Summer Taylor Mosher

Will Buck. Photo Credit: Summer Taylor Mosher

What happened next?

After I finally learned to sing, which by the way was one of the most humiliatingly frustrating, yet absolutely, amazingly freeing experiences of my life, I returned to this song. I wrote lyrics and self produced the rest of the song in 2018. However, I still kept the original recordings of the guitar tracks. Something about them just had the angst of a desperate man about to explode that I couldn’t recreate. Even the original guitar solo, which was done in one take, made the song. I couldn’t have come at that solo with as much heartbreak, anguish and sheer destruction as that day, even if I tried. It was like a song in captivity that finally broke free.

Did anyone else work on “Fuse”?

I cut the vocals at Speakeasy Recordings in North Hollywood with a groovy guy by the name of Ross Newbauer. Ross got a great performance out of me and pushed me in a good direction, so I've since started tracking most of my vocals for the upcoming EP with him. Justin Peacock, who I know from my Colorado days, mixed the track and seriously brought it to life, those original, grungy basement guitars and all! He mixed a lot of the West Water stuff so I knew he would kick ass on this one. Brian Gardner mastered, who is a total legend and I'm lucky to even have that connection. I think some pretty notable hip-hop guys gave him the nickname Big Bass Brian in the early 2000s for his work and I must say he doesn't disappoint! With the exception of my great friend Wyatt Strassner’s rhythm guitar part, the rest is me on the loose.

You also recently released a video for “Fuse”. Tell us about that.

Marshall Miller shot and directed the music video at The Public Works in Denver. He has the creative eye of a hawk and the patience of a stalking lion. I came up with this crazy idea for the video and he was down! He made all of my creative visions come true and then some. It was also quite fun planning and shooting the whole thing together over the span of 4 days, which was amazing. Normally video shoots are a one day, 14-hour ordeal in my experience, so I felt very fortunate to take our time with this one.

“Fuse” is about a relationship that has gone toxic. It's neither persons fault, but the sad truth is that even though you crave being around each other, the whole thing just blows up every time you do. Each person holds the power to ignite the other and sometimes you can't resist being lit up by them even though you know it's going to end badly. I think a lot of people have experienced this conflicted mindset in one way or another, so I wanted to portray that in the video.

What inspired the story of the video?

I've had the necklace in the video for years- it was actually a piece I found at the Boulder Art Mart on Pearl [Stree] and I wore it so much people started calling it my "signature piece." Overtime it started to mean more and more to me, almost like my soul if it were portrayed in an image. So like the song alludes to, I'm sort of at the mercy of my soul’s captor after I hand over the necklace to the two masked women in the video. I call them "the experimenters" as they then start to run trials on me once they've retrieved the key to my subconscious. The shots of me sort of floating in an abyss with a light on my face are supposed to represent just that- my subconscious. Marshall sent me some prototype shots of him in this world we described as "the box" early on and that's what sparked the whole idea for the video. Then we came up the other worlds as we referred to them as "the observatory" which is the room where the masked women are viewing me on surveillance footage inside the "container" where I've been stowed away. Only the one female wearing my necklace possesses the power to transfer between the worlds. That female’s name by the way is Bailey Turner and her partner/leader in crime is MJ Szymanski; they did a terrific job and were total pros in front of the camera.

Photo Credit:  Summer Taylor Mosher

Photo Credit: Summer Taylor Mosher

What else will you be releasing this year?

I have a ton of plans for the rest of the year- I don't want to give away too much but I am definitely releasing a four-track EP this summer that I recorded in New York City at Figure 8 Studios with Andrew Oakley on drums and Wyatt Strassner on guitar and backing vocals. And I will be touring surrounding this release! I can't wait to see where it all takes me now that the song is out on all platforms!

Sweet. How do you feel about returning to your old musical stomping ground this week?

I am extremely excited to return to Colorado. I lived in Boulder for 8 years and miss it all the time. It is one of the best places in the world and holds so many special people in it! I am most excited that Andrew Oakley (drums) and Vince Ellwood (bass) from West Water Outlaws’ original lineup are going to join me onstage for my set. That is a dream come true for me- to stand on stage in Colorado with two of my best friends again and rock out for a room of radical people.

We can’t wait to join in the rockfest. Tickets for Will’s show with A Shadow of Jaguar and Boot Gun are here. Keep up with Will Buck and his adventures here.

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

A Fireside Chat with The Beeves on Their Debut Record & More

From left to right: Dahmen, Laffin, Ehrheart & Sease. Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

From left to right: Dahmen, Laffin, Ehrheart & Sease. Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

Since the first installment of “Zach and Pete’s Fireside Chats” went to print a few months back, Zach Dahmen and I had both been itching to get local rock dynamos The Beeves over for a night of campfire, bourbon, and forthright conversation. Coming off the heels of their raw, raucous, and renowned self-titled debut EP, the trio is in the process of rolling out its new full-length record, Adam and Beeve in the runup to their release show on May 17th at The Fox Theatre. We were especially stoked to host them at this poignant moment (with members Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease) in our backyard. Also joining us for the evening to take photos was local creative guru Courtney Farrell. The following is a transcript of what went down:

PL: So what’s a Beeve?

IE: Well, technically, a Beeve is just, you know, a Beeve. Slang for vagina.

MS: No, that’s a beaver.

IE: Yes, and beeves is the plural of beeve, meaning one beeve.

ZD: How did you come to this name?

MS: My understanding is that we took this dictionary down to my mom’s basement...

IE: It was a bible.

MS: No, it was a dictionary. I have the dictionary. And we decided the one word we hit was going to be the name of the band, and we had to stick with it. And we did it like three times.

IE: Really? I don’t remember that.

MS: Yeah, because we got, like, “crack.”

IE: It doesn’t say crack in the bible.

MS: That’s because it wasn’t a bible. And we did it again and it was another ridiculous word. And then we hit “beeves,” which was plural for beef, and we were like, oh, that’s actually pretty cool. So we used it the next day for our volleyball team in middle school.

PL: This goes back to middle school?

MS: This was like seventh grade.

IE: This was just after our band The Purple Zebras.

MS: We were going to be The Sun Kissed Nips.

PL: I think you guys made the right call.

MS: So that’s my interpretation of when we got the name. But Ian seems to think we found it in a bible?

IE: We did! It’s in Leviticus. But that wasn’t it. When we actually came up with The Beeves we were looking into a fire quite like this, and in the fire, when we were peeing in it together to put it out, and when the smoke cleared, the red hot embers spelled out “Beeves.”

ZD: So the story here is, they refuse to give us the real story.

MS: Ian and I did go to bible camp together. And we had to stay with the priest the whole time. All of the other kids got to sleep in their own dorms, but we had to stay with the priest and talk to him and confess things.

IE: One time I confessed to touching myself unlawfully.

PL: And I hope you said it just like that.

MS: The only reason I think Ian’s story might be somewhat true is because we were in the religious ed class together.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

ZD: How long have you guys been in a band together?

MS: Ian and I have been playing together since sixth grade.

IE: We’ve known each other since elementary school.

MS: I didn’t really like Ian then.

IE: We never got to be friends until sixth grade, when I learned he had a guitar, and we both played guitar. We were in a rivalry until then.

MS: I never liked Ian throughout elementary school because he was really good at sports. And all the girls liked him.

IE: I had the right hair. The swoop.

ZD: You had the Bieber swoop?

IE: It was just at the right time. But then we realized we had guitars and we hung out, and we did it every single day after school. And then we formed The Purple Zebras.

ZD: So when did the third member join?

MS: We had a couple drummers before Will [Erhart]. But he was always part of the picture.

IE: We had some guy who wanted to record us one time when we were in seventh grade and Will did the drums… this creepy guy in Erie who lived in a trailer and just sat there and chain smoked next to us the whole time.

MS: We recorded an AC/DC cover.

PL: When did you know that you wanted to do this seriously?

MS: We always knew we’d do this. We’ve stuck to the same mentality since seventh grade.

IE: We were writing lyrics together in math class.

MS: It’s all we wanted to do.

IE: The first show we did was an open mic in Louisville.

MS: We did our own punk rock version version of “Wagon Wheel.”

IE: Pete, cut that part out.

PL: I talked to your father after your last Fox show, when you guys packed the place, and he was all teared up and he told me this story about how you [Ian] got tossed out of the Fox when you were in early high school.

IE: That’s why we’re doing the release at the Fox. That was where we first saw live music and the potential of what we could do.

MS: The first concert we ever went to by ourselves was at the Fox. We took the bus to the Boulder and we just kind of knew that the Fox was on The Hill. We didn’t even know where it was.

IE: We didn’t even have a ticket because we didn’t know we had to buy tickets to shows. So we just went up to the box office and we were like, “Hi, we’re here for the show.”

MS: We went up to the front, hands on the stage, watching the show.

IE: We told ourselves, “We are going to play on this stage someday.”

MS: That’s why we used to play on Pearl Street. We thought someone from the Fox would like, willy nilly, walk by and ask us to open up at the Fox someday.

IE: We were more lucrative [busking] on Pearl Street than anywhere.

MS: One day we made like $350 and a pack of cigarettes and a condom. But let’s get back to that show Ian got kicked out of. That was at The Expendables. It got a bit rowdy and we’d never crowd surfed before. And Ian was dead set on crowd surfing. So he got up on the stage and fell backwards, and they pushed him back up on the stage.

IE: And then I ran into the bouncer.

MS: And the bouncer immediately throws him out, and I’m like this eighth grader standing there alone.

IE: And from my point of view, somebody just grabbed me and literally pushed me as hard to the curb as they could. And I was like, “What’s happening right now? Is this part of the show?”

ZD: So you definitely weren’t drinking there?

IE: We didn’t even know what alcohol was.

ZD: So this is just sober Ian being pretty extra?

MS: And then we were trying to re-stamp my hand outside on your hand…

The Beeves’ Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease. Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

The Beeves’ Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease. Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

PL: Let’s talk about the studio recordings. The first one was super lo-fi, and you pretty much did it yourselves.

IE: Oliver from Slow Caves recorded us because we didn’t know shit about microphones or recording. He just loved the songs and really wanted to help us out.

PL: I fucking love that album. But you never play those songs anymore.

MS: Well we kind of got labelled as a “ska” band and that kind of turned us off to a bit, because we never saw ourselves as that.

ZD: You don’t even have any horns.

MS: But we got labelled as a ska band! Fuck!

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

PL: Who is the best musician in the group? The easiest one in the studio?

IE: Matthew is the best musician and is the best at his instrument.

PL: Who do you rally around in the studio?

IE: It’s equal.

MS: It’s interesting to see when Will chimes in because his input his valuable. Because Ian and I are always butting heads and trying to come up with an answer.

IE: Will has become such a good drummer. At this point he knows probably the most about music. I’ve always been the one who doesn’t know shit but has big ideas. Matthew can usually flatten that out and make something out of it with his bass lines.

ZD: It sounds like elements of conflict are part of your process.

IE: It’s all about compromise. Which is valuable, even though it’s hard.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

MS: I think you and I after all these years trust each other’s instincts.

PL: Are you guys going to be together in five years?

MS: Yes.

IE: Oh, yeah. Undeniably.

MS: With all sincerity.

ZD: That’s the right answer. They say if you know someone for seven years, you’ll know them the rest of your lives. You guys kind of have a brotherhood at this point.

IE: It is like that.

MS: Ian is the most important person in my life.

PL: So Nate Cook. Let’s hear it. He’s lifting you guys up quite a bit the past year or so.

MS: He’s just a tornado of creative destruction.

IE: He pushed us in a different direction. We were so surprised he even wanted to do this. I was the biggest fucking Yawpers fan in the whole world. When they asked us to open for their album release show, I was like, “Oh my god…”

PL: In a sentence or two, what has the experience of working with him been like?

MS: He put us on a platform and he didn’t stand for any bullshit in the studio. He just kept pushing us and pushing us until we broke.

ZD: That sounds really intense.

IE: For me, it was every single song. Anyway anything I did was fucking terrible.

MS: It was terrifying to perform for someone like that who we’d idolized like that. But he had a respect for us. We played raw like him. We weren’t musicians who were trained theoretically.

ZD: So this album must have a lot of spontaneity.

MS: It was only five days of recording, and we had ten tracks. Some of the songs weren’t completed when we went into the studio.

IE: I lied to him and told him we had enough songs to record an album. I was going upstairs from the studio in between when I had to play and writing lyrics.

MS: Part of the beauty of the album was that it wasn’t put together before we went to the studio. We had to write it in those five days.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

IE: Every day we had to get a certain amount done, so we just did it.

PL: What does this release mean to you?

IE: It means moving on. Letting shit go, and getting onto the next thing. I’m so fucking over it.

ZD: What are you proud of about it?

IE: I think it’s going to be a base for us. I think these songs are good.

MS: I agree. When I look at is as a whole, I think it’s a full entity, ten full songs, and I’m proud at how much we put into that and how hard we pushed each other. We’d never been put under that kind of stress before. I think I’m a bit more proud of it than Ian in that way. I’m proud of what I did in the studio.

PL: That’s refreshing to hear. The default answer when you ask a musician is that they could have done better. But for the most part, people are proud of what they make. It’s nice to hear someone say it.

MS: I really want people to listen to the album. Sit down and listen to all ten tracks. And then actually give us the time of day. Half the time we are trying to get people to just take us seriously because we’re so fucking young. But we’ve been doing this for a long time. It shouldn’t matter anyway. If you care about what you’re doing and care about this art, and you really value the music, it doesn’t matter how old you are.

The Beeves self-titled debut record drops everywhere this Friday, May 17th. Catch them at The Fox Theatre the same night. Tickets here.

-Pete

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists 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.


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.

Tony Vincent and the Boulder Philharmonic Traverse Bowie's Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes at Macky Auditorium

By: Adam Perry

Looking like a member of Bauhaus, vocalist Tony Vincent cut a unique figure on Pearl Street this past Sunday afternoon, carrying a Peppercorn bag after shopping there with his parents – in town from Albuquerque – the day after slaying David Bowie hits with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra at Macky Auditorium.

The 45-year-old Vincent – made famous by starring on NBC’s The Voice and in the first national tour of Rent – emerged onstage at Macky in a choker necklace, a black dress shirt, tight blue pants and black leather shoes Saturday night, leading the Boulder Phil and members of Windborne Music. The ensemble’s “Music of David Bowie” production was able to fill about three-fourths of Macky’s 2000 capacity, and those who snoozed on the event missed some incredible moments.

Vincent & the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo Credit: Amy Rune Carlson

Vincent & the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo Credit: Amy Rune Carlson

The setlist was not deep, focusing on Bowie’s most well-known pop classics, and not many to which an orchestra could lend much creativity or power. But when the juxtaposition of the rocking and the symphonic was magical, such as on the glam-rock standard “Starman,” the sparks that flew lived up to Macky Auditorium’s timeless façade.

Falling just short of the filthy distortion and energy that early Bowie axe-man Mick Ronson brought from the working-class Rats of Hull to the Spiders from Mars, Windborne guitarist George Cintron did his best Earl Slick impression leading the evening’s initial tunes – “Rebel Rebel” and “Ziggy Stardust.” Conductor Brent Havens quipped, “Is this what you expected?” to the mostly stilted, older and white audience, and Vincent aptly complimented Bowie for always “keeping us guessing” before the orchestra launched into a beautiful version of “Changes.”

Vincent went on hit-or-miss tangents between tunes, focusing on his self-professed lifelong “nerdy” obsession with “countless” interviews with and biographies of Bowie, perhaps the most renowned iconoclast in rock history. This worked when Vincent, for instance, glowingly introduced “Fame” – Bowie’s hit 1975 collaboration with John Lennon. But Vincent’s purported encyclopedic knowledge of Bowie’s catalog and legacy also missed the mark a few times, such as when he stressed that a “longing for love” was the common thread in Bowie’s nearly half-century catalog, stating, “that’s probably what he was getting at with this next song” as a set-up for “China Girl,” a cheeky and somewhat racist 1983 hit for Bowie that was actually written by Iggy Pop in 1976.

The balcony view at Macky. photo credit: Amy Rune Carlson

The balcony view at Macky. photo credit: Amy Rune Carlson

No matter – the Boulder Philharmonic’s arrangements were the real star of the show, which got better after intermission, not just because the song selection become more ambitious (with slightly more obscure songs like “Fashion” and “Young Americans”) but because I moved from the fifth row all the way to the balcony to hear and see the orchestra much better.

Windborne (which will return to Macky next February to present a highly anticipated night of Queen songs with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra) and Vincent were flashy and powerful, but it was the Boulder Phil’s soaring additions to on tunes like the funky 1980 mindbender “Ashes to Ashes” that made the evening truly memorable. Hopeless Bowie nerds might have flinched at Vincent’s occasional missteps on tiny details in lyrics, like singing “billions of swastikas in my head” instead of “visions of swastikas” in “China Girl” or “need an axe to break the ice” rather than “want an axe” in “Ashes to Ashes,” but when the orchestra came together with otherworldly dynamics and artistry on “Space Oddity” and “Changes,” to name a few, the heavens opened.

Vincent sang everything with talent and grace, but part of Bowie’s importance was bringing the vulnerable and the avant-garde to the pop and refined worlds and vice versa, so the most striking moment of the evening was watching a senior-citizen in the balcony break down in tears when the orchestra nailed a complex arrangement of 1972’s campy but genius and poetic “Life On Mars?

New Mexico native Vincent’s appearances in Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, American Idiot and We Will Rock You make him a perfect fit to sing certain classics from Bowie’s diverse career – such as “Changes” and “Life On Mars?”  However, it’s admittedly impossible for anyone, even dozens of dazzling musicians gelling in a giant orchestra, to do justice to the pinball-style catalog of Bowie, who once sang, “Until there was rock, you only had God.”

Coincidentally, Sunday morning in Boulder featured a 90-minute Bowie tribute concert for children and their parents at the Boulder Theater, and the contrasts were interesting and hilarious. Cover-band Loving the Alien – which jubilantly regaled a couple hundred locals with fun-loving Bowie tunes and crowd-participation treats like a parachute, sing-alongs and glow-stick jewelry – not only dug deeper into Bowie’s catalog than the Boulder Philharmonic, with tunes like the very orchestral “The Man Who Sold the World,” but (unlike Vincent) also didn’t cut out risqué Bowie lyrics like the line about Quaaludes in “Rebel Rebel.”

As Bowie’s diverse catalog grew, even the Thin White Duke himself, and the countless versions of his backing band, could never perfectly capture all of his unique eras of iconoclastic music in one evening. Vincent, Windborne and the Boulder Phil did an entertaining and memorable job trying to – at the very least – lend an energetic and symphonic angle to Bowie’s hits. It will be fascinating to see what they do with Queen’s catalog next year as well.

-Adam

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

Taking Back Sunday Celebrate 20 Years with 2 Sold-Out Denver Shows

By: Nathan Sheppard

Taking Back Sunday are currently celebrating their 20th year as a band with a year-long world tour which stopped in Denver for two sold-out shows at Summit last week. TBS has been one of the most influential artists in their genre from the early 2000s, with albums like Tell All Your Friends, Where You Want To Be, and Louder Now, which are all certified gold albums.

Night one and two both started with a play through of Tell All Your Friends which features their smash hit “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team),” a track that is always a fan-favorite live. TBS played through the rest of the album and then took an onstage break to flip their customized coin to pick between Where You Want To Be and Louder Now. The coin landed on  Where You Want To Be, and the band proceeded to play their second album of the night. The building reached peak craziness during “This Photograph is Proof” and “A Decade Under the Influence.” That energy continued through the encore, where TBS even threw in a few songs from Louder Now ending with “MakeDamnSure,” ending the night with a literal bang as confetti cannons shot glitter through the air.

Taking Back Sunday.

Taking Back Sunday.

The first leg of the band’s North American tour only has a few shows remaining in Utah and Vegas. The second leg will start in September. View all upcoming stope and get your tickets here.

-Nathan

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

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.









From Check-In to Check-Out, Hotel Boulderado Provides Luxury Amenities, Historic Charm & Amazing Entertainment

By: Hannah Oreskovich

From check-in to check-out, Hotel Boulderado has all the bases covered for an amazing stay: beautiful rooms built for comfort and charm, a formal and fresh dining experience at Spruce Farm & Fish, poppin’ energy at The Corner Bar, and a nightlife scene of curated cocktails, boot-stomping shows, and skeeball at License No. 1.

Hotel Boulderado.

Hotel Boulderado.

Opened on New Year’s Eve 1908, Hotel Boulderado stands as the first luxury hotel built in Boulder, Colorado. Now a City of Boulder landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the five-story brick building was originally designed by local architects William Redding & Son. Featuring a stunning stained glass lobby ceiling, rich woodwork on every floor, and both modern and classic furniture pieces throughout the property, there’s no doubt the Hotel Boulderado has maintained its luxurious aesthetic over the years.

The author in Hotel Boulderado’s lobby.

The author in Hotel Boulderado’s lobby.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to stay in the hotel’s Historic King Suite, which features Victorian-era decor, a spacious sitting area with amenities like fresh spring water, and plush Boca bathrobes perfect for winding down your day. The floral wallpaper, iron headboard, and soft colors of the room add to the suite’s beautiful decor details while the room’s vintage desk area allowed me to get some much needed work done before exploring the rest of my stay.

The floral victorian-era decor of the Historic King Suite’s sitting room.

The floral victorian-era decor of the Historic King Suite’s sitting room.

Beyond their stellar room accommodations, Hotel Boulderado houses three incredible businesses under their one roof: Spruce Farm & Fish, The Corner Bar, and speakeasy License No. 1. After checking in and touring the property, I stopped by Spruce to make a reservation for dinner. There wasn’t an empty seat in the farm-to-table restaurant. With a little time before my reservation, I headed to The Corner Bar’s patio for a pre-dinner drink. Located just off of Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street Mall, the bar’s patio area allowed for ample people-watching. Inside, several patrons watched the Denver Nuggets game on television; others were crowded at tables sampling the spot’s small plates, burgers, and beers. A mix of hotel guests and locals, The Corner Bar served as an excellent start to my evening.

Spruce Farm & Fish let me know my table was ready about 30 minutes in to my Corner Bar stop, so I finished my Cabernet and headed to dinner. Though the Corner Bar shares some of the more casual eats from Spruce, Spruce offers an extensive seasonal menu with items you can’t find anywhere else. I sampled the Blue Crab Cakes appetizer (delightful and paired with citrus), the Sweet Pea & Mint Linguini (phenomenally fresh with a soft poached egg and delectable English peas), and the Crème Brûlée (a tasty rich custard with fresh berries and a perfectly caramelized top). The wait staff was exceptionally friendly and willing to talk through recommendations while also providing an opulent dining experience.

After dinner, I wandered downstairs to the hotel’s nightlife joint: License No. 1. There is an entrance from the hotel lobby, so guests never have to leave the property. Alternatively, the spot also has an entrance on 13th Street, a run which features several other Boulder bars. Though License No. 1 is perfectly located for a night of bar hopping Boulder’s downtown, there is so much to do inside of its beautiful brick walls that I never left. Along with its more formal seating rooms, the speakeasy also features a game area replete with a pool table, darts, skee ball, and a photo booth. Partnered with great live music in the venue’s listening room, I was constantly entertained by everything there was to do at License No. 1.

Banshee Tree.

Banshee Tree.

Known as the place where Boulder’s first liquor license was issued, License No. 1 features live music every Thursday-Saturday. Saturdays typically showcase Boulder’s Banshee Tree, a talented four-piece who blur the lines between funk, blues, and gypsy jazz. Comprised of Thom LaFond (vocals, guitar, piano), Jason Bertone (upright bass, shouting), Nick Carter (violin, fiddle, hollering), and Michelle Pietrafitta (vocals, drums), Banshee Tree’s skillful instrumentals and strong rhythm section had an entire room of 50+ people boogieing from wall to wall during my visit. It proved impossible to make my way to the front for photos, so I danced near the back before eventually finding a seat to sip one of the bar’s specialty cocktails, the Boulder Mule. Served in a copper mug, the delightfully refreshing drink is a combination of vodka, St. George pear liqueur, house ginger cordial, and vanilla ginger syrup perfect for summer. License No. 1 has an entire book of custom cocktails, some spirit-heavy; others floral focused or sweet. Much like everywhere else I’d been at Hotel Boulderado, the staff were friendly and enjoyed talking about the menu’s different drink options.

As Banshee Tree continued on, the crowd only grew larger. Formed in upstate New York, Banshee Tree have been living and playing across the Front Range now for years. They’ve played a number of Colorado music festivals, so catching them in the intimate environment that is License No. 1 is a serious treat! The band call themselves a “diverse blend of dance and improvisational styles,” making them easy to groove to or just interesting to hear if you aren’t the dancing type. Banshee Tree’s tunes feature long instrumental stretches, giving patrons ample time to stomp around. Each member of the band is equally skilled at their instrument(s), so songs featured guitar, standup bass, and fiddle solos while Pietrafitta kept up the dancey drum backbone of the tracks. The band broke their night up into two long sets, so during their intermission I had time to explore the venue’s gaming area and snap some shots in the License No. 1 photo booth. Banshee Tree had patrons bouncing well past the midnight hour and since the crew is jetting on tour soon, so I highly recommend catching a show near you this spring!

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

The historic check-in area at Hotel Boulderado.

As the night came to an end, I wandered back to my room for a sweet surprise. The Boulderado offers a turn-down service in the evenings, complete with a gift of chocolate truffles from local chocolatier Lift Chocolate. Needless to say, I capped my night with the Grand Marnier and Raspberry truffle selection before drifting off to a very comfortable rest.

No matter the vibe you’re looking for in your next Boulder stay, Hotel Boulderado has something for everyone with an unparalleled excellence in dining, nightlife, and accomodations. Whether you’re booking for business, a wedding, or for pleasure, their staff aim for every guest to have a personalized and elegantly hospitable stay from start to finish. Their lavish amenities are the perfect perk, and historically, there is nothing else like Hotel Boulderado in town.

Hotel Boulderado is offering two special experiences with your stay this spring: the Downtown Boulder Shopping package and the romantic Colorado Clear Skies Stargazing package. To book the Historic King Suite I stayed in, or to see the hotel’s other suites, visit this link. Learn more about Hotel Boulderado here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists or venues featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. This feature is partially syndicated and some pieces originally appeared as part of a series on blondontherun.com.

The Kaleidoscope Experience Is the One-of-a-Kind Psychedelic Wonderland Experience You're Looking For

By: Benjamin Tillis

Walt Disney once said, “Adults are only kids grown up.” And last Friday, The Kaleidoscope Experience, an event hosted at The Globe Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, proved Walt right. Marketed as “a whimsical playground for adults,” The Kaleidoscope Experience was a one-of-a-kind event that transformed The Globe Theatre into a psychedelic wonderland that sparked creativity and innocent wonder for all those who attended. The experience began the moment you walked into the theater, where funhouse mirrors and fog turned the hallway entrance of The Globe into a trippy maze. A multi-sensory, magical, make-believe land awaited once you completed the maze.

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It was impossible to stay focused once you were inside. On stage was a Pink Floyd cover band, playing with Alice in Wonderland projected behind them. But that was hardly the main attraction. In the middle of the crowd there was a pyramid covered in chocolates and sweet snacks and a wheel for attendees to spin. Depending on your spin, you could take a snack, or even better, press a button to make popcorn explode from the volcano-looking structure. It was glorious!

On the sides of the venues were treehouse structures you couldn’t see into, so you had no choice but to explore. In them, you encountered someone dressed as a rabbit who did nothing but offer you lollipops and tell you to “write your hopes and dreams” on sticky notes and add them to a wall that was already filled with hundreds of these. Also on the same floor as the live music, there was a bottomless tater tot buffet. It was a junk food paradise.

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The Kaleidoscope adventure continued downstairs with countless attractions. There were inflatable horse races, a tunnel maze that led to a secret pillow fort, and a close-up magician. Most notable, though, was the silent disco, which is usually a guaranteed good time. There was a dance floor decked out with lasers and glow sticks, and it was a fun escape from everything going on to dance to either the EDM channel, or a channel playing 80s and 90s classics.

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Although the designated dancing area was fun, it was a whole new experience walking through the rest of the event with silent disco headphones on. Another attraction on the main floor was a free-play arcade. Competing in stand up arcade games like Mortal Kombat and Crazy Taxi while jumping and dancing to your favorite songs was exhilarating!

Later in the night, the band switched to a Led Zeppelin cover group, which performed alongside the original animated version of Lord of The Rings, a cherry on top of all the ridiculousness that took place at Kaleidoscope. I sat in the love sacks in the general admission area and enjoyed the handful of songs they played until the end of the event. And then I headed home happier than I’ve been in a while! Keep your eyes open for The Kaleidoscope Experience coming to your city. For more information, check out out their website!

-Benjamin

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

Premiere: LiteLvl's New Music Video Is an Ambisonic Audio & 360-Degree Visual Experience

LiteLvL released their debut single “Boost Your Immunity While You Sleep/Inspire Photosynthesis In Plants” last week. The duo, comprised of Katey Sleeveless (Eros & the Eschaton) and Jay Marz (King Eddie), are self-described as “installation soundscore.” Today, we’re proud to premiere their debut music video for the track:

“Boost Your Immunity While You Sleep/Inspire Photosynthesis In Plants” was mixed with ambisonic audio, which means just like the video itself, the sound is also three-dimensional. Filmed at Moon Magnet Studios, the video features LiteLvl members Katey Sleeveless and Jay Marz, Andy Ai & Kevin Netz on visuals/projections, and dancers Kailani Dobso & Holly Seidcheck. Videographer Ben Tyson of DenVR is behind the entrancing, psychedelic video experience.

LiteLvl. Photo Credit:   Julianna Photography

LiteLvl. Photo Credit: Julianna Photography

“As you move, you'll hear different things. When you look at one guitar amp, you'll hear more of it. When you turn around, it'll feel like that amp is now behind you, and you hear the second amp in front of you louder.” frontman Jay Marz said of the trippy, mylar-fueled experience.

The band play FoCoMX - Fort Collins Music eXperiment this Saturday, April 27th at 4PM at Art Lab Fort Collins.

Keep up with LiteLvL here.

Denver's Major Glen Release Two New Singles, “Violent Streets” & “Weathervane"

By: Norman Hittle

Major Glen, the lo-fi/alt-punk rock trio from Glendale, have just dropped a couple of new singles, “Violent Streets” and “Weathervane.”

The first of many songs from Major Glen since 2018’s self-titled debut, the band will be releasing a new single each month from March to June, and then will be releasing the entire album on vinyl.

Says band member Barrett, “The nature of streaming has forced us to rethink how we submit our music to the public. The new single methodology seems to be working out better than just dropping an entire album and hoping for the best.”

Major Glen.

Major Glen.

Aside from some new sounds, Major Glen will be headlining Streets of London Pub in Denver on Friday May 3rd with The Jinjas and Octopus Tree. Snag event details here.

Keep up with Major Glen here.

-Norman

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

Youssoupha Sidibe & Ok2Change Prove Your Heart Is Where It's At in Hilo, Hawai'i

By: Moriel O'Connor

Hilo is a city like no other. It's chill. Most people stroll around in no type of hurry. It’s vibrant. The downtown blocks are filled with tropical street art and rusted red roofs. On the weekends, the neon lights shine as music rings with the rain. Last Saturday, there was a flash flood warning and noone was phased. I was out watching the clouds drizzle into ripples on the asphalt.

Why did I cross the road? To get from the kava bar to the tea room. Walking into Perfect Harmony, I saw tall golden walls, red beams and circles of friends. Auntie Nancy, a wise woman with 14 children, poured tea into my cup as we listened to Ok2Change play live.

Ok2Change.

Ok2Change.

Ok2Change is a three piece folk-hop band based out of Pahoa, Hawai’i.  Lead vocalist, Imani Gentry-Faust has a soulfully sublime sound that is electrifying and unforgettable. Jay Lara also shares his voice, supporting the story of each song. He plays the guitar because what is a folk band without an acoustic guitar? Completing the trio is Matthew Jordan, a humble vocal percussionist who makes more sounds with his mouth than a drum kit ever could.

They share their songs to inspire others and are constantly reminding us it’s okay to change. Playing anywhere from farmer’s markets to museums, OK2Change is well known in Hawai'i. They also visit the mainland to support acts such as Boulder-based Amber Lily and Tubby Love.

Youssoupha Sidibe.

Youssoupha Sidibe.

After the tea party, the music went on down the road at Hilo Shala.  International Kora (African Harp) player, Youssoupha Sidibe, came to town to share his message. He believes music is the most intimate thing we can share, and he orchestrates musical intimacy with each crowd he meets. Youssoupha encouraged everyone to open their hearts and sing along to his Senegalese chants as he played the kora. In between songs, he spoke of unity and love. I wrote down some of his wisdom to share:

“We all gon’ get together and sing together. That is our salvation.”

“We sing to be in tune with the universe. Sound is the best portal to take you there.”

“A house is nothing but some bricks, maybe some wood. You not gon’ take it with you. Share what you have.”

“Your heart. That’s where it’s at.”

He’s right. Your heart is where it’s at. The evening was a reminder to stay true to love, and to take time to sip tea and sing in unison. It can get plush inside of our boxes: walls up, doors locked, windows shut and all. Still, we all have to get out of bed and do something. When we choose to circle together, we are the change.

Listen to Youssoupha's music here to tune into the love. You can listen to Ok2Change on Spotify or find them at Project Earth this summer.

-Moriel

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.