Rock and Roll: A Revival Hits The Boulder/Denver Music Scene

By: Mirna Tufekcic

At a coffee shop, “Take it Easy” by the Eagles plays over the speakers as I begin writing a piece about what the revival of rock and roll looks like from where I stand, and where I stand is somewhere around Boulder/Denver, Colorado. Like the age-old mathematical proof goes, IF rock and roll is dead, THEN it’s rising from the grave as we speak. But rock and roll never really died.  It’s been in a lull; now reawakening. Hence why I’m choosing to use the word revival over resurrection.  

The rock and roll revival is happening in the Boulder/Denver music scene. Not just because the music is hard, raw, and will make you sweat, but because people are living it heart first. Today’s rock stands on the shoulders of rock and roll giants, and that’s why I believe it has this potency and capacity to move you; to get under your skin. Boulder/Denver is the place to witness it firsthand, but you’ll have to seek it out before it’ll find you. Still fluttering its eyes from decades of sleep, rock and roll around these parts is slowly rising from underground, but underground it is still.

BANDITS. 

BANDITS. 

The recognition of this revival started for me a few weeks ago at Boulder’s Lazy Dog, when the BANDITS played their homecoming show after touring the country. Their hard rockin’ tunes injected a potent dose of “wake the fuck up, it’s rock and roll time!”, and I couldn’t help myself. Apparently, neither could the people around me, who found themselves rocking back and forth to the BANDITS music: reminiscent of the 70s, metal like the 80s, and with an in-your-face alternative flare of the grungy 90s; the latter you can partly, one-third precisely, thank the lovely LuLu Demitro for, the vocalist/bassist/keys of the band. As she sang, “Oh, baby, who’re we gonna kill tonight?”, I found myself remembering the days of women-led bands like Garbage, The Cranberries, and The Cardigans. Vocalist/guitarist John Demitro didn’t half-ass his presence on stage, either. Truly putting up a hard-rock performance, he jumped on the drum set, walked down into the crowd guitar-first, and played on his tip-toes at the edge of the stage, beckoning the crowd to move closer and closer to him.

The Velveteers.

The Velveteers.

After that night, rock and roll was in me; it was coursing through my veins. I remembered what I seemed to have long forgotten: rock and roll is life itself. I started fiending for another hit the very next day, where I found myself in Denver at the Hi-Dive for a Plum show, a rock and roll band based out of LA. But I was really there to see The Velveteers, a local duo who project some heavy, hard sounds right into your rockin’ soul. The Velveteers’ frontwoman Demi Demitro is nothing short of breathtaking. Not because she’s beautiful, which she certainly is, but because her guitar shredding and sharp lyrics ooze talent like raw honey off a fresh honey comb. (Warning: hearing them live will make your mouth water). There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a budding, 19-year-old female artist making music-lovers’ jaws drop. It’s powerful.  

Witnessing The Velveteers perform in admiration, I told myself to keep both eyes and ears open for their next appearance around town. Lo and behold, the very next day my music-loving compadre hit me up to tell me about an upcoming event with Denver’s beloved Yawpers at Lost Lake. “The Velveteers are opening for them at the Sunday BBQ show,” he added. He didn’t have to say more. I hung up and went straight to the Google app on my phone to buy tickets.

The author with #Nate from Denver's Yawpers, Cosby sweater and all. 

The author with #Nate from Denver's Yawpers, Cosby sweater and all. 

Sunday’s BBQ show at Lost Lake was a more intimate setting than the Yawpers’ sold-out Larimer Lounge show the night prior, which you can read more about here. There were mostly “friends with the band” peeps attending this event, and it made for quite the view into real rock and roll. Nate Cook, the frontman of the Yawpers, led a high-level, party-on-a-Sunday energy with vibrant, ridiculous antics particular to Nate. #Nate exists for a reason (thanks for this, Pete Simatovic!). Just to give you an example: At 2:30 pm in front of Lost Lake, Nate walked out wearing cutoffs just short of exposing his balls with a vintage sweater straight out of the Cosby show, cigarette in mouth. His energy attracted those around him to start chatting about music and his show at the Larimer the night before. The conversation moved back to the bar, where all involved shot whiskey.

Blackfoot Gypsies. Photo per BolderBeat by   Hannah Oreskovich  .

Blackfoot Gypsies. Photo per BolderBeat by Hannah Oreskovich.

Outside, Blackfoot Gypsies, who had been touring with the Yawpers, congregated around their van in front of Lost Lake to take pictures. And if you didn’t know what year it was, you would have mistaken it for being 1971: the group was outfitted in tight bell-bottoms, long unkempt hair, aviator ray-bans, and flowery t-shirts unbuttoned to the chest and all. But it’s 2016 and these guys were making a statement: “We’re bringing back the true rock and roll!” And that they did. The Yawpers, The Velveteers, and The Blackfoot Gypsies revived the sound of rock and roll with every tune they played.

The Yawpers. Photo per BolderBeat by  Hannah Oreskovich .

The Yawpers. Photo per BolderBeat by Hannah Oreskovich.

As Sunday funday at Lost Lake slowly rolled on, people got more involved in the music: they danced and sang along, feeding off of the rockin’ energy each band emitted. And that’s when I realized rock and roll isn’t just about the music: it’s a lifestyle. You either feel it, or you don’t. And to feel it, you’ve got to be there. It’s dark, it’s emotional, and it will take a toll on you. It’s irresponsible sometimes, and it’s about living in the moment.

Whiskey Autumn at Studio 700. Polaroid per  Becky Guidera .

Whiskey Autumn at Studio 700. Polaroid per Becky Guidera.

This past weekend I went to Boulder’s Studio 700 to feed my soul with rock and roll once again. A long list of musicians were paying tribute to The Beatles with short sets. Boulder’s Whiskey Autumn headlined the event, with members of Cold River City, BANDITS, and other singer-songwriters contributing to the revival of rock and roll through Beatles covers. It was, like the rest of my recent adventures, a night to remember.

Rock and roll, from where I stand, sure has a palpable energy ripe with life. Hope to see you there.

-Mirna

Sweat, Booze, & A Lot of Heart: My Rock'n'Roll Weekend With The Yawpers & Blackfoot Gypsies

By: Zach Dahmen

A personal account of my two days with The Yawpers and Blackfoot Gypsies in Denver. It was a rock and roll blur of sweat, booze, and a lot of heart:

My weekend felt like this: Matthew Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies.

My weekend felt like this: Matthew Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies.

The Blackfoot Gypsies are a four-piece soul and blues rock’n’roll mashup of perfection. Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, BFG are the type of band that you can’t help but notice the minute you walk into the venue. With their long hair, bell bottom jeans, and wide-brimmed hats, you instantly know that they’re playing tonight, even as they casually order beers with you at the bar; they ooze American rock band. The only thing more prominent than their rootsy Southern influences injected into their wild rockin’ blues sound is their humility.

Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

The Yawpers are a three piece, and one of Denver’s favorite local acts. They are thumping rock and roll mixed with poignant lyrics. They are a non-stop manic roller coaster of rock with country/blues sensibility, and some heavy Americana touches.

Paige, Cook, & Dylan Whitlow.

Paige, Cook, & Dylan Whitlow.

My weekend with The Yawpers and Blackfoot Gypsies started a week before the show. I went online to purchase my tickets for the Saturday night performance, which had sold out. Luckily, there was a Sunday BBQ show still available, so I grabbed my tickets for the alternative option. I was not going to miss my opportunity to see Denver’s own Yawpers return. Days later, the Saturday show moved from the Lost Lake to Larimer Lounge, opening up over a hundred more tickets. Without hesitation, I grabbed one. It was time for a Yawpers/BFG double dip.

Zack Murphy of Blackfoot Gypsies.

Zack Murphy of Blackfoot Gypsies.

Upon entering the Larimer, anticipation in the crowd was bowling over with the threat of a true rock’n’roll show, and one which happened to be the end of a month-long tour for both bands. The room swelled as The Blackfoot Gypsies moved to take the stage. The four piece took little time to endear themselves to the PBR-swilling crowd. Frontman Matthew Paige’s slender body moved across the stage with the grace of a rock’n’roll royal, setting the tone for the entire evening. With Zach Murphy fitted in a flower-print button up and a leather hat banging on the drums with maracas and sticks, the crew launched into a gorgeous set of barn burners, landing one after another. Dylan Whitlow’s checkered pants swayed with his bass playing, forcing the crowd to move along with him, while Ollie Dog leaned into the crowd with his harmonica solos and generally hilarious personality.

Noah Shomberg & Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

Noah Shomberg & Nate Cook of The Yawpers.

The Yawpers took the stage to a sold out crowd with pure poetry and fury. With their alt-country and overdriven acoustic guitars, stomping drums, and one enthusiastic mustache, the trio commanded the crowd to do whatever they asked. Frontman Nate Cook made love to the microphone, enthralling the audience to fever pitches, minor bruises from stage diving, and a swirl of rock’n’roll debauchery. Jesse Parmet slid around his guitar like a master commanding the sound, his long hair shadowing his face with a perfect element of mystery. Meanwhile, drummer Noah Shomberg beat the hell out of his kit with energy, sweat, and the driving rhythm that carried every song. From the quiet moments where the group had us singing back “3 am”, to the numerous tracks where The Yawpers had a usually docile Denver crowd dancing, it was a sweaty, booze-soaked good time. Celebration and conversations lasted late into night, with the crowd eager to greet the bands like long lost friends.

Paige & Cook.

Paige & Cook.

As Yawpers’ Noah Shomberg put it, “You couldn't ask for more to come home to after a month away from family and friends. I was proud of this show."

Added BFG’s Matthew Paige, “This is one of the best nights we’ve had [on tour]. This was one of our favorites.”

The Yawpers.

The Yawpers.

If the Saturday night Larimer show was a boozed soaked barn burner, then the Sunday afternoon Lost Lake show was the hair of the dog. The afternoon started with Cook offering me shots of whiskey in the green room, and little did I know that moment would set the tone for one hell of a Sunday-funday BBQ. Venue doors opened at 2pm, when a shuffling crowd made their way to hear openers Mitchel Evan & The Mangrove and The Velveteers. Both bands came out hitting it hard, pulling energy out of people where it didn’t exist before. It was delightful mania, with older songs shared for die-hard fans. The Yawpers of course played another raging set, with the crowd wanting every last bit of what the band had left to give.

Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies. 

Paige of Blackfoot Gypsies. 

After three weeks and over 20 shows together, the Yawpers/BFG tour had come to its end. While both are glad to spend some much needed time off, we wouldn’t be surprised if these two groups joined forces for another round on the road again.

Said Shomberg, “We had camaraderie right off the bat. We drove each other to play better each night; it’s been fantastic.”

The Yawpers closing out their Larimer Lounge set. 

The Yawpers closing out their Larimer Lounge set. 

So what’s next for these rock’n’rollers?

They're gonna miss each other. 

They're gonna miss each other. 

The Blackfoot Gypsies are heading back to Nashville to gear up for a string of tour dates in Europe. From there, they have plans to release their next studio album in September.

The Yawpers will take some time to enjoy being home before touring later this summer; they’ll also make a return appearance at Denver’s UMS.

And as for me, I think I’ll be recovering from this weekend for awhile. While listening to “Doing It Right”, of course.   

-Zach

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. To see more of this show, follow her on Instagram. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 04/08 & 04/09 + More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Another weekend means another round of awesome local music. Check out our picks this week:

THE SIX

Today (Friday 04/08):

Gasoline Lollipops at Oskar Blues in Lyons 6PM-Close

Alt-country four-piece Gasoline Lollipops are well-known in these parts, and this weekend, the guys are playing Oskar Blues in Lyons. They’ve been called one of “Colorado’s Best”, and for good reason! Their performances are “high energy and heartfelt, like the American highway’s soundtrack. That’s something to grab a brew over. Start your weekend at this show!

Check out Gasoline Lollipops’ live performance of “White Trash”:

Residual Kid EP Release Party with Bud Bronson & the Good Timers and Slow Caves at the Hi-Dive in Denver 8PM-Close

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Austin’s noise punk/grunge trio Residual Kid are releasing their EP Salsa tonight at the Hi-Dive with special local guests Bud Bronson & the Good Timers and Slow Caves. We’ve got one word for this lineup: PARTY! This show is guaranteed to have stage dives, gnarly shredding, and more! Plus RK are giving away a copy of Salsa to the first hundred people that walk through the door. So get your tickets now and get there!

Watch Residual Kid’s promo video for the show:

The Zimmermans at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

We recently saw The Zimmermans at a private house show, and man were we impressed. This Boulder-based Bob Dylan tribute group brought mad character to songs all over the Dylan catalogue. Frontman Joshua Elioseff had everyone moving, while regular members, and special guests alike took the stage to showcase their musical talents. Tonight, the six-piece rocks the Conor’s stage, so drop in and dance!

Check out their cover of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 04/09):

Mawule Single Release Party featuring Miguel Dakota and the Differents, Jerney, DJ Zenas, & A Meazy at Club 156 in Boulder 730PM-Close

Denver’s R&B/pop artist Mawule is dropped his newest single this morning and he will be performing it live tomorrow as headliner at CU’s Club 156. His story and his music are super inspiring, so this is definitely a show worth checking out! Mawule’s got a ton of Denver talent on deck too- Miguel Dakota and the Differents will play a set, along with hip hop favorite Jerney, DJ Zenas, and A Meazy. This is a sick lineup you don’t want to miss; tickets at the door.

Hear Mawule’s debut single "Fall for Me":

The Burroughs with Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal at Moxi Theater in Greeley 8PM-Close

We just dropped a sweet review on Greeley’s soul act The Burroughs for their recent release of singles “You Are My Joy” and “1968”. Tonight, the nine-piece are celebrating their new music with a sweet hometown Moxi Theater show. Make the trek, or if you’re a resident, get your tickets here! It’s going to be a great night of soul with Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal sharing the stage. So get to it!

Listen to The Burroughs’ new singles:

The Fremonts at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Americana storytellers Stephanie Dodd and Justin Badger will be making their return to The No Name Bar tomorrow night. This duo are not only talented, they’re hilarious. Just check out their blog for a taste. So get your music fix behind the big brown door with The Fremonts tomorrow! They’ve got new music for you, and they’re sure to keep you entertained. 

Peep The Fremonts’ track “Echo”:

PRESS

We now actively cover press at shows, and we do our best to promote those. Catch some of us at the Lost Lake and the Larimer doing press for these performances:

FRIDAY: Hi-Fi Gentry EP Release Party featuring Whiskey Autumn, VWLS, & Griffin at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

Hi-Fi Gentry are a five-piece indie outfit based in Denver. Tonight, they’re throwing a massive party at Lost Lake for the release of their newest EP, Film Noir. The group have already dropped a couple of singles from the EP, which we really dig, and you can hear one below. Boulder’s R&B pop/rock trio Whiskey Autumn will be sharing the stage, along with experimental psych group VWLS, and Griffin. You get a free copy of Film Noir with your ticket purchase; tickets at the door.

Listen to Hi-Fi Gentry’s new single “The Tide”:

SATURDAY: The Yawpers featuring Blackfoot Gypsies NOW AT Larimer Lounge in Denver 9PM-Close

UPDATE: This show was moved to the Larimer Lounge after publication. Tickets are available at the time of this update- get them here!

The Yawpers are back in town. Do we really need to say much more? The badass rock and roll trio from the D are playing double hometown shows this weekend, both with Blackfoot Gypsies, a Nashville band that we’ve literally followed for years and can’t wait to see live. We guarantee BFG’s performance will be kickin’, so get there early for their set! Saturday's show is at Larimer Lounge; Sunday’s daytime BBQ at Lost Lake will feature Boulder’s The Velveteers, the perfect complement to an already sick rock lineup. Get tickets for the Sunday show here.

Watch The Yawpers vid for "Doing It Right”:

BOULDER COUNTY FARMERS MARKET

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Boulder County Farmers Market is every Saturday from 10AM-2PM. We’re working closely with BCFM to promote the music at the market, and this week, Denver’s Zen Mustache will be under the red top tent. Stop by to hear their soulful funk tunes and grab some food. And don’t forget about one of our favorite treats… the iced coffee!

GREEN LIGHT RADIO

This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Denver’s Open to the Hound in honor of their new music video and EP release for Way of the Critter! Rocky Flats was out of town last weekend, so he will play them tonight! Tune in to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light between 9-10PM to catch their song “Liquid Lady”.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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