Opening Day at Vertex Music Festival

By: Sierra Voss

The first day at Vertex had cars lined up as festival-goers excitedly filled into the camping grounds. It was definitely a get-to-know-your-neighbor situation, as tents were lined up directly behind each personal car. It wasn’t long before the field rapidly became a tent city. Flags were raised, and pool floaties were blown up and mounted on top of cars. Humans started to play lawn games in any space left untouched, as we patiently waited for the first bands to take the stage.

Big Wild.

Big Wild.

Which brings me to the lay of the land. There are three main stages on the festival grounds, and when you first enter the Vertex gates, you stumble upon a pretty heady little world. There is a cottage simply filled with balloons, a shed were women offer to wash your clothes for you with washboards (random and weird), and a nap tent. It all feels somewhat reminiscent of Electric Forest.

Fruition.

Fruition.

When it comes to the music, the band Fruition took the first big main stage around 2PM. The vibe was pretty mellow during their set, and remained so until later in the night as festival-goers slowly trickled in and explored the grounds. Things really started to pick up when Anderson Paak took the Cottonwood Parlor main stage. He put on an awesomely energetic show, hopping down to dance on the monitors and bouncing all around the stage. Paak rocks a pretty sweet septum piercing and has a smile that will make yah weak in the knees. He ended his performance rippin’ it behind his drum set.  

You definitely have to remain flexible and open to different vibes at this festival. The musical lineup for the weekend is incredibly diverse, and jumps from hip hop to bluegrass to EDM, all within the span of a day. Right after Anderson Paak, the band Dawes took the stage. Dawes was a 100% different musical vibe than Paak, but they laid down an equally impressive set.

My personal favorite shows of the night were Alabama Shakes, Jai Wolf, and Gramatik. Each artist crushed it, but Alabama Shakes really slayed. Lead singer Brittany Howard ripped out some powerful notes that filled my entire body with soul. It was beyond epic watching her belt out tune after tune.

Alabama Shakes.

Alabama Shakes.

It was an impressive first day for the start of Vertex Music Festival. I am now sitting here bright and early on day two, watching festi-goers yoga it up. And yes I said watching, not participating. It’s gonna be another rad day of music. Round two let’s go…

-Sierra

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

Five Arstists You Should See at Vertex Festival This Weekend

By: Annie Kane

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

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

Dawes

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

Ryan Hemsworth

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

Hiatus Kaiyote

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

Big Wild

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

BadBadNotGood

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

See the whole lineup for Vertex Music Festival here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

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

"Yes Lawd!": Anderson Paak is on an Other-Worldly Level & He's Coming to Colorado's Vertex Festival

By: Annie Kane

With all the odds against him, Anderson Paak’s career has turned into something dreams are made of.

Anderson Paak at his recent Red Rocks performance.

Anderson Paak at his recent Red Rocks performance.

Despite changing his name from Lovejoy to Anderson Paak, the artist behind both monikers hasn’t moved away from his initial philosophy: turning a negative past into beautiful and inspiring music, and calling forth love and compassion from those who listen to it.

A lot of Paak’s inspiration behind his musical method was recently revealed in an interview with Pitchfork, where he discussed two painful memories: one of his father beating his mother, and the other of his father’s death after serving a 14+ year prison sentence. The trials and tribulations in Paak’s life don’t end there, but these hardships certainly serve as a point of reference for the size of the hurdles Paak has had to overcome. Paak’s mother, on the other hand, dedicated herself to raising him and taught him to transform his hardships. Paak speaks on this in his song “The Season | Carry Me” in which he calls out repeatedly, “Mama will you carry me?”

Paak on the kit.

Paak on the kit.

Paak has surely made it his goal not only to redefine himself, but also to create impactful music that can affect multiple genres. Listening to one of Paak’s albums will take you on a journey through the culture of music yesterday, today and tomorrow. His recognizably raspy and charismatic voice carries through over jazz, R&B, trap, funk and experimental rock. Paak recently told Noisey, “People have said I couldn’t do songs with all these different genres, with all these different artists. It made me wanna break the rules.” And break the rules he has.

Listen to Anderson Paak's album Malibu:

Paak’s latest album, Malibu, begins with a soulful R&B tune, “The Bird” and before you’re ready for it, he jumps right into a completely new vibe with “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance”. The jazzy, drum-driven introduction to this song is reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Malibu continues to ebb and flow in various directions, teleporting listeners from 80s skate rinks in “Am I Wrong”, to futuristic clubs in “Parking Lot”, and finally to a dreamy jazz lounge in “Room In Here”. The entire album is laced with samples of old recordings of interviews, documentaries, and advertisements too, keeping your ear intrigued. This release proves that Paak has mastered his craft, and is bringing the 21st century music culture with him as he pushes creative boundaries.

Paak with The Free Nationals.

Paak with The Free Nationals.

Just last month, we caught Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals’ recent show at Red Rocks with Bryson Tiller, and can personally guarantee that he will give one of the liveliest performances you will ever see. Paak grooves on stage with a dance style just as unique as his music, and fearlessly jumps over his drum set to drive the beat of his songs while incredulously still singing and rapping. Anderson Paak is on an ethereal level that doesn’t come around often. Which is why we recommend you buy your tickets to Vertex Festival in Buena Vista, CO now! The festival is scheduled for the weekend of August 5th-7th, and Paak is at the top of our must-see list on the lineup. We’ll be covering the festival, so stay tuned, and in the meantime, get your tickets to Vertex here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author; embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited.