Dizzy Wright Ended His Recent Tour in Denver with a Nipsey Hussle Tribute & More

By: Moriel O'Connor

If you were like me, you spent your high school days hotboxing in your friend’s Pontiac while banging rap music on back roads. It seemed more badass back then, when you had to steer clear of the cops and put in eyedrops before going back to physics class. Now, cannabis is easy to get ahold of, and you don’t have to worry about the CD scratching and skipping over your favorite lines. Still, there is nothing like lighting up and getting down.

Dizzy Wright.

Dizzy Wright.

For real, name a more iconic duo than weed and hip hop. I’ll wait. Dizzy Wright gets this, and he’s even got his own strain. He rolls his own blunts and keeps it real. Cruising to Colorado from his hometown of Las Vegas, he finished off his recent tour at Cervantes’ last weekend.

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During his set, Dizzy praised to be “a mile high,” saying Denver was his favorite city to visit. He also paid respect to Nipsey Hussle. Dizzy’s music stands out from most modern day rap with authenticity and truth. He is an independent artist whose lyrics and spirit show passion and integrity, encouraging others to take back their power. Dizzy’s been rapping since he was a child and recently released his album, Nobody Cares, Work Harder, collabing with Mozzy, Tech N9ne, Berner, Curren$y, Jarren Benton and Demrick.

So if you weren’t at Cervantes’ this last weekend, or even if you were, roll up, view my shots from the show, and listen to Dizzy’s latest album here. Much love. 

-Moriel

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

After 47 Years, the Magical Reputation of Telluride Bluegrass Festival Has Long Been Earned

By: Cy Fontenot 

Nestled in the epic Box Canyon, Telluride Bluegrass lives up to its reputation year after year. There’s not a place in Telluride where pickin’ and dancin’ isn’t goin’ down. From the songwriting contests in town, to incredibly uplifting shows and picking circles in Town Park until sunrise, the Telluride Bluegrass vibe stays alive 24 hours a day for the weekend’s festivities. There’s an undeniable sense of synchronicity to the festival and to Telluride all together. 

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.

This was my second year attending the festival and as soon as I walked into Town Park, I was greeted by a familiar face, named Toast who hollered, “Welcome home Cy!” The family at this festival is real, loving, accepting, giving, and very cool. Within the festival walls, it was difficult to not have a smile on my face. Beyond the music, the general positive, healthy, and environmentally conscious vibe is my favorite part of this festival. 

Lake Street Dive.

Lake Street Dive.

Though I was able to witness some incredibly inspiring performances on the main stage by Lake Street Dive, Broke Mountain String Band, and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the late night shows are where I found the tastiest of tunes. Leftover Salmon, Magic Beans, and Greensky Bluegrass are always a fantastic time, and proved to be this year as usual. Liver Down the River, which I am a member of, played some solid Funkadelic Grass, and if the people and mountains weren’t enough, Railroad Earth reminded us that this is one amazing festival to be a part of. A feeling of gratitude even flowed through the crowd as Sam Bush showed us if you play enough mandolin, and you are rock’n’roll enough, maybe one day, you too can become the King of Telluride Bluegrass. 

Sam Bush.

Sam Bush.

There really isn’t another festival quite like Telluride Bluegrass, so needless to say, I’m already looking forward to their 47th year. Check out their website here to stay informed for next year! 

View my full photo gallery from this festival at this link

-Cy

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.

LA's Balto Making Two Stops in Colorado This Week

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Balto is a brave Americana-rock band hailing from the City of Angels who will grace us with their presence right here in our own Denver, Colorado this week. They are playing in Loveland at 5030 Local this Friday, April 12th, and then coming to Denver on Saturday, April 13th to play at the Black Buzzard. Oskar Blues’ Denver bar is the perfect setting for this band, and for you to go enjoy local brews while lubricating your ears with the boozy, swaggering style of American music rooted at the intersection of Motown, Big Star, Plastic Ono Band-era Lennon, and Jackson Browne. When you’re listening to Balto’s music, it paints an open-road landscape of nostalgia. Basically, they make you feel like a character from one of Jack Kerouac's novels.  

Balto.

Balto.

And these guys are going places. They’re already on their way, actually. Balto’s newly released single “Black Snake, Mojave Blues was featured in Rolling Stone’s 10 New Americana and Country Songs. They have over 3 million listeners on Spotify, and have supported nationally touring bands including The Revivalists, Blind Pilot, David Nail, and Current Swell.

Balto is also on the “Top 20 Sessions”of 2018’s Jam in the Van. You can check out their video above, or watch their new live video from BalconyTV. Make sure to catch their Colorado shows this week and keep up with Balto here.

-Mirna

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

Catch Jazz is PHSH All Over Colorado This Week, Starting Tonight

By: Mirna Tufekcic

It’s not because Phish isn’t an expansive, easy-to-groove-and-get-down-with band that a group of highly talented musicians decided to form a fluid, tribute Phish collective and name it Jazz is PHSH.  

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Who are Jazz is PHSH? Well, let me tell yah. They’re a floating ensemble of world-renowned, highly talented jazzers who take Phish to the jazziest level, all instrumental and quite gentle on the ears and inner landscapes. Formed by The Chase Brothers in 2015, they gained momentum fast and have attracted many influential jazz and jam musicians including Dennis Chambers (Santana, Miles Davis, Parliament Funkadelic), Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, The Flecktones), three-time Grammy winning saxophonist Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Giant Country Horns, Cosmic Crewe), Grant Green Jr. (Groove Masters), Anthony Wellington (Victor Wooten Band), the teenage piano prodigy hailing from France DOMi Degalle, at one point the late, great, R.I.P. Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Trey Anastasio Band), & many more!

Jazz is PHSH are playing at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins tonight, April 2nd, Denver’s Cervantes Other Side this Thursday, April 4th, Fox Theatre in Boulder on Friday the 5th, and Colorado Springs’ The Black Sheep on Saturday 6th before they hit the rest of North America. (Pssst… all the hyperlinks lead straight to the event tickets so no excuses and you’re welcome!)  

In case you didn’t already know, Phish’s compositions are deep. Jazz deep. All of us who have seen Phish once or twice (or 187 times exactly) know their nature is improvisational and they love to play around with their instruments on stage. Jazz is PHSH takes that to a whole other level. It’s like buying a VW wagon Lego set, taking all the non-foundational pieces and turning it into another kind of VW van altogether… They create original compositions to support unique and playful melodies of Phish, mashing Phish songs with the legendary work of jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus and Wayne Shorter, which is truly a bountiful blend of sounds to inspire Phish fans, jazz lovers, and musicians alike.

So whether you didn’t get enough of Phish at Dick’s last summer or you can’t wait until their appearance again this year, or if your ears are yearning for another rendition of Phish’s musical genius in the jazz format, or if you’ve never heard of Phish but really get off on the jazz stuff, or if you just love seeing awe-inspiring talent live, then catch Jazz is PHSH at any one of the venues they’re playing across our beautiful state of Colorado this week. And be hasty! Catch ‘em while you can because they’re in Colorado for this week only before they take their jazz back on the road.

-Mirna

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

Weir Drops New Single "Copper" with Local Electronic Label Alias

By: Natalie Pulvino

One way Colorado has distinguished itself in the music world is through the unwavering rise of live-electronic bands. With influencers like Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, GRiZ, SunSquabi and more, young and aspiring musicians are crafting something fresh every day. This week, we sat down with Nick Vann of Nobide and Chris Weir of Weir to talk about Weir’s new track “Copper”, which is being released through Vann’s label Alias today.

So Nick, tell us about your record label Alias. When was it formed, what inspired the project, and what is your vision for the label?

NV: It started in January 2018 with my buddy Gunter- it’s a pretty similar vision to other Colorado labels in that we want to put out organic electronic music. Electronic music with live elements in there with really good branding. The vision is to make it a taste-maker label I suppose. Our slogan is “Global Taste, Local Face,” so it’s focused on the local element as well.

Can you give a brief overview of the other artists on the label? Are they all local electronic acts?

NV: Yeah, local, organic electronic incorporating live elements that aren’t completely made on the computer. We have Hxrse, mxxnwathcers, f-ether, and Nobide, to name a few.  

What is your or your team’s current process for choosing what music you’ll distribute through Alias?

NV: Pretty much, if it hits us sonically and “in the feels,” and if we sort of know the person.

Chris Weir.

Chris Weir.

This leads us into the next portion of our interview, which is Weir’s new single “Copper.” Nick, what excited you about “Copper” enough to distribute it through Alias?

NV: It was really different from Weir, not the stuff he’d been making prior. Cinematic and organic, a bit more instrument-based than his prior music. The arrangement is killer.

Very cool. And Chris, tell us a bit more about “Copper.” The song is intense and thick with emotion. What drove this project and what were your inspirations?

CW: Originally I had a friend reach out to make a track for a ski video that he was working on, so I wanted to experiment with more of a hip-hop based, slower tempo, and ended up developing it into something a lot more than a ski video. And by writing it through a dark time, I used that energy in the core progressions and in the sound I was picking out. I wanted to create a vibe similar to the mountains, or tie it in with nature in some way.

What’s the most experimental or exciting part of the song for you?

CW: Probably the overall hip-hop vibe because pretty much all I’ve written in the past has been more dance-house beats, so it was cool to take the tempo a lot slower and fill the space more.

Why did you feel Alias was a good fit to distribute and help promote “Copper?”

CW: It really was more up to Nick, but I saw it fitting Alias more so than my previous projects for sure, in terms of the organic soundscape that I was messing with.

Do you think “Copper” represents a shift in your musical work, and if so, where do you see this shift going?

CW: One hundred percent- I definitely see myself going towards more of a live performance and incorporating more instruments on stage. To me, this track has a lot more elements that I think I could play out live and develop more into what I see Weir being.

Weir at work.

Weir at work.

These last two questions are for both of you. What is your read on the thriving live-electronic scene in the Boulder/Denver area?

NV: It’s so all over the place in the best possible way. Every type of music is getting produced and there’s a really strong community vibe around it, where people just want everybody to succeed. At the end of the day, everybody just wants more good music.

CW: I think it’s just really cool that there’s so much variety both in Boulder and Denver, and all of Colorado. There’s obviously a huge pop of jam bands, soul and funk, but it’s cool to see more electronic and live-electronic acts popping up.

NV: It seems like Colorado may be doing that in a more forward-thinking way than other areas.

What do you mean by that?

NV: It seems that there’s more technological innovation with the blending [of] instruments to create more of a band. Geographically, we’re right in the middle of the country, so musically we’re blending everything together here.

Lastly, can we expect any further artistic collaboration between you two?

NV: Absolutely.

CW: I would certainly hope so.

Be sure to give “Copper” a listen now and catch these guys live in action at Larimer Lounge next Saturday, April 6th.

Keep up with Weir here and check out alias.fm.

-Natalie

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

Premiere: Elektric Animals' "Vulnerable Thing" Digs Deep

By: Sam Piscitelli

There’s always been some sort of heaviness that accompanies the Rock genre; a pressure to make as much noise as possible. The tricky part is keeping the music grounded in the roots of its composition and lyrics. A lot of the time, the story of the song can become muddled in the making of it and what the band itself is trying to convey. Luckily, for Elektric Animals their song “Vulnerable Thing” not only deserves recognition, but shines a light on the future of what alternative rock can be, if only fought for with a little persistence and love for the craft. The Denver trio, comprised of Nick Sanders (vocals), Oscar Jara (guitar), and Jerrid Van Scoy (bass) recently formed and today, we’re proud to premiere their newest single:

“Vulnerable Thing” digs deep into the message that in life, you have a tendency to carry the past into the present. It can be both a force of positivity, or of negativity. Whether it’s the scars you’ve endured or the happiness you wish to see fulfilled, life can either make you or break the person you are destined to become. Elektric Animals decided to pour their souls about this aspect of life into this track. This band is fearless, yet honest, which reminds us that music is a treasure, not just a glimmer you can shove on a shelf somewhere.

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The music industry at times seems to settle for uninspired music; music that only garners in split seconds of attention. Elektric Animals seem to be the opposite, creating music that involves fleeting moments and engraving them more permanently inside our heads. Not many bands or artists can take fleeting moments and engrave them like this, but this is a band who does so knowing that the only attention they crave is from the real stories they lead.

Keep up with Elektric Animals here.

-Sam

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

Corda Vera's Brand of Indie Is Rocking the Boulder House Party Scene

By: Taylor Falkner

Boulder, Colorado may be a land for new music, but it is certainly not a new land to the music scene. Once considered the next mecca of young musicians and “…the Berkeley of the Mountain Time Zone”, Boulder is a place for musical exploration and inspiration. It is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with the majestic Flatirons at the backdrop of everyday life. It helped create legendary bands like Zephyr, The String Cheese Incident, 3OH!3 and Big Gigantic just to name a few. The unique aspect of this list is that it encapsulates a variety of genres, and therefore further exemplifies how up and coming artistry in Boulder is not bound to the limits of a single genre.

This limitless sound opportunity is also expressed in the genre of indie rock. Indie originated from the concept of independent labels, but has evolved to describe “a sonic aesthetic influenced by various forms of post-punk and lo-fi music”. Moreover, indie is not overly concerned with meeting the criteria of what makes a good “commercial sound”. It is raw, and the use of at home recording equipment adds another unfiltered and imperfect dimension to the music which enriches the listeners experience. In this generation dominated by technological advancement, the D.I.Y. mentality of indie is blossoming due to the convenience and easy accessibility of online platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify. The spirit of this fresh freedom is very much alive in the city of Boulder, and it is where you can also find the beginnings of the very local band Corda Vera. As an underground, basement dwelling, house party band of Boulder, Corda Vera, swiftly takes on the essence of Boulder and the attitude of indie music in the twenty-first century.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera is a band of four twenty-year olds, one female and three males, some of which are on the journey to obtaining a college degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Simone Fohrman (vocals), Josh Bennett (drums), Sam Sawyer (bass), and Thomas Perry (guitar) all have been brought together through the allure of Boulder. Each member has their own style and differing musical background and inspirations, which compliment each other very well in their original music. They have an undeniably otherworldly aura to them, which makes them relatable to the confusion and individual growth that many college students experience while away from home where everything is safe and comforting. Their songs manifest a perfect blend of Sonic Youth grunge rock vibes with an indie, and somewhat psychedelic, sound. Setting themselves apart from today’s millennial teenage angst, Corda Vera plays into their emotions rather than becoming a victim of them.

As the band guides listeners on a trip away from wherever they may be, the lyrics sung by band leader Simone touch base on the interpersonal connections in all kinds of relationships. Their song “Over The Edge” encapsulates this well. The dark, yet enchanting bass riff that Sam bewitches listeners’ ears with transports one to the shuffling streets, lit only by the moon, in the faraway land of Istanbul. The song sends one to face the unknown. Through every thud of the bass drum the city breathes and comes to life and then, “Bang!” A shot echoes from Josh’s snare drum and the chills run down your spine. “We’re lost in translation/building my agitation/you can’t keep what ain’t yours,” Simone croons. Immediately the tension the band has been building is released by a powerful statement that gives the listener a piece of mind. Simone’s lyrics of feeling uncertain about her own emotions towards her counterpart reflect the universal angst that anyone can relate too when they feel shorted in a relationship. Instead of shying away from this angst, Simone and the rest of Corda Vera embrace it by turning it into a powerful energy, one that makes the listener feel as if they are walking a fine line and indeed about to fall “Over the Edge.”

A major factor to the unique tone and mood that Corda Vera puts out is due to the vast array of musical influences. All sorts of unconventional things can be heard in their music from various genres, scales, and even the effects used on every instrument. Their use of the harmonic minor scale in “Over the Edge” is what gives it its eerie vibe by dancing with the devil’s note. At the same time, however, you can here an influence from The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” which helps keep the song in a mystical world of its own.

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In the song “Nao” Corda Vera makes you feel as if you are floating through the clouds daydreaming. With a heavy chorus and reverb, Thomas, the guitarist and Boulder native, encapsulates what it is to feel weightless and floating. The ticking of the hi-hat alters time, and the audience is left in a place where there is no up and down or left and right. In respects to most other songs called “Heartbreaker,” Corda Vera’s version is one of the band’s fastest tempo songs. Moreover, it stands far apart from sounding that of Led Zeppelin, Pat Benatar or even Taio Cruz’s “Heartbreaker,” and sounds more like a contemporary electronica song. The drums are reminiscent of that of Seal’s in his hit “Crazy” or Moby’s “Porcelain”, while the guitar bares resemblance to that of Lenny Kravitz. Mesh all of this up with chorus-driven spacey vocals, and you have something totally new.

The motley crew that is Corda Vera has led them to create a sound that they can call their own. They all have different musical influences but their love for music, courage to face unsettling truths, and their desire to just have a good time has brought them to create something unique to everything else going on in Boulder currently. By blending such a vast array of sounds and with themes based in personal experience, Corda Vera are as authentic as it gets. There is no facade that they are attempting to convey. They are a group of friends who met through their love of music at open mic nights at Innisfree Cafe on the Hill and decided to join forces. In turn, they have given the students of Boulder, and hopefully more to come, a chance of a genuine experience.

Keep up with Corda Vera here.

-Taylor

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

Denver's Foxxes Are Starting the Right Kind of Fires

By: Sam Piscitelli

On January 17th, 2019, I was introduced to the Denver music scene. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Although, I had listened to Foxxe’s sophomore release, “Firestarter” a couple of hours prior to their release party at Globe Hall, I had never ventured out and seen the live music Denver had to offer. I have to say though, this first experience was one I’ll never forget.

From the moment Foxxes stepped onto the stage, they captivated the entire room, as if they somehow had the ability to make people gravitate towards them. There was something in the air, and whether it was the band’s agreed upon excitement about playing live for the first time in little over a year, or their driven intent on delivering an album that made them feel complete as musicians, you could tell this performance was going to be their most heartfelt yet.

Foxxes.

Foxxes.

As the band started to play, you could feel Globe Hall come alive. Their energy engulfed the room, leaving nothing but their music to be heard. With their delicate delivery, but powerful presence, the audience joined Foxxes as they traveled across their new discography and dipped into their old catalog as well. Their subtle control over their own compositions and melodies relayed a sense of envy. For a band who is only now releasing their second album, the members of Foxxes are experts in their craft.

Each member stood up on the stage bathing in their own individual glory. This wasn’t a feeling of just watching another well-oiled rock machine, but rather watching equally talented musicians in their own right come together to perform a piece of art that has brought them together. While Foxxe’s approach to rock music isn’t as deafening as other acts, their ability to pull you in, come together and set the room on fire with controlled flames shows that while, yes, they’re young as a band, they nonetheless have a deep musical prowess. What made their release party even better though was the authenticity of it all. They weren’t trying to be someone else or pretending to be better than they are because they know who they are is good enough for them.

By the end of the night, they thanked the audience for their patience, for their time, and for their support. They then reminded their fans that while they would like to be paid for their art, they understand if you can't afford it or aren’t willing to pay and told fans they could take a free copy of their record Firestarter if they’d like. I was blown away. They explained by saying that they “just want their music to be heard.” To Foxxes, what matters to them is the music and to them, their music being heard was the real reward. The following day I bought both their albums and considered myself a fan.

Live music has a tendency to have a fight or flight atmosphere to it, one where you're never sure what you as the listener will hear or not hear. I came in that night to Globe Hall with no expectations, but I left with the confidence that the Denver music scene is in good hands.

Keep up with Foxxes here.

-Sam

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

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

By: Moriel O’Connor

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

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

The Gaia Experiment.

The Gaia Experiment.

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

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

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

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

-Moriel

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

Knuckle Pups’ “Last Whim” Live Session Proves There’s Still Magic In The Intimacy of a Small Room

By: Sam Piscitelli

There’s something about the simplicity of sitting in tight-knit spaces and playing the music you made with your friends. Maybe it’s the resurfacing of the first time you discovered that a particular chord progression mixed correctly and almost sounds poetic. Maybe it’s the feeling of the fire that was first lit after your initial “unofficial” soundcheck in your bandmate’s basement, living room, or garage. Or maybe it’s the ability to play with the sole purpose of letting your music speak for itself. Either way, the energy that can be felt from the Knuckle Pups “Last Whim” live session is spellbinding.

Instead of gunning for a large budget production or over-the-top visual effects, the Knuckle Pups grip listeners with their organic chemistry as a band. Set up in a small recording room, listeners can feel the magic come alive from the beginning of the session, as the voices of the bandmates and the tuning of their instruments carries outward. From there, we’re fortunate to see the Knuckle Pups for who they really are, a group of musically-inclined friends who riff off each other. There’s no glossy cover-up or unnatural introduction; rather there’s a sense of quaint humility. Through the next three minutes and fifty-one seconds, fans and non-fans alike bare witness to a band that gracefully flake on what the standard of an image should be and create their own.

Knuckle Pups.

Knuckle Pups.

You come to understand that while the music video contributes to the branding of Knuckle Pups, it only truly personifies the essence of what the band itself represent, which is allowing their music to speak for itself. Rather than let some false narrative introduce them to the world, the Knuckle Pups use their raw talent and hard work to indicate their presence. It’s a gutsy move, especially for a band that just released their first EP into the world. But, it pays off, as we’re introduced to a band who is both fearless and heartfelt.

-Sam

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

The String Cheese Incident: A New Year’s Celebration 25 Years in the Making

By: Cy Fontenot

Night one of String Cheese Incident’s 25th Anniversary New Year Celebration at Broomfield, Colorado’s 1stBank Center was one for the books. World renown bluegrass rockstars Sam Bush and Darol Anger joined the stage for most of the first set, and it was bluegrass throwdown String Cheese-style. Bill Nershi was feelin’ it and everyone knew. They seemed to be experimenting with what people are calling the “Palindrome Set.” I’ll break it down:

In the first set they teased the palindrome idea with:

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Salt Creek”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

Following this, Darol Anger became our collective stepdad as he, Sam Bush, and Michael Kang all whipped out their fiddles and baptized the crowd with the benevolent wisdom of the bluegrass gods. The crew went on to play:

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

“Sand Dollar”

“Revival”

“Colorado Bluebird Sky”

But then the second set was where things got trippy; lights and screens began to come alive and the Cheese got extra psychedelic as they entered back into a palindrome of sorts part two with:

“Close Your Eyes”

“Black Clouds”

“Jellyfish”

“Round the Wheel”

“Texas”

“Land’s End”

“Texas”

“Round the Wheel”

“Jellyfish”

“Black Clouds”

“Close Your Eyes”

The String Cheese Incident.

The String Cheese Incident.

This palindrome idea may seem cheesy, no pun intended, but it allowed a wonderful platform for String Cheese to do what they do best: improvise. The key to improvisation lies in the moment: that moment when the crowd is connected to the band, and they aren’t thinking, they’re just doing. It’s like everyone in the room is experiencing the moment together, through the music, sharing the feeling of life, love, joy and inspiration. It’s amazing when an artist can detach from the ego of being an artist and let the music be what it wants to be. This, among many reasons, is why String Cheese Incident have impacted so many lives, and why they have the beyond-dedicated following they have managed to acquire over the last 25 years. If we’re lucky, we’ll get another 25 years of String Cheese.

Check out String Cheese’s upcoming tour dates and latest releases 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.

Review: Prep Rally "Break In" the New Year with Latest Single

By: Julia Talen

Just shy of one year after the release of their debut EP, Passing Notes, Denver electro-pop duo Prep Rally will reign in 2019 with the release of their new single, “Break In” when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve.

Prep Rally.

Prep Rally.

The pair, made up of Tatum Russo (vocalist and flautist) and Drew Norris (instrumentalist), have clearly pulsed the Colorado indie scene with their dance-pop tunes, ethereal, tiered vocalization, and intriguing instrumentals.

“Break In” highlights these enticing qualities in Prep Rally’s music, evocative of the pop trifecta, Haim with it’s upbeat, fun pace and dance feel. Norris’ explorative instrumentation is certainly something to take note of- it’s playful and different with each verse, and has a whimsical quality that keeps listeners engaged. In addition to the instrumentation, at times in the track, Russo’s vocals have a retro vibe similar to Denver’s beloved Alaina Moore. At other times during the song, when Russo’s vocals are layered, the tune reminds me of something celestial off of Grimes’ Vision album.

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Along with the delicious indie quality of “Break In,” the lyrics couldn’t be more fitting for a fresh start in the New Year. Listeners will take away invigorating optimism from lines like, “I used to break down… I’m breaking in now” as they spin and strut their way into 2019 with this track.

-Julia

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

Lief Sjostrom Released a Christmas Record You Should Add to Any Holiday Playlist

By: Norman Hittle

Cellist Lief Sjostrom has just released The Longest Night, an EP of traditional songs centric to winter and the Christmas season, yet far more somber and dark. Take a listen below:

In this collection, arranged by Lief, he performs solely using multiple layers on the cello. At first read this may sound a bit dull, but if you listen to the care he put into these compositions, you’ll soon discover it’s layers of textured plucking, strumming, and slides beneath the more traditionally associated cello sounds.

Lief Sjostrom. Photo Credit: KT Langley

Lief Sjostrom. Photo Credit: KT Langley

The Longest Night is a six-track variation of four more commonly known holiday tunes as well as two far lesser known. But more importantly, Lief’s take on the classics is an interesting divergence in his own melancholic style with compositions that sound like they would fit right at home in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or perhaps in Vikings or on the Skyrim soundtrack. Says Lief, “It’s a darker, more meditative approach to Christmas music. It’s an ode to the darkest time of the year, and a respite from the commercialized joy of Christmas.”  

Aside from this release, Lief put out his full length album Counting Breaths earlier this year, which I absolutely loved and wrote about, so check out that article here.

Keep up with Lief Sjostrom on Facebook and be sure to add him to your extensive holiday playlists!

-Norman

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

Silverstein's 'When Broken Is Easily Fixed' 15-Year Anniversary Show Hits Denver This Weekend

By: Nathan Sheppard

One the original 2000s post-hardcore bands, Silverstein, are celebrating the 15-year anniversary of their debut album, When Broken Is Easily Fixed this year. Silverstein will be celebrating their Denver stop of the tour at The Oriental Theatre this Saturday, December 8th with fellow post-hardcore vets Hawthorne Heights, along with As Cities Burn and Capstan.   

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When Broken Is Easily Fix (WBIEF) is an album that was integral to the rise of the post-hardcore/screamo movement into a more mainstream and popular genre of music. “Smashed To Pieces” was the hit single from the album which propelled Silverstein into the spotlight, and into the influential band that they are today. WBIEF is a combination of different aspects of emo, hardcore, and screamo of the early 2000s mixed into something that exceeded everyone's expectations at the time.

As a special gift for Silverstein fans, the guys will not only be playing WBIEF in full; they will also be playing another full set of their greatest hits. So make sure you get there early in order to celebrate a night of classic emo hits from back in the day, and to discover some new favorite songs along the way. Make sure you don’t miss out on this epic night by getting 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.

Extra Gold's Debut Record Has the Boot-Stompin' Bangers Denver's Country Scene Needs

With festivals like Country Jam and Bands in the Backyard, Colorado is no stranger to some good ol’ western music. And though it may not be as prevalent a genre as Colorado’s rock or hip-hop scenes, bands like Denver’s Extra Gold are setting the stage for a country Mile High takeover.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Extra Gold’s album art.

Formed in 2017, Extra Gold cut their chops by throwing a once-a-month showcase for country music at Denver’s Syntax Physic Opera. Crafted as “a take on country music cocktail that is equal parts golden-era country revival, folk, and rock & roll,” Extra Gold soon found themselves opening for larger Colorado favorites like The Yawpers and Dragondeer. Now, the band are set to release their debut record High & Lonesome this Friday, November 30th with a show at Denver’s Hi-Dive.

Founded by Evan Holm (guitar/vocals), Extra Gold is comprised of Gan Matthews (guitar), Carl Sorenson (drums), Randi Guthrie (bass), Ben Waligoski (pedal steel), Erin Armstrong (vocals), and Sami Steidl (fiddle). After the crew started gaining a reputation for their “tender three-part harmony ballads” and inciting “two-steppin’, beer slingin’ dance parties,” they picked up shows with honky-tonk heroes Whitey Morgan, Joshua Hedley, Jesse Dayton, Zephaniah Ohora, and more. They also played Denver’s Underground Music Showcase this past summer, and have plans for a slew of shows in 2019.

High & Lonesome, which is an 8-track LP mix of cosmic country ballads and boot-stompin’ bangers is a very solid debut for this Colorado band. The record was recorded with Mark Anderson in Denver. Tracks like “Emily” showcase the band’s incredible harmonies, “When The Matches Meet The Wood” has fiery strings that will force you to your feet, and title track “High And Lonesome” is the record’s crooner, a tune that is perfect for your favorite fireside playlist this season.  

Extra Gold’s debut record is available for listening on all music platforms. Give their new tunes a listen and find tickets to their Hi-Dive show here.

Keep up with Extra Gold at this link.

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

Sylar's Nu Metal Brings Fans Out Early for Denver Stop

By: Nathan Sheppard

New York band Sylar, who is supporting Beartooth this winter on The Disease Tour, made their Denver stop this past Saturday. The band recently released their third studio album Seasons in October as an ode the people “who can’t speak and the people who are too scared to dream” according to frontman Jayden Panesso. The guys have fashioned themselves after Linkin Park, with more modern and updated styles that give the rap-rock genre a breath of fresh air.

Sylar.

Sylar.

Gaining notoriety from their hit single “Soul Addiction” and a Warped Tour stint in 2017, Sylar have quickly gained a supportive community around them. While most opening bands play to a half-filled venue, people wrapped around the building and down the alley waiting in the cold to get in early for Sylar’s set. The band opened with a few up-tempo songs to get the crowd warmed up and then hit them with “All or Nothing” and “No Way” from Seasons to kick things up to the next level.

While the openers’ set is always on the shorter side, Sylar has definitely gained even more fans on the first leg of this tour with Knocked Loose and Beartooth. Their energetic live show combined with clever hip-hop lyrics from Panesso, and silky-smooth clean vocals from rhythm guitarist Miguel Cardona create a new sound for the metalcore genre.

You can check out Seasons here and get your tickets for upcoming dates on The Disease Tour here. And whatever you do, get to these shows early for Sylar!

-Nathan

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

Mayday Parade Rolled Through Denver All Smiles for Their 'Sunnyland Tour'

By: Nathan Sheppard

Denver was treated to a Warped Tour reunion this past Wednesday as Mayday Parade’s Sunnyland Tour made its stop at Summit Denver. Mayday was joined by Oh, Weatherly, William Ryan Key, and This Wild Life, all of whom played at least one date on this past year’s final Warped Tour.

Mayday Parade.

Mayday Parade.

Oh, Weatherly kicked things off with an up-tempo pop-emo set. They had a good stage presence and were able to keep the crowd engaged by sharing the stories behind a couple of their songs, mixed with a joke or two. While they’ve only been a band for two years, they are already road veterans. William Ryan Key followed up with a very mellow acoustic set. While the songs were enjoyable, the set was a bit slow for the energy in the room. Key amped it up with a sing-a-long of “Ocean Avenue,” but finished with an unreleased song that no one knew which was a questionable choice after playing something everyone was grooving to.

Self-described “Hot Topic meets Mumford & Sons” two-piece This Wild Life followed up Key’s performance with fun, upbeat acoustic songs from their latest record Petaluma. The duo had a happy-go-lucky attitude that was infectious and spread a smile to everyone's face. Midway through the set, lead singer Kevin Jordan gifted us with a Blink-182 ukulele medley as the drum set was rearranged onstage, which was a highlight of the set as well. This Wild Life have gained a pretty strong following over the last couple of years and it is easy to see why; they have a unique sound that is appealing for everyone.    

Mayday Parade topped off the night with an epic 17-song set with tunes from their debut EP Tales Told By Dead Friends to their most recent, Sunnyland. It was truly a celebration of the band’s 12-year-old discography. The crowd was a mix of teeny boppers, twenty somethings, and “grown men who are still emo kids” according to lead singer Derek Sanders. But it showed that Mayday Parade’s songs music spans generations. The set itself had everything Mayday fans could ask for, from singing along to the oldies and a couple covers, it was an enjoyable time for all.

You can listen to Sunnyland and check out the rest of the the band’s tour dates 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.

Fans Braved the Cold for Last Weekend's "Rezz Rocks" and It Was Worth Every Minute

By: Franz Hilberath

Is Rezz the most iconic woman in electronic music today?

It would’ve been hard to argue otherwise standing in a half-rain, half-snow flurry drizzle at Red Rocks Amphitheater late Saturday night, where Rezz had just finished up her sold-out, headlining debut at Colorado’s most historic venue.

Rezz Rocks” had been a notable date on the ever-exciting Red Rocks concert lineup since it was announced earlier this year, hype that would only grow with her exceptional 2018 career.

“Rezz Rocks.” Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

“Rezz Rocks.” Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

In September, she released her sophomore album Certain Kind of Magic, hitting her highest charting position to date at #12. On the global festival circuit, she’s made waves headlining main stages at events like Electric Forest, Lost Lands, and most-recently ACL Festival in Austin, TX.

Her well-reputed ability to create event-catered experiences for crowds in addition to the spell-binding nature of her music has made her one of the more clamored for electronic acts worldwide, and more often than not her billing demands a primetime night set wherever she goes. This reputation for creating an experience each time out boded well for her largest show to date, and her first headlining gig at Red Rocks Amphitheater, a venue noted for making concerts like these special.

On Saturday, the concert doors opened up to fans at 4:30PM, an earlier start time enacted due to fears of light rain and snow coming over the mountains later on in the night. “Rezz Rocks” featured a slew of enticing openers in Fytch, Charlesthefirst, Digital Ethos and Bleep Bloop, but the main lead up spot was reserved for LA-based DJ/producer Tokimonsta. The fellow lady — real name Jennifer Lee — took the stage later in the night, playing some of her lighter tunes and remixes before following suit with a bass-heavy themed set. As that set neared its end, the sun had all but abandoned the park as the cooler weather and breeze began to set in, with temperatures diving down into the 30s.

At 8:30PM, as if on cue with total darkness, Rezz made her way to the stage, booting on her patented-LED goggles as both the music and visuals for “Life and Death” began to play. Within minutes the 10,000-plus in attendance found themselves entranced in one of electronic music’s more captivating shows.

With an hour and a half set time, the Canadian producer dished out all the tools in her arsenal, debuting new tracks, visuals and stellar remixes. During a slowed-down version of Liquid Stranger’s “Creature,” a giant eyeball with tentacles sprang to life on screen, while other tracks like “H E X” and “Teleportal” utilized geometric shapes and patterns on the LED-board to help bring the music to life. On a night that dipped below freezing, Rezz seemed mostly unbothered while only sporting a hoodie, regularly dancing or swaying along with the slow-bass drops.

Rezz. Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

Rezz. Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

Around 10PM the weather began to make a turn for the worse, as the temperature continued to drop and the winds spiked, sending droplets of rain dancing above the crowd. It was here the night began to come to a close, as Rezz met the crowd at the lip of the stage to acknowledge both their energy and the cold.

“Thanks for sticking with me in the cool,” she gleamed while looking out at the sold-out amp crowd, struggling to form her trademark third-eye hand gesture. “I can barely feel my hands.”

To the delight of everyone, Rezz dropped back in for one more song, asking fans to “put all [their] energy into” a high-powered, unreleased, unnamed track that we can't wait to hear on record.

In a world where we’re constantly working towards a climate where women are celebrated for their uniqueness and individuality, Rezz serves as an early champion. On what she claimed to be “the best night of her life,” Rezz proved that she is well ahead of her peers, and at only 23, she’s just getting started. She hasn’t achieved this level of status or fame by following others. Instead her rise has fed off the energy she puts out there for fans, grown by her humbled dedication in being the best version of herself regardless of what others would say.

If that isn’t iconic, what is?

-Franz

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

Review: Rodes Rollins Comes Into Her Own With 'Velvet'

By: Julia Talen

Rodes Rollins (Talia Taxman) has truly come into her own in the last year and a half. Since the release of her acclaimed, coming-of-age EP, Young Adult, Rollins has gone on to release a series of singles including “Nasty Woman” and “Boom Pow.

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Her next musical project, called Velvet, which drops October 19th, is an A/B Side record underscoring Rollins' impressive range as an artist. Her music straddles the sphere of all sorts of genres, from psychedelic rock to folk with a bluesy flare. This record is no exception.

The A Side's "Mystery Man" opens up with vintage instrumentals, which reminded me somewhat of some of the instrumentals The Growlers incorporate in their music. There is a sort of "Wild West" vibe throughout the tune as well, which is perhaps a nod to Rollins' roots having grown up in Boulder, Colorado. Complimenting that western old-time vibe are her exquisite, spooky, and synthy vocals that allure listeners deep into the story of a search for someone as she sings, "Mystery man/hold a gun to his head/what you want you can get."

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Verse foils lyrics on the B side of Velvet with the track "Wrong Turn" when Rollins' sings, "We take a step towards a demise/darling we/try and then we realize/darling we/hung the towel up to dry." In the search her first track alludes to, her second track suggests a wrong turn's been made. In this "wrong turn," Rollins' tune slows down, shows off even more of her incredible vocal range, and plays up a somber side to her vocalization. There too, is an openness in her voice evocative of Cat Power. In addition to her vocals, Rollins rounds out the B Side with an incredible guitar outro solo which elevates the mesmerizing quality of both of her tunes on Velvet, as listeners quickly come to realize her guitar-playing talent is quite remarkable.

Rollins' music is original, combining all sorts of influences as she continues to experiment and grow as a musician. Such originality is certainly a difficult achievement in our musically saturated world, but Rollin's is going for it and doing it well.

-Julia

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