The Top 10 Must-See Artists at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Beyond the headliners, there are a number of awesome acts scheduled for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Here are our must-sees:



Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins is from a suburb just north of Chicago, but has been lumped in with the rest of the Chicago artists on the scene. Collins’ music is a unique blend of self-produced beats over his own lyrics, which float somewhere between rapping and droned-out singing. He performed a wild set at Lollapalooza last year, and is sure to bring that same energy to the Pitchfork stage.

Ravyn Lenae

Pitchfork is notable for bringing a collective of artists together at this festival, but something they’re especially good at is tailoring the talent to represent not only the diversity of the industry, but also the Chicago acts who are hustling to the top. Ravyn Lenae is one of these special acts, along with Saba, Noname, Chicago transplant Smino, and northern suburban Kweku Collins. Ravyn Lenae recently released an EP with one of The Internet’s members, Steve Lacy, and went on tour as an opener for Sza, both have which have skyrocketed Lenae’s career this year. Lenae has migrated from a local Chicago favorite to a worldwide obsession. Still, she hones in on her city’s spirit and is sure to have a truly magical set.


Smino is a St. Louis native, but moved to Chicago to pursue his career as a rapper. He slept on studio floors while working non-stop and was eventually welcomed into Chicago’s tight knit music scene. Along with Ravyn Lenae, Smino was on tour with Sza, helping boost his tunes up the charts as well. His punchy lyrics and riffs of deliverance set him apart, so his set is sure to smash.


Syd is the breakout star hailing from two of Los Angeles’ most notable artist groups, The Internet and Odd Future. She worked with The Internet’s album Ego Death, which was nominated for a Grammy and has helped shape the sounds of many of LA’s influential artists. Since her debut album, Fin, Syd has been receiving nothing but accolades for her sultry blend of current hip-hop production with a voice that harks back to 90s R&B pop. Syd is a hallmark artist of our generation and an openly gay female who started off in two all-male rap groups and hustled her way into the world’s most competitive music scene.

Listen to our must-see artists on our Pitchfork playlist:


Saba is one of Chicago’s most special artists, and is the performer you should count yourself lucky to catch this year. At only 23 years young, Saba not only writes some of the most powerful lyrics you’ll listen to, he has also started a foundation and scholarship in the name of his recent friend John Walt. He’s an artist that not only puts on for his city, but he puts on for people. He dropped his second album prior to touring this year called CARE FOR ME, which is a migration from his previous sound but retains his incredible ability for raw storytelling (listen to “LIFE” for a reference on this ability).

Blood Orange

Dev Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, brought his ethereal sound to Pitchfork a few years ago and we’re more than excited to see his name on the lineup again. His 2016 album, Freetown Sound, combined a blend of sounds in and outside of music to create a textured landscape unlike any other. He claims he sat in Washington Square Park in New York City to write most of this record. It was there where he caught and recorded a lot of the extra sounds you hear throughout this album, such as a saxophone being played in the distance. The integration of these environmental sounds creates a mysterious, diary-like experience for the listener. You won’t want to miss catching these vibes in the late afternoon sun on Saturday.

Big Thief

Brooklyn indie rock band Big Thief are bringing their synth-tinged guitars and rock-influenced siren-like vocals to Pitchfork’s fest. Their songs are a nice mix of slow, dreamy tunes and more aggressive rock beats. This sonic mix has landed them on a tour with Conor Oberst (frontman of Bright Eyes, one of indie rock’s most legendary acts), as well as an NPR tiny desk concert.

Julie Byrne

Being compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell takes a special person, and Julie Byrne is evidently one of the rare ones. Leaving home at 18, she stumbled into music to quench her own happiness and has since established a name for herself. Living a wandering lifestyle prior to her recognition has molded her music into a soft and observant sound, which will sound beautiful outdoors at Pitchfork.

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams will be bringing some much needed jazz to Pitchfork, a genre too often underrepresented especially at festivals. An early member of the group The Roots, Abrams has built up his career in Chicago’s strong jazz scene. His set will be a unique vibe on Friday, and will set the weekend off perfectly for any music enthusiast.

The War on Drugs

Indie rock veterans The War on Drugs recently won a 2017 Grammy for “Best Rock Album.” They tell fantastic stories in their lyrics while also making some thought-provoking statements, simultaneously rocking into immense guitar tangents that take listeners to another dimension, and Adam Granduciel’s voice has a hauntingly beautiful tone guaranteed to give a listener chills.

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

Phoebe Bridgers' Colorado Live Debut Weaved Sadness Into A Celebration

By: Brody Coronelli

In the middle of her set at The Gothic Theatre in Denver last Friday, Phoebe Bridgers introduced a cover of Tom Petty’s “It’ll All Work Out” by saying, “This is another sad one.” With exception of one or two, all of her songs are sad. But unlike the other melancholic crooners she takes after (Elliott Smith, Joni Mitchell, and Conor Oberst), she’s self-aware of just how sad her music is in a way that lends an endearing bite to the songs.  

Phoebe Bridgers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Phoebe Bridgers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The pop-sensible trio Daddy Issues opened the night, letting their unique brand of wry, infectious, and dark emo and grunge-pop brighten up the room before the sad songs kicked in. Their irresistible two-part harmonies reached a bright crescendo on the brooding, grungy cover of Don Henley’s "The Boys Of Summer." The song started out in rhythm with the original, but descended into a dark groove as they made the song their own while also maintaining its top-down, sunset-bound energy that makes it such a timeless hit. The band’s bright, infectious sound was a perfect introduction before Bridgers and her band dampened the eyes of a full theater of fans.

Bridgers has been on a steady rise over the last three years, due in part to the Killer EP recorded and released in 2015 through Ryan Adams’ label PAX AM. She’s also toured with Conor Oberst, Bon Iver, and Julien Baker. She’s not just another songwriter “making it” by having famous friends and collaborators though. Her immense talent as a songwriter and performer sent her debut album Stranger In The Alps to the top of numerous “Best of 2017” lists, asserting her as one of the year’s most promising new artists. She’s currently on her first headlining tour, aptly called “The Farewell Tour.”

Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Her set on Friday night included her debut album in its entirety, as well as two covers and some deeper cuts. The live versions of these songs often left a more powerful impression than they did on the album, flourishing with added instrumentation that rendered them more gripping and upbeat. Tasteful, subdued drum fills from Marshall Vore and ambient, drawling guitar and pedal steel from Harrison Whitford turned songs that were formerly shadowy, acoustic crooners into blossoming, intricate arrangements that left a potent impression on the audience. The formerly stripped-down “Funeral” was re-imagined as a slow-burning rock song, with her full live band adding additional layers onto it’s already vibrant presence. “Would You Rather” received a similar live treatment, only this time it was sung as a duet with Whitford instead of Conor Oberst.

Bridgers’ aforementioned cover of the Tom Petty deep cut “It’ll All Work Out” was one of the set’s strongest moments. “I wouldn’t recommend tuning a baritone guitar even lower, but I love it, because it makes everything sound super emo!” she joked, before transforming a glistening, lighter-waving arena rocker into a melancholic, shadowy anthem that aims straight for the heart.

Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

She closed the set with “Scott Street,” and towards the end, she sent two massive black balloons filled with confetti into the audience. She encored with her haunting cover of Mark Kozelek’s “You Missed My Heart,” as well as a surprise cover of “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow; a song that declares, “If it makes you happy/ Then why the hell are you so sad?” The cover ended the show on a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek note that was incredibly refreshing. For someone who writes songs capable of levelling you with their sadness, seeing Phoebe Bridgers live never felt like anything shy of a celebration.

For a full gallery of photos from this show, click here


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

Politics, Protest, & Authentic Art: Conor Oberst At The Boulder Theater

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Conor Oberst had a three-show stint in Colorado over the weekend before his official Ruminations and Salutations tour kicks off later this July. His Saturday Boulder spot was sandwiched between a performance at Denver’s The Ogden Friday and a Mishawaka Amphitheatre set Sunday. Having become known to the masses for his work in Bright Eyes in the late 90s and early 2000s, Oberst has also had a successful solo career and spent time playing in projects like Desaparecidos, Monsters of Folk, and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.

Conor Oberst.

Conor Oberst.

But beyond his talent instrumentally and vocally, Oberst has an appeal on a much more honest level: he writes at times of the working man’s experience and in protest of conservative politics, and let’s face it- in a time where excess is often flaunted in popular music and Instagram celebrities promote music festivals more than the performers themselves, it’s refreshing to have an artist speaking to the working class hero. It’s hard not to speculate Oberst’s Midwest roots attribute to this storytelling (his father worked for Omaha’s Union Pacific Railroad), and it says something that Oberst remains based in The Good Life of Nebraska, a place he has arguably curated a music scene within through his label Saddle Creek Records. Either way, Oberst is one of those artists who, at times, speaks for the middle class of society, whether it’s in his protest songs or in his storytelling. And this theme from some of Oberst’s work hit hard at his show in Boulder last Saturday.

Oberst and his band.

Oberst and his band.

Oberst opened the show with his recent hit “Barbary Coast (Later)” from Ruminations, then threw it back to Bright Eyes’ “Four Winds.” His backing band was excellent- James Felice held down piano/accordion, Parker Taylor Wesley Hollingsworth rocked out on guitar, Billy Lawrence was on drums, Chris Felice licked bass, and Gregory Farley smashed on violin. Oberst’s set also included a Monsters of Folk cover (“Map of the World”), a couple of tracks from his Mystic Valley project (“Ten Women” and final closer “Roosevelt Room”), and several other Bright Eyes tunes. Oberst even shared a new, unrecorded track as the first song of three in his encore, “No One Is Going To Change.”

But throughout his set, current politics entered the scene, most often in Oberst’s musings with the crowd. He discussed the recent New Jersey government shutdown, “sending out” his song “Empty Hotel By The Sea” to Chris Christie himself, rather fittingly some might say, as Christie is spending the Fourth of July in his private beach house near Island Beach State Park, which will be closed from the public for the holiday this year thanks to the shutdown.  

Later, Oberst went on a couple of anti-Trump rants, calling Trump “an orange bloated f*cked up rat” and a “racist, misogynistic piece of sh*t” while simultaneously “sending out” songs for Trump as well, including the evening’s closer from his Mystic Valley Band days, “Roosevelt Room.” The lines, “And I’d like to write my congressman/But I can’t afford the stamp” and “Cause the working poor you’ve been pissing on/Are doing double shifts tonight” were emphasized, and some might argue they felt rather appropriately weighted in some ways, given several of Trump’s recently signed executive orders and the pending Senate healthcare bill.

Still, the mood of the show wasn’t entirely set on Oberst’s protest and politics.

Said Oberst about their short Colorado stint, “I talked to these guys- the band- and they all wanted to come out here and eat gummy bears, and go on hikes, and take pictures of bugs, so it’s been great.”

Comments like these garnered a lot of laughter from the crowd. Oberst and his band had incredible energy, and there was a rock’n’roll flare true to Desaparecidos mixed with Oberst’s more singer/songwriter Americana vibes. It was honest art- there were no large-scale production elements and Conor clearly didn’t care where anyone else’s politics stood- he just spoke his truths and shared the stage with some incredible instrumentalists telling stories that ranged in theme from love to protest to Middle America with a couple of harangues. And it’s that sort of authenticity that makes his current tour worth putting on your radar.

Keep up with Conor Oberst here. And see our full photo gallery from this show at this link.


Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 08/19, 08/20, & 08/21

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Weekend! Weekend! Here are our shows to see:

Today (Friday 08/19):

Hi-Fi Gentry, Whiskey Autumn, and CITRA at Tennyson’s Tap in Denver 8PM-Close

Hi-Fi Gentry.

Hi-Fi Gentry.

It’s been a busy summer for these three Colorado rock bands: Denver’s Hi-Fi Gentry dropped their latest release and have been playing throughout the state, Boulder’s Whiskey Autumn just finished a Fox Theatre gig and tours in the Midwest and Southwest, and Denver’s CITRA have been shredding the city with their EP, Ocean, which is why tonight’s show at Tennyson’s Tap is one to see! Three killer Colorado bands under one roof; $10 cover. Get to it!

Check out Hi-Fi Gentry’s EP Film Noir:

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds 7” EP Release Party at the Hi-Dive in Denver 8PM-Close

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds.

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds.

Self-described as “the gateway drug to metal”, Denver’s Sugar Skulls & Marigolds just dropped their latest EP, Blood Moon, and are throwing their vinyl release party tonight at the Hi-DiveBlood Moon, which was produced, mixed, and mastered by Dave Otero at Flatline Audio, is the band’s followup to their 2014 EP, The Coked Out Bunnies. Their new release features spacey artwork by Andy Putnam and the group’s three latest tunes. Check it out and take a metal trip with this band tonight!

Listen to Blood Moon:

Eminence Ensemble with The Hawthorne Roots at Quixote’s True Blue in Denver 9PM-Close

Eminence Ensemble. 

Eminence Ensemble. 

Boulder’s progressive rock/fusion quintet Eminence Ensemble play Quixote’s tonight, supported by “revved-up Montana soul outfit” The Hawthorne Roots. EE actually play tomorrow’s show at Quixote’s as well, making for a jammin’ weekend down in Denver. And tomorrow, sister-led band The Hawthorne Roots will make their way to Boulder’s Owsley’s Golden Road for their second Colorado show. Make sure to catch both of these bands sometime this weekend!

Watch The Hawthorne Roots’ video for their track “This One’s For You”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 08/20):

Geoffrey Louis Koch at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Indie acoustic/folk artist Geoffrey Louis Koch has made his way from Nashville to Boulder for a show at The No Name Bar tomorrow. Koch’s most recent release, Follow The Voices, has been described as “symphony meets indie folk”. Geoffrey has shared the stage with some big names in the singer/songwriter world, including one of our favorite locals, Gregory Alan Isakov. So make sure to head over to the big brown door tomorrow night and take a listen!

Listen to Koch’s tune “Burn It Down”:

Steve Itterly and The Blind Spots at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

The Blind Spots. 

The Blind Spots. 

New York’s female-fronted five-piece rock band The Blind Spots are opening things up at the LG tomorrow evening. The group is best known for their “eclectic library of vintage keyboard sounds” and frontwoman Maddy Walsh’s electric vocals. Following their set, Boulder folk and blues artist Steve Itterly will take the stage, making for quite the lineup mix. Itterly comes from a country/delta background, so you can count on those sounds too! This should be a fun show.

Listen to Steve Itterly’s song “Depot Blues”:

The Next Day (Sunday 08/21)

Sunday BBQ Series featuring Strange Americans, Automatic Iris, U.S. Tygers, Wire Faces, and Poet’s Row at Larimer Lounge in Denver 2PM-Close

Strange Americans. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Strange Americans. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

We can’t think of a better way to spend one of the last Sundays of summer than barbequing at the Larimer with an awesome lineup of local music. Denver is reppin’ hard at this show, which features rock outfit Automatic Iris, cosmic Americana band U.S. Tygers, experimental rock trio Wire Faces, folk band Poet’s Row, and rock’n’roll headliner, and one of our 2016 UMS favorites, Strange Americans. Tickets are only $10 in advance for sweet lineup, so snag ‘em now here.

Check out Strange Americans’ track “Places”:

All Weekend (08/19-08/21):

Planet Bluegrass’ Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons- Various Sets & Times

Earlier this week, we brought you a feature on Planet Bluegrass’ awesome Song School, which ends today in anticipation for the 26th annual Rocky Mountain Folks Fest in Lyons. Some of the national talent on this year’s bill includes Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst, and The Decemberists. The festival opens tonight with the Folks Songwriter Showcase, where talented artists from around the globe compete for a spot in the weekend’s lineup. We’ll be covering the fest, so make sure to say hello and stay tuned for our recap coverage next week!

Get your Folks Fest tickets here.

See you in the shade, Colorado!


Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

Storytelling and Song: Folks Fest Is So Much More Than Just a Music Festival

By: Riley Ann

I’m writing this sprawled across the bed of my ‘95 GMC Vandura passenger van in a field. Above the drone of crickets, I hear a man’s voice lilting over his guitar. Friends, old and new, are clustered together sharing songs they’ve written (as well as ones they wish they did). It’s Sunday night before Song School in Lyons, and we’re ready. We gathered here to be a part of this community: to eat together, to learn together, and to grow together.

Song School is the four-day camp that leads up to Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, a Planet Bluegrass festival that celebrates the power of song. This is my first year, and when I mentioned going to Song School to veteran attendees, the comment I heard on three separate occasions from three different people was: “It’s life changing.” I laughed at their evangelicalism about the whole thing, but really, I was intrigued.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO.

This week will be filled with classes led by renowned songwriters, open-stage performances, and, of course, song circles throughout the campground. The property here is a Colorado version of paradise, with shady trees, soft grass, and a stream perfect for wading at the peak of a summer day’s heat. Even before the camp begins, the communion of songwriters creates an energy that’s almost palpable. It's the perfect mood for the 26th annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, which begins this Friday, 08/19.

Folks Fest.

Folks Fest.

When I spoke with Brian Eyster of Planet Bluegrass about the upcoming weekend, he described the unique identity of Folks Fest compared to the other festivals as this: “There’s definitely a different energy, especially compared to Rockygrass. Folks Fest has a much quieter energy because it’s about sharing songs and stories. You just feel a different energy with Song School starting, and people are looking more inward.”

With songwriting at the core of the entire week, the Folks Fest lineup features a diverse array of musicians, including internationally-acclaimed acts like The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst, and The Lone Bellow, living legends like Lucinda Williams and Mavis Staples, and bands from the other side of the world like My Bubba (Scandinavia) and DakhaBrakha (Ukraine).

If you are interested in attending Folks Fest, day passes, 3-day tickets, and camping are still available here. Check back next week for full coverage of the festival on BolderBeat!

And if you’re curious about what it’s like being in Song School, I’ll be posting nightly updates on my blog.


Find out more about me on my blog.

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

BolderBeat's Guide to Colorado's Summer Music Festivals 2016

By: Claire Woodcock

It finally feels like summer, so let's fest. 

We know you want to hit the festivals on our list. 

We know you want to hit the festivals on our list. 

It’s festival season, which has all of us here at BolderBeat elated. Press kits are flying, and we want you to be as on the curve as we are! So here are our top picks for Colorado’s summer music festivals:

Project Pabst May 20-21

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats at Denver's Project Pabst. 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats at Denver's Project Pabst. 

Project Pabst was a wild success,” were Zach Dahmen’s words in retrospect of the festival that rocked Denver a few weeks ago. We brought you exclusive coverage on Best Coast, TV on the Radio and more in our feature of the event. Relive that time Charles Bradley almost did the splits and The Violent Femmes helped us blister in the sun with our photos per Ian Glass.

Sasquatch Music Festival May 27-29

Kurt Vile at Sasquatch.

Kurt Vile at Sasquatch.

BolderBeat had a press invitation to Sasquatch Music Festival this year, so we threw down content on The Cure, Disclosure, Florence and the Machine, M83, Grimes, Sufjan Stevens, Purity Ring, Kurt Vile And The Violators, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats, and more! Take a scroll through our pictures right here and read over our recaps of the awesome weekend. It wasn't in CO folks, but it sure was awesome.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 16-19

The 11th annual Sonic Bloom Festival is coming up soon! This year, SB is at Hummingbird Ranch, nestled in the heart of Spanish Peaks country. The weekend will feature performances from Bonobo, Tipper, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival also features a crazy lineup of yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 16-19

Telluride's Bluegrass Festival has been a massive success for 43 years. 

Telluride's Bluegrass Festival has been a massive success for 43 years. 

Telluride is known as one of the best festival spots of the west, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival has been keeping that notoriety alive for 43 years! The festival dates fall on the weekend closest to the summer solstice, giving you the longest day of the year to wander from set to set. Guests this year include Ryan Adams, Neil Finn, Emmylou Harris, and more!

Westword Music Showcase June 25

Summer in the city at Westword's Music Showcase. 

Summer in the city at Westword's Music Showcase. 

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts, most of which are Colorado-based. Denver band 888 is slated to play one of Westword’s main stages, while Cold War Kids, Matt and Kim, and New Politics front a lineup sure to make this year’s showcase a success.

The Ride Festival July 9-10

Views on views at Telluride's Ride Festival.

Views on views at Telluride's Ride Festival.

The Ride Festival, another Telluride fest, is one of the first live music/camp combos of the summer. Since 2012, this festival has firmly established itself in rootsy rock vibes. This year’s headliners include Pearl Jam and Cage the Elephant.

The Divide Music Festival July 22-24


Divide in Winter Park is a new music festival in Colorado this year. Its lineup boasts performances by Bleachers, Cake, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Kid Cudi, Miike Snow and more! Festival perks include hiking, biking and yoga for festival-goers.

The Underground Music Showcase July 28-31

For many Colorado musicians, UMS is one of the biggest festivals of the summer. Performers on the national scene include San Francisco garage rockers Thee Oh Sees. Go celebrate over 100 local performers making it happen in CO's music scene at this Denver setup!

Bass Center July 29-30

Bassnectar is bringing a massive show to CO.

Bassnectar is bringing a massive show to CO.

California’s Bassnectar first brought Bass Center to Colorado in 2010; this festival is the traveling circus of electronic music. The Bassnectar tour travels with its own custom sound rig, and headlines some of the most noted venues in the country. Acts this year include Flux Pavilion, Flying Lotus, Wu-Tang Clan, and Lupe Fiasco. You can check it out in Commerce City, and there are two camping villages for the hardcores: “The Shire” and “Narnia”.

Vertex Festival August 5-7

At its core, Vertex is diverse music, outdoor adventure, and artful fun in beautiful Buena Vista, CO. Alabama Shakes and Odesza are two of the headliners, to give an idea of the range of performers on this lineup. We’re covering press at Vertex, so expect lots of info to hit our site over the summer on this one!

ARISE Music Festival August 5-7

Nighttime shows at Arise rule. 

Nighttime shows at Arise rule. 

Here’s another festival that is Colorado heavy. ARISE will take place at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch again this year, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films!

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 12-14

Did we mention this fest is free?

Did we mention this fest is free?

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in historic downtown Fort Collins. Local faves DeVotchKa and The Fray are headlining this bad boy, and there's a ton of other great local acts playing too. Check out the lineup here!

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 19-21

BYOBlanket to Rocky Mountain Folks Fest.

BYOBlanket to Rocky Mountain Folks Fest.

The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival is happening in Lyons, CO, a mountain town 15 miles north of Boulder that NPR’s All Things Considered once described as “the Nashville of the Rockies”. The festival recently added The Decemberists and Conor Oberst as national acts to their local lineup.

Riot Fest September 2-4

BolderBeat couldn’t be more excited to wrap up the summer festival roundup with Denver’s Riot Fest & Rodeo in September. With national acts like Sleater-Kinney, The Misfits and Yo La Tengo, to name a few, Riot Fest will be an explosive ending to the upcoming sunny summer of music!

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on our dedicated fest page!


All photos per the festivals featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Duck and Cover: Desaparecidos Rock The Fillmore in Denver

By: Hannah Oreskovich

I missed you punk rock.

Desaparecidos (Denver, CO) 

Desaparecidos (Denver, CO) 

I’ve always been a Conor Oberst fan: Bright Eyes was one of my whinier favorites in high school, I frequented Saddle Creek Records when I lived in Omaha during college, and last year Conor killed it at his solo Boulder Theater show. But with the reunion of Desaparecidos, Conor has definitely entered a whole new level of cool. Maybe it was the gutteral screaming, maybe it was the jumping off the kick drum mid-guitar solo, or maybe it was the mosh pit. The Desaparecidos give zero f*cks and I’ve missed the attitude that is this band.

In true punk-rock style, before the Desaparecidos actually walked onstage, the audio for the 1950s propaganda “Duck and Cover” played. And that’s when the high school me reawakened: the skater-shoe-and-fake-lip-ring-wearing-wannabe-anarchist kind (because, like, fuck the corporations man). It was like being back at Warped Tour 2007, except it’s exactly where I wanted to be right now. The boys started off with “Left it Right” and the “Underground Man” and between every song of the set, the lights went dark and some sort of propaganda audio played. Then the lights would burst on and guitarist Denver Dalley would wail us into the next song with some sick guitar scratches that were almost as cool as his name. The band then tossed us into a new song, “City on the Hill” where Conor screamed at us that justice is blind/and so is love and we’ll all get rich together in America. WHERE DID THE EMO MOVEMENT GO? I WANT IT AND MY OLD SKATEBOARD BACK. Drummer Matt Baum kept us nosediving with the beat on this one and Dalley ripped a sweet solo near the end of the track. The Desaparecidos dudes followed this with another new one, “Ralphey’s Cut”, which has not yet hit the interwebs.

One of the best parts of the show was when the crowd erupted into a circular death-pit of moshing during “Greater Omaha” which is an awesome screw-the-suburbs mantra. Who knew the Midwest could bring such badass vibes?

Desaparecidos closed with “Hole in One” for their ten-song set, channeling an inner rage toward the ‘american dream’ with screams and (what else?) HEAVY SYNTH. Thank you Ian McElroy. And thank you Epitaph Records for bringing back this supergroup (with the recent annoucment of an upcoming album) that gives us exactly what we need every once in awhile: a good solid dose of angsty, middle-finger-to-the-institutions punk rock.

Read more about this Fillmore show in the Brand New article on our site.  


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