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

By: Adam Perry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Adam

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

Review: Retrofette's New Single "Lover In Japan" Is a Tasty Summer Splash of Synthwave

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based Retrofette are an electropop act with 80s era funk and a splash of synthwave. Their latest single, “Lover in Japan,” is due out just in time for summer. Check it out:

If you left it up to me to describe Retrofett’s sound, I would liken it to what might have happened if Broken Bells, Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, Prince, and David Bowie had the chance to record a song together. Is it that good?! Yes, yes it is.

Frontman Sean Culliton pretty much nailed the overall feel with his comments on the song when he told us, “Lyrically, (it’s) a melancholy note written to an estranged lover. But sonically, it's a sunny day at the beach with neon sunglasses and volleyball montages.”

Retrofette. 

Retrofette. 

The band is the byproduct of keyboardists Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher's love for vintage synthesizers and sweaty dance floors. Joined by synth bassist Ben Weirich and drummer Dylan Johnson on stage, the quartet’s brand of 80s-tinged synthpop was born in March of 2016. Aside from this single, Retrofette released its debut three-song EP I Don’t Mind in 2016. They have also played BolderBeat’s Official Showcase at 2017’s Underground Music Showcase, been listed as one of 303 Magazine's top Denver acts to see, and selected as the “Best Pop” act of 2017 by Westword Magazine.

The guys will be celebrating the release of “Lover in Japan” this Saturday, June 2nd at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. The night will also feature sets from Motion Trap and DJ Clay Cornelius. Tickets and show details here.

-Norman

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

Thunderpussy Are the Storm the Rock'n'Roll Revival Needs

By: Hannah Oreskovich

This Seattle four-piece are shaking up rock'n'roll with a vengeance.

Last Sunday, a thundering snow storm hit Colorado’s Front Range. As the sky rumbled and started spitting fat white flakes instead of rain, Seattle’s Thunderpussy rolled into Denver fresh off of four SXSW sets including an official C3 Entertainment showcase. The band recently made NPR’s “100 Artists to Watch at SXSW” and during the fest, debuted the new song “Show Your Colors,” which they co-wrote with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. Their Denver gig was hand-squeezed between a quick trip home and their upcoming Treefort Music Festival appearance and if you braved the storm, Thunderpussy rewarded you with a seductive, spitfire show of rock’n’roll that left the crowd swooning.

Thunderpussy.

Thunderpussy.

“Hi! I’m Molly!” frontwoman Molly Sides exclaimed as she traipsed inside Summit Music Hall, wrapped in a leopard-print coat. As I reached my hand out to hers, she giggled, “Sorry I’m freezing!” and after shaking hands, she held mine and laughed, “But you’re nice and warm!”

As we chatted about Sides’ affinity for snow as an Idaho native, the girls headed to the green room for wardrobe. If you’re curious what that entails, it’s velvet onesies, fishnet stockings, rhinestone bras, and thigh-high glitter boots. And those boots were made for stompin’ on more than just the stage. In a recent interview with Billboard, guitarist Whitney Petty talked about K.Flay’s Grammy nod as the only female artist in the rock category, musing, “I'd say the time is ripe for Thunderpussy to high kick the patriarchy where it counts with a thigh-high, rhinestone encrusted, platform boot.”

And that’s how Thunderpussy rolls- they’ll hold your hand right before serving up their brand of kickass on the stage.

Whitney Petty.

Whitney Petty.

After a session of greenroom pictures where the girls kept apologizing for the cloud of hairspray that hung above us (“Don’t worry! It’s organic!” bassist Leah Julius promised with a smile), the girls paraded out in their heels to the cheers of the crowd.

Currently touring on their 2018 record Greatest Tits with a full album dropping later this spring, the band opened with “Speed Queen,” a song which nods to Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and The Runaways all at once. As Sides sang into a vintage-looking mic, her gyrations soon turned to her crawling on the floor while locking eyes with audience members; meanwhile Petty stood above her with one heel pranced on an amp as she leaned into the crowd ripping on guitar and headbanging. Julius jumped off of drummer Ruby Dunphy’s “Pussy” emblazoned kick drum and jazz-trained Dunphy kept a steady beat while the chaos ensued. And this, truly was just the beginning.

Molly Sides.

Molly Sides.

As a frontwoman, Sides seems to pull from performance artists like David Bowie, Elvis, and even Lady Gaga. She is never found standing still, her soaring vocals envelope a room, and though I didn’t get to ask, I left feeling like she must have a dance background. Her stage persona is rock’n’roll seductress, something you can also see in the band’s music video for “Speed Queen.”

Sides is almost impossible to stop looking at, but when you do Petty, Julius, and Dunphy are equally engaging. Petty slashes on guitar in a way that 80s hair metal bands would look up to. She slays, and her solos bring forth those classic rock’n’roll eruptions you look for in this type of sound.

Holding down the low end, Julius’ performance is highlighted with fits of energy- she headbangs just as much as the crowd when she’s not jumping from amps and the kick drum. And Dunphy, who was flying back to Seattle the next morning so that she could make it to her classes at Cornish College of the Arts, is a damn riot. She’s all smiles whether she’s pounding cymbals on “Velvet Noose” or tapping the snare with a light jazz flair on “Torpedo Love.”

Apart, each of these women ooze talented prowess; together the four-piece have an undeniably intense chemistry, one which builds and disseminates throughout the room from start to finish. It’s no surprise that the band has been selling out shows on their Pour Morals tour at spots like LA’s Viper Room, where Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith was seen checking out the band. At Sunday’s Denver show, Kid Rock’s entire tour crew strolled in for a listen, blowing off steam before prepping for Rock’s Pepsi Center performance later in the week. When industry pros start showing up for you regularly, you know you’re doing something right.

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Thunderpussy closed the night with “Torpedo Love,” which they just premiered a video for with NPR. In it, Thunderpussy perform the track live in an abandoned nuclear power plant silo.

Said Sides about the video, "When working with Magic Mama Massy, enthused wild ideas literally explode everywhere…  As we crept up to the monstrous structures, it seemed as though they'd been waiting for us, and the concrete curtains calling to us. With both nature and nuclear walls hovering, a beautifully eerie collaboration ensued."

And somehow, that sums up Thunderpussy too: one part sensitive, seductive, and beautiful; the other nuclear, explosive, and ready to tear your heart out.

Sink your teeth into Thunderpussy’s newest music and catch them at Treefort and other major festivals all summer. They’re poised for a takeover, so best brace yourself for the storm.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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 Ivories Want To Be Your Valentine This Year

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Los Angeles trio The Ivories identify their sounds as “indie surf psychedelic punk.” The band, who are signed to Vogue House Sounds, came together after meeting in college. The diversity of their backgrounds may explain why their style encapsulates several genres, so we sat down to talk with the three-piece about the music they grew up on, the atmosphere they try to create in their live shows, and why it’s appropriate that their debut EP will drop on Valentine’s Day this year.

Let’s start with a bit about your background. Where are you all from and how has that environment shaped your music?

Erin: I’m from Zaragoza, Spain. I remember starting to have some kind of interest for music when my aunt made a Spotify playlist for me when I was around 12 years old. It had songs from David Bowie, The Cure, The Doors… I thought it was sick! And then my family gave me my first guitar and I started playing music. One of the first albums that I discovered was The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie and it blew my mind. Later on I started digging a little bit more into Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and also Spanish rock thanks to my group of friends back home. Rock’n’roll baby!

Bryan: I’m from Santa Fe, New Mexico. My mother’s from South Korea and my father is from Texas, so I got a lot of different cultures growing up. Before I knew how to use the internet, it was mostly my family’s CDs (Michael Jackson, Korean music, and my dad’s classic rock and blues stuff), MTV, and the music in the Gamecube games that I listened to. The first CD I ever bought was Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled record. Everyone around me in Santa Fe was self-loathing and depraved for the most part. I did a lot of crazy things- I traumatized myself by choice and had like 20 ego deaths from ‘shrooms by the time I was 17. I developed anxiety from all of that and then I started writing music that actually had some substance.

Xavier: I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado to a large family whose taste in music spans far and wide. I grew up surrounded by many amazing musicians who have inspired me to pursue my dreams. My earliest memories as a child were being in my father’s studio watching him record his EP. I was intrigued by the work he was doing and wanted to do the same thing. My parents had a nasty divorce that affected me for quite awhile as a child; as a result I was exposed to many things a kid were not supposed to see nor comprehend, so I became frustrated with the world around me. A few months after the dust settled I was gifted my first drum kit at the age of nine and found my escape from reality. I was able to take all of my angst and frustration and release them through rhythm.  

How did the three of you meet and start making music together?

Xavier: We met in one of our classes while attending college in Los Angeles and proceeded to form a band based on our mutual interest in music.

Listen to “Red”:

Talk to us about your newest single and your upcoming EP.

Xavier: We’re planning to release our EP on Valentine’s Day. We just put out our first song from the record, “Red.” I think we’re making a video for it soon- we’re working with the incredible Italian filmmaker Caterina Piccardo. We have SO many songs written that we want to record!! Making music takes so long though. We’re playing a bunch of shows in the next few months as well.

Beyond the artists you mentioned listening to growing up, who do you draw inspiration from for The Ivories sound?

Bryan: If Kurt Cobain and Paul McCartney had a baby and they were raised by Talking Heads’ grooves- that’s us. We cover a few artists like P.H.F (a New Zealand band we love), Blondie, Blur, and Violent Femmes. I also kinda wanna be Morrisey. The Cure is a big one. When people hear us play live, they usually compare us to The Smiths, The Cure, The Beatles, and The Pixies, which is one of the reasons our band name is what it is. I loved the Tony Hawk [video] games and skating when I was a kid too, so definitely those soundtracks influenced me.

Xavier: As a kid, my parents as well as my uncle inspired me to play the drums. Seeing them play music made me want to do the same thing. When I first started playing drums and bass I received a copy of Death From Above’s “You’re A Woman I’m A Machine,” and was immediately hooked- from that point on I knew I wanted to be a musician. I loved the high energy rock’n’roll and was determined to re-create that emotion in my music. I draw a lot of inspiration from disco/punk influenced bands such as LCD Soundsystem, Death From Above, and Moving Units.

Erin: When I was in Spain there were not a lot of women playing music in the young music scene of my town. And since I moved to LA, I’ve been finding so many bands fronted by women, which made me feel super inspired and empowered to keep writing music. Bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Savages, The Kills, or The Runaways have been pretty important in my life lately. And also the LA scene is amazing- I love to go to shows of small LA bands and get to know what their sound is and how can I add it into my music.

The Ivories.

The Ivories.

When you perform live, what type of environment are you trying to cultivate?

Xavier:  When we perform live, we want to pull people away from their thoughts, concerns, and troubles. We seek to make people feel euphoric as they witness one of the most raw forms of human expression known to man and woman.    

Bryan: I’m trying to make everyone in the audience feel like I’m their Valentine. All the songs are about a girl, and I’m singing them all in first person like I’m talking to that girl... disassociated and detached… a whisper in your ear when in reality, I’m screaming into a microphone. It’s weird. I feel like coming to our live show is like being my counselor and just listening to me talk about all my problems. All the lyrics I write are kinda self-loathing and sad, but people dance and that makes me feel good and I guess that’s what matters!

What about your music most makes you feel most empowered?

Bryan: Being able to tell people things that I would never otherwise express. Whenever I get nostalgic and reminisce back to something, a big part of how I remember it is what music was playing at the time of the memory. I even associate people with certain songs and albums. I’d love for someone to feel that was about my music. I often overthink when something doesn’t go my way, so writing songs is a good way to channel that anxiety into a tangible form so that I can release it all and get it out of my mind. I take stressful or traumatic experiences and analyze them in a third-person kind of way to take myself out of the equation and try and look at it from a different perspective. I notice little details and little gestures or expressions that made something go the way it did, you know? Writing is a good way to process things- healthier than drowning it or bottling it up.

Erin: The fact that there’s music that can make you go back to one time of your life when you were having a similar sentiment- it’s amazing to me. And being able to make people feel that blows my mind. Also, just being on a stage makes me feel so powerful. It’s the moment that we have to show the best part of ourselves.  

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Outside of the glory and fame of celebrity, where do you see your music going?

Bryan: I want our music to be in the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 soundtrack.

What are your plans for 2018?

Xavier: As we play more shows and just get to know each other better, we start meshing our ideas together more. Our music past this first EP is going to be much more collaborative and live-sounding; more how we initially imagined our sound being.We want to play some festivals this summer but we’ve been so caught up finishing our EP, making this music video, and playing shows that we haven’t been looking beyond that very much!

Bryan: I wanna put out at least two more EP’s, a few music videos, and I wanna have some kind of event that will put together fashion, visual art, and music. I also want to become truly happy independently this year.

Solid goals. When are your next few booked shows/tours?

Bryan: Our next show is at Harvard & Stone in Thai Town in LA on the 21st of February.

Keep up with The Ivories on Facebook.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Throwback Punk Music Meets The Chainsmokers For Emo Nite Day Music Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

On December 3rd, BolderBeat geared up in all black to attend Emo Nite Day, a three year anniversary celebration of the increasingly popular Emo Nite party, which consists of events held all around the country geared towards lovers of “emo music” from the late 90s and early 2000s. The multi-staged festival held at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles featured some big names performances, including The Used and Machine Gun Kelly, and From First To Last, the band that Sonny Moore played in before he garnered worldwide fame as Skrillex, and which he has recently rejoined. Sadly, Skrillex did not join the group on stage at Emo Nite Day, but he has made surprise appearances at other Emo Nite events. There were other unexpected surprises, though, as the night ended with a one song performance from Demi Lovato and an hour-long set by The Chainsmokers.

The most memorable act was The Used’s acoustic set, performed by the band’s lead singer Bert McCracken and guitarist Justin Shekoski. Taking in all of the appreciation from the crowd, it was clear the duo were as happy to be there as the rest of the attendees. The climax of their show was when they played fan-favorite “The Taste of Ink,” a song recognizable to even those who don’t necessarily have a nostalgia for this type of music. And like many other performers throughout the night, Bert dedicated his last song to the great musicians we have lost throughout the past couple of years. They ended with the song “It’s Hard to Say,” a track about mentor David Bowie.

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Although Emo Nite Day honors overly emotional hardcore punk music, it seemed to also be a celebration of millennials. The “DJ sets” may have merely been members of bands you hadn’t heard about in years “pressing play” on songs that weren’t necessarily theirs, and often repeating songs other groups had already played (Jimmy Eat World’s “The Sweetness” played three times in two hours). But having these band members playing these angry oldies was exactly what the early 20 to late 30-year-olds in the crowd wanted, as each song inspired a new mosh pit and singing at the top of each concert goer's lungs.  

The peak of this millennialism occurred when The Chainsmokers joined pop-trio Captain Cuts for the final performance of the night. Each song followed the same pattern, and one that would leave any one of our parents incredibly confused. It began with a Yellowcard, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Blink 182 chorus, followed by an extremely hard-hitting dubstep drop. This meant the crowd went from jumping up and down singing the words to these classics to instantly getting into Vegas club mode and grinding on anyone near. At one point, The Chainsmokers even put together a pretty creative mix of Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down” and DJ Snake/AlunaGeorge’s “You Know You Like It.” Right before the EDM breakdown when AlunaGeorge repeats the lyric “down,” The Chainsmokers threw in the beginning lyric of Dashboard’s famous verse with the word “hands,” combining the songs to create a millennial medley. It was truly a party by the end of the night.

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Be sure to check out other Emo Nite events going around the country here. Even their smaller events are filled with the same high energy and special guests! It’s something you should do at least once if you have a soft spot for depressing love ballads and the bands that made many of our teenage years so darn emotional.

-Benjamin

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

England's Fenech-Soler Talk With Us About 'ZILLA' & Their New 360° Music Video

By: Hannah Oreskovich

English electropop outfit Fenech-Soler have been a project since 2006, though you probably know them best from their 2010 self-titled record, which made major waves on BBC Radio and brought the group the attention that soon after found them signed to Warner Bros. Records. The group’s album Rituals was released thereafter in 2013, spurring them into a massive UK tour and an eventual spot playing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2016, founding members Daniel Fenech-Soler (from which the band’s name stems) and Andrew Lindsay left the project, but brothers Ross and Ben Duffy kept writing. This year, the duo dropped ZILLA on So Recordings, and are currently on tour in support of it. Next Monday and Tuesday, May 15th and 16th, Fenech-Soler make their Colorado appearances on their North American tour, with a stop in Greeley on Monday at The Moxi Theater and Lost Lake on Tuesday in Denver. We recently chatted with the Duffy boys to learn more about their latest record, their new 360-degree interactive music video, and their plans for the summer. Check it:

ZILLA is arguably your most pop-leaning record yet. How did (mostly) self-producing this record influence its sound?

It hugely influenced its sound because every production decision was made by us and limited by the equipment we use. We tend to work pretty quickly when we start an idea, so [we] use a lot of things on the computer, but then re-record sounds using outboard gear if we feel it's needed. A lot of the sounds from ZILLA actually came from one keyboard that we bought as kids, so we feel it's a distinctive sound. The keyboard has these perfect faux-vintage synths, which we loved.

Fenech-Soler.

Fenech-Soler.

Your single “Kaleidoscope” was described by Noisey as “3:39 of pure joy.” What was the inspiration behind writing this hit track?

We just wanted to write the most concise 'to the point' pop song we could. It really is the most emblematic song of the ZILLA sound, so I guess the inspiration was to be as simple as possible in our approach. It was a kind of a less-is-more affair. We've always been influenced by lots of different artists, so in many ways, there's tons of inspiration wrapped up in there somewhere, but I couldn't really say one specific influence. The other songs from ZILLA guide it stylistically.

Your new video for “Conversation” is filmed in 360° and is super interactive for the viewer. Who did you work with to film the video? Why did you choose this platform for “Conversation” over other tracks? Is the location in your Northamptonshire studio?

Thanks very much! We had a lot of fun making the video and we choose a white art space in west London for the location. We wanted a minimalist colour scheme to again reflect a simplicity in the sound. The 360-degree element also felt right for this song because it's one of our favourites to perform live, so an immersive platform where the viewer can control what they see, combined with the clinical aesthetic, just seemed like a good idea. Toby at Blind Club directed the video. He's very talented.

Photo Credit: Ed Whitmarsh

Photo Credit: Ed Whitmarsh

Having played all over the world since your inception in 2006, what is one of your favorite things about playing shows in North America?

There's so much of North America we haven't seen. This tour is taking us to some new cities, and giving us the opportunity to play to fans who we haven't managed to get to since we started the band. Oh, and we also love the American food options. It's the best.

Tell us one thing you make a habit of doing on your off days on tour.

Sleeping! Even though to be honest, on this tour, we said on the flight over that we have to do more tourist things. There's so many incredible things to see, and it's a privilege getting to travel around with your best mates playing music.

Any festival spots planned for the summer?

We're hitting the UK and Europe, and then hopefully getting out to some in the US. It's always a lot of fun as festival crowds can really transform a set. The songs can take on their own energy. We've never played a US festival, but any festival where the weather is good is fine by us! [The weather] is not usually like that in the UK. (laughs)

Listen to ZILLA:

What does the rest of 2017 look like for you guys?

Well we're going to release a cover EP in a few weeks, which we're looking forward to. We've covered all the people you shouldn't really cover, like Prince, Bowie, and Janet Jackson, so it will either be a positive or a career ender. We like them though, so I reckon people will dig them. Then after that just more touring. Hopefully [we’ll be] back in America very soon after this tour.   

Make sure to catch Fenech-Soler at their Colorado stops- tickets here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Explore The Mystique That Is Foxygen at Denver's Gothic Theatre Next Tuesday (04.04)

By: Sierra Voss

“Theres something about these guys, some sort of exotic mystique. Foxygen was never just one band, Foxygen is the bang of two combusting minds...” -Alex Cameron (from Foxygen’s new tour trailer)

Dou Sam France and Jonathan Rado formed the band Foxygen at age 15 in 2005. They released their first album, Take The Kids Off Broadway in 2012, followed by We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic in 2013 and double album ...And Star Power in 2014. Their last tour in 2015, which they dubbed their “Farewell Tour,” had everyone convinced the magic had sadly come to an end for good. But then this January, the band released their most recent LP Hang and got us all excited again.

Somewhat reminiscent of Bowie, these two treat every album as a separate piece of art with a separate story, different characters, and very different sounds. My best description of the duo is that Foxygen are a masterfully calculated mosaic of pop culture. They pull from every genre and influence to create chaotic order, which has made for some of the most dynamic songwriting out there and certainly been a part of their rumored “mystique.” Their live shows encapsulate a full-bodied artistic performance that has been said to feel like “a 70s London concert hall watching a band open up for The Clash combined with a 60s jazz club and a Led Zeppelin show.”

Needless to say, Foxygen’s youthful and creative spirit matched with their sophisticated songwriting should have you excited for their upcoming Denver Gothic show next Tuesday, April 4th. Get tickets here!

Check out Foxygen’s music video for their latest single “Follow The Leader”:

-Sierra

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

AlphaBowie: Where Music Meets Art & Typography Rules

By: Sierra Voss

The world around us tiggers human emotions that drive creative expression. These creative expressions may take forms in visual, physical, or musical art. Some artists may focus solely on visual expressions, while others only on musical expressions. Although different, they share the same language, as they work to interpret and express individual reactions to the world. Some artists, however, exists within the in between. These artists explore the intersections of how one art form feeds the other. Meet Colorado native Madeline Reusch. Madeline has created a project called AlphaBowie, which explores the intersection of art forms via the exploration of a man that truly embodied interdisciplinary creative expression, David Bowie.   

How does music inspire your art?

I grew up in an incredibly musical family- picture The Sound of Music minus the lederhosen. I have been singing in bands and choirs since I was old enough to walk. I have always been a musician first, and a visual artist second. When you come from a musical perspective and then fall in love with visual art, I think it's impossible to separate them.

To me, art and music are two mediums being used to express the same worldview. I’ve always fixated on the beauty of dissonance. I think it comes form my obsession with jazz and choral music. There is this eclectic pulsing buzz that comes from the beauty of dissonance, [whether] visual or harmonic, it’s a powerful wave that moves through your whole body and takes you to a brand new world. Whether it’s the complicated harmonies of Eric Whitacre or the vibrating painted fields of Mark Rothko, they come from the same place: from a desire to take things you may have seen or heard a thousand times, marry the two, and allow you to see them again in a whole new light.

Is this the first time you have based a project around a musician?

This is the first time I have done a piece that used a likeness of a musician in it. But that’s because Bowie is so much more than a musician. In a way, it’s a shame to only classify him that way. He was a painter, writer, choreographer, clothing designer, set builder and so so so much more. He even designed a computer program that generated lyrics. He didn’t just create things that changed our world, he built his own world and then invited us to join him there. His very physical existence was his art. It takes an incredibly brave person to put your whole physical self out into the world and say, “This is my work, this is my heart, what do you think of it?” I can hardly post a selfie online without wanting to collapse in on myself; I can't imagine the bravery his whole life took.

What inspired your Bowie project?

On the day Bowie passed, I was lying in bed, wishing I was asleep, and flipping through my phone absentmindedly. I read the headline that he had died. It didn’t really feel real to me at all. I was taking a typography class, and I had some project due that day that I had put off where I was supposed to make letters out of unexpected things. So, I decided to make my creative alphabet out of Bowie. And not just Bowie associated things, but Bowie himself. I think when I started the Bowie project, I was doing it because I wanted to insert something I was passionate about into a world that I was having trouble connecting with. But by the time I had finished it, I had gained such a deep deep respect for type artists and their work.

Why an alphabet?

Type artists truly understand how humans see; how we digest the visual world. They understand the importance of a single curve and how a series of well constructed and thoughtful shapes can take readers to new places. They create worlds, just like Bowie did.

Bowie never did just one thing. He expressed himself in every medium he could get his hands on. In my life I’d like to do the same thing and this seemed like a good place to start. Also, from a less philosophical place, I just wanted to find a way to share the joy Bowie had given to me with other people. Everyone loves a good rock poster, so I thought this would be a fun twist on that.

Take us inside the creation of this project. How did you do it?

I feel like the first word that comes to mind when I think of this process is LONG (laughs). Each shape I drew by hand, and I probably had about four or five possible poses/images in mind for each letter. I did at least 200 preliminary drawings before I really narrowed it down to what I wanted to make. The shapes themselves came from a huge bank of Bowie images, and stills from his music videos and live performances.

What’s your favorite Bowie song?

Ugh. No. I won't pick one. ButI think my favorite album is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust just because it was the first one I ever owned.

Do you think you will do more musician-inspired art in the future?

Oh I absolutely will. There are so many wonderful artists who have shaped me, and I want to find a way to honor and thank them. Stevie Wonder is a big one for me. Huge. But it will have to be the right project at the right time.

How can someone get a hold of this alphabet?

Right now you can get prints on my Society6 Page. It’s linked through the @alpha_bowie Instagram too. Keep an eye out for the launch of the AlphaBowie website as well!

-Sierra

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

Your Guide To Colorado Shows For New Year's Eve

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s time to pop bottles Colorado! Here are our picks for New Year’s Eve shows this weekend:

Berthoud

Jeremy Mohney at City Star Brewing in Berthoud 9PM-Close

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

Boulder’s Jeremy Mohney released multiple EPs this year, both of which definitely caught our ear. The jazz/swing artist is throwing down at City Star Brewery to welcome in 2017, and we definitely recommend getting your swing moves on at this one. Mohney will have your feet tappin’ in no time, and after a few celebration libations, you won’t want to sit still. Details here.

Boulder

Andrew Sturtz & Friends at The No Name in Boulder 10PM-Close

Andrew Sturtz.

Andrew Sturtz.

Soulful singer/songwriter Andrew Sturtz will be holding things down behind the big brown door tomorrow night for NYE. Known locally for his solo work and his performances with The Constellation Collective and other groups, Strutz will croon you into the new year in style. Plus, there’s no cover. What’s not to dig? Deets here.

Lady and The Gentleman at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s Lady and The Gentleman have made some changes to their lineup this year, but they’re still bringing mad grooves to the Colorado scene. Tomorrow they’ll grace the stage at The Lazy Dog, and no cover means no excuses. Get to it! More info right here.

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

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

If you want to be shaken up Boulder, here’s your chance! The minstrel show of The Alcapones will be taking over Conor’s to dance you into the wee hours of 2017. Come hang and get rowdy! There will be lots of funky horn playing for your listening pleasure. More info here.

Yonder Mountain String Band with The Railsplitters at The Boulder Theater in Boulder 8PM-Close

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Yonder Mountain String Band.

Nederland’s Yonder Mountain String Band are holding down the BT for NYE. The five-piece bluegrass band well-known around these parts will share the stage with Boulder’s The Railsplitters. Get over to get down! Tickets here.

Denver

Flobots with Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden Theatre in Denver 8PM-Close

Flobots

Flobots

Denver’s Flobots members have been locally active in several awesome events this year, including Denver’s “Our Neighbors, Ourslves” refugee benefit and the Rock Against The TPP event. Tonight, the crew will swing you into the new year with Portland’s Nahko and Medicine For The People at The Ogden. Tickets here.

Fox Street & Friends with Tiger Party at The Bluebird Theatre in Denver 9PM-Close

Dever’s Fox Street & Friends will be rolling in the new year tomorrow at The Bluebird with a 12-piece band and double sets, which will include music from the movies Boogie Nights and Blow, and tracks by Rick James, David Bowie, and Prince. The band’s frontman Jonathan Huvard is relocating to NYC in 2017, so this show is your chance to catch this crew together in what may be their last local performance for awhile. Tiger Party will open the night with songs by LCD Soundsystem. Tickets for this dance party here!

Itchy-O with Total Unicorn at Summit Music Hall in Denver 8PM-Close

We actually spent our NYE with Denver’s Itchy-O last year, so we’re here to tell you this show is going to be a magical time! The mysteriously masked band will have you boogieing all over Summit Music Hall; Total Unicorn is opening. Enter the dark. Tickets here.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with Kid Congo Powers at 3 Kings Tavern in Denver 10PM-Close

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club will be laying out their ‘Commandments’ for you tomorrow evening at 3 Kings Tavern, and we’ve actually got a whole interview with Slim himself for you here. This show will be one crazy ride into 2017, so take it! Tickets here.

The Yawpers with The Other Black at The Oriental Theater in Denver 7PM-Close

The Yawpers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

The Yawpers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

We love The Yawpers. And we love The Other Black. And both of them are sharing the stage tomorrow night at The Oriental for NYE! The Moved and Evan Holm & The Restless Ones are opening the show, making for a full lineup of Denver badassery. Get to this gig- seriously. Tickets here.

Winehouse Masquerade Ball with Judge Roughneck at Mercury Cafe in Denver 930PM-Close

Winehouse.

Winehouse.

Denver’s Amy Winehouse tribute band Winehouse are ringing in the new year at Mercury Cafe with plenty of sultry, soulful vibes. Presales are only $20 and Judge Roughneck is opening the night, so grab tickets while you can! This will be an awesome show. Deets here.

Durango

Nappy Roots with Jerney at Animas City Theatre in Durango 9PM-Close

Jerney.

Jerney.

Nappy Roots are closing out the year in Durango tomorrow, and Denver’s Jerney is opening the gig. Jerney has been dropping new music like crazy this year, and this is one of his last Colorado shows, so make sure to get to it! Tickets here.

Greeley

The Burroughs with Bryce Merritt at The Moxi Theatre in Greeley 8PM-Close

The Burroughs.

The Burroughs.

Greeley’s The Burroughs dropped some sweet new music this past year, and they’ll be playing that for you tonight + more tunes at The Moxi. The nine-piece soul pop outfit will be joined by Bryce Merritt for good measure. Wicked. Tickets here!

Fort Collins

Rose Hill Drive with The Velveteers at Hodi’s Half Note in Denver 9PM-Close

The Velveteers. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Denver’s The Velveteers are arguably one of the most successful acts coming out of Colorado right now. Fronted by Demi Demitro, the heavy rock two-piece will make you headbang all the way up until Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive takes the stage at Hodi’s. Go get yourself hypnotized. Tickets here.

Rollinsville

Jaden Carlson Band at The Stage Stop in Rollinsville 10PM-Close

Jaden Carlson.

Jaden Carlson.

Teenage musical prodigy Jaden Carlson has had quite the year in the Colorado music scene. From impressive opening slots for bands like The Revivalists to her own headlining performances at The Fox, Carlson has proved she knows how to break. things. down. Head out to her last performance of the year tomorrow at The Stage Stop! We guarantee it will be an impressively good time. More info here.

That’s it for us for NYE Colorado! See you in 2017!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Seu Jorge Played 'The Life Aquatic's Tribute to David Bowie' For Sold Out Gothic Theatre Last Friday

By: Claire Woodcock

Over the weekend, Seu Jorge reprised his role as Pelé dos Santos, the “safety expert” and Brazilian singer-songwriter who acted in and soundtracked the 2004 Wes Anderson film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The classic red curtains of The Gothic Theatre in Denver opened on Jorge sporting the Team Zissou trademark uniform, ready to play acoustic hits from the late David Bowie. He launched into “Ziggy Stardust” while pastel pinks and aquatic shades of blue lit up the theatre. Jorge, a Brazilian pop samba revivalist, strummed his maple-shade guitar with intention as he sang the Portuguese translations of Bowie’s hits.

When Jorge first released his covers in coordination with Anderson’s cult film, Bowie praised Jorge’s renditions of his songs by saying, “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”

Some of the electricity and rhythm of Bowie’s lyrics are lost in translation, but that’s not to say that Bowie songs are not translatable. During his lifetime, David Bowie released French, German, and Indonesian versions of his own songs. Because the Portuguese translations do not always sync up, in many instances Jorge changed lyrics to fit the covers. For those of us who haven’t had much exposure to the language, the English words sometimes stuck out at Friday’s show, like in Jorge’s cover of “Changes” where the chorus rang out in the familiar, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” across the room.  

Yet for other tunes, the translation from English to Portuguese was seamless, like in “Rebel, Rebel,” which is arguably one of Jorge’s strongest covers. The crowd of the sold out show did their best to sing along not in English, but in Portuguese. The singing sailor’s setlist veered away from the film’s soundtrack sequence on “Astronauta de Mármore (Starman),” a song which presents a challenge for translation due to its preexisting rhythm. On Jorge’s covers of “Rock and Roll Suicide” and Suffragette City,” he embraced the unsettling and urgent discordant nature of the tunes as he reached for high notes with a grittiness that the late Bowie would have breezed through. On “Lady Stardust,” Jorge was able to settle back into his lower register, where his voice exhibited strength and poise.

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Seu Jorge. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The crowd at Friday's show consisted of an eclectic mix of Bowie lovers and Life Aquatic fans gracious for Jorge’s tribute. People reciprocated Seu Jorge’s enthusiasm, wearing red beanies popularized by Team Zissou, as they tried to stumble through the endings of phrases that they recognized and made their best attempts at several Portuguese sing-a-longs.

Life On Mars. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Life On Mars. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Jorge took a moment during his set to talk about losing Bowie last January. Like so many others, Jorge drew much inspiration from the late artist. He told us that three days after Bowie passed away, Jorge lost his father as well. As a commemoration to them both, he then played “Life On Mars.” In the crux of this moment, it was clear who Jorge was singing for.

As his set closed for the night, the crowd erupted with shouts of “Volta!” which means “Come back!” in Portuguese. Jorge returned for an encore with a reprise of “Rebel, Rebel” while a farewell slideshow of psychedelic images, film clips, and animations played behind him. Finger-picking with elegance, Jorge’s cover of the classic Bowie hit became his own. It was worth listening to twice.

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Rebel Rebel. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Bowie’s spirit was surely getting freaky with us on Friday evening. So if you liked The Life Aquatic and miss David Bowie, I couldn’t recommend The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge (2005) more. It’s available on Spotify. And if you’re looking to catch the last leg of Seu Jorge’s tribute tour, grab details and tickets here.

-Claire

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

Puddles Played A Pity Party That Made Us Laugh Through Tough Times

By: Claire Woodcock

People who came out for Puddles Pity Party last weekend were in for a sweet treat: Laughter.

Puddles Pity Party was a puddle of cuddles and fearless fun at The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver last Friday night. The 6’ 8” baritone “sad clown with the golden voice” started off his show by doing something that I used to do when I was 9 years old: stuff as many pieces of gum as humanly possible into one's mouth to make a super gumball. After doing so to quiet giggles from the crowd, he set the gumwad aside and entered into audience territory. Breaking the fourth wall to pull a woman onstage, he placed her hand over her heart and motioned for all patrons to follow suit. He then pulled out a small American flag, put his own hand over his heart, and sang the most powerful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner that I’ve heard in a long time. Here it’s worth noting that a number of showgoers were wearing safety pins over their hearts, a trend that started this week after President-elect Donald Trump won the electoral college in last week’s election. Only about half of the crowd held their hands over their hearts as Puddles sang on, but all cheered in support of the giant clown as he concluded the tune.

Mike Greer, the man behind Puddles, didn’t need a microphone Friday night. His voice would have carried even without that support. He’s that good. In fact, microphones were more visibly used as props throughout the evening than anything else. He followed up the national anthem with a cover of “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots, where he pivoted around the mic stand, making good use of the stage. Throughout the evening, Greer was very in-tune with the audience, demonstrating his strong improv skills by bringing patrons onstage for unpredictable covers and antics.

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Puddles Pity Party. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles brought the room together with songs about being an outsider and the feelings that conjures up, like Eric Carmen’s All By Myself.” The backing instrumentals were pre-recorded and supported him, which he playfully highlighted when pretending to strum on a white slab of wood meant to look like a toy guitar. Puddles could have gone through the entire performance a capella if he had to. On Coldplay’s Fix You,” he broke into “tears stream down your face” with scenes of robots malfunctioning and falling down, which made the breaking point in a sad song funny. It was moments like these that Puddles really charmed.

On Puddles’ cover of ELO’s Telephone Line,” he alternated between singing into a telephone with vocal high-pass and distortion, and singing into a regular mic, continuing to use the telephone effect as he segued into a growly verse-chorus of “Hello” by Adele. The late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujahwas one of his most powerful covers, no doubt. When he pulled the microphone away from his mouth and was able to bring the room with him on his journey to the great crescendo, my earlier hypothesis on the no mic necessary was proven true.

Watch Puddles' viral cover of Lorde's "Royals":

His interaction with the audience in the cover he’s most known for, “Royals” by Lorde, was unlike anything I’ve ever seen an artist do in a performance space. With a sepia filtered projection of the musicians on his breakout YouTube video, he again broke down the fourth wall yet again. He took phones from audience members trying to capture the moment, and gave their phones to other audience members trying to capture the moment. What resulted was a tangle of people who had to retrieve their phones from each other; a web of connection.  

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Beltin' Puddles. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Puddles’ Queen and the late David Bowie’sUnder Pressure” cover was another sweet moment. He brought a man from the crowd onstage to give him mini cupcakes and coffee from a french press while the phrase “stressed spelled backwards is desserts” projected on the three screens behind him. And that’s when he started playing with the giant gumball again, to the crowd’s distaste, followed by a roaring cover of Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” It was this song which concluded a show that brought people together for genuine laughter during what has been a hard time for many people in this country.

Thanks Puddles.

-Claire

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

The Growlers' Latest Colorado Visit Was a Beach Goth 'City Club' Dream

By: Claire Woodcock

There’s nothing like getting hit in the face by the drop of a lead singer’s sweat. BolderBeat was at the foot of the stage to Brooks Nielsen, frontman of The Growlers, last Saturday night at The Fox Theatre.

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s DJ boyhollow played ‘80s pop hits from Bowie and The Stones; basically he played anything a little too dark to be included on the soundtrack of a John Hughes flick. But the show didn’t really start, meaning the crowd didn’t really get down with the goth-pop, until the Orange County psych rock revivalists took the stage, and Nielsen started jiving to the percussion on “Big Toe”.

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Growlers lead guitarist Matt Taylor. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Nielsen joked that he was excited to play new songs off The Growlers’ latest release, City Club, “because who wants to listen to Chinese Fountain anymore?” I laughed, but I’m also really into their directed professionalism onstage. City Club is The Growlers’ eighth album in six years. The City Club Tour is a classy time warp that essentially revived Creedence Clearwater Revival. But The Growlers evolving style is taking an obvious clue from The Strokes.

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Life in the 'City Club'. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Don’t worry Chinese Fountain fanatics. They played the title track of the release, “Dull Boy”, and “Black Memories” as well. Earlier tracks were included on the setlist too, like 2010’s “Empty Bones” and 2013’s “Tell It How It Is”, which was like hearing The Growlers restored years before Urban Outfitters releases the 10-year anniversary vinyls. So if you’re listening to the new Hot Tropics anniversary drop in 2020, just know that BolderBeat heard “Sea Lion Goth Blues” first, ok?

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Double mics, alright? Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Full disclosure: Post show, post going home to write this review, I found myself sipping on good whiskey and dancing to my now Chinese Fountain pastimes in my living room. I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s okay to do that, but “I’ll Be Around,” one of the singles from City Club, made for catchy encore repertoire that clearly has producer Julian Casablancas’ magic all over it.

Suit game on point. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Suit game on point. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

In Boulder, this California surf-pop-rock band was as polished as I’ve ever heard or seen them. White suits with floral decals complimented the “city club” get-up that was going down. The signature clean guitars and distorted vocals that have made The Growlers such a staple on the Colorado music scene were all around. And Nielsen was all business when he rocked the stage with his classic two-step, two-mic performance.

Whispers. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Whispers. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Though he’s known for being notoriously shy, eager fans took every chance they had to get close to Nielsen. It’s a really surreal experience to be conjoined at the hips to the people on every side of you swaying. At that point, there’s really nothing left to do but submit, and let everyone crawl over you to take pictures, touch Nielsen’s surprisingly clean white Converse, and reach around you to tug at any part of the man they could attempt to grasp. Fans boosted fans trying to get onstage to hug Nielsen, talk to lead guitarist Matt Taylor about an after party, or stage dive into the dancing crowd. Which had me wondering, “When the band doesn’t initiate crossing the fourth wall into a mob of fans, shouldn’t fans not only be cognizant of that, but honor the stage space, no matter how much you love them? Or does being a fan entitle ticket buyers to create their own experience out of the evening, even if it could impact the musicality of a band’s set?” Leave your thoughts on this one in the comments folks.

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit:  Hannah Oreskovich

Front row Bettys. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Fortunately, The Growlers are one of the most talented national bands I’ve seen this year, and even with all of the attention at Saturday's show, they managed not to miss a beat. This was The Growlers’ fourth show in Colorado this year; they played Belly Up Aspen, The Ogden Theatre, and Mishawaka Amphitheatre before returning to Boulder’s The Fox  to premiere City Club. We’re looking forward to the album, which drops next Friday, September 30th, as well as future shows from these top notch dudes. Maybe even with a little more sweat.

Keep up with The Growlers here.

-Claire

All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Brian Wilson, Blood Orange, & Anderson Paak: Day Two at Pitchfork Music Festival Was a Success

By: Annie Kane

Day two at Pitchfork was quite a success.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

The weather yesterday was something festival goers wish for every year, and in Chicago, those humidity-free 80 degree days are quite a rarity. With a crowd that seemed almost double in size compared to the day before, every stage was bumping and filled with trendy music listeners.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange’s set was just as magical as I was hoping it would be: donning simple jogger pants and a headband, Devonte Hynes started things off by playing the audio track off of the first song from his recent album, Freetown Sound. The woman’s voice on the track echoed off the park, as she spoke in slam-poetry style about feminism and media representation in today's society. You could feel the audience’s emotion as cheers swelled up in the strong points of her speech. Hynes then sat down on his low-set piano, playing simple notes that hushed the enormous crowd gathered to see him perform. As he rose to grab a mic, two of Hynes’ fierce backup singers strutted across the stage to their mics and the saxophonist grabbed his instrument as they all, in perfect synchronization, began “Augustine”. Later on, Hynes brought out Carly Rae Jepsen for the tune, “All That”. Hynes’ unique style blends the culture of off-pop 90’s music with clear inspiration from David Bowie and Prince, tied into his own unique vision. Hynes seemed so relaxed on stage, as he twirled around singing dreamy notes and with the sun shining behind him, the atmosphere of the set was almost ethereal.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid surprised me with a heartfelt emotion reflected on his face during his performance, and his hardcore drumming skills between songs. His backup guitarist absolutely shredded a few solos of his own, and BJ covered a lot of songs, including tunes from other notable Chicago artists like Kanye West (“THat Part”) and Chance the Rapper (“No Problem”).

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson started his set early, and as I ran up to catch the last spot in the photo pit, I found myself pausing for a second as the group sang “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. The song sounded exactly like the Pet Sounds recording, making me question if The Beach Boys were all somehow back together on stage. Wilson remained behind his big grand piano for the length of the performance, staring at his sheet music and occasionally glancing into the jeering crowd. One fan at the front screamed out during a quiet pause, “This is my favorite album ever!” The band members all smiled, and for the whole set, they seemed happy to be performing some of the most beautiful music ever composed. Chicago natives John Cusack (who played Brian Wilson in the film “Love and Mercy”), along with his sister Joan, both came out for a song and sang at the front of the stage with one of the backup singers. Everyone seemed as if they were in a sweet stupor of nostalgia during Wilson’s set.

Anderson Paak.

Anderson Paak.

Since catching Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals at Red Rocks, I have had my eye set on snapping Paak again. I was buzzing with excitement as he ran onstage and went right into “Milk N’ Honey”. Standing between two speakers that were blasting bass so hard that my dress was being blown around, I couldn’t hear Paak’s voice well over the mic, but I was close enough to actually hear him from my spot near the stage. Being so close, I could feel the energy radiating off of Paak and his whole band. He brought so much more power to this performance, keeping energy high by going right into his almost trap-like song, “Drugs”, from the album Venice. He jumped over to the speaker next to me, singing down into my lens before stepping over my head. After the first three songs, security pushed press back, as I reluctantly left the pit. Despite being back in the crowd, the energy was still palpable as Paak got the audience to dance their faces off. It was fantastic.

Hands Up.

Hands Up.

I can say I’m glad to be here, and yesterday’s shows were incredible. Stay tuned for more Pitchfork coverage!

Check out more Pitchfork Festival photos here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

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

Anderson Paak Made Us Dance at Red Rocks Last Night

By: Annie Kane

Since this year’s SXSW, Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals have taken the world by storm, spreading their inventive style that fuses jazz, R&B and hip-hop.

Anderson Paak.

Anderson Paak.

Hailing from California, Anderson Paak first started producing music from his bedroom as a teen and drummed at his family’s local church. Fast forward to 2014 and you can find him appearing on six songs from Dr. Dre’s album, Compton. The support from this music legend broke Paak into the music scene, leading him to collaborate with the likes of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, ASAP Ferg, Kaytranda, and more. Since his energetic performance at SXSW, the name Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals has been popping up everywhere, from Twitter to late night shows, to summer music festivals.

Paak in the crowd at Red Rocks.

Paak in the crowd at Red Rocks.

Last night, Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals joined forces with Bryson Tiller for a stunning show at Red Rocks. The artistry Paak demonstrated was incredible. Paak’s roots shined onstage as he navigated between grooving solo on the mic, to jumping behind his drum set and being one with the band. With a contagious smile plastered across his face the entire time, Paak showed off his finest dance moves in-between, effortlessly breathing his raspy lyrics into the mic. His stylistic ability to transform himself between a rapper, singer, and drummer proves not only his strong musical capabilities, but also the dedication he has toward his art.

Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals.

Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals.

Despite being the frontman, Anderson Paak held no dictatorship over the stage. The Free Nationals were as much a part of the performance as Paak was. Their sound was tight and they weren’t afraid to interact with each other to create a fun environment on stage. Each performer was able to spread their infectious energy, prompting fans to break out their own dance moves, which made for a musical celebration unlike any other.

Malibu Attitude.

Malibu Attitude.

With an ode to the late David Bowie in their brief rendition of the beginning of “Let’s Dance”, Paak and The Free Nationals brought their set to a close, with every fan still eagerly dancing on their feet.

Keep up with Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals here. And see them at Vertex Festival with us in August!

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

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

The Flaming Lips + the Colorado Symphony = Is Love

By: Claire Woodcock

Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips put on a fantastical show at Red Rocks last week with the Colorado Symphony. 

I went to a small liberal arts college in western NY, where everyone was either in the music program or wanted to be in the music program. Fredonia housed the musicians and everyone else: those who turned teacher or activist or acid head. But one thing we all had in common: we knew of Wayne Coyne. His presence in the local Starbucks or downtown on the weekends generated stories. Coyne sightings were frequent because longtime Lips producer Dave Fridmann hosts the Lips at Tarbox Road Studios up in the wilderness, where Coyne and friends have cultivated everything from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots to The Soft Bulletin and beyond.

Last Thursday night, The Flaming Lips joined the Colorado Symphony in a special recreation of their 1999 album The Soft Bulletin at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. A crowd made up of Lips fanatics and orchestra-goers alike found equilibrium in a lively collaboration of music, art, and quality. While I replayed elusive Wayne Coyne sighting stories with another Fredonia alum, the Colorado Symphony executed a stunning rendition of the 1910 Igor Stravinsky masterpiece “Firebird”, recreated by conductor André de Ridder. Around us, audience members were either taking in the classical sway of the strings, or yelling about getting drunk. I don’t think anyone in the crowd was ready for the transcendence that was about to go down.

The suit. Photo per Erina Uemura.

The suit. Photo per Erina Uemura.

The orchestra played a glimmering intro into “Race for the Prize”, the opening track on The Soft Bulletin. Coyne sang from a pedestal, draped in an electric dress with pulsating lights that flooded him in a glowing aura. As different color streams poured off the stage, Wayne awkwardly adjusted the light dress. He did this frequently throughout the first few tracks off the album. Though it was clear he was uncomfortable in the light creation, the show pressed on, and as “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton” began, a choir of what sounded like mermaid-calls seemed to lift up and rescue the audience from any uneasy vibes.

Rainbows and magic. Photo per Danni Lanni.

Rainbows and magic. Photo per Danni Lanni.

The Lips and the Colorado Symphony performed a beautiful arrangement of “The Spark That Bled”. Coyne held his hands over his chest (and underneath the space dress), repeating "love" for minutes, or what felt like minutes. I don’t actually know. Coyne was really feeling what Ridder and the Colorado Symphony were putting down, referring to them as “a badass group of musicians who absolutely love this music”. The choir added layers of harmonies that hardcore Bulletin fans could only have dreamed of up to this point.

Buggin” was Coyne’s best use of the orchestra and audience. He instructed the orchestra and choir to make a buzzing sound, like bees, and to watch his hand gestures for volume. “All those bugs, buzzin’ round,” Coyne sang, lifting his arms higher and higher, bouncing from forte to fortissimo to fortississimo. He instructed the audience to buzz too, creating a musical round that invited us participate, rather than leading a sing-a-long.

Coyne and the Colorado Symphony. Photo per Erina Uemura.

Coyne and the Colorado Symphony. Photo per Erina Uemura.

Throughout the show, Coyne repeatedly stated that the Lips had never done anything like playing with the Colorado Symphony before. Although the two parties did not rehearse the sheet music and orchestral arrangements for The Soft Bulletin written specifically for Thursday night’s show together until the few days leading up to the show, the Lips performed The Soft Bulletin in 2010 with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. For the Colorado Symphony, the collaboration with the Lips stems from an ongoing effort to work with popular musicians across genres. Over the past few years, the orchestra has performed with DeVotchKa, Kishi Bashi, The Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff, among other well-known artists.

The Soft Bulletin is largely considered The Flaming Lips’ masterpiece. The album’s original string sounds were recorded using synthesizers and samples. But at this show, cold wind brushing by, the band’s 1999 release was played the way Coyne and the audience realized it should be. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra filled in for the samples, making it an undeniably magical, galactic, and complicated joint performance.

The crowd felt unity when the musicians performed “Waiting For Superman”. The band and orchestra played through the song with a softer side not typically heard on the album that still has relevance today. “Suddenly Everything Has Changed” was a tearjerker for Coyne: “There’s moments within this song that we try to overcome this peak of sadness. And music will help us get there.” he said.

Confetti-boom glory. Photo per Addy James.

Confetti-boom glory. Photo per Addy James.

For their encore, The Lips and CSO played through “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots” and “Do You Realize”. Coyne then broke off and went into his space bubble while the band played a late David Bowie tribute cover of “Space Oddity”. Finally, the band ended on a high note with “Wand”, from the 2006 release At War With The Mystics roaring through on a blaze of confetti-boom glory.

It was undoubtedly the best way to experience The Soft Bulletin. Especially for a Fredonian.

-Claire

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

"Like the Legend of Zelda, but heavier" - Boulder's Progressive Alt-Rock Trio, Noctogon

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Come check out our masked madness this week. 

As some of you may have seen last week, we’re pumped to be sponsoring a show this Saturday with Studio 700! The night will be masquerade-themed and you can find the deets in the FB event here . Local alt-power trio Villain Baritone put together the all-Boulder lineup for this event, and this week, we’ll be bringing you info on all three bands involved: Noctogon, Villain Baritone, and Whiskey Autumn. Join us for #MusicMasquerade this Saturday, and in the meantime, check out our chat with the opening three-piece, Noctogon below:

Composed of Wilson McNeary (guitar/vocals), Jeremiah Traeger (keyboard/vocals/drums), and Brooke Holman (bass/vocals), Noctogon are a once four-piece, now three-piece “subtly intense atmospheric rock” group formed in good ‘ol Boulder. Here’s how they got started:

Jeremiah: Wilson and I lived together and loved jamming, and he was friends with our bassist, Brooke.

Brooke: Yeah Wilson and I went to the same college and started playing covers for fun. We both moved to Boulder and started creating our own tunes during our musical hangouts. Since Jeremiah and Wilson also jammed together at their place, [the three of us] decided to fuse together like sediments in sandstone. We actually found our former drummer through Craigslist, who ended up being a perfect fit.

Jeremiah: Yeah but unfortunately he wasn’t able to continue playing with us, so now I’m drumming. We started playing at The Outback Saloon, and we've had a few [other] gigs.

Jeremiah, Wilson, Brooke.

Jeremiah, Wilson, Brooke.

Whoa! The Outback Saloon was sort of the starting ground for Villain Baritone as well- interesting. Speaking of those boys, they told us that your “War Pigs” cover is legendary. Hoping to hear that at the show Saturday- any other plans for your set you want to tell us about?

Wilson: We will be debuting three new original songs since the last time we played at Studio 700, one of which has never been played live before. We are also planning to pay tribute to David Bowie, as he was (and will continue to be) a huge influence on all of us.

Another good one gone. Well that sounds righteous! Talk to us a little more about your sound.

Jeremiah: We’ve been told we sound like Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains, but I think my favorite description was when we were told that we sound like “Legend of Zelda but heavier”. We definitely have those influences; we all love 90s alternative and classic rock and metal, so we tend to sound like bands in those genres. We all have our other influences like progressive metal, post-rock, and 80s music, and we bring all of them to the table. If I had to pick a genre overall, it would be progressive alternative rock.

Haha “Legend of Zelda but heaver”? Hell yeah. We’re so stoked for your set. What are you three most excited about for the Music Masquerade show?

Brooke: Brooke: I’m excited that it’s masquerade-themed. I’m sure it will remind me of that tidbit in Labyrinth with David Bowie as the Goblin King. I’m just hoping to see someone or someones dressed up like that. Also the hosts at Studio 700 are so wonderful and I'm looking forward to being part of such a unique place.

Wilson: Yeah- shows at Studio 700 are always a great time, and I enjoy the sense of community that’s always there between the musicians and the audience.

Definitely. So what else is Noctogon up to this year?

Wilson: Recording new material, and gigging wherever and whenever we get the chance. We’d really like to get our name out there, so we’ll take any opportunity to play in front of an audience.

Sweet. Well- last question- where’d you get your name?

Brooke: When we first started playing together, I dreamt of a wolf howling at a geometrical moon. “Noctogon” came to mind after that.

Prophetic. We can dig. Come and see Noctogon play Studio 700 this Saturday! Join the FB event righhhht here. And give Noctogon’s EP Nocturne a listen below:

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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