David at the Desk: Billy Shaddox's Transformation from "Working Class Hero" to Americana Artist

By: David Landry

Billy Shaddox has had quite the journey to get to where he is now, which is in Colorado making great Americana music.

The first time I heard Billy Shaddox was live at Birdhouse Concert Series, a once a month DIY concert series with local music, food, and beer. I’d been wandering around the event finding people to talk to, and after bumping into Billy, I learned he was one of the night’s performers. Billy’s songs were strong and short, leaving everyone in the audience wanting more. I was pumped to hear his new music, and he killed his performance. I was curious to learn more about this Colorado transplant by way of California, so we met up at Mountain Sun for a brew.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Shaddox has this attitude that makes you want to get to know him. And the more you talk to him, the more you realize he embodies a “working class hero”. Years before moving to Colorado, he was an everyday man, working as a civil engineer in San Diego to support his family. His job required moving around often, and spending time away from his wife and two kids. So one day, after discussing his fears about playing music for a living, his wife was actually the one to tell him to make the jump.  And so began Billy Shaddox’s musical career.

Billy Shaddox.

Billy Shaddox.

Shaddox recorded at Great North Sound Society in Maine with Sam Kassirer (Elephant Revival, Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter). This is where Shaddox’s record, I Melt, I Howl was born, an Americana album filled with love and relief about life. The theme of change can be heard throughout the 11-song record. His songwriting has this timelessness to it that makes you remember past feelings and gets you excited for what's to come.  

There is also a visual element to Shaddox’s work. His songs remind me of being in the mountains and seeing every shade of green that exists. Billy’s music has this great country-Americana vibe to it that is perfect for a beautiful summer in Colorado. I can honestly say that I will be listening to it all summer, and hoping for more to come.

Though Billy has been touring for almost two years, he hasn’t played Colorado much. I get the sense that part of that is because that when he gets home from traveling, there’s probably an element of not wanting to do anything but be in the mountains with his family and write new songs. But, for the next few months, Shaddox has a number of shows around the state, including performances in Boulder, Longmont, Lyons. Make sure to catch one and check out Billy’s music.

Listen to I Melt, I Howl, and I have a feeling you’ll be happy Billy made the jump too:

-David at the desk

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

David's Desk: Blood Was Spilt on Friday the 13th

By: David Landry and Zach Dahmen

What's a rock'n'roll show without a little blood?

Friday the 13th is known as a superstitious evening. Most of us give it the middle finger and get tattoos for 20 bucks and hang out at Crystal Lake. The virgin dies, so get to it. But we spent last Friday the 13th at the Hi-Dive. And though no one was slashed and all three bands on the lineup KILLED it, the vocal mics that evening were unfortunately cursed.

The night was a sonic smorgasbord: blaring guitars, chest rattling bass, and passionate artists who left their guts onstage. We were transported from surf rock to outright wailing rock’n’roll that you could feel in your teeth. The sound didn’t give the performers vocal justice, a guy in the audience blacked out and face-planted on the floor, blood was spilt, beers were guzzled, bodies moved, and the ringing in our ears wasn’t the only thing we took home with us. 

Slow Caves. Photo Credit:   Zach Dahmen

Slow Caves. Photo Credit: Zach Dahmen

Fort Collins’ Slow Caves started the night pulling no punches. Their style had surf heavy guitars and electric energy, but their tenacious vocals were often lost in the mix. Bodies were grooving hard to this four piece. They set the tone of the evening for a memorable night.

Drop to Your Knees and Choose the Outfit. Photo Credit:   David Landry

Drop to Your Knees and Choose the Outfit. Photo Credit: David Landry

The Outfit took the stage next and had the best sound of the night, but only because an overly enthusiastic fan jumped onstage and no one could hear Eric Johnston telling her to get fucking going. So Johnston grabbed the bass player’s mic, and with his soapbox voice coming through, the sound changed dramatically and the crowd definitely responded. Nasty lead bass lines, distorted harmonic guitars, and a booming kick drum made the show move with the thrashing heads in the crowd. We can tell you that BolderBeat will be going to The Outfit shows more often.

Groupies. John Demitro of Bandits. Photo Credit:   David Landry

Groupies. John Demitro of Bandits. Photo Credit: David Landry

Finally, Bandits hit the stage blaring. The high energy from the cursed evening coursed through all of our veins. Halfway through a crowd turning performance, their vocals began to fade to nothing due to the hexed mics. But in true Bandit fashion, the trio played a blistering set to a fever pitch of crash amps and a very damaged drum set. Each member had their sonically shining moments. John Demitro on guitar played with a real fearlessness and took advantage of every inch of that stage. Lulu Demitro on bass and keys was a highlight with all of the melodic parts. She shined on the band’s dark interpretation of the Beatles' Happiness is a Warm Gun. And Mr. Andrew Oakley on drums crashed through the stage with ferocious rhythm. His set-ending drum solo was a catalyst for a defiant stage destruction. Bandits are back with a new, grittier sound and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

All three bands made Friday the 13th a hit. We’re hoping for a sequel very, very soon.

Get a taste by watching vids from each of the bands here:

-David and Zach at the desk

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

A Shadow of Jaguar's Debut Single: "Mama Needs the Bottle"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

A Shadow of Jaguar's new single is tasty.

ASOJ.

ASOJ.

As you might recall, we covered an A Shadow of Jaguar show back in June at the Pub. Comprised of Cold River City’s Brian Hubbert and former West Water Outlaws’ drummer Andrew Oakley, desker David Landry described the boys as a “super-powered project” with “a thumping kick drum and a whip-cracking snare.” Following that performance, the duo played The UMS and various gigs around Colorado. The pair then hit the studio, The Crucible Recording Studio to be exact, and worked with producer Robbie Stiefel and bassist John Demitro of Branded Bandits to lay down a few licks. After tossing things around in mixing with John Peacock and having their jams mastered by Brian Gardner, A Shadow of Jaguar have released their debut single, “Mama Needs the Bottle.”

Cheers to new music! Check it out here and leave your thoughts in the comments:

-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.

David's Guest at the Desk: Alex Cutter on Langhorne Slim & The Law

By: David Landry and Alex Cutter

Langhorne Slim can break any law he wants.

While I was sitting in the tattoo chair slacking off with an old friend from Oklahoma last week, my best friend Alex Cutter was doing my job. She had a blast at the Bluebird Theatre without me, so she’s sitting in at the desk this week. And she wanted everyone to know that tattoos don’t make the rockstar, the music does! So here’s Alex:

The boys.

The boys.

You missed out if you weren't at the Bluebird Theatre last week to boogie to Langhorne Slim & The Law. Not a one was left disappointed. The band's new record, The Spirit Moves, expresses newly-sober frontman Sean Scolnick's personal intent to refine, but never suppress the wild within. The show was an obvious totem to the crazy in us all.

Scolnick in the crowd.

Scolnick in the crowd.

Scolnick was a dancing machine, writhing and sweating both on stage and amidst the audience. And The Law, a mismatch of old and new members, held down the raucous beat with some infectious bass and drums. Not to mention those flawless three-part harmonies! It was a high-energy mix of folk and funk, keeping the crowd grooving and the temperature high. Scolnick's voice and brutally honest lyrics are not to be missed by any music fan. This tour presents a definite show for the books!

-David Landry and Alex Cutter at the desk

David’s Guest Alex Cutter: I’m a Colorado native who loves to create art and drink too much beer. When I’m not working or playing outside, I’m going to shows and listening to music, so I hope to check out more of you through BolderBeat!

Watch a recent, short Langhorne Slim & The Law performance for yourself here:

David's Desk: TV On The Radio Burned the Boulder Theater Down

By: David Landry

TVOR burned the Boulder Theater down.

I’ve been listening to TV On The Radio for years now, but I never used to bump them on a regular basis. Until last Christmas. I remember the moment when my roommate picked me up from the airport and Seeds was blasting out of my shitty KIA stereo in the parking lot. It reeled me in and I was hooked; I felt like I was a teenager discovering a new, awesome album for the first time. It’s a ‘from top to bottom’ record for me.

Yes.

Yes.

Last weekend at The Boulder Theater brought me right back to those highschool rock and roll show days. It was all ages, so the big black Xs on the kid’s hands around me didn’t help with the nostalgia. TVOTR came out with a welcoming intro from their first EP Young Liars. Then they kicked us in the front teeth with their straight rockin’ “Lazerray” (watch the video if you haven’t seen it).

Aqua Rock.

Aqua Rock.

Everyone in the crowd was headbanging, and if I was in my early twenties, I might have been pushing some people to make a mosh pit. The crowd lost their minds when “Wolf Like Me” came on, and it was badass. Throughout their whole set, TVOTR kept the energy flowing and moved all over their discography.

Fists up. Hell yeah.

Fists up. Hell yeah.

I know TVOTR had a big show at Red Rocks the day after I saw them. But if you were at the Boulder Theater, you know we got the better show. After 15 years as a band, it’s insane that TV On The Radio can keep putting on shows like this. I can’t wait to be the old guy in another 15 years rocking, and maybe starting a mosh pit with the whipper-snappers.

-David at the desk

All photos per Kristy Gray. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

David's Desk: Party with the Pack: A Shadow of Jaguar

By: David Landry

A Shadow of Jaguar are high-energy blues rock.

ASOJ in their natural habitat.

ASOJ in their natural habitat.

Pearl Street Pub and Cellar has music most Mondays and Wednesdays, and they keep it pretty calm on Mondays. But recently, things were a little different. Here’s the scene:

You walk up to the Pub and you’re instantly hit with a thumping kick drum and a whip-cracking snare. That’s when you first realize, this isn’t going to be your normal Monday at the Pub. You expected acoustic, sad-bastard music to be playing so you could sit in the corner and drink your whiskey alone.

Instead, just inside the door, you are greeted with a bluesy slide guitar. And a two piece rocking band. At the helm is Brian Hubbert (of Cold River City) and on the skins is Andrew Oakley (formerly of West Water Outlaws). It’s a super-powered project. It’s A Shadow of Jaguar.

Let these boys take you for a ride.

Let these boys take you for a ride.

ASOJ plays you a bunch of originals, and some fun covers like Death's “Keep on Knockin’”. To make it even more of a party, at one point Will Buck (formerly of West Water Outlaws) hops in with some tasty licks screaming over Brian's slide guitar parts, and John Demitro (of Branded Bandits) jumps off his normal guitar playing to keep the rhythm section tight on bass. The four play together like they’ve been doing this for years; they never skip a beat. Neither you nor the Pub were ready for this high-energy set, but you and everyone there want more. And that’s your Monday night.

A Shadow of Jaguar just finished recording with Robbie Stiefel over at The Crucible and the boys are playing UMS in Denver at the end of the month. See them when you can, because jaguars don't travel in packs very often.

-David at the desk

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

David's Desk: Surfer Blood, Sweat, & Cheers

By: David Landry

Surfer Blood is missing a core member, but they still rocked out at The Lost Lake.

Surfer Shreddin'. Photo Credit:   Liz Whitman     

Surfer Shreddin'. Photo Credit: Liz Whitman
 

Surfer Blood came in like a tidal wave last week at Denver’s Lost Lake Lounge, playing songs spanning their whole catalog. JPP (lead vocals/guitar) took the helm, diving right in and singing his heart out. He even walked directly into the crowd during his favorite song “Take It Easy”.  The crowd danced with pure joy, fueled by the energy of beach pop riffs and a shared love for the band in this quaint rock venue. We packed ourselves in there nice and tight for the boys, and their melodic harmonies echoed throughout the club. It was awesome.

Packin' it in. Photo Credit:   Liz Whitman

Packin' it in. Photo Credit: Liz Whitman

Surfer Blood started back in 2009 and have been going full throttle ever since. Unfortunately, original lead guitarist Thomas Fekete had to step away from their tour this year right after the band finished recording their latest album 1000 Palms.  Fekete is battling a rare form of cancer, and despite his absence from the stage, his presence was still felt in Surfer Blood’s performance.

He explains everything with a wonderful open letter to everyone, here.

If you want to help please do. See their shows and support them in every way. They are one of my favorites. I couldn’t have been happier with the show.

Thomas Fekete’s GoFundMe page can be found here.

-David at the desk

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

David's Desk: Augustus Take The Fox Theatre Stage

By: David Landry

Augustus' first Fox show was a success.

I want to start this off with saying Paul Kimbiris did one hell of a job last Saturday night. I have only seen him at The No Name Bar playing solo before this, but with a full band behind him, it was awesome and makes me want to see him again. But I am not writing this article on Paul. I’m writing this on my dear friends Augustus.

Augustus top right, baby. Photo Credit:   Augustus


Augustus top right, baby. Photo Credit: Augustus

I have a special place in my heart for Augustus. They have been friends of mine ever since we met and I couldn’t be more pumped that they nabbed a gig at the Fox. They were the first band to play last Saturday’s show, and they made it hard to follow them. Colin’s voice echoed beautifully around the theatre and Jim’s kick drum felt like a thumping heartbeat. It was good to see the boys in a venue where all of the members were heard well; I always wanted more Jim and Jessie.

Sidenote: Jessie plays the cello like no one I have ever seen. He gives it so much energy ripping along (and always looks dapper).

See what I mean? Dapper. Photo Credit:   In the Shed Media

See what I mean? Dapper. Photo Credit: In the Shed Media

Augustus held nothing back last weekend. They blasted through a forty minute set and left nothing behind. They played a few songs off of their EP Common Collapse, and some great new tunes I know will be on the EP that they’re currently finishing up in-studio.

Augustus thank you for killing it at the Fox- you made a fellow musician and friend envious in all the right ways.

-David at the desk

Follow David on Instagram.

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

David’s Guest at the Desk: Robbie Stiefel on Leon Russell

By: David Landry and Robbie Stiefel

Leon Russell ain't stoppin' anytime soon.

Robbie came over one evening and heard a song spinning on the record player that he claimed to know, but by a man he could not name. I told him: this is the legendary Leon Russell. And it just so happened that Leon was headed to the Oriental, so we bought tickets. I had planned to craft a write-up for Leon’s show, but in the morning I woke up to a “David’s Desk by Robbie Stiefel” email. And so it follows:

He wobbles out from the wings of the stage with a cane looking very old and crooked. He sets his cane on the stage floor and seats himself at a white baby grand piano striped with red, blue, and green. He immediately launches into Ray Charles' 1954 hit, "I Got a Woman". He looks mean and defiant as if to say, "F*ck gravity and time.” You quickly realize that his “wobble” was a “saunter” and he ain’t stiff or crooked, he’s spry! His playing belies the old man's hands.

Photo Credit:   David Landry

Photo Credit: David Landry

This IS and WAS what rock and roll has always been: the organic protest of everything that slows us down. At 73, Leon proves himself a patriarch; an old school musician who plays because he knows nothing else. A phrase like “Keep on Keepin’ On” was born from the need to describe men like Leon. Keep on, Leon.

-David Landry and Robbie Stiefel at the desk

David’s Guest Robbie Stiefel: Robbie Stiefel is a producer and musician. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Click here to read more about Robbie.

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

David's Desk: King Tuff Are MY Kind of Rock'n'Roll

By: David Landry

King Tuff is badass rock'n'roll.

Magic, Captain, & a King. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Magic, Captain, & a King. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The scene: April 9th at the Ogden Theatre. Father John Misty and King Tuff sold out show.

The opener: King Tuff starting the night off just the way you want- with a swift kick in the balls and a kiss on the cheek. King Tuff jumping around in a hat that reads: “Ice Cream”. He’s hitting a fog machine that is blasting off thick smoke for every guitar solo. Magic Jake is on the bass, smiling his goofy smile the entire set like every moment is the best he’s ever had. And President Gary is holding things tight with his Bonham-esque drumming. Energy. Punk Rock. The perfect way to get you jazzed for the man of the hour. Which is...

The Headliner: Father John Misty. He enters the scene with dapper flair, silhouetted by red stage lights. Father John Misty. Breaking your heart and sewing it back with the string that he holds. Lights. Sex. Rock ’n’ Roll. Party On!

-David at the desk

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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.