Our Top Picks to See at Denver's Underground Music Showcase 2019

By: Adrienne Thomas 

During the last weekend in July, the Underground Music Showcase brings out Denver’s local music scene, along with a handful of national headliners. Affectionately known around town as UMS, the festival came to life in the early 2000s when The Denver Post decided to ask local music experts to name the region’s “Top 10 Underground Bands” in an effort to rouse more interest and support for the local scene, as well as to cultivate a city that successful bands want to stay in. The festival’s evolution continued last year, when Two Parts took ownership of the festival under the direction of Tobias Krause, exciting supporters at the potential for new spins by the local event and marketing agency.

Headlining names this year definitely worth checking out include Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Still Woozy, Y La Bamba, and Earthgang. Also worth checking out are two hip-hop wild cards from Chicago: Rich Jones and RapperChicks. Let’s dig into these acts, shall we?

Y La Bamba.

Y La Bamba.

Chicano Batman is a Latin psychedelic soul and funk four-piece, so bring dancing shoes to this wildly percussive show. Stoner rockers Black Mountain will show up for the lovers, heady beach followers, and spirited grunge rock fans inside all of us. Still Woozy joins soul/pop melodies and raps together with smooth electronic bounces for a uniquely lovable style. Y La Bamba is an incredibly diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams. Earthgang, the fresh and unrivaled hip hop heroes from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D., will definitely be a UMS highlight to close out Sunday night.

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The lineup of local bands is beautifully long, and sometimes overwhelming, but mostly a glorious scroll through the talented musicians who walk our Broadways and Colfaxes every day. The heart of UMS is really just a big party where all the best local shows you’re invited to all year happen again- this time all at once- throughout the course of one weekend. Don’t sleep this time. Organize an interactive schedule of your own for the weekend here. But if that’s too much, here’s a list of favorites: 

FRIDAY 07/26

6:00 Corsicana @ Skylark Lounge - Ambient shoegaze that will make for a smooth start to the festival

6:20 Sophie Meiers @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Dreamy electro-pop from Durango

7:00 Extra Gold @Hi-Dive - Kickass country y’all

7:20 Still Woozy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Playful and melodic chill-hop with a devoted following

7:20 RapperChicks @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Self-described as “3 badass women who rap, sing, play & melt faces all by ourselves” from Chicago

8:00 Claire Heywood @ South Broadway Christian Church - Raspy bird songwriter known for poetic lyrics and soulful vocals and melodies

8:30pm Black Mountain @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Stoner rockers, go for a worthy rock show

9:00 f-ether @ Blue Ice - Electronic compositions, house music, dance party and big mountain energy

10:00 Motion Trap @ Denver Drumz & Music - Dreamy synth dance grooves 

11:00 The Velveteers @ 3 Kings Tavern - Heavy grunge-rock trio, double drummers, powerful female lead

11:00 The Hollow @ The Hornet - Alt rock with horse blinding attitude 

11:00 LITELVL @ Denver Drumz & Music - Triptastic soundscapes 

12:00 Oko Tygra @ The Irish Rover Pub - Dark and dreamy 80’s pop

1:00 @ Skylark Lounge - Shred rock with indie, Latin & ska feels

SATURDAY 07/27

12:40 Kiltro @ The Irish Rover Pub - Experimental folk mixes with Chilean guitar, makes dance party

2:00 Oxeye Daisy @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - A nod to the 90’s, youthful synth/guitar rock band

2:40 Slowcaves @ The Irish Rover Pub - Indie rock with beach vibes 

3:00 Whole Milk @ Skylark Lounge - Surf jazz

4:00 Erin Stereo @ Blue Ice - House/Club DJ extraordinaire

5:00 Chicano Batman @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Latin psychedelic soul/funk 4-piece

6:00 Sur Ellz @ Blue Ice - Future space funk R&B

7:00 OptycNerd @ Blue Ice - Electro indie pop 

7:30 Rich Jones @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Prolific Chicago hip hop artist and evolving pop/soul creator, legendary presence

8:00 Decollage @ Denver Drumz & Music - Kaleidoscope avante-garde pop

9:00 Whiskey Autumn @ The Irish Rover Pub - “Prom jams from the future” meets indie psych synth surf rock

10:00 Anthony Ruptak @ Denver Drumz & Music - One of Denver’s singer/songwriters that we just can’t get enough of

10:00 Definitely, Maybe @ Moe’s Original BBQ - Lush percussive and vocal layering makes this psych rock duo very important to experience live

11:00 Random Temple @ Denver Distilling Co. - Electronic and acoustic instrumentalist known for diverse harmonies and eclectic, high-energy sets

12:00 The Cosmic Ball @ 3 Kings Tavern - A mix of Denver bands partnered with psychedelic production company Synesthesia which is likely to promise awesome visuals and glitter vibes

1:00 Retrofette @ 3 Kings Tavern - Part of the Cosmic Ball lineup, this synth group is not one to miss

SUNDAY 07/28

12:00 Laura Goldhammer @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Classic Americana merges with quirky styling to create socially-conscious folk music often accompanied by her stop-motion videos

1:00 Katie of The Spirettes @ Ross-Broadway Branch Library - Ethereal guitar-driven rock

2:20 YaSi @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Much like her Iranian-American upbringing, her music is a melting pot, with a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and pop 

3:20 Kyle Emerson @ Goodwill - Buzzy indie rock

4:00 Bellhoss @ Denver Drumz & Music - Female-led folk meets DIY punk

4:30 Flaural @ Showcase Stage at Goodwill - Spacey psych-rock band best known for drifting and dancing

5:00 Levi Double U @ The Irish Rover Pub - NuDisco beats 

6:00 Moon Hammer @ 3 King Tavern - A ragtag supergroup of unpredictable and wavy tunes

6:20 Y La Bamba @ Knockout State at Punch Bowl Social - Diverse indie folk/pop outfit from Portland featuring eclectic, female-fronted jams

7:00 Big Dopes @ The Hornet - A modern 90s alt-feel with steady grooves 

7:55 Earthgang @ Odyssey Stage at Import Mechanics - Hip hop duo from Atlanta known for collabs with J. Cole, 6LACK and J.I.D

8:00 Bun Bun @ Baere Brewing Company - Future Shock Bee Wave G-House

9:00 Cheap Perfume @ Denver Drumz & Music - Long-standing feminist punk-rock band from Colorado Springs

9:00 Emma Mayes & The Hip @ 3 Kings Tavern - “Highly Important People” making highly important music, a soul/funk/jazz band joining complex horn arrangements with lush harmonies

10:00 Los Mocochetes @ 3 Kings Tavern - Latin gypsy-funk band

11:00 Ramakhandra @ 3 Kings Tavern - Hip hop/soul fusion, with a pedal harp!

12:00 The Guestlist @ 3 Kings Tavern - Modern blues & soul

1:00 Ned Garthe Explosion @ Hi-Dive - Kinda bad, kinda rad but definitely a party to end the weekend

Whether you create a guide this year for your own UMS, follow ours, or just wander, discover, and repeat, give my Underground Music Showcase playlist a listen on Spotify. And if you haven’t yet, get your UMS tickets here!

-Adrienne 

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

Denver's Underground Music Showcase Announced Their Entire Lineup Today

Denver’s favorite music event of the summer is back for 2019! Get all of the details:

Who: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS), Denver’s largest and most iconic music festival, just announced the full 2019 lineup and will once again bring an array of acclaimed national and local artists, creatively curated stages, and host endless surprises across the three-day showcase.

From Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28, the 19th annual Underground Music Showcase will return to the historic and hip Broadway corridor just south of downtown Denver.

What:  The just announced 2019 UMS lineup, with performances by more than 200 artists, includes national headliners Honne, Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Tuxedo, Earthgang, and Still Woozy.

Supporting artists include Empress Of, Yves Tumor, DRAMA, Sophie Meiers, LEIKELI47, Y La Bamba, Gardens & Villa, William Elliott Whitmore, Miya Folick, Tessa Violet, Haviah Mighty, Liza Anne, Spooky Mansion, Greyhounds, Dressy Bessy, DBUK, SWSH, Kainalu, Jackie Mendoza, Clavvs, Rapperchicks, Rich Jones, Divino Niño, Parallelephants, Deezie Brown, Garrett T Capps and more and more than 200 acts from across Colorado. View the full lineup here.

When: Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28

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“UMS is a strong representation of all types of music. This year’s lineup of national and local bands was strategically designed to showcase the volume of musically talented individuals Denver has grown while also inviting some national acts to crash the party. Denver’s music scene is growing and shaping into something special, something worth putting Denver on the map as a nationally recognized ‘music city.’ We have put our heart and soul into ensuring UMS helps grow that positive image for all Denver artists while keeping the soul of this underground music community alive.”

— TOBIAS KRAUSE, EVENT DIRECTOR OF UNDERGROUND MUSIC SHOWCASE

Photo Credit:   Nikki Rae Photography

Photo Credit: Nikki Rae Photography

Where: The Underground Music Showcase takes place in a multitude of venues along Broadway, in Denver, Colorado. More details on specific stages and locations will be announced closer to the festival.

Three-day weekend tickets are now available for $50. The three-day weekend tickets include general admission access to all musical performances and all stages, all weekend long. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/tickets.

Why: Denver is on its way to becoming a globally recognized music city with locally organized festivals like UMS leading the shift towards more immersive, live music events. UMS is the perfect representation of the vastness of incredibly talented artists from in and around the Denver metro area, showcasing the city’s growing music scene.

Two Parts purchased UMS from The Denver Post Community Foundation in January 2018. Since taking over the festival, Two Parts has worked to expand the number of outdoor stages and experiences and to continue building on the success of the past 18 years.

Grab your presales here!

Decadence: Bass, Balloons, & Everything We Loved About This Year's Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

After several consecutive years of bringing dance music entertainment to Denver, Decadence has become an established music festival during New Year’s holiday season, and it shows. BolderBeat attended the first night of the two-day, EDM-focused event, and we were impressed to see clear improvements from previous years.

First, the lineup…

The first night of Decadence was clearly geared more to the “hard” EDM loving fans. With names like Zed’s Dead and Bassnectar, there were some big dubstep fans ready to get down. The lineup for New Year’s Eve was a little more dancey and mainstream, with names like Marshmello headlining.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

On January 30th, with two main stages and a smaller silent disco, Decadence had no choice but to stack the lineup with talent, and they did just that. The first notable names of the night were Above & Beyond and Alison Wonderland. Although these two acts are significantly different styles of EDM, this was clearly the attendees’ most difficult decision regarding which show to see. Bouncing around both stages, it was obvious that each show was its own party. But Alison Wonderland garnered a larger crowd, which made sense. The only DJs whose names were sported on fans’ clothing were Allison Wonderland and Bassnectar.

Which brings us to the most anticipated performance of the night. Bassnectar, a Colorado favorite, did what he does best: mixing new and old hip-hop with his hard hitting classics. This night’s set included a fun, sped-up remix of “Teach Me How to Dougie,” which of course got the whole crowd moving.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Meanwhile, if you wanted a break from the big stages, there were always enough headphones to go around at the “Silent Disco.” Always a fun battle of colors, there were constantly three different DJs competing to change the headphones to their own “channel.” It was surprisingly easy to be social at the Silent Disco though; you could take off your headphones and chat it up with your dancing neighbors!

Vegas favorite Skrillex closed the night with an hour-long 2AM set. He played the oldie “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and also the entirety of his newer remixes of rap songs, both Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble“ and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.“ The fans were pleased; this set definitely had the most jumping and moving compared to the others.

Next, the logistics…

New Year’s is inevitably a hectic holiday, and when you pack thousands of partying people into one building, it is easy for things to get out of hand. But Decadence did a great job of controlling everything. Entering and exiting moved smoothly, although security was still diligent. And coat check, which can prove to be a huge time waster at events like this, ran efficiently, which was awesome to see. The only word of advice to those who don’t want to wait out the end of their night in the cold at Decadence is to leave 20 minutes before the last set ends to avoid waiting forever for an overpriced Uber/Lyft. Spoken from experience.

Lastly, the production…

The lights and lasers at the stages were impressive, but you didn’t need to see a show to experience cool visuals. Throughout the Denver Convention Center were different light fixtures and displays that had fans double-taking over and over again. Above the crowd were interesting inflated white balloons, and UFO-looking ships that lowered and raised to the music. It was a playground for adults and a really cool sight to see.

After a very successful weekend, it’s safe to say we’re even more excited now to see what Decadence has in store for ringing in 2020!

-Ben

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

Grandoozy Captures Mile High Vibes With First Superfly Festival in Denver

By: Taylor Naiman

Music is integral to the soul- it fosters a great opportunity to make connections with other people and expand horizons. Superfly has established a quintessential destination for enriching that soul and nurturing the spirit, and in Denver, its name is Grandoozy.

The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

The Grandoozy audience dances to artist Snow Tha Product.

The moment you walked through the gates this past weekend, you soon realized this particular festival was going to be unique, and it was. Walking the grounds of Grandoozy on the freshly cut Overland Park grass, Denverites could choose from a plethora of activities to engage in while the smells of tasty treats from local food trucks and curators wafted through the air. There were Colorado-based companies and artists in every element of the festival: food, drink, shopping, art, non-profits, and even onstage.

It was a pleasure to just sit back and observe the surroundings at times. There were couples, there were old friends reconnecting, and there were new friends conversing. Many of the festival-goers we spoke to lived in or around Denver, but some traveled to meet up with Colorado friends for the fest. It was clear that this community held a unique vibe, though it is one that is just beginning. Friends were laughing with each other and parents were dancing with their children. Grandoozy had something for everyone, whether you came for the music, the experiences, or just to chill. With Grandoozy’s relaxing vibes and Denver-focused curation, this festival was a serious Colorado hit.

Whether we were watching Bishop Briggs smiling as she ran onstage, a couple dancing together during the Florence and the Machine set, or a group of friends grabbing a beer together at the “Arts & Crafts” tent, Grandoozy brought Denver’s people together. Across the field, concertgoers were throwing frisbees with a beer in hand; others relaxed in the festival’s ample shade. People were content and were just living and the overall energy of the fest was calm, genuine, and pure. Of course there were moments of explosive energy, like during Kendrick Lamar’s headlining set or The Chainsmokers’ wild pyrotechnics. But overall, Grandoozy became its own little oasis for the weekend in a choose-your-own adventure sort of way. There was an immense amount of beauty in enjoying the entirety of the concert experience while witnessing other people savor in this atmosphere just as much as we did. Grandoozy has fostered a very cultivated Denver community, unrivaled and alluring for the Mile High audience.

Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

Two Grandoozyers meet in the front row at Scissor Stage.

Messages of friendship and acceptance were abound onstage throughout the festival as well, like when Mavis Staples quoted the The Staple Singers during her set saying, “Reach Out. Touch a Hand. Make a Friend” or when Florence Welch of Florence & the Machine paused her set to tell the audience to hold each other’s hands or to hug the person next to them. Stevie Wonder even concluded the festival with, “Let’s make love great again.” These were the core tenets of Grandoozy, and shining moments throughout the festival. All of the artists conveyed a strong message of unity in these divisive and difficult times

Overall, this is a festival living up to its namesake. It was grand, and it was a doozy. Its size and magnitude for a Colorado music festival are unparalleled and huge milestone for the community. Though it may be corporate owned, Grandoozy did a wonderful job of including local partners, vendors, and musicians in their fest, which is one reason so many felt right at home. Here at BolderBeat, we’re very thankful to have attended the first-ever Grandoozy and look forward to many years of doozyin’ to come.

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

-Taylor

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

Grandoozy's Second Day Was All About The Chill

The crowd at Snow Tha Product.

The crowd at Snow Tha Product.

Vibes were noticeably more chill yesterday at Grandoozys second day. Festivalgoers beat the heat in the Capital One Cardholder Lounge, in the shade under trees near the craft cocktail “Flight School,” and in tents near the “Arts & Crafts” area. An ice cold beer seemed to be on nearly everyone’s Day Two agenda, whether they sampled pours from spots like Elysian Brewing, Left Hand Brewing, or Breckenridge Brewing, or grabbed a Bud Light four-pack from the Bud Light “Dive Bar.”

Pours in the “Arts & Crafts” tent.

Pours in the “Arts & Crafts” tent.

Notable performances of the day included Snow Tha Product, Sturgill Simpson, Young the Giant, and of course, the show-stopping Florence and the Machine, who closed out the night under the stars with the evening’s large crescent moon seemingly floating above the stage. Her performance was magical with a live harpist, her powerful vocals, and her messages of self-love and consciousness for the crowd.

Unlike Friday, where festival attendees seemed more dressed for the heat and comfort, Saturday’s goers came in full costumes, lots of glitter, and fun festival fashion pieces. It was entertaining to see everyone expressing their creative clothing choices, and added to the day’s fun, yet laid-back vibes.  

Today, Stevie Wonder will close out the festival. Logic, St. Vincent, and The Chainsmokers will also be on deck. We’ll be exploring “The Break Room” and “The Backyard” at today’s fest, so come dance with us! Day passes for Grandoozy’s finale are still available here.  

Read more of our Grandoozy festival coverage here.

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

Why You Need Grandoozy's Official App to Maximize Your Festival Experience This Weekend

This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

This app is so exciting, everyone is doing it.

From the festival lineup to the food, Grandoozy just released an app with it all! If the countdown to this weekend’s first Denver Superfly fest isn’t enough to get you excited, learning the ins and outs of this app definitely will.

After your download Grandoozy’s app, customize your schedule and who you want to see under the “Lineup & Schedule” tab. You can set the alerts for your favorite artists so you don’t miss their sets when you’re off at Flight School or Arts + Crafts. You can even see how many people added a particular artist to their schedule and who the most popular artists are if you’re not sure who might be this year’s best kept secret.

Next, move to the “Map” tab and explore where the food, stages, merch and other events are located. In the “Eat, Drink & Explore” tab, you can further customize how you want to experience the festival and see all of this year’s local craft brewers, food trucks, and more!

Make sure to check out the “Go Backstage” tab once you get to the fest too. This gives you the opportunity to get an inside look at what’s happening backstage. There might be artist soundchecks, or just your favorite musicians hanging out.

Finally, make sure to set up Apple Pay! It will give you a secure alternative to bringing cash to the fest, and it makes life on the crowded fest grounds that much easier. Using it will allow you to order food ahead of time, avoid the lines, and enjoy more of the festival. You can seriously maximize every minute of your festi experience with the Grandoozy app!

Still need to grab your passes for the weekend? Do it on the official app or on the Grandoozy website! We’ll see you there.

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

Denver's Underground Music Showcase Hosting Pop-Up with Free Beer & Discounted Festival Passes This Weekend (07/13)

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Denver’s Underground Music Showcase is throwing a pop-up event this week in celebration of the upcoming festival. This Friday, July 13th at Black Buzzard, UMS bands Oxeye Daisy, in/Planes, and Tyto Alba will be rocking out to get you excited for the upcoming fest. The UMS is giving the first 100 people through the door a free Oskar Blues draft beer, which means you can choose a Dale’s Pale Ale, Pinner IPA, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub and G’Knight on the house!

We’ve already laid out for you several reasons why we’re so excited for this year’s UMS but if you missed that, check out The Underground, the multiple outdoor stages, and the festival’s plans for comedy, art, and more to be a part of this year’s weekend.

Festie time is just a couple of weeks away, July 27th-29th, and at the pop-up show this week, you can snag UMS tickets at discounted pricing with NO service fees. Get your party on this Friday the 13th by RSVPing to this UMS pop-up show here! RSVP is required for entry.

See you at the Buzzard soon!

The Top 10 Things to Do at Your Final Warped Tour

By: Nathan Sheppard

In it's last year as a touring festival, there is much to do at your last Van's Warped Tour.

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10. Download the Official Warped Tour App

Having the official WT app will keep you up to date on any news or announcements before and at the festival. The app also answers some of the most common questions that people have, from what you can bring to where you can meet your favorite bands. And most importantly, it lets you know which artists are playing at your Warped Tour date. Download it ASAP, and get yourself a portable power pack while you’re at it! You don’t want a dead phone right before that selfie with Mayday Parade.

9. Be Prepared

Warped Tour happens during the hottest time of the summer, so it's important to take care of yourself. This means staying hydrated! There are water stations on the fest grounds, so all you need to bring is a clear empty water bottle and you're golden. Make sure to check the weather before you head out too so you can have the sunscreen on hand. A bro tank sunburn never did anybody no good.

8. Make Friends

Warped Tour is basically a giant party full of people that like the same kinds of music as you do. It’s a place where you are free to express yourself and go a little bit wild without the fear of being judged. So branch out of your comfort zone and talk to someone new while you’re enjoying the festival! Your phone will still be there when the conversation is over.

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7. Check Out the Non-Profits

There are a wide variety of nonprofits traveling with the tour who do amazing work for their communities. From The American Red Cross to To Write Love On Her Arms, there is sure to be a non-profit that interests you. And who knows! Maybe you’ll end up volunteering with them after your Warped experience. Bonus: If you bring either three canned goods, a used cell phone, or a $5 cash donation for Feed Our Children NOW, you can get express entry to the fest. Check out the full list of non-profits here.  

6. Take a TEI Class

The Entertainment Institute (TEI) provides 40-minute backstage workshops with your favorite Warped Tour artists. Workshops can range from drum lessons to insights about the music industry. It’s a great way to see a different side of your favorite musicians and ask them all those burning questions you’ve had. Class sizes are limited, so get a ticket early! You can see which workshops are available here.

5. Get One Piece of Memorabilia

This is the last year of Warped Tour as we know it, which means its your last chance to snag some Warped Tour memorabilia. The first opportunities to grab yours are with the 2018 compilation CD and the collectible 3D souvenir tickets; on the day of your fest there will also be one or two merch tents with official Warped merchandise to peruse. Different organizations and record companies will be giving away free items as well, so keep an eye out!

4. Meet & Greets

Who doesn’t love meet & greets?! Every band will have their own merch tents set up throughout the festival day with a scheduled stop by time. This is a great way to meet some of your favorite band members and get something autographed or grab an infamous selfie.

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3. Discover At Least One New Band

Warped Tour is known for having a number of big name bands, but they also support many lesser known bands as well. Some bills even include local acts playing just your city’s fest. So while your waiting for your favorites on the main stage, make sure to check out the smaller stages like owly.fm Stage and Full Sail Stage. You might just find your new favorite band!

2. See Every Single One of Your Favorites

The final year of Warped is full of some of alt rock’s favorite bands, from icons like electronic duo 3OH!3 to Motionless In White for the metalheads so try and see as many of your favorites as possible! After all- THIS. IS. IT. Make sure you get to the fest early to find out set times on the classic inflatable board or snag a $2 paper schedule.

1. Have A BLAST

This is the last time we’ll be able to experience Warped Tour as we’ve known it for the past 25 years. Whether it is revamped somehow or changed to something completely different is yet to be seen, so it’s time to enjoy what’s left while we have the chance. Take it all in and experience all that Warped has to offer you. And as always, practice safe moshing and crowd surfing and take care of one another. Though it’s the end of an era, it could be the start of your relationship with a new friend or a new favorite band. Here’s to you Warped Tour!

-Nathan

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.


Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

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

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

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Brought Together Artists & Fans For Four Days Of Awesome

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s annual four day music festival The Underground Music Showcase rocked South Broadway last weekend. We crawled the strip, ate nothing but pizza, and almost refused to sleep in the name of good music. Here are some of our favorite things about this year’s festival:

The Bands

Of course we went to as many shows as possible and of course most of them really rocked our socks off. But here we’re going to be shameless and first tell you about the killer acts who played our packed official day party.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

BolderBeat & KGNU combined forces this year to bring you Brunch with a Beat at The UMS, which was five hours of sugar and synth by some of Colorado’s most promising electro acts.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Mirror Fears kicked things off with her industrial goth pop, Church Fire kept things movin’ with their Crystal Castles-esque electronic primal therapy, and DéCollage wrapped the front of The Irish Rover in Mylar and swept the stage with their avant-garde pop. Retrofette’s synth stylings followed, and created a massive dance party full of hip-shaking & flash tattoos. Whiskey Autumn’s indie synth pop closed the show; their unreleased track "Birds That Flew" had many whistling along to its chorus. And in between sets, DJ Erin Stereo crushed sweet beats. We gave away tickets to upcoming Future Islands and Thundercat shows, and we passed out donut lollipops, which many showgoers expressed they hoped were laced with weed (they were not kidz).

As for the rest of our UMS:

Anthony Ruptak.

Anthony Ruptak.

Our first official set at UMS 2017 was at Hi-Dive on Thursday with Anthony Ruptak, who started us off with amazing tunes from his new record Don’t Let It Kill You, and even streamed a Facebook live anti-Trump vid from the stage. Punk rock.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ghost Tapes were a funky, neo-soul standout at Skylark; frontwoman Ishka Phoenix had the crowd melting as she delivered tasty R&B sounds from her ice cream microphone.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Corsicana gave us tasty indie tunes while we nommed hard on an Illegal Pete’s burrito, which was the only non-pizza item we allowed ourselves for sustenance. The four-piece are playing a couple of big Colorado shows with Hippo Campus this month, so make sure to roll to those.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

OptycNerd describe themselves as “eclectro indie pop hop sexy time,” and well, we wish we’d written that ourselves. Their sexy time at Hi-Dive was enjoyed.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus brought her dark, operatic vocals to the main stage; Red Fang spouted the classic rock stoner jams they’re known for to a headbanging crowd.

What is cooler than wearing glow-in-the-dark face paint? Glow-in-the-dark guitar strings- DUH. Motion Trap had ‘em at their Rover set on Saturday, and they played their electro sonic disco tunes to a packed house that boogied with them from start to finish.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

All Chiefs kept us out of the rain at Hi-Dive with their indie rock vibes, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones kicked up some folky soul at Gary Lee’s Motorcycle Club, and GALLERIES played a heartfelt tribute show celebrating the life of late Denver music prodigy Kyle McQueen.

The Outfit.

The Outfit.

Rock’n’roll’s The Outfit played their final set ever at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday to a mosh-ready, beer-heavy crowd who were clearly sad to see them go.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

The Savage Blush had a killer psych rock-dripping set at the main stage, Slowcaves brought us chill wave surf rock sounds, and Dragondeer managed to blues rock us almost straight through a downpour, though they had to cut their set a bit short when the rain just about flash-flooded the festival parking lot in true Colorado fashion.

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

Brent Cowles revived a soaking crowd with “Cold Times” when the sun came back out, Esmé Patterson slayed her evening dream rock set with unreleased music and a touching tribute with Kitty Crimes to the late Tyler Despres, and Benjamin Booker crowd surfed his way right into Colorado’s heart, closing out the main stage of the festival Sunday evening.

The Booze

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Breckenridge Brewing was a main sponsor for The UMS this year and we sipped many an Avalanche by the main stage throughout the fest. Dewar’s had what felt like a tiny house made for drinking with free smells and scotch eggs. It was delicious and why you would have wasted your tongue on any other mixed drink in the hot sun and the pouring rain is beyond us.

The Bunny

Yeah. This one.

Yeah. This one.

Mixed Up Gifts’ pop up shop on South Broadway had some sweet merch for sale from Sacred Bones Records and a creepy night light if you’re in the market to wake up afraid of the dark only to find Jason lurking in your bathroom. But best of all was their bunny, who tried to coerce festival-goers into the shop while eerily reading children’s books through the window.

The Budz

No, not that kind you typical Denverite. Overall, we had a rad time at The UMS this year, and we highly encourage you to check out all the bands we mentioned, all the acts we live-interviewed with Zach Dahmen, and any of the performers on the local lineup in general. Because if there’s one thing we came away with after four days of music-hopping insanity, it was with community- from the performers themselves, to the UMS staff and volunteers, to the eager ticket holders bouncing from show to show hoping to find their next favorite band- Denver came out to support its own. Whether we were playing beach volleyball in the artist tent during a downpour or running from the main stage with our best budz to get back to Broadway for a set (those smarter ones took the Meow Wolf bus), this weekend really showcased you- the local music supporter. And for that, we and apparently Governor Hickenlooper, thank you.

Check out our full photo gallery from The UMS here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Chance The Rapper's Intern Opens Up About Working For His Favorite Rapper & How One Night at Red Rocks Changed Everything

Hospedales & Chance. 

Hospedales & Chance. 

You may recall a few months back when Chance The Rapper put out a request for an intern across his social media. Canada’s Nagele Hospedales got the gig after turning his resume into a website that went viral. Recently, Hospedales opened up about what life was like touring the globe with Chicago’s hometown hero. From arranging story time for the rapper with Dave Chappelle to coordinating Chance’s hoops sessions with Migos, Hospedales eventually writes,

“I can talk all I want about my run-ins with various celebrities including the ones I lived with for 2 months, or how a taste of the VIP lifestyle changed me, but the first moment that really left shivers down my spine was a slightly more natural one:
Night 2 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO.
The band intros happen nearly halfway thru the show, and after the ovation for ‘Mr. Nico Segal’, ”Sunday Candy” begins. Suddenly, it was if the heavens literally opened up for a second; right as the vocalists harmonized the lines “Come on in this house, cause it’s gonna rain, Rain down Zion, it’s gonna rain”, the most peaceful light mist fell from the sky until the end of the song and as suddenly as they started, ceased. Something about that moment made me realize that I, or rather we, were doing something right, enough so to please our God & Mother Nature & the sky themselves.”

A life defining moment had at Red Rocks? We get you Hospedales.

Read Hospey's full adventures as Chance’s intern here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Taught By Members of The Flaming Lips, The So Help Me's Are Existential Rock For Your Soul

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Taught by members of The Flaming Lips and best budz with Denver’s Tyto Alba, Oklahoma City’s The So Help Me’s are rolling through Denver this weekend for a performance at The Underground Music Showcase. Slated for a 2PM set Saturday, July 29th at the Hi-Dive, this neo western shoegaze five-piece plan to shower you with plenty of dream pop and existential rock tunes. We recently chatted with the crew to talk about their trek here and all things summer. Read on:

We noticed you came together in 2014 at the Flaming Lips’ Academy of Contemporary Music in OKC. Talk to us about that experience.

John, our guitarist and main songwriter, was studying music education and jazz at the University of Central Oklahoma, along with three of our other members. We wanted to step out and start writing our own music, and The So Help Me’s really developed in garages and living rooms between college orchestra and jazz ensemble rehearsals. In these spaces, we felt free to write weird music and explore sounds and compositions in a way we couldn't in our school ensembles.  

When John transferred to the Academy of Contemporary Music for music business, we were just starting to establish ourselves as a band, and the school welcomed us with open arms. It was really crazy to learn from members of the Lips. We look up to them a lot and it’s an amazing opportunity to get to learn from a band we grew up listening to and really love. It’s almost impossible for me to see our band without the school. It’s a really tight group of world-class musicians and artists there, and everyone’s pushing for each other. There’s a beautiful thing happening in OKC.

The So Help Me's.

The So Help Me's.

Since your inception, you’ve released an EP, 'Relativity' (2016). What are your plans for future recording/releases?

We are putting out a single in the next month, as well as finishing an EP. We’re also in pre-production on a full-length album slated for release at the end of the year.

Listen to The So Help Me's Relativity:

We noticed you’ve had a couple of festival spots this summer. Tell us about those!

This year’s spring festival season in Oklahoma was bananas. We normally play 3-5 festivals in the spring, and this year we were rained out of three in a row because the weather in Oklahoma sucks. At one of the festivals we did play, some dude wandered onstage menacingly and looked like he was going to stab our singer Sophia. This dude got escorted off the stage by security and we were not even halfway through our set.

Whoa. What should Denver know about the OKC music scene?

OKC had a big influx of money due to Thunder basketball and some people are saying the city is going through a sort of renaissance. This being said, it still seems pretty evident to bands that you can't sustain a career in OKC. We know a lot of bands who have relocated, or focus a lot of their time and efforts on touring out of state, and it’s hard to blame them. Even the Lips only play in OKC once every five years or so.

We know you’re friends with Denver’s Tyto Alba- how’d you meet?

I think Tyto Alba were touring through to SXSW and we ended up being booked to play with them twice in one week somehow. They have this huge wall of sound guitar tone that blew us away. We hit it off immediately and became close friends- since then we've played several shows with them in Denver and had them out to OKC.  Our personalities vibe well, and we all share a really intense passion for guitar pedals and making music.

Cool. We’re excited you’re playing Denver’s The UMS! What are you most looking forward to about the festival?

We’re most looking forward to the weather not being a hundred billion degrees like it is in July in OKC. We’re excited to see Tyto Alba, Male Blonding, and The Velveteers play specifically, and we all plan on seeing as much music as possible. Huge festivals like this are amazing because you can walk a few blocks and see different genres and different bands everywhere you look. It’s a beautiful thing to have that many people together who share a common love for playing and listening to music.

Anything else in store for The So Help Me’s in 2017?

We plan on touring regionally several times in the middle of recording our album, and we have shows and festivals booked through at least November, so we’re definitely charging ahead full force.

Make sure to check out The So Help Me’s at The UMS this Saturday- tickets here. Keep up with The So Help Me’s on their website.

-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.

Denver's Project Pabst 2017: Ice Cube, Phantogram, Unicorns, & Plenty of PBR

By: Sierra Voss & Hannah Oreskovich

Project Pabst Denver 2017 rolled into town this past weekend for a full day of music and PBR-fueled fun. The RiNo District was alive with the sound of music, lots of people in red, white, and blue Pabst regalia, and a giant unicorn stood in mighty glory at the heart of it all. Festival-goers held PBRs in hand for a full day of music as they strolled the streets for good times and stopped by the two outdoor main stages and the local venues on the block, including Larimer Lounge, Meadowlark (which hosted shows in the kitchen and bar areas), Cold Crush, and Nocturne.

The beer started flowing when the festival gates opened around 1PM as Project Pabst-goers meandered around and gathered near the Laser Horse Stage to catch the first band of the day, Chicago’s Twin Peaks. These boys were a rowdy, rockin’ start to kick off festmode. Headbanging and epic guitar jumps were commonplace throughout their set. Needless to say, the TP dudes started the fest off with killer energy.

Deap Vally. Photo Credit:  Sierra Voss

Deap Vally. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Deap Vally were the next touring act to take an outdoor stage over at the Captain Pabst Stage on the opposite side of the festival grounds. The rock’n’roll lady duo christened listeners with deep guitar cuts and barefoot, drum-stomping beats. They had the crowd foot-stomping along to hits like “End of The World” and at one point gave a shout-out to Denver’s The Velveteers, who toured Europe with them at the end of last year.  

Montoneros. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Montoneros. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The next touring act was supposed to be Chicago’s Noname, who played Denver’s Lost Lake not too long ago. Unfortunately for festheads, she actually pulled out of the show last-minute (and several other tour dates). She was replaced with Denver’s math rock outfit Montoneros, who stirred the crowd with their post-punk sounds and kept the afternoon grooving on.

Surfing space with STRFKR. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Surfing space with STRFKR. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

STRFKR took things up a notch mid-day when they unleashed astronaut dancers who crowdsurfed on inflatables and launched confetti into the crowd. By this point in the afternoon, RiNo was abuzz as the crowd continued to grow and fill in the festival streets. Festivalists stopped at the food truck circle near the Captain Pabst Stage for eats, checked out artwork by Denver’s So Gnar, and explored local acts like All Chiefs, Dave Devine Quartet, Kinky Fingers, Other Black, and Whole Milk.

DB. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

DB. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Outside, Danny Brown took the energy STRFKR unleashed and ran with it. His set was straight fire as he jumped around the stage and stopped mid-phrase to let the audience prove their fandom by filling in the missing words to his tunes. Like his music, Brown’s entire energy was playful and unpredictable, which kept the audience awaiting his every move.  

Kurt Vile. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Kurt Vile. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Kurt Vile slowed things down as the sun started to dip lower into that late-afternoon warmness outdoors. His incredible and unhurried songwriting skills allowed for a much needed break in the day before the shenanigans of the night took over. He kept the crowd smiling with quick quips and played tunes across his catalogue, including his well known “Pretty Pimpin,’” announcing before he started the song’s iconic guitar line, “I’m going to play you my favorite song.”

Phantogram. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Phantogram. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Vile’s set was followed by Phantogram’s sunset show on the Laser Horse stage. By this time, the streets were packed to the brim with showgoers. Phantogram, as per usual, gave their audience an amazing performance with sweet beats, synth sounds, and their duality of strong vocals.

Ice Cube. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Ice Cube. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Ice Cube closed the outdoor part of the festival, opening his set with a mashup of several N.W.A. hits. Shortly thereafter, he yelled, “F*ck this show!” and ran offstage, to which his hypeman announced, “If you paid too much money for Ice Cube to play three songs and leave the show, say this with me, ‘F*ck you Ice Cube!’” It wasn’t long before the crowd began this chant, which Ice Cube apparently loved, as he re-entered with a smile and proceeded to run around the stage crushing his catalogue. At one point, a giant painting of Ice Cube was passed from the back of the crowd to the front, where fans held it up and continued to cheer throughout his set. From the crowded barriers that made it nearly impossible to exit the photo pit to the thousands of fans singing along every word to “Straight Outta Compton,” one thing was clear: Denver loves the Cube.

After Ice, the outdoor stages of Project Pabst closed for the night, and festival-goers packed the block’s local venues for continued sets by Dirty Few, Dragondeer, and Flaural, with Colfax Speed Queen closing out the entire festival.

Denver loves yah PBR. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Denver loves yah PBR. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

At the end of the night, festival attendees left with unicorn koozies in hand, bellies full of tasty food truck eats, and memories of rad musical performances. Missed this year’s Pabst Project Denver? It never too early to start planning for next year Colorado…

-Sierra & Hannah

All photos per the authors. Gallery One per Sierra Voss. Gallery Two per Hannah Oreskovich. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.