Denver's Underground Music Showcase Proves It's Once Again Unlike Anything Else in Denver

By: Adrienne Thomas 

Denver’s Underground Music Showcase truly is the highlight of the year for many local music lovers, and this year was no exception. As far as multi-venue festivals go, UMS is a well executed one, and was a smooth experience for concertgoers. The “official” UMS venues spanned about 7 blocks down South Broadway, and included 3 separate outdoor stage areas. Most venues had their own vibe, like the punk and modular synth daytime-dark shows at the Hi-Dive, late-night crooner showcases at Skylark Lounge, house and techno dance parties at the 303 Magazine “Green Rom” below 3 Kings Tavern, and the intimate singer/songwriter serenades at South Broadway Christian Church. Simply put, there was always a place to go for everyone, with plenty of food trucks and friends to run into along the way. The heat, once accepted, couldn't hinder the excitement of seeing dozens of local gems and national touring favorites. 

Some of our UMS 2019 local highlights included Anthony Ruptak, Maya Bennett, and Kiltro, who drew devoted fans out in large crowds. Claire Heywood sang to us in church, Pout House jammed out at the Hi-Dive, and Ramakhandra and Emma Mayes & The Hip gave all their energy to a packed 3 Kings Tavern crowd. Favorite touring acts included Earthgang, who included the new J. Cole collab “Dreamville” in their set and even brought crowd members on stage for a very real dance-off. The latin rhythms and energy of Y La Bamba and Chicano Batman also made for a great time, and LA-based soul duo Annabelle Maginnis smiled in a furry two-piece through a killer R&B, upbeat soul set. Still, while the national touring acts may help sell tickets, we all know it’s the local artists who make the UMS something special. There’s no Colorado festival quite like the UMS, so here’s ‘til next year!

See more photos from UMS 2019 here.

-Adrienne

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

Kyle Emerson's New "I Can Change" Video Combines the Desert’s Psychedelic Mystique with Slick Indie-Folk Flare

By: Julia Talen

Currently featured as one of Indie 102.3 FM’s Local 303 Artists, indie rocker Kyle Emerson has been building anticipation of his sophomore album, Only Coming Down, out this fall. He dropped his first single from the forthcoming album, “May You Find Peace,” earlier this year. His second single was just released with a stop-motion collaged music video for the song “I Can Change.” Emerson says that the tune was, “written very quickly and demoed acoustically shortly after. Not overthinking the lyrics and letting them be more on the raw, personal side of the spectrum felt like the only place to exist lyrically… and it influenced the direction of the album from there.

The track feels very personal, and the music video alludes to that rawness while also being playful with a hodgepodge of colorful imagery that adds to the story behind this captivating piece. The video opens with a woman lying down facing a window of a moving van, as viewers look over her shoulder and see the van passing from the city to the suburbs to the sea and eventually to space, as the window frame melts away. Dawn breaks, and a grizzly head rises over a mountain like the sun as Emerson begins to sing, presumably connecting Emerson to this grizzly face. 

The lyrics offer a plea, seemingly to the girl in the van, that the protagonist of the song can change his partying ways, but as the music video evolves, we see less of that girl and more of a grizzly bear-headed man playing music. As the collaged video evolves and ebbs with cut-out butterflies swooping over backdrops and colorful layers that shift like a kaleidoscope, listeners realize this song has transformed into a plea no longer to the girl, but to the protagonist’s own self that he can change. 

Kyle Emerson.

Kyle Emerson.

The refrain swells at the same time the viewer sees the words “I Can Change” in white, bold font scroll over the vibrant background like film credits, while voices harmonize and instruments explode. Emerson cries the lyrics, “I can change/ I can change/ I can change.” He continues singing, “I’ll just hit the highway/and start all over again,” when the van from the beginning appears and drives through the forest, the mountains, San Francisco and Joshua Tree. As demons symbolized by images of fire, bats, caves and booze continue to follow the grizzly-headed character, there is a heightening of tension between adventure, nature, escapism, and haunting thoughts- all the themes of this memorable song.

Given Emerson’s success with his first album, Dorothy Alice, it’s no surprise that this local artist continues to create music rich with elements of the desert’s psychedelic mystique welded with his own slick indie-folk flare. Check out Emerson play this tune and others as he performs on the Main Stage at the Uundergound Music Showcase this Sunday, July 28th at 3:20PM.

-Julia

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

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.

Westword Music Showcase's 25th Anniversary Brought Together Artists, Friends & Powerful Frontwomen

By: Taylor Naiman

On Saturday, the Westword Music Showcase overtook the streets of Denver’s Golden Triangle. Though it was a 97-degree day with the sun overhead at all times, everyone had a beer in hand and seemed to be unbothered by the heat. People were happy and excited just to hear some brand new music from local and national artists alike. From the bars to the clubs, there were plenty of venues along Broadway and Lincoln Street to escape the heat while enjoying some good tunes. Rather than occupying a bunch of stages outside, Westword Music Showcase nurtures local businesses, with a majority of the sets taking place at various bars and clubs including Bar Standard, Stoney’s, 100% De Agave, Mirus Gallery, #VYBE, Club Vinyl and The Church. This amalgamation of local businesses and bands allowed people to discover new venues, new music, and new people along the way.

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Bishop Briggs. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this one-day music festival is a staple of the Denver community. It has been a successful launch-pad for many local artists over the years, including the likes of DeVotchKa and 3OH!3. This year, we caught some big-name acts such as Jai Wolf, Bishop Briggs, Yasi and CHVRCHES, among others on the main stages. Bishop Briggs was a fan-favorite, with her powerhouse voice and contagious smile. The last time she was in Denver was for her set at the now defunct Grandoozy. At Westword, Briggs was loving every minute of her Mile High set, running from one end of the stage to the next, unphased by the altitude or the heat. The audience was treated to some of her new music, while also hearing  the entirety of her Church of Scars album. 

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

CHRVCHES. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Denver Westword’s Music Showcase presents an essential platform for artists to share their craft and tell their story. Music delivers a message and over the day, we heard a lot of stories Denver’s local rock’n’roll band Los Mocochetes used their music to address today’s political issues, such as immigration. At the end of their set, they told us, “Dance is a form of prayer.” We definitely love our music out here in Colorado, and it was a blast to see the differing forms of expression coming from the artists and concert-goers.

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Westword Music Showcase is all about supporting the local scene, and thrives on the concept of concert-goers discovering the unknown or what may be an undiscovered talent. The Showcase this year was jam-packed with a culmination of genres curated for diverse tastes. Throughout the day, it was nice walking the grounds, running into friends having a drink together. This fest is a “squad up and see that new band you have not heard of” type of event. It thrives on the idea to not listen to one type of genre, but rather to branch out and hear a new voice. The beauty of this Showcase is that you will, without a doubt, discover a new musician or band to follow on Spotify

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

The Velveteers. Photo Credit: Adrienne Thomas

Whether rocking out to Cheap Perfume or The Velveteers, it was a breath of fresh air seeing Colorado frontwomen take charge and own the stage. The festival also featured a number of strong national female acts, including Lauren Eve Mayberry, the lead singer of CHVRCHES, and aforementioned Bishop Briggs.

If you didn’t get the chance to go to Westword Music Showcase this year, listen to their festival playlist here! We’re already looking forward to Westword’s 2020 announcement. 

See more photos from this festival here.

-Taylor 

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

Color Red Studios Releases Dragondeer's Latest Digital 45 Record

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Denver’s own Southern-funk disco-blues band Dragondeer dropped a digital 45 earlier this month with two tracks featuring bassist Jeff Franca from Thievery Corporation and guitarist Jordan Lint from Analog Son. The band dove into deep sonic territories during their Color Red Studios session. Color Red is a Denver-based record label and music hub for local and visiting artists to collaborate and create music together. Self-proclaimed to be “more than just a record label, Color Red is; a music scene, a curated artist group, a media outlet, a studio, a genre-fluid music platform, a global launch pad of ideas.”

From the Color Red sessions, Dragondeer’s two new tracks are a true testament to the above statement. “Mirage Á Trois” has a cool-cat sexy vibe that grooves, but listen closer and you’ll hear it’s really talking about the delusional traps one’s own mind can create, you know, the me, myself, and I kind of mind tricks that suck you in and leave you wandering in an illusion. “Max Patch,” a more upbeat, carefree funk groove, is a jam session among the bandmates during their stay at a mountain cabin on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Equal parts soul and rock’n’roll, the lyrics speak to the easy vibes of sipping on moonshine and jamming with family and friends while fluffy white clouds pass above a Smoky Mountains cabin. The boys sure did paint quite the scene and ambiance with these two tracks.

Dragondeer has played with the likes of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Shakey Graves, and Drive By Truckers; they’ve been at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival; and now the band is hitting the road for a summer tour. They will be making appearances at the Firefly Music Festival and Electric Forest (with The String Cheese Incident). Click here for Dragondeer’s full tour dates.

-Mirna

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

Spread the Word Festival Takes Over Denver this Weekend for Its Biggest Year Yet

By: Will Baumgartner

A testament to the vision, drive, persistence and commitment to musical community of its founder and mainstay Alex MacKenzie-Low, Spread the Word Festival (StW) returns to Denver this weekend with an absolutely explosive lineup at top venues Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, Levitt Pavilion, and the Denver Coliseum. Now in its seventh year, Spread the Word has grown from its rather humble beginnings to an unstoppable force, bringing international superstars like Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and BoomBox to head up another powerhouse lineup of local luminaries including Analog Son, Gasoline Lollipops, TNERTLE, Juno What, Magic Beans, Rob Drabkin, and Mackenzie-Low’s own fantastic band A-Mac & The Height. Colorado up-and-comers like The Reminders, Graham Good & The Painters, Eldren, Jaden Carlson Band, Mama Magnolia, Morsel, Dog City Disco, Float Like A Buffalo, Zagriculture and more will join as well.

Alex Mackenzie-Low.

Alex Mackenzie-Low.

It’s hard enough to keep moving forward and upward in the music business as a bandleader: to add the tremendous responsibility and challenges of putting on a festival, do it year after year and keep it growing, seems almost superhuman. As a member and avid supporter of the Front Range music scene, I’ve watched with considerable awe and respect as Alex has struggled with challenges and disappointments, and still managed to persevere. This year’s Spread the Word looks like a substantial breakthrough, so I was happy to sit down with him and get some insight into the process and rewards.

How did StW get started?

I started it in 2013 because I was really into Denver's music scene and enjoyed promoting shows. I loved the layout of the old Quixote’s on 23rd & Lawrence and got comfortable incorporating all three stages in a single event. From there I decided to launch the first Spread the Word Fest at Quixote’s True Blue on 13th Street in April 2013.

That was [also] the year I graduated UCD with a bachelor's in music business so putting on the festival was also my way of launching out of the college world into the music industry. My old band Green River Vibe had just released an album called 'Spread The Word' and I thought it made a lot of sense for the grassroots Colorado-centric festival I was envisioning.

Had you put on festivals before starting StW, or was this your first?

Aside from the aforementioned mini-festivals, StW Fest is the only festival I put on. This is the 7th year of StW Fest and I'm 27 so I've been working on it the majority of my career in the music industry.

StW has consistently grown over the years, from being comprised entirely of local bands with moderate regional recognition playing in small venues, to the nationally and internationally known headliners and top regional acts in huge local concert destinations like the Denver Coliseum and Levitt Pavilion. How did you get from there to here?

Honestly it mainly comes down to putting in a ton of hard work year after year and making the right connections and keeping relationships strong. I try to keep respect and integrity with everyone I work with and believe it all comes back around when talented people work together. I definitely feel blessed to be working with the team we have this year.

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 What acts are you most excited about at this year’s festival?

 Wookiefoot is my favorite band, so that is an honor, especially with Mike Love. BoomBox headlining the main stage after The Werks will be epic, as well as round two of Spread the Word Family Band. Last year's family band was a treat and this year's super group features members of SunSquabi, String Cheese Incident, Thievery Corporation and Pretty Lights Live Band. Karl Denson to end the weekend will be the perfect finale. Stoked!

What advice would you give to fledgling impresarios trying to put their own festivals together? 

Believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it first and foremost. More practically speaking, find an investor. It’s not cheap and it’s a very risky business. Once you have the funding, vision, location, team, plenty advance notice and the drive to see it through… give it a shot!

A-Mac and The Height.

A-Mac and The Height.

You also lead one of the best bands in the Denver area, A-Mac and The Height. Isn’t it a tremendous amount of work to run your band and a festival of this magnitude? How do you balance the two?

It’s very hard. My free time from January to May is extremely limited. I also book the shows at Moe's BBQ, which is my main day job, so it’s definitely a balancing act. A-Mac & The Height is building our management/booking team, and the team supporting StW Fest has grown which helps. Either way, it’s a labor of love which pushes through all the long days.

The proof that MacKenzie-Low’s labor of love has yielded some spectacular fruit, as the old saying goes, is in the pudding. Get out at and taste it this Friday through Sunday May 17th-19th. Tickets and more info available here.

-Will

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

A Fireside Chat with The Beeves on Their Debut Record & More

From left to right: Dahmen, Laffin, Ehrheart & Sease. Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

From left to right: Dahmen, Laffin, Ehrheart & Sease. Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

Since the first installment of “Zach and Pete’s Fireside Chats” went to print a few months back, Zach Dahmen and I had both been itching to get local rock dynamos The Beeves over for a night of campfire, bourbon, and forthright conversation. Coming off the heels of their raw, raucous, and renowned self-titled debut EP, the trio is in the process of rolling out its new full-length record, Adam and Beeve in the runup to their release show on May 17th at The Fox Theatre. We were especially stoked to host them at this poignant moment (with members Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease) in our backyard. Also joining us for the evening to take photos was local creative guru Courtney Farrell. The following is a transcript of what went down:

PL: So what’s a Beeve?

IE: Well, technically, a Beeve is just, you know, a Beeve. Slang for vagina.

MS: No, that’s a beaver.

IE: Yes, and beeves is the plural of beeve, meaning one beeve.

ZD: How did you come to this name?

MS: My understanding is that we took this dictionary down to my mom’s basement...

IE: It was a bible.

MS: No, it was a dictionary. I have the dictionary. And we decided the one word we hit was going to be the name of the band, and we had to stick with it. And we did it like three times.

IE: Really? I don’t remember that.

MS: Yeah, because we got, like, “crack.”

IE: It doesn’t say crack in the bible.

MS: That’s because it wasn’t a bible. And we did it again and it was another ridiculous word. And then we hit “beeves,” which was plural for beef, and we were like, oh, that’s actually pretty cool. So we used it the next day for our volleyball team in middle school.

PL: This goes back to middle school?

MS: This was like seventh grade.

IE: This was just after our band The Purple Zebras.

MS: We were going to be The Sun Kissed Nips.

PL: I think you guys made the right call.

MS: So that’s my interpretation of when we got the name. But Ian seems to think we found it in a bible?

IE: We did! It’s in Leviticus. But that wasn’t it. When we actually came up with The Beeves we were looking into a fire quite like this, and in the fire, when we were peeing in it together to put it out, and when the smoke cleared, the red hot embers spelled out “Beeves.”

ZD: So the story here is, they refuse to give us the real story.

MS: Ian and I did go to bible camp together. And we had to stay with the priest the whole time. All of the other kids got to sleep in their own dorms, but we had to stay with the priest and talk to him and confess things.

IE: One time I confessed to touching myself unlawfully.

PL: And I hope you said it just like that.

MS: The only reason I think Ian’s story might be somewhat true is because we were in the religious ed class together.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

ZD: How long have you guys been in a band together?

MS: Ian and I have been playing together since sixth grade.

IE: We’ve known each other since elementary school.

MS: I didn’t really like Ian then.

IE: We never got to be friends until sixth grade, when I learned he had a guitar, and we both played guitar. We were in a rivalry until then.

MS: I never liked Ian throughout elementary school because he was really good at sports. And all the girls liked him.

IE: I had the right hair. The swoop.

ZD: You had the Bieber swoop?

IE: It was just at the right time. But then we realized we had guitars and we hung out, and we did it every single day after school. And then we formed The Purple Zebras.

ZD: So when did the third member join?

MS: We had a couple drummers before Will [Erhart]. But he was always part of the picture.

IE: We had some guy who wanted to record us one time when we were in seventh grade and Will did the drums… this creepy guy in Erie who lived in a trailer and just sat there and chain smoked next to us the whole time.

MS: We recorded an AC/DC cover.

PL: When did you know that you wanted to do this seriously?

MS: We always knew we’d do this. We’ve stuck to the same mentality since seventh grade.

IE: We were writing lyrics together in math class.

MS: It’s all we wanted to do.

IE: The first show we did was an open mic in Louisville.

MS: We did our own punk rock version version of “Wagon Wheel.”

IE: Pete, cut that part out.

PL: I talked to your father after your last Fox show, when you guys packed the place, and he was all teared up and he told me this story about how you [Ian] got tossed out of the Fox when you were in early high school.

IE: That’s why we’re doing the release at the Fox. That was where we first saw live music and the potential of what we could do.

MS: The first concert we ever went to by ourselves was at the Fox. We took the bus to the Boulder and we just kind of knew that the Fox was on The Hill. We didn’t even know where it was.

IE: We didn’t even have a ticket because we didn’t know we had to buy tickets to shows. So we just went up to the box office and we were like, “Hi, we’re here for the show.”

MS: We went up to the front, hands on the stage, watching the show.

IE: We told ourselves, “We are going to play on this stage someday.”

MS: That’s why we used to play on Pearl Street. We thought someone from the Fox would like, willy nilly, walk by and ask us to open up at the Fox someday.

IE: We were more lucrative [busking] on Pearl Street than anywhere.

MS: One day we made like $350 and a pack of cigarettes and a condom. But let’s get back to that show Ian got kicked out of. That was at The Expendables. It got a bit rowdy and we’d never crowd surfed before. And Ian was dead set on crowd surfing. So he got up on the stage and fell backwards, and they pushed him back up on the stage.

IE: And then I ran into the bouncer.

MS: And the bouncer immediately throws him out, and I’m like this eighth grader standing there alone.

IE: And from my point of view, somebody just grabbed me and literally pushed me as hard to the curb as they could. And I was like, “What’s happening right now? Is this part of the show?”

ZD: So you definitely weren’t drinking there?

IE: We didn’t even know what alcohol was.

ZD: So this is just sober Ian being pretty extra?

MS: And then we were trying to re-stamp my hand outside on your hand…

The Beeves’ Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease. Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

The Beeves’ Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease. Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

PL: Let’s talk about the studio recordings. The first one was super lo-fi, and you pretty much did it yourselves.

IE: Oliver from Slow Caves recorded us because we didn’t know shit about microphones or recording. He just loved the songs and really wanted to help us out.

PL: I fucking love that album. But you never play those songs anymore.

MS: Well we kind of got labelled as a “ska” band and that kind of turned us off to a bit, because we never saw ourselves as that.

ZD: You don’t even have any horns.

MS: But we got labelled as a ska band! Fuck!

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

PL: Who is the best musician in the group? The easiest one in the studio?

IE: Matthew is the best musician and is the best at his instrument.

PL: Who do you rally around in the studio?

IE: It’s equal.

MS: It’s interesting to see when Will chimes in because his input his valuable. Because Ian and I are always butting heads and trying to come up with an answer.

IE: Will has become such a good drummer. At this point he knows probably the most about music. I’ve always been the one who doesn’t know shit but has big ideas. Matthew can usually flatten that out and make something out of it with his bass lines.

ZD: It sounds like elements of conflict are part of your process.

IE: It’s all about compromise. Which is valuable, even though it’s hard.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

MS: I think you and I after all these years trust each other’s instincts.

PL: Are you guys going to be together in five years?

MS: Yes.

IE: Oh, yeah. Undeniably.

MS: With all sincerity.

ZD: That’s the right answer. They say if you know someone for seven years, you’ll know them the rest of your lives. You guys kind of have a brotherhood at this point.

IE: It is like that.

MS: Ian is the most important person in my life.

PL: So Nate Cook. Let’s hear it. He’s lifting you guys up quite a bit the past year or so.

MS: He’s just a tornado of creative destruction.

IE: He pushed us in a different direction. We were so surprised he even wanted to do this. I was the biggest fucking Yawpers fan in the whole world. When they asked us to open for their album release show, I was like, “Oh my god…”

PL: In a sentence or two, what has the experience of working with him been like?

MS: He put us on a platform and he didn’t stand for any bullshit in the studio. He just kept pushing us and pushing us until we broke.

ZD: That sounds really intense.

IE: For me, it was every single song. Anyway anything I did was fucking terrible.

MS: It was terrifying to perform for someone like that who we’d idolized like that. But he had a respect for us. We played raw like him. We weren’t musicians who were trained theoretically.

ZD: So this album must have a lot of spontaneity.

MS: It was only five days of recording, and we had ten tracks. Some of the songs weren’t completed when we went into the studio.

IE: I lied to him and told him we had enough songs to record an album. I was going upstairs from the studio in between when I had to play and writing lyrics.

MS: Part of the beauty of the album was that it wasn’t put together before we went to the studio. We had to write it in those five days.

Photo Credit:  Courtney Farrell

Photo Credit: Courtney Farrell

IE: Every day we had to get a certain amount done, so we just did it.

PL: What does this release mean to you?

IE: It means moving on. Letting shit go, and getting onto the next thing. I’m so fucking over it.

ZD: What are you proud of about it?

IE: I think it’s going to be a base for us. I think these songs are good.

MS: I agree. When I look at is as a whole, I think it’s a full entity, ten full songs, and I’m proud at how much we put into that and how hard we pushed each other. We’d never been put under that kind of stress before. I think I’m a bit more proud of it than Ian in that way. I’m proud of what I did in the studio.

PL: That’s refreshing to hear. The default answer when you ask a musician is that they could have done better. But for the most part, people are proud of what they make. It’s nice to hear someone say it.

MS: I really want people to listen to the album. Sit down and listen to all ten tracks. And then actually give us the time of day. Half the time we are trying to get people to just take us seriously because we’re so fucking young. But we’ve been doing this for a long time. It shouldn’t matter anyway. If you care about what you’re doing and care about this art, and you really value the music, it doesn’t matter how old you are.

The Beeves self-titled debut record drops everywhere this Friday, May 17th. Catch them at The Fox Theatre the same night. Tickets here.

-Pete

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 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!

FreeMusicForFreePeople Is Throwing an Immersive Event at Denver's Mercury Cafe This Weekend

This Saturday April 13th at Denver’s Mercury Cafe is the FreeMusicForFreePeople (FM4FP) Showcase “Live from the Multi-Verse,” an interactive multi-art experience to celebrate community. FM4FP is a community and media organization that has been serving the Denver area since 2013 who formerly held a residency at Gypsy House Cafe. This year’s event is thrilled to have a home at Mercury.

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With an emphasis on synesthesia, the FM4FP Showcase will focus on an immersive theatrical storyline to engage and entertain the audience with music, circus art, dance, visual art and poetry.   The event is in partnership with Youth on Record’s FEMpowered program and participants have been offered an event internship opportunity at the showcase so they can develop their performance and event planning skills.

Starting at 7PM, the night will feature performances by Lady Gang, Reed Fox, Definitely Maybe, Twin Flame Medicine, Random Temple, Smiley Gatmouth, Sunflower duBois, Circus Performers (Dani Rose and Katie Nadal), Abby Moon & Crescent Dance Project, Nimbus, Bun Bun and FEMpowered Interns. MO SPKX, “2017 Westword MasterMind” and “2018 Westword Best Solo Rapper” will emcee the evening.

Find more information on FM4FP and their mission click here; learn more about Saturday’s event at this link.  

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

Synesthesia Is Throwing a Fiercely Feline Inspired Art Party at Spectra Art Space This Saturday

This Saturday, March 16th is Spectra Art Space's closing party for their cat-themed show called "And Meow This: The Tail End.” Synesthesia, the team behind our favorite Pink Party, is curating the evening. The night will feature work from a multitude of mediums by 30+ artists and musical appearances by Funk Hunk, Retrofette (DJ Set), and DLZMKSBTS.

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The Strange American's "Till You're Told" Music Video Is Symbolic Of The Musician's Journey

By: Sam Piscitelli

As a musician, whether you’re a solo artist or in a band, there is this acknowledgement that comes with garnering a certain amount of fans or receiving positive praise. It’s as though you are no longer a lone act playing your songs in your bedroom; instead you seem to be a well-known somebody. From there, all seems like it will move upwards rather than careening into a haze of obscurity. But, what people don’t know is the long-haul you’ve placed yourself in; the countless times you  practice your craft, the stomach-turning preparation of every interview or review of you and your art, and the unnerving fear that as quickly as your dreams were made, they can just as easily disappear. In their music video for “Till You’re Told” the Strange Americans symbolically covers the landscape of the music business while also relying on the talent that brought them their success.

The video begins with each band member on their own, forging their individual paths. They all carry one item with them, the items being symbolic of who the band is when they come together. The symbolism in the music video is very subjective, but to me each item plays off one another. For example; the lantern is for the fire the band has inside of themselves, the sticks are the framework of the band, the amp is the way in which they express themselves through music, the shovel is about burying the past, and the suitcase is for the accomplished dreams they wish to carry with them one day. With their now unified front, the Strange Americans then begin to traverse the land together. To me, this shows that while they are further than they’ve ever been before, they’re still on the journey. It’s a music video that reflects upon anyone’s time in the music industry. You can walk for miles with the passions you have, the items you bring along for the ride and create as much as you want, but nothing is certain.

While the symbolism can- and mostly likely will be debated- we can’t ignore how this video catches the heart of the struggling musician. It’s a message that no matter how much you go through from the very beginning till the end of your make or break career, that nothing will be set in stone, especially your reputation “Till You’re Told” otherwise. In a business that is continuously changing, the only thing you can be sure of is the work you put out into the world. Once it’s out there, it represents you and that’s what matters. For a video that has a lot of hidden meanings, it’s untold truth is undeniable.

Keep up with the Strange Americans here.

-Sam

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

Denver's Foxxes Are Starting the Right Kind of Fires

By: Sam Piscitelli

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

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

Foxxes.

Foxxes.

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

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

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

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

Keep up with Foxxes here.

-Sam

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

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

By: Moriel O’Connor

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

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

The Gaia Experiment.

The Gaia Experiment.

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

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

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

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

-Moriel

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

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

By: Sam Piscitelli

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

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

Knuckle Pups.

Knuckle Pups.

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

-Sam

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

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

By: Cy Fontenot

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

In the first set they teased the palindrome idea with:

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Salt Creek”

“Take the Money and Run”

“Boo Boo’s Pikanic”

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

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

“Sand Dollar”

“Revival”

“Colorado Bluebird Sky”

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

“Close Your Eyes”

“Black Clouds”

“Jellyfish”

“Round the Wheel”

“Texas”

“Land’s End”

“Texas”

“Round the Wheel”

“Jellyfish”

“Black Clouds”

“Close Your Eyes”

The String Cheese Incident.

The String Cheese Incident.

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

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

-Cy

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

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.

Five Reasons to Ring in the New Year with Denver's Decadence

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The new year is quickly approaching, which means countless concert options for Colorodans on the 30th and 31st. One that continues to stand out is the two-night, multi-stage electronic music festival Decadence, and for good reason. Read below to see how Decadence never fails to bring EDM fans in Denver two nights that they won’t stop talking about until the next year...

The Venue and Location - The event takes place at The Colorado Convention Center. This venue is humongous, which means there is plenty of room to fit multiple large stages and for thousands of music lovers. The Convention Center is located in the heart of Downtown Denver on 14th Street, so once the show is over, you can still enjoy Denver’s bar scene and get the most of your night.

Two Days of Fun (if you choose) - Why limit your New Year celebration to one day? With Decadence, you have the option to go either the 30th, the 31st, or both nights! Each night has a unique, star-studded lineup that touches every facet of electronic dance music. You can choose which lineup looks best and go on that date, or if it all looks great, extend your NYE partying to two nights!

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The Full Experience - There’s a reason this event is called Decadence: it is over the top in all the best ways. Around the venue you will find performers on stilts, entertainers with never-before-seen outfits and lights, and incredible stage productions with each act. There is even a balloon drop at midnight, and you can guarantee there will be lasers and great light shows. Decadence does New Year’s Eve the right way!

Everything You Need in One Place - New Year’s Eve can be a madhouse in a large city. Getting around town to grab dinner, drinks, and go to a party is hectic and expensive. Decadence, on the other hand, is the only stop you need to make all night. Besides providing the main event entertainment, you will be able to purchase food and drinks at The Convention Center, so your party never has to stop.

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Top-Notch Lineup - Every year, the Decadence lineup gets even better. Colorado is a state filled with EDM lovers, so large events like this know they need to provide a unique and stellar list of performers. Some notable acts playing the night on Sunday, December 30th include, Bassnectar, Skrillex, Zed’s Dead, Above & Beyond, and Alison Wonderland. DJs playing New Year’s Eve include Illenium, Griz, Big Wild, and Marshmello. While these are just some of the big names, there are many more acts playing throughout the night to keep you dancing too.

Treat yourself and go all out this New Year’s at Decadence! For more information on the night, lineup, and tickets, click here!

-Ben

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

Premiere: Dream Feed's Music Video for "Hey Now" Is a Raw, Animated Look at Their New Music

Dream Feed.

Dream Feed.

Denver’s Dream Feed, formerly known as Miguel Dakota and the Differents, have had a busy year. You may remember frontman Miguel Dakota from season nine of America’s Got Talent, where he was a “Top 6” finalist and was offered a national tour with a backing band, but declined to remain in creative control of his work. Dakota continued on with his former project Miguel Dakota and the Differents, and this year, launched Dream Feed. The current band is comprised of Dakota on lead vocals and guitar, Ryan Wagner on lead guitar and vocals, Brian Nolan on drums, and Will Gaines on bass and vocals.

Recently, Dream Feed won the grand prize in the KTCL 93.3 and Pabst Sound Select “Demo Derby” contest with their track “Push and Pull.” Then, after this year’s Underground Music Showcase, Jimmy Siler of Tri Lakes Radio declared Dream Feed, “the best surprise of the festival.” The band also won the grand prize in last summer’s Road to Velorama contest (as Miguel Dakota and the Differents), beating out over 200 local bands and being awarded a performance spot in the Velorama Festival. Last month, on September 14th, the band dropped their debut track “Hey Now” from their self-titled record and subsequently sold-out their show that night at Syntax Physic Opera. Needless to say, their buzz has been building.

Today, we’re excited to premiere the band’s video for “Hey Now,” which was animated by Gary Tussey. Tussey is known for his work depicting musicians like Bob Marley and Miley Cyrus.

Said the band about working with Tussey, “We're a fan of all of Gary's work and saw some sketches he did of other musicians. We thought that the rough style fit well with the gritty, raw vibe of the track ‘Hey Now.’"

Though “Hey Now” is rather lyrically ambiguous, the band wants you to “focus on the raw, gritty, go-getter energy of it,” and there’s plenty of that to go around.

“Hey Now” was recorded at RiverRock Studios in Minneapolis by Eric Blomquist with the rest of the band’s upcoming debut record. The track was mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in NYC.

Said Dream Feed, “[‘Hey Now’] was a lot of fun to record. At one point, we stood at one end of the studio screaming at the top of their lungs with the mic at the other end of the room.”

As for the rest of their 2018, the band is heading back in the studio at Third and James in Denver to continue recording new tunes. They’re planning shows and tours, and you can keep up with Dream Feed here.

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

Join BolderBeat for a Balanced Breakfast at The Mercury Cafe in Denver This Saturday

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This Saturday, members of the BolderBeat community have been asked to speak at the Balanced Breakfast Denver chapter about their experiences in the Colorado music industry and their work with BolderBeat.

Balanced Breakfast Denver meets monthly, and meetings are open to anybody that is passionate about the music industry. Breakfast hosts Reed Fox and Mona Magno invited the BolderBeat team to attend for October and we’re thrilled! If you weren’t already familiar with our publication and community, here a snippet on what we do here at BolderBeat:

Founded in 2016, BolderBeat covers both local and national artists and events. Our site features single and video premieres, concert reviews and photography, and artist interviews written by a volunteer contributor network which extends from Colorado to Los Angeles. BolderBeat also works with industry insiders, record labels, and musicians themselves on event promotion, tour sponsorships, and content placement. BolderBeat has cultivated an amazing community of artists working with artists in its short time as a publication- writers and photographers work regularly to expose and promote the work of musicians, artists, and industry creatives whom they’re passionate about.

Our founder, Hannah Oreskovich, will be on site to answer questions at Balanced Breakfast about how your band should approach media for features, what the past and future of BolderBeat look like, and more. BolderBeat live event producer Zach Dahmen will also be available for a discussion and questions, and our whole Colorado contributor community has been invited to tell you about their experiences in the music industry and their work with BolderBeat.

Brunch will be had by all from 11AM-1PM at Denver’s:

The Mercury Cafe

2199 California St, 80205 Denver, United States

Full details on the Facebook event here.

More on Balanced Breakfast:

Originally started in San Francisco by Stefan Aronsen, Balanced Breakfast brings together local music industry artists and professionals to meet for breakfast on a regular basis. Now with meetings in 27 cities around the world, attendees talk about actions they can employ that will help the local scene become a place where musicians & industry professionals can make substantial progress doing what they love: music.

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

'Game of Thrones' Brought Its Incredible Live-Concert Experience to Denver's Pepsi Center

By: Nathan Sheppard

As many Game of Thrones fans are gearing up for a long wait through fall and winter for the final season of the iconic HBO series, Denver fans were treated to a night of musical and visual adventures at the Pepsi Center. The concert featured Ramin Djawadi, who composes all the music for the TV show, along with an 80-piece orchestra and choir.

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The show started with a parade of “White Walkers” and a build up into the classic GOT theme song. From there, Djawadi & Co. went in semi-chronological order through the first three seasons of music. One act featured a violin solo performed with the musician suspended in the air in a long dress to represent a weirwood tree as red leaves fell from the rafters. This created the first of many amazing visuals. Another highlight of the opening act was the wildling attack- in this part, snow fell and a 30-foot wildling horn shook audience member’s seats. Between every couple of songs, Djawadi told us stories about how the next song was composed and what inspired him along the way.

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After a short 20-minute intermission, the show continued with the next four seasons, starting with Djawadi shredding on guitar as pyrotechnics shot out behind the choir and dragons flew around on the production screens. Working through to season seven, the entire outfit played through many of the most intense scenes of the show, culminating in an organ solo which occurred with the player suspended 15-feet in the air.

Overall, it was a wonderful show and a great way to experience Game of Thrones from a different perspective. It was interesting to see what goes into making the music behind the legendary show. It was also a fantastic way to recap what has happened in the series so far in order to get ready for the highly anticipated season eight in early 2019.

The live concert experience still has a handful of shows left so make sure you get out to see this amazing concert! Remaining shows can be found here.

-Nathan

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