Spectra Art Space Is Our Favorite Thing Happening in Denver Art Right Now

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last Saturday, BolderBeat entered the neon-lit doors of Denver’s Spectra Art Space to an at-capacity crowd. The gallery and event space’s latest art opening party “Colorado Vibes 3” was in full swing with walls dripping in local photography and paint work, fashion models strutting down a catwalk outfitted with black-lights, and musicians playing in the venue’s outdoor patio space. The exhibit, which is available to view over the next month, features all-local artists and a slew of mediums: pencil work, hand-drawn illustrations, mixed media, sculpture work, clothing, fashionable eyewear, photography, jewelry, and more. Whether your eye is drawn to Lexie Lund’s girl-power glitter guns and metallic tampon display, the psychedelic colored pencil work of Nick Fast, Nova Lee’s ominously friendly “ET Phone Ohm”, C.o.l.t.A.l.i.t.Y’s polaroid posters, glitchybb’s kitties, or iamnotunique’s illustrated boxy creature collection, there’s something for every art fiend at Spectra. To check out all of the artists in the “Colorado Vibes 3” showcase click here.


All photos in this feature by Ana White Photography.


Owned and operated by Sadie Young and Kayla Smith, together this lady duo have transformed their storefront on Denver’s South Broadway into a full-on art escape. Young has been hosting music and art events in Denver for nearly 10 years, and has a BFA from MSU Denver with a focus in painting. Smith is an actress and theater aficionado when she is not working at Spectra.

Says Young, “It's important for us to showcase local art because every single artist/musician/actor etcetera is a small business and small businesses are what hold communities together.”

Most everything in Spectra is for sale, with proceeds from sales and events benefiting both the space and the artist. The one-room gallery features a ton of winding niches to explore; behind it there is a covered patio and a retro CD-decorated gazebo equipped with heaters perfect for early spring nights. For “Colorado Vibes 3”, the outdoor area had bite-sized food and drink options with various singer/songwriters playing to the socializing crowd. Indoors, a DJ booth which looks as though it were blasted onto Broadway straight out of a spaceship, had artists spinning tunes while attendees gallery-perused until the synthy percussiveness of DR3AM CA$T took the stage and started a dance party.

The evening’s fashion show was a definite highlight and featured Denver designers including Ellen Bronson, Smasher Robot, KatDog Couture, iLit Designs, and Impek Apparel. From Bronson’s flashy fabrics with a rock’n’roll feel, to the black-light button-ups and bow ties from Smasher Robot, there was enough stylish garb for any Denver fashionista to drool over. Hair & makeup for the show took six hours to complete and was fabulously done by Amanda Brooke of Wonderland Hair Parlor.

Says Young, “My favorite part of the ‘Colorado Vibes’ showcase is how many new artists it adds to our growing family of makers. One of the things I am most proud of Spectra for is being a lot of artists’, musicians’, and designers’ very first taste of being a professional creative. We have been several artist’s first show and first sale, we have been musician’s first show, and designer’s first fashion show. I think we are especially unique because we actually believe in our artists and our creative community, and we would do just about anything to support them and encourage them to pursue their passions. The ‘Colorado Vibes’ format we created is a way for us to highlight the amazing underrepresented talent in Denver and present art and the creative scene in a way that's accessible to everyone, patrons and artists included. I started Spectra because I love being a resource for artists and I wanted to present the art world in a unique way including fashion, fine art, lowbrow art, music, comedy, installation, and performance in one space.”

Spectra’s mission is to “support artists and provide a space that cultivates creativity through highly curated contemporary art exhibitions, events, and detailed immersive experiences” and the opening party for “Colorado Vibes 3” was all of these things wrapped into one glittery, psychedelic ball of smiles and awesome dance moves.

Needless to say, if you haven’t yet explored Spectra Art Space in Denver, it’s time you made the trip. Not only will they send you down a rabbit hole of haute creativity; every time you go, you benefit the local Denver arts scene in more ways than one.

Says Young, “I would like for people to know that we offer several creative classes each month, as well as a plethora of fun events. We are also looking to raise money so that we can renew our lease and hire an additional employee so we can grow and continue to support the hundreds of artists in our family. We have just started a Patreon with a ton of amazing reward options [too]!”

An   iLit Designs    eyewear look by    Ana White Photography  .

Spectra has two upcoming events on their calendar: a performance night by Ahee with • AVRY • on April 25th and their “Bombastic Plastic Toy Show” on May 4th with Meow Wolf, Ratio Beerworks, and others.

Turn up your imagination today and visit Spectra! Learn more about this amazing art space here.

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

Corda Vera's Brand of Indie Is Rocking the Boulder House Party Scene

By: Taylor Falkner

Boulder, Colorado may be a land for new music, but it is certainly not a new land to the music scene. Once considered the next mecca of young musicians and “…the Berkeley of the Mountain Time Zone”, Boulder is a place for musical exploration and inspiration. It is located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with the majestic Flatirons at the backdrop of everyday life. It helped create legendary bands like Zephyr, The String Cheese Incident, 3OH!3 and Big Gigantic just to name a few. The unique aspect of this list is that it encapsulates a variety of genres, and therefore further exemplifies how up and coming artistry in Boulder is not bound to the limits of a single genre.

This limitless sound opportunity is also expressed in the genre of indie rock. Indie originated from the concept of independent labels, but has evolved to describe “a sonic aesthetic influenced by various forms of post-punk and lo-fi music”. Moreover, indie is not overly concerned with meeting the criteria of what makes a good “commercial sound”. It is raw, and the use of at home recording equipment adds another unfiltered and imperfect dimension to the music which enriches the listeners experience. In this generation dominated by technological advancement, the D.I.Y. mentality of indie is blossoming due to the convenience and easy accessibility of online platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify. The spirit of this fresh freedom is very much alive in the city of Boulder, and it is where you can also find the beginnings of the very local band Corda Vera. As an underground, basement dwelling, house party band of Boulder, Corda Vera, swiftly takes on the essence of Boulder and the attitude of indie music in the twenty-first century.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera.

Corda Vera is a band of four twenty-year olds, one female and three males, some of which are on the journey to obtaining a college degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Simone Fohrman (vocals), Josh Bennett (drums), Sam Sawyer (bass), and Thomas Perry (guitar) all have been brought together through the allure of Boulder. Each member has their own style and differing musical background and inspirations, which compliment each other very well in their original music. They have an undeniably otherworldly aura to them, which makes them relatable to the confusion and individual growth that many college students experience while away from home where everything is safe and comforting. Their songs manifest a perfect blend of Sonic Youth grunge rock vibes with an indie, and somewhat psychedelic, sound. Setting themselves apart from today’s millennial teenage angst, Corda Vera plays into their emotions rather than becoming a victim of them.

As the band guides listeners on a trip away from wherever they may be, the lyrics sung by band leader Simone touch base on the interpersonal connections in all kinds of relationships. Their song “Over The Edge” encapsulates this well. The dark, yet enchanting bass riff that Sam bewitches listeners’ ears with transports one to the shuffling streets, lit only by the moon, in the faraway land of Istanbul. The song sends one to face the unknown. Through every thud of the bass drum the city breathes and comes to life and then, “Bang!” A shot echoes from Josh’s snare drum and the chills run down your spine. “We’re lost in translation/building my agitation/you can’t keep what ain’t yours,” Simone croons. Immediately the tension the band has been building is released by a powerful statement that gives the listener a piece of mind. Simone’s lyrics of feeling uncertain about her own emotions towards her counterpart reflect the universal angst that anyone can relate too when they feel shorted in a relationship. Instead of shying away from this angst, Simone and the rest of Corda Vera embrace it by turning it into a powerful energy, one that makes the listener feel as if they are walking a fine line and indeed about to fall “Over the Edge.”

A major factor to the unique tone and mood that Corda Vera puts out is due to the vast array of musical influences. All sorts of unconventional things can be heard in their music from various genres, scales, and even the effects used on every instrument. Their use of the harmonic minor scale in “Over the Edge” is what gives it its eerie vibe by dancing with the devil’s note. At the same time, however, you can here an influence from The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” which helps keep the song in a mystical world of its own.

44800690_537401023391054_553652594765987840_n.jpg

In the song “Nao” Corda Vera makes you feel as if you are floating through the clouds daydreaming. With a heavy chorus and reverb, Thomas, the guitarist and Boulder native, encapsulates what it is to feel weightless and floating. The ticking of the hi-hat alters time, and the audience is left in a place where there is no up and down or left and right. In respects to most other songs called “Heartbreaker,” Corda Vera’s version is one of the band’s fastest tempo songs. Moreover, it stands far apart from sounding that of Led Zeppelin, Pat Benatar or even Taio Cruz’s “Heartbreaker,” and sounds more like a contemporary electronica song. The drums are reminiscent of that of Seal’s in his hit “Crazy” or Moby’s “Porcelain”, while the guitar bares resemblance to that of Lenny Kravitz. Mesh all of this up with chorus-driven spacey vocals, and you have something totally new.

The motley crew that is Corda Vera has led them to create a sound that they can call their own. They all have different musical influences but their love for music, courage to face unsettling truths, and their desire to just have a good time has brought them to create something unique to everything else going on in Boulder currently. By blending such a vast array of sounds and with themes based in personal experience, Corda Vera are as authentic as it gets. There is no facade that they are attempting to convey. They are a group of friends who met through their love of music at open mic nights at Innisfree Cafe on the Hill and decided to join forces. In turn, they have given the students of Boulder, and hopefully more to come, a chance of a genuine experience.

Keep up with Corda Vera 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.

Review: Alex Fermanis Releases Fifth Full-Length Album ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’

By: Adam Cabrera

Colorado Springs indie artist and multi-instrumentalist Alex Fermanis just released his newest solo album Land of the Midnight Sun, on November 3rd. This is the fifth full-length release of his career, and Alex presents us with a highly-listenable album that performs as a nostalgic throwback to classic 70s rock filtered through layers of otherworldly effects and dreamlike synthesizers.

Alex Fermanis.

Alex Fermanis.

Influenced by prog rock, krautrock, synth music, folk and bluegrass, Alex has built up an impressive catalog of releases that cover a range of genres from psychedelic to country. However, throughout this diverse set of styles, what has remained constant for him is a knack for songwriting and his unique ability to find new creative avenues that diverge from mainstream musical norms.

Some of the standout tracks on the record such as “Letter,” “USW,” and “Freight Train,” demonstrate his expertise as an instrumentalist and songwriter. Each displays a new feature of Alex’s sound while creating captivating melodies and catchy hooks reminiscent of 60s and 70s pop music, before eventually breaking off into atmospheric psych-rock instrumentals.

In the context of his lyricism, Fermanis’ record explores themes of unrequited love, isolation, loneliness and a wistful longing for travel; all of which speak towards Alex’s quiet-lifestyle and introspective personality.  “Letter,” for example, describes the story of a man attempting to reunite a long forgotten romance, while Streets of Stockholm” describes a sentimental feeling towards traveling abroad and adventuring into foreign lands. In short, it’s these feelings of nostalgia and blissful adventure that define the album.

The artwork for  Land of the Midnight Sun.

The artwork for Land of the Midnight Sun.

Demonstrating his persistent DIY attitude, Alex wrote and recorded the entirety of the project by himself at his home studio in Colorado Springs and is heard performing on every instrument. This versatile range of talents adds a palpable sense of cohesiveness throughout the sonically dense album. Nevertheless, at the very bottom of the many layers of sound sits a highly-skilled piano player orchestrating each track. And though Alex doesn’t consider himself a pianist, he often composes his songs on piano, as he enjoys the technical complexity of the instrument. Moreover, this intricacy tends to show through in the overall sound of his latest release. It is lushly textured with synthesizers and abound with harmonically-rich piano riffs; this new record stands out as a highlight among his relatively large discography.

This winter, Fermanis will be trying to pull together a new band with the hope of performing his recent release for live audiences across the Front Range. When considering the record’s quality and Alex’s capacity for songwriting, it’s clear that his career has the potential to expand far beyond Colorado Springs’ modest music scene.

Keep up with Alex here.

-Adam

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

Review: Empress' Industrial Post-Punk Record 'Ink' Is Buzzy DIY

By: Jesse Sandoval

As the semester comes to a close, a buzz is in the air. Most of us, I imagine, are bristling with the months-long amount of pent up energy that wintertime often leaves us with. We’re biding our time, tending to the last of our stifling inside-duties ‘til that special time of release: summertime, summertime, summertime! And what better music to accommodate these feelings than Empress' most recent release, Ink?

Listen to Ink:

Ink is fun. It’s catchy, it's melodic, it’s earnest, it's punk. Over the span of four years, Empress have been honing their own style of industrial/post-punk and with this release, the Denver-based band has proven they have come into their own. Their DIY approach has led them to a state of self-sufficiency that I am sure many bands pine for. Members Santiago (vocals/percussion), Xavier (bass/rhythm guitar), and Alex (lead guitar/bass) all live together and record everything in their house. This allows them to record at any moment of inspiration and, from what I’m told, them doing just this is not uncommon. Several of the tracks on Ink are likely products of some band member’s sleep being interrupted in order to capture a moment’s inspiration before it’s lost in deep dreams…

Empress.

Empress.

The music on Ink is completely enjoyable because of how straight-cut and organic it is. Empress don’t try to be anything they’re not, and don’t try to affect any sound that isn’t true: they do what they do and that’s it. Their music is strong because of it’s simplicity, and ultimately, it works because it accurately conveys some of the most basic feelings we all share: feelings of longing, of unrequited love, of disconnectedness, of humanity.

As Empress have developed their musical abilities, they’ve also taught themselves to mix their own music (I’m a sucker for DIY) and the progress they’ve made in their last four years is very impressive. In the time since they cut Ink, they have actually been working on some new tracks and were kind enough to share some of those with me too. It’s clear that they are expanding and breaking their own molds, and I can see that there will be more to look forward to from Empress. Unfortunately, we will not be able to witness their long-term growth first-hand because come May, they will be moving to LA to shake up what they can there.

Good news is, on Saturday, May 6th they will be playing a show to celebrate their departure at Seventh Circle Music CollectiveThe Beeves, Meeting House, and others will share the stage. So go give Empress a warm Colorado farewell, and keep up with up with the trio after their move here.

RIYL: Joy Division, New Order, Wipers, The Cure, NIN

-Jesse

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

Sting Like The Beeves

By: Pete Laffin

Honest question:

When was the last time you moshed?

It had been a while for yours truly. By my mid-twenties I abandoned the more aggressive music of my youth, swapping volume and distortion for lyrical poignancy and musical nuance. Like many in my station, I held my nose up at the blustery rage of the still-young youth (which, it occurs to me now, can be easily explained with basic psychological insight: my disapproval of the kids and their raucous music was displaced, and the real culprit was the lingering memory of my own immature youth.) Music, as important as ever at the ripe-old age of 33, became something to be meditated upon rather than moshed to. And that was fine and good and purposeful. (As you age, it becomes suddenly important to do “purposeful” things.)

And then, a few months ago, I went to the EP release for The Beeves, comprised of the Ehrhart brothers, Ian and Will, along with Matthew Sease, at Seventh Circle Music Collective.

A mish-mash of seemingly disconnected events led me there. (If I may indulge in another bit of old-man wisdom, nothing is disconnected.) Suffice it to say, a grungy, all-ages, DIY warehouse venue is not where you would expect to find me on a Saturday night.

When I found the venue’s entrance in a neglected industrial park in the Denver periphery, I was greeted by a scraggly, weather-worn row of teenagers sitting behind a desk taking the expected donation for entry and exchanging remarks in a terminology and inflection I couldn’t attempt to decode. I handed them my credit card, but their machine wasn’t working, but I could go in. Just hook us up next time was the vibe I got.

I snaked my way through a few dark hallways and found myself in a gravel courtyard. The Beeves had a merch table just before entrance to the performance space, which looked like something between a backyard shed and a wheat silo. I peeked in through the entrance and saw a dark, frantic scene straight out of Altamont while opening act The Velveteers, fronted by rock prodigy Demi Demitro, shook the shanty’s shingles. Not ready to enter the hellfire within, I nosed around the courtyard looking for a place to buy a beer, until I realized no such place existed. A friendly and perceptive young kid intuited my struggle and informed me of a liquor store a few blocks away. If I had said I was going, he would have probably asked me to buy him a bottle.

The Beeves.

The Beeves.

At the merch table, I became disoriented, aghast. I was at an EP release, but there was no EP. Not in the conventional sense, anyway. I’d been to hundreds of these types of events in my seventeen years in music and never seen anything like this. Rather than rows of glossy jewel cases or neatly splayed, plastic-wrapped sleeves, the “albums” offered were burned CDRs packaged in the poster for the show.

Scandalous, I thought, in my stuffiest inner voice (which is somehow always British.)

I scanned the area for other embarrassed looks, embarrassed at The Beeves for not offering a more polished product at such an event. I didn’t see any. All I saw were a bunch of young, deliriously hyped-up hyenas bouncing off one another and rocking out to the vibe. No one gave a shit but me. I took the hint that I, and perhaps the majority of my music-scene generation- in all of our sensitive-guy mustache and pensive-girl thick-frames glory- had fallen out-of-touch. We didn’t see the storm coming (this was a theme in 2016.) We still give a shitit occurred to me. These kids really, really don’t. And they don’t have to.

The Velveteers closed out their riotous set and said goodnight. As I watched the stage through the doorway (I still wasn’t ready enter the dragon, as it were), puzzled at how Demitro could be playing such sophisticated, badass rock-and-roll at such a young age, an announcement was made for the performance area to be vacated while The Beeves set their stage. A swarm of show-goers drifted through the exit to the courtyard like clowns out of a car- it is amazing how many people that little place can hold- and stood around in circles, their hot, moshed-out lungs breathing thick into the freezing Denver December.

Amid the horde, I saw an older guy, the only person I’d seen thus far clearly older than I, who looked suspiciously similar to Beeves frontman, Ian Erhart. Eager to see if there was a connection, I wormed my way toward him. Indeed, it was Ian and Will’s father, John Erhart. He was a songwriter himself, and he wrote and performed songs for Ian while he was in the womb. He didn’t have to say how proud he was of his son, nor proud of himself for making the musical effort back then; his face was lit with pride in it all.

And then some kid in the circle next to us got punched in the face. Hard. Full-fisted.

Braced for bedlam, I stepped back, knuckles tight. But rather than swing back, the kid who got hit smiled and asked for another. The crowd had gone restless waiting for The Beeves to call us back inside. John and I shared a smirk. We had both taken part in similar youthful hijinks, it seemed.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

The Beeves' EP Release Show.

Inside, the stage was draped in a cartoonishly scraggly, misshapen sheet, the stage lights flashing out around the edges. The buzz in the crammed room rose; I was sure another backyard wrestling match would break out. But then The Beeves, in all of their earnest goofiness, kicked the curtain down and commenced with the thrashing. Their energy was unbelievable, and their affect, so entirely devoid of self-seriousness, spread around the room like an infectious, airborne disease.

I enjoyed the shit out of their set, as did all in attendance. It was arranged for maximum impact with a spirited selection of covers and originals, the latter so impactful I decided to pick up one of those poster-wrapped EPs from the merch table on my way out.

I was richly rewarded for my open-mindedness.

Photo Credit: Veltrida

Photo Credit: Veltrida

The album kicks off with the track “Skagua,” featuring Ian on guitar, Matthew on bass, and Will on the drums. It’s a hard-driving neo-ska spine breaker that serves as a fitting introduction the band, as its chief purpose is to punch you stiffly in the nose. The melody, rhythm, arrangement- none is particularly ground-breaking. In fact, the sound (along with the record in general) is rooted most evidently in the mid-nineties skateboard scene. But The Beeves offer a qualitative alteration to this well-trodden sound, one that’s as obvious to the ear as it is difficult to put a finger on. It’s as if Sublime and The Offspring had been reanimated and struck repeatedly in the tuckus with a cattle-prod. The following track, “Jesus, he came,” follows much in the same vein as “Skagua.”

“Shoelace,” the third track, is the anthem of The Beeves in the ears of their fans. By the time this song is played in a live set, the band is shirtless and possibly naked; it’s not for the sake of vanity or shock-value, but rather, it’s as if the freedom they derive from playing this song demands such release. In “Shoelace’s” three quick minutes, the entire experience of the band is had. If pressed to express what this is in three quick words, I could do it in two: goofy sincerity. The beat rocks (the younger Ehrhart, Will, is a revelation on this track); the melody hooks clean at the chorus where Ian and Matthew croon a startlingly honest question, one to which both a teenager and widower could relate: “Without you/How am I supposed to tie my shoe?”

Listen to The Beeves’ track “Oogamy”:

The fourth track “Oogamy” could slide easily onto the backend of your favorite Sublime record. Recording engineer Oliver Mueller does his best work on the album here capturing the tandem, note-for-note vocals of all three band members. This is no small task, especially given the free-wheeling, loose nature of the vocal style. The track also features a seriously funky clarinet solo performed by friend-of-the-band, Michaela Nemeth. The lyrics at the refrain are most poignant: “When I said leave me alone/I didn’t mean leave me/I wish I had could say what I mean/I wish I had something to mean.”

“Jerry the Drifter” is a fine display of punk thrashery with surprisingly musical flashes. The instrumental that comprises the song’s first half features guitar with flamenco overtones and a theatrically plucky bass, dipping and rising in volume as the moment demands. This all leads into a more conventional pop-punk song with melodic sensibilities. “Jerry” offers shades of early Car Seat Headrest, with its sweet hooks, advanced musicality, and unapologetically raw delivery.   

The best is saved for last on The Beeves’ self-titled EP. “Moe” is an instant classic, with the emphasis on classic. This is high praise, I know, but I can prove it. Well, kind of. You just have to believe what I’m about to tell you is true: In preparation for writing this review, I stealthily played the song in social settings to gauge reaction.

The first time was at my place, where one of my most musically sophisticated buddies came over to hang. As he stepped inside, he cocked his head and lifted an eyebrow at the sound.

Weezer?” he asked. I said nothing. “Is it old Weezer?”

Later that week, I took control of the sound system at a local pub that lets its patrons seize control of the music via bluetooth. From the table next to mine, some guy tapped me on the shoulder.

“Weezer?” he asked, that same sifting-through-old-memories look on his face that my buddy had.

“Moe” is a slow-time rockabilly blues jam with the kind of punked-out irreverence Rivers Cuomo rode to stardom. It’s as if he could have written the song himself as an alternative ending to The Blue Album. The bridge features a single guitar note crescendo, reminiscent of moments in “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground, which leads to the hook at the chorus, sung with wistful abandon and gaiety. It’s doubtlessly a keeper for the band moving forward.    

When ametuer athletes are scouted by professional teams, they are often evaluated in terms of their “floor” and their “ceiling.” The former indicates the kind of players they are at the moment, for better or worse, while the latter expresses their potential to improve. On rare occasions, a player is considered to possess high degrees of both. The Beeves appear to be in this rarefied category, as their sound already astounds, and their potential to improve is a certainty.

The ceiling is high for these kids. High enough, even, to inspire their elders, (your humble correspondent included) to toss themselves recklessly, once again, into a pit of flying elbows and whirling knees.

Make sure to see The Beeves at The Gothic for their show this Friday, February 10th with Mustard Plug; tickets here.

-Pete

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

Studio 700: The Awesome DIY Venue Hosting Tomorrow's #MusicMasquerade

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Gotta love DIY. 

We’re skipping our usual Weekend Six feature today since we’re sponsoring a sweet show tomorrow that we want to tell you a lil’ baby more about, B. Read on:

Studio 700 is a Boulder DIY venue explained to us by three of its creators: Joshua Thomas (of Villain Baritone), Boulder singer/songwriter Hunter Stone, and a man known only to us as Buckles. What started as a group of local musicians looking for a house turned into an awesome DIY venue, complete with a stage, lights, sound equipment, and a curious cutout of Alfred Hitchcock. The place is well lit, insulated, and rumored to have been used by James Taylor’s daughter for recording purposes back in the day. And the idea for its inception started with house hunting on (what else kids?) Craigslist.

Hunter: When I found the house, I was excited. I mean, I knew the potential here. I thought, ‘If we don’t get this space, it will be taken over by beer pong.’ And I knew we could turn it into something more.

Joshua: Yeah we saw this place and we were like schoolboys- we were walking around like we could do this and this and this- just drawing up silly things and mainly just getting excited. Once we saw this space, we were like ‘This is happening.’

And so began Studio 700. The venue has hosted three shows to date, each with a cool theme and an all-local lineup.

Joshua: We do this so that we can support local artists and give them a showcase, so we try to put something on at least once a month.

Hunter: Yeah there are just so many bands in Boulder that are good bands, and there just aren’t enough venues that service the musicians here. I mean The Fox is the ideal destination for most people playing in Boulder, but there just aren’t a lot of other places where music is the focused intent. And so that’s what we want to create here; a community.

Hunter & Joshua at Studio 700 talkin' 'bout Studio 700. 

Hunter & Joshua at Studio 700 talkin' 'bout Studio 700. 

So how did they build this sweet spot?

Buckles: It’s been collaborative between all of us. A lot of the physical things have definitely been Josh- building the stage and getting up the lights. And then we all have contributed different equipment.

Hunter: Yeah, like I set up a lot of my recording equipment in here. I’ve used some of that for my project Hole in the Wall Recording, which has also involved some video production. And you’ve recorded in here too, right Josh?

Joshua: Yeah with Villain Baritone, we’ve recorded a lot of our music in here. The first thing we tracked [at Studio 700] were drums and it actually sounded amazing.

Joshua and Buckles in the s700 shadows.

Joshua and Buckles in the s700 shadows.

But the guys have plans beyond recording and once-a-month shows too.

Josh: Longterm we want to collaborate with more people to see more of what we can do here and what the possibilities are.  

Hunter: I’d like to use it for more intimate things too- singer/songwriter nights and smaller shows. We want to fill the place with art; have live painting during shows. And of course we’ll keep booking bands. We want to use [this] to raise money to pay musicians and to book bands where their fans overlap. We want to keep incorporating small businesses… I mean there’s a lot of potential for it. It’s just about realizing all of the potential.

So come support this rad DIY spot Boulder! We brought you coverage on all three local bands playing tomorrow’s #MusicMasquerade, and if you missed those, click ‘em here: Whiskey Autumn, Villain Baritone with Special Guests Andrew Sturtz and Hunter Stone, and Noctogon. Join the FB event for specifics by clicking this sentence.

We’ll see you tomorrow, masked and all. Happy Weekend!

-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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 11/13 & 11/14

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Heyo Boulder! Another weekend of great music is upon us. Check out our picks! We’ve even included some shows outside of the Boulder bubble for your adventuring pleasure:

Today (Friday, 11/13)

Augustus and Union Driftwood at the Park House in Denver 8PM-Close

The Augustus boys have been on a bit of a journey this week. Denim vests and wood-cutting saws have consumed much of their time, but tonight they’ll be trading in their mountain tools for strings and mics when they play the Park House. And Denver’s rock-funk outfit Union Driftwood will be joining the Augustus trio with their own set, making for an extra sweet listening time. Go get yo sip on.

Bandits, The Outfit, and Slow Caves at the Hi-Dive in Denver 830PM-Close

Formerly the Branded Bandits, the Bandits have undergone more than just a name change as of late. According to member Lulu Demitro, Denver's Bandits have switched up their sound as well: “I would say it’s more contemporary and a little bit darker and heavier, but still melodic.” They’re bringing this new sound to their gig at the Hi-Dive tonight, and they’ve got some sweet friends on board. Denver’s rock’n’roll four-piece The Outfit will be warming up the stage after Fort Collins’ shredderific Slow Caves opens the show. This is gonna be a good one kids.

Von Disco at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

“Progressive jazz fused with hip-hop” is how Boulder’s Von Disco describe themselves. They’ve put on many a slick show at the Laughing Goat and I’m sure their set tonight will be sure to set things off behind the big brown door of The No Name. Beats, strings, and booze. Let’s go!

Tomorrow (Saturday, 11/14)

Miles Wide at The Twisted Pine in Boulder 7PM-Close

Denver-based Miles Wide will be trekking up to Boulder tomorrow for a Twisted Pine show. And while Kyle Donovan of Miles Wide happens to be one of our kickass contributors, he’s also a DIY musician who has toured played shows internationally. Lend him an ear over some pretzels and beer. He won’t disappoint.

The Next Day (Sunday, 11/15)

Jeremy Mohney at The Mercury Cafe in Denver 8PM-Close

Combining swing and jazz elements, Boulder’s Jeremy Mohney will be releasing a new album, “Smile a While” at Sunday’s Mercury show. Though winter seems to be moving in across the mountains, Mohney’s sure to keep you warm with his original hot jazz tunes. Go pick up his new CD (which will also have a digital release) and swing around. It’s gonna be a good time!

Kaia Kena, Many Mountains, Emily Shreve, and Hannah Samano at The Lost Lake in Denver 830PM-Close

Dripping in amazing vocals. That’s how I picture this show on Sunday at The Lost Lake. Centennial’s Kaia Kena will be performing new music as headliner at Sunday’s show and is sharing the stage with duo Many Mountains, Denver’s powerful singer/songwriter Emily Shreve (who we featured on her last release here), and acoustic folk artist Hannah Samano, who will have Grim & DarlingsJessa Raskin performing with her. Damn. Sounds like a lot of talent on one stage Boulder. Make the drive.

You can stick in the B. Or you can hop to the D. See you at a show!

-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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 10/09 & 10/10

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s the weekend once again and here’s where we think you ought to be, Boulder:

Today (Friday, 10/9)

DJ Gangsterish.

DJ Gangsterish.

DJ Gangsterish at Taco Junky 10PM-Close

If you haven’t been to Taco Junky on the Hill yet, it’s time you nommed a madagascar with your marg. TJ’s has recently started booking local acts for music, and tonight, Boulder’s DJ Gangsterish is going to be spinnin’ beats. You can also say hi to ½ Moonwavve’s Derek Warwick while you’re in. So go check it out!

Foxfeather.

Foxfeather.

Foxfeather at Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub 10PM-Close

Boulder’s Foxfeather folk outfit will be holding things down at Conor’s tonight. They have some awesome events coming up, like their show with Homevibe in Durango at the end of the month. So catch them while they’re still in town! You know we love Conor’s. So get to it.

Tomorrow (Saturday, 10/10)

Hilltoberfest on the Hill 2PM-8PM

Trot over to the Hill to get your drank on for Hilltoberfest tomorrow! Upslope Brewing Company, Avery Brewing Company, Boulder Beer Co., Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery and West Flanders Brewing Co. will all be serving brews. And for your listening pleasure, Booster will be bringing funk to the show and HenScratch will be bluegrassin’ it. Soo you can hear quite the mix over your mug. Lederhosen highly encouraged.

Kyle Donovan of Miles Wide.

Kyle Donovan of Miles Wide.

Miles Wide at Oskar Blues CyclHOPS 730PM-Close

Remember when we brought you DIY-er Miles Wide back in June? Well he’s back! Kyle Donovan, singer-songwriter of Miles Wide, is officially a Coloradoan again and he’s been playing shows all over the state since his return. Let his smooth vocals soothe you into the weekend over a beer at CyclHOPS tomorrow night. Ride on over.

Wilson Harwood.

Wilson Harwood.

Wilson Harwood Single Release Show at Shine Gathering Place 8PM-Close

Did you peep Harwood’s “Saturated in Sunshine” single in our Wednesday Special post this week? If not, go listen now. We are pumped to see Harwood dropping some sweet solo material and at tonight’s show, Pamela Machala (check out her latest music video here) and Cousin Curtiss will be making musical appearances. Tickets are close to selling out and you can cop one for only $10, so buy yours here!

El Javi at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

El Javi is going to be spicin’ things up at The No Name tomorrow night with some flamenco fusion. It’s impossible to sit still at one of their shows, so watch this video to get your flamenco moves down, toss back some liquid courage, and hit the NN floor with all of the other awesome people headed to this sweet show. It’s gonna be a good time.

That's our weekend six Boulder! See you at a show!

-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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 10/02, 10/03, & 10/04

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s fall! It’s October! And it’s the weekend! Here are our six picks:

Today (Friday, 10/02)

VoodooJulia at Powder Keg Brewing Company 7PM-9PM

Local singer-songwriter Valerie Bhat’s got a band and their name is VoodooJulia. They describe themselves as a “four-piece rock-funk-blues band” with a mix of female fronted covers (Fiona Apple, Amy Winehouse) and a slew of “west Texas driven originals by Valerie.” Make the quick trip to Niwot to check them out over a brew tonight!

The augustus boys.

The augustus boys.

Augustus featuring Pete Laffin at Twisted Pine Brewing 7PM-Close

Local three-piece Augustus will be rocking the Twisted Pine house tonight with an awesome intro set by Boulder singer-songwriter Pete Laffin. Hit their show after your work day for a pretzel plate + a saison, and let these boys spin you into the weekend. It’s gonna be a great time so come out!

ramaya soskin.

ramaya soskin.

Ramaya and The Troubadours featuring David Sheingold at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 8PM-Close

Tonight’s LG performance has been dubbed as “Ramaya [Soskin] joined by a rotating cast of fellow songwriters and local favorites at our beloved monthly haunt.” Soskin always puts on an engaging performance, and we’re pumped to see that David Sheingold’s talents will be shaking the stage tonight with the group. This should be a bumpin’ set, so go get your caffeine (or booze) fix and listen!

First Funk Friday at Bohemian Biergarten 1030PM-Close

It’s the first Friday of the month! And that means it’s Funk Friday at Bohemian Biergarten. DJ Shiny Shoes will be opening the night with “some electronic funk flavor” before main act Whiskey Autumn takes the BB stage. The WA boys told us they wanna get down witcha, so go funk out with them!

Tomorrow (Saturday, 10/03)

Saturday Soiree at Studio 700 6PM-???

Afrofunk folktronica outfit Mbanza is rumored to be here, and so is Boulder-based Villain Baritone. Local singer-songwriter Hunter Stone is one of the hosts of this event, and that’s pretty much all I know. Jamming, smiling, dancing, and a generally awesome DIY vibe are bound to be here tomorrow night. Be adventurous and go check out this surprise soiree!

The Next Day (Sunday, 10/04)

Holly & Ken Road Show at Harmony Music House

Ken Stringfellow (formerly of R.E.M., The Posies, and the re-formed Big Star) recently made a country concept album with Texas singer Holly Munoz. Stringfellow describes it as, “going deep into the back story of the n’er do well couple from Doesn’t It Remind You of Something… picking up where Willie Nelson left off with his Red Headed Stranger…mashing that up in the French countryside…and lassoing in YOU to help, cowpoke.” Together the duo are performing said album in what they call The Holly & Ken Road Show, and they’ve got a special Boulder performance at The Harmony House. Tickets are $20- buy them here.

Happy fall!! Enjoy the weekend Boulder!

-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.

I Spent Saturday in a Storage Unit with Bareface & It Was Awesome.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

I spent my Saturday night in a storage unit with Boulder band Bareface and it was awesome.

Driving up, the venue appears to be part warehouse, part storage unit. It’s got a garage, it’s got a front door, and everything else around the unit it is dark and quiet. The location is secret, the vibe is relaxed, and I’m told that the music at this spot is always choice. Where am I? Paradime.

The Paradime Steps.

The Paradime Steps.

Paradime is a local DIY venue that, according to one regular, hosts “primarily punk folk bands and solo artists.” When you enter, there’s an old wooden piano to your left and beyond that, a stage. There’s room for dancing and there’s a small kitchen that’s been crafted from scratch: a counter with bar stool seating, a refrigerator, and a back room with more seating and a cut-out window for show-viewing. On the far wall opposite the door, there are steps that take you to a lofted area, and beneath them is a little hallway with a library and a vinyl collection for anyone to peruse and use. The whole place is also dripping with art: canvases, drawings, scribbles. Paradime is wildly independent and beautiful, a true testament to the DIY community’s talent and passion for this space. But sadly, due to lease issues, Paradime is closing its doors soon.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Bareface Grooving Us On Stage.

Enter Bareface, who played the final Paradime gig last Saturday. Bareface is a Boulder band composed of Will Parkhill (vocals, guitar, and bass), Robert Collins (also vocals, guitar, bass), Rebecca Oliver (vocals, kazoo), Jean du la Monde (vocals, drums), Lee Garrett (banjo, guitar, lap steel), and Emma Mulholland (violin). Parkhill and Collins met in an alchemy class a couple of years ago, started playing music together, and slowly collected members for what is now the current Bareface lineup.

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Dancing with Ghosts. 

Before the five piece started their set Saturday, a couple of solo performers had played the Paradime stage. Neither were exactly dance-worthy and they had driven a good part of the crowd outside. But the minute Bareface opened their set with a couple of jazzy numbers, everyone wandered inside. And by the time they started into their cool rendition of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Bluebird,” everyone was dancing and laughing. A girl with blue hair grabbed anyone who wasn’t moving and pulled them onto the floor to groove with her. Soon, the whole place was twirling along to Bareface. It was radical.

Balls to the Wind. 

Balls to the Wind. 

After watching Bareface electrify Paradime with their positive, groovy energy, I wanted to know what this doo-wop lounge-group was up to besides playing amazing DIY spots. Parkhill smiled, “Well, to keep on the DIY theme, we’re actually doing a lot of DIY recording- we’re working in the bedrooms and garages of good friends.” And their plans for release? “Sometime this fall!” shouted Jean du le Monde. Bareface also has an upcoming gig that they’re pretty excited about. “We’re playing the Boulder Outdoor Cinema on August 22nd,” Mullholland laughed, "and it’s for The Princess Bride so we’re dressing up!” Sweet.

Collins Kiling It.

Collins Kiling It.

So Boulder, although you might not have the chance anymore to peep a Paradime show, you should definitely check out Bareface. Listen to them here. And keep up with their upcoming events, including this weekend’s show, here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

A Day in the Life: Your Weird, PBR-Fueled Adventure at The Big Wonderful

By: Hannah Oreskovich

I wasn't sure what the Big Wonderful was, and I wasn't alone.

“An art festival.” “A food truck lot.” “Some outdoor deal with music.” “A DIY-scene thing.”

These were the rumored descriptions of Denver’s The Big Wonderful. Several Boulder and Denver bands had posted about playing the event and the cursive yellow sign occasionally crept into my Instagram feed. So I rolled over to TBW lot on 26th and Lawrence one Saturday. And if you had come with me, this is what you would have seen:

Upon entering (admission is free), the staff try to talk to you about buying various alcohol packages. It’s too hot for you to listen, but you learn over the course of the afternoon that this is a booze-heavy event. There’s a giant tent in the middle of the lot where you can get cocktails depending on the drink deal you buy. There is also a keg truck if you go the beer route. And between musical performances, the emcee (who appears like the ringleader of this hipster circus in his top hat and vest) auctions off cocktail packages and ski shots. That’s all you know about the dranks because you meet some of the bands and hang ‘backstage.’ The artists are paid with a check and a six-pack of PBR, so you dip into some of their free poison water for kicks.

After chatting with the local bands on the lineup, you decide to wander around. The Big Wonderful is set up in one big circle, so you do a lap and make a mental list of what’s up:

1. There are food trucks. The most notable: a giant red one that sells lobster (which appears to be very popular), a real-looking fire truck that sells crepes, and thank god, an ice-cream truck. You are very grateful for Happy Cones Co. in this heat today.

At The Big Wonderful, people love lobster. 

At The Big Wonderful, people love lobster. 

2. You come upon a giant, old abandoned tour bus, the kind with seating on the roof. You want to take a selfie in front of it, but feel like someone may shout “millennial” at you, so you don’t.

You took this instead of a selfie :(

You took this instead of a selfie :(

3. There is a weird, enclosed, wooden hut with streamers that looks like it was used for pony rides years ago by carnies on LSD but it’s currently used for nothing. You stare at it and contemplate The Big Wonderful’s funky circus vibes.

wtf.

wtf.

4. You pass a small windowed house that claims to be full of local art merch, but is empty.

vacant.

vacant.

5. You see fashion trucks. A ton of fashion trucks.

One of many. 

One of many. 

6. You sit under the big beer garden tent at a picnic table for a few minutes with your PBR. Everyone around you is either drinking or napping. This is the only real shade you can find.

Get your booze on.

Get your booze on.

7. Occasionally, you notice cool art painted on various trucks/structures.

Dig. 

Dig. 

8. There are some yard games and a sand pit to your left. You wonder what might be buried in that sand pit.

you can volley.

you can volley.

9. You walk toward the stage, where four bands play through the course of the day. There is no one else anywhere near the stage at any point of your time there, except for a group of girls who hoop for five minutes and then disappear. One of them tells you she has to leave to try to find vegan edibles.

The hoopers braved the sun to get close to the bands.

The hoopers braved the sun to get close to the bands.

10. Suddenly, your curiosity about why The Big Wonderful exists is suddenly overwhelming. You enter what appears to be The Big Wonderful information tent. You ask the 20-something volunteer sitting among all of the TBW merch what this crazy festival is about. She smiles, points at two men chatting in a different tent nearby, and tells you, “Ummmm- why don’t you go talk to the guy over there who started it?” You then wonder if any of the volunteers know more about this event than you do. You ask a volunteer near the exit about TBW and he directs you back to the information tent. You then ask him how long The Big Wonderful has been around. He tells you six months; later a third volunteer tells you two years.

General TBW-ness.

General TBW-ness.

And that’s when you realize, though this event has a lot of potential, it’s just not quite there yet.

The food trucks are scattered and some are even located behind each other, making it impossible for you to mouth-wateringly glance at all of your delicious options at once. And dotted among these food trucks are the fashion trucks. You wish these had their own designated area of The Big Wonderful circle so you could traipse through their wares, one after the other, instead of spending $25 on a crystal necklace and then wishing you still had cash for that all-natural deodorant stand. You hippie.

You look at the band playing and realize that since the stage is so far from any shade and oddly sandwiched between two empty structures (the windowed house and the pony hut), the musicians have had no contact with any sort of audience today. Except the hoopers.

People also get close to the stage for a few seconds for sign selfies. psh. millennials.

People also get close to the stage for a few seconds for sign selfies. psh. millennials.

And speaking of the empty structures, you wonder: Why isn’t the pony hut a trippy VIP booze area or something? Where is the local art that the little house claims to hold? Why isn’t the tour bus repurposed so that it’s more than just something to look at? The pieces stand alone like bones.

You’ve officially sweated out all of your PBR, so you decide to call it a day. You think about trying to ask yet another volunteer questions on your way out, but he appears passed out in the shade, or dead. It’s hard to tell.

Walking away, you wish The Big Wonderful felt a little more like a proper festival. It has the potential to be, with some organization, planning, and general DIY-awesomeness. The bones for a sweet weekend event exist at The Big Wonderful, but someone needs to put this skeleton together.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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