Big Wild Really Might Just Be Invincible

By: Annie Kane

It’s been almost a year since we interviewed Big Wild prior to his set at Larimer Lounge in Denver, and we have to make a music snob move by saying: we called it. Over the course of the past year, Big Wild has arguably become one of the biggest rising stars in EDM. The Foreign Family Collective artist sold out Denver’s Gothic Theatre two nights in a row this year, and just last weekend, he brought the house down at his (of course) sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Did we mention he’s also playing Red Rocks later this year?

Despite growing from intimate clubs to massive stages, Jackson Stell, the man behind Big Wild, still manages to have every audience member dancing their face off throughout his entire set. From entering with “I Just Wanna” from his new EP Invincible, to closing out with a collaborative performance with iDA HAWK on his title track hit “Invincible,” Jackson’s unrelenting energy kept the audience fueled well past midnight at Bowery last weekend, and buzzing right on into the early morning.

Listen to Big Wild’s Invincible EP:

Big Wild has a few shows left on his current tour before he hits the festival circuit for the summer, so make sure to snag yourself tickets here.

-Annie

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

Envy Alo: A Danceable Fusion

By: Will Baumgartner

"It never ceases to amaze me what three people can do with a guitar, drums and a Hammond organ. I recently got the opportunity to master Envy Alo's new EP and I was excited to hear so many great rock, funk, and hip hop influences, all wrapped up into their own unique sound. I can't wait to see what these cats come up with next and really hope I can be a part of it!"

-Alan Evans, Soulive

There you have it from the mouth of Alan Evans, the drummer of Soulive, one of the most popular jazz/funk fusion bands on the planet: Envy Alo, a trio of young Front Range musicians, are already well on their way to a bright future after only eight months of existence as a group. While their instrumentation is the same as Soulive, and they obviously share a lot of the same influences and tastes, these boys definitely have their own distinctive thing going on: a stew of jazz, funk, rock that is not only technically impressive, but tremendously exciting and infectious, and definitely dance-friendly. I couldn’t stop moving the last time I saw them live!

In anticipation for Envy Alo’s upcoming performance in The Pamlico Sound’s latest Funkstravaganza (five funk bands in one night at Cervantes’ Other Side this Saturday, June 18th), I recently spoke with keyboardist Aaron Pettine and guitarist/vocalist Kevin Hinder to get some insights into their process, progress, and plans. Check it out:

You guys have been around for less than a year and are already making pretty big noise on the local scene. How did your group come together, and what do you think were the key elements in your rapid rise?

Aaron: Kevin and I knew each other from attending James Madison University in Virginia for our undergrad studies. After we both relocated to Boulder, we met Tyler Gwynn (drummer) through mutual friends. After a few jam sessions with him, we knew we had a unique sound and chemistry and decided to move forward as a band.

Tyler and I both had been playing in other Front Range bands for a while now (Booster and Tenth Mountain Division respectively), so that helped us attract some of the fans from those bands to see this new project. We had developed great relationships with many of the local venues too, who were gracious enough to offer Envy Alo opening slots and gigs within our first few months of being a band.

Kevin: Another key element was just the initial drive that we wanted to do something different. A lot of bands in the area have that typical “jam band” sound, and we really wanted to create something unique. We had the tools already in place individually to do something new, and so far it seems like people enjoy it!

Kevin Hinder.

Kevin Hinder.

With your unusual and rather sparse lineup- keyboards, guitar and, drums- you create a very full, rich sound. How do you accomplish this?

Aaron: It’s simple really: add a synth bass line, swirling organ chords, furiously fast, yet tasteful jazz-rock guitar licks, and a danceable funky drum groove, and boom, that’s our sound!

Speaking of sound, I hear echoes of a lot of familiar sounds and styles within Envy Alo. The obvious comparison would be to the great funk-jazz trio Soulive, but not all your influences seem to be so contemporary. Some of the “organ trio” groups of the 60’s come to mind, as well as the solid classic groove of Booker T. & the MG’s. Who have some of your main influences been, both compositionally and in your individual styles as players?

Aaron: As a keyboard player, it's legends like Jimmy Smith, Booker T., Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder. I also got a lot of my influences from current players like Neal Evans (Soulive/Lettuce), and Beau Sasser (Kung Fu) as well. I’d say my biggest influence is John Medeski from Medeski Martin & Wood, who I was lucky enough to study under in 2015.

Kevin: When I was a kid, I went through a heavy Hendrix phase, and was into heavier rock and the blues. But as I got a little older I started listening to bands like Phish and Widespread Panic, Derek Trucks, and Umphrey's McGee. I would say Jimmy Herring is probably my favorite guitar player out there, but when I really started studying music, my focus shifted to jazz with players like Pat Metheny and John Scofield (probably #2 to Jimmy Herring for me).

Aaron Pettine. 

Aaron Pettine. 

Your music is rewarding on both an intellectual level and a visceral one. Musicians get plenty to appreciate in terms of skill and complexity, while your average concertgoer gets a solid dose of dance music. Has this been a conscious thing? How do you approach creating music like this?

Aaron: [It has] absolutely been a conscious thing. We want to challenge ourselves in the music we write, but we also want it to be accessible and fun for the listener and concertgoer. Finding that happy medium can sometimes be the toughest part but it's one of the great joys of writing our own music.

One of the things that keeps your music interesting and exciting is while your primary focus is clearly on the funk/jazz side of the spectrum, there are also occasional flavors of rock. Where does this varietal spice come from?

Kevin: I think listening to an extremely wide range of styles helps us to draw on those influences and place some of that into our own sounds. Whether it’s conscious or not, it definitely comes through in all of our playing and writing. A Tribe Called Quest is a big influence in that regard, since they mold hip-hop with jazz, funk, rock, and more all into their sound.

Tyler Gwynn.

Tyler Gwynn.

Yet another thing that sets Envy Alo apart is the fact that not all of your stuff is strictly instrumental; you have some actual songs with well-written and interesting lyrics. What songwriters have influenced you?

Kevin: I’ve been listening to Jim Croce a good bit lately, and his lyrics are so well developed, funny, and his flow is so good. The obvious ones come to mind [too]: Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards. I also love Jerry Joseph. The imagery in his writing is so strong and deep, you can tell he has really been through some shit and has a lot of demons and skeletons in his closet, so pulling on his writing is big for me.

Do your compositions come completely realized from individual band members, or are they more often group efforts?

Aaron: It’s a little bit of everything. A lot of earlier tunes came to be through us just jamming, liking something, and putting some structure to it. Recently, Kevin and I have been doing a lot of writing on our own, either chord structures or lyrics or both, and then we get together and finish it up with Tyler.

Listen to Envy Alo's debut EP One Time

I’m very excited for your performance at The Pamlico Sound’s Funkstravaganza show this Saturday. Can the audience expect any special treats from y’all at that performance?

Aaron: Yes! We will have some special treats in store. We are very excited to play our first show as Envy Alo at Cervantes’- it’s one of our favorite Denver venues!

What the hell does “Envy Alo” mean, anyway?

Aaron: It’s a play off of the Spanish word “envialo” which means “ship it”. It’s a term we use when we need to spur one of us to really rock something.

Kevin: Basically, we just replace every verb related to doing anything with “ship it”.

Watch Envy Alo's live performance of "Manic Depression":

I never could have figure that one out on my own! So what’s on the horizon for Envy Alo? Where do you see yourselves a year from now? Anything our readers should know about in advance?

Kevin: We have a summer full of dates we’re ready to announce soon, and we will be playing some of the bigger local venues too, so we’re pretty jazzed about that. We were just booked to play at a music festival in Taos, NM in September, which will be our first festival. Sometime in the fall, we plan on recording a full length album. We’ve been talking to Al Evans from Soulive about recording in his studio out East, so we have some pretty lofty goals. We’re ready to dive in headfirst and become the best and most unique band we can be!

So make sure to “ship it” with Envy Alo and all of the great funk bands on the Funkstravaganza lineup this Saturday at Cervantes! Keep up with Envy Alo on Facebook.

-Will

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 03/11, 03/12, & 03/13

By: Hannah Oreskovich

This weekend is jam-packed with awesome events! Check it out peeps:

Today (Friday 03/011):

Trout Steak Revival with Caribou Mountain Collective & Augustus at The Fox Theatre in Boulder 9PM-Close

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We’ve officially been talking about this show for weeks and it’s finally here! Come get down with us at The Fox tonight with one of Colorado’s favorite bluegrass bands, Trout Steak Revival! Nederland’s bluegrass quartet CMC will be sharing the stage, and Boulder’s rock trio Augustus will get the party started! We gave away free tickets to the show this week courtesy of The Fox, and some sweet Augustus merch from the boys themselves! So come boogie with us tonight. Tickets are only $14 and they’re right here.

Listen to Augustus’ EP Into Frames for a sweet show preview:

Asalott at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

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Awesome four-piece Asalott is breaking beats behind the big brown door tonight! We just launched a whole feature on the Boulder-based band by our contributor Will, which you can check out right here. Come dance with us at the show!

Check out Asalott’s live synth set at a previous No Name performance:

Tomorrow (Saturday 03/12)

Apes of the State, My Friends Worship Satan, The Opiate Poet, Dead Work, & Patrick the Pirate at The Forge in Boulder 630PM-Close


Pennsylvania’s punk folk seven-piece Apes of the State are making a stop in Boulder tomorrow night at one of our favorite DIY spots, The Forge. My Friends Worship Satan, a punk duo, will share the stage, along with The Opiate Poet, and “the most metal folk band that plays ska punk”, Dead Work. Plus, local favorite Patrick the Pirate will open the show. Come one, come all. It’s gonna be a great night.

Listen to Apes of State’s “Things I never meant to tell you”:

WadiRum at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse in Boulder 8PM-Close

WadiRum’s name and sound are inspired by frontman Stewart Erlich’s travels in the Middle East. The music is “raw, powerful, silent and loud in turns, and ultimately healing… with lush harmonies, warm bass and cello, and drums that move from subtle to explosive.” Sounds sweet! Come give the group a listen over a coffee or some wine tomorrow night! We get the feeling it’s going to be something you just can’t hear anywhere else.

Learn more about WadiRum here

Realtalk at The Lazy Dog 10PM-Close

Realtalk.

Realtalk.

Fresh off their first Fox gig, Boulder’s Realtalk are headlining tonight’s show at The Lazy Dog. We love this Boulder-based funky rock group, and are super stoked for this set. Realtalk always brings the party, whether they’re playing Nelly covers or jamming out thoughtful originals like “Freddie”. So make sure to hit the LD tomorrow evening and par-tayyyy!

Watch Realtalk’s official music video for “Freddie”:

All Weekend (03/11-03/13)

Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland -Various Times & Locations-

It’s that time of year again: time to get weird up in Ned this weekend at Frozen Dead Guy Days! There are tons of events happening and, of course, music! Some of the bands on the schedule include Gangsterish, In The Whale, Strange Americans, Intuit, Na’an Stop, Cold River City, The Samples, Dragondeer, Powerlung Rangers, Gipsy Moon, Lady & The Gentleman, Gasoline Lollipops, and a whole lot more. Peep the full schedule here and make your way up to one of our favorite mountain towns! It’s gonna get wild.

Watch Dragondeer’s “Don’t That Feel Good” video by Jam In The Van:

And for our radio feature: 

PS: This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Boulder’s Cold River City! The rockin’ funk and blues outfit are play Frozen Dead Guy Days this weekend (see above) and their new album Thank You. Sorry. Love You. is rumored to drop soon. Tune in Sunday night to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light between 9-10PM to listen to their recently released single “Could It Be”!

See you out there Boulder bros and babes.

-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.

Antonio Lopez Just Dropped New Music- Listen to "Cloud 9000: Vol.2: The Alamosa EP"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Antonio Lopez's newest EP will put you in one easy-listening mood.

Antonio Lopez.

Antonio Lopez.

Local singer/songwriter Antonio Lopez dropped the second volume in his Cloud 9000 project yesterday, titled Cloud 9000: Vol. 2: The Alamosa EP. Lopez dropped his first EP in this eventual trio series back in 2011, which you may remember as Cloud 9000: Vol.1: The Minneapolis EP. For Lopez, each chapter (or EP) in the project is the chance to work in and reflect on a place that has inspired this Colorado songsmith.

So it was no surprise that for the recording of Cloud 9000: Vol. 2: The Alamosa EP, Lopez made his way back to his hometown of Alamosa, where he worked on the EP with the musical mentors of his youth. Said Lopez, “Growing up in that type of rural environment was invigorating as a boy seeking adventure and also as a young musician. Sure, there wasn’t [a] ton of live music happening every night of the week, but that just left me more time to hang out in my bedroom jamming along to Red Hot Chili Pepper records.”

Listen to Cloud 9000: Vol. 2: The Alamosa EP:

But the songs on this EP don't just reflect on Lopez’s childhood; they’re also inspired by his time at Adams State University, where he double majored in guitar performance and music composition. His time at university is what Lopez describes as a “pivotal point in my musical evolution.” Said Lopez, “After each lesson with my composition professor Matthew Schildt, I felt like a kid who [had] just received a new box of Legos. I’d go home and try and build something cool utilizing what I [had] just learned.” It made sense then that Schildt, along with musicians Don Richmond, Don Conoscenti and James W. Doyle, were the core team of musical mentors that Lopez worked with on his newest EP.

This week, Lopez will actually have two chances for you to celebrate his release with him. The first is at Tuft Theatre at Swallow Hill this Saturday at 8PM. Boulder-in-the-Round creator and singer/songwriter Theresa Peterson will open the show. The second party will be held at Still Cellars next Thursday at 7PM. For that show, Wilson Harwood (who just released new material himeself), will share the stage as opening act.

When asked about the inspiration behind Cloud 9000: Vol. 2: The Alamosa EP, Lopez told us, “This collection of songs is my farewell to the past. While I have cherished memories from those days, there are also some I'd rather not mention. This EP brings closure to that chapter of my life.”

So make sure to celebrate beginnings and endings with this talented local artist this weekend and next week! More information on both shows can be found here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

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

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Come check out our masked madness this week. 

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah, Wilson, Brooke.

Jeremiah, Wilson, Brooke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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