Public Safety Kept It Rowdy At Your Mom's House

By: Nathan Sheppard

Although Your Mom’s House isn’t the biggest venue in Denver, it was filled with the same amount of excitement and energy as any of The Mile High’s larger venues likely were last weekend. Best of all- the lineup for last Friday’s show was all local.

People came early to listen to the freestyle jam band Chompers, who set the mood and helped everyone put on their dancing shoes. Next up was Mad Wallace, who kept the freestyle vibes flowing with their impressive improvisation. And finally, with the crowd warmed up and packed in, Denver’s Public Safety took the stage with an equal amount of excitement.

Public Safety.

Public Safety.

Public Safety combined rock with soul and a little bit of country to create something that everyone grooved along with. Lead singer Bear Buscher kept the crowd engaged while the rest of the band- Jimmy Jeter (guitar), Ethan Desmond (bass), and Tim Kane (drums)- pumped out funky tunes. The catchy lyrics and exceptional musicianship of this headlining four-piece created a memorable live experience that I’d definitely catch again.

Check out Public Safety’s most recent self-titled EP here and make sure to catch the band for yourself by checking their tour schedule.

-Nathan

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

Refueled and Ready For Liftoff: Booster’s Front Range Funk/Fusion Sound Rises to a New Level

By: Will Baumgartner

Boulder-based “funk/fusion/rocket fuel” quartet Booster have been one of my favorite local groups for awhile. I first caught them at The Lazy Dog in early 2015, drawn by curiosity and loyalty to old friends who had also been my musical cohorts (bassist Alex Vouri and drummer Mike Lehman had both played in The Pamlico Sound with me). What I heard at that first show was satisfying and exciting beyond anything I could have expected: the duo, with their first keyboardist Aaron Pettine (now of Envy Alo, who we last covered for BolderBeat here), were simply on fire with funky/jazzy compositions, infectious energy, and top-level musicianship. When trumpeter Les Miller joined a couple of months later, it was like their rocket ship had burst through a whole new level of space, breaking some unknown sound barrier, and I went from ardent supporter to rabid fan of the band. I wanted more; all I could get of Booster’s sounds. Then, toward the end of 2015, Pettine announced that he would be leaving the group to focus on Envy Alo, and I was (as I’m sure other fans were too) greatly disheartened. Alex Vouri told me they were going to get someone new in on keys, but I wondered how anyone could fill Aaron’s shoes. Still, I told myself to just wait and see.

As it turned out, all I needed was a little patience and faith: Booster are about to do their first show with new keyboardist Evan Morris, and as Alex said to me in a conversation a little while back, “this guy is straight fire”. There’s nothing like taking an already great band and bringing in some new blood and creativity. And so, on the eve of a new dawn for the exploratory vehicle known as Booster, I was more than excited to have a conversation with Alex Vouri and Les Miller about what the group’s been up to and what to expect from the band next:

I’ve been a Booster fan since the beginning, which wasn’t all that long ago, and have seen you grow and change a lot in a short time. What were the circumstances of the group’s formation, and how have things changed since then?

Alex: Well, it started as most groups do- I wanted to form a group to perform instrumental music that would be equally fun to listen or dance to; good for the brain and the booty, ya know? So I called up our drummer Mike Lehman, we jammed a few times just the two of us, and then we started bringing in players we knew and already had chemistry with. Mike brought Aaron in on keys and after a few shows, we felt we could really use some solid top end melodic focus, so we brought Les Miller in on trumpet.

Alex Vouri of Booster. 

Alex Vouri of Booster. 

For your first year or so, your keyboardist was Aaron Pettine, and I know y’all loved working with him. Now that your lineup has changed, you seem super excited about new keys player Evan Morris. How has bringing him into the band affected your overall scenario?

Alex: Evan is a monster player, and a perfect fit for Booster. His phrasing and voicings really open up the tonal pallet when we improvise, which allows us to be more harmonically complex, and at the same time, a little looser in feel since there are so many paths to choose from. He really dropped right in chemistry-wise, and it feels as if he’s always been here! He’s a good guy too, which is always nice.

One of the most interesting and impressive things about this band is the way each instrument- bass, drums, trumpet, and keys- feels like a lead instrument, yet fits into an organic sound. Do you all take active roles in composing?

Alex: Being a quartet without vocals or a familiar focal point is deliberate; we’re very much a traditional jazz quartet lineup of horn, keys, bass, and drums. We want to spread the focus evenly across the band, allowing each player to feel fulfilled and invested. In a band of such great players, it’s pretty easy to do! In terms of working up material, it’s definitely a group effort. Sometimes someone will have a pretty specific arrangement for a tune and sometimes not, but everyone is typically in charge of their part or contribution: we don’t micro-manage each other’s playing.

Les Miller of Booster.

Les Miller of Booster.

I hear echoes of a lot of familiar sounds and styles within the Booster sound: Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis come to mind, but I’m sure there must be many influences at work here. Who have some of your main influences been, both compositionally and in your individual styles as players?

Alex: Herbie and Miles are right on for sure, I also really love Jaco Pastorius, Grant Green, Christian McBride; all the greats. Weather Report is a big influence for me in terms of instrumental quartets, and Critters Buggin too. They’re one of my all-time faves in terms of chops and pure originality.

Les: My main influences improvisationally are Lee Morgan, Maceo Parker, Jerry Garcia, & as you mentioned, Miles Davis. I really enjoy the 1968-69 output of Miles, and I think albums such as Miles in the Sky, Filles de Kilimanjaro, and of course Bitches Brew have influenced Booster’s sonic direction. It’s interesting to note that the keyboard player on those albums is the other player mentioned in your question, Herbie Hancock.

Mike Lehman of Booster. 

Mike Lehman of Booster. 

Your music is richly 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?

Alex: Yeah, that’s always a goal for me personally. It’s good for everyone at a show. It’s important as a player to be interested and invested in what you’re doing, while at the same time not becoming totally self-gratifying, and alienating your listeners, which can happen in a chops-heavy improvisational band.

Les: I’ve wanted a band like this for a long time, one that combines in-the-pocket groove playing of funk music (making it eminently danceable), the harmonic complexity of jazz & Western romantic traditions, and the rich, constantly expanding sonic palette available to musicians today.

You’re an entirely instrumental band, but since you’re also clearly a band that keeps expanding its concepts moving restlessly forward, I’m curious: Have you considered adding vocals at any point in the future?

Les: No plans for a permanent vocalist, but we have some guest vocalist ideas brewing.  And I’ve been known to drop a mean 16 on very rare occasions.

You began as a trio, with drums bass and keys, then added trumpet. Any chance of the group expanding beyond its current quartet form? And if so, what other instruments might you bring in?

Alex: I think we’ve struck an ideal balance for ourselves instrumentally. We all have just enough room, but we do love having folks sit in with us, that’s always a good time.

Les: I’m very happy with our current lineup. That being said, I have a long history of playing in horn sections with a sax player, so if Skerik wanted to join the band, I think we’d become a quintet pretty quickly.

Ha! Who wouldn’t say yes to Skerik (legendary saxophonist of Garage a Trois etc.) joining their funk fusion group? So… If Skerik came asking what y’all were like, what would you say? What’s your vision? Can you give our readers a capsule version of the “Booster Manifesto”?

Alex: We’re a band in which each player is free to do whatever they want. No limits, no preconceptions, no particular concrete goal or genre is in mind. We’re not trying to corner a market, we all just really love to make music we’re proud of, and want to grow as players and artists together, while putting on a good show of course! But in terms of a description? Funky, high energy, jazzy, adventurous… it’s always changing.

I’m very excited for your performances this week, starting tonight at Boulder’s Southern Sun followed by this Saturday’s Vine Street show in Denver. Can we expect any special treats at these gigs?

Alex: Yeah! The unveiling of Booster 2.0! Our sound has really changed, and we’re excited to share that with people. We’re very invigorated right now. We’ll have a lot of new tunes, and probably some special guests!

What’s on the horizon for Booster? Anything our readers should know about in advance, or would you rather milk the mystery?

Les: After this week, we have a show lined up at The Fox this fall, and are planning dates in Denver, Fort Collins, and all around the Front Range. We are excited to share the new tunes being forged in our rehearsal space, “The Launchpad”, and we can guarantee song breakouts at every show over the next few months! We play mostly original music, but will continue the tradition of surprising the crowd with a cover medley occasionally. In fact, I’m arranging two new ones right now. I won’t reveal both, but I will say that it is a nearly impossible task to choose just two or three favorite Steely Dan tunes, and we will probably invite our fans to choose an artist they’d like to hear us perform in the near future.

Make sure to check out the re-formed and re-charged Booster tonight at Southern Sun, and this Saturday at Vine Street Pub in Denver. Get the details on both events on Booster’s Facebook; keep up with the band on their website here.

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured, No Coast, and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 04/01 & 04/02

By: Hannah Oreskovich

You know that spring has sprung when the Boulder County Farmers Market begins, and that deliciousness starts tomorrow peeps. We’ll be covering a lot of musical acts at the market throughout the season; get the details on our plan for that below! Make sure to stop by and say hi tomorrow morning, and spend the rest of your weekend at these local spots (there is so much new music being released- weeeeeeeeeee!):

Today (Friday 04/01):

Augustus at Twisted Pine Brewing Company in Boulder 7pm-Close

The rockin’ guys of Augustus will be playing their First Friday residency at Twisted Pine tonight, so come over and grab a tall boy with this crew. The trio have been working hard recording a ton of new music for you over the past month, and they’re rumored to drop a new music video sometime soon too. This is the perfect way to start your weekend. Get to it!

Listen to Augustus’ track “Iceberg”:

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Official Album Release with Aqueous & Booster at The Fox Theatre in Boulder 9PM-Close

Baltimore’s psychedelic funk outfit Pigeons Playing Ping Pong dropped their new album Pleasure today and they’re celebrating with you at The Fox tonight! New York’s groove-rock trio, Aqueous, will be joining these funky dudes, along with Boulder’s own funk/fusion/rocketfuel band Booster. Love when we’ve got a local act on the bill! This is going to be a wildly fun show with awesome new music, so get your tickets here before the show sells out!

For a taste of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, peep their live performance album below:

Open to the Hound EP Release Party at Syntax: Physic Opera in Denver 9PM-Close

Denver’s wilderness rock group Open to the Hound are dropping their new EP Way of the Critter tonight at Syntax: Physic Opera. We just brought you a feature on their new music video for the song “Liquid Lady”, and if this show is anything like it, it’s bound to be a trippy good time! Denver’s Tyto Alba will share the stage for a set, along with gutter glam band Blanket Empire. Tickets are only $7; get other details here.

Watch the “Liquid Lady” vid if you haven’t yet:

Technicolor Tone Factory Digital Album Release Party at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s improv/funk/jazz five-piece Technicolor Tone Factory are releasing their first full length album at their Lazy Dog show tonight! We’ve been told it’s “60 minutes of pure TTF goodness”, so that’s something to get excited about peeps. The group has promised to make you move at the show, so come get down and check out all of their new jams!

Listen to TTF’s track “Breakbeat”:

Hunter Stone at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

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Hunter Stone hits one of our most favorite digs, The No Name Bar, tonight. He told us to “be prepared for some new stuff, including mandolins and drum sets and harmonies over new originals.” Joshua Thomas has been announced as special guest. Sounds saweeeeet! More new music? We’re game. Head to this show!

Listen to Hunter Stone’s song “Pedestal”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 04/02):

Eric Dorr, Sawyer Bernath, and Ben Hanna at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

Three talented gentleman are holding down the lovely Laughing Goat stage tomorrow night. Indie folk/rock artist Eric Dorr is currently working on an EP “layered with harmonies, electric guitar, and keyboards”, some of which you can expect to hear at the show. Sawyer Bernath, a Boulder singer/songwriter describes his writing as, “bleak, occasionally redemptive, and usually about memory, aimlessness, and/or girls.” Cool. And one of our faves, Ben Hanna, who is dropping an album soon, describes his sound as “punchy folk” and “kids songs for adults.” We guarantee you’ll love it. So get over to the good ‘ol LG and see these three live tomorrow night!

Check out the event for videos of each performer. 

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BONUS: Every week starting meowww we’ll update you in The Six on who is playing the BCFM on Saturday through a new partnership we formed! Whiskey Autumn’s in the AM tomorrow. Maybe you’ll stop by after a productive morning bike ride, or maybe you’ll just be hungover scarfing down falafels. We don’t judge. We just hope to see you there.

And last but not least...

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This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Denver’s Open to the Hound in honor of their new music video and EP release for Way of the Critter! Tune in to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light between 9-10PM to catch their song “Liquid Lady” on Rocky Flats’ show!

All of these new sounds have me drooling. Tasty-

See you soon Beaters.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

If you're looking for a weird night out, this could be it Boulder.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

For the deadheads. 

You trippin'.

You trippin'.

I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate the Grateful Dead following I’ve found here in Boulder. I know Colorado loves a good jam band- people are still insisting on telling me about their experience at that Phish show at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last month. And don’t worry- if you missed out, Phish are actually rolling back through Colorado for double nights at The Fillmore in November.

But yes. Colorado loves a good jam band. So it should have made sense that I’d find a collective of Deadheads in Boulder. And with the semi-recent opening of Owsley’s Golden Road on The Hill, it’s obvious there is a demand for the eclectic style of zee dead, “which fused elements of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, rock, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, space rock. . . and instrumental jams.” And so Deadheads, this one’s for you. If you f*cking love jam bands, if you f*cking love space rock, if you f*cking love acid, then I’ve got two fine options for you tonight in Boulder:

1. The Dark Star Orchestra is playing the Boulder Theater tonight and you can go for $25. The DSO has been playing shows together for 17 years to “continue the Grateful Dead concert experience.” They’ve played small venues, giant festivals, and they even have their own gathering (of course) called The Dark Star Jubilee. Their set list will be comprised of songs throughout the Grateful Dead’s 30 years of touring, so you’ll get a little taste of all the magic. And if you happen to miss this (or you just want more), at the end of the month, two members of the DSO will play a show with their sons at Owsley’s, which you can read more about here. The fun starts at 8PM tonight kids.

Artwork at Owsley's.

Artwork at Owsley's.

 

2. Do you remember drinking purple vodka s*hit at The Goose? Well you can’t do that anymore, bro. What was once the Goose is now Owsley’s Golden Road in Boulder, a Grateful Dead-themed bar named after the famous sound engineer and LSD cook, Owsley Stanley. This actually completes a trio of Denver/Boulder based Grateful Dead bars for owner Jay Bianchi. You have probably been to Quixote’s True Blue and Sancho’s Broken Arrow if you love Owsley’s. In fact, allegedly, there are actually groups of people who just party between the three spots living out of their vans on a very consistent basis. But look the point is, tonight The Jive Tribe is playing Owsley’s and you could go check that out my dear Deadheads. The Jive Tribe are a Denver-based jam band and their show will hit Owsley’s stage from 7-11PM.

So go get tab it, you jam-band loving Boulderites.

-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.