I Went To A Weed Party & Watched Marco Benevento Rock Out Because Denver

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Some might say that weed and music go together like wind and fire: one sets the other ablaze. Partaking in smoking the herb while enjoying music is by no means something novel; it’s something many music lovers and showgoers know to be a staple of the scene since days of past. And Denver, being the hip, progressive city that it is, has companies and entrepreneurs taking this idea a step further by bringing some class and sophistication to the concept.  

Marco Benevento at Cultivated Synergy.

Marco Benevento at Cultivated Synergy.

Recently, I was invited to a private event at Cultivated Synergy, a co-working space for entrepreneurs in the RiNo district of Denver. Marco Benevento, the psych-jazz guru who BolderBeat just wrote about here, played the party. I met Marco via a Lyft ride in Boulder the weekend he played The Fox Theatre. We got to chatting, and after learning that I write for BolderBeat, he invited me to the event in Denver the following Monday. I agreed I’d come check it out, but I had no idea what I was about to witness.

Binske's Samplings.

Binske's Samplings.

When Monday night rolled around, I showed up at Cultivated Synergy around 8PM. Walking through the door, the first thing that hit me was the sweet aroma of a very familiar scent. The people congregating held joints between their fingers, puffing and passing them along, filling the venue with a smoky, hazy vibe.

The full spread.

The full spread.

As I walked around trying to get oriented as to what it was I just walked into, I came upon a table spread of honey, olive oils, chocolates, and joints. The person behind the table greeted me with a very friendly attitude and proceeded to explain that these foods in front of me were a Binske product, a Colorado-based edibles company with a conscientious ethos and a very artsy character. The friendly gentleman offered a taste of any and all of the products on display, making sure to point out they were not medicated, except for the joints obviously. Smart move on their part keeping the food untreated, or else everyone would have been on the floor drooling before the music even started.

The evening was essentially a Binske tasting party, and since they sponsored Marco Benevento’s tour, he eventually took the stage. Once the music started, people got to dancing and having a great time. Marco Benevento’s band is a trio of bad-asses. As Marco put it, “We use our time for fun!” and that fun radiated from the stage. Marco’s piano skills are sophisticated and playful, Andy Borger on the drums nailed the beat, and Karina Rykman’s bass shredding skills whilst holding a perma-smile on her face kept us grooving.

Another thing that goes with joints? Cake. Duh.

Another thing that goes with joints? Cake. Duh.

After some socializing, I came to learn that the marijuana industry in Denver extends far beyond the dispensary and weed growing business-end you hear about. A space like Cultivated Synergy hosts weed parties, events, and even yoga classes frequently, and is known for doing just that. According to one of the attendees at the party who is himself on a quest to capitalize on the weed industry but wanted to remain anonymous, these kinds of events used to be raided and shut down. But, from the looks of it, after Initiative 300, these days that doesn’t seem to be a problem. So the potential, like the ganj, is growing. If you want to be hip like the cool kids in Denver and you’re 4/20 friendly or curious, then I highly recommend checking out Cultivated Synergy for yourself.

-Mirna

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

Marco Benevento Returns To Colorado With Another Jumpin' Set

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The king of pianist-meets-experimental-rock graced The Fox stage last weekend, and if you’re not familiar, let me catch you up on Marco Benevento.

Marco Benevento. 

Marco Benevento. 

Starting in the experimental jazz scene around 1999, Benevento is known in multiple genre circles for his piano playing. In fact, his first studio album as a pianist, Invisibile Baby (2008), was nominated for an Independent Music Award. In his second solo record, Me Not Me (2009), Benevento dipped more heavily into the jazz collides with experimental rock realm and has been soaring through it ever since.

Benevento has a special history with Boulder. He’s been playing the local scene since his involvement with Joe Russo in what they dubbed the Benevento Russo Duo. Russo called Boulder home for a period of time, and as such, Benevento developed a following here and let me just stay- it’s still strong. Benevento’s Fox crowd exploded in applause when he entered the stage in his trademark sunglasses and a top hat after a super-groovy set by opener Envy Alo, and fans only boogied more from there.

Check out Benevento's Woodstock Sessions:

Benevento started the first half of his set with Side A of his 2016 release, The Story of Fred Short. The band then mixed in a few covers (including fan favorite “Heartbeats” by the Knife, which was a cover released on Benevento’s Me Not Me record). They also played a number of originals from Benevento’s catalogue throughout the second half of the set, including a few from the recently released Woodstock Sessions; “they” referring to badass female bassist Karina Rykman and energetic drummer Andy Boger. Though mostly positioned behind the keys (which were stacked with various pickups, toys, and electronic gadgets to facilitate Benevento’s circuit-bending styles), Marco jumped off of his piano a number of times to the delight of the crowd, and overall brought a ton of energy to his performance.

Benevento put on an electrically-charged show last weekend, and the trio’s current tour continues. Get the rest of his tour dates here and make sure keep up with Benevento’s newest music moves on his website.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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