KMG's Recent Zonnefest Hosted Spectacular Talent & Killer Tunes

By: Clinton Henderson

The KMG Studio Music Showcase continued to impress in its second manifestation last week. The fest is a free mini-show put on by KMG Studios on the last Thursday of every month which showcases bands and musicians for thirty minutes per set. May’s show (affectionately called the Zonnefest by many because it is organized by KMG’s Mitchael Zonnefeld) featured Nite Owls, Amoramora, Lady and the Gentlemen, The Last Minute Band, and Technicolor Tone Factory. Last week, the June lineup consisted of Andrew Sturtz and Sierra Voss, Boulder Sound Lab, Shantyman & The Speakeasies, The Last Minute Band, and Sixty Minute Men. Although the show started nearly an hour late, the music was once again stupendous! There wasn’t a bar... but what’s a boy to do?

The showcase stage at KMG. Photo per the author. 

The showcase stage at KMG. Photo per the author. 

KMG owner Greg Kimble introduced the first performer of the night, Andrew Sturtz, who was accompanied with harmonies by BolderBeat’s very own Sierra Voss. The crowd was told in Kimble’s intro how Sturtz had actually been busking on Pearl Street when Kimble happened to hear him. Kimble asked him to drop by the studio, immediately recognizing Sturtz’s talent, and Kimble was spot on; if anything he was slightly reserved in the praise Andrew deserved for his singing. On songs like “Changing by the Second”, a cover of The Beatles’ “You Got To Hide Your Love Away”, and a tune called “Southern Night”, Andrew sang wonderfully soulful and heartfelt folk music that was beautifully optimistic and melancholy all at once. His falsettos were stunning and the harmonies that Sierra sang filled out the duo’s sound. Sturtz’s original, “Bosnia”, conveyed a peaceful sense of loss, “Avalon” was a new song that captured imagination, and a cover of Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” completely re-imagined the original to highlight the quality of Strutz’s vocal range. Keep an eye out for Andrew and Sierra, who occasionally still play on Pearl Street, gig often at at The No Name Bar, and play other spots in Boulder/Denver.

Following that duo was Boulder Sound Lab, a funky group with goofy tendencies. Their first song, “Jeffery the Bagman”, was written by the band’s saxophonist, Lyle Wilner. It had a definite James Brown influence to it before it evolved into a far more spacey jam. Their second song was an instrumental bit that featured strange scales/licks that moved from raw funk to a more rocking-roll funk with driving energy, shredding guitar, and wonderful two-guitar and saxophone harmonies. Their final song, “Muffin Top”, paraphrased the theme from “The Pink Panther” at the beginning and then evolved into a major-key jam. Overall, BSL were a very positive, upbeat, and optimistic jam band with a party-funk sound fueled by members that are each excellent at their instruments. They write their own music and if you want a grand funky time, catch them this Friday, July 8th at Boulder House.

Andrew Sturtz & Sierra Voss. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Andrew Sturtz & Sierra Voss. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Next was Shantyman and the Speakeasies. From the get-go, this band had me thinking of Sublime mixed with the Grateful Dead, thanks to their  song “Cherry Pie”, a loose Wah funk sound. This is your standard Colorado jam band, and that’s a good thing in spite of all odds. The bass was funky played through a synth, the two guitarists played some awesome licks and sang harmonies, and their savage drummer was also singing. Their entire set was a groovy good time.

Featured last month at the first showcase, and in the same slot this month for this showcase was KMG’s house band, The Last Minute Band. This is a “Holy-Sh*t-Did-I-Just-Witness-That?” sort of band. With two Grammy nominated musicians in the group, The Last Minute Band will leave your jaw on the floor every time they play. Covers like “Feelin’ Good”, “Respect”, and “I Want You Back” showcased the band’s astounding talent. Greg Kimble hit impressive falsettos in spite of being sick, Ashley Kisner and Cayla Kimble shredded energetic vocals, Mitchael Zonnefeld held a great groove on bass, Zack Markle burned the keys, Chalo Ortiz absolutely amazed on the guitar, Angel Adams played a magnificent saxophone, and Motown played otherworldly drums. The group finished their set with a pulsing, driving tune aptly called “Party” and a song dedicated to Greg’s mother called “Rollin’”, a beautiful, determined bluesy song, followed by a spot-on cover of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.

Shantyman and the Speakeasies. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Shantyman and the Speakeasies. Photo Credit: Mitchael Zonnefeld

Sixty Minute Men finished out the night. They’re a funky, soulful, prog-rock band. Their burning sax player wrote the tune “Groove Shoes”, which played exactly how the title sounds: it gets you moving. Another song, “Heartbreaker”, was a ripping rocker with some excellent rhythmic stops that kept the audience popping. Other tracks featured beautiful, loving melodies that will have your heart racing when you hear them play. This group plays next in Boulder July 23rd at Souther Sun

All said, the second KMG Showcase, aka the Zonnefest, was a success. Each of the performers were excellent and showed the varied talent that can be found in Boulder, as well as the community that KMG is adding to the already vibrant Colorado music scene. You can learn more about KMG’s studio options here. And you should definitely come out to the next KMG showcase, the third Thursday (July 21st) of this month!

-Clinton

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist 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.

Nederland's Caribou Room Lines Up Locals for a Night of Tunes

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Things are going to get funky at Nederland's Caribou Room this weekend.

Nederland's Caribou Room. 

Nederland's Caribou Room. 

This Saturday, June 4th, Nederland’s Caribou Room will be hosting two local acts for your entertainment. It’s the first time this new(ish) venue has solely featured local talent for a night of music, so to mark the occasion, we’re bringing you info on both of the bands involved:

Technicolor Tone Factory.

Technicolor Tone Factory.

Opening up the night at Caribou is Boulder’s own Technicolor Tone Factory! The “effervescent funk and heavy progressive rock” five-piece have built a strong local following in recent years, and will be breaking out some funky sounds for their Caribou debut. Members Bryan LeFever (drums), Greg Kalifa (keys/organ/vocals), Cameron Canepa (guitar/vocals), Karl Summers (bass/vocals), and Evan Morris (keys/synth) are fresh off of some time in the booth at KMG, where they are recording their first studio album. TTF are pumped to play some of what they’ve been working on in the studio live, so head over and check out their new music! They’ve promised a high-energy set with lots of groovability.

Malai Llama.

Malai Llama.

Following TTF, Rollinsville’s Malai Llama will take the stage, a dance/fusion four-piece who like to combine “jazz, rock, and electronica in a psychedelic fusion”. The self-acclaimed jam band is comprised of Steven Govanlu, Chris Cornwall, John DeSousa, and Matt Flaherty. Together, the four like to “push musical boundaries by combining the energy of instrumentation with electronic exploration”, aka, they’ve got sweet synths and boomin’ turntables injected into their sound, along with their traditional instruments of guitar, bass, and drums. It’s rumored that it’s impossible to sit still at a Malai Llama show, so come ready to party!

Grab full details on this Caribou Room show here and head to Ned this weekend!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

KMG Life Inc.: Boulder's One Stop Shop Helping Artists Achieve Their Dreams

By: Hannah Oreskovich

KMG Life wants to see you in their studio. 

Jeff Tanner and Jamal Browning mixing at KMG. 

Jeff Tanner and Jamal Browning mixing at KMG. 

If you haven’t yet heard about the new spot making noise on Sterling Circle, then you’d better keep reading Boulder. Just a few months ago, KMGLife Inc. opened their studio doors in the B, relocating from their former home in Greenwood Village, CO to their new, massive $5 million space. First known for their work with Denver’s hip hop/rap scene, KMGLife Inc. (which stands for Kimble Music Group, after owner/mastermind Greg Kimble) has expanded over the past five years into an empire that now consists of studio space, an attached live-event concert venue, an in-house recording arts and business program, and their own record label

Kimeray Wells in a session at KMG in Studio C.

Kimeray Wells in a session at KMG in Studio C.

A&R man, manager, and session player Mitchael Zonnefeld was kind enough to give us a tour recently, where we got to check out multiple studio rooms and vocal booths, $200k in mics, tons of sweet modern and vintage equipment, $40k in lighting and projection mapping, and even their 35 terabyte hard drive (because you gotta keep those beats safe, right?).

KMG's live-event space and stage view from the VIP balcony area.

KMG's live-event space and stage view from the VIP balcony area.

We checked out the live-event space too, where Denver artist Becca Krueger filmed her new music video last week. The stage and two-floored venue, complete with a VIP balcony area, is also used for album release shows and other industry parties. KMG will set up transportation for you, catering, and a number of other things to complete your event vision. And if you need a house band, KMG has got you covered there as well. Their core team members (including Zonnefeld and Kimble) play in the house/session band, Last Minute.

A video shoot in Studio B with  Grigsby  .

A video shoot in Studio B with Grigsby.

KMGLife Inc. has recently expanded into the media market as well:

Said Zonnefeld, “We’re a one stop shop for artists; we’re a company that happens to own a recording studio but we also do music videos, promotional work, photo shoots, social media management, private release shows… anything to help an artist achieve their dream.”

Nederland's  The Magic Beans  in Studio B. 

Nederland's The Magic Beans in Studio B. 

KMG has many different packages to choose from when it comes to working with them, whether you just want studio time, you have media needs, or more. Zonnefeld told us KMG can even help you with distribution through their connections with Warner Brothers, Capitol Records, and Universal.

Said Zonnefeld, “We’re a shuttle to help any musician get to their dream. KMG is a lifestyle and we’re a family.” 

So join the fam- check out more info about KMG and their numerous artist packages 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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 01/28, 01/29, & 01/30

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Though it’s not exactly the weekend yet, there were a couple of shows we thought deserved some spotlight tonight! And so we decided we’re starting our weekend one day early this week! Here’s our six:

Today (Thursday) 01/28:

Amoramora with Natural Motives at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 9PM-Close

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These two Boulder-based bands will be jumping around the Lazy Dog stage tonight with a Big Lebowski-inspired set. When we asked Amoramora what this meant, they told us Ever wondered what it would be like to go to a concert where everyone is dressed up like characters from the Big Lebowski and are drinking only White Russians? Well this is your chance! The four-piece are a mountain-funk fusion jam with earth soul elements so we know you’re gonna love ‘em Boulder! And good vibe tribe openers Natural Motives will start the evening off with some sweet reggae rock beats. Check this show out!

Listen to an Amoramora original, “Rafiki’s Expedition”:

Pete Laffin at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

12525674_1211723058856574_3900110063239784181_o.jpg

Pete Laffin wears many hats in the Boulder music scene- as you probably read in our feature yesterday, he’s booking all music at Cafe Aion, he’s a contributor for our site, and he’s an accomplished musician himself. Laffin’s been playing around the Boulder scene for almost a decade now, with more than one Fox show under his belt. And tonight, he’s playing one of our favorite digs, The No Name! He’s promised “an eclectic mix of covers and originals” for tonight’s set. We can’t wait to check it out!

Learn more about Pete through his website here.

Tomorrow (Friday) 01/29

Tall Heights, Poet’s Row, & Paul Kimbiris at The Walnut Room in Denver 7PM-Close

Tall Heights. Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano

Tall Heights. Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano

The Walnut Room is hosting another amazing Homevibe lineup tomorrow night with touring Boston indie-folk duo Tall Heights, Denver’s folk four-piece Poet’s Row, and Boulder’s own singer songwriter Paul Kimbiris. We’ll actually be bringing you a more in-depth feature on this show tomorrow, but in the meantime get your tickets for this Homevibe event here.

And check out a Tall Heights track, “Spirit Cold” here.

Envy Alo at Taco Junky in Boulder 10PM-Close

Envy Alo at The Lazy Dog.

Envy Alo at The Lazy Dog.

Envy Alo, who we dropped an interview with recently, have a set at Taco Junky on The Hill tonight. The “old-school organ-trio jazz funk” group will be gettin’ groovy while you sip margs and dance! If you’ve kept up with the three-piece, you know they’ve been recording at KMG over the past couple of weeks with plans to drop an EP this spring! So go check ‘em out tonight- the way they’ve been booking around Boulder, they’re bound to be off touring before too long.

Watch EA’s live-performance of “Bobby's Big Boy Bars”:

The Next Day (Saturday) 01/30

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

Boulder’s Americana duo The Fremonts dropped their self-titled EP last year, which we wrote about right here. Members Stephanie Dodd and Justin Badger have been busy since then, playing shows throughout the state and in Iowa, Nebraska, and New York. They recently entered NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest (watch their submission below) and they’ve got some cool new tunes to play for you at The No Name this weekend. So head for The Hill and give them a listen!

Watch The Fremont’s NPR Tiny Desk entry for their song “Echo”:

Soul Saturday with Let the Beat Speak at Connor O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Boulder 10PM-Close

Conor’s is hosting their first free Soul Saturday event this weekend. Performers include Dent (Zachary Wolff), Paige Sandusky, Dechen Hawk, Mikey Smith, Daniel Nash, Jon Frett, and Let the Beat Speak. The crew plans to make the walls melt with their rhythmic sounds, so go grab a drink and a dance partner and check this one out. We know you wanna grind.

Learn more about Let the Beat Speak here.

PS: This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Boulder singer/songwriter Joseph Tonelli! He just dropped an animated music video for his song “My Situation” and we’ll be featuring that and more in an in-depth interview with Tonelli next week! So don’t forget to tune in between 9-10PM to 95.5 in Boulder Sunday night, or stream Green Light for a first listen of Tonelli’s “My Situation”.

That’s it B. See yah ‘round.

-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.

Why You Should "Ship It" Tonight at The Lazy Dog With Boulder's Envy Alo

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Ship it. Ship it good. 

If you take a smack of Booster, a sprinkle of Tenth Mountain Division, and toss in an accomplished guitarist who’s new to the Boulder scene, what Boulder band do you have? Envy Alo. Formed just a few months ago, members Aaron Pettine (keys) and Kevin Hinder (guitar) have actually known each other for years. They met while attending James Madison University in Virginia and then both moved to Boulder in the years following to pursue music. The two had wanted to form a project together for quite some time, so after linking up with Tenth Mountain Division’s Tyler Gwynn (drums), Envy Alo was born. The group has quickly become known for their “old-school organ-trio jazz funk and newer, heavier rock and fusion stylings.” And tonight, they’ve got a sweet gig at The Lazy Dog! So before you catch their funkadelic show this evening, read our chat with EA’s Aaron Pettine for the deets on the band:

We know that your trio formed last October, and that this is a new project for all three of you, so tell us a bit about what you’ve been working on since your inception.

We are so new that pretty much everything we are doing right now is a ‘new project’. [For our live shows] we are continuously writing new material while also coming up with our own takes on our favorite covers. We are very excited to be heading over to KMG Studios Boulder at the end of the month to record a 4-5 song EP. Because a big part of what we do is improvised live and in the moment, taking away that element and compressing things into this neat studio version is going to be a challenge. But it’s one that we are very much looking forward to tackling.

Righteous. When are you planning to drop that?

We are hoping to release that sometime in March or early April. We’ve got a lot of plans and goals for 2016 and are looking to expand our music and fan base while also performing as much as possible. We are in the early stages of planning a summer tour on the East Coast as well; roughly ten dates in late summer from VA to VT.

Kevin, Tyler, Aaron.

Kevin, Tyler, Aaron.

On the road is always a good place to be. That’s great! And we’ll keep an ear out for the EP. So we’re curious- what’s up with your name?

The short story is that it’s basically a play off of the Spanish word Envialo, which means ‘Ship It’. This has been a saying among the three of us, whenever we need to rock something or get something done, we’ll say “Ship It!”

Nice. Lots of plans to “Ship It” tonight we’re guessing?

Yes- The Lazy Dog is one of our favorite local venues and really a staple here in Boulder for the type of music we play, so we are beyond excited to play our first show there tonight. We’re also excited that we’re supporting a very badass Denver band, Cycles.

Sweet! So head over to The Lazy Dog tonight and get weird with Boulder’s Envy Alo! Keep up with all things EA here.

Watch Envy Alo perform their track "Hottentot" live:

-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.