Lyle Divinisky Tells Us of His Journey with The Motet Before They Headline Red Rocks Amphitheatre This Weekend

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Once upon a time, in the small town of Boulder, Colorado, hippies roamed freely, love was abound, and it gave birth to a music scene rich with homegrown, grassroots vibes where people jammed for the love. After a while, that Boulder scene died out and moved to a place called Denver, where the music community urbanized and became more serious. Today, Denver holds one of the most unique music scenes around. From this community of awesomeness came the band The Motet. Their first album came out in the year 2000, and since then, they’ve been expanding their musical family and crushing it. In lieu of their headlining Red Rocks Amphitheatre show this Friday, July 12th and their massive upcoming fall tour, I phoned frontman Lyle Divinisky to chat about what we should expect to see from their upcoming shows. Read on:

Lyle joined The Motet sometime in 2014-2015, just when the band was looking for something fresh and new to add to their mix. Already a part of the extended grassroots music scene, Lyle was recommended to The Motet by his friend Ryan Zoidas from Lettuce and Dave Brandwein and Taylor Shell from Turkuaz

“The Motet reached out to the guys from Lettuce and Turkuaz when they were looking for a singer, and those guys recommended me. I guess you can say the rest is history. The guys from The Motet had me collaborate on a couple of songs, which turned out to be the songs on the Totem album and we vibed so well that shortly after that, they asked me to join them on tour, starting with a headlining show at Red Rocks with the likes of Vulfpeck and Medeski Martin and Wood. At that time, I was skeptical about leaving my goals as a solo soul singer, but I knew I couldn’t pass up that kind of offer. I think I made the right decision,” he laughs.  

The Motet.

The Motet.

And that he did! For Lyle, the most exciting part of becoming the lead singer of The Motet was exactly the Colorado vibe I mentioned earlier. As he says, “Being able to come into that built-in grassroots, home legacy, and to be welcomed so deeply and quickly, I think, is a really special thing about this band and the Colorado scene in general. The Colorado lifestyle, the Colorado excitement, the Colorado loyalty and investment in music; the music experience and culture created around this community is my favorite part.” 

Lyle grew up on R&B, hip-hop, and soul. His dad, Phil, was his biggest influence. “Yeah I got these pipes from my dad. He ended up choosing the home route and he’s been a teacher his whole life, but while I was growing up, he would play gigs on the weekends and at home, he would have friends come over who would play guitar and sing and I would be around all of that.” 

How he chose to be a singer by profession was a purely instinctive inclination. “I never took any singing lessons, but I grew up around it and was really good at listening. When I finally got old enough to be left alone around the house when I was about 12 or 13 years old, I started singing by myself. But even then, I was just kind of doing it for fun. I didn’t really start becoming serious about singing until I was 17 when I realized a basketball career for a slow, barely-six-foot-tall white guy who can hadrly dunk wasn’t going anywhere. Naturally, I chose the next most successful job placement and that was to be a soul singer,” he laughs. And honestly, we both laugh at that one, but sometimes a strong dedication to what feels right, despite the odds, pays off. So far, in Lyle’s case, it’s been a successful ride that shows no signs of stopping. 

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Lyle and I spent a little time talking about The Motet’s history and how the feel, sound and direction of the band has changed over the years. On that topic he says, “The coolest thing about The Motet’s history is a supreme lack of fear in constantly changing. There’s no thought of trying to build walls or boxes around who the band is. It started as a worldly music with heavy bass and percussion, then moved into afro-jazz and afro-beat, then it went straight funk and right now, with the configuration of the people in the band like Parris on the trombone, Drew with a reggae vibe, and me with a heavy R&B and soul influence… it was inevitable for the band to journey more into that realm than ever before.” 

Parris Fleming, who Lyle mentioned, is also the newest addition to the band. Only 27 years old, he is truly a breath of fresh air for the band as a whole. He took Jazz Instrumental studies at Columbia College in Chicago and played in Dumpstaphunk before joining The Motet. Adds Lyle, “We all feel really lucky to have Parris in the band. He is a superb musician, but he also brings some calm energy to the group. To be only 27 years old and to be such a mature and well-rounded, calm, and confident dude is pretty amazing.” The age range of the band members of The Motet is 27 to 51, a nice mix of experiences where everyone has something worthwhile to bring to the table. 

As far as the band’s live performances, they don’t seem to be stopping. The Motet will be doing the weekend warrior thing this year, playing shows every weekend from now until Thanksgiving. Even though the band’s been on a headlining streak at music festivals and big venues across the nation for several years now, their out-of-the-box approach to making music is unwavering. Staying as a cohesive whole, made of different parts, their performances remain engaging and aspire to connect and impress every time. “We really don't want to box ourselves in. Everything we write and create we want to be genuine. It comes from all of our inspirations coming together and we all have different influences that we bring to the table. As we present that music to the audience we know that we want to create an experience and we know that we want to take the people on a journey, whether that’s to give them the freedom to be as weird and wonderful as they want to be or to nerd out to Garrett Sayers being the most ridiculous bass player and Joey Porter being the funkiest dude ever… you know, we want to create moments and scenarios with the music are very proud of and share it with the audience.” says Lyle.

As for their upcoming headlining Red Rocks show this Friday, they're playing with Galactic and Moon Hooch. Lyle is pretty stoked, saying, “Headlining Red Rocks, once again, is such a dream come true. You hear people always say, ‘Oh man that is such a cool venue!’ And yeah, they’re not wrong! It never gets old and it’s a magical experience, one I am honored to be a part of. This time around, we will have a few special guests and it will be a non-stop-funk-filled dance party. It’s really what we try to do every time and what we do best. The band as a whole is in a really cool place right now. It just feels like there’s something special happening within the group and the music we’re playing. I think it’s undoubtedly going to show in our live performance.” 

As far as magic goes, the dudes of The Motet are also playing during a magical time of the year: summer in Colorado! You can buy tickets for The Motet’s Red Rocks show here while they last. I look forward to seeing you out there!   

-Mirna

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

Lettuce's New Record 'Elevate' Will Help You Do Just That + See the Band Live This Saturday, June 15th at Red Rocks

By: Mirna Tufekcic

What happens when a group of award-winning musicians conspire and take three years to incubate a new album? Pure awesomeness, that’s what! I had the privilege to preview Lettuce’s upcoming album Elevate, which drops this Friday June 14th, and boy oh boy, am I excited to share the news! Elevate is a sweet nectar of melodies and sounds emitting only the good vibes you can groove to, hoop to, clean to, and live to! Finally, a spankin’ new, sparklin’ fresh album of 11 songs that make you want to hear more than the record can hold. It’s not often that a band can pull that off these days, so when it does happen the feelings felt are undeniable. Yep, that’s how good it is. Elevate is f*cking awesome.

Lettuce. Photo Credit: Casey Flanigan

Lettuce. Photo Credit: Casey Flanigan

Oh I’m sorry, was it too presumptuous of me to assume you already knew who Lettuce are and jump right into raving about their upcoming album? Forgive me. I’ll start you off on your discovery right here: If you love funky music, then get yourself acquainted with these dudes. They’re super. Lettuce has released something like seven or eight (if you count a live recording session) albums since 2002, and each record has its own wonders and musings, but Elevate really pops, snaps, and crackles with funk and hip-hop, a distinguished horn section, and all-around playfulness in primo artistry.

Based out of Denver, Colorado, Lettuce is a six-member collective of Grammy-nominated drummer and percussionist Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, bassist Erick "Jesus" Coomes, Grammy Award-winning keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and Grammy Award-winning trumpet player Eric “Benny” Bloom.  The band exudes an eclectic, free-wheeling style while embracing a progressive and futuristic vibe, thanks to their love of improvisational music. What I said earlier about it being hard to come across a band today that produces a superb album from start to finish still holds, and Lettuce is a testament to the fact that when you follow in the footsteps of musical giants like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, and modern-day ensembles like Snarky Puppy, you are bound for greatness. If you want to get to know the members of Lettuce a little more, then are you in luck! A six-part series called The Krewe – A Lettuce Documentary Series is up on the band’s YouTube page and even features an in-depth interview with bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, plus behind-the-scenes vignettes filmed during the recording process of Elevate.

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Now, back to the album review of Elevate. Sophista-funkated with oozing swagger, Elevate opens with “Trapezoid” and sets the mood reminiscent of a universe only possible because of Lettuce. “Royal Highness,” the second track on the record, continues deeper into lounge-funk. “Krewe,” the single off the album, keeps the groove in more of a swaying, beachy vibe and you notice yourself grooving a little faster. “Love is Too Strong” is a bluesy funk tune with all the feelings, provided by those undeniably rock-blues guitar riffs. Right smack in the middle of the album is “Gang Ten,” a 13-minute tune you don’t even realize goes on for that long because, yep, you’re still grooving in a sort of perpetually-compelling state of motion. But if you know Lettuce, you know they are not shy about lengthy tracks. There are plenty of those throughout the album.

Elevate also features a couple of tasteful cover tracks, namely “Ready To Live” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” I most love “Purple Cabbage;” in my opinion it’s thee signature Lettuce track on the album. The record ends with “Trapezoid Dub,” and yes it’s got the same name as the first track, but it’s different because it’s, well, like the title implies, tastefully dubby. You see, it’s not just the distinct Lettuce funk that puts you in a trance when you listen to Elevate; there are expanded trip-hop sounds and space-age audio-samples creating a unique atmosphere as the instruments come in together and explode out into the listener’s mind. Boom!

If you’re not compelled by my enthusiastic review of the album, I’m not offended. I would just encourage you to have a listen yourself. Trust me, your ears and soul will thank you. I know mine did. Lettuce is also on a massive tour in lieu of their new album release, so you can see them across the nation. If you want to stay local, they’re playing Red Rocks Amphitheatre this Saturday, June 15th. Check out their website for more deets and dates.

-Mirna

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

Boulder-Based Nobide Are Making Waves One Big Stage at a Time

By: Natalie Pulvino

Boulder-based live electronic band Nobide is fresh off a show at the Boulder Theater, soon to headline the Larimer Lounge, and has a lot in store for this summer’s festival season. We sat down with Nick Vann, founder of Nobide, to ask him about the band’s authentic sound, local influences, and upcoming endeavors.   

What differentiates Nobide from other live-electronic acts?

Probably our versatility- we want to make all types of music, not get caught in one sound or genre. We’ve been working on combining the production elements with the live instruments, figuring out how to allow the produced pieces to function like a band member. Our live setup is pretty crazy- I can now manipulate and change the sound of the guys as they’re playing [and] do DJ production effects live which is pretty crazy.

You’ve described Nobide to BolderBeat previously as “organic-electronica,” emphasizing the live aspect to your music. What is your process for infusing the produced pieces with the organic element to create the perfect blend?

Our process is evolving as we figure out our sound. We’re still fresh as a unit, so we’re not sticking to any one process for writing or playing- it’s all very open right now. As far as putting songs together it’s really important to me that the songs don’t come out sounding like just another band. There’s so much possibility with production and sound… I’m always looking to hear something new, both musically and in regards to how a piece actually sounds.

Are there any local live-electronic acts that you draw inspiration from?

Mxxnwatchers is making some really forward thinking stuff, as is Evanoff. Break Science are the OGs. I think we all feed off each other, but we’re all sorta doing our own thing and pushing it as far it can go. To me that’s the ideal- there doesn’t seem to be much of a point in making stuff that sounds too much like someone else.

How do you cultivate that influence while maintaining a strong sense of authenticity in your music?

I think seeing how other people approach their music is the best kind of inspiration. We try not to take what other people are actually doing musically or sonically into account and just focus on doing what sounds best to us. In that sense we have no choice but to be authentic.

Nobide recently opened for The Floozies at the Boulder Theater- what was that like for the band?

It was a huge moment for all of us. I grew up in Boulder, so it was especially exciting for me. It was so killin’ to play for the hometown crew and have them show up like that. Nobide is Boulder-bred, and I think it was cool for the Boulderites to see the evolution of the project. A lot of people got introduced to the music that night too which was exciting. We’ve got mad love for Boulder.

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Are there any shows you guys have played that have been super memorable?

The Boulder Theater show was one for sure, as well as The Fiillmore when we opened for Sunsquabi in January. It’s always exciting to play big rooms with big sound systems. We played with Michal Menert in January and that was a full-circle moment. I’ve been listening to his music for years.

Nobide is on the bill for Summer Camp Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and a few others that will be announced soon. What is the band looking forward to most about being on the lineup for these festivals?

I think mostly meeting new people- artists and fans alike. It’ll be cool to see how our music stands up and translates in new environments. It’s a big opportunity, but it’s also just gonna be fun as heck.

Do you foresee any challenges that may arise from playing festivals as opposed to singular shows?

It’s definitely going to be a compromise on some fronts [since] we have a pretty complex setup for performing, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. It’ll be a good challenge to be pros, to know it’s not all about us but more about the vibe of the whole event.

There’s been talk that the band may be hitting the road soon. If you guys go on tour, where would you want to play and who would you love to play with?

Eventually all over the world! But for now we’re trying to get down South and out to the West Coast and Midwest, start slowly expanding our radius through the U.S. We’d love to play with all sorts of people that like to get down. Lettuce, Pretty Lights, Zhu, Rufus Du Sol, Bonobo, Odesza… We want to bring this music all over!

Keep up with Nobide here and don’t miss their headlining show at the Larimer Lounge this Saturday, April 6th. Tickets & information here.  

-Natalie

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

Lettuce and The Colorado Symphony Took The Mile High a Little Higher with Special Show

By: Will Baumgartner

I imagine it’s the same for anyone in the arts: collaboration always lifts you higher. The high one gets from creation, no matter how renewable and perpetually fresh it may be, eventually starts asking the artist, “What can you do with me that you haven’t done before?” And the artist looks at their art and says, “Good question! Not that I’m getting bored, but…”

Not to belabor the metaphor of a relationship between the creative and the created, but in a very real sense, artists are in a sort of marriage with their work- and to keep this marriage from going stale, they must continually look for new things to do, new experiences and situations which will help them achieve the ultimate goal of any good relationship: the elevation of the soul. One more metaphorical extension and I’ll leave it alone before I get into trouble: sometimes, maybe the best thing to do is bring in some other creative people in and see what happens…

Photo Credit:   Tom

Photo Credit: Tom

We’re talking about something beautiful and sacred here, and that’s exactly what the boys from the Colorado-born “Future Funk” unit known as Lettuce achieved Saturday at Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall when they performed some of their best and most enduring work with the Colorado Symphony. Under the fiery baton work of the young, but already highly accomplished Australian conductor Christopher Dragon, from the selection of material to the inspired orchestration, to the performances of each and every human onstage, it was an ecstatic evening. It was also clearly an elevating experience for everyone involved: the band members, conductor, orchestra musicians, and audience were all beaming and glowing with smiles that just kept getting more beatific through the evening.

Part of that bliss probably had to do with this type of show being a first for the band: at one point, keyboardist/vocalist Nigel Hall said something like, “If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be playing piano with a symphony orchestra…” I missed the rest, as people around me started whooping and screaming. It was a first for me too, as in all my decades of concerts, I’ve never seen a rock band play with an orchestra. As such it was difficult to imagine beforehand what the experience would be like, though knowing how great Lettuce are live and being already familiar with our local treasure of an orchestra, I would have been surprised if it weren’t one of the high points of a lifetime of great shows I’ve been privileged to attend. And sure enough, the only way I was slightly surprised was that the evening exceeded my fondest hopes and expectations. From the opening Lettuce original “Mount Crushmore,” all the way through “The Force,” the last piece in the first set, the way these musicians combined classical precision with the spontaneous fire Lettuce excels in was outrageously wonderful. As layer upon layer of sonic beauty and power was added to the creation, it was an almost overwhelming experience, causing us in the audience to make almost as much noise of our own as we did at Lettuce’s incredible concerts at Red Rocks back in June.

Speaking of Nigel Hall, as great as he is on the keys, that man can really sing. It’s always one of my favorite parts of a Lettuce concert when he opens up that voice, but on Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” Hall really outdid himself. The song was a perfect choice for this setting, as the original’s string and horn parts were expanded to spectacular effect, driving an already uplifting song to stratospheric heights. This feat that was repeated in the second set’s cover of Tears For Fears classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” another brilliant selection for an evening of orchestral funk-rock. In the middle of “Move On Up” though, we got an extra treat as things got considerably quieter and Hall sang a deeply soulful, gospel-tinged interlude about love, belief, and… I don’t remember everything he sang about, but the extended moment definitely fed my soul. It also felt like possibly the most improvised segment in a program that, by necessity, had to have been pretty tightly arranged. Singing something that powerful and moving in a nearly a cappella setting while allowing oneself to at least partially make it up on the spot- that’s not an easy thing to do and Mr. Hall deserves our appreciation for sharing that gift with us.

Screengrab via YouTube user coloradojohnsons.

Screengrab via YouTube user coloradojohnsons.

Everyone onstage was in top form: drummer Adam Deitch, guitarist Adam Smirnoff, the always fun to watch bassist Eric “Jesus” Coomes, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpeter Eric Bloom all performed with joyous brilliance. Mr. Dragon led the orchestra with zest and panache, and the orchestra itself was unparalleled. Extra special credit must be given to Tom Hagerman, who has been getting notice as a film score composer outside of his 20 years of work as a member of Colorado’s legendary band DeVotchKa, for his masterful orchestrations. His talent proves that those who work behind the scenes are often as important and essential as the performers themselves. And what a lot of work must have gone into this production! We can only hope that everyone involved felt our love and gratitude throughout the concert and the multiple and richly deserved standing ovations. The Colorado Symphony have previously done collaborations with Elephant Revival, Warren Haynes, and others. But on behalf of myself and everyone who was there Saturday, here’s a humble request that they do it again with Lettuce!

Next up for the band is a three-night New Year’s run through Houston, Dallas, and Austin Texas. Their 2019 Vibe Up Tour begins in January, with support from Ghost-Note and Greyhounds. For all Lettuce tour dates and news, visit the band’s website here.

-Will

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

Lettuce & The Floozies Set to Play Third Annual "Rage Rocks" at Red Rocks This Friday (06/08)

By: Will Baumgartner

Bands don’t get to Red Rocks by accident, and in the case of seminal “future funk” unit Lettuce, they’ve proven themselves a few times over to be a consistent headliner at the legendary venue. This Friday’s “Rage Rocks” event, which they’ll be co-headlining with Lawrence, KS electro-funk sensations The Floozies, will be the third annual recurrence of what’s sure to be a blissful rage party under beautiful Colorado skies. And as anyone who has attended a concert at Red Rocks knows, our skies are even more gorgeous when a masterful band like Lettuce fills them with their wondrous sounds.

Lettuce.

Lettuce.

Another thing that basically never happens is an act getting to Red Rocks overnight. Sure, buzz bands come and go, but they mostly go. Lettuce has proven they’re not going anywhere with a solid two decades of consistent and persistent touring and recording, while making many ears and feet incredibly happy. And as proven yet again on their most recent release, a live recording of their Miles Davis tribute Witches Stew, there’s a lot more going on in their music to feed listeners’ thirsty ears, minds, and souls than simple dance grooves. This reimagining of songs from Davis’ intensely creative late 60s/early 70s experimental jazz/funk fusion period shows that the members of Lettuce are more than adept at the art of sophisticated, soulful group improvisation. The album, which features re-readings of songs from Davis’s Live-Evil, In A Silent Way, On the Corner, and of course Bitches Brew, shows Lettuce not content to merely replay the songs, but to take them to a whole new level. Given that they’re pushing the genre forward in this way, it’s a small wonder that they’ve been compared to other contemporary fusion pioneers like Flying Lotus, Thundercat, and Kamasi Washington. Add this skill to their fierce dedication to the almighty funk groove, and you’ve got a formula guaranteed to please both the body and the mind.  

Lettuce certainly have the pedigree for it, as can be seen just by looking at the credits boasted by their mighty rhythm section. Drummer Adam Deitch, who also plays with Break Science, has played with some of the biggest stars in jazz, hip-hop and soul, including John Scofield, 50 Cent, Talib Kweli, and Wyclef Jean. And bassist Eric “Jesus” Coomes has not only toured with Britney Spears and The Game, he’s also a noted producer, having worked with the likes of Kanye West and Dr. Dre. The other members- keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, guitarist Adam Smirnoff, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpeter Eric Bloom- are all highly sought-after musicians who can be heard working all over the international music scene.

Lest anyone get too caught up in this musician’s-eye view of what Lettuce does, let’s be perfectly clear here that this Friday’s show, like all the shows they do, is going to be a party. You don’t need to know anything about jazz to catch the electric buzz of Lettuce’s lightning-rod performances. Above all, this band knows how to get an audience moving and smiling. Co-headliners The Floozies, a duo comprised of brothers with producer/guitarist Matt Hill and drummer Mark Hill, are widely known for their combination of cutting edge electronic music production with insanely infectious dance party grooves and incendiary live performances. With breakout Canadian act The Funk Hunters and Portland, ME rising stars Jaw Gems also on board, it feels entirely safe to say that this Friday’s event at Red Rocks will more than live up to its “rager” name.

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Lettuce, The Floozies, The Funk Hunters and Jaw Gems perform in the third annual “Rage Rocks” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison CO this Friday June 8th. Tickets here.

 Keep up with Lettuce on their website and 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. 

Jaden Carlson Band Releasing New Record With Release Party This Saturday (04/28)

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Jaden Carlson Band is set to release their latest album on May 4th, 2018 and it’s going to sound very different from their earlier work. Heavily leaning into the electro-funk jamscapes, JCB’s upcoming album Keep It Moving is chock full of electric guitar and synth shreds, with groovy bass and drums to smooth it out and literally keep you moving.  The album release party is set to take place at The Lazy Dog in Boulder this Saturday April 28th, so mark your calendar and come for a free show with high quality music and talent!

JCB.

JCB.

Jaden Carlson, born and raised in Boulder, Colorado is known around the Boulder-Denver music scene as a young guitar prodigy who can really shred. Jaden’s undeniable wizardly guitar skills have gained her respect and a shining spotlight in the scene- and all of this before she was even a teenager! Today, at the age of seventeen, she is leading JCB into new heights while experimenting with hip-hop, synth-pop, and electro-funk jams. She has played a huge role in bringing Keep It Moving to fruition, from leading the band with vocals, guitar, and keys to producing the new record. The band has been raising money for their new album on PledgeMusic and they are 95% of the way to getting all or nothing on their campaign. You can help them with the homestretch by going to donate here.

And finally, for your listening pleasure and preview of what’s coming, here is a track titled “Outer Lands” off the upcoming album, exclusively shared with us for you to hear. The track features Adam Deitch (Lettuce; Break Science) on drums. Enjoy!

-Mirna

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

Forward Funk: The Runnikine Release Debut Single + Hit Cervantes' with Joey Porter’s Shady Business

By: Will Baumgartner

Denver pop/funk/hip-hop fusion trio The Runnikine are something of a local “supergroup.” Keyboardist/vocalist Eric Luba plays with local funk/soul stars Analog Son, drummer Will Trask is in Great American Taxi, and bassist Jon McCartan is with rising Americana rock stars The Drunken Hearts. All of these bands are making a name for themselves nationally, and if there’s any justice in the music world, The Runnikine will soon follow in their footsteps.

The Runnikine. 

The Runnikine. 

For now though, the group is focusing on building a strong local following- and they’re doing that quite nicely, thank you. It doesn’t hurt that the members are gregarious fellows who, beyond their main gigs, play with anyone and everyone they can on the side: most music fans in the Denver/Boulder area know of these guys having seen them play at some of the area’s biggest all-star jam nights. The word is spreading among the musical and fan community that The Runnikine are a group to watch, and for good reason: Their music is powerful, innovative, and driven by solid grooves.

Laying the foundation for a move beyond local popularity requires coming out with a great recording, and The Runnikine are doing just that. “They Walk Among Us,” the first single from their upcoming debut EP (which is slated for a May release) is a gem. The song starts with block chords on the keyboard and kicks in with a solid hip-hop feeling backbeat; then Luba’s laid-back, pensive vocals reel out a picture of fearful mistrust and jingoism that, while it’s not overtly political, certainly speaks to the current political climate in Trump’s America. When I spoke with Luba about the song, he said it was actually written before the election and the anti-Muslim travel ban, making it an eerily prescient bit of songwriting.  

The verse moves through a couple of key modulations and more potent imagery before hitting the stark, simple chorus of the song’s title. I place a lot of stock in well-written lyrics, and have to say that the words to this song are very impressive with lines like, “They can’t see where they’re going/When their eyes are closed,” “It’s too late to run/They’re already here,” and “You tell me where we’re going/Just don’t say the war.” These words are carefully-chosen, chilling, and affecting. Musically, the song also bears the hallmarks of craftsmanship and thoughtful use of harmonics, dynamics, and melody. And the production, which was done by Josh Fairman of the local treasure of a recording studio known as Scanhope Sound in Littleton, is superb.

A song as well-crafted as this has me eagerly anticipating the release of the band’s full three-song EP, and fortunately I won’t have to wait long: May is just around the corner! In the meantime, we all have the opportunity to see The Runnikine live when they open for Joey Porter’s Shady Business this Friday, April 7 at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver. And speaking of supergroups, Shady Business features Porter, Garrett Sayers, Lyle Divinsky and Drew Sayers of The Motet, Kris Myers of Umphrey’s McGee, Jennifer Hartswick of Trey Anastasio Band, and Adam Smirnoff of Lettuce.

Aside from their hook-driven songs, The Runnikine are also highly adept at exciting live improvisation. That, after all, is how the band started- as a no-pressure side project for Luba and Trask when they were both in the Jaden Carlson Band. That was just a couple of years ago, and look how far they’ve come in such a short time. How far will they go? Hop on board with me, and let’s find out. Tickets to their Cervantes’ show are right here.

-Will

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

Electric Forest Announces Additional Headliners

Electric Forest, one of the nation's most vibey festivals, just announced additional headliners Dillon Francis and Flume this week. The two join an already stacked list for the seventh annual camping and music festival in Rothbury, Michigan. This year, the event actually has two weekends planned for your magical foresting experience: June 22–June 25 and June 29–July 2.

Previous lineup announcement for EF include: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Claude VonStroke, 12th Planet, Jai Wolf, Lettuce, The Floozies, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Waka Flocka Flame.

All of these artists will perform both weekends, many of them promising unique shows so that no two experiences are alike. Fans can expect to hear some of the acts unplugged, with unusual collaborations and sit-ins, performing special themed sets, and more.

View the complete list of announced artists set to perform the First Weekend and Second Weekend of EF here.

Tickets for Electric Forest 2017 are on sale now at www.electricforestfestival.com/tickets.

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

Hiatus Kaiyote Dropped New Music at Vertex Festival This Weekend

By: Sierra Voss

Vertex Festival’s final day started off with lots and lots of coffee. Two days of festin’ had really taken a toll on my body. I was literally unable to stop dancing during Saturday night’s last two sets, Lettuce and Odesza. But once the caffeine set in, I began counting down the hours until my most anticipated band of the festival, Hiatus Kaiyote, took the stage.

Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Every now and then, a band comes along that lives within its own reality of creating, and it’s as if their songwriting, lyrical composition and genre styling is other worldly. And that’s Hiatus Kaiyote, a group that cannot be defined or placed into typical music categories or stereotypes. Each one of the band’s songs bends genres and take you on a journey of various meters, dynamic harmonies, polyrhythms, and melodic exploration.

Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Hiatus Kaiyote was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2011. The band is made up of members Naomi "Nai Palm" Saalfield (vocals/guitar), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keyboards) and Perrin Moss (drums/percussion). Hiatus Kaiyote independently released their first album, Tawk Tomahawk, in 2012. In 2013, their song "Nakamarra, was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. The band released their second album, Choose Your Weapon, in May of 2015. Their song "Breathing Underwater", from that album, was then nominated for Best R&B Performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Nai Palm.

Nai Palm.

Lead singer Nai Palm is a strong, creative force. She walked onstage last night wearing a badass sparkle leotard, a glitter shawl, and rocking a sweet Michael Jackson earring. The tone of her voice was stunningly smooth and silky, with moments of raspy lower tones that gave me goosebumps. Her abilities to use her voice as a percussive instrument were possibly even more impressive than her effortless tone. She is clearly well studied. Artists that drop melody lines like her have to be immensely well versed in Jazz music theory, with a deep understanding of diatonic, whole-tone and octatonic scales.

Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote.

There were times I stood entranced, watching HK as I desperately tried to take in every element and layer of their music. As much as your body wants to groove with them, dancing to their songs can prove to be rather challenging. There were Latin vamps, swinging breakdowns, full stops to progressive rock beats, and R&B baselines throughout their set. And just when Nai Palm was mid-syllable of a word or a note, the song would transition in and out of meters. Can you “drop into” their crazy rhythmic interplay? I was tired, and I’m sure I looked completely crazy dancing to their tunes, but I enjoyed every second of it.

Hiatus Kaiyote at Vertex Festival.

Hiatus Kaiyote at Vertex Festival.

Hiatus Kaiyote dropped two news songs on us at their Vertex show during their afternoon set. As far as I remember, they did not introduce them with titles, but here’s to hoping they release them as singles this year. The two mystery tracks were some of the best in their set.

Watch a live performance of Hiatus Kaiyote's "Molasses":

Finally, the band's mid-afternoon set started to come to an end. When Nai Palm announced the band had two songs left, the crowd began chanting, "Ten more songs! Ten more songs!" Between their performance and the crowd's clear connection with the band, I felt like this was actually an act who deserved to be a headliner at this festival, as opposed to their Sunday afternoon spot time.

Hiatus Kaiyote is a band I have a deep respect and appreciation for in what they’re choosing to share with the world. I recommend them to anyone who wants to explore contemporary/ future soul music because the members of this band are creative forces, true scholars, and masters of their craft. Their set was a major Vertex highlight, and you should definitely check out their music here.

-Sierra

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

Vertex Day Two Ripped & Roared

By: Sierra Voss

Day two of Vertex came creeping in slowly. The campgrounds were quiet as people emerged from their tents and began to cook breakfast. The tent city here actually has a really nice community vibe about it, and Vertex has pulled in a truly amazing crowd, which is a huge bonus for the overall festi experience of the weekend. Everyone has been respectful and nice, and all about gettin’ down and dancing. Plus festi gear has been on point. I saw some pretty awesome outfits throughout the day, including ladies running around with light-up capes, countless animal costumes, creative signage, lots of light-up jellyfish umbrella things and my personal favorite, a “so hot right now” Mugatu sign.

Music didn’t start Saturday until about 2pm, which felt a bit late for a weekend day. To beat the heat, festiva-goers made their way to “The Beach” to hang out. “The Beach” is basically a little pond surrounded by sand, but,that didn’t stop people from swimming and playing beach volleyball.

Graham Nash.

Graham Nash.

It was another incredibly diverse line-up on Saturday. Main stage acts switched from EDM artists like Classixx to legends like Graham Nash. My personal favorite performances of the day were The Revivalists, Graham Nash, Lettuce, and Odesza. The Revivalists really took me by surprise. These guys really do know how to rock, and are extremely talented musicians. Their latest album doesn’t do them justice. Frontman David Shaw literally had enough energy during their performance to power the entire festival. He couldn’t stand still and frequently made epic leaps down and up between the stage and the monitors in front of the audience.

The Revivalists.

The Revivalists.

The day hustled on by, and before I knew it the sun was setting and Lettuce was taking the stage. The first song Lettuce played seemed extremely electronic compared to their normal sound. I got super nervous they were going to stray from their classic funk vibes to try to cater to the festival crowd. Luckily, they came ripping in with their second song and got right on down to their dirty funk roots. Game on! It was the perfect pick me up before the last set of the night.

Odesza.

Odesza.

Last night’s closer was Odesza, and he was the perfect ending to an epic eleven hour day of non-stop music. The coolest part of his set was when he brought up the CU drum line. The level of excitement on the students’ faces as they played was unreal. My friend, a CU grad, said she couldn’t help but feel like a proud mama bear as she watched them play with Odesza.

Houndmouth.

Houndmouth.

Alright that was day two of Vertex. Spirits are high, bodies are sunkissed, and the first set of today has already begun...

-Sierra

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