Mayday Parade Rolled Through Denver All Smiles for Their 'Sunnyland Tour'

By: Nathan Sheppard

Denver was treated to a Warped Tour reunion this past Wednesday as Mayday Parade’s Sunnyland Tour made its stop at Summit Denver. Mayday was joined by Oh, Weatherly, William Ryan Key, and This Wild Life, all of whom played at least one date on this past year’s final Warped Tour.

Mayday Parade.

Mayday Parade.

Oh, Weatherly kicked things off with an up-tempo pop-emo set. They had a good stage presence and were able to keep the crowd engaged by sharing the stories behind a couple of their songs, mixed with a joke or two. While they’ve only been a band for two years, they are already road veterans. William Ryan Key followed up with a very mellow acoustic set. While the songs were enjoyable, the set was a bit slow for the energy in the room. Key amped it up with a sing-a-long of “Ocean Avenue,” but finished with an unreleased song that no one knew which was a questionable choice after playing something everyone was grooving to.

Self-described “Hot Topic meets Mumford & Sons” two-piece This Wild Life followed up Key’s performance with fun, upbeat acoustic songs from their latest record Petaluma. The duo had a happy-go-lucky attitude that was infectious and spread a smile to everyone's face. Midway through the set, lead singer Kevin Jordan gifted us with a Blink-182 ukulele medley as the drum set was rearranged onstage, which was a highlight of the set as well. This Wild Life have gained a pretty strong following over the last couple of years and it is easy to see why; they have a unique sound that is appealing for everyone.    

Mayday Parade topped off the night with an epic 17-song set with tunes from their debut EP Tales Told By Dead Friends to their most recent, Sunnyland. It was truly a celebration of the band’s 12-year-old discography. The crowd was a mix of teeny boppers, twenty somethings, and “grown men who are still emo kids” according to lead singer Derek Sanders. But it showed that Mayday Parade’s songs music spans generations. The set itself had everything Mayday fans could ask for, from singing along to the oldies and a couple covers, it was an enjoyable time for all.

You can listen to Sunnyland and check out the rest of the the band’s tour dates here.

-Nathan

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

Review: American Grizzly Release New Folk Rock Record Of Past, Present, & Future Sounds

By: Norman Hittle

American Grizzly, a Chicago-based folk rock unit, has released their new self-titled EP to a steadily growing fanbase.

To those of you familiar with The Lumineers, you’ll notice a good deal of homage paid by American Grizzly. But also in attendance are some mellow nods to Mumford & Sons and a slight helping of Neil Young. The band’s own take on their style is rock’n’roll influenced by all things past, present, and future: from tube-screaming noise-rock to the minimalist approach of rural American folk music.

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The EP starts out with the calm folk ballad “Ex-Lovers,” picking out a steady warm chorded windchime of rhythm into the equally calm, but more minimalistic “Ain’t Whupped Me Yet.” Track three, “When Love is Found,” comes in with a southern flair and more upbeat feel. The more straightforward “Rock n’ Roll Cigarettes” lives up to its name with a very muted 40s era feel, yet boasts being the edgiest track. Finally, the EP closes out with the innocent feeling “From a Window,” which comes as a return to classic folk with a solid influence of blues.

American Grizzly.

American Grizzly.

If you like what you hear, the band has a solid backlog of discography that you can peruse with leisure on their Bandcamp!

-Norman

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

"Let's Build An Album Together!": Riley Ann's Latest Project Is All About Fem Rock

By: Claire Woodcock

Colorado's Riley Ann is ready to release her latest batch of songs. There’s just one problem:

“I want to move forward with not only recording this project, but also my whole music career. But when there are so many bands willing to play for so little, it’s hard to make a living as an artist. If you turn down a non-paying gig, there’s someone else behind you who’s willing to play for exposure. It undercuts everyone else and it really has a negative impact on the entire music community.”

Riley Ann’s path from fiddling folk in Illinois with The Matriarchs to her dynamic one-woman folk rock band paved her route to Colorado. Since her move in the fall of 2015, her presence and drive have initiated various collaborations, like her Old-time duo The Darling Ravens, and a new bluegrassy pop trio, DJ Meow Mix & the Grabbers.

“Although I have several musical projects going, this album is my passion project. Now that I’m back from tour, I’m getting an all-female rock band together. My new tunes need a full band, and that’s the perfect way to showcase them live.” she recently told me.

Riley Ann.

Riley Ann.

Her story of how, in a year, she became a vocal advocate for musicians to get paid a living wage for their art, is a story that many music transplants in Colorado’s bumping scene have had to grapple with.

“Artists deserve to get paid for their art. Playing simply for exposure devalues the music,” she said. “And when that mentality spreads, how do musicians make a living? It’s not going to be through album sales or digital sales. On Spotify I get one-tenth of a cent per listen. You can’t make a living on that.”

Riley Ann launched her Kickstarter campaign in November, teasing her first single “Bloodhounds,” which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jay Elliott (IntroVertigo Recording) and Dominick Maita Mastering, both of whom are based in Boulder, Colorado. The single is an authentic sample of Riley Ann’s new sound from the forthcoming album, which features a full rock band.

“Bloodhounds” is dark and gritty, with roots in Old-time and a heart in rock’n’roll. Riley Ann’s single was recently featured on Colorado Sound as part of Chris K’s Colorado Playlist. Her vocals are vibrant, carrying the same electric currents in the realm of female frontwomen like Angel Olsen, St. Vincent or Mount Moriah.

“I’m excited to get these songs out into the world and I don’t want to risk having to record them one at a time as I can afford them,” she reasons. “Because the longer I wait, the longer they’re going to sit, and the more dated they’re going to sound. They sound current, they sound contemporary, and they just fit right now within this renewed appreciation for the fem rock scene. It’s kind of like when Mumford & Sons came out. Everyone tried to sound like Mumford & Sons, but by the time everyone began to sound like Mumford, it was too late.”

Riley Ann’s presence in the Boulder music scene is remarkable. Not only has she founded the Coalition of Women Songwriters organization, where she’s connecting female musicians with jam and performance opportunities, empowering them to tour, write, and negotiate a living wage for their art. She also volunteers with Girls Rock Denver, a nonprofit camp that helps teen girls find their voice and form bands and collaborations. Riley Ann has proven herself throughout the past year to be a musician dedicated to building up the community around her.

“I don’t want to nickel and dime this album, I want to do it right,” she says. “And using crowdfunding is the way for me to expedite this whole process and get these songs out into the world as soon as possible.”

Riley Ann’s Kickstarter campaign ends in just a few days, so make sure to give it a view to see her rewards and show support. Donating to a local artist means you’re donating to the Colorado music scene! More about Riley Ann and her music can be found on her website.

-Claire

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

Denver's Indie Folk Band HERESTOFIGHTIN Feeds The Soul With Their Fresh Perspective

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Nestled within the rocky mountains, sprouted along with the pines and the aspens, is Denver’s indie folk band HERESTOFIGHTIN. Since 2013, members Gabe Wyatt and Aaron Campbell, along with newer members Lazarus Blehm and Levi Blehm, have been pushing the boundaries of traditional folk music, catering their sound and message to resnoate in the hearts of young creatives.

HERESTOFIGHTIN fluctuates between a soothingly forward-thinking and a gently nostalgic feel. Their message is simple, yet multi-faceted: embrace your truth, embrace the moments that tear you down, only to build you back up again, and don’t be afraid to get a little lost, because no matter what, you’re alive. Their mantra, “remember who you are in the struggles you’re facing; we all have our fight, that’s just you in the making” is a fresh perspective for anyone going through a rough patch.

HERESTOFIGHTIN.

HERESTOFIGHTIN.

HERESTOFIGHTIN’s recently released EP Becoming Native (2016) is a 12 song storybook about searching for the lost pieces of your soul before finding your way home again. Listening to Becoming Native, I heard influences ranging from Mumford & Sons, to The Decemberists, and The Strumbellas. Wyatt’s vocals are smooth, yet have a wide, bluesy range. Songs such as “Whiskey Choir” and “Hard Nights” are loud and soulful, while others such as “California” and “Down the Road” take on a more backwoods folk feel. Other favorites of mine are the darker “Ghost” and the EP’s finale, “Voices.” The band also released a music video for “Heart & Soul,” a song that’s sure to make you want to get up and dance around.

Check out HERESTOFIGHTIN's "Heart & Soul":

In a city where locally made talent reigns the most high, and where tweaking the norm is welcomed, HERESTOFIGHTIN fits right in. Their message is clear, honest, and without a hidden agenda. If you’re intrigued now, you’re in luck! The band will be performing at Larimer Lounge tomorrow night (December 7th), and will be joined by Cody Statz, The Samuel Edgar Band, and Steamboat Revival. Tickets can be purchased here. So stick it to the snow, and get yourself out to Larimer Lounge tomorrow night for some warm, feel-good tunes.

Connect with HERESTOFIGHTIN on their Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out their website for a closer look into their world, including the chance to join their street team. You know you want to!

-Jura

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