COIN Making Debut Red Rocks Amphitheater Set Wednesday, June 12th

By: Elena Marti

 While they may be supporting Young the Giant and Fitz and The Tantrums on their 2019 North American Tour, COIN are no strangers to the spotlight, having made appearances at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in recent years. They’re familiar with the Colorado altitude as well, having just headlined the Gothic Theatre in Englewood in March 2018.

COIN.

COIN.

While it may appear easy to write COIN off as another cookie cutter pop group at first, the trio are incredibly good at writing songs that allow you to relate and feel understood. COIN’s third studio album is said to be released later this year, but the three-piece have already released four singles from the album including: “Growing Pains,” “Simple Romance,” “Cemetery” and “I Want it All.”

“Growing Pains” deals with the uncomfortable part of falling in love we all wish we could ignore, or at least fast-track through: when you have to put up this front, trying to be the coolest version of yourself, and overall, just desperately trying not to screw everything up. “Cemetery” confronts the dangers of spending your life focusing on money above all else with lines like, “never had time for a family/but he is the richest man in the cemetery.” The dark undertone of the lyrics is counterbalanced by the exuberant beat on this tune. For COIN fans, singles like these have listeners excited for the band’s new record.

Fortunately for you, COIN are headed back our way! On Friday, June 12th, head out early to catch COIN’s debut Red Rocks set, which will surely draw you in and keep you hooked. It’ll only take one listen for you to be singing this band in your head for the rest of the night! Get tickets while they last here and keep up with COIN at this link

-Elena

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

I Prevail Bringing 'Trauma' on Tour This Spring & Summer, Including a Red Rocks Amphitheatre Set

By: Nathan Sheppard

I Prevail recently released their newest album Trauma, which is the band's first album in three years. This highly anticipated record offers fans a look at what their genre has to offer in the future, while also giving us the classic I Prevail that we fans have come to love.

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The first track of the album is “Bow Down,” and was the first single released. This track gives us everything that we know the band is great at: the back and forth between Brian Burkheiser’s clean, smooth vocals and Eric Vanlerberghe’s harsher tones, a melodic chorus, and heavy breakdowns. This song is a clear indication that I Prevail still know how to make the jams they’re known for. They also produced one of their heaviest songs to date on this record with “Gasoline,” a tune that showcases Eric’s screaming abilities.

In “Paranoid,” we get a very different track which shows us a possible direction the band could evolve into. They experiment with different genres by incorporating bits of electronic, hip-hop, and alternative elements into this song. This is seen heavily throughout Trauma and is on par with the trend in rock music today to try and appeal to a wider variety of fans. While I Prevail are trying to expand their musicianship, they still stay true to their roots by not overwhelming you with the electronics; you can still tell there are heavy instrumentals in each track.

I Prevail gained a major following with some of their softer rock ballads like “Alone” and “My Heart I Surrender,” and with Trauma we get two of new awesome ballads. The first is “Every Time You Leave” featuring Delaney Jane and the second is the last track on the album “I Don’t Belong Here.” Both of these songs are definitely tunes that you will be turning the volume up to and singing along.

Overall Trauma takes us to an updated version of I Prevail. The album is very well produced and has a much cleaner sound to it than previous ones. While a good chunk of the rock scene is going towards a more mainstream pop style, I Prevail is able to add elements of that without losing who they are as a band. They experiment with newer sounds in a way that is easier to digest compared to changing their sound all together. Trauma is an album you want to listen to all the way through, whether you’re an old fan or new.

I Prevail will being taking their brand new album on tour this spring/summer with Issues and Justin Stone. Their tour starts at the end of April and hits Colorado when the band will make their way to Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 13th for KBPI’s annual birthday bash. Tickets and dates can be found 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.

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.

Fans Braved the Cold for Last Weekend's "Rezz Rocks" and It Was Worth Every Minute

By: Franz Hilberath

Is Rezz the most iconic woman in electronic music today?

It would’ve been hard to argue otherwise standing in a half-rain, half-snow flurry drizzle at Red Rocks Amphitheater late Saturday night, where Rezz had just finished up her sold-out, headlining debut at Colorado’s most historic venue.

Rezz Rocks” had been a notable date on the ever-exciting Red Rocks concert lineup since it was announced earlier this year, hype that would only grow with her exceptional 2018 career.

“Rezz Rocks.” Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

“Rezz Rocks.” Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

In September, she released her sophomore album Certain Kind of Magic, hitting her highest charting position to date at #12. On the global festival circuit, she’s made waves headlining main stages at events like Electric Forest, Lost Lands, and most-recently ACL Festival in Austin, TX.

Her well-reputed ability to create event-catered experiences for crowds in addition to the spell-binding nature of her music has made her one of the more clamored for electronic acts worldwide, and more often than not her billing demands a primetime night set wherever she goes. This reputation for creating an experience each time out boded well for her largest show to date, and her first headlining gig at Red Rocks Amphitheater, a venue noted for making concerts like these special.

On Saturday, the concert doors opened up to fans at 4:30PM, an earlier start time enacted due to fears of light rain and snow coming over the mountains later on in the night. “Rezz Rocks” featured a slew of enticing openers in Fytch, Charlesthefirst, Digital Ethos and Bleep Bloop, but the main lead up spot was reserved for LA-based DJ/producer Tokimonsta. The fellow lady — real name Jennifer Lee — took the stage later in the night, playing some of her lighter tunes and remixes before following suit with a bass-heavy themed set. As that set neared its end, the sun had all but abandoned the park as the cooler weather and breeze began to set in, with temperatures diving down into the 30s.

At 8:30PM, as if on cue with total darkness, Rezz made her way to the stage, booting on her patented-LED goggles as both the music and visuals for “Life and Death” began to play. Within minutes the 10,000-plus in attendance found themselves entranced in one of electronic music’s more captivating shows.

With an hour and a half set time, the Canadian producer dished out all the tools in her arsenal, debuting new tracks, visuals and stellar remixes. During a slowed-down version of Liquid Stranger’s “Creature,” a giant eyeball with tentacles sprang to life on screen, while other tracks like “H E X” and “Teleportal” utilized geometric shapes and patterns on the LED-board to help bring the music to life. On a night that dipped below freezing, Rezz seemed mostly unbothered while only sporting a hoodie, regularly dancing or swaying along with the slow-bass drops.

Rezz. Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

Rezz. Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

Around 10PM the weather began to make a turn for the worse, as the temperature continued to drop and the winds spiked, sending droplets of rain dancing above the crowd. It was here the night began to come to a close, as Rezz met the crowd at the lip of the stage to acknowledge both their energy and the cold.

“Thanks for sticking with me in the cool,” she gleamed while looking out at the sold-out amp crowd, struggling to form her trademark third-eye hand gesture. “I can barely feel my hands.”

To the delight of everyone, Rezz dropped back in for one more song, asking fans to “put all [their] energy into” a high-powered, unreleased, unnamed track that we can't wait to hear on record.

In a world where we’re constantly working towards a climate where women are celebrated for their uniqueness and individuality, Rezz serves as an early champion. On what she claimed to be “the best night of her life,” Rezz proved that she is well ahead of her peers, and at only 23, she’s just getting started. She hasn’t achieved this level of status or fame by following others. Instead her rise has fed off the energy she puts out there for fans, grown by her humbled dedication in being the best version of herself regardless of what others would say.

If that isn’t iconic, what is?

-Franz

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

From the Eats to the Tunes, Here's Why We Can't Wait for Grandoozy

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Colorado will finally be home to a new music festival this September. The concert promoter, Superfly will debut their first festival, Grandoozy at the Overland Park golf course September 14th-16th. Being the co-creators of other major festivals such as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Superfly is not new to creating a memorable experience for concertgoers.

During the fest, we can look forward to over fifty acts, all of which will cater to different tastes in music. Big-name headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + the Machine, and Stevie Wonder. While at the fest, you can spend your Sunday rocking out with St. Vincent, and if you were unable to snag tickets to see The Chainsmokers’ sold out show at Red Rocks in 2016, Grandoozy is your chance to see them in an outdoor setting with a great view of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first time Kendrick Lamar will be back in Denver since last July, and the first time since he won his historic Pulitzer Prize for his record DAMN. His performance is going to be a definite Denver must-see.

The weekend will also be the ultimate Denver music festival experience, from the music to the food. Between performances, make sure to grab a bite or a few before the next act! The entire festival will pay homage to all things local, from the beer you drink to the food you order. The vendors list will spotlight local favorites like Snooze: an AM Eatery (Adam Schlegel), Justin Cucci (Linger, Root Down, Vital Root, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and El Five), Carrie Baird (executive chef at Bar Dough and participant on Season 15 of Top Chef Denver), Jen Jasinski (executive chef/owner of Larimer Square’s Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Stoic & Genuine, Ultreia), and Tommy Lee (chef and owner of Uncle and Hop Alley). You just might find your new favorite dish or meet the chef from your current favorite restaurant!
    
After you have finished your food from our local vendors and feel like dancing between acts,  head over to the Break-Room. It will be Grandoozy’s taste of a disco club right in the middle of the Mile High City. The Break-Room will be a dance lounge to satisfy all music tastes, from ambient to electronic. The lineup features various local DJs who are both up-and-coming, as well as popular within the industry. Some of the local acts will include Sunsquabi, Head for the Hills, The Drunken Hearts, AMZY, and Black Pumas.

Ultimately, this will be a showcase of our beautiful city, spotlight our local food vendors, celebrate our local talent, and it will put Denver on the map for big-name music festivals in the future. This is not the festival to miss, so grab your friends and buy your tickets before they sell out!

Grandoozy pricing starts at $99 for general admission single-day tickets, $224.50 for general admission three-day tickets, $249.50 for VIP single-day tickets, and $674.50 for VIP three-day tickets. They can be purchased online here.To get you pumped for our first major festival, make sure you follow Grandoozy on Spotify, and add their playlists! We’ll see you at the Park!

-Taylor

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

Portugal. The Man Proved Their Reign In the Pop Rock Sphere at Recent Red Rocks Show

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The Lords of Portland landed in Morrison, CO yesterday at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Portugal. The Man, the progressive rock and recent “Best Pop Performance” 2018 Grammy winners made a sold-out stop at the Rocks between summer festival performances. Formed by John Gourley in 2002, Portugal. The Man originally started as a side project to Gourley’s group Anatomy of a Ghost. After a move to Portland from the group’s origins in Wasilla, Alaska, Gourley and bassist Zachary Caruthers began working on tunes for Portugal. The Man full-time, releasing their debut Waiter: "You Vultures!"  in 2006. The group put out another record in 2007, Church Mouth, and embarked on their first US tour in support of the record. The band then released a series of records with independent label Approaching AIRballoons before signing with Atlantic Records in 2010.

Portugal. The Man.

Portugal. The Man.

With a growing number of festival appearances and the success of their record Evil Friends (2013), Portugal. The Man continued to grow a strong international fan base. After more than a decade of building their brand of prog psych pop rock, Portugal. The Man achieved true worldwide fame for the pop hit “Feel It Still,” which just came out last year. After rising to the top of the Billboard charts, earning the band their aforementioned Grammy, and snagging them a ASCAP Vanguard Music Award, Portugal. The Man suddenly went from that band you once enjoyed seeing at a Bonnaroo tent to a major festival headliner. For this band, that switch appears as though it were seamless, though it took sixteen years.

Now comprised of Gourley and Carothers with Kyle O’Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist, and Zoe Manville, the six-piece had an incredible Red Rocks performance, both sonically, and in their stage production. Prior to the start of the show, the band had local Lakota tribe members give a blessing to fans before diving into their “For Whom The Bell Tolls” Metallica cover. They then transitioned into their Pink Floyd “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” mashup with their original “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” before sliding into a catalogue of their originals including “Live in the Moment,” “Noise Pollution,” and of course, “Feel It Still.” The band is known for inserting cover snippets into a mix with their own tracks, and this was evident to listeners with T. Rex’s “Creep In a T-Shirt,” Violent Femmes’ “Children of the Revolution,” The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” and the band’s encore, which featured a crazy mashup of their tracks “Sleep Forever,” “Plastic Soldiers,” and “Smile” with Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” It was also guitarist Eric Howk’s birthday, and the band had the crowd join in for a sing-along during their encore for this, which fans loved.

John Gourley.

John Gourley.

Along with their impressive instrumentalism, the band also had a massive projector onstage which displayed various messages from the band and “their management” since they claim to be bad with stage banter. This allowed for a great visual experience with the show whether you were close or far from the band, something that all major festival headliners know is important for a concert goer's experience. Gourley, who is also an artist, is as well-known to fans for his drawing, designs, and sketches, as he is for his music. Many of the art used throughout the show is his work, and was combined with lasers and projections onto the Rocks themselves, along with traditional stage lights.

Overall, the Lords of Portland proved their reign at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre with their sold-out show this past week. Take a listen to Portugal. The Man for yourselves here and keep up with the band’s current tour on their website.

See our full gallery of photos from this show here

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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.

Umphrey's McGee Crushed Their Recent Stint of Red Rocks Shows on 'It's You' Tour

By: Will Baumgartner

When you hear the phrase “rock music,” what do you think of? Not one specific thing, probably, unless you’ve only listened to a handful of “rock” bands who all sound the same. There’s a reason for this, and it’s simple: Of all the musical genres, rock is the only one broad enough to incorporate elements of many of the others. If you say “jazz” or “hip-hop "grindcore,” and I’d argue you’re more likely to hear a more blueprinted sound in your head. Rock, however, conjures a field as wide as the sky above at, oh, say, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater in Morrison CO, on a beautiful clear night in early July.

Umphrey's McGee at the Rocks. Photo Credit:   Cy Fontenot

Umphrey's McGee at the Rocks. Photo Credit: Cy Fontenot

Recently, I attended a concert by masters of cross-wired rock Umphrey’s McGee during their three-night residency at Red Rocks last weekend. While I was admittedly not steeped in their music, I’d heard enough UM that I was sure I’d like to see them live and I’d heard their shows were electrifying examples of tightness, groove, and onstage inventiveness. And also, there was nowhere else I could imagine being happier on my birthday than at Red Rocks absorbing a legendary live band for the first time.

I had not been misinformed on the rumors of UM live, and my intuition was also spot on: Umphrey’s McGee transported me along with thousands of other blissed-out music lovers, to a kind of rock heaven. I just couldn’t believe how good they were. Sure, people can tell you about a band and their shows ad infinitum; you can even watch full-concert videos. But none of that fully prepared me for the actual experience.

Photo Credit:   Cy Fontenot

Photo Credit: Cy Fontenot

When attempting to describe the show to friends and fellow musicians, I found myself grasping for words beyond ones like “tight” and “inventive,” because they just didn’t seem emphatic or expansive enough. Live, Umphrey’s are tighter than the gear works of a Swiss watch. Their group improvisations are as seamless, creative, and mind-blowing as an MC Escher print. And often, they went even further to where, in keeping with their cross-genre style, it was like being in a sonic world co-created by Escher and cosmic visionary artist Alex Grey, with a score co-composed by the love children of Miles DavisJerry GarciaBootsy Collins, and… uh, I guess a bunch of prog rockers from bands like Yes, and… oh, I give up! Frank Zappa once said something like writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Of course he was right in this observation, and in no case more aptly so than here.

If you haven’t seen UM live yet, you should, and if it’s been a while since your last time, you should go again. If these words are unworthy of their subject in any other respect, if they can get more people to share the Umphrey’s experience, I’ll feel that I’ve done the world some good. Though I can’t count myself as an old fan who knows all their songs, a lot of the material in their two-set show the night I saw them wasn’t stuff I could sing along with, with the exception of their cover of DJ Zebra’s Beatles/Nine Inch Nails mashup “Come Closer.” I didn’t sing along, but that was only because I was too busy digging how they did it.

Another notable aspect of this night’s many-faceted performance was the way these guys could layer and build, and then strip down and rebuild to yet another and even higher climax, to the point where it was hard to tell if they’d gone into a new song, or just taken the one they were doing to some dizzying new height. At one point, I realized that everyone but the two guitarists had stopped, and that was it: no bass, no drums, no percussionist or keys, just these two guitars dancing on a beautiful bridge of sonic sculpture. It was so dense and at the same time, so pointedly connected like a constellation viewed in striking detail. I just kept slowly shaking my head, trying to wrap around the fact that all this was coming from just two guitars. So I thought, “Oh yeah, effects. Effects, pedals.” But when once again, I looked closely, I saw that most of what was going on was coming from just those four hands, sixteen spidery fingers weaving their web.

While a large chunk of the concert not surprisingly came from their January 2018 release It’s Not Us (though the tour is named after the just-released companion It’s You), the band drew widely from their entire 21-year history and, in classic genre-hopping style, kept it all well mixed. They moved from their crunchiest prog-rock burners into the occasional bits of country-folkish type material, and some of their simpler funk-driven dance numbers, which gave guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bayliss ample opportunity to employ his rather cutely effective falsetto. And for sing-along songs, I’d be hard pressed to find one more irresistible than their cover of George Michael’s “Freedom.” The members of Umphrey’s may not spend a lot of time and effort on showmanship- they barely said anything at all between songs, preferring to let the music speak for itself- but there was much more going on at Red Rocks than just dazzling musical wizardry. This is clearly a feel-good band, just one that doesn’t encourage shutting down your brain while your feet are moving.

Photo Credit:   Cy Fontenot

Photo Credit: Cy Fontenot

Still, while acknowledging the good-time aspect of their shows, I don’t want to underemphasize this band’s outrageous skill on their instruments. Wikipedia’s UM page makes an important point about the group, and it was what I felt most defined the concert I experienced it. While Umphrey’s may be commonly grouped in with “jam bands” because of their varying setlists, improvisation, and encouraging taping of their shows, their overall sound owes much more to progressive rock artists like King Crimson, early Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the aforementioned Yes and Frank Zappa. I was also reminded of one of the first bands to advance the “jam band” prototype, The Allman Brothers, in the sheer and near-delirious power they cooked up as they brought their jams to full boil. And you just can’t do this without being overtly adept, not only at your own individual instruments, but also at the skillful interweaving of those talents combined with a highly developed sense of composition and dynamics. Guitarists Bayliss and Jake Cinninger, bassist Ryan Stasik, keyboardist/vocalist Joel Cummins, drummer/vocalist Kris Myers, and percussionist Andy Farag all displayed these musical attributes in spades.

I could go on but, okay, I think I’ve done enough dancing about Umphrey’s McGee’s splendid architecture for one article. Let’s just finish by repeating an earlier sentiment: whether you’re looking for virtuosity or just a very good time, get yourself to one of the shows on this tour, get on down to your local record store and pick up It’s Not Us and It’s You and then… well, just relax and enjoy. Umphrey’s will do the heavy lifting from there.

-Will

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

2018 Belongs to JJUUJJUU

By: Brody Coronelli

A Q&A with frontman Phil Pirrone on the band’s debut album, their upcoming shows, and how it feels to be on the cusp of their big break.

Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU.

Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU.

The Los Angeles psych-rock band JJUUJJUU has a sound that’s entirely their own. Harnessing the collision of psych and desert rock with the ambience of low-fi and a fiery undercurrent of metal that never overpowers the music, they’re one of rock’s most interesting and hard to pin down groups. They’re also on the cusp of a breakthrough.

The band- fronted by Phil Pirrone, the founder of the Desert Daze festival- released their debut album 'Zionic Mud.' The album is an atmospheric exploration of a number of different influences, each coming together to capture an atmospheric, psychedelic daze. A good deal of collaboration followed the release. The band released alternate versions of each single re-imagined by friends and supporters, which include Warpaint’s bassist Jennylee’s synth-driven and danceable take on the title track “Zionic Mud” and Liarsloud, scuzzed-out version of “Camo.” They also released a music video for their own version of “Camo” directed by Flaming Lips animator Michan Burzan.

This summer, the band is set to play a number of shows opening for the heavy metal band Mastadon and experimental rock band Primus; two hugely high profile acts with the potential to send JJUUJJUU into the stratosphere. In between those shows, the band is headlining Lost Lake in Denver on June 19th with support from DeCollage and King Eddie. I had the opportunity to chat with Pirrone recently about the band’s new album and their upcoming tour dates.

You guys just released your new album 'Zionic Mud' last month. How has the rolling out and reception of that record been, and in what ways is it different from your past material?

This record was five years in the making. So it's good to have it out. We had only released an EP before this, in 2013, so in a lot of ways, this is the beginning.

Your songs are definitely more blissed out and bright than your counterparts; they aren't always aggressive, and instead, favor some ambience. How do you go about creating this sound live and in the studio?

Not sure how we get there- I guess it's just our collective influences and experiences informing how we approach a song or jam or what have you. Short answer: happy accidents.

What sound were you trying to capture on 'Zionic Mud', and is it going to send the band in a new direction, or expand on a sound you've already established?

I just wanted it to sound like something I loved, no matter what that ended up being. I don't know what direction we're going in or what we've established. Just putting down what comes out and going from there.

What inspired you to have friends and collaborators release their own alternate takes of the singles? What do these new versions have to offer that the originals don't? The JENNYLEE version of "Zionic Mud" particularly stands out to me; it brings out a danceable element in the song's framework that I didn't catch in the album version.

It was my friend Jason's idea who works at the label. And a great idea at that. These versions are some weird form of collaboration between myself and the remixer, without being in the same room or even talking about it. So, it's very exciting to hear what each of them come back with. Jennylee went the extra mile and reimagined the track through her lens and it's lovely.

What made you choose METZ and Liars to rework the songs? Are there any other collaborations in the works?

Part of the aim of this experiment was to find very different filters to mix these songs through and see what we end[ed] up with. Both seemed like total long shots, but they both said yes (surprisingly). Very happy with how both came out.

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Your music strikes a really interesting balance between psychedelia, stoner-rock, desert-rock, and a cool, low-fi aesthetic. How did you come across this collection of sounds, and how do you go about synthesizing them into your live set?

We really don't talk or think about what we're going to do, we just go for it. Whether I'm on my own or with the group, we just jump into it and follow what comes out, or we don't if it's shit. Performing the songs live with a group is an evolution. It's difficult to replicate what happened on record because so much of it was improvised or literally a happy accident. So the live incarnation sort of evolves and the songs grow and change. I think that's totally a normal behavior for a group like JJUUJJUU.

How does it feel to be opening for Mastodon and Primus, two colossal names in the scene? How'd this opportunity come about, and do you have anything special planned for these shows?

Feel honored and excited and nervous, frankly. Touring with bands this good keeps us on our toes and forces us to bring our best. We've toured with Claypool Lennon Delirium before, so it's great to be invited back out. Les Claypool has some of the best fans in the world. They are there to enjoy loud music and have a good time. So, for that, among other things, we're very grateful. We're going to be playing nice and early, so we'll be having a BBQ nightly from stage. We might perform a few weddings (if needed). First 50,000 people in the gates get a free hot dog and t-shirt (if there's also a wedding).

What's next for the band after you guys finish your expansive touring schedule this year? Do you see the band continuing in the same sonic direction, or is there a new sound on the horizon?

We're playing Desert Daze in Southern California in October. We're working on LP2 right now (early stages). It's going to be different. But the same. But different.

-Brody

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. 

For Being Afraid of the Dentist, Vance Joy Lit Up Sold-Out Red Rocks Show with Nothing But Smiles

Vance Joy.

Vance Joy.

There’s this story that I think you’ll like. This guy decides to quit his job as an Australian football player and heads to the internet with his ukulele. This musician writes a hit and finds himself. He just played the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and sold the 10,000+ capacity place out himself.

Oh, oh. That’s some impressive stuff.

This is the story of James Keogh, best known as Vance Joy. The Australian native, who left a promising football career behind to play indie pop folk tunes for the masses, first released his 2013 hit “Riptide” independently on the interwebs. Shortly thereafter, he signed with Atlantic Records for a five-album deal. His subsequent 2013 release God Loves You When You’re Dancing went triple platinum, he dropped Dream Your Life Away a year later followed by a world tour opening for Taylor Swift, and this past February, Joy’s third release Nation of Two hit the airwaves.

Joy and the rocks

Joy and the rocks

“I never knew when I put this song on the internet what would happen and I’m still surprised.” Joy said at his recent Red Rocks show before playing “Riptide.” The radio jam inspired a massive sing-along between the rocks, with Joy even stepping back for a chorus to let the crowd shout the tune, a song he actually wrote about a hotel on the Australian coast.

Along with “Riptide,” Joy played other crowd favorites including “Mess Is Mine,” “Georgia,” and his latest “Saturday Sun.” He was backed by a five-piece band which included a duo horn section and an upright piano player. Mid-set, the group crowded around the front of the stage together for an acoustic breakdown for “Little Boy” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” Later, they played a Lionel Ritchie/Justin Bieber mashup of “All Night Long” with “Sorry,” which had fans screaming, dancing, and even laughing. A Bieber cover? I know. But it was really good!

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On every track of the band’s 17-song set, it was impossible not to notice Keogh living up to his stage name. His 6’ 3” frame cracked a wide smile before, during, and after every song. Literal joy was plastered across his face as he crooned to the delight of the sold-out crowd under Colorado’s full moon and clear skies.

Backstage before the set, Joy divulged, “This is the best venue in the whole world!” before talking about how surreal it felt to be getting ready to go onstage when he and his girlfriend had been hiking around Red Rocks Park just the day before. “I’ve never seen a show here but this is incredible!” he smiled in the most unassumingly excited tone. Later, Joy’s manager Jaddan Comerford revealed this night was a true highlight not only for Vance, but for everyone involved on his team. And yet for someone about to play one of the biggest shows of their career to date, Joy was relaxed backstage, busting out dance moves, chatting about his Ogden Theatre performance a few years ago, and just generally chilling.

There were fans. And then there were  fans .

There were fans. And then there were fans.

Joy’s Nation of Two Tour continues with shows in the US and Canada through July followed by a massive international run through the end of the year across Australia, South America, and Europe. Several of these shows are also already sold out. And whether you’re a die-hard fan (like the woman above), a recently converted boyfriend following Red Rocks, or the casual singer/songwriter listener, you’ve got to admit: Oh, oh - that’s some really impressive stuff.

See more Vance Joy show photos here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram.

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.

Modest Mouse Gave Us All a Mother's Day Present at Sold-Out Red Rocks Show

By: Nathan Sheppard

For a day filled with Mother's Day events, Modest Mouse put an extra cherry on top of a great Sunday with an epic performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Modest Mouse. 

Modest Mouse. 

With a few sprinkles of rain here and there, Portland natives Mimicking Birds started off the festivities with a very mellow set. It's not easy to be an opener for such a popular band at a place like Red Rocks but they did a solid job. That being said, it didn't seem like many people knew who they were but it’s definitely worth looking them up if you are into the spacey jam band sound.

With people still streaming into the sold-out show as they started their set, Modest Mouse took the stage and played some throwback tunes “3rd Planet” and “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” to get everyone moving and grooving. The band who started out as just a trio over 25 years ago has now grown into an eight-piece supergroup which includes violin, horns, and a few keyboards. Their ability to evolve shows they know how to keep the entertainment going strong by adding all of these different elements to their music, and it showed even more when 10,000 plus people were singing along to their songs. The mix of old favorites like “Float On” and new songs from their latest records filled the 15-song set and was followed with a marathon encore of six songs!  The house lights turned on but people still wanted more and they got what they asked for: a SECOND encore! The guys played another four tracks for everyone and topped off the set with “The Tortoise and the Tourist” from their last album Strangers to Ourselves.

You can follow Modest Mouse and see their upcoming shows here.

See more photos from this event in our gallery. 

-Nathan

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.

Gasoline Lollipops Gear Up For a New Beginning In Lieu of a Departure

By: Brody Coronelli

Drummer Adam Perry reflects on his decision to leave the band, and what’s on the horizon.

The Gasoline Lollipops have been a fixture in Colorado music for over six years. What began as a bar band became a group that can sell out the Fox Theater, open Red Rocks, get on the bill of some of the state’s most popular festivals, and have their name recognized all across the state. This meteoric rise wasn’t a passive one, though.

GasPops. Photo Credit:   George L. Blosser

GasPops. Photo Credit: George L. Blosser

Clay Rose’s songwriting was always too immense for the bars and breweries that gave the band their break, so their rise was always imminent. However, those who follow the band closely will notice that their rise to popularity happened right around the time their drummer Adam Perry joined back in 2016. The two met in a music class at Naropa University and became fast friends, which eventually led to Perry stepping behind the kit.

“I agreed to play some shows with the band until they found someone else. But in the middle of one of those shows, I had a moment where I realized, ‘Why would I not do this?’ So, it kind of took off, and we started playing all the time,” Perry says. “I did what I always do when I play in a band: I think about how it could grow, and how we could be on the radio. It was a bar band at the time, but the music [was much more than that]. Clay is an incredible songwriter, and it shouldn’t [have stayed] at [that] level. I started booking shows, contacting press, and getting us on the radio.”

Perry’s skills at working with press, booking, and promoting the band was the driving factor behind the band’s acceleration over the last two years. He helped turn a bar band with a performance that far outweighed their counterparts into a household name throughout the Front Range.

“Adam pushed us to a level where we were getting statewide recognition, and a lot of people knew our name. Booking agents started talking to us, but we weren’t really chomping on the bait, because as long as Adam was with us, we didn’t really need one,” says Clay Rose, the band’s frontman.

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Two years later, Perry has decided to leave the band. Citing his desire to spend more time with his family, focus more on work, and generally have less on his plate, his departure is completely amicable.

“Beyond music, Adam has been our manager. He’s built the railroads that we’ve been travelling on,” Rose says.

The amount of responsibility Perry took on- serving as the band’s drummer while also behind the wheel of all the bells and whistles it takes to keep a band relevant and in the public eye- was a lot, and what ultimately motivated his decision to leave the band.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to build railroads while you’re also on the train,” he says.

In addition to his duties with the band, Perry works at a law firm in Boulder, has an eight-year-old daughter, writes for Westword, and is an avid cyclist.

“I’m really embracing those things right now. It’s a great way to feel calm and still,” he says.

While the band has cultivated new friendships, connections, and a list of accomplishments that many musicians are never able to cross off their list, this sense of calm and stillness is something that’s often missing in his life.

“When we were on tour in Europe [in 2017], I was having a bit of a nervous breakdown. I realized that I can’t do this and everything in my life well if I’m putting it all into the band. But it’s nice that it’s an amicable split this time around,” he said, alluding to the musical fallouts he’s seen multiple times throughout his career.

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Perry at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Perry has been playing in bands since he was 16. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, music has been at the center of his life since the beginning, and as he’s gotten older, it’s remained important, but he’s ready to re-center and set his sights elsewhere.

“My only education in music was through punk rock in high school, so my form of drumming is very primitive and loud. I was playing in clubs and bars when I was 16, and it was just about how fast and hard you could play,” he says.

His background in punk-rock shines through loud and clear. His presence on the songs is pummelling and thunderous, giving the band a density that most alt-country and rock acts have a hard time capturing.

Perry’s other notable project in Colorado was The Yawpers, a band he helped form in the aughts. After his time with that band came to an end, his plan was to turn his back on playing music entirely. But meeting Rose and stumbling upon the magic of the Gasoline Lollipops changed his mind.

“I left The Yawpers in 2012 and told myself I’d never do the band thing again.” he says.

Perry’s decision to leave the Gasoline Lollipops comes six months after the band released Soul Mine, their fourth album. The record came from a band with a long history, but it carries the pent up energy and polishing of their raucous, gritty, and often sweeping blend of alt-country and rock‘n’roll that renders it more similar to a crashing, bombastic debut than an album from a band with steady footing.

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Rose at Red Rocks. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

“I didn’t know how to push a band [before Adam joined]. You have to have an interesting story or a project to pitch to press, and he showed me how to do that and lit a fire under me as far as making [Soul Mine]”, Rose says.

Perry speaks of Rose with similar fondness of his role in the band, and the opportunities he’s granted them.

“With Clay, there isn’t a wall between him and his songs. Every other band I’ve been in, what the singer/songwriter is writing aims to portray something. I don’t think Clay could do that if he tried,” he says.

Perry’s last show with the band is their headlining show at The Bluebird on May 18th. With support from RL Cole & The Hell You Say and Grayson County Burn Ban, the night will be a celebration of where the Gasoline Lollipops have been, and where they’re headed from here on out.

Rose wants to dedicate his time to other projects at the moment as well, so it could be a year or two before we get another GasPops album, but until then, the band is just as alive as ever. They recently opened for The Tallest Man On Earth at Bluebird Music Festival, and they’re on the bill to play Grandoozy this September, sharing the stage with Kendrick Lamar, Sturgill Simpson, and St. Vincent, among other high profile acts. This is where the band was headed from the beginning, and they couldn’t have done it without Perry.

“Eventually, we might’ve reached the point we’re at now, but without Adam, it would’ve taken a really long time. This is where I always wanted to be, but I had no idea how to get here,” Rose says.

There’s a lot on the horizon for The Gasoline Lollipops in wake of Perry leaving. Whatever it ends up being, Rose assured me that it’ll take on a new sound.

“[Our new music is] going to sound a lot different. I’ve always had a definite direction where [my music] is heading, but I never see it until the last minute. It’ll definitely be more psychedelic and dreamy,” he says.

Here’s to a new beginning for the band, in lieu of a departure. Get tickets for GasPops Bluebird show here.

-Brody

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

Every 2018 Red Rocks Show Announced So Far

If you've ever been to Red Rocks, you know there's nothing like it. From the natural beauty of the amphitheater, to the friendly crowd vibes, to the dancing security guards, a Red Rocks show is like its own mini-festival atmosphere. We spend a good part of our spring and summer at the Rocks, and below you'll see why. We've compiled every Red Rocks 2018 show announced so far this year, and we'll update this post every Friday. Start planning your season now and keep checking back for more new shows- 2018 is gonna be a good one. See you on the Rocks!

January

January 12- Red Rocks Local Set with Dynamic Distractions, Venture Still

January 26- Winter On the Rocks with Rick Ross, Jauz, Brother Ali

February

February 16- Red Rocks Local Set with Sugar Ridge Band

March

March 10- Red Rocks Local Set with Many Mountains, Miguel Dakota and The Differents

April

April 18- Camila Cabello

April 19- 311, Method Man, Redman, Collie Buddz, PROF, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Chali 2na

April 20- Flosstradamus, Kayzo, Famous Dex, Melvv, DUCKY

April 21- Opiuo, Sunsquabi

April 25- Kygo, Alan Walker

April 27- Vulfpeck, Kamasi Washington, KNOWER

May

May 2- Post Malone, 21 Savage, SOB x RBE

May 3- X Ambassadors, Misterwives, Allan Rayman

May 4- Twiddle and Stick Figure with The Hip Abduction

May 5- Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band with Leftover Salmon

May 6- Primus, Mastodon, All The Witches

May 10- The Purple Xperience

May 11- Tchami, Malaa

May 12- Global Dub Festival with Ganja White Night, Zomboy, Boogie T. b2b SQUNTO, EPTIC, AFK, Spock

May 13- Modest Mouse

May 14- Khalid

May 19- Above & Beyond

May 20- Elephant Revival with Blind Pilot

May 21- Phantogram, Tycho, Poolside

May 22- The Decemberists, Whitney

May 24- Louis the Child, Big Wild, Quinn XCII, Phantoms

May 25- Devil Makes Three with The Wood Brothers, Murder By Death

May 26- Emancipator Ensemble with Manic Focus, Wax Tailor, Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, Tor

May 27- The Disco Biscuits, Spafford, Organ Freeman

May 28- HAIM, Maggie Rogers, Lizzo

May 29- Five Finger Death Punch, Of Mice and Men

May 30- Vance Joy

May 31- Colorado Symphony: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, Brett Mitchell, Natasha Paremski

June

June 1- Michael Franti & Spearhead, Xavier Rudd, Victoria Canal

June 2- The Motet, Boombox, The New Mastersounds

June 3- Marshmello

June 5- Ween

June 6- Ween

June 7- Brit Floyd

June 8- Lettuce, The Floozies, The Funk Hunters, Jaw Gems

June 9- Big Head Todd and the Monsters

June 10- John Butler Trio, Tash Sultana, Mama Kin Spender

June 12- Bryan Adams

June 13- Turnpike Troubadours with Randy Rogers Band, Old 97’s, Charley Crockett

June 14- Ryan Adams, First Aid Kit

June 15- Odesza -SOLD OUT-

June 16- Odesza -SOLD OUT-

June 17- Dispatch, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Raye Zaragoza

June 19- Barenaked Ladies, Better Than Ezra, KT Tunstall

June 20- Kaleo, Anderson East

June 22- Widespread Panic

June 23- Widespread Panic

June 24- Widespread Panic

June 27- Dirty Heads, Iration, The Movement, Pacific Dub

June 27- Third Day

June 28- Funk on the Rocks with Chromeo, The Glitch Mob, Elohim, KITTENS

June 29- Avett Brothers with David Crosby & Friends -SOLD OUT-

June 30- Avett Brothers with Mandolin Orange -SOLD OUT-

July

July 1- Avett Brothers with Special Guest

July 2- Zeds Dead, Ekali

July 3- Zeds Dead, Ekali

July 4- Blues Traveler, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Wailers

July 5- Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus

July 6- Umphrey’s McGee

July 7- Umphrey’s McGee

July 8- Dark Star Orchestra with Keller Williams

July 10- Ray LaMontagne, Neko Case

July 12- moe.

July 13- GRiZ (live band)

July 14- GRiZ

July 15- Seal with the Colorado Symphony, Corinne Bailey Rae

July 16- Imagine Dragons, Grace VanderWaal

July 17- Jackson Browne

July 18- Sylvan Esso

July 19- Trampled By Turtles, The Oh Hellos, Dead Horses

July 20- The String Cheese Incident with JJ Grey and Mofro

July 21- The String Cheese Incident with The Main Squeeze

July 22- The String Cheese Incident with Rising Appalachia

July 24- Paramore

July 25- Killer Queen

July 26- Sarah McLachlin with The Colorado Symphony

July 27- Beats Antique, CloZee, Polish Ambassador, The Diplomatic Scandal

July 28- Tedeschi Trucks Band with Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band

July 29- Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band

July 30- Halsey

July 31- Nas, Black Star, Push T, Brother Ali, The Reminders

August

August 2- HARD Red Rocks with DJ Snake, Virtual Self, Mija, GG Magree, Hekler

August 3- Lucero, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

August 4- Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters

August 5- Joe Bonamassa

August 6- Steve Martin, Martin Short, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Jeff Babko

August 8- Portugal. the Man, Thee Oh Sees

August 9- Leon Bridges

August 10- Pretty Lights

August 11- Pretty Lights

August 12- Brandi Carlile with Shovels & Rope

August 14- LSD TOUR: Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam

August 15- Father John Misty, TV On the Radio

August 16- Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

August 17- Old Crow Medicine Show, I’m With Her, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aiofe O’Donovan

August 18- Railroad Earth, Fruition

August 19- THE CULT, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush

August 20- Niall Horan, Maren Morris

August 22- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Tank and the Bangas -SOLD OUT-

August 23- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

August 24- 1964 The Tribute

August 27- David Byrne -SOLD OUT-

August 28- David Byrne -SOLD OUT-

August 29- Illenium -ALMOST SOLD OUT-

August 30- Shakey Graves, Jose Gonzalez & The Brite Lites, Twin Peaks

August 31- Atmosphere

September

September 1- Gramatik

September 2- Jason Mraz, Brett Dennen

September 3- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit with Aimee Mann and Amanda Shires

September 4- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Margo Price

September 5- Gary Clark Jr.

September 6- Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter

September 7- STS9, What So Not, DJ Z-Trip

September 8- STS9, TAUK, Cut Chemist

September 9- O.A.R., Matt Nathanson

September 10- Mac DeMarco

September 11-  Rascal Flatts, Trent Harmon

September 12- NEEDTOBREATHE, JOHNNYSWIM, Forest Blakk

September 13- The Revivalists, Houndmouth, J. Roddy Walston and The Business

September 14- Gov’t Mule, Dark Side of the Mule, Warren Haynes Acoustic

September 16- NGHTMRE with Slander and JOYRYDE

September 17- Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch

September 18- Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tobacco

September 19- Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tobacco

September 20- Little Big Town

September 21- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Breed Brass Band, Cyril Neville, Walter Wolfman Washington, Kermit Ruffins

September 22- Greenky Bluegrass with California Honeydrops

September 23- Greenky Bluegrass with Turkuaz

September 24- Beck, Jenny Lewis

September 25- Beck, Jenny Lewis

September 26- Ms. Lauryn Hill

September 27- Get The Led Out

September 28- Big Gigantic

September 29- Big Gigantic

September 29- 3LAU, Louis Futon, Party Pupils

September 30- Gregory Alan Isakov, Patty Griffin

October

October 1- Ben Howard

October 5- Snails

October 9- The National, Sharon Van Etten

October 11- Seven Lions

October 13- Rezz

October 20- Excision, SKisM b2b Trampa, Barely Alive b2b PhaseOne b2b Virtual Roit, Dion Timmer, Subtronics, Wooli

October 22- A Perfect Circle

October 28- ZHU

*All available tickets here.

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

New Year's Eve At Red Rocks Is Going To Be A Party

The clock is counting down as the holidays approach, and every year it seems to come by even faster than the previous years celebration. We're talking about ringing in the New Year, of course! Starting 2018 off on the right note will be easy when you consider all of the difference parties, local celebrations, and events happening throughout the Denver area.

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New Year's Eve on the Rocks at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is arguably the most anticipated party to ring in 2018, and even more so when you consider that this is the first ever New Year's celebration at the iconic venue. The all-star lineup for this concert almost guarantees a sell-out, with locals and tourists flocking into town to experience the magic! The line up is boasting names like Migos, Post Malone, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, and Dizzy Wright, so it's safe to say that this is going to be a night of hip-hop to remember for years to come. It's sponsored by Cervantes', Feyline, and KS107.5, so be sure to tune in for your chance to win tickets if you haven't had a chance to snag your own yet.

Safety is important anytime you plan on partying with friends, but even more so when so many people are partying for the new year, so be sure to prepare for your mode of transportation after drinking and dancing. Ride share services will surely take advantage of price surging during this time, so it's worth it to consider professional transportation such as a party bus or limousine. Not only is it more comfortable for a group of people, but it also comes at a comparable price tag after splitting it up among everyone who is attending. With amenities like cup holders, neon lights, comfortable seating and custom streaming ability on the subwoofer-equipped stereo systems, you're sure to enjoy the enhanced experience.

There will be shuttles leaving from specific bars around town like Thirsty Lion and Illegal Pete's, but be sure to weigh all of your options… especially if they're just as costly as professional transportation. Denver Party Bus Services allow you to have more control over your overall experience. For those able to attend, New Years Eve on the Rocks is going to be an exceptional party! Doors are at 5:00PM on the 31st, so don't be late. Swing over in style!

Book your bus now:

Limo Denver

1441 S Glencoe St Denver, CO 80222

(720) 619-2720

Browse the full fleet here.

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

Colorado Halloween 2017: Your Guide To All The Best Halloween Shows Happening This Month

By: Mirna Tufekcic

‘Tis the season of witches and warlocks, zombies and monsters, and some kick-ass parties honoring All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already started gearing up for the most fun weekend of the year- the one that celebrates the weird with music, costumes, and more music. Colorado music lovers, we’re here to tear you apart with choices of all the celebrations taking place around the state for this year’s Halloween weekend.

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

Thursday 10/26: The Boulder Theater presents the unmistakeable: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Colorado’s Elusive Ingredient- Denver’s Rocky Horror Shadowcast will perform along with the film. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a virgin to this interactive movie and theatre performance, it’s sure to make a great start to a funky weekend. The key word for this event is interactive.  Expect to touch or be touched.  

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Halloween weekend at The Boulder Theater will host a two-night “Rave from the Grave” party with Papadosio and friends. Papadosio plans to pay tribute to some of the 90s and early 2000s electronic artists that influenced their path as a band. To pop the cherry of this event, Boulder’s own Dynohunter will take guests on a journey through deep, grounding house tunes, just to lift you up through organic electro peaks and valleys you can rave about all over the dance floor. Saturday night, the party will start with Bass Physics, a one man show put together by Denver’s esteemed Arja Adair guaranteed to provide positive tunes while mixing up acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Two-day passes are already sold out for this weekend, but click here to buy a one day ticket before they’re all gone. This event is likely to sell out soon.

Sunday 10/29: The Fox Theatre is hosting Sinful Sunday Halloween Party with Midnight North and All Chiefs. This ought to be an upbeat, dancey, bodies-grinding-all-night kind of show as Midnight North brings their soul, country, rock’n’roll, and All Chiefs their indie beeps, boops, and digital sprinkles to make any body groove. The show is free to industry folks; if you’re not one of those get your hands on some tickets here.

Tuesday 10/31: Snakehips make their return to Fox Theatre for Halloween, where we expect to see lots of fun costumes groovin' to their bass drops. Tickets here.

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

Saturday 10/07: The Mile High City has big things on the agenda throughout October in almost every music venue. The spirit of the season starts with thousands of living dead wannabes at Denver’s Zombie Crawl, and the city will no doubt be bustling with dark spirits from then through the end of October.

Thursday 10/19: Marilyn Manson will bring his tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, as long as he’s healed up from his recent stage injury. While not a Halloween weekend event, it’s close enough, especially since he’s known for having the most disturbing Instagram account around. Enjoy. UPDATE: This show is rescheduled for 01/20/18 - details here

Friday 10/20: The Gasoline Lollipops are bringing you one scary hoedown at Denver's Lost Lake tonight. Hosted by 105.5 The Colorado Sound, Grayson County Burn Band and Whipperpool will join Colorado's favorite alt-country outfit on good 'ol Colfax for an eerie time. 

Friday 10/27: Lost Lake Lounge is throwing their Terrified Halloween party with Modern Suspects, a “popternative trio,” Optycnerd, an electo-indie-pop beats duo that bring the heat to the dance floor, and Vynyl, an electronic hip-hop pop duo. This one’s set for a full house of Denver-based musicians and beat-makers bound to terrify you into dancing the night away.

Friday 10/27: Syntax Physic Opera will host an early event starting at 7PM called Hell Toupee, A Lounge Night in Hell, which is a comedy and variety show. Then starting at 9PM, you can check out Lillian’s album release party.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: The Oriental Theater will have a weekend packed full of halloween celebrations. Friday night is the Third Annual Monster Ball with Alice in Chains and KISS tribute bands. Need I say more? Saturday night is reserved for a costume contest event called MORTIFIED, an international storytelling event where adults share their most embarrassing and hilarious childhood artifacts in front of total strangers. Dare I say terrifying?

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

Saturday 10/28: Bar Standard/Milk Bar will host a Colorado HELLoween Ball with TR/ST. It's the biggest event of the year from promoters Ritual Noize. TR/ST is considered a popular goth/industrial/dark electronic artist and HELLoween is a party for just such fans, so it should be a hell of a time if you’re into that scene. According to Ritual Noize, “HELLoween has always been about mixing club culture, the Halloween tradition and live musical performances with a horror theme attached.” This year the decor will be Psycho-themed; hurray for Hitchcock fans!

Saturday 10/28: Halloween Hootenanny at The Bluebird Theater will feature Denver DJ Wesley Wayne and a costume competition that can score you year passes to some of Denver’s most beloved venues. Click on the Hootenanny link above for details and if you plan to attend, you’d better come in your best costume yet.

Saturday 10/28: Gothic Theatre is throwing Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery party with Deer Tick and special guest Chris Crofton, who will open up the event with, hopefully, a very funny set before things get groovy and ghosts begin to apparate. Deer Tick hails from Providence, Rhode Island with a rebellious take on alternative, folk, rock’n’roll, and country vibes.

Saturday 10/28: Larimer Lounge is hosting their Halloween Edition of Dance Yourself Clean with DJs inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Blood Orange, and more. Shake off the sugar with this one.

Estes Park

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Saturday 10/21: The Shining Ball at the Concert Hall of the famous Stanley Hotel will have yet another yearly Halloween staple with Denver’s beloved Gasoline Lollipops. We imagine the band will truly bring the spirit of Halloween to life, with growls from frontman Clay Rose and howls from the audience over the band’s poignant lyrics and dark, stompy tunes.

Saturday 10/28: The legendary Masquerade Ball at the Stanley Hotel will conclude the Halloween events at the haunted property with live music by Jonny Mogambo backed by a full band.

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday 10/13: Mishawaka Amphitheatre will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening all its own with a troupe of actors, games, and trivia. There will also be a costume contest and drink specials. Practice your time warp now.

Friday 10/27: Hodi’s Half Note is getting metal with Skinned, A Flood Foretold, Inficier, and Voracious Souls. Headbang until witching hour.

Greeley

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Friday 10/27: Sweaty soul outfit The Burroughs are headlining Moxi Theatre’s 4th Annual Halloween Extravanganza, and chill wave beach band Slow Caves are opening. No word on if the bands are dressing up yet, but fingers crossed.

Sunday 10/29: The Moxi is also throwing a purely metal Halloween show this weekend with Bash, Skinned, Last Word, Infinited Conscious, and Cyber Zodiac. Go get weird.

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

Saturday 10/28: If it’s in your interest to get away from all the debauchery and chaos of city life during Halloween, then the quaint town of James has something for you. They are hosting The Alcapones at the good ‘ol Merc. A ska/reggae band with a mountain flare, The Alcapones will definitely bring the house down and set this mountain roof on fire.    

And finally, for those of you wanting to see and hear live music without all of the Halloween hype, here’s what’s good:

Friday 10/27: Tonight at the Hi-Dive in Denver is Jocko Homo, an event to pay tribute to 90s and 2000s alternative rock bands like Incubus, Weezer, and Modest Mouse, with cover bands honoring all three respectively. Sidenote: Actual Incubus and Weezer play Red Rocks this month.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Denver’s The Ogden Theatre will host two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters this weekend. Party down.

Saturday 10/28: Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be abuzz with Russ, an American hip-hop singer/songwriter, recording artist, and producer.

Tuesday 10/31: Dream pop four-piece Alvvays  are ringing in actual Halloween night at Denver's Bluebird Theater with Jay Som.

Tuesday 10/31: Denver's own Itchy-O play Summit Music Hall on Halloween, which is fitting for this avant-garde and experimental marching band. The show is sponsored by Meow Wolf, so expect to get weird. 

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

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

Have something to add to this list? Let us know here.

Gasoline Lollipops Brought A Storm Of Sound To Debut Red Rocks Performance

By: Hannah Oreskovich

There's a certain feeling of pride you get when you see local artists accomplish something big, like when The Yawpers were signed with Bloodshot Records or when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats got their first Jimmy Fallon gig and blasted into the international spotlight. This week, that same heartwarming feeling was much aglow as fans watched Colorado’s Gasoline Lollipops take the stage at the state’s best, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

The GasPops, as the band is more affectionately known to fans, first started back in 2009. Founding and original member Clay Rose, who is also the project’s frontman, grew up between Boulder & Nashville’s music markets. Piecing together sounds from each city’s scene, along with other influences, GasPops music combines punk, alternative, folk, country, and rock’n’roll. The Boulder band have been called everything from gypsy punk to “dirt floor folk” and played just about every venue in the state to date over the last six years.

Except for The Rocks. And that's why Monday’s show was just so special.

As the opening entertainment for the film Twister, the last “Film On The Rocks” of the summer for Denver Film Society’s series, Gasoline Lollipops brought a real storm of sound to the stage. There was a boot-stompin’ thunder of drums and standup bass (courtesy of Adam Perry and Brad Morse respectively), tempestuous, warm crackles of sound from Rose’s harmonica mic and Jeb Bows’ (Gregory Alan Isakov) violin solos, and a whirlwind of tight, raining vocal harmonies between Alexandra Schwan and Rose. Donny Ambory’s electric guitar playing also added a swirl of heated rebelliousness to the mix, an element the Gasoline Lollipops are well-known to evoke in their live shows.

GasPops on the Rocks.

GasPops on the Rocks.

The band opened their hour set with “Smoke and Steam” and played songs from several of their records, including “Death,” “Longest Night,” “Love Is Free,” “The Wire,” and “White Trash.” The six-piece also introduced us to some new tunes from their upcoming record Soul Mine, “Leaving Alone” and “Burns.” And the crowd, who sat for the film, were on their feet for the entirety of the GasPops’ set. There were hollers, cheers, and a lot of dancing happening between the night’s glowing rocks, which seem to be common sights and sounds at the punk rock hoedown that is a Gasoline Lollipops show.

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Overall, Gasoline Lollipops played a very Red Rocks-worthy performance for their debut at the venue. After the show, several crowd members voiced that they hoped for a GasPops storm to hit the rocks again next year. I'm hoping for it too but until then, catch them at the Fox Theatre this December for their Soul Mine vinyl release show, or drop everything and roll with them on their upcoming overseas tour this fall, where the GasPops storm of sound will be raging on.

Keep up with Gasoline Lollipops 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.

Chance The Rapper's Intern Opens Up About Working For His Favorite Rapper & How One Night at Red Rocks Changed Everything

Hospedales & Chance. 

Hospedales & Chance. 

You may recall a few months back when Chance The Rapper put out a request for an intern across his social media. Canada’s Nagele Hospedales got the gig after turning his resume into a website that went viral. Recently, Hospedales opened up about what life was like touring the globe with Chicago’s hometown hero. From arranging story time for the rapper with Dave Chappelle to coordinating Chance’s hoops sessions with Migos, Hospedales eventually writes,

“I can talk all I want about my run-ins with various celebrities including the ones I lived with for 2 months, or how a taste of the VIP lifestyle changed me, but the first moment that really left shivers down my spine was a slightly more natural one:
Night 2 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO.
The band intros happen nearly halfway thru the show, and after the ovation for ‘Mr. Nico Segal’, ”Sunday Candy” begins. Suddenly, it was if the heavens literally opened up for a second; right as the vocalists harmonized the lines “Come on in this house, cause it’s gonna rain, Rain down Zion, it’s gonna rain”, the most peaceful light mist fell from the sky until the end of the song and as suddenly as they started, ceased. Something about that moment made me realize that I, or rather we, were doing something right, enough so to please our God & Mother Nature & the sky themselves.”

A life defining moment had at Red Rocks? We get you Hospedales.

Read Hospey's full adventures as Chance’s intern here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Boulder's rt60.co Curates Magical Shows At The Starhouse

By: Hannah Oreskovich 

Just above Boulder, after a short ride up Sunshine Canyon, sits a magical space: The Starhouse. Surround by 200 acres of open space, pine forests, and a killer view of Boulder, The Starhouse was constructed in 1990 as a living temple for trans-denominational spirituality. It was built by souls dedicated to sacred geometry and astronomy, so its entrance sits aligned with Polaris, and its acoustics are out of this world. The space regularly hosts Solar celebrations and Lunar events, but recently, I went for another reason: an intimate concert series curated by Daniel Herman of rt60.co and Mineral Sound.

The Starhouse.  Photo per The Starhouse.

The Starhouse. Photo per The Starhouse.

Herman has hosted a few shows recently at The Starhouse, all of which have featured local singer/songwriters unplugged in the natural acoustics of The Starhouse’s main wooden room. There’s a sort of sacredness to entering the place beyond the geometry- patrons are asked to remove their shoes, and meditation floor chairs and blankets are provided. There are candles along each windowsill, and after taking a seat, The Keepers of The Starhouse instruct you to turn off your phones and tune in to the present. That’s when rt60.co’s performers take the stage- the recent Starhouse lineup consisted of Megan Burtt, Paul Kimbiris, and Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson opened the evening just as the sun set, playing a few tracks from his last record Get On This Train, along with his tune “Broken Man.” Though he’s played Red Rocks and The Boulder Theater in the past year, he admitted there is something different about playing The Starhouse.  

“This is so crazy up here! I feel naked.” he smiled, as the crowd laughed.

Julian’s sound is bluesy, soulful, and honest. He has a strong storytelling ability in his songwriting, and with an audience as silent as The Starhouse, it was easy to hear every intonation in Peterson’s range vocally. He ended his set playing a tune on his resonator guitar, which left us draped in delta vibes.

Paul Kimbiris.

Paul Kimbiris.

Paul Kimbiris was next, opening his set playing guitar and a kick drum, which he’s newly added to his live shows. He then brought up Philip Parker (Gregory Alan Isakov), who accompanied him on cello for the remainder of the set. With Parker's deep and swift cello sounds backing Paul’s bold vocals and guitar playing, it was impossible to be anything but present in their beautiful tunes. They played several tracks from The Dark Side of Pearl, and though Paul remarked that the two hadn’t shared the stage in quite some time, you’d have thought they’d just come off the road together with the touring chemistry of a string of shows just behind them.

Near the end of his set, as he looked around The Starhouse and into the crowd, Kimbiris smiled and said, “You know- I was thinking, and this- this is so Colorado.”

The Starhouse indeed felt almost like a cozy cabin at that point, with the sun gone, the moon hidden by clouds, and only soft lighting and the glow of candles illuminating the space.  

Megan Burtt. 

Megan Burtt. 

Megan Burtt closed out the intimate Starhouse evening; I had actually caught her set just the day before at Strings & WoodsWestword Music Showcase performance. Burtt has been a touring musician for years now, and this year is one of the first she hasn’t spent either constantly on the road or in the studio. Having played overseas, with symphonies, and at numerous local digs, Burtt agreed there is something different from anywhere else about The Starhouse.

“This is so vibey!” she smiled after taking her place at the front of the room.

Burtt played a couple of tunes from her record The Bargain, including a powerful rendition of her song “Anchor.” The room was exceptionally still for Burtt’s silky vocals- she transitioned between high and low tones with smooth and exceptional ease. She was accompanied only by her guitar playing, which, thanks to sacred geometry, all sounded as crisp and clear as if she were plugged in without her actually having been.

Daniel Herman at The Starhouse.

Daniel Herman at The Starhouse.

When the show came to a close, rt60’s Daniel Herman thanked the crowd as he remarked, “As someone who works in sound, having these artists play without amplification or anything is a sort of a therapy for me.”

I’d argue The Starhouse is a dose of therapy for anyone who has the chance to inhabit the space. Chakras aside, there’s really nothing like it, so make sure to attend rt60’s next curated performance in August.

Keep up with rt60 and check out more videos from this show here. And learn more about the mystical experiences that happen at The Starhouse on their website.

-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.

Mlima Goes Interstellar: Fiske Planetarium Concert To Become New Album

By: Will Baumgartner

Denver’s Mlima have covered a lot of ground in the five years since their formation, but their journey, in a lot of ways, is only beginning. The group, who have coined the term “mountain groove music” in an attempt to encapsulate their sprawling sounds, first played together in 2012. Since then, they’ve played Red Rocks and were discovered and nurtured by the late legendary concert promoter Barry Fey; they’ve been with Fey’s management company, Feyline Presents, ever since. The band has also seen multiple personnel changes since their inception, with the one constant being percussionist Jack Breitenbach, the group’s founder. But as saxophonist/vocalist Zach Simms told me in a recent interview, it’s really been in the past year and a half that Mlima has found itself coalescing into the type of band that can look into the sky and say, “We could go there. And fill it with music.”

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

Mlima at Fiske Planetarium.

 In a very tangible way, that’s exactly what they did in their recent concert at CU Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium. Following a set of powerful, funky space-jazz by opening trio Dandu (definitely another Denver band to watch, by the way), Mlima populated the stage in their current incarnation featuring the locally ubiquitous vocalist Jessica Jones (who has sung with dozens of bands from the Glitta Kings to Galactic), masterful guitarist Jeph Kennedy, keyboardist Nate Todd (of Whiskey Tango and Jaden Carlson Band), bassist Ryan Thrush, drummer Lance Croucher, and the aforementioned Zach Simms on sax and vocals (also of Zobomaze and Like A Kenny G6). Together, these musicians proceeded to take the audience on a sonic journey that perfectly complemented the planetarium’s projected backdrop of intergalactic scenery.  

Watch Mlima’s live set at Fiske Planetarium: 

 

Aside from rallying all the talent onstage into an impressive and affecting musical whole, the concert marked another rather stunning achievement: virtually the entire set had been recently written by the band specifically for the planetarium concert, and the show was a debut performance of that material. This ambitious undertaking harkens back to another recent Mlima project, the transformation of their 2016 New Year’s show at The Bluebird Theater in Denver into the band’s soon-to-be-released next album, which drops August 17th, 2017. Much like this show, the Fiske Planetarium set will now be taken into the studio and made into the group’s next album, which they plan to release just a couple of months after the upcoming Bluebird record. These are not going to be live albums, but rather present an interesting twist on the live album formula: write a set for a specific show, go perform that show, and then take the material into the studio. If another band has taken that approach in the past, I haven’t heard about it! 

The tradition among local bands playing Fiske Planetarium has been to gear their sets toward the starry, trippy background of projections against Fiske’s domed ceiling, and for both Mlima and openers Dandu, this concert was no exception. But make no mistake that both bands, while playing sets that definitely leaned toward a reflection of the psychedelic/spacey feel of the visuals, did not skimp on the funk and hard grooves. Fiske has a largely seated arrangement, but that didn’t stop people from getting out of those seats and dancing in the aisles during portions of the show. Since most of the music in Mlima’s set was new, I of course didn’t recognize most of the songs, but for being brand-new material, there was no sense of the band “rehearsing” the songs onstage. In fact, many of these songs came across as anthems one might remember from dreams, or from life in another galaxy. With titles like “Planet Borscht” and “Hallucination Rain,” there was a sense of not only the type of tripping-through-the-universe groove which might remind one of Pink Floyd at their “Astronomy Domine”/”Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun” starry best, but also of the kind of mad fun one might find at a concert by Gogol Bordello, especially in the crazed performance of the Klezmer-party Mlima original “Kosher Dumpling,” which came near the end of the show and had Simms wandering among the audience honking on his baritone sax while audience members danced gleefully around him. 

The one song I definitely did recognize was their cover of the psyche-pop classic “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which was Kenny Rogers’ first hit in 1968. Mlima did the song proud, ably abetted by Jessica Jones’ always soulful and hugely powerful voice. For as much as that girl gigs, I must admit rather shame-facedly that this was my first time catching a performance by her, and I was far from disappointed. Her vocals are indeed a local treasure, but then again, everyone in Mlima brought so much to the stage: Simms is an insanely watchable frontman and an excellent saxophonist, and all the other musicians displayed dazzling virtuosity while making it all look easy and ridiculously fun. They definitely made a fan of me, and I can’t wait to hear their two upcoming albums when they’re released nearly back-to-back later this year.  

I don’t know what Mlima were like when they started, but Barry Fey must have seen their potential when he arranged to have them open for The Disco Biscuits at Red Rocks during their first year as a band. It seems from that highly auspicious beginning, the band has truly grown into a full realization of that potential, and will go amazingly onward and upward from here: even the sky may not be the limit for this band.

Mlima play The Fox Theatre July 7th opening for Jaden Carlson and Broccoli Samurai. Tickets here. Keep up with Mlima on their 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.  

Review: Great American Taxi's Latest Record Is Colorado Rugged

By: Allan Tellis

Recently re-formed band, Great American Taxi dropped an album earlier this year: Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show. The record is both refreshingly eclectic and simultaneously reminiscent of classic American sounds. The album covers a full range of styles from Americana, to country-rock and classic rock, all the way to R&B. Although there is a diversity of genres within, the album stays true to the tradition of Colorado bands that have preceded GAT. The record contains plenty of dance-inducing country roadhouse bounces with songs like “We Can Run” and “Out On the Town,” yet it still has down-tempo classic rock-style songs like “Sunshiny Day,” which make this an album with a song for every type of fan.

The album art.

The album art.

Well-produced and a polished project due to the hard work of Chad Staehly (keyboard/vocals), Jim Lewin (guitar/vocals), Brian Adams (bass/vocals) and Arthur Lee Land (guitar/banjo/vocals), and featuring guest drummer Duane Trucks (Hard Working Americans, Widespread Panic), this record plays as a rugged, feel-good ode to the Colorado lifestyle. With the production of Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone at Silo Sound Studios in Denver, CO, Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show is definitely worth a spin.

Great American Taxi are currently on a national tour in support of the new record, with an upcoming can’t-miss-it show at Red Rocks this Thursday, May 25th, where they will be covering some good ol’ Grateful Dead tracks before Film On The Rocks' Long Strange Trip. For more information on tour details and purchasing tickets to their upcoming shows, head to their website.

-Allan

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