Denver's Underground Music Showcase Proves It's Once Again Unlike Anything Else in Denver

By: Adrienne Thomas 

Denver’s Underground Music Showcase truly is the highlight of the year for many local music lovers, and this year was no exception. As far as multi-venue festivals go, UMS is a well executed one, and was a smooth experience for concertgoers. The “official” UMS venues spanned about 7 blocks down South Broadway, and included 3 separate outdoor stage areas. Most venues had their own vibe, like the punk and modular synth daytime-dark shows at the Hi-Dive, late-night crooner showcases at Skylark Lounge, house and techno dance parties at the 303 Magazine “Green Rom” below 3 Kings Tavern, and the intimate singer/songwriter serenades at South Broadway Christian Church. Simply put, there was always a place to go for everyone, with plenty of food trucks and friends to run into along the way. The heat, once accepted, couldn't hinder the excitement of seeing dozens of local gems and national touring favorites. 

Some of our UMS 2019 local highlights included Anthony Ruptak, Maya Bennett, and Kiltro, who drew devoted fans out in large crowds. Claire Heywood sang to us in church, Pout House jammed out at the Hi-Dive, and Ramakhandra and Emma Mayes & The Hip gave all their energy to a packed 3 Kings Tavern crowd. Favorite touring acts included Earthgang, who included the new J. Cole collab “Dreamville” in their set and even brought crowd members on stage for a very real dance-off. The latin rhythms and energy of Y La Bamba and Chicano Batman also made for a great time, and LA-based soul duo Annabelle Maginnis smiled in a furry two-piece through a killer R&B, upbeat soul set. Still, while the national touring acts may help sell tickets, we all know it’s the local artists who make the UMS something special. There’s no Colorado festival quite like the UMS, so here’s ‘til next year!

See more photos from UMS 2019 here.

-Adrienne

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

Kyle Emerson's New "I Can Change" Video Combines the Desert’s Psychedelic Mystique with Slick Indie-Folk Flare

By: Julia Talen

Currently featured as one of Indie 102.3 FM’s Local 303 Artists, indie rocker Kyle Emerson has been building anticipation of his sophomore album, Only Coming Down, out this fall. He dropped his first single from the forthcoming album, “May You Find Peace,” earlier this year. His second single was just released with a stop-motion collaged music video for the song “I Can Change.” Emerson says that the tune was, “written very quickly and demoed acoustically shortly after. Not overthinking the lyrics and letting them be more on the raw, personal side of the spectrum felt like the only place to exist lyrically… and it influenced the direction of the album from there.

The track feels very personal, and the music video alludes to that rawness while also being playful with a hodgepodge of colorful imagery that adds to the story behind this captivating piece. The video opens with a woman lying down facing a window of a moving van, as viewers look over her shoulder and see the van passing from the city to the suburbs to the sea and eventually to space, as the window frame melts away. Dawn breaks, and a grizzly head rises over a mountain like the sun as Emerson begins to sing, presumably connecting Emerson to this grizzly face. 

The lyrics offer a plea, seemingly to the girl in the van, that the protagonist of the song can change his partying ways, but as the music video evolves, we see less of that girl and more of a grizzly bear-headed man playing music. As the collaged video evolves and ebbs with cut-out butterflies swooping over backdrops and colorful layers that shift like a kaleidoscope, listeners realize this song has transformed into a plea no longer to the girl, but to the protagonist’s own self that he can change. 

Kyle Emerson.

Kyle Emerson.

The refrain swells at the same time the viewer sees the words “I Can Change” in white, bold font scroll over the vibrant background like film credits, while voices harmonize and instruments explode. Emerson cries the lyrics, “I can change/ I can change/ I can change.” He continues singing, “I’ll just hit the highway/and start all over again,” when the van from the beginning appears and drives through the forest, the mountains, San Francisco and Joshua Tree. As demons symbolized by images of fire, bats, caves and booze continue to follow the grizzly-headed character, there is a heightening of tension between adventure, nature, escapism, and haunting thoughts- all the themes of this memorable song.

Given Emerson’s success with his first album, Dorothy Alice, it’s no surprise that this local artist continues to create music rich with elements of the desert’s psychedelic mystique welded with his own slick indie-folk flare. Check out Emerson play this tune and others as he performs on the Main Stage at the Uundergound Music Showcase this Sunday, July 28th at 3:20PM.

-Julia

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

Professor Plumb’s "Pleiades" Is Brought to Life in an Epic, Animated Space Odyssey

By: Adam Cabrera

In Professor Plumb’s new music video, their psych-rock song “Pleiades” is brought to life in an epic, animated space odyssey. 

Composed by bandleader Benom Plumb and animated by Jeremy Brown, the blazing rock’n’roll instrumental is illustrated into an adventure out of the solar system and across the galaxy to the distant star cluster known as the Pleiades. 

The track, which was first released in 2018 on their Majic 12 EP, is an example of the band’s compositional side. Plumb argues, “I've always thought of myself as more of a composer, than an artist. So at this very early stage in my solo music journey, it's an important part of my overall sound and style.” 

As for the video itself, Plumb was inspired by an old astrological myth while stargazing one night at his home. “My backyard faces south,” Plumb explains, “and on the clearest winter night, the Pleiades can be seen near Orion. There's a ton of legend and mystery surrounding the Pleiades… that's when I came up with the idea for the video.” Planetary alignment, end-of-the-world prophecies, and other science fiction can be found all over Professor Plumb’s other work in songs like “Red Sky” or “Dark Star,” and this new music video is no exception. 

Professor Plumb Band Poster Four Corners Logo Bigger Centered.jpg

Plumb took his ideas to Brown, initially picturing a fleet of alien spaceships headed home to their star in the Pleiades. However, according to Plumb, they decided to remove the ships in favor of something more visually abstract while still trying to allude to the idea of an advanced alien civilization. In place of spaceships, Brown came up with the concept of an outer space “megastructure.”

“Visually, it’s a hodgepodge of concept art from all over the internet and from some of my favorite sci-fi films, TV shows, and games,” Brown says about the music video’s final image of a Dyson sphere (a colossal space structure built to harness the energy of a star). 

Fueled by Professor Plumb’s high-energy space-rock performance, Brown describes the final cut as “a hyper-real, first-person journey to a distant part of the galaxy” and a “mysterious galactic tour guide.” 

Check out the full interview below if you’re interested in learning more about Professor Plumb, Pleiades, and the creative production behind the video. You can also check out the new video on Professor Plumb's website where you can find more of their music along with more information about the band. They’ll be performing live at Denver’s Underground Music Showcase happening July 26th to July 28th and are also planning to release a lyric video for their new song “Take That!” sometime soon.

Professor Plumb.

Professor Plumb.

In your previous work there is a big emphasis on political or societal themes like in last years Midnight Creep lyric video or this years single Red Sky. But, with Pleiades being an instrumental it seems that you’ve decided to put an emphasis on more of the space rock / psychedelic side of the band. Is this the case or does the song represent more to you as the writer? 

BP: Yes, that's definitely the case with “Pleiades.” I've always thought of myself as more of a composer, than an artist. Pleiades was an opportunity for me to display my compositional side and cosmic wonder. 

What was the reason behind naming the song “Pleiades?” And, What made you decide to produce a music video for this song in particular?

BP: Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to travel to a constellation that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. My backyard faces south and on the clearest winter night, the Pleiades can be seen near Orion. There's a ton of legend and mystery surrounding the Pleiades, so that sounded like a good one to visit to me. That's when I came up with the idea for the video. I listened to the song over and over with my eyes closed to try and visualize what an epic space travel video would look like. I relayed these ideas to Jeremy and he made it look even better than I imagined in my head. 

How does Pleiades compare to the rest of your catalog in terms of overall sound and style?

BP: Out of all the songs I've written, I think “Pleiades” is one of my favorites. I was always a fan of rock bands doing cool instrumentals and I had always wanted to do one myself. So at this very early stage in my solo music journey, it's an important part of my overall sound and style. I played most of the instruments on the track, so the overall sound of the recording is me. It hits all the points of my catalog so far: dark, mysterious and hopefully, keeping the listener's head bobbing. 

At the end of the video I noticed what looks like a Dyson sphere is pulled into the shot and I’m wondering what that might have to do with the song thematically? Or, just being a fan of science fiction myself, I’m curious if you have any big influences from the sci-fi genre that make their way into your music?

BP: The Dyson sphere is 100% Jeremy so I'll let him address that in more detail. I'm definitely a sci-fi nerd. The original idea of the video was to have some spaceships flying through space to go home to their star in the Pleiades. In production we removed the ships, but kept the idea of visiting a star of an advanced civilization. After talking through this idea, Jeremy came up with the "megastructure" around the starm similar to what scientists recently theorized could be surrounding a massive star observed in our galaxy. 

JB: It’s definitely inspired by a Dyson sphere, but I think a true one would completely encompass the entire star, the idea being that one could harness 100% of the star’s energy. Benom had wanted it to be clear that this star is home to an advanced civilization, and I can’t think of anything more advanced than an enormous space station surrounding a gargantuan star. Visually, it’s a hodgepodge of concept art from all over the internet, and from some of my favorite sci-fi films, TV shows, and games. The god rays and subtle flickering are definitely a nod to present day exo-planet detection techniques!

When I watch the video I can’t help but be reminded of trips to my local planetarium when I was younger and that natural fascination with outer space that most people have. How much does astronomy and maybe even astrology influence your music? And if so, has that been an interest of yours for a long time?

BP: Astronomy has been an interest of mine since I was a kid. I read and study astronomy as a personal hobby, so that has a huge influence for sure. As for astrology, I don't follow it for spiritual living, but I do have an interest in it. We see the marks of astrology all throughout history and that events have coincided when the planets and stars align into certain positions. That's basically what “Red Sky” was about, when Earth sees this dreadful winged planet in its skies, it means destruction is at hand. It's subtle, but this mysterious winged planet from Red Sky makes an appearance in the “Pleiades” video, just as we exit our solar system and before we go into light speed. 

Jeremy, have you worked on any other music videos in the past? If so, how much or how little did your previous experience influence the final product?

JB: This is the first music video I’ve worked on professionally. Earlier in my career, I did a few personal music-related projects here and there, but nothing to this scale. Music videos are a lot different than narrative film, which is primarily my background, in that the music should still take center stage and drive the visuals. Throughout the process, Benom and I wanted to make sure that the visual complexity and intensity ramped up or down based on the energy and beat of the music. I’d like to think that the video helps you hear the song more powerfully so that it makes more of an impact. Furthermore, with an instrumental song like “Pleiades,” I think it’s especially powerful to give the listener an idea of what inspired the music in the first place.

How involved were you with developing the idea for the video? Or, how much of the video was your own creative input compared to Benom?

JB: The creative process was very much a collaborative effort between Benom and myself. The original idea and the initial brief were provided to me early on, and I developed some concept art and storyboards. After that, it was a consistent back and forth between the two of us. For example, we both knew the hyperspace effect was going to be a big part of the video, so that’s one of the first things I began working on, and it went through many iterations before it became what you see in the video. Benom is probably the best client an artist can ask for; his feedback is not only clear and visionary, but also practical and actionable. We both brought our ideas to the table and we saw eye to eye on just about everything. When we did have some differing opinions, we reached compromises that satisfied us both.

Do you have a particular style of animation that you like to brand yourself with or do you not like to box yourself in? Is there a personal animation style that characterizes the video?

JB: This is a difficult question for me to answer, but a great one! Professionally, my background is in post-production for live-action film. Working as a digital compositor (think green screens and CG characters) for 8 years before coming to Colorado, I rarely got to exercise my own creativity beyond the very limited freedom given to me by my supervisors and directors. In other words, my style was the style of whomever was signing my paychecks! I suppose I’d have to say that my “style” is invisible visual effects that aren’t supposed to be noticed… now that I’m in a position to be creative in my own right is that no, I don’t have a style that I like to brand myself with… yet! 

What was the initial idea behind this music video? Did that idea change or develop in the production process? And, did it come out how you had hoped?

BP: The initial idea was to have some spaceships flying through space and time to go home to their star in the Pleiades. The idea did change. For example, in production we removed the ships, but kept the idea of visiting a star of an advanced civilization. It came out amazing and I appreciate Jeremy's patience with me during the process. 

JB: After 40+ iterations, it changed quite a bit in some ways, but stayed true to the original idea in all the ways that count. One thing that we eventually cut was the ship itself. At first, I think we both felt it was really important, but after some feedback that Benom got, we realized that the ship was a distraction that kept viewers from being able to enjoy the rest of the frame. Another example that kind of went the other way, was that originally, the solar system fly-through was much shorter. After a few versions, it became very clear that there’s only so many ways you can make hyperspace, galaxies and stars look different before it starts to get a little boring. So, we decided to give more weight to the solar system at the beginning. In the end, I think it was a great choice for the overall pacing of the video.

One thing I liked in particular about the video is the simplicity and far-outness of it. Was that a creative choice either of you made or maybe a stylistic choice?

BP: I believe it was a mutual creative and stylistic choice. We both imagined a sort of light speed tunnel, like from Star Wars, but more transparent so we could imagine all the galaxies flying by, but all the while, the Pleiades is still forefront in our center vision as a reminder of the destination. 

I also notice how the video throws out a lot of common music video tropes and opts for a more abstract approach. How do you think the video compares to the usual rock video format?

BP: I felt the music really just lent itself to something artistically abstract. I suppose the usual rock format is mostly all about the band, the look, the ego, etc. That's not wrong in any respect, I like to see the band too. However, this is about taking people on a trip for two and a half minutes and the audience has no idea, nor do they care, what the band looks like or who they are. I like that about this video. It's just all about the music and artistic creative expression. 

Are there any upcoming plans for the band that people should know about? What’s this summer look like for Professor Plumb?

PB: I'm releasing a new song and lyric video soon titled, “Take That!,” which hits on the heightened state of paranoia and divisions growing in the U.S. and around the world. I'll also be performing at The Underground Music Showcase, date, time and venue TBD. This set will be cool and different because it will be a rock duet. I'll be performing on bass/vocals with John Demitro (The Velveteers; Pink Fuzz) on electric guitar. 

Keep up with Professor Plumb here.

-Adam

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 Underground Music Showcase Announced Their Entire Lineup Today

Denver’s favorite music event of the summer is back for 2019! Get all of the details:

Who: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS), Denver’s largest and most iconic music festival, just announced the full 2019 lineup and will once again bring an array of acclaimed national and local artists, creatively curated stages, and host endless surprises across the three-day showcase.

From Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28, the 19th annual Underground Music Showcase will return to the historic and hip Broadway corridor just south of downtown Denver.

What:  The just announced 2019 UMS lineup, with performances by more than 200 artists, includes national headliners Honne, Chicano Batman, Black Mountain, Tuxedo, Earthgang, and Still Woozy.

Supporting artists include Empress Of, Yves Tumor, DRAMA, Sophie Meiers, LEIKELI47, Y La Bamba, Gardens & Villa, William Elliott Whitmore, Miya Folick, Tessa Violet, Haviah Mighty, Liza Anne, Spooky Mansion, Greyhounds, Dressy Bessy, DBUK, SWSH, Kainalu, Jackie Mendoza, Clavvs, Rapperchicks, Rich Jones, Divino Niño, Parallelephants, Deezie Brown, Garrett T Capps and more and more than 200 acts from across Colorado. View the full lineup here.

When: Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28

59921433_10156486721767753_8491214257600331776_o.png

“UMS is a strong representation of all types of music. This year’s lineup of national and local bands was strategically designed to showcase the volume of musically talented individuals Denver has grown while also inviting some national acts to crash the party. Denver’s music scene is growing and shaping into something special, something worth putting Denver on the map as a nationally recognized ‘music city.’ We have put our heart and soul into ensuring UMS helps grow that positive image for all Denver artists while keeping the soul of this underground music community alive.”

— TOBIAS KRAUSE, EVENT DIRECTOR OF UNDERGROUND MUSIC SHOWCASE

Photo Credit:   Nikki Rae Photography

Photo Credit: Nikki Rae Photography

Where: The Underground Music Showcase takes place in a multitude of venues along Broadway, in Denver, Colorado. More details on specific stages and locations will be announced closer to the festival.

Three-day weekend tickets are now available for $50. The three-day weekend tickets include general admission access to all musical performances and all stages, all weekend long. To purchase tickets, please visit: https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/tickets.

Why: Denver is on its way to becoming a globally recognized music city with locally organized festivals like UMS leading the shift towards more immersive, live music events. UMS is the perfect representation of the vastness of incredibly talented artists from in and around the Denver metro area, showcasing the city’s growing music scene.

Two Parts purchased UMS from The Denver Post Community Foundation in January 2018. Since taking over the festival, Two Parts has worked to expand the number of outdoor stages and experiences and to continue building on the success of the past 18 years.

Grab your presales here!

Spend Your NYE with The Pink Party + AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY to Start 2019 with a Bang

Life is better in pink.

Life is better in pink.

Still making your New Year’s Eve plans? We hope your answer is Yeah Baby! Denver’s full-sensory experience bar is hosting the best way to enter the new year with The Pink Party. Starting at 8PM, The Pink Party will be an intimate bash thrown by Synesthesia Denver Psych Fest, Kyle Hartman (The UMS), and Reed Fox (DéCollage, Moon Magnet). The night is 21+ and will feature sounds by Motion Trap (DJ Set), LePew (ft. members of Retrofette), S.I.X.X.X.D, and Reed Fox himself! Visual transportations will be provided by Andy Ai, Yonbre, and Kat Phenna. The night will of course feature a special midnight toast, and a free drink from Yeah Baby with your ticket purchase. Plus, if you stay true and wear your best pink duds (glitter or mylar preferred), you’ll receive select $5 cocktails all night long. Tier 1 tickets have already sold-out for the night, but Tier 2 tickets are still on sale for $35 here.

Get reborn.

Get reborn.

Though The Pink Party stops at 2AM, you don’t have to. Following your trip through Yeah Baby’s psychedelic pink wonderland, Lyft yourself over to Spectra Art Space for the NYE 2019: AN AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY after party. This rocket ship blasts off at midnight and returns to orbit at sunrise, so you can dance into the new year up until 6AM. Along with lasers, art installations, and “sounds you've never imagined,” this adventure will feature complimentary libations and an open maté bar. The AFTERHOURS SPACE ODYSSEY, produced by Moon Magnet, Belly Up, Hey Hay, and Spectra Art Space, will feature sets by Reed Fox, f-ethe, and Chuck Shadow. The event is 21+ and RSVP is required 24 hours in advance to attend. There are three tiers of tickets available for takeoff at this link.

Jet into a whole new world (and year) with The Pink Party + An Afterhours Space Odyssey. 2019 never looked so good baby…

Tyto Alba Release Haunting Video For "The Hunger"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s indie rock outfit Tyto Alba released their newest music video this week for their track “The Hunger.” The song is from the band’s EP, In Our Own Time, which dropped earlier this year.

Frontwoman Melanie Steinway’s haunting vocals combined with eerie masked figures make “The Hunger” and its accompanying music video a mysterious and emotive track. The video, which was filmed by Slice Cinematics (A Shadow of Jaguar), showcases Steinway performing at Syntax Physic Opera surrounded by men in feathered masks interspersed with eldritch church scenes and Steinway calling out at her own reflection. Colorado’s Brent Cowles makes an anonymous appearance as the band’s “voodoo priest” at the start of the video as well.

A scene from "The Hunger."

A scene from "The Hunger."

Tyto Alba held their release show for the video last night at Syntax, a venue which has turned into a local haven for many musicians, and which was a new addition to this year’s Underground Music Showcase spots.

Brent Cowles as the "voodoo priest."

Brent Cowles as the "voodoo priest."

Check out the band’s video for yourself above and stay on the lookout for more new music from Tyto Alba by keeping up with the band 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.

Where To Catch Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs This Fall

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Earlier this summer, BolderBeat’s man on the street Zach Dahmen caught up with singer/songwriter Matt Rouch at Denver’s Underground Music Showcase. It had been a year or so since we’d last chatted with Matt, and the frontman of Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs has been busy.

Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs 

Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs 

After the success of his 2016 self-released debut record, The Beautiful and the Damned, Rouch and his band have been touring the state, opening for acts like Ian Mahan and Kristin Diable. The Americana quartet have also played a number of festivals, like Spread The Word, The UMS, and even Boulder’s Porchfest.

Listen to The Beautiful and the Damned:

Rouch, who describes himself as a “southpaw whiskey-loving Virgininian,” now calls Denver home, along with bandmates Alex Fostar (violin/guitar), Stu Guarney (upright bass), and Ricky Brewer (drums). The four-piece have been in the process of recording new music, some of which you may be privileged enough to here at one of their upcoming fall shows. Rouch still plays solo often as well, which is a special treat to hear if you can swing by one of his shows.

This Tuesday, September 19th, Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs will actually share the stage with renowned jazz and blues singer/songwriter Pokey Lafarge at Denver’s Gothic Theatre, marking one of their biggest shows to date. They’ve also managed to lock down a Summit Music Hall set with Cowboy Mouth on Friday, October 13th. Needless to say, Rouch & Co. are rising fast in Colorado’s scene, so make sure to snag tickets to one of their upcoming sets here. We’re excited to see this Americana folk outfit in action.

Keep up with Matt Rouch & The Noise Upstairs on Facebook.

-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.

Premiere: This Broken Beat's "Out In The Deep End" Showcases Emotional, Musing Side Of Their Upcoming Record

This Broken Beat.

This Broken Beat.

Last May, we premiered indie pop duo This Broken Beat’s music video for their track “Sleep.” It was an eerie piece with a video filmed in Boulder’s misty forests to match its moody tones. Today, we’re excited to bring you the Denver band’s latest single release. Their tune “Out In The Deep End” drops on all music platforms today and you can preview it below:

“Out In The Deep End” is an emotional pop track that features Julio Perez’s smooth and soft-spoken vocals with Annie Richardson’s beats. Perez also authored guitar, keys, and production on the track, which was recorded at Streetlight Audio.

Fresh off of their UMS performance, the band told us:

"‘Out In The Deep End’" is a very exciting song for us because it's one of the last singles we are releasing before the full-album comes out later this fall. It's one of the very few on the album that carries a low-key, contemplative tone to it. The genre & feel to the song are something we don't often express in our music, but it helps bring the full spectrum of emotion to the album. We can't wait for you to hear it.”

Give “Out In The Deep End” a listen for yourself, and keep up with This Broken Beat here.

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

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Brought Together Artists & Fans For Four Days Of Awesome

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s annual four day music festival The Underground Music Showcase rocked South Broadway last weekend. We crawled the strip, ate nothing but pizza, and almost refused to sleep in the name of good music. Here are some of our favorite things about this year’s festival:

The Bands

Of course we went to as many shows as possible and of course most of them really rocked our socks off. But here we’re going to be shameless and first tell you about the killer acts who played our packed official day party.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

Xavier Provencher & Sean Culliton of Retrofette.

BolderBeat & KGNU combined forces this year to bring you Brunch with a Beat at The UMS, which was five hours of sugar and synth by some of Colorado’s most promising electro acts.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Greg Laut of Whiskey Autumn.

Mirror Fears kicked things off with her industrial goth pop, Church Fire kept things movin’ with their Crystal Castles-esque electronic primal therapy, and DéCollage wrapped the front of The Irish Rover in Mylar and swept the stage with their avant-garde pop. Retrofette’s synth stylings followed, and created a massive dance party full of hip-shaking & flash tattoos. Whiskey Autumn’s indie synth pop closed the show; their unreleased track "Birds That Flew" had many whistling along to its chorus. And in between sets, DJ Erin Stereo crushed sweet beats. We gave away tickets to upcoming Future Islands and Thundercat shows, and we passed out donut lollipops, which many showgoers expressed they hoped were laced with weed (they were not kidz).

As for the rest of our UMS:

Anthony Ruptak.

Anthony Ruptak.

Our first official set at UMS 2017 was at Hi-Dive on Thursday with Anthony Ruptak, who started us off with amazing tunes from his new record Don’t Let It Kill You, and even streamed a Facebook live anti-Trump vid from the stage. Punk rock.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ishka Phoenix of Ghost Tapes.

Ghost Tapes were a funky, neo-soul standout at Skylark; frontwoman Ishka Phoenix had the crowd melting as she delivered tasty R&B sounds from her ice cream microphone.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Ben Pisano of Corsicana.

Corsicana gave us tasty indie tunes while we nommed hard on an Illegal Pete’s burrito, which was the only non-pizza item we allowed ourselves for sustenance. The four-piece are playing a couple of big Colorado shows with Hippo Campus this month, so make sure to roll to those.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

Chris Scott & Chris Kimmel of OptycNerd.

OptycNerd describe themselves as “eclectro indie pop hop sexy time,” and well, we wish we’d written that ourselves. Their sexy time at Hi-Dive was enjoyed.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus.

Zola Jesus brought her dark, operatic vocals to the main stage; Red Fang spouted the classic rock stoner jams they’re known for to a headbanging crowd.

What is cooler than wearing glow-in-the-dark face paint? Glow-in-the-dark guitar strings- DUH. Motion Trap had ‘em at their Rover set on Saturday, and they played their electro sonic disco tunes to a packed house that boogied with them from start to finish.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

Mic Carroll of All Chiefs.

All Chiefs kept us out of the rain at Hi-Dive with their indie rock vibes, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones kicked up some folky soul at Gary Lee’s Motorcycle Club, and GALLERIES played a heartfelt tribute show celebrating the life of late Denver music prodigy Kyle McQueen.

The Outfit.

The Outfit.

Rock’n’roll’s The Outfit played their final set ever at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday to a mosh-ready, beer-heavy crowd who were clearly sad to see them go.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

Rebecca Williams of The Savage Blush.

The Savage Blush had a killer psych rock-dripping set at the main stage, Slowcaves brought us chill wave surf rock sounds, and Dragondeer managed to blues rock us almost straight through a downpour, though they had to cut their set a bit short when the rain just about flash-flooded the festival parking lot in true Colorado fashion.

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

Brent Cowles revived a soaking crowd with “Cold Times” when the sun came back out, Esmé Patterson slayed her evening dream rock set with unreleased music and a touching tribute with Kitty Crimes to the late Tyler Despres, and Benjamin Booker crowd surfed his way right into Colorado’s heart, closing out the main stage of the festival Sunday evening.

The Booze

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Dewar's Whiskey Emporium.

Breckenridge Brewing was a main sponsor for The UMS this year and we sipped many an Avalanche by the main stage throughout the fest. Dewar’s had what felt like a tiny house made for drinking with free smells and scotch eggs. It was delicious and why you would have wasted your tongue on any other mixed drink in the hot sun and the pouring rain is beyond us.

The Bunny

Yeah. This one.

Yeah. This one.

Mixed Up Gifts’ pop up shop on South Broadway had some sweet merch for sale from Sacred Bones Records and a creepy night light if you’re in the market to wake up afraid of the dark only to find Jason lurking in your bathroom. But best of all was their bunny, who tried to coerce festival-goers into the shop while eerily reading children’s books through the window.

The Budz

No, not that kind you typical Denverite. Overall, we had a rad time at The UMS this year, and we highly encourage you to check out all the bands we mentioned, all the acts we live-interviewed with Zach Dahmen, and any of the performers on the local lineup in general. Because if there’s one thing we came away with after four days of music-hopping insanity, it was with community- from the performers themselves, to the UMS staff and volunteers, to the eager ticket holders bouncing from show to show hoping to find their next favorite band- Denver came out to support its own. Whether we were playing beach volleyball in the artist tent during a downpour or running from the main stage with our best budz to get back to Broadway for a set (those smarter ones took the Meow Wolf bus), this weekend really showcased you- the local music supporter. And for that, we and apparently Governor Hickenlooper, thank you.

Check out our full photo gallery from The UMS here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Review: When The BANDITS Give You 7" (But You Want All 12)

By: Riley Ann

The new 7” EP from the BANDITS showcases the band’s prowess bridging the heaviness of rock with the intricacies of metal guitar riffs, balancing relentless forward-driven rhythms with syncopated lifts. Yeah, it’s good. And it’s going to leave you wanting more.

BANDITS.

BANDITS.

The A-side features John Demitro on vocals for “Enough.” While the verses hammer down an almost static melody over a trance-like guitar & bass duet, the choruses open up vocally and instrumentally, and the bridge gives a taste of John’s iconic guitar soloing, reigned in from his wild solos in live settings. The stops after the choruses and the bridge let the song bottom out just long enough to give it shape. The arrangement of “Enough” balances perfectly, driving it forward and letting the song breathe.

Tear You Down” on the B-side features Lulu Demitro on vocals, and she drives the song on the back end of the beat with bass. Less ornate, more percussive, and more weight on each beat give this an ominous backdrop for the chorus to climb above the wreckage as Lulu’s voice sings, “I’ll tear you down, down until you’re nothing...” The transitions in and out of the half-time feel give the song more density, and the bridge turns into a haunting duet over sparse instrumentation, only to build back into the chorus. While her previous single “Kill Tonight” compels you to dance, “Tear You Down” will have you headbanging for days.

John Demitro offered his take on the new singles, saying, “I think these two songs are some of our strongest material to date. We’ve had these songs in our repertoire for awhile and I think they are a mile marker in the direction of where our sound was going. I think we have finally found the sound of BANDITS, and “Enough” and “Tear You Down” are a perfect preview to what is coming soon.”

The arrangements are tight, the studio production is solid, and their live shows leave even non-smokers reaching for a cigarette. The band plans to record a full-length album in August, so keep up with them on their website and social media. Your next chance to catch them locally is on this Sunday, July 30th for the UMS at the Skylark Lounge (tickets here) and then Monday, July 31st at Globe Hall in Denver with Slothrust and Gleemer (tickets here). In the meantime, you can get your hands on their music on their merch page, and snag digital copies on Bandcamp.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

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

The UMS Is Bringing Three Awesome Acts To Boulder's Fox Theatre This Thursday (06/29)

This Thursday, June 29th, Denver’s new wave psych rock four-piece Flaural headline Boulder’s The Fox Theatre. The show, which is presented by Denver’s The Underground Music Showcase, is an exciting peek into a few acts on the festival’s 2017 lineup.

Flaural

Flaural

Flaural entered the Denver music scene in 2015 with their record The Thin King. Comprised of Nick Berlin (drums), Connor Birch (synth/keys), Noah Pfaff (guitar), and Colin Johnson (vocals/bass), the quartet released their sophomore EP, Over Imaginary Cigarettes, a year later. In the two years since their inception, the band has played more than 75+ shows across the US. They’ve shared a stage with acts like Thee Oh Sees, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Built to Spill, while also locking down sweet festival gigs including Treefort and Tomorrow Never Knows.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Ned Garthe Explosion.

Two other UMS acts will open Thursday’s show- Denver’s Ned Garthe Explosion and Boulder’s The Velveteers. We went for a wild ride with Ned Garthe Explosion at last summer’s UMS, and they ended up being one of our favorite sets of the festival. Get ready for a party.

The Velveteers. 

The Velveteers. 

And for Boulder’s The Velveteers, this event will be one for the books, as it’s their debut Fox show, and a rare hometown gig for the busy duo. The two-piece have spent the past year on the road and in the studio between a European tour stint with Deap Vally and a number of festival appearances this summer.

Thursday’s bill is going to rip!! Come check out these amazing Colorado artists- tickets here and while you’re at at, grab your UMS festival passes! Full event details at this link.  We’ll see you there!

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

Strings & Wood Bring Live Music To Your Living Room Or Garden And Keep The Indie Spirit Alive

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Keeping the intimate, indie, and low-key spirit of music concerts alive, Strings & Wood is a curated concert series led by Art Heffron, a steadfast lover of music with undying appreciation for singer/songwriters. Over the years, Strings and Wood has featured artists like Ark Life, Covenhoven, Rob Drabkin, and Anthony Ruptak, and in 2015 was voted best concert series by Westword.

Dusk at the Masala Co-Op Show.

Dusk at the Masala Co-Op Show.

Last Tuesday evening, Strings and Wood featured Anna Tivel from Portland, Oregon and Joe Johnson from Manitou Springs, CO at an outdoor garden concert hosted by Boulder’s Masala Co-op, one of the first co-ops in the city and most beloved homes on The Hill. Cosmic Collective, an artist collective in Boulder that seeks to harbor community and creativity for conscious artists, provided the gear and sound for the show. It was a splendid, collaborative affair.  

Anna Tivel.

Anna Tivel.

The garden concert opened up with Joe Johnson’s storytelling of “true stories” like that of Rattlesnake Kate and odes to great boxers like Muhammad Ali. His stories engaged the crowd, who sat on blankets in the green grass as the sun slowly began to sink behind the Flatirons.

Joe Johnson.

Joe Johnson.

As dusk turned to night, Anna Tivel serenaded the crowd. Opening up with a statement, “Living in Portland, Oregon where the sun doesn’t shine very often and people keep their heads down, rarely looking you in the eye, I write one happy song a year,” she played a happy-ish tune before taking us on a journey of beautifully written songs and melodies that had everyone in the crowd quietly attentive and introspective.  

The garden concert closed with Joe and Anna playing a John Prine cover, with the crowd singing along.

The crowd.

The crowd.

It was a lovely evening of music and art. Concert series like Strings and Wood truly have a magical way of bringing a community together where music lovers and musicians alike enjoy and respect each other’s company in art. Among the large venues and high-brow artists that come through Denver and Boulder, it’s refreshing to see a uniquely curated, intimate concert with up and coming artists as they cultivate their art and share it with the most respectful of spectators. Acknowledging these spectators, Anna turned to the crowd in the garden Tuesday night and said, “You guys should teach lessons in listening.”

If you’d like to see the last Strings and Wood concert series before it moves out to Portland, Oregon, you can check out The Backyard Shindig on July 28th and 29th presented by Strings and Wood and Mountain to Sound alongside The UMS in one of the neighborhoods in Denver on Broadway, where the UMS takes over.

-Mirna

All photos per Art Heffron & Skye Hughes. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. 

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Announces Second Round of Artists

The Underground Music Showcase 2017 just announced their second round of artists for this year's festival! Additions include: Headliner Zola Jesus and artists like Bad Licks, Chocolate Diamond, Dear Rabbit, Decatur, Edison, HERESTOFIGHTIN, The Hollow, innerspace, The Kinky Fingers, Ned Garthe Explosion, Retrofette (we should mention here we're premiering something awesome from this band this Friday), Sleepy SunSIR, Sugar Skulls & Marigolds, Sur Ellz, Treehouse Sanctum, Turvy Organ, & more! Make sure to get your tickets for the July 27th-30th festival in the heart of Denver here. And see our previous story for initial lineup announcements at our original announcement link.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.

A Magical Midnight Carnival: Esmé Patterson, Kitty Crimes, and DéCollage Get Wild At The Hi-Dive

By: Riley Ann 

Wizards danced, Mylar dolphin balloons bobbed above the microphones, giant cellophane-wrapped cardboard crystals sparkled from the stage, the costumes were loud, and the energy was palpable. The crowd packed the house to welcome Esmé Patterson back home to Denver on Sunday night for a show at the Hi-Dive along with local favorites Kitty Crimes, joined by the Blondetourage, and DéCollage.

DéCollage.

DéCollage.

Not only was the show high energy, the artists exuded themes of love, acceptance, and pride throughout the night. Kitty Crimes introduced one of her songs by saying, “This song is about being gay as f*ck!” Esmé Patterson introduced another, saying, “This song is about having the courage to be exactly who you are...” Each time the crowd roared with delight.

The evening also illustrated the sense of community within the Colorado music scene. Natalie Tate, another local favorite songwriter and performer from the Denver scene, joined both Esmé Patterson and Kitty Crimes for harmonies. The pairing of Patterson and Kitty Crimes on the same bill celebrated their former band Harpoontang. In addition to past projects, the show recognized the loss from the community. One of Patterson’s new songs honored the life of Tyler Despres, the guitarist for the Gin Doctors, whom the community unexpectedly lost late last year.

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Natalie Tate (right) with Kitty Crimes (Left).

Patterson alternated tunes from her recent 2016 release of We Were Wild with a fair number of brand new ones. Her performance featured more experimental sounds on guitar through her pedalboard, feedback against her amp, and manipulating her guitar in unexpected ways, like dragging the strings against her mic stand. Based on her performance, it seems likely that a new album is underway. Based on the new tunes and the crowd’s reaction to them, the possibility of a new album is bound to be a solid addition to any record collection. 

Esmé Patterson.

Esmé Patterson.

If you missed Esmé Patterson this time, you can catch her again in July when she headlines the Underground Music Showcase, which is happening in Denver from July 27th-30th. The festival features over 350 performances on 15 stages along South Broadway, and over 100+ artists have already been announced. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

You can find out more about Esmé Patterson on her website, along with the websites of DéCollage, Kitty Crimes, and Blondetourage.

 -Riley

 Find out more about Riley on her blog

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

The 2017 Underground Music Showcase Initial Lineup Has Arrived

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Underground Music Showcase 2017 lineup has arrived. With headliners Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esmé Patterson, this year's fest will take place July 27th-30th. Colorado’s Bandits, Britt Margit, This Broken Beat, Bud Bronson & The Goodtimers, Brent Cowles, The Burroughs, Chloe Tang, CITRA, Coastal Wives, Colfax Speed Queen, Corsicana, déCollage, Dirty Few, Dragondeer, Wolf van Elfmand, Evan Holm & The Restless Ones, Gasoline Lollipops, Get Along, Jilly.FM, Joseph Lamar, King Cardinal, Last of the Easy Riders, Loretta Kill, Mawule, Modern Leisure, One Flew West, The Other Black, Povi, RL Cole, The Savage Blush, Silver and Smoke, SIXXXD, Slow Caves, SYCDVK, Television Generation, The Velveteers, Whiskey Autumn, Whole Milk, Wildermiss, and Yasi are just some of the acts on the bill we've featured in the last year, so needless to say, we're stoked on this lineup. And there are more artists still TBA!

Stay tuned for more UMS info and get ready to join us on Denver's South Broadway for one of our favorite events of the summer! Tickets here.

Reminiscing on last year's UMS? Peek back at our coverage of 2016:

-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.

NYC's DIIV Are Back On The Scene & Playing This Saturday At Summit Music Hall

By: Sierra Voss

New York’s DIIV are back on the scene and taking the stage at Summit Music Hall this Saturday, May 13th via Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Denver as curated by The UMS. The band recently posted on Instagram, “YES… the DIIV is playing some shows. Same clothes, new outlook on life. #soberville #day33.” Sick.

DIIV13thRBhandbill.jpg

DIIV formed back in 2011 by frontman Zachary Cole Smith. The band released their sophomore album Is the Is Are last year after a three year gap from their first release, Oshin (2012). DIIV’s albums are known for there swooshy guitar lines and sonic song structure. The dream pop, shoegazing vibe the band started back in 2012 has been deepened and elongated in their newest release. This Saturday’s showcase also includes openers Candace, a trio of full of psych dream tunes from Portland, as well as Colorado’s own surf pop indie rock outfit Slow Caves! This is a powerful bill, so come check out the show! Just for being a BB reader, you can nab $5 tickets here ($15 at the door kids). Get to it and stay tuned for our photo gallery from the show-

Listen to DIIV’s Is the Is Are:

-Sierra

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 Coastal Wives Stay True to Their Vows

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s the kind of music that sounds dynamic and new, but twirls around you with a vague familiarity. It’s the kind of music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but tells stories that feel relatable and reminiscent. It’s the music of Coastal Wives.

Coastal Wives.

Coastal Wives.

You may have caught them at one of their Underground Music Showcase sets throughout the years, or maybe you’ve snuck into one of their shows in the Denver area. If you’re lucky enough to have seen them play live, you might have found yourself wondering how to categorize their sound before quickly realizing some things just shouldn’t be held to a mold.

Coastal Wives has a little something for everyone. You could label them as indie rock, but that’d be too easy, as there’s so many other sounds sewn into their music. Their sound has a gentle depth to it, and haunting qualities that place you into flashbacks of the storyteller. With vocals that are just the right amount of raspy, and lyrics that you can sink your teeth into, Coastal Wives take indie rock into their own hands and bend it like putty.

Since their inception in 2014, the band has had two releases, Coastal Wives (2015) and Traditions (2016). Listening to the two collections, you can tell that the latter, Traditions, was a more playful, but well thought-out move for the group. The four-song EP has a tighter, fine-tuned quality that feels personal, palatable, and unique. Coming from a group that favors quality over quantity, these releases have left us with just enough solid tuneage to keep us craving more.

Listen to Traditions:

Coastal Wives have been working hard as ever, writing songs and rehearsing every chance they get. They’ll be hitting the studio soon, ready to work on some tantalizing new material sure to please your music-loving ears.

The band will also be performing at Larimer Lounge on April 29th, along with Master Ferocious, Weather Big Storm, and Cool Dogs in the Kennel. So give these guys a listen and be sure to catch them at their upcoming show later this month - it’s a guaranteed good time. Buy your tickets here!

Connect with Coastal Wives on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

-Jura

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2017: Your Official Guide To All The Goodness

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Festival season is arguably the best time of year in music. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are.


FoCoMX- April 28th-29th

Fort Collins' premiere music festival has announced its lineup, which features hundreds of Colorado artists. Some of our favorites include Antonio Lopez, The Alcapones, BANDITS, Bethel Steele, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Edison, Foxfeather, Gasoline Lollipops, and The Velveteers. Full lineup here


Spread The Word Music Festival- May 5th-8th

Taking place at several Denver and Boulder venues, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Euforquestra, A-Mac and the Hight, & Analog Sun. Full lineup on our announcement link.


Denver’s Project Pabst- May 20th

“Project Pabst was a wild success,” contributor Zach Dahmen wrote in retrospect of the 2016 festival that took over Denver’s Larimer Street last year. This year, the PBR-fueled lineup includes Ice Cube, Phantogram, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile, STRFKR, No Name, & more. We’re pumped for this. Details here


Greeley Blues Jam- June 9th-10th

The Greeley Blues Jam seeks to keep the blues alive, and this year, they’re doing just that with a lineup including Walter Trout, Samantha Fish, Honey Island Swamp Band, and Colorado favorite The Burroughs. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.


Taste of Fort Collins- June 9th-11th

The 21st annual Taste of Fort Collins includes headliners St. Lucia, Gin Blossoms, Plain White T's, & Waterloo Revival this year. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Get out and get down! More info on their website.


Country Jam- June 15th-18th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 26th annual four-day fest this year. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Thomas Rhett top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music, and clearly this year is no different. More info at this link.


Sonic Bloom Festival- June 15th-18th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, The Polish Ambassador, The Floozies, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.


Telluride Bluegrass Festival- June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 44th year this summer. Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley with The Travelin' McCourys, and Brandi Carlile top the fest’s 2017 list. We can tell you from experience that last year was magical and we even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.


Van’s Warped Tour- June 25th

Believe it or not, we attended this event back in 2015 after not having been since high school. Yes. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), this is a fest that still has a cult following and still makes its way around the US. Attila, Bowling for Soup, CKY, & Futuristic top this year's bill- grab the full listing here.


Westword Music Showcase- June 25th

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts at their annual summer celebration this year. With Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses, COIN, Arizona, and a long list of local acts, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. Don’t miss out on Westword’s fantastic Friday night. Local artists should be announced soon; voting is open. More info on their website.


Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) Festival-

July 5th-9th

CROMA's 2017 festival at Parrish Ranch features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. Artists at this year's fest will include Eddie Bond and the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, The Ozark Highballers, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, and The Musky Dimes and Lansford and McAlister. Get full details and tickets here


The Ride Festival- July 8th-9th

Beck will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Ben Harper, Kaleo, The John Butler Trio, and Colorado favorite Rose Hill Drive will all keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.


The Underground Music Showcase- July 27th-30th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esme Patterson are headlining this year, but we're more stoked on this massive list of local artists (a crazy amount of which we've covered in the last year). Get tickets here. More deets on our announcement link.


Rockygrass Festival- July 28th-30th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, The Del McCoury Band, and The Infamous Stringdusters are already confirmed for this year’s pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More artists at this link.


ARISE Music Festival- August 4th-6th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its fifth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Atmosphere, Tipper, and Ani Difranco. Get more details at our announcement link.


Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest- August 11th-13th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. CAKE has been announced as one of the headliners with more TBA- keep up with the full lineup here.


Velorama Colorado- August 11th-13th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Colorado’s newest festival Velorama will take place in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood this summer. Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The New Pornographers, Saint Motel, and La Santa Cecilia are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party! Tickets for this new fest here.


Rocky Mountain Folks Festival- August 18th-20th

Last year, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival proved to be much more than a music festival. Bringing together local artists for songwriting workshops and more, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that still managed to showcase great national acts too. Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, and Rhiannon Giddens have already been announced for this year’s fest; full schedule and list of acts here.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass- September 1st-3rd

We don’t know how Maroon 5 is jazz, but they are headlining the JAS Labor Day Weekend festival this year. Colorado favorite Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Lake Street Dive, and Keith Urban will also have performances at the Snowmass event. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature John Batiste & Stay Human, Michael McDonald, and Earth Wind & Fire. Details on both events here.


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival 

aerial_0077_0.jpg

Telluride Blues & Brews Fest has Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, TajMo at the top of their bill this year. You can get your grand brew tasting on for three days with these artists and more, plus there is a lot of availability in ticket options, so you can schedule your own fest experience. Get more info here


Festivals of The Past

We'll miss you Vertex.

We'll miss you Vertex.

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Bass Center moved to New Jersey this year, Divide Music Festival has been postponed until 2018, Groove Festival’s web presence has been replaced by this Japanese site making us question everything, Mad Decent Block Party went to India (yes really), Riot Fest Denver will not return due to Sean McKeough's death, and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) was sadly cancelled, but we’re praying it comes back to life with full zombie mayhem next year. Fingers crossed fellow festheads.


Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all season on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

-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.

School of Rock Meets Musical Fame: Life Growing Up at Denver School Of The Arts

By: Sierra Voss

I remember my first music photography gig well. I was shooting for BolderBeat at Denver’s local music festival, The UMS Showcase. It was a strange but exhilarating feeling being down in the audience, watching the shows through a camera lense. My life has been filled with music from a very young age, but I was used to being the one on stage. I spent the majority of my childhood- seven years- attending Denver School of the Arts (DSA) as a vocal major. This festival was my first time using a new artistic tool to capture a musical experience I knew so intimately.  

DSA is a public magnet arts high school and middle school that offers rigorous daily involvement in a specialized art form. When I attended the school as a vocal major, students took part in over an hour and a half of their art form (or major) every day. It was a specific type of education that differed greatly from my other friends high school and middle school experiences. Although I didn’t professionally pursue voice after high school, I found art was always an integral part of my life. It was something I felt made up my genetic composition, and was at the core of how I processed and expressed the world around me.  

My love for photography came after my love for singing, but as I grew older it took priority. It wasn’t until this past year that I had the idea to explore merging the two artistic expressions I loved so dearly. It was this decision that landed me at The UMS, ready to jump into the weekend's festivities.

As I looked at the lineup, I was floored by how many acts had members that went to my high school, DSA. I had no idea so many of my peers had stuck around town to build out their musical passions and careers. I had to wonder how DSA had shaped so many of these current artist’s paths, and was so intrigued about who they had all become within Denver’s music scene. So I sat down with numerous DSA Alumni to explore just that.

Jon Shockness- Kid Astronaut (former singer in Air Dubai)

From my own experience, Jon Shockness was no doubt the cool kid on the block in middle school. He practically melted every one of our moms’ and sisters’ hearts during our 2001 “Pop Show” performace when he sang “Ben” by Michael Jackson.

Jon performing at DSA’s “Peacejam Event” in 2009.

Jon performing at DSA’s “Peacejam Event” in 2009.

How did your time at DSA influence the artist you are today?

When I think about being a singer and my history with voice, I know a lot of it started with the training I got from DSA. Even today, I create some of my vocal tones from arias I sang for master classes in high school. I am definitely influenced by my time there. Being able to harmonize with other artists was definitely learned from DSA. Overall, my time at DSA inspired me to have a lot of respect for artists and different types of voices. It instilled in me a deep respect for my own voice on a deeper level that allowed me to really grow as an artist.

On the hard days, do you have a mantra that inspires you to continue your musical career?

Oh yeah. There was this thing one of my exes told me. She said, “You're always where you need to be.” I was going through a rough time and not sure why things weren't moving the way I wanted them to or thought they should. This was like 2012 before we got signed. Anytime I feel incomplete or like I'm in the wrong place, I remind myself that I'm where I need to be and usually allowing myself to accept my position creates growth.

Portrait of Jon 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Jon 2017 per the author.

Shane Franklin- Lead singer in hip-hop band SF1

The kid that was always, always playing drums on any and every surface he could find.

Shane playing drums for his college band in 2009 at Larimer Lounge.

Shane playing drums for his college band in 2009 at Larimer Lounge.

What did you love the most about DSA?

I remember we used to have teachers that would base writing prompts around our major, like, write an essay about how your major correlates with The Scarlet Letter. DSA really let us create a world shaped by our art form and what we loved.

How did your time at DSA influence the artist you are today?

Students were truly limitless at DSA in terms of collaborations and exploring different art forms. We were given opportunities to collaborate across majors. I remember drumming for the vocal department, tap dancing with the dance department, doing music for the cinema majors, and auditioning for musicals. It shaped me going out into this world as an artist. You can't just keep yourself in a box. That's why my music incorporates dance and theatrics. My time at DSA made me into the collaborative artist I am today.  

Do you think you could live life without music? What would you do instead?

Music is life. It's plan A. Plan B is execute plan A!

Portrait of Shane 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Shane 2017 per the author.

Julie Be- (Julie Almeria) also singer for project STéLOUSE

Julie was the girl who always got the best part in school-wide musicals, and rightfully so. I remember being in awe as I watched her in one stunning musical theater role after the next throughout my time at DSA.

 Julie starring in DSA’s production of  Aida .

 Julie starring in DSA’s production of Aida.

What differences do you notice working with DSA artists versus non DSA artists?

I think there are a lot of generous and nice artists in the music scene in Denver. I think that’s cool because those are the main characteristics I think of when I think of artists from DSA. I definitely think that there is a total sense of comradery between DSA artists though. Like, these are people that I especially want to see succeed. I think we fit very well into a scene that is already pretty generous, and I think we add a lot of good qualities too. DSA artists are just nice people, and nice people are sometimes rare in this world.  

What's your end goal? What if you don’t get there?

The end goal… that's a damn good question, and I ask myself that every day. When I was younger, I defined "success" as being famous, a household name, rich, etc. I doubt I'm alone in that… but now, I see success as being more about how I feel about the work that I am doing as opposed to how other people feel about it. I want to continue creating- releasing my own complete album is a bucket list item for me- and collaborating with other artists in ways that feel genuine to me. If I could do away with my day job and just make music for a living, I would be so freaking happy. Yeah, it would be cool to win a Grammy or to go on a world tour. Do I want those things? Absolutely! But to me, they're not the goal. If anything, they would be a by-product of the goal. At the end of the day, I want to arrive at a place where I can look back at my musical career and say, "I did what I wanted to do, and I did it with integrity".

Portrait of Julie 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Julie 2017 per the author.

Shilo Gold- (Shayna Goldstein)

I will never forget Shayna’s first-day-of-school-outfit in the 7th grade (think platform sneakers with fire flames going down the side and basketball shorts). Shayna has been many things to me throughout my life: a mentor and a fierce competitor, but above all else, my best friend.

Shayna singing in DSA’s Vocal Department’s 2007 “Pop Show."

Shayna singing in DSA’s Vocal Department’s 2007 “Pop Show."

What led you to start your music career in Los Angeles, and why did you decided to move back to Denver?

DSA gave me a certain strength that was bred from a really young age. It enabled me to really believe in myself. We were instilled with the ideas of what we could achieve, and were given a lot of power to invent ourselves as artists. I think it gave me the courage to move to Los Angeles and take on a bigger scene.

During my time in LA, I was missing a sense of authenticity. It felt so competitive and stiff. I left on tour and spent a year playing shows in 38 states. There was no doubt in my mind that Denver was where I wanted to end up.

Have you ever consider exploring a different career? What pulls you back to your artistry?

Pursuing a career as an artist is anything but easy or stable. Everyone has different tastes, and no matter how proud or passionate you are about what you are creating, it doesn't mean that it will be widely received. I have definitely questioned my ability to pursue my craft, and in turn, contemplated what other careers would look like for me. At the end of the day, I have realized that music is something deeply engraved in my bones. It is my journal, and the greatest gift I have to give. No matter what I do to pay the bills, or put food on the table, music is the reason I wake up in the morning and the way I make others feel like they are not alone. It's not that anything in particular keeps me dedicated to music, it's that I've done my share of exploring and have come to realize that no matter what path my life takes, writing and sharing music will always be a part of it.

Portrait of Shilo 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Shilo 2017 per the author.

Nic Hammerberg- Member of SYCDVK & Petals of Spain

Nic was basically my older brother growing up. He drove me to school everyday. We became obsessed with sharing new musical discoveries like Feist, Jack Johnson, G. Love and Special Sauce, and obviously the soundtracks from 'Garden State,' 'The O.C' and 'Grey's Anatomy.'

 Nic performing in DSA’s “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.” Photo by Edward Davidson 2005.

 Nic performing in DSA’s “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.” Photo by Edward Davidson 2005.

What connects all DSA students?

We are a special breed. We all have this connection, but how do you put your finger on it? It feels special to me. It's like if we all went to Hogwarts! You know- we have that bond! We are all from the Gryffindor house is what I am saying.

When I see other DSA artists performing around town, I just know so viscerally what they went through to get there. It's not to say that other people aren't as skilled, like muggles for example, they can be super great wizards too. But us magic folk are true wizards. We can just do anything that we set our minds to. We all studied our craft every day for basically all of high school and middle school. How could that be anything else but magical?

Do you have a song that you would say embodies your journey as an artist?

"Sleeping Lessons" by The Shins. That song has often been an inspiration in moments of sadness, and to really light a fire under my ass. There was something so different and mysterious about that song when I first heard it, lyrically and melodically, that acted as a psychedelic to me; opened my brain to new. There is new everywhere, and there is lots of opposition and challenges in discovering yourself. The lyrics are brilliant and provide a new support and resilience: "So enlist every ounce of your bright blood, and off with their heads…  You're not obliged to swallow anything you despise."

Portrait of Nic 2017 per the author.

Portrait of Nic 2017 per the author.

It became clear after interviewing my peers that growing up in an art school environment truly shaped who these artists are today. They confirmed my deep feelings and beliefs that students from DSA learn and refine skills that allow them to continually re-create themselves as artists. They collaborate with other singers, create an arts community, respect other forms of expression and bring to the table exceptional knowledge of music theory. DSA artists are truly an important part of Denver culture, and are creating a loving and collaborative music scene.

Other awesome DSA artists hidden among Denver’s music scene include: Wesley Watkins (founder of The Other Black and former trumpet player for Nathaniel Rateliff and Night Sweats and), Brittany Williams (of Brittany Williams & The Unstoppable Groove), Halle Spoor (who is currently recording her first album), and Khalil Arcady (Sur Ellz).  

These artists all perform frequently around town throughout the year. Keep an eye on their platforms for updates of future shows!

-Sierra

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

Tyto Alba Release New Live Music Video For "Patterns & Habits"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver’s indie rock quartet Tyto Alba have been making music together since frontwoman Melanie Steinway and guitarist Matt Rossi met at a singer/songwriter showcase in 2014. Steinway (formerly of Howl Moonshine Howl) had just relocated to the Denver area at the time, but had been involved in the Colorado music scene for years. Soon after the two started jamming together, they added in Andrew Bair (of Male Blonding) and Danny DiMarchi (of DJ ChillBro.gov).

Tyto Alba.

Tyto Alba.

After releasing their freshman EP, Oh The Tame One (2015), the foursome went on to share a stage with bands including Boy & Bear, Widowspeak, Mimicking Birds, and Little Hurricane. They also scored a 2016 The UMS performance.

Most recently, Tyto Alba have been laying down some new tunes. With plans for their sophomore EP release of In Our Own Time slated for the spring of 2017, TA have been busy recording, mixing, and mastering in studio. They also released their live music video for their track “Patterns & Habits,” a video which actually came together around election night just a month ago.

Said Steinway, “On the eve of a rather distressing election, we chose to be creative and surrounded by the warmth of our favorite people.”

Watch Tyto Alba’s live music video for their new song “Patterns & Habits”:

With political frustrations abound among our arts and music community, we’re stoked to see local musicians turn that energy into creative art.

The video for “Patterns & Habits” is the first media release from In Our Own Time, and based on the above, we’re looking forward to hearing more from Tyto Alba’s next EP. Stay tuned for our future coverage on this Denver band.

Keep up with Tyto Alba on their Facebook.

-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.