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


“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.”


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:

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!

Review: Foxxes Self-Titled Debut Record Is Classic Lo-Fi & Psychedelic Harmonies

By: Norman Hittle

After two years of hard work, Foxxes have released their debut self-titled full length album. If you’re intrigued or interested in indie psych-rock mixed with nuances of post-punk, then it's possible this album will trip your fancy.  

Listen to Foxxes self-titled record:

Foxxes is a Denver based quartet comprised of the musical talents of Chris Feldbush (vocals and guitar), his brother Mike (drums), Tyler Shockey (guitar), and Nick Monx (bass). With classic pop hints interspersed throughout their collection of nine songs, their music pays homage to artists such as Modest Mouse and early Rolling Stones. Vocally, Chris touches on the singing styles of Talking Heads and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo.



The entire album has hard hitting guitars, trippy bass, and psychedelic harmonies, with a classic experimental style of lo-fi recordings and reverb washed out vocals, though at times the vocals are a bit too washed out for my taste (but this may be stylistically intentional). Though you may not find these recordings bumping at the dance clubs, it’s totally possible you may hear it accompanying some great backyard hangouts and summer BBQs with good friends.

Foxxes album is unique in that it seems to transform and mature both in composition and in content as it goes from beginning to end. The first three songs of the album (“Patterns & Sequences,” “Play it Safe,” and “Potential”) are easily their most commercially viable pop-centric songs and give the album a playful origin that soon hits the eight-minute long anthemic “Obsession” with its multiple genre transitions; and a turning point in the album’s progression into its more psychedelic second half starting with “Incandescent Glow” and completing with the heavily guitar effected “Tycoon.”

Now that Foxxes has completed the work on their debut album, it’s looking like they’ll be getting back to the grind of showcasing their sound around Denver including a spot on the 2017 UMS lineup. Check them out and make sure to catch their set at the upcoming Denver fest!


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


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:


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.



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.


 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:


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.

Mighty Fine Folk Pop: Meet Denver's Montropo

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s haunting. It’s dreamy. It’s Montropo. With a style that blends Spanish-influenced guitar with the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, Montropo crafts memorable songs that incorporate classical and pop influences into a folk and rock music blend.

After years of writing and refining songs, lead singer and guitarist, Andrés Diaz recorded Montropo’s debut album Follow Me (2015) at Silo Studios and Consonance Productions. However, in the last two years, there have been quite a few changes, including the addition of band members Josh Fuson (drums) and Jordan Roos (bass). Montropo is in the midst of an exciting transformation, and they couldn’t be more excited to share their music with the world.

Follow Me is a colorful, yet melancholic album that is hard not to love. It beckons listeners to self-reflect and also observe the world. “A Woman So Kind” resembles a gentle waltz similar to The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”. Diaz’s intricate guitar work and vulnerable tenor vocals explore a range of feelings and experiences. Songs such as “Cathedral” and the title track “Follow Me” have a surreal, dream-like feel, while songs such as “Brother, Stay” are more upbeat.  

The band name, Montropo, originated from a character in a short story Diaz wrote. But what started off as a playful name actually became something even more intriguing. Diaz later realized that the name Montropo can also be interpreted as meaning “my turn” or “my change,” combining the French word “mon” (“my”) and the Greek prefix “tropo” (“change,” “reaction,” or “turn”).

Now a trio, Montropo delivers energetic live performances, while still holding true to their focus on memorable melodies and harmonies. The band just played at the 2016 Underground Music Showcase, where they performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub.

With a new band makeup, a number of new songs being written, and a passion for pushing the boundaries of music, great things are in store for Montropo. Their music reflects a dark, disillusioned way of life, while also celebrating its diversity and poetic nature. Their musical metamorphosis is not one to miss, so be sure lookout for their upcoming releases.


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

Denver's New Indie-Pop Folk-Rock Outfit Modern Leisure Play The UMS This Sunday

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Born out of Denver, Modern Leisure is a new indie-pop folk-rock band headed by Casey Banker (Shady Elders, The Don’t and Be Carefuls). Other familiar faces from the Denver music scene are also on board this project, including Ian Gassman, Kevin Kohl, Nicholas Layne, and Cody Coffey. Just this summer, the five-piece released their debut single, “Ella For Real”, a soothing indie pop dream with upbeat percussion and catchy vocal effects.

Modern Leisure

Modern Leisure

The group describe their sound as, “illicit tales of hedonism and heartbreak under the guise of lush guitars and a hodgepodge of warm melodies”, and it’s catching on. Modern Leisure have played a slew of Denver gigs this summer, and even made an appearance on Radio1190. You can catch them next at The UMS this weekend, where they’re slotted to play 3 Kings Tavern on Sunday, July 31st at 7PM. Don’t miss out! We’ll catch yah there Colorado.

Listen to Modern Leisure’s “Ella For Real”:

Keep up with Modern Leisure on their Facebook.


Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

Our Opening Adventures at The UMS Started Indie & Ended Rock'n'Roll

By: Mirna Tufekcic

The first full night of The UMS started indie and rocked hard into this morning.

Getting to Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway shortly before 8 o’clock to catch an opening band was easy. So was parking, which I don’t expect, as the full swing of the weekend at Denver’s The UMS was approaching. Thursday evening at the fest had a gentle start. You gotta pace yourself kids.

Teacup Gorilla. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Teacup Gorilla. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

I started the night with Teacup Gorilla. Their tunes perked my ears with interest as I noticed their lyrics. While some words were sung, most were told, as if the vocalists were reading a poem. That’s what Teacup Gorilla is all about: indie, seven-minute songs with lots of space and soothing sounds, and words that keep you thinking. If you’re into the darker, heavier indie thing, this is one local act to keep your eye on. Definitely click here to learn more about the Denver four-piece.

The Milk Blossoms. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Milk Blossoms. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

If you still want indie, but you’re looking for a bit brighter sound, then keep an ear out for The Milk Blossoms. This trio is totally adorbs. I saw them at Gary Lee’s Motor Club, and the ladies of the band have impressive vocal skills. Plus, one of the girls can beatbox, making her obviously cool. And if her beatboxing wasn’t enough, she also rocked a flashing hamburger watch:

“It’s hamburger time!” she excitedly told the crowd. Word.

Between the beatboxing, beautiful voices, a ukulele, and keys resembling early Bright Eyes, you’re sure to be sucked into The Milk Blossoms’ tunes. I was definitely left wanting more... and wondering wtf a milk blossom is? Check out their website.

The Gin Doctors. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

The Gin Doctors. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Next, I made a pitstop at Skylark Lounge, where I heard Gin Doctors, a 90s cover band that doesn’t discriminate. What I mean by that is that the group played an Ace of Base song and followed it with a Foo Fighters tune. These dudes were fun, and great for those blurry nights in a bar where everyone’s singing along, getting drunk, and being merry. And of course, they’ve got the nostalgic thing happening. Check it.

Alright Alright. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Alright Alright. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The bow that wrapped up my Thursday at The UMS happened at the Hi-Dive. Definitely one of my favorite dive bars around, I caught the very tail end of Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir. I didn’t get to hear much of the band’s set, but what I did hear tickled my heartstrings. I have a feeling they were breaking hearts at the Hi-Dive far longer than what I witnessed. I may have missed out on something good. Timing- it’s a b*tch.  

Strange Americans. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Strange Americans. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

The following act at the Hi-Dive was Strange Americans. Oh, rock’n’roll, how I love thee. The minute this band started their set, I tuned in. They shredded their set, Americana-style and closed with their song “Hogwash” (which should be a hit by now) from their 2012 album A Royal Battle. Their energy was captivating, and left me nodding in approval and smiling out of pure satisfaction. I then had the chance to ask these fine fellas a couple of questions at the end of their set, and they want you to know they’re a not-too-serious but hard-working-blue-collar-rock’n’roll-band that’s doing their thing and bringing each other closer together in the process. I can totally dig that. These guys are heading on a Midwest tour starting tomorrow in Minneapolis. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Strange Americans. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Strange Americans. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

Closing the evening at the Hi-Dive were Bad Licks. You know that psychedelic sound from the days of Kennedy and Nixon that hypnotizes? That’s these guys. Plus total rock’n’roll, so raw you can barely touch it and so Americana, an American flag simply appears in your periphery like a phantom. Bad Licks sound good.

That’s it for night one! I gotta say, I’m so proud to live in a city with all this awesome local music and talent. The ground is fertile, and I’m standing alongside its seeds. So are you. See you at The UMS this weekend you crazy music lovers!


All photos per Sierra Voss for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

15 Must-See Bands at The Underground Music Showcase 2016

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Denver’s premier indie festival, Underground Music Showcase, is back for its 15th year and ready to kick it into high gear. The four-day festival (July 28-31) will take place in the eclectic Baker Neighborhood, with over 400 performances showcasing an array of talent. With so many incredible performers to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Even so, we thought we’d help out by sharing our picks of must-see artists (in no particular order) at this year’s festival.

RL Cole and the Angels

With a voice like warm molasses and a sinfully inviting way with the guitar, RL Cole’s music will take you to another dimension that resembles the underground New Orleans Voodoo rock scene.

Gasoline Lollipops

"Dirt floor folk with the energy and rebelliousness of punk" is one of the phrases used to describe Gasoline Lollipops. You’re sure to get a high-energy set with these guys, who are no strangers to entertaining large crowds.


Psychedelic rock fans will not want to miss Plum’s performance. Their groovadelic sound and overall stage persona will make you move between headbanging to swaying with trance-like delusions.

Lee Fields & The Expressions

With a worldwide music career that spans over 40 years, Lee Fields set will be history unfolding in front of you. From lo-fi rock to Southern blues, all soul fanatics must get themselves to this show.


It’s “creep rock” mixed with folk flavor and dream-like vocals sure to bring out all the feels. If you’re in the mood to float into some music, check out Porlolo and let yourself vibe a bit.

Open to the Hound

Enter into singularity with Open to the Hound, who are not afraid of exploring the weird. They’re wilderness rock, grunge folk, and a ton of fun to watch.

Methyl Ethel

Australian-made and internationally-known alternative pop group Methyl Ethel aim to dissociate their fans from the present and bring them into their musical multiverse.


Another psychedelic treat for any attendees who want to escape themselves for a bit, Sunboy’s multi-layered musical concoctions will leave you talking about their set for weeks.

Thee Oh Sees

Garage rock, psych-pop rock, or however you interpret their style, Thee Oh Sees are a headliner you do not want to miss.


Often known for saying “screw it” to the stage, SPELLS will have you moshing, flailing, screaming, and sweating all over each other.

Dirty Few

Dirty Few is the perfect group to celebrate your Saturday night second wave with. Their party ‘til you drop mentality is sure to blow the roof off of the devilishly fun Hi-Dive.


If you’re a fan of badass chicks who can rap, sing, and play guitar, check out KITTY CRIMES, who will keep your booty shaking even after her set is over.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

Playing at their second home, the Hi-Dive, Bud Bronson & The Good Timers are a group of hilariously charismatic rockers who just want their fans to have a good time. Their feel-good summertime party rock is impossible not to like, so grab a beer and get in on the fun.


One of the most unique sets I’ve ever witnessed came from DéCollage. With costumes, lights, fog machines, and shiny mylar galore, you won’t be able to stop your body from moving.

The Yawpers

Rock music resembling the moments right before a fever breaks, The Yawpers will leave you wide-eyed and craving another dose of their mania.

The UMS this year is bound to be one for the books, and with so many talented performers on the bill, it is encouraged to see every band you possibly can. If you can barely walk by day four, you’ve done it right. So grab those tickets, coordinate your schedule, and prepare yourself for a wild weekend. We'll see you out there!


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

BolderBeat Chats with Kendall Smith, Director of Denver's Underground Music Showcase

Denver's UMS is coming up fast!

Denver's UMS is coming up fast!

Kendall Smith has been the director of Denver’s Underground Music Showcase for six years now. And in that time, the event has grown from a few local bands playing a few local venues to a 16-venue, 168-band, 280-volunteer production. So how did someone with a background in corporate finance enter the Denver music scene and manage to create one of the best regional music events around?

When I ask, Smith just smiles, “I got lucky.”

After graduating from the University of Northern Texas, Smith joined the corporate ranks, where he worked in finance and accounting. After 20+ years in that game, he left in 2009 to “ride my bicycle for a year and think about what to do next”.

Kendall Smith.

Kendall Smith.

Enter The UMS.

Smith had volunteered for The UMS under former director Ricardo Baca, who you may know as The Denver Post’s prolific former music critic, and current editor of The Cannabist.

“I’d volunteered for couple o years [at UMS]. When Ricardo left, he recommended me as his successor. As part of my interview with the CEO of the Denver Post, I was asked to put a plan together for the next year. I relied on what I knew. I presented the plan as a comparative financial statement. This allowed me to walk a room full of people with little familiarity with the operations of the festival through the changes needed to bring it into the Denver Post Community Foundation.”

Slow Caves, one of the local acts on this year's ums lineup.

But taking over and successfully building the biggest independent music festival in the region wasn’t something that always allowed Smith to rely on his background in finance.

“There were plenty of learning curves,” Smith told me, “But I brought a strong team together, and when you do that, it is a little easier to get up those curves.”

Smith and his team have arguably climbed those learning curves to the top of the music festival mountain. With thousands of artists vying for a spot on the lineup every summer, over 280 volunteers begging to join the team, and 25 sponsors backing the showcase, The UMS has certainly built itself into a Colorado music scene staple.

Some of 2016's UMS lineup.

Some of 2016's UMS lineup.

So what is Smith’s vision for the future of the event?

“I want us to continue to help grow the local music scene here in Colorado, and I want this to become a destination event as well. That’s one reason we have started the city-specific day parties.” he added.

Essentially, The UMS has branched out to surrounding music markets and partnered with them for a few shows at the festival. These cities (which this year include Fort Collins, CO, Sante Fe, NM, and Boise, ID) bring in some of their talented local acts, and they share the stage with Colorado bands, giving all artists involved the chance to connect and chat about the industry in their state. Some bands have gone on to tour with the artists they met through this partnership, trading hometown shows and putting bills together across multiple music markets. Simultaneously, it’s allowed other regions to really showcase their scene, creating the kind of community that one might have found in the earlier SXSW days.

“Playing The UMS means that you’re promised a set that starts on time, a room that sounds good, promotion from our team, and a crowd. And with all of that comes great community- artists are talking and playing together, and other people in the industry are connecting and having a good time.”

UMS Sunsets.

UMS Sunsets.

And so, after clearly seeing Smith's passion for this live event, I had to ask, was Smith ever a performer himself? Maybe before his corporate days?

“No!” he laughs. “I couldn’t be up there myself, but I love watching artists when they’re really in the moment. I grew up going to shows in Texas’ Golden Triangle (between Denton, Dallas, and Forth Worth), so my love for live music grew there. It didn’t matter if we had to drive 40 miles for a good show, that’s just what you did and it was always worth the time.”

Tacocat, one of the national acts on This Year's UMS Lineup.

Tacocat, one of the national acts on This Year's UMS Lineup.

So whether you’re walking down the block to get to The UMS, or you’re driving in from somewhere else in Colorado or beyond; whether you’re coming for the local or the national acts on the lineup; whether you’re working in the corporate world or the music industry; whether you’re an artist who loves to play, or a spectator who just enjoys good, live music, there’s a place for you at The UMS. And this year’s event is only a few weeks away (July 28-31)! Get your tickets here, read up on volunteer info here, and keep up with special announcements from Kendall and his team on The UMS Facebook page.

PS: Wondering about the full lineup for The UMS this year? Here it is! It’s a killer one, folks. Stay tuned for our updates as we're covering the fest! See you there!


Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per The UMS and The Denver Post. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 06/24, 06/25, & 06/26

By: Hannah Oreskovich

We're soo glad it’s the weekend. Here’s where you ought to be:

Today (Friday 06/24):

Coastal Wives with Holy White Hounds and Modern Suspects at Marquis Theater in Denver 7PM-Close

We first threw Coastal Wives your way after the release of their EP, Traditions. We thought the Denver-based four-piece were a perfect mix of indie and blues, and apparently, so did a lot of you. The group has picked up notable steam, and are throwing down tonight at The Marquis with rock’n’roll band Holy White Hounds and “popternative” outfit Modern Suspects. Killer.

PS: If you miss this gig, make sure to catch Coastal Wives’ UMS show next month!

Peep Coastal Wives’ Traditions:

All Chiefs Fashion Forward EP Release Show at Squire Lounge in Denver 9PM-Close


All Chiefs are throwing a sweet EP release party at The Squire in Denver tonight for their latest, Fashion Forward. Just last month, the band debuted their single from the album, “Pusher”, and we totally dig it. Tonight’s show is sure to be an outrageous time too, so go get down! We’ll have a full recap of it for you on Monday!

Watch All Chiefs at Coupe Studios, recording their new EP:

Intuit at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close


Not long ago, we had an awesome chat with Intuit frontwoman Chloe Watkins. The band has kept busy this summer with a number of shows and festivals, but if you haven’t caught them yet, tonight’s your chance! If there's one thing we've learned about the band, it's that at an Intuit show, it’s ok to drink the holy water! Come out and see what we mean…

Listen to an Intuit original:

Sun Jr. at Bohemian Biergarten in Boulder 10PM-Close


Boulder’s Sun Jr., a tasty mix of lap steel and blues/rock goodness, are hitting the Biergarten stage tomorrow evening. They’ve got a slight Western blend to get your toes tappin’, and they’ll keep you movin’ with their rockin’ grooves. So go check out this newer Boulder band, and let’s keep the weekend goin’ right!

Listen to Sun Jr.’s “Bag of Bones”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 06/25):

Electric 6 with In The Whale and Bad Licks at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close


Detroit’s rock four-piece Electric 6 are headlining a show at the Lost Lake tomorrow night as part of their recent summer tour. Denver favorite In The Whale are playing middle slot for this show, with alt-rock four-piece Viretta as the opener. It’s gonna be a party! Tickets here.

Watch Electric 6’s video for “Danger! High Voltage”:

The Next Day (Sunday 06/26)

BBQ Series at Larimer Lounge in Denver 2PM-Close


Spend Sunday-funday right this weekend with some delicious BBQ and seven killer bands. The Larimer Lounge has a seriously sick lineup planned, featuring Dragondeer, Von Stomper, Toi et Moi, Evan Holm, Last Of The Easy Riders, Richie Allen & The Bad Ideas, and Mark's Midnight Carnival Show. YES. We can’t think of a better way to close out the weekend, so we’ll see you there! Tickets here.

Watch Dragondeer’s live video of “Broadway Avenue”:

See you around, Colorado.


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

The Jeffrey Dallet Band: Colorado's Folk Troubadours of Yesteryear

By: Jura Daubenspeck

The Jeffrey Dallet Band are old and new all at once.

It’s always a delicious treat to discover music that transports you to another time period; the type of music that carries the feel of a past life, yet keeps you grounded in the present happenings of one’s everyday existence. Colorado’s music scene provides an excellent array of such artists, who break barriers and forge on with their own unique sounds. Denver’s very own The Jeffrey Dallet Band follows suit, making a name for themselves as the "folk troubadours of yesteryear".

The Jeffrey Dallet Band at Larimer Lounge.

The Jeffrey Dallet Band at Larimer Lounge.

The group, who classify themselves as “folk‘n’roll”, are in their early stages of bandhood, having just nailed down their current member makeup last February. Guitarist and lead singer Jeffrey Dallet was originally focused on solo work, writing music and playing local gigs around Colorado. He then joined forces with longtime friend Brian Long, who also plays guitar for TJDB. Producer Glenn Sawyer, of The Spot Studios, then introduced the duo to members Caroline Browning and Caroline Wright. Browning slays on the bass and percussion, while Wright brings a fresh folk feel with violin. And that is where the killer quad that is The Jeffrey Dallet Band stands today.

Jeffrey Dallet.

Jeffrey Dallet.

You’ll find yourself having similar nostalgic feelings listening to The Jeffrey Dallet Band as you would listening to artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, or the late Steve Young. Their music speaks of distant memories, of heartbreak, urban decay, politics, gentrification, and about how, in the words of Bob Dylan, "the times, they are a changin’." The relatability of their music is a bonus, but the easy-listening, lyrical folk-rock vibe that this group has is enough to hold your attention by itself.

TJBD has recorded two songs with the creative minds at The Spot Studios recently. The first tune, "Gypsy Jewel", has a haunting melody that, like the song’s subject matter, casts a spell on you with its violin and percussion, swaying in the minor key. But just when you think you’ve nailed down the band’s sound, the four-piece switches it up. "My Old Record Store" brings up the group’s tempo and gets playful with their social commentary, lyrically interweaving song and artist titles to tell a story. After the success of these tracks, The Jeffrey Dallet Band are already back in the studio working on their highly anticipated EP, which will be released in the coming months. Until then, you can check out their SoundCloud page to get a taste of some of the sounds you might expect from these talented folks.

Listen to "Gypsy Jewel":

This group of wandering troubadours are playing various intimate gigs throughout Colorado this summer, including Denver’s Underground Music Showcase (July 28-31). This will be the band’s first time playing at the festival, but Jeffrey Dallet’s sixth time returning to the eclectic rock fest. So get in early on the action and buy your tickets for UMS here! We will announce TJDB’s exact set time and location as its announce by UMS. And be sure to stay in touch with The Jeffrey Dallet Band on their website and Facebook pages! They’re a great band to add to your soundtrack for summer.


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

Coastal Wives EP Traditions: Love at First Listen

By: Dawn Raymond

Denver's Coastal Wives released their debut EP Traditions recently, and are already scheduled for a UMS performance this summer.

Coastal Wives is an indie blues rock band based out of Denver, CO consisting of Forest Knauff, Logan Bishop, Austin Perkins, and Kyle Misencik. Their name comes from a time when Forest and Logan were into "surf sound" bands like The Babies, Beach Fossils, and Real Estate, and the two initially wanted to create music in that vein. But their music had other plans, and now borrows more from bands like The Black Keys and Radiohead instead. The name Coastal Wives, however, stuck.

Denver's Coastal Wives.

Denver's Coastal Wives.

Forest and Logan wanted to create a band as an outlet for their songwriting, and so together, they engaged in some healthy competition, trying to outdo each other in the songwriting department. As you might imagine, this caused them to hone their skills quite nicely. Soon, they converged their talents to create music together. As Logan said, "Coastal Wives was us really biting the bullet and saying we are better together than on our own".  

After joining forces, Coastal Wives released their Traditions EP just last month. It consists of 4 songs- a total quality over quantity proposition for the listener. You will find this group striving to evolve musically and instrumentally, but also lyrically on the EP. The writing is an integral part of this collaboration, with the intention to create cathartic, "real" music that stems from an unflinching reflection of life, for better or worse. This is the perfect release for commitment-phobes, as the entire EP is short enough to try on for size, but more than enough to be completely immersed in, and it's strikingly easy on the ears. It's a kind of "love at first listen", which might be because the vocals are reminiscent of another band and another time, or it might be Coastal Wives’ heartfelt lyrics and tightly knit instrumental execution. Whatever it is, it works.

Coastal Wives have a number of Denver shows this summer, including a UMS appearance. You can check out Traditions on the band’s website, and keep up with their shows on Facebook. Go give them a listen!


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

Dragondeer Wants To Get You Off at The Fox Theatre Tomorrow Night

Denver's Dragondeer.

Denver's Dragondeer.

We first saw Dragondeer at last year’s The Big Wonderful, and we really dug their swampy blues rock sound. They gave us a copy of their self-titled EP (which has been in heavy rotation since), went on to play the UMS, and most recently, the four-piece finished recording an album with Willie Nelson’s producer Mark Howard. Tomorrow night, the radical Denver band is bringing their talents and new music to the Fox Theatre stage in support of the Ben Miller Band, and we’ve got info on discounted tickets below, so get yours today! We’ll be there snapping photos, so come hang. And in the meantime, check out our chat with Dragondeer frontman Eric Halborg:

Dragondeer's Eric Halborg.

Dragondeer's Eric Halborg.

Thanks for talking with us Eric- it’s been minute since we’ve checked in with Dragondeer. Tell us what you guys have been up to lately.

We started the year finalizing mixes on our new record, which was recorded out in California with Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Anders Orbourn). We recorded it at a meditation retreat up in the hills overlooking Topanga Canyon; it was super remote. We had to take a 4x4 to even get to the location. We were all sleeping in the space where we were recording, and eating together, and smoking grass together… some magic happens when you’re locked in and focusing on creation that way, so we’re excited for people to hear what came of that. 

Watch Dragondeer’s live performance of their song “Broadway Avenue” with Jam in the Van:

That’s awesome! What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

We’re heading east of the Mississippi for our first time later this month, playing shows in Atlanta, North Carolina, and a new club in NYC called American Beauty. We’ll announce a festival we were invited to play on the West Coast in the next week or so, and we’ll be touring out that way around the time of that festival.

Sweet! Any other festival plans for 2016?

The UMS in Denver.

Listen to Dragondeer’s self-titled EP:

Another round at The UMS- righteous. So let’s chat about tomorrow night’s show- have you played with the Ben Miller Band before?

We haven’t, but they are rad. David Winegarden (Fox Theatre, Boulder Theater) asked us to play this one and thought it’d be a cool bill.

Have you played The Fox before?

We’ve played The Fox once. Also, I like to booze at the Sundowner, and our record is in their jukebox, so that’s kinda like playing there…

The good ol’ ‘downer. Cool- so what are you most stoked for about tomorrow night’s performance?

The Fox’s sound is killer onstage, and out front. When it sounds that good on stage, you can hear the nuance of the interplay between the members, and that’s the nectar… if the band is getting off, the crowd can too.

Can't wait guys.

Get off with Dragondeer tomorrow night and get your tickets here- use the code DRAGONDEER for a discounted service charge!

Keep up with Dragondeer on Facebook, and if you have friends in these cities, tell them to hit up these DD shows:

  • April 15 | Atlanta GA at New Belgium Brewery after party at 97 Estoria
  • April 16 | Charlotte NC at Double Door Inn w/ Jarekus Singleton
  • April 17 | Asheville NC at Wicked Weed Brewery
  • April 17 | Charlotte NC at Comet Grill Rock to A Cure Benefit
  • April 18 | New York NY at American Beauty
  • April 29 | Denver CO at Larimer Lounge w/ L.A. Witch and The Velveteers


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

A Shadow of Jaguar's Debut Single: "Mama Needs the Bottle"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

A Shadow of Jaguar's new single is tasty.



As you might recall, we covered an A Shadow of Jaguar show back in June at the Pub. Comprised of Cold River City’s Brian Hubbert and former West Water Outlaws’ drummer Andrew Oakley, desker David Landry described the boys as a “super-powered project” with “a thumping kick drum and a whip-cracking snare.” Following that performance, the duo played The UMS and various gigs around Colorado. The pair then hit the studio, The Crucible Recording Studio to be exact, and worked with producer Robbie Stiefel and bassist John Demitro of Branded Bandits to lay down a few licks. After tossing things around in mixing with John Peacock and having their jams mastered by Brian Gardner, A Shadow of Jaguar have released their debut single, “Mama Needs the Bottle.”

Cheers to new music! Check it out here and leave your thoughts in the comments:


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

How Denver Band Signs and Signals Make Meat and Potato Magic

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Denver's Signs and Signals are worth checking out.

Signs and Signals is a Denver-based rock band who released their debut EP Human Again at the beginning of July and then wrapped up the month with a UMS performance. Formed in May of 2014, Signs and Signals have been climbing the Denver music ladder at a noticeably fast pace. Within a year, they’ve conquered numerous Denver venues, were featured on 93.3’s Locals Only, released an EP, and made the UMS lineup. So we sat down with S&S frontman Jason Kelly to find out more about the band’s recent recording experience, their local success, and their upcoming plans for the fall.

Your sound is intriguing. A song like “Human Again” feels Incubus-inspired to me, but then I hear a catchy track like “Better Life” and it’s much more pop-infused. I know that some of you were in Soul Electric prior to this, which feels a little heavier than Signs and Signals. Tell me about the formation of Signs and Signals and your change in direction musically from your previous project.

Haha, you know, Incubus is [actually] a primary core influence for many of us.

[Signs and Signals] all began in March of 2013. [Myself] (vocals) and Brian (lead guitar) met up off of Craigslist and immediately began songwriting together. After sifting through different band members and playing shows as Soul Electric, our second bassist parted ways [so] we put on the brakes a bit to hone our sound and audition bass players. We tried out bassists and the amount of interest was overwhelming. [We] chose Dave because, quite frankly, he and Jimmy make meat and potato magic. With Dave, we found a new hard-hitting melodic sound, and so we renamed ourselves Signs and Signals.  

After a few shows as a four piece, everyone felt [that] the ultimate vision for the Signs and Signals lineup would be to eventually find a rhythm guitarist, that way [I] could focus solely on vocals.  After multiple failed attempts to find this fifth member, we dove into recording our first single, “Fight or Flight” at The Spot Studios. It was there that we met Joel Rekiel with BLDGBLKS Music Company. Joel directed a successful Kickstarter campaign [for us], which helped us raise over $6k to record our EP Human Again. In the middle of recording our third song, we finally found our fifth member, John Ensey. He jumped in with flying colors and wound up recording rhythm guitar on 5 of the 7 songs for the EP.

So now with John, Dave, and Jimmy crushing the rhythm section, and Brian [and myself] composing one catchy melody after the next, Signs and Signals has become a five piece rock band dream-come-true and we're all very optimistic about the future!

Speaking of your new EP, what was one of your favorite things (besides the awesome addition of Ensey) about the recording process?  

Our producers, Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop, were a strong team to work with. Glenn has a great ear for adjusting parts and a creative insight for thinking outside the box. And Rich is the crushing critic who will go through every last note with a fine-tooth comb. I think it's safe to say we all grew as musicians from our recording experience at The Spot. When you are investing a lot of time and money, you want to give it your all and I believe we did exactly that.

What has it been like gaining relatively fast-paced success in the Denver music scene within a year’s time?  

A recent Twitter fan listened to our EP and told us, “Your guy’s music sounds like it’s meant to be.” Those words- "meant to be" -give me goosebumps because there is definitely some kind of magic happening here. Like so many musicians out there, we have all been in several different bands and none of those have had the potential that this one does. In the grand scheme of things, it's always good to recognize where you're really at, raise the bar, and keep chipping away at your goals one step at a time.

Sound advice. Give us one word to describe your experience playing The UMS:


Sweet! So what’s next for Signs and Signals? A music video? A tour? Both? Give us the deets!  

We definitely have touring on our minds, but as it is, we are hardly even known in our own city. We plan to keep sharing our music, play shows, and build a local following before we set out into serious touring. Maybe next year… we have an open mind and a lot to do.

So there’s our bit with Signs and Signals! Looking at their track record, we think these guys are moving faster toward a local fan base and a tour than they realize. So keep an eye out for their upcoming shows! And listen to them rock out here.


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

The Seven Shows to See If You're Not Going to The UMS This Weekend

By: Hannah Oreskovich

The UMS is arguably the biggest thing happening in Colorado music this weekend. But if you aren’t throwing your hands up down in Denver, these are the seven shows to see near the Boulder bubble this weekend:

Tonight (Friday 07/24):

Theresa Peterson & Hunter Stone at Vindication Brewing 530-9PM

These two Boulder-based singer songwriters are behind the monthly Boulder-in-the-Round event at Vapor Distillery. We covered it back in June here. Aside from that, both of them are super talented solo artists. In recent months, they’ve been collaborating together, so this is a performance that is worth checking out. Head on over after work!

Augustus at The Roost 6PM-Close

Augustus recently dropped their EP Into Frames and are planning a release show next month. But if you want to hear their latest songs live before their party takes over Pearl in August, then roll to The Roost and give them a listen.

That's one Cold River.

That's one Cold River.

Cold River Autumn at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

Boulder-based Cold River City, who are incidentally also on The UMS lineup this weekend, have some members playing a show here tonight with guest drummer Matty Schelling from Whiskey Autumn. In a super-group formation of sorts, the sounds from behind the brown door are bound to be awesome. Be sure to stop in!

Tomorrow (Saturday 07/25):

Danny Shafer at Oskar Blues CyclHOPS 730PM-Close

Danny is a big name in Colorado music. It’s probably harder to find a night that he isn’t playing music than one that he is. He’s played just about every venue around the state, and he always puts on a great show. He occasionally brings along talented friends to share the stage, so make the drive here to see what he has in store for this performance!

Da Z Boys.

Da Z Boys.

Zolopht at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids 830PM-Close

Are you one of those classic Coloradans who loves reggae, blues, rock, and bluegrass combined into one sound? Then this band is for you! The Zolopht boys hail from Grand Junction, CO and are currently playing a number of shows around these parts. We’ve been seeing their name a lot recently, so we checked out their dancy beats, which you can listen to here. Go peep their show!



Andrew Bonnis at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

Bonnis is a Boulder-based musician of many talents. He is an amazing solo performer, but has also been in a number of successful group projects. Most recently, he’s been playing guitar in Nederland’s Gipsy Moon band, but this is your chance to see what he has up his sleeve solo. He won’t disappoint, so check him out!

Whiskey Autumn at Conor O’Neill’s 1030PM-Close

Rumor has it that Whiskey Autumn are currently back in the studio working on a new project. Maybe they’ll surprise you with a hint of what they’re up to at this show, so it’s one you don’t want to miss! Go dance with these boys! 


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