Featuring: Billy Strings, Brad Parsons Band, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Ghosts of Paul Revere, Grantful Dead Revue, Greensky Bluegrass, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Jon Stickley Trio, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Steamboat Springs, CO, 02/22/18-02/25/18
Featuring: Praang at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver, CO, 02/09/18
Like the cereus flower, which only blooms one night a year, this show was a special one! With a from-the-hip electro-jam format, Steve Kimock (guitar/slide), Michael Travis (bass spaceship), Jason Hann (drum kit), and Jamie Janover (hammered dulcimer) had more than a few magical moments onstage at Cervantes. It was an honor to catch the 12th annual Praang get-together, which was also only the 12th this crew has played together live.
The White Noise
Stray From The Path
The New Narrative
Featuring: The Dear Hunter, The Family Crest, & VAVA at Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO 12/06/17
The Dear Hunter’s tour made its way through Denver this past week with a stop at The Bluebird Theater. The night started off with an eclectic performance by VAVÁ, fronted by Vanessa Wheeler, who Dear Hunters singer Casey Crescenzo found on Instagram of all places. VAVÁ’s sound can be best described as experimental, with very spacey guitar riffs and picking accompanied by hip-hop beats. While most were unfamiliar with the band, everyone was able to appreciate the unique tunes from Vanessa.
VAVÁ was followed by The Family Crest, a baroque-pop band from San Francisco. Sharing a somewhat small stage with seven other people isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but TFC was able to pull it off. They had an infectious stage presence that brought a fun-loving energy to everyone in the venue.
Looking around after TFC was finished, it was interesting to see all the different types of people packed into The Bluebird, especially the variety of ages of people attending. This is a testament to the quality of music and live performance of The Dear Hunter. They’re known for their conceptual albums, with overlying themes of growing up, betrayal, and love, which everyone can relate to. It’s reasons like these that this band has built up such a loyal following over the past decade.
The Dear Hunter finally took the stage and from the start, hit everyone with a dose of their multi-layered style of music. They were able to transition from heavier songs to mesmerizing rock ballads with ease and played many of their older hits like “Wave” and songs from their newest EP All Is As All Should Be. The whole set felt somewhat like a trance; it lasted for a little over two hours but at the end it only felt like a half hour set. For their final song, Dear Hunter played “King of Swords (Reversed),” leaving everyone satisfied with a great night of music.
You can follow The Dear Hunter on the last few dates of their winter tour and grab their new EP here.
The Dear Hunter
The Family Crest
Featuring: Whitney at Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO 12/03/17
Chicago’s Whitney came through Denver this week for double-shows at Bluebird Theater December 3rd and 4th. The six-piece outfit, who are best known for the 70s-inspired indie rock sounds, have only been together as a project for two short years. In that time, they’ve released only their debut album, Light Upon The Lake (2016), which saw them touring internationally and signed to Secretly Canadian. The record was produced by Jonathan Rado (Foxygen).
Whitney first came together when members Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich’s former project Smith Westerns ended. Ehrlich, who had also drummed for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, became the main vocalist of Whitney and remains so, which is somewhat of a rarity in the music realm for a drummer. As such, Ehrlich was seated atop a risen platform for the Bluebird shows, allowing the audience to see him well as the clear frontman of the band.
Singer-songwriter Julie Byrne opened the sold-out evening on Sunday, which proved to be a bit of a challenge for a crowd who was ready for more noise. Her lullaby-vocals and finger-picking on guitar were indeed beautiful, but were often interrupted by the chatter of the Bluebird crowd (darn you Denvah- respect!).
When Whitney took the stage, the crowd cheered; next to me a girl with “X’s” on her hands teared up in excitement and commented that she too had a sinus infection after Erlich announced apologies for his own illness. Though you wouldn’t think of Whitney as your typical teen-heartthrob act (or… would you?), I can confirm (at least in Denver) that they in fact, are.
Whitney proceeded to play tunes from Light Upon The Lake; the title track was a clear crowd favorite. They also dropped in both a Bob Dylan and a Neil Young cover; later they surprised us with a track which they announced was new and will likely be released on their next album. Ehrlich talked directly and often to the crowd, even telling a story of the band’s venture to Topo Designs earlier in the day where he stole a bunch of free soap that fell out of his pockets onstage, making you feel more like you were his friend at a house show more than anything else, which really connected the audience to the band’s every move. The six-piece returned on Monday for a second set, and one of their last of 2017. Currently, their only other listed performance is a New Year’s Eve show at Brooklyn Steel in New York.
Though their upcoming record is still hush-hush, it will be interesting to see what Whitney follows up with. Their experience and well-connectedness in the industry, along with their successful trajectory over the past two years on the road, leads us to believe they could be rocking at much bigger venues the next time they roll through town.
Keep up with Whitney here.
Featuring: I Prevail, The Word Alive, & We Came As Romans at Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO 11/20/17
For the second time in three months, I Prevail made a stop in Denver and gave us a show to remember. This time around the guys made a stop at The Ogden Theatre with supporting acts Escape the Fate, The Word Alive, and We Came As Romans.
Although Brian Burkheiser (clean vocals) has been sidelined by a vocal injury over the past few shows, guitarist Dylan Bowman filled in and was able to take on the role without missing a beat. The name of the show “Rage on the Stage” was inspired by the guys growing up and watching wrestling, like WWE/WCW on TV. This theme was made more obvious by the giant wrestling ring that was occupied by the drummer. Throughout the show, the band talked about different aspects of wrestling that they enjoyed, like how there is always a theme of “good vs. evil,” and how that has inspired some of their songs. They even put on little sketches where they talked trash each other to see who would have been the better wrestling character; this added an extra element of entertainment that had the crowd laughing and engaged between songs.
I Prevail started their set off with “Come & Get It,” one of their hit singles from 2016 album Lifelines, and a perfect song to start off their set with hard-hitting screams mixed with smooth melodic verses. They kept the crowd hyped with their most popular songs and mixed in covers of “Shots” by LMFAO and a ballad version of “Get Low” by Lil’ Jon & The East Side Boyz. Finally, they finished with their smash hit “Scars” for a perfect ending to an amazing show. I Prevail showed why they are a band to be reckoned, with not only with their great musicianship but also their entertaining stage presence. “Rage on the Stage” was one of the most complete shows that I have been to, and is a must-see for all the remaining dates. If you missed it this time around, make it a priority to see I Prevail’s next tour!
Check out the remaining dates on their current tour and follow I Prevail here.
The Word Alive
We Came As Romans
Featuring: Imagine Dragons at Honda Center, Anaheim, CA 11/16/17
Imagine Dragons brought their Evolve Tour to the Honda Center, bringing with them well-known acts such as K. Flay and Grouplove as openers. By the time that Imagine Dragons was set to play, the arena filled up with the roars of 18,000+ fans, all waiting to see one of the most talented and popular bands of the modern era.
Imagine Dragons gave fans exactly what they wanted- a mix of new stuff from their latest record, Evolve, and also several of the songs that skyrocketed them to superstar status in the first place.
Imagine Dragons wraps up the North American leg of their tour on December 2nd at the 1STBANK center near Denver, before heading over to Asia at the start of the new year.
Featuring: Liam Gallagher, Warbly Jets at Gothic Theater, Denver, CO 11/18/17
Liam Gallagher played to a sold-out Gothic Theatre in what is rumored to be one of the smallest rooms booked for his current tour. Opener Warbly Jets, an LA-based rock'n'roll band, had the crowd on their feet before Gallagher entered to the cheers and screaming of the crowd. Some audience members held up the British flag; others sang along to every song.
The former Oasis frontman opened with two Oasis tracks- "Rock'n'Roll Star" and "Morning Glory" followed by several of his solo songs, primarily those from his new record As You Were like "Wall of Glass" and "For What It's Worth." The set was sprinkled with other Oasis tunes as well, including "Some Might Say," "Slide Away," "Be Here" and Gallagher's two-track encore of "Cigarettes & Alcohol" and "Live Forever." "Cigarettes & Alcohol" was a particular crowd favorite; audience members had been singing it outside of the venue before the doors opened as well as before Gallagher took the stage. Gallagher commanded the stage like the rock star that he is, surrounded in a circle by five monitors and occasionally playing tambo and the maracas on some of his tunes while singing.
Liam Gallagher has a few shows left on his current As You Were US tour before it wraps at the end of the month. More details and tickets here.
Featuring: Action Bronson, Trash Talk, & Mayhem Lauren at Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO 11/15/17
Action Bronson headlined Boulder Theater last night & is set for a Denver show this evening at Ogden Theatre. The self-proclaimed "295-pound" hip-hop artist is on his Blue Chips 7000 tour, playing songs from his previous Blue Chips mixtape releases, newer gems, and even a Phil Collins "Oh Think Twice" mashup.
"The altitude here is getting to me!" he laughed at one point, after signing several fans' copies of his new book, 'F*ck That's Delicious,' a hardback followup to his Vice series by the same name on their Munchies network.
Bronson also brought quite the crew with him. Hip-hop's Meyhem Lauren opened the night and guested later in Bronson's set; metal thrash group Trash Talk had the crowd getting rowdy, even beckoning at one point to the audience, "I want you to make security's job hard right now. I want to see stage dives!" More than a few headbanging fans were willing to comply.
Overall, it was a night of solid energy and laughs. Denver, you're in for a treat this evening.