Author Archives: Denver Thread

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With a New Record, Japandroids Brings their Ecstatic Rock to The Gothic March 7th

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If you’re familiar with Japandroids, you don’t need any encouragement to get to the Gothic Theatre next Tuesday night to catch their infectious, ecstatic music. You already know that this duo sounds like an orchestra, exploding from speakers & stage with huge drum and guitar sounds, channeling as much Bruce Springsteen at his prime as The Alarm, The Gun Club, and epic obscurities like Squirrel Bait.

So much more than your typical garage-rock duo, guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse wield an anthemic onslaught that could fill stadiums, let alone smaller venues like The Gothic, and they pack each one with an abandon that explodes with passion like no other offering in Rock. Since they busted out of Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2006, the duo have developed an inimitable style, sharing passionately howling vocals, singing about the ecstasy of youth, partying, happiness, and the full-on beauty of life. Unbound, each song raises your blood pressure and optimism at the same time, while forcing you to thrust a fist in the air in triumph – regardless of the day you’re having.

Their latest release, Near to the Wild Heart of Life, dropped in late January, and is destined only to add more to their prowess – and their live performance promises to be unforgettable. Don’t miss their show at The Gothic on Tuesday, March 7 – doors at 8:00 p.m., show begins at 9:00 with openers Craig Finn and the Uptown Controllers (a spinoff of Finn’s The Hold Steady–also a great bet). In the meantime, check out the title track from Japandroids’ latest, below.


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Aldous Harding – from New Zealand – Righteously Steals The Gothic

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On first listen, alt-folk whirlwind Aldous Harding‘s style seems run-of-the-mill, in the style of Sandy Denny, Joan Baez, or Joanna Newsome, or pastoral Nick Drake, with lilting vocals, strumming acoustic, and little else but an occasional bowing saw, or flute. Witnessed in person, the music becomes sinister–yet inviting, hauntingly painful, and smoldering.

Recently introduced to the wide world from New Zealand, the diminutive Harding sang with the lilt of a giant – or a squadron of them – at The Gothic Theatre last Tuesday night. Filling one of two warm-up slots for Atlanta indie perennials Deerhunter, she and her accompanying pianist (and life partner) Marlon Williams  promptly stole any extra energy from the venue before the Deerhunter even began a final soundcheck.

First Intro to US Audiences

The Harding the US is seeing onstage for the first time this year is anything but pedestrian, and even calling her music alt-folk is an undersell. Musically, her folk approaches centuries-old parochial ballads that might be heard at today Scottish festivals, or in between bloody Game of Thrones vignettes. But they come from an even more sinister, deeply dramatic origin – one that feels proto-gothic. Harding’s stage presence enhances the terror, the passion, the psychosis that one might imagine could be behind such perfect gems – especially if that listener were raised on slasher movies, true crime novels and serial killer bios.

At her most tame, Harding held the intensity of PJ Harvey onstage – minimalist, yet explosive – but these were only a few seconds at a time. Most of the time, she glared at the audience – or some threatening alter-audience only she saw beneath the glare of the stage lights – with facial gesticulations that ranged from mild distaste to abject pain. She would traverse emotions from frustrated boredom to legitimate disdain, and then to outright disgust, seemingly from a terrified, abused foundation. The glares contrasted beautifully with her voice – at once sultry and smokey, and wholesome and throaty, in the style of Victoria LeGrande, or Nico.

Circulating beneath that warbling croon was a constant nervousness, a level of fear that seemed to make Harding mouth disparate consonants and vowels with the same vitriol and discomfort as she revealed difficult feelings and experiences, or nightmares. Her irascible stare, wide mouth, and huge expressive eyes also recalled a young Patti Smith, albeit on an interesting mixture of barbiturates and speed.

A Masterpiece Cover of “Crying”

The duo’s second-to-last song was a cover of Roy Orbison‘s legendary “Crying,” and no better-fitting juxtapositional anthem could ever have been picked. This staged version encompassed and magnified every ounce of Rebekah Del Rio‘s nightmarish version–“Llorando”–from the Hispanic theater in David Lynch‘s “Mulholland Drive.” Dripping with every level of psychotic longing, every ounce of abject fear of total loss of control that Del Rio imbued into the masterpiece, Harding’s version also embraced all of the overdriven, suicidal heartbreak implicit in Orbison’s masterpiece. Harding belted out the tearful lament in a huge, infinitely ominous way that belied her slight frame, and absolutely killed the audience.

She finished with “Horizon,” a beautiful, anthemic curse of a song. Harding’s best of the night enveloped the existential anathema of choice at the millisecond one alights on a razor’s edge between existence and oblivion. The angst was anchored by nothing more than Harding’s intense poetry and some fist-heavy chords on the keyboard. As she literally served the audience with the choice between our princess and our horizon, there was almost a sense that she felt the need to check her hands, to make sure the warm, sticky blood of choice had really fallen off. This is how real the angst and joy in Harding’s music is, and  – if “Horizon” is any indication – it’s an intensity that will be enjoyed, influential, and resonating for a while. It’s just starting now.

Consider yourself lucky to have witnessed it, if you have, or make every attempt to get in front of Harding. It’s just starting now.

 


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Dinosaur Jr. Owns/Destroys the Bluebird – and Your Ears

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When the stagehand started walking across the Bluebird stage last Tuesday night carrying a plastic bag and handing out bright orange foam earplugs (at first I thought he was passing out baby carrots – strange) to everyone in the pit, I purposely didn’t take a pair. I’d been in the audience for My Bloody Valentine’s epic (and stupidly loud) “You Made Me Realise,” along with its endless, jet engine noise. I’d been a veteran of the ’90s when The Flaming Lips were known as the “loudest band in the world.” I’d been in many SWANS audiences, perhaps the most violently loud, controlled and painful assault of all. And there had been umpteen hardcore shows throughout the ’80s, from Black Flag to Minor Threat, to Bad Brains, to your buddies’ band that formed in the garage for a week while his parents were out of town – and all of these turned up well past 11. A seasoned atomic volume sound vet, I figured “I don’t need no stinkin’ earplugs!” Besides, this would be my first time seeing my heroes – J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph – together in Dinosaur Jr. – and I didn’t want anything to feel left out.

I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Earplugs!

I don’t regret not taking the earplugs–at all. But I will say I only lasted in the pit for about 3 songs before retreating to the relative sonic safety of the bar in the back. Shows always sound better back there, anyway. And this was one show I really wanted to take in – and I’m glad I did.

For some reason, every opportunity I’ve had to see Dinosaur Jr., in the nearly 30 years I’d been listening to them, always fell apart. If they were paying Lolapalooza, We got there too late for their set. If they played at a local venue, I was working nights. And then there was their multi-year hiatus. I’ve seen most of the other bands that Dinosaur Jr. spawned–Folk Implosion, Sebadoh, etc.– and J Mascis on his own, but never the triumvirate. This was a perfect chance to remedy all that missed music.

The Dream Setlist

And Mascis, Murph, and Barlow definitely delivered. Starting off with an explosive, chaotic version of “Bulbs of Passion,” they had the decibel and adrenaline level bursting through the roof in no time. While it wasn’t a chronological progression, their setlist covered a lot of ground, including “The Lung,” from You’re Living All Over Me; “Freak Scene” and “Just Like Heaven” from Bug (and the related EP); “The Wagon” from Green Mind; “Start Choppin'” from Where You Been; “Feel the Pain” from Without a Sound; “Crumble” from Beyond, “Watch the Corners,” from I Bet on Sky, and more from other releases Farm, and the latest Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. the only thing that could have been better would be to have seen them on the second night at the Bluebird as well.

This Historic Trio

This trio was so seminal to the whole ’90s sound, brilliantly mashing up the best rocking bits of Neil Young with the sound sense and guitar wizardry of Sonic Youth, and wrapping that all around Mascis’s disconnected, a-social characters and missed chances, slacker attitude, and overwhelming exhaustion with the weight of growing up. Seeing them in 2016 – a little grayer, or more bald – brought all that back into a beautiful perspective, one that showed me that even the most odious parts of “adulting” can lead to  your own success and art.

Visually, they didn’t appear to have aged at all since the ’90s: Mascis flung his long (now silver) mane around as he played complex, wicked guitar licks at impossible volumes – never missing a beat, and a casual as if he were standing in your kitchen with a beer can in hand, talking about his latest girl-miasma. Murph was a locomotive, pulling tons of beat and exploding the tracks as he pounded a course through all the distortion. Lou Barlow exploded, again and again, a monster – in the Muppet sense – thrashing on every inch of his bass, and wildly flailing over stage left, never stopping for more than a second between songs, and getting lost beneath his mane of black repeatedly.

I’m not sure if earplugs would have deafened any part of the show – but I’m still glad I didn’t stuff ’em in. Missing even the smallest, molecular part of this show would far outweigh any loss in hearing that I don’t already enjoy.


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Reflecting on Riot Fest Denver 2016

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Riot Fest Denver 2016 is in the books – after a weekend mostly full of spectacular acts, weather that alternated between sweltering heat and sweeping wind, nails pounded into nostrils, and the oh-so-familiar smell of pet foods being cooked right next door. Alongside the historic reunion of legendary rockers The Misfits, the music was non-stop, much of it was excellent, and some of it fell a little flat – all in the midst of a festival that still seems to be trying to find its personality, and maybe its purpose.

The Performers

Day 1 – Friday, September 2 (Evening)

Death Cab for Cutie started the evening portion of the first night with some psychedelic, noisy romance from the Roots Stage, while The Descendents exploded with their signature quick-witted, in-your-face hardcore from the Nicole Hoffman Stage inside the rodeo building. While the two overlapped just a bit, most fans didn’t seem to mind (I mean, does a fan of Descendents’ lovely thrash really have time for Ben Gibbard‘s prevalent whining?).

A highly anticipated Jane’s Addiction set closed the night with a relatively staid performance of the classic “Ritual de lo Habitual” that featured about as much burlesque as the record’s seminal ’90s sound. Their otherwise fantastic version of “Classic Girl” featured a near full-on striptease with frontman Perry Farrel’s wife, Etty Lau – an accomplished dancer – that pushed the song a little out of its familiar summery haze and into a less-comfortable faux-erotic space. The brilliant “Of Course” also featured dancing – some perfect marionette ballet – that came across perfectly, but, for the most part, the women seemed more a set of props than an addition to the show, which was unfortunate.

Farrel, looking more pimp than rockstar, belted out his familiar high-pitched vocals from within a markedly suave and mellow personage throughout the set, constantly fiddling with a vocal synthesizer as he sang. Meanwhile, a shirtless Dave Navarro – who from a short distance looked as if he hadn’t aged a day since his stint with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (which must say something about his heroin habits, past or present) –  entertained a crowd that was obviously starving for his particular guitar wizardry, as did with Chris Chaney with his inimitable bass. They finished the set with a few selections from “Nothing’s Shocking,” including a brilliant “Mountain Song” that had me fully re-experiencing the excitement of having discovered them in 1988.

Day 2 – Saturday, September 3

Our day began with Courtney Taylor-Taylor and The Dandy Warhols, offering deep psychedelic pop under the blazing, hot midday sun, scheduled in one of the loathed early slots, where most bands seem relegated to proving their worth. Taylor and Peter Holmstrom concocted sweeping sounds with guitars and moans that built on themselves, quietly at first, up to their ecstatic crescendo, while Zia McCabe (keys) and Brent DeBoer (drums) filled in their typical wall of sound. The effect was better than I’d expected, despite the mid-day scheduling and lack of fog-machine antics.

Against Me! took up on the Riot Stage next, with their angst-filled, anthemic rock growing into anarchic fun as the set progressed. Laura Jane Grace easily filled the shoes of one of rock’s most interesting and engaging stories of the past few years as a prominent transgender artist. The set rocked a growing crowd of young people, though competing with the less-than-optimal “prove it” schedule slot, early in the afternoon (and under that unforgiving sun’s brutal heat, no less).

A quick visit inside the rodeo complex to the Nicole Hoffman Stage revealed hood/hipster rapper Danny Brown rocking a huge crowd – especially for a late afternoon. Brown’s innovative, often hilarious lyricism might just be the future of rap, and these millennials knew it. We jumped out from there to catch the waning moments of Yo La Tengo‘s set on the Roots Stage, where Ira Kaplan slayed the crowd with his searing guitar noise, while Georgia Hubley beautifully slammed her trap set around, a great pairing with James McNew to build their own strong groove.

The Hold Steady took over the Roots Stage to play their debut album “Boys & Girls in America,” fulfilling so many Springsteen-meets-fraternity-party band comparisons, while Canadians Billy Talent exploded off the Rock Stage at the opposite end of the festival. Originally known as Pezz in the late ’90s, Billy Talent spewed out a fast, fun, and hard punk rock with a definite Iggy & the Stooges vibe – particularly in singer Ben Kowalewicz’s personality. Kowalewicz regularly contorted behind his mic and stringy hair, screaming dirt-punk lyrics, while guitarist Ian D’sa, drummer Aaron Solowoniuk, and bassist Jon Gallant provided the freight train rhythm and guitar to back him up.

When local heroes DeVotchKa hit the stage, covered in fog-machine mist, the sun was just beginning to dip below the Rockies to the west, bathing the festival with an appropriately soft, orange glow. Sadly, the challenging aromas of tons of cat, dog, and other pet foods also began to infiltrate the area at the same time. Behind frontman Nick Urata’s swooning vocals. Jeanie Schroder’s standup bass and sousaphone, Shawn King’s complex and brilliant drumming, and Tom Hagerman’s accomplished, beautiful violin and accordion, DeVotchKa just didn’t quite fit with the rest of the Riot Fest, really. High-minded, lyrically complex symphonies with a decidedly Eastern European flavor don’t really inspire the supposed punk rock nihilism that the festival seems to claim to portend (nothing against either DeVotchKa or any of the other bands – just a sign of the struggle the festival seems to be having in making up its mind about just what kind of festival it is. More on that soon….).

On the other hand, Olympia rockstars Sleater-Kinney came close to personify both the festival’s harder edge and to hint at the nostalgic base behind the lineups of all four years (more on that later, too – just keep reading). Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss, and Carrie Brownstein showed the wild crowd filled with plenty of old-schooler fans and Portlandia newbies how a rock trio really works – and it was refreshing to see a woman-led band in a prime slot on the schedule, too.

Ween wrapped up our night with an awesomely mediocre set on the Riot Stage after Sleater-Kinney finished up. It may just be that the legal weed culture in Colorado just jaded us natives prematurely. or that the 8th-grade humor and psychedelic jokes aren’t quite showing the longevity they once promised, but Ween have seemingly reached the point where listening to them on record is just plain more fun than struggling through 90 minutes of live action. Dean and Gene can still perform with the stamina of rockers the age their post-adolescent lyrics suggest, to be sure, but the ingenuity and snarky sarcasm just don’t translate anymore. Maybe it’s the fact that Dean looks like your older brother from high school, a decade or so after graduation when he’s broken up with his high school sweetheart, subsequently rejoining the family to live in the garage and look for a “real job.” Or it cold be that Gene looks more like a slightly hungover Billy Joel than a comedic, resilient rock star. Either way, 90 minutes turned out to be at least 45 minutes too long for the evening.

Day 3 – Sunday, September 4

Our day started in the windy heat again, this time watching Juliette Lewis and the Licks dominate the stage, albeit in the hated, scorching 1:00 pm slot – yet another band led by a powerful woman relegated to the early “prove yourself” slot – regardless of the fact that Lewis is an accomplished actor and musician, and the Licks have been a band since 2003, albeit one that went on hiatus in 2009 (because of Lewis’s acting career). To be put in this slot on Sunday – the slot also most likely to be missed by those hungover from the previous night’s activity – must have been especially insulting. No matter – Lewis and her four-piece tore up the early afternoon with some raucous, straight-on rock n’ roll, mixing in the best parts of classic rock with a punky underscore. Meanwhile, Lewis herself proselytized about the dim future of a Trump-infected America, dressed in a red, white and blue, star-spangled spandex jumpsuit that recalled Evil Knievel’s heyday – and the small, sweating and sunburning crowd loved every second of it.

As the heat wore on – with a brief interlude of rain – Converge and Hatebreed took over the Riot Stage, flooding the festival with their high-minded thrashcore, and in Hatebreed’s case, added a little sunshine and happiness to the usually brutal and confrontational genre. Murder By Death split the two with an oddly bright set on the Roots Stage – mostly because their haunting style plays much better in haunted hotels than in sun-baked lots. During some of this, we took a chance with the Hellzapoppin’ Circus Sideshow Revue to see the latest in nasal cavity nail and nostril drill technology, mixed with some burlesque, vaudeville, and sword swallowing. In the words of more than a few in the audience on their way out after the show: “Meh – seen most of it, but not bad!”

Chevy Metal – led “from behind” by Foo Fighters drummer Tyler Hawkins – played a shit-hot set of dirt rock covers on the Roots Stage next, with selections from Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and just about any other band you’d expect to hear while your neighbor washes his truck in the driveway next door. The trio put a ton of fun into the covers, and the effect was infectious as the day began to slowly cool. Next door Me First and the Gimme Gimmes followed on with their own set of covers – soaked in ironic punk rock – including more banal and hilarious selections from the likes of John Denver, Billy Joel, and more.

Up-and-coming all-girl outfit Bleached graced the indoor Nicole Hoffman Stage later, showing off a style reminiscent of early G0 Go’s with a punkier shot in the arm – high energy, sassy, great puck rock music that a quickly growing audience loved. A little later in the afternoon, but this was yet another strong female act that was once again relegated to an earlier slot – starting to see a pattern? These musicians in particular deserved a more enticing lineup slot, honestly.

After waiting for 2Chainz for 30 minutes (of a planned 45-minute set), we bailed from the Rock Stage to catch an aging – but still pretty brilliant – Bad Religion at the Riot Stage. Visibly sporting a pile of decades in their hair, faces and under their belts, the lineup pulled off a furious set that spanned all 30 years of their creative, innovative output, and left no-one disappointed. Meanwhile, Tyler, the Creator browbeat an audience that didn’t show enough life when he and fellow MC Jasper Dolphin took to the stage “…jumpin’ around like an idiot!” according to Tyler. That audience woke up quickly and ushered in a sunset that saw the main stage filling up with an obscene amount of Misfits merch on thousands of bodies.

Gogol Bordello primed that audience with their own scintillating brand of Eastern European gypsy punk for just about an hour behind Eugene Hütz‘s eclectic charisma and endless energy, along with the explosive troupe of musicians. Their violinist stood guard at stage right, barking out lyrics and swashbuckling with bow in hand, while the intensely German-looking accordionist danced and ran frantically all over the stage, swapping sides with two screaming women and an aged Rastafarian bassist – all furiously playing music based as much in the Bowery in NYC as in the Ukraine.

Finally, the damn broke and The Misfits flood poured on, like a gooey, blood-red, and syrupy mess of heavy distortion, horror film mayhem, and downright silliness. A sea of Crimson Ghost-bedecked fans began thrusting out towards the stage – wearing the skull on t-shirts, tattoos, in face paint, on socks, jackets, backpacks, piercing – you name it, someone wore it there. The original lineup of Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein – joined by Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo – quite literally serenaded a hypnotized audience for a little over an hour with the sticky and exciting horror punk they’d begun playing in the early ’80s. Danzig occasionally struggled with vocals – perhaps a little under-prepared for the altitude – but otherwise the band was tight, on point, horrifying – a thousand fans’ dream after an actual lifetime of waiting.

The Problem(s)

Straight up sexism?

We’re not the first outlet to call this out, but Riot Fest may have a sexism problem. Consider: out of 80 bands performing, only 15 featured women artists. Of those 15, only two actually occupied a prime (but not headlining) spot on their scheduled day. With the exception of  the Jane’s Addiction set – which actually featured female exotic dancers, not musicians – no band with a female in it played later than 7:30 pm. Considering that a large portion of the fans that bought tickets likely have a day job that prevents them from going to this venerated festival before 5:00 pm – at best (likely no earlier than 6:30, with traffic, clothes changing, child coverage, etc.), scheduling prevents them from seeing more than two female-prominent bands at all, on any day, throughout the festival. How is this fair?

I could bring up the argument from the nostalgia perspective to try and explain this, but it doesn’t work – not really. In case you’re unfamiliar, the argument is that Riot Fest – and many other nostalgic, backwards-looking festivals, shops, clubs, and community groups – are more concerned with re-creating the atmosphere from the many genres’ time period. After all, it is educational…. That’s all fine, but it doesn’t represent the Riot Fest government in the best light – even with a healthy punk rock attitude attributed.

Out of 80 overall acts covering all sorts of genres, only 15 had at least one woman as part of the band (16, if you include the exotic dancers that appeared onstage with Jane’s Addiction). Of those 15, only three acts were scheduled after 6:00 pm – leaving 12 sequestered to thw pre- and pre-pre-prime time slots when the festival likely had half the audience (or less) that would show up later in the evening.

Using the nostalgia argument above, you could say that Riot Fest 2016 represents an era in rock – in this case the ’90s, more than any other – filled with way more male than female musicians, run by male managers, publicists, roadies, etc., etc., funded by male investors, and that made music sold to way more males than females. And maybe there’s some truth to that. But that doesn’t make it ok to simply ignore the increase in influence, quality, quantity and fierceness that woman artists have added to rock in the last 20 years by relegating acts to the early slots in the schedule, and by employing more than three times as many male artists and bands. It’s time for Riot Fest to grow into the present, it would seem, or continue to lose respectability in the festival scene.

Humans in lines, with no water to be found

It’s true that pulling off a festival like Riot Fest is daunting, to say the least – as one friend put it, it’s “…like building and running a small city” for three days at a time – and to make it a nomadic city increases the complexity exponentially. Just running one stage for a day, showing 8 – 10 acts with as many as 50 artists, hundreds of pieces of equipment (and who knows how many non-standard “contract requirements” that have to be fulfilled) is a superhuman effort. To make that work across four stages, simultaneously, for three days, seems positively Sisyphean – and Riot Fest organizers deserve the credit for pulling it off pretty well for the past four years (at least since the festival began to tour regularly).

Still, there seemed to be some boneheaded decisions made this year – or maybe just oversights – that led to some potentially dangerous situations for humans in the festival audience. Most importantly, there was no water available outside at either end of the festival other than bottles that could be purchased at one of the food vendors in the middle of the park. This led to huge lines at the limited fountains inside the rodeo building, filled with people suffering from various degrees of dehydration from standing in direct, 90+ degree sun rocking out. A quick question about it to festival medics showed that the lack of water outside really added to their concern – and workload – with more and more fans facing the potential of serious dehydration as each day wore on.

Add to that the fact that the number of food and drink vendors – including the portion of them that sold water (which was less than half, by our count) – was noticeably smaller than years past. This led to huge, sweaty, lines with long waits throughout the day, with even more dehydrated, sweating fans awaiting sustenance. At least from the outside, it made the festival look challenged, and seemed to put an emphasis on profit, rather than people – or rock n’ roll.

Identity

Riot Fest – at least in its multi-city, touring format – is just approaching its adolescence, so some identity issues aren’t too surprising. But those issues seem to be getting more pronounced with each year, and that’s a little concerning (of course, nothing fatal, to be sure).

The midway was gone this year. Not a huge problem, to be sure, but maybe an unsettling sign of  decline? Riot Fest used to make a big eal of the carnival aspect of the festival, and the last vestige of that this year was the Helzapoppin’ Circus Sideshow Revue. The Revue itself was more unsurprising than years past – or at least contained nothing new, actually repeating the script of years past almost precisely (we know – that’s how vaudeville works – there’s never anything new under the sun). This year there seemed to be less energy around the Helzapoppin’ tent overall – less excitement, less showmanship.

When you combine this with the almost haphazard collection of artists this year and the unfortunate scheduling tendencies, there seems to be room for alarm for the future. Of course, we don’t want to denigrate the Herculean stamina and superhuman organizational skills necessary to acquire, schedule and run 80 unique gigs in a single festival – which says nothing of the otherworldly patience one would need to keep these artists satisfied. So our criticism is in no way intended to imply that the organizers, promoters or foot soldiers of Riot Fest are lackluster.

It just brings to light the possibility that Riot Fest’s time may be waning. Running this giant accomplishment year after year, and attempting to fill it with quality and quantity, diversity and familiarity, beauty and fierceness – and trying to satisfy legions of fickle humans while trying desperately to break even – all of this may just bee too much to ask for many more years.

Which is all the more reason that all of you should support your local Riot Fest – before, during, and after the festival. Otherwise, what are all going to do next September to counteract the pet foods smell in September, as we wrap up our summer?


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The UMS 2016 – Photo Gallery Flashback

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The 16th Annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase has come and gone, but the images of such a stellar, bombastic weekend remain. Enjoy a selection of moments DenverThread caught – call it a little flashback. We had so much fun, and we can tell you did, too….


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The UMS Day 4 – Cure for the Hangover: Final List of Must-See Bands, By the Hour

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Day 4 – Underground Music Showcase – we’re almost at the end of this fantastic display of talent. And, no doubt, more than a few of us are sporting some monster-sized headaches. No worries – music (and especially live music) is the best cure for any hangover. And the UMS has plenty more to give.

Before you go, have a look through our recommendations for the best music each hour. And remember to bring water. Plenty of water. And underwear (‘cos you never know).

Here’s your hour-by-hour lineup for UMS Day 4

12:00 p.m.

Bella Musser

Punch Bowl Social

Bella Musser’s soft croon may be the perfect solution for your morning hangover, and a great way to ease into the day. But watch out, ‘cos that same voice packs a punch. Check it out —≥

1:00 p.m.

DREA.M

Skylark Lounge

Sultry, soulful, quiet and smooth – Drea. M brings a dose of R&B to her set of what might at first be mistaken for alt-folk. Her melodic constructions, rich with brilliant harmonies and inching into electronic orchestration evoke strong emotion, and lift you up into her realm. Get a taste —>

2:00 p.m.

D. Edward

Skylark Lounge

It’s still early in the afternoon, but D. Edward’s soulful, poppy rhythm & blues may just encourage you to order a cocktail and sit back, and let the smooth rhythms sooth  you. Have a listen —>

3:00 p.m.

Couches

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Couches – straight outta the Bay Area – create an interesting brand of fuzz/grunge that’s maybe equal parts Dinosaur Jr. and Modest Mouse, with some obligatory Ty Segall for good measure. Listen to their muff, then prepare to be lost, like a nickel, deep in their cushions… —>

4:00 p.m.

Qbala

Blue Ice Lounge

Qbala comes from the North in Colorado (Loveland, to be exact), with strong, vital hip-hop. Powerful lyrics, smart, sweeping orchestration and sick beats make up the in-your-face world they encompass. Listen in —>

LSD Bags

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

The psychedelic grunge that LSD Bags deals is both HappyToxic and intoxicating. ’70s-influence mix with vocals that recall early Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This is definitely a soundtrack to take edibles to. Get some —>

4:30 p.m.

Adia Victoria

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Adia Victoria is a juxtaposition. She straddles folk rock and an answer to Afropunk, with huge songs built on strong, smart poetry. Every once in a while, she evokes a little of Suzanne Vega, spelling out melancholy, beautiful stories that will keep you awake into the night. Sample a bit —>

5:00 p.m.

Shady Elders

3 Kings Tavern

Shady Elders keep clawing their way up to the top of Denver’s local scene with their deep, reverb-drenched postpunk and Fox Rodemich’s sultry, sensuous vocals. Think My Bloody Valentine meets Lush. Have a listen —>

5:30 p.m.

The Yawpers

Main Stage @ Goodwill

If they’re not careful – or maybe if they are – this may Boulder’s Yawpers’ last visit to the UMS. They’re moving quickly up to the surface and out of the underground, with a sound that blends mountain-grown furious bluegrass with the best parts of Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull. Git you some, while you still can —>

6:00 p.m.

Megafauna

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Megafauna play a brand of psychdelic grunge that comes across as big as Texas – maybe ‘cos they’re from Austin. Huge, grungy, twisted melodies and fuzz, all right. Check it —>

6:30 p.m.

Sunflower Bean

Main Stage @ Goodwill

This New York trio takes the best of the Brooklyn folk renaissance and turns it inside out a little, with some serious indie-styled psychedelic pop. Harmonies, jangling strings, huge drums – and it’s danceable. Listen in —>

7:00 p.m.

Modern Leisure

3 Kings Tavern

Modern Leisure, Casey Banker’s latest project – and he has many, many projects and a long local music history (Don’ts & Be Carefuls, Shady Elders, and many more) – features a melancholy pop sensibility inside an almost easy-listening chill-folk container. Good vies, all around – except the stories seem to be all about heartbreak. Listen in —>

7:30 p.m.

San Fermin

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Another Brooklyn-based product, San Fermin play a strong chamber-pop remeniscent of Arcade Fire and The National. Strong vocals, huge musical constructions designed to bowl you over. Hera it —>

8:00 p.m.

Plume Varia

3 Kings Tavern

Denver’s Plume Varia deliver a dark, heavy and brooding electronic/dream post-punk mix. Their music builds from deep, haunting synths and pounding rhythms up to Cherie Cobbs’ throaty & ethereal vocals, evoking winter in an Eastern Bloc country towards the end of the Berlin Wall. Have a taste —>

9:00 p.m.

Bandits

Hi-Dive

Boulder’s Bandits spit out a huge, guitar-centric metal/grunge sound akin to Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. Huge guitars, truckloads of fuzz, twisted vocals and bombastic drums. Here’s some for you —>

10:00 p.m.

The Kinky Fingers

3 Kings Tavern

This Denver-based duo has refined an American blues meets surf rock sound that blasts away layers of clothing if you get too close. Sort of like a light-hearted Black Keys (in subject matter, not so much sound – Kinky Fingers have a huge, heavy sound that easily rivals the Keys’), informed by Link Wray and Dick Dale, for sure. Look out, In The Whale… jus’ sayin’. Have a bang of this —>

11:00 p.m.

The Other Black

Irish Rover

Cosmic Slim, formerly of Air Dubai, brings a huge funk project to the stage – sometimes consisting of as many as 25 artists – that will blow your mind. If there’s a genre that envelops Parliament/Funkadelic and the explosive, ecstatic gospel that overjoys black churches, this must be it. Have a bite —>


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The UMS: Day 3 – The Motherlode – Best Bands to See, By the Hour

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The first full, long day of Underground Music Showcase – The Motherlode – is upon us. This day requires planning, supplies, water, and – depending on how  you handled your Friday night – painkillers and a little dog hair. This is the day the UMS really gets into form, each new band exploding into the scene, bands stepping on each other from venue to venue, out in the street, lines for drinks, entrance, food, fun. IT’s all building up to the first night of giant crowds in the Goodwill parking lot, screaming, dancing, sweating, laughing as the stages explode with lights, sounds, chaos and love.

All the more reason that you should take heed to this list of bands to not miss in this musical maelstrom. Enjoy!

UMS Day 3: Bands Not To Be Missed, By the Hour

12:00 p.m.

Tisper

Hi-Dive

Tisper is Samwise Carlson, from Boise, ID. The chamber folk Carlson constructs, besides being intricate and ornate, may be the best way to slowly nurse your way into the afternoon. Think Nick Drake, or Joanna Newsom, and dusty sunbeams in a cool basement. Listen —>

1:00 p.m.

Transistor Send

Hi-Dive

Transistor Send – or Casey Cathey – is bedroom chill, made to mix with the early morning, snowing, heating up, realizing, all of it. This is music that cures hangovers by forcing you to simply remember your favorite films, and breathe. Sample a tune —>

2:00 p.m.

Marshall Poole

Hi-Dive

Marshall Poole represents the Boise, ID scene with a heavy psychedelia that recalls just the right amount of Smashing Pumpkins, with a healthy smidge of Monster Magnet. Perfect for really awakening your skin & bones. Take a lick —>

3:00 p.m.

Helvetia

Hi-Dive

We recommended you see these visionaries last night – but we’re doing it again. There’s hope here, wrapped in psychedelic lullabies and afternoon crib tales. So, maybe, there’s a world of sound here that makes everything feel better. Also: Portland. Listen —>

3:30 p.m.

Flaural

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Flaural are, put simply, Denver’s answer to Tame Impala – but close in hand. Strong guitar and synth pop meld into danceable, trip-able tunes that delight. Thoughts? —>

4:00 p.m.

Retrofette

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Retrofette fulfill a late ’80s dance-pop that reminds us of bands like Blancmange, or Soft Cell (without the resentment). It’s refreshing, but also makes us feel old. But that’s no reason for you to miss this brilliant psych synth pop! Get it! —>

Male Blonding

Skylark Lounge

Male Blonding are already enjoying the beginning of a buzz in these parts, and seem destined to take up the diaspora from the Front Range in the near future. Their guitar-driven indie pop/post-punk mix is genuine, enticing, intriguing. Have a go —>

4:30 p.m.

Methyl Ethel

Main Stage @ Goodwill

This project from Perth, the product of Jake Webb, feels as big as the sky, and as heavy as high school. Webb seems to channel Sallie Ford in his vocal style, at times. Transformative chords and blow-out rhythms cajole your ears to keep your eyes open. Check it —>

5:00 p.m.

Holophrase

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Experimental electronic music, with a post-punk feel, makes Holophrase a contender. Their artistic perspective and rebellious ethic produce a danceable, yet abrasive. mix. Listen —>

Best Creeps

Hi-Dive

Best Cresps are the band we were talking about when we mentioned rock ‘n roll induced psychopathydelia. These are the kids that lead your teens back to the garage nuggets that thay’d probably never hear, if it wewern’t for this group of Stooges-minded infidels. Pure insurrection, pure beauty. Have some —>

5:30 p.m.

Residual Kid

Main Stage @ Goodwill

Never let it be said that rock ‘n roll is for anyone but the youth. Never let it be said that rock ‘n roll comes from anyone but the youth. Germs meets Nirvana at the rough and tender ages of 16, 17, and so much more. Let me know I’m wrong. —>

6:00 p.m.

Poison Rites

Hi-Dive

I’ve seen both GBH and Mötörhead; I know both GBH and Mötörhead; this band is neither GBH nor Mötörhead. But they’re goddamned fun, and spew a virulent old school punk that shows that they know where their roots are. Listen. Slam. Chicken walk. GO!! —>

Omni

3 Kings Tavern

I’m a sucker for Television, Richard Hell, Wire, and all the NYC punk from the late ’70s. Apparently, so is Omni – from Atlanta. Guitar-driven, complex, almost math-y, they toy with a refreshingly smooth, complex, and exciting musical landscape. Give it a listen —>

7:00 p.m.

Sunboy

3 Kings Tavern

Sunboy seems to live in the continuum that includes Beck, The Flaming Lips, and Tame Impala, but often brings a cool Mac Demarco chill to the mix, accompanied by the arcade sounds of video games. Maybe it’s poolside – probably not beach side – music. Thoughts? —>

Church Fire

Irish Rover

Do not underestimate a Church Fire – band, building, or otherwise. This incarnation, the band Church Fire, builds an electronic industrial slew that recalls latter-day Ministry, or Nitzer Ebb and the like, but keeps a cool ethereal side to offer cool existential balance. Let us know what you think. —>

8:00 p.m.

Eros and the Eschaton

3 Kings Tavern

The wall of sound is this duo’s hometown. Melodies inspired by shoegaze, vocals piped in over foggy mountaintops, guitars as heavy as tectonics, as far-reaching as the original butterfly. We’re lucky this band calls Colorado home. Get in on it. —>

The Munsens

Skylark Lounge

There is no hope without an understanding of hopelessness. The Munsens know this, and they’re making stoner rock that’s designed to make us pull over in the beautiful terrain around Colorado Springs – the city they call home. Hold onto your earplugs, and play this loud. LOUD! —>

8:30 p.m.

Thee Oh Sees

Main Stage @ Goodwill

John Dwyer’s psychedelic revolution has blessed the UMS with its presence. What more do you need to know? How about some tunes? —>

9:00 p.m.

Sputnik Slovenia

Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub

What can you say about Sputnik Slovenia, really? Always a fixture of the Denver scene, and an inspiration, like Carl in “Straight to Hell,” only legit. Here’s a tune to let you feel a little of the magic. —>

10:00 p.m.

Spells

Hi-Dive

We’ll let you in on a secret: Spells is the next big thing. The Next Big Thing. Honest, thrashing, melodic, authentic punk rock, with a purpose – or maybe many. This band started at the frontier beyond the stage – they play right in the audience (drums included) – which means you gould get a guitar in the eye. Totally worth it. Listen, then see. —>

11:00 p.m.

Dirty Few

Hi-Dive

It’s almost like it’s planned. At this time of night, it’s almost like this is where you need to be. You’re dirty. Your friends, at this point, are few. but your resolve is only subject to your state of mind. Or maybe to your ability to stumble to the Hi-Dive and catch this band, the one designed to inject pure fun into you at your most tired hour, and get you back on the road to redemption. Or was that survival? No matter … Dirty Few. ‘Nuff Said. —>

12:00 a.m.

Joy Subtraction

Skylark Lounge

Formed in the space between where Joy Division and Joy Multiplication lived, Joy Subtraction are destined and dedicated to marauding the musical landscape with an sarcastic tongue, and a sardonic wit. Oh, and a severely punk rock attitude. Get a taste. —>

Kitty Crimes

Irish Rover

Kitty Crimes is the explosive, sensual persona that’s embodied by another local hereo – Maria Kohler – worn like the guise of  super hero. Kohler easily negotiates the sine line between rap and traditional R&B, with expertise. Listen. Just – listen. Then get there. —>


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DenverThread + The UMS = Bands You Should See, Every Day, By the Hour

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The Underground Music Showcase launches tonight – and, with any luck, promises to be much more satisfying than the other two media circuses over the past two weeks.

More than 400 bands, across 20 stages on South Broadway must seem like a mighty big bite to take out of Denver – but we’ve got you covered. Each day, you’ll find a listing of bands DenverThread recommends, by the hour, to help you make those split-second decisions necessary for a full, enjoyable, enlightening, loud and beautiful experience. Each day, just be sure to check in on DenverThread.com before heading out into the heat, to get some quick descriptions on the bands we think are your best bets for each hour of the day.

Here’s the list for Day 1: Thursday, July 28

 

8:00 p.m.

Champagne Charlie

3 Kings Tavern

This hometown roots/folk band is sick with Tom Waits, but lunges into a quick, jazzy psychedelic, almost stoney vibe in the midst of  many songs. The trombone may be the highlight of your night. Have a taste to the right.

Teacup Gorilla

Illegal Pete’s – Inside

Guitar-driven dark pop oozes from this four-piece, channeling equal parts Pixies, Joy Division, and Minutemen. There may be a little taste of Violent Femmes in there as well, just for safe measure. Maybe they seem a little all over the place – but the bands they’re all over are great ones, at least. Their debut album “The Holes They Leave “ is a worthy challenge. We’re loving “Just Like That” a lot today. Check it out to the right.

9:00 p.m.

Gasoline Lollipops

Hi-Dive

A little bit country, a little bit punk, a little bit AC/DC, and a sweet, nostalgic whiskey-trickle of Denver BumCore! heroes Slakjaw, the Lollipops make a mix that sets the stage for the square-dancingest mosh pit in history. Imagine skanking to the commands of the barker in the Hi-Dive – how could you miss it? Our favorite from the debut ep “Dawn” is “White Trash.” Check it out just to the right.

The Milk Blossoms

Gary Lees Motor Club and Grub

This experimental 3-piece leads you down a luxurious rabbit hole directly into David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” Experimenting with soulful vocals, beatboxing, ukelele and dark, sinister and sad melodies, they first recall CocoRosie, but The Milk Blossoms seem to feel the funk and despair just a little more. They’re definitely one of Denver’s finest experimental bands – “Worrier” is a challenging, beautiful album – and we’re in love with the ultra-dark and haunting “Ghost No More.” You can get haunted by it, too, just over there, to the right.

10:00 p.m.

Soft Skulls

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Imagine Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in an orgiastic, sweaty pile on the floor with Ty Segall. Brian Jonestown Massacre playing Strokes and Jesus & Mary Chain covers on a flatbed truck, speeding through a mountain pass and loud enough to hear for miles. That’s Soft Skulls, the latest local super group led by Jim McTurnan, longtime Denver scene heavy. Check out “Trance,” from their debut, right over there —>.

11:00 p.m.

Beat Soft Pop

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Lyrically informed by poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jim Carroll, Beat Soft Pop recalls early CBGB’s punk rock in NYC. Musically, they recall Television, James Chance and the Contortions, a more melodic Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and more from the Bowery scene of the ’70s – guitars, reverb, chorus pedals, drums; a little atonal, passionate, noisy, and exciting. “Northwest Girlfriend” tells the story pretty well. Check it out…..

Hotel Bar

The Hornet

Hotel Bar are not only a pretty raucous punk rock trio in the tradition of  bands like Descendents, Blink 182, Sum 41, or Alien Ant Farm – they’re also apparently beer slingers & bartenders around Denver. In other words, they’re all your best friends, making some exciting, melodic punk, just for you. Check out “Calm,” over to the right, and see if you disagree.

I know, right?

12:00 a.m.

Bad Licks

Hi-Dive

I guess it seems pretty unfair that there’s only one band playing by midnight tonight. Too bad – life isn’t fair. At least there’s one band playing – why not focus on the positive? And Bad Licks isn’t just a band – they’re a great band. A Denver Super Group, featuring members of The Blue Rider, Rootbeer and Mermentau, and with drums being handled by local hero A. Tom Collins. They’re a psychotic, psychedelic soul band, straight out of the garage. Well, more accurately, straight out of the Hi-Dive Basement, where they recorded the “Demos,” to the right, straight to tape.


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The Underground Music Showcase at 16: Priceless

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gauntlet_hairFour days in the summer that change the course of the summer – almost every one of the last 15 times – The Denver Post Underground Music Festival is once again upon us. Featuring more than 400 bands – the vast majority of which are local Denver bands – performing on 20 stages along South Broadway, the Rocky Mountain region’s largest music festival (and, some say, the Only Festival That Matters this (and Every) Summer) starts this Thursday, July 28, and runs through Sunday night, July 31st.

Watch DenverThread.com for daily listings of “Best Bands To See at UMS By the Hour,” all weekend!

During this weekend, if you’re on South Broadway from about 4th Avenue all the way down to Alameda, you’ll probably see hundreds – thousands – of local and regional hipsters walking, both in packs and alone, faces in their phones and (as likely as not) gently stumbling from stage to stage, zombie-like. But this group won’t be the Pokémon Go-playing crowd. They’ll be stumbling from the exhaustion of seeing their 50th band over 2 days – and only half way through Day 3.

Dehydrated, delirious, afflicted by sound – some with earplugs still lodged in both ears. These music fans will be roaming the festival in search of new, undiscovered underground bands. Or they’ll be desperately trying to get to see their hometown faves after catching something they’ve never heard of – destined to become their next hometown faves.

Or, you may see some of them running wildly down Broadway – guitar, drums, bass (and sometimes amp, or mic, or mic-stand) in hand, rushing to get to the gig their first band is playing that started while their second band was finishing up. Denver’s got a friendly, cooperative scene – one that fully supports members of many bands playing in other bands with members from many other bands. Yet, they all sound different, unique.

It’s not the “Denver Sound” anymore

There’s something that comes through in all these local acts that’s somehow intrinsically Denver – despite recent floods of talent (and bodies) from both coasts that threaten to dilute the stream (but fail, for the most part, thank goodness). It’s hard to put your finger on it – and I don’t mean the country-goth “Denver Sound” of the ’90s & ‘aughts, born on the backs of classic Denver bands like 16 Horsepower and The Denver Gentlemen, and that lives on quite well in the sound of the brilliant Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and a few other bands. This sound just as often owes more to ’70s country or prog rock as it does to ’60s hard psychedelia, or to mid-’70s punk, late ’80s shoegaze, or ’90s grunge/metal.

Maybe it’s the sound of a town/scene that has largely accepted just about every genre at one time or another, as well as spawned as many that moved to the coasts and – in some cases, for some short periods of time – took over. I’m looking at bands like The Fluid, DeVotchkaNathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – bands that still (if they’re around) call Denver their home (or at least their birthplace). Denver’s always been a “stop on the way to somewhere else” – San Fransisco, L.A., Chicago, NYC. But it’s always been welcoming, and supported its musicians with more than enough venues, usually filled with more than enough wild, enthralled but discerning fans.

The UMS is a celebration of all of that talent, but it’s also a celebration of those fans, those audiences, the venues, the support systems – all of it. Brave the heat. It’ll be worth it.


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Why The UMS is the Only Festival That Matters

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vinyl-records-945396_1920It’s a pretty bold statement, to be sure. But I’ll stand by it. The UMS – taking place this week from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31 in over 15 venues on South Broadway and featuring upwards of 400 bands (the vast majority of which are local Denver acts) – is, in fact, the only festival that matters. And here’s why….

I just had the pleasure of taking a class taught by none other than Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore at Boulder’s Naropa University, a part of their famous and influential Summer Writing Program (SWP). The class itself – titled “Rock ‘n Roll Consciousness” – was a mindblowing, bucket-list-kicking, poetic and musical experience I’ll never forget. It was also largely about influences, roots of some of my favorite bands, originators of punk, post punk, and more.

Some of them were poets – Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot, Bill Knott, Allen Ginsberg were all major influences for both Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine from Television, and Patti Smith, the central focuses of our class, really – but some of them were records. Not just any records, but records from that quirky, sometimes magical Holy Grail of both new, vital, world-changing music and supremely crappy pop, country, dance, and other music: the “Vinyl Cutout Bin.”

In this digital age, where so many music lovers are unfamiliar with the concept of “listening to an album,” let alone actually owning one, local music scenes, and local shows are effectively the only thing close to the Cutout Bin.

I remember sitting in the class – I myself a few decades older than most of my classmates (well, except Clark Coolidge – a regular teacher and contributor to the SWP since its inception in 1974) – listening to Moore explain to a group made up largely of millennials what a “Cutout Bin” actually was, and grinning nostalgically.

The Cutout Bin = The Holy Grail

So you know, the Cutout Bin was a place that bloated, greedy (and dying) record companies would dump hundreds, even thousands of records that they couldn’t sell, usually in supermarkets, department stores, even record stores, to allow these outlets to sell them at a deep, deep discount (like, ¢.99). For whatever reason, if a label spent the money to record and produce, say, 150,000 copies of some band’s record, and sales came up short, they’d write off the vinyl copies and deliver them to the retailers.

These retailers would usually cut out a corner, or drill a hole in the label, or slice the upper corner of the record, and dump them all into a bin – sometimes hidden in the back side of the electronics section, but just as often even up in the front of the store. Record collectors – mostly teens with very limited access to very limited funds (like myself) – often found these bins the perfect place to discover new music, and build their record collections.

Moore explained how, in his youth growing up in Connecticut, he would mine the cutout bins and found such treasures as Stooges records – something he (and we) might have never heard if it weren’t for the Cutout Bin.

The UMS is Damned Important

This is why The UMS is so damned important, fun, educational – even magical. There are bands you have the opportunity to see on this explosive weekend that you may never have another opportunity to see (unless you’re already a denizen of Denver’s music scene – in which case, you’re probably in one or three of these bands). Sure – someone may tune you into Spells if they’ve seen one of their explosive, literally-in-your-face punk rock sets, or the over-the-edge psychedelic blowout of Best Creeps, or the alt-psycho roots rock of Gasoline Lollipops – but how many friends do you really have that are that cool?

The UMS is your cool friend and is put together once a year to bring you the best of the best from the local scene, mixed with a whole pile of national underground bands that might have also found themselves represented in the Cutout Bin 40 (or so) years ago. The UMS is your opportunity to catch bands that will be the ones you’ll be introducing  your grandkids to as the originators of the beats they’re torturing you with while they refuse to get off your lawn. These bands are the next Stooges, the next 13th Floor Elevators, maybe even the next Beatles.

And, for your convenience, we at DenverThread will be providing band recommendations for EACH. Hour. Of. Each. Day. Check back in every morning, before you head out into the maelstrom of hundreds of bands, and chek out our expert opinions on who we think you should see every hour. You’re welcome.

See you on South Broadway this Thursday. Or Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. If you don’t have tickets yet, get on it!


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#UMS – The Best Music Festival in the West – Announces 2016 Lineup

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Another summer, another UMS. It’s become a highpoint and hope for the festival season around Denver, and continues to gain national and international notoriety every year, and this year’s bound to be no different – and maybe even better than ever!

The 16th Annual Denver Post Underground Music Showcase (UMS) has just shot the first volley of this year’s lineup – which will eventually encompass over 400 local, national and international bands playing in a buttload of unique and welcoming venues on South Broadway in late July. The Baker neighborhood is destined for its annual takeover byt a flood of bearded, tank-top-wearing hipsters and music buffs, aficionados, critics, fans – and the occasional professional musician here and there, from Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31.

You can get your tickets here, right now!

Each year, the UMS celebrates Denver’s constantly thriving music scene, and invites underground acts from across the country and around the world to play out in the summer sun and into the late evenings, serenading lucky natives and tourists alike across miles of South Broadway. Here’s a listing of the first 32 bands:

Flaural

Polica Thee Oh Sees Allah Las
San Fermin Lee Fields & the Expressions Yawpers
Adia Victoria The Bright Light Social Hour The Bunny Gang
Covenhoven Dirty Few Rob Drabkin
Emerald Siam The Epilogues Flaural
Fort Frances Methyl Ethel Plum
Porlolo Promised Land Sound Shady Elders
Slow Caves The Raven & the Writing Desk So Pitted
Sound of Ceres South of France SPELLS
The Still Tide Strawberry Runners Sunboy
Ultimate Painting Wiredogs

Take a look at all the options – and this is just the first volley  – and less that one-tenth – of the overall, four-day lineup. Can you afford to miss any of this? We think not. Especially now that you know – or you will by the end of this sentence – that the UMS proceeds go to the artists, first, and then to the Denver Post Community Foundation and Youth on Record – two heartily worthy causes.

 

Don’t delay – get your tickets here, today.  See you there.

 

 


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