It’s here! And it’s definitely THE highpoint of Denver’s summer music season! A full Red Rocks schedule, the Warped and other festival tours, multiple nights of Widespread Panic – even the monster U2 show in Invesco Field at Mile High – all pale in comparison to the magnitude of this weekend’s pinnacle. The 11th Annual Underground Music Showcase (UMS) starts this Thursday evening, and will dominate a few square miles of South Broadway for the following three nights.
This year’s show features close to 300 bands, comedians , singer songwriters and other talents, and will be housed in a huge number of venues, restaurants, bookstores, skateboard shops and t-shirt shops along South Broadway (here’s a handy listing, with a MAP!) – including two major outdoor stages – from 6th Avenue at the top to Cedar at the bottom.
Needless to say, the choices for live music abound – heck, they’re pretty overwhelming. Let’s face it: there’s no way anyone can possibly see all that the UMS has to offer, and it’d be a miracle to see everything you’d like to see. So let us at DenverThread take a little of the pressure to decide off of your shoulders, with our daily preview lists for this year’s festival.
Through the weekend, we’ll be listing our choices of the best things to see – for a lot of reasons. Whether your tastes run into the sludge-stoner-metal quagmire, meander through dreamy twee-pop or get hypnotically lost in psychedelic shoegaze, we’ll get you where you want to be, and make sure you’re catching something you’ve hopefully never seen before while we’re at it.
We’re also going to run quick, haiku-style reviews of the previous night’s highlights – so you can see what you missed while catching the best – and we’ll be in full collusion with HeyReverb.com with loads of social interaction. Make sure you’re following @DenvrThread and @RVRB on Twitter, and searching for #UMS and #DenverThread hashtags to get the whole story!
Day One – Follow this list, if you can!
Here are our recommendations for a solid foray into the thick of the Rocky Mountain region’s largest single music festival. Times, of course, are scheduled – but may run late (as hard as all those UMS volunteers work to keep things going smoothly!). Scroll down past the top owners to see the DenverThread List!
Owning Thursday’s Lineup:
TRAINING TO BE A BAND ... OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE. (Photo: Barbizon - the band, not the agency)
3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 7PM
Remember the old-school modeling house? This group of local heroes from Hearts of Palm and Mouth Full of Thunder and few more offer up some crunchy dance, with a sort of New Order funky metal tinge.
Guantlet Hair plays reverb-drenched surf punk. (Photo: Gauntlet Hair)
Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 9PM
7 S. Broadway
Denver’s Gauntlet Hair plays a cool, intriguing brand of reverb-soaked, psychedelic surf punk that’s easy to get lost in. The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drodz agrees – and if that’s not enough endorsement, take my word for it! Check out a brand new FREE MP3 from our friends at One Track Mind to see for yourself! GO!
No guarantees if Tiana's a no show! (Photo: Hot White)
Club 404 @ 9PM
404 N Broadway
One of Denver’s most exciting live acts, with a solid No Wave feel – a la Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, The Contortionists, etc. But last year’s UMS had the trio performing as a duo because Tiana Bernard – lead singer, bassist and the transfixing center of the live show’s energy – had a conflicting engagement. The result was less a performance than a sad bitch session directed (strangely) at the crowd.
Aptly named - great garage rock, out of storage! (Photo: The Bonnie Situation
The Bonnie Situation
Club 404 @ 11PM –
Sporting an old school, pre-“Denver Sound” Denver sound, The Bonnie Situation blasts their audiences with a shrill garage punk – fast, loud and explosive. Worthy of the band’s namesake from the film Pulp Fiction, the band features members of local bands The Fluid, Blackouts and others.
And The List . . .
Four toppers just isn’t enough – we know that! So here’s a list of our Thursday night recommendations – in chronological order! (How’s THAT for help in planning!?) Each one has a few words of recommendation/direction. Comment as you will – we’re sticking by them!
Try and make it to all of these – we dare you! If you do, you’ll win the supreme satisfaction that can only come from a job well done! Well, that and a pretty rough hangover, we’d bet….
Bury my Bones – Club 404 @ 6PM – A newer shoegaze two piece – think Lust Cats of the Gutters howling out moonlight-stricken melodies with Yo La Tengo
Science Partner – Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM – Tyler Despres’ latest project ( from Dualistics) is full of crunchy, funky pop – think Weezer meets Dump
Vicious Women – Club 404 @ 7PM – Plays a noisy, thrusting industrially pleasing mess – think Big Black, Shellac, Ministry
Dirty Mittens (Portland) – Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 8PM – Play a pleasing, misty folk. Think Frente! Or Nouvelle Vague well mixed with The Head and the Heart.
Amazing Twin (used to be Old Radio) – Moe’s Original BBQ Verizon Wireless Stage @ 8PM – Offers some sublimely sloppy-pop, guitar-driven psychedelic shoegaze folk rock – and features Denver scenesters from Houses, Action Packed Thrill Ride, Hindershot and others.
The Spires (Ventura, CA) – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 8PM – play a beautifully quiet rock – think Galaxie 500 redux, put simply, like the band.
Don’ts and Be Carefuls – The Hornet – RMCAD Stage @ 9PM – play Buzzcocks-inspipred dance pop – it’s super fun. And, their new, 2nd album is coming out this fall!
Porlolo – 3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 10PM – plays a quiet, passionate and darkly humorous style of folk – think a higher-brow, more substantial Danielle Ate the Sandwich (probably asking for it there, huh?).
Fellow Citizens – Moe’s Original BBQ Verizon Wireless Stage @ 10PM – play a solid post-rock passion, mixed in intriguing, psychedelic shoegaze – think American Mogwai.
Royal Bangs – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 11PM – Hmmmmmmm…. This makes us imagine a show where Flaming Lips meets Colourmusic (ALSO a UMS band playing Friday!!), at a Cheap Trick show with The Strokes opening. What say you?
Lexigram (formerly Yerkish) – Skylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage@ 11PM – Play a fun, furious post-core prog rock – fast & loud. They recently changed their well-worn name, but not their style – thank God!
El Ten Eleven (LA) – Hi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ midnight – is a prog instrumental post rock duo – sort of Ratatat, a shade grunged – they do a great cover of Joy Division’s “Disorder,” which will leave your heart and soul enrapt.
The Landgrabbers – Club 404 @ midnight – play a searing-hot style of country garage punk – fast, fun, furious – and perfect to wrap up the night with a few boilermakers.
So that’s our list for Thursday night, July 21, at the 11th Annual Underground Music Showcase. Follow, listen, learn – and love. It’s your town, and your scene!
Be sure and follow @DenverThread on Twitter to receive live updates on UMS shenanigans! Follow @RVRB – the Denver Post’s HeyReverb.com Twitter, while you’re at it! We’ll be trolling the same places as you, and would love to say hi!
Tune in tomorrow for Friday night’s List!