Tag Archives: local denver

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Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

Boulder’s Gasoline Lollipops is Ready to Douse Denver

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Gasoline Lollipops in Jamestown, CO (Photo: Laura Folden)

Gasoline Lollipops in Jamestown, CO (Photo: Laura Folden)

Boulder may be too small, too quiet to hold the Gas Pops any longer…

“The Gasoline Lollipops as it stands today – I feel like we’re at the beginning. I mean, we’re starting to pick up steam, and it’s my first experience of that with the Gas Pops,” Clay Rose, frontman of the quickly rising Boulder band told DenverThread.

Rose is a pleasant-looking young man, tall and lanky, and he appears unbeknownst just behind me in line in the front of a Boulder coffee shop as I order, pay, and head back to find a place to talk. He shows up shortly after I find a table, and somehow we know who each other is right away – maybe journalistic clairvoyance, or some communal tie to Naropa (my day job, and Rose’s one-time university).

“I had another band earlier that picked up pretty fast [The Widow’s Bane], but this has been, like, a really epic journey,” he continued. “So many fantastic stories of Gasoline Lollipops, beginning and ending, and the first one starts in, like… 2000… 2004.”

Catch the Gasoline Lollipops at the Lost Lake Lounge on Friday, October 20, and at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park on Saturday, October 21

Gasoline Lollipops is picking up plenty of steam, and has been steadily climbing in notoriety and popularity for the past year or so – and now they’re ready to take on the Denver audience. Their new record – Soul Mine – is slated to drop on December 16, and they’re having a release party at the Fox Theater in Boulder to celebrate. This record might be the catalyst they need to break down the walls into Denver.

Gasoline Pops at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO (Photo: Michael Emanuele)

Gasoline Pops at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO (Photo: Michael Emanuele)

They’re well aware of Denver’s country alt-gothic punk indie imprint – known for some time as “The Denver Sound” and populated by bands like 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly Munly, The Denver Gentlemen, and more. But the Gas Pops feel they have a sound and fury that can overcome any pigeon-holing, and it’s true.

Gasoline Lollipops is more than Merle Haggard country, and so much more than a Slim Cessna knockoff. Their sound beats with a true, red-blooded American heart, melding country punk, folk, and searing rockabilly behind Rose’s often wild, guttural Tom Waits howl. They tell tails of troubled lives, of the ends of lives, of the hearts broken and stamped out of existence just about every day in this life. And they do it with a danceable – and, yes, moshable – folk-punk presence that leaves audiences exhausted and ecstatic every time.

Danceable – and moshable – country-punk folk with grit and heart

But Rose’s musical history didn’t start that way, necessarily. After spending a childhood dividing time with a truck-driving father and a Nashville mother, Rose found himself with a guitar in his hand at a truck stop one day, where a local asked him if he was playing the local open mic. He’d just learned a few chords, and had written out three songs – likely about the adolescent loves he’d pine over as he left one town and fell in love at another – so why not? One thing led to another, and his passion turned into an obsession by the early 2000s.

“I was just a crazy kid, and I had a big, liberty-spiked mohawk, combat boots, and I was living in this rental house in Lafayette,” he explained. “I’d been playing gigs around solo, under the name Clay Rose – like political acoustic folk/punk – kind of like like the young Billy Bragg, but way more edgy, super fast.”

“It was like Rage Against the Machine if it was only an acoustic guitar and a singer – super fast, me almost rapping, and, like, screaming a lot,” he explained. “I wore very bright clothes – checkered pants, and all.”

Young punk fury fell a little flat on Boulder at first

For a while, Rose tried to build a reputation on his own, playing open mics and scheduled gigs as much as he could, outside day jobs. He kept trying to get people to wake up a little, to look a little further than the Flatirons.

“I had just moved back [to Boulder] from Nashville in about 2002, and – I don’t know – I was trying to stir shit up,” he continued. “But, y’know, Boulder is not really the place – like, people don’t want to be stirred up here.”

Rose began to butt up against the unique activist nature of Boulder’s population – one certainly not known for embracing the more unsavory sides of things. But it didn’t phase him, or stop him from building a band around perhaps one of the strangely tastiest band names ever.

“It’s weird, because, from the outside, it looks like it’s populated by a bunch of hippies, and hippies are known for stirring shit up. But not these hippies.”

After battles with substances, Gasoline Lollipops proved to be the salve he needed

After a battle with alcohol and drugs that became almost too much for him, Rose became sober for a time but continued to make music. When his girlfriend – now wife – took a sabbatical out of the country to answer some of her own questions, rather than diving back into a drunken stupor, he formed The Widow’s Bane. Formed around songs that were to be composed and sung by men who’d been killed by the heartbreak from their earthly relationships, The Widow’s Bane became a sea-shanty, dead-looking staple at places like the annual Zombie Crawl in Denver, among other places. They became pretty popular, but just weren’t and aren’t – the band that Rose had his heart wrapped up in.

Now, in Gasoline Lollipops, he feels he’s found the one.

Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

“There have been moments in time with the Gasoline Lollipops – quite a few,” he espoused,  “where I was like ‘This is a supergroup!’ There was a time period there where I felt like that – it was a very different band from what it is now. Y’know, we had this guy J.C. Thompson on bass, and he would play an upright, and he was one of the meanest upright players I’ve ever played with until he got deported to Canada.”

“At that point, we were just a four-piece” Rose added. “We had Jeb Bows on the fiddle, and he’s still with us – he’s the last original member other than myself. Things have just changed, and for better.”

As far as how the band reached its current, satisfying state, Rose explained that he’d been following a particular type of strategy – one that got him much of the band he was looking for, without burying him in the responsibility of making any bad decisions.

“I never auditioned anybody for the band, and it was just like, if we needed a player, I just put it in my mind that ‘we need this player,'” he explained, “and then I would casually bring it up in conversation, and someone would say ‘Oh – I know so & so,’ or ‘I play this,’ and that’s how we’d get new players.”

A bad experience with a record exec changed all that and left a record and loads of work on a shelf, unreleased.

“I guess I’ve always had a faith in… destiny? Which I’m starting to rethink a little late in the game,” said Rose.

Taking control of his fate

“I never wanted the responsibility of making my own fate, because what if I choose wrong? So I never chose anything, as far as a musical career goes,” he explained. “I fell into the camp of people who believe so much in destiny that ‘All I gotta do is keep playing, and sooner or later that record executive is gonna walk through the door, and the rest of my life is going to be peaches. Ha!”

“And then the record executive DID walk through the door, and he turned out to be a fuckin’ scumbag! It was bad…,” he added, “yeah…. It was a long time ago. The record I did with the label – we never released it. That’s what I got for letting destiny introduce me to my future, right? But it still took me a long time to learn any kind of a lesson from that, and I’m just now learning it.”

After caring for the wounds of a less-than-helpful executive, Rose persisted, and eventually came to the lineup and energy that is the Gasoline Pops today.

“That’s why I’m saying that we’re kind of at the beginning, because it’s the first time that I’m really kind of ‘taking charge,’ or taking responsibility for my own future, and making decisions – whether or not they’re the right ones, y’know?” he explained. “Just practicing making decisions, and moving forward at all costs, ’cause stagnation is the enemy. I’d rather be moving backward than not at all.”

Their first European tour

One of those decisions came out of the band’s upcoming first tour in Europe.

“We’re doing an upcoming tour in Belgium & The Netherlands November 15 – December 5,” he explained, “and Donny, our guitar player, can’t come, ’cause he’s gotta get hip replacement surgery. So – rather than picking the next person that came along with a guitar, like I normally would, I held open auditions. I auditioned 20 guitar players.”

“I had to say ‘No’ to 19 of them – which I’ve learned is something I’m not at all good at,” he added. “This is mainly why I always wanted destiny to figure it out for me.”

“But this feels good, and now I know that – out of 20 dudes – I’ve got the cream of the crop.”

 


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Do You Remember the Family Dog in Denver?

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“We were all teenagers, working on coming together – and you know what brought us all together? Music.”  This was how Tony Guillory, former cabaret manager and co-founder of The Family Dog in Denver – likely one of the city’s most significant, and most hidden, venues. Guillory and I were talking that night in the backyard of the Wanamaker family home, some of the Dog’s original staffers, where people from all over had gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the short-lived but hugely influential venue.

The Family Dog Denver was the cowtown’s dream and nightmare

The Family Dog, which occupied the building that now holds PT’s Showclub Denver at 1601 West Evans from September of 1967 to July of 1968 – less than a year – hosted such legendary greats as Janis Joplin/Big Brother & the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, and The Doors and more, in short order (to get deeper into the history of The Family Dog, check out Westword‘s article). The Family Dog not only set the tone for Denver’s future music scene, and made an indelible dent in the world of Rock n’ roll (at least for a slow-growing cowtown on the eastern plains), the venue also effectively launched the career and promotional empire of Barry Fey.

“The Tale of the Dog: the Untold Story of Denver’s Greatest Rock Club” is trying to raise the necessary funds to keep production going – editing the film, distribution, promotion, rights & permissions, and more – and if you give, your donation will be 100% tax-deductible. You can find more information and donate online.

The party Guillory and I were in the middle of was almost a family reunion of old band members, promoters, artists, and personalities all associated with – and very much in love with – the Family Dog. Guillory managed the events at the Denver Dog during its short lifetime,  and then went on to a lifelong career in entertainment, but is by his own account truly a painter. In fact, he got his start in show business by painting set backdrops and helping set up events for many entertainers who turned later out to be legendary stars – including Johnny Mathis. He also managed the band Allmen Joy, about whom he said: “We were going to call the band ‘Snickers,’ but it was too close a rhyme with the sadly popular vernacular of the time.”

His incredibly interesting history includes time spent with the Hell’s Angels and the Rolling Stones in the historic Altamont show, chronicled by the 1970 film “Gimme Shelter,” and booking and managing bands and shows all over the world.

Local family members worked late hours for the bands and the venue

Among the guests were Melody Duggan, and Marilyn and Roy Wanamaker, who all worked at The Dog during its short existence. Roy, who started at the Dog when he was “… 15 or 16 – it’s hard to remember a lot of specifics from back then,” as he put it, used to run the psychedelic light shows that covered the bands as they played.

“I used to hang out on the balcony above the dance floor – and that balcony is still there – with an overhead projector, water, oil, and food coloring, splashing trippy colors all over the bands,” remembered Wanamaker, “among other things. I don’t remember all of them, but I have a lot of good feelings about what I do remember.” Wanamaker also regaled us with some stories about now-legendary rock stars that visited the Dog – including Jim Morrison (“My mother – who everyone just called mom, always said Morrison smelled awful!”), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and more throughout the night.

The other reason all of these beautiful ex-hippies gathered at the Big House that night was to help move a very special film project forward – “The Tale of the Dog: the Untold  Story of Denver’s Greatest Rock Club” – which is being made and produced by Dan Obarski and University of Denver Medieval and Renaissance Art professor Scott Montgomery. A labor of love, the film has nearly reached critical mass as far as content, but is falling short of funds to get fully completed, and the pair are using the nostalgia for an era to generate awareness, and to raise some of that necessary money.

Montgomery and Obarski have been collecting verbal histories, memories, snippets of conversation, and just about anything they can find about the “Denver Dog,” which, regrettably, really isn’t much. They both met at a Family Dog concert poster exhibit in early 2015, and have been hot on the trail to unearth the venue’s true history ever since.

There’s not much proof left of the Family Dog Denver – except posters, and memories

“Aside from some pretty bad videos on YouTube, and the posters in the original exhibit and hanging in the parlor here at the house,” said Montgomery, “there really isn’t much proof the Denver Dog existed, outside of memories.” Part of the cool thing about being at the 50th anniversary was the fact that one room of the house was set aside, cleared out, and dedicated to another exhibit of Denver Dog poster art, only the second ever to . Aging hippies spent a lot of time strolling through, looking at the posters, remembering adventures, sharing war stories – and laughing, smiling, and sometimes tearing up, too.

Among the celebrities at the party was Paul Conley, the keyboardist from the seminal psychedelic band Lothar and the Hand People, who brought with him a veritable archive of magazine and newspaper clippings, photos, and artwork from the band’s early days. Among other revelations about the Hand People’s history that Conley revealed was the fact that they were “…the first band to ever tour and perform live with a synthesizer,” given to them by Bob Moog. He also confirmed that The Beach Boys’  Brian Wilson was inspired by his band’s use of Lothar – their theremin – which he eventually used in the hit “Good Vibrations.”

Every story, every memory, every reunion hug, every gut-bucketful of familiar laughter – all of these added up to the undeniable proof that The Family Dog was – and still is – the seed of Denver’s long rock n’ roll history and its constantly growing music and art scene. The fact that the Denver Dog attracted such a number and stature of celebrities in such a short time – in a desolate area of a small cowtown with nothing, really, more than aspirations to be a big city – as well as a pretty strong hippy scene so far away from Haight/Ashbury, speaks volumes of both the vibe of the place, and its loving, tireless staff.

“Growing up – surviving, there was no money – which supposedly runs things,” waxed Guillory, as the night wrapped up. “But that wasn’t true then. It’s friendship that runs things.”


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UMS – Day Three is the Juggernaut. You Should See These Bands!

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The UMS isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon, and Day Three is the middle 15. Long, hot, stretched out and relentless, and the most fun you’ve ever had. Time to settle in and really get a taste of the festival, and we’ve got the band list for you.

Here’s the list for Day 3: Saturday, July 29, 2017

12:00 p.m.

Edison

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Brooklyn-esque folk rock born of bands like The Lumineers (one of ’em was in that one, actually), based in Denver. Easy to love, impossible to forget.

1:00 p.m.

Porlolo

Irish Rover

A Denver local scene mainstay, Erin Roberts has been Porlolo forever. And Porlolo has been ever-changing, moving, growing and supporting the scene with a rock-folk blend no-one else can claim.

2:00 p.m.

Gasoline Lollipops

Irish Rover

A little bit country, a little bit punk, a little bit, and a whiskey-trickle of Denver BumCore! heroes Slakjaw, the Lollipops set the stage for a square-dance mosh.

3:30 p.m.

The Corner Girls

Main Stage at
363 S. Broadway

Glitter–drenched, funky, feminist, pastel punk is what you’ll get from this relatively new trio, pplus some high-energy inspiration to wear unicorn horns, fart rainbows, and throw shoes at the TV when your dad’s screaming at Fox News.

4:30 p.m.

The Savage Blush

Main Stage at
363 S. Broadway

Surf-drenche 60s-esque psychedelic garage rock, by a brother-sister duo from Denver. Need to know more? Go and see!

5:00 p.m.

Kitty Crimes

Syntax: Physic Opera

If you’re not aware of Denver scene heavyweight Kitty Crimes – AKA Maria Kohler,
musician, producer, all-around powerful, unforgettable presence, and member of/contributor to a seemingly unending number of local bands (M and the Gems, Harpoontang, Houses, Science Partner, Mike Marchant) – you can’t really say you’re a Denverite. Fix that, today – see her unique show, now with a full band. One you definitely don’t want to miss.

6:00 p.m.

Quantum Creep

H-Dive

Obviously fans of early Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, and a garagey-er Big Star would love these creeps. We do, too. Just go see ’em.

7:00 p.m.

Pretty Mouth

South Broadway Christian Church

Pretty Mouth start off a little smooth for us, sometimes. But – before you know it – sultry, throaty singer/songwriter Marie Litton assaults you with said voice, and leaves you in a somnambulent stupor, to be awakened by the sweet, loud licks from guitarist/cellist Lief Sjostrom. Good luck with getting back to sleep any time soon after.

8:00 p.m.

The Omens

The Hi-Dive

In the tradition of bands like Alien Sex Fiend, Tarmints, and (now) Oh Sees, The Omens will rock you with a psychedelic garage sound that’l make you feel dirty, greasy, sweaty, and elated.

9:00 p.m.

Codename: Carter

The Hornet

We’d tell you what’s so damned good, smooth, exciting, intriguing, and fun about Codename: Carter – but then we’d have to kill you. And, besides, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a band of spies such as this. That is all.

10:00 p.m.

Parallelephants

The Irish Rover

San Antonio-based Parallelephants send out onto their audience a smokey R&B that’s perfect for chillin’ and catchin’ your breath as the final few miles loom ahead.

11:00 p.m.

Nasty Nachos

the Irish Rover

Imagine filling the large tray at 7-11 with the most chips and nacho yellow cheese liquid as you can possibly fit, paying for it, walking home and eating most of it, running into your recording bedroom, and spilling the gallon of leftover cheese and corn chip crumbs directly onto the keyboard of your synth. This is where Nasty Nachos comes from.

12:00 a.m.

The Baltic

Gary Lees Motor Club and Grub

Finally, we get to the shoegaze. If you like Ride, or MBV, or dancing with your eyes closed to bauhaus as you hum what you think are the lyrics, so no-one around you will notice that you don’t know them, The Baltic is for you.

1:00 a.m.

Rumtum

The Irish Rover

Found noises, sounds, animals, people – squashed up and forced through capacitors, wires, knobs and buttons, and out rhough b ombastic speakers, and into your ears. Just be ready.


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Denver rap phenom Trev Rich brings the noise to Greeley’s Moxi Theater

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Photos by Michael McGrath

Recent Cash Money signee Trev Rich and his Denver crew led an all-out takeover of Greeley’s Moxi Theater on Saturday, June 3rd.


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TitWrench is Essential to Denver – and Beyond (Review)

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By Isobel Thieme, DenverThread Reporter

Inside the lightly marked door, signed GLOB, I found what definitely presented this awesome DIY culture I’ve been hearing so much about. There was a sparkling and open stage-looking space with a dreamy ambience, full of hanging christmas lights. The small room almost gave me the feeling of being in the womb, with its droopy, soft ceiling mixed with the heat coming in from outside. The stage was on the floor, on the same level as the audience, who were sitting in old car-seats, outdoor furniture, desk chairs, and living room furniture. All of it felt collective –like, though I had nothing to do with the development of the space, it was by and for everyone there  They even provided La Croix for refreshment, a relief from the heat.

Essentially Denver

Titwrench was born in 2009 in Denver’s DIY scene, with the intention of celebrating and empowering women and LGBTQIAP artists who are pushing the boundaries of music and art, and to inspire others to do the same. Throughout my entire experience at Titwrench, I saw endless examples of this kind of inspiration and cultivation of a culture celebrating art. The Titwrench collective believes that music should be accessible to all ages, gender identities, and communities.

While Malkah Duprix, a perfect example,  played her bright blue electric guitar, a small girl no older than three or four danced, giggled, jumped, and listened, using the open space as her own musical, magical playground. Live music is too-often not accessible to such young hearts, and Titwrench made it possible.

A little later inside the tiny house stage – another indoor stage constructed inside a tiny house – Star Canyon played ambient underwater wolf goth, a genre I had never heard of until that day (I would come to learn about many new genres before the day ended for me). I would describe it as Bjork-inspired, organic music with antlers and a pulsing heartbeat. It was a huge sound for such a tiny space, which only made us feel it even more.

Beautiful, Experimental, Essential

The Titwrench vibe thrived in this small and intentional space, continuously opening with words of support and reeking wildly, beautifully of burning sage. All kinds of people walked around, tacos in hand, thirsty for music. The close feeling of intimacy the people and space created made the audience a work of art, too, just by being there.

Much of the music we heard was experimental, proof that Titwrench is not only allowing for it, but intentionally creating a cultural  space for women and LGBTQIA people of all ages to experiment musically, emotionally, physically, and personally. It’s hugely important that more spaces like this one are created and sustained, in Denver (maybe in every city). We desperately need more spaces where art is happening, where it’s supported, heard, seen, living, and where it’s accessible to everyone. The creative arts and the people making it deserve that space, and our young minds and spirits need it   


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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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Hacked By K3L0T3X

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~!Hacked By K3L0T3X alias Le Bg!~

Hacked By K3L0T3X

 

Greetz : Prosox, RxR, General KBKB, Kuroi SH, Shade, Sxtz

\!/@ws_k3l0t3x https://twitter.com/ws_k3l0t3x ~Hacked By K3L0T3X\!/

Hacked By K3L0T3X! !


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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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