Tag Archives: Punk

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Everybody Can Pussy Riot

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A night with Maria Alyokhina and Alexandra Bogino of Pussy Riot

By Isobel Thieme

“Don’t you know that a wall has two sides and nobody is free?” – Pussy Riot in their EP xxx

Members of Pussy Riot spoke on a panel at the Oriental Theater, moderated by local journalists Bree Davies and Ru Johnson.

Pussy is a word I’ve seen and heard quite a lot lately, how it is “grabbed” and how it “grabs back,” for example. And now, Pussy Riots.

While I walked around the block-long line of people on Tennyson on my way into the Pussy Riot panel held at the Oriental Theater recently, I was happy to see so many women lining up – I don’t know about you, but I could use some girl power these days.

Truly, they could not have come to the US at a better time.

The inside of The Oriental seemed to ring with a certain sense of desperation–but not the kind we feel when we’re simply waiting in the crowd for the lights to dim, the band to come on stage, and the music to start. It was heavier, characterized by a need, a cry for help. The last few weeks in the US have opened up the floodgates for so many questions and uncertainties about our country’s government–in my case, anyway–and here we were presented with the chance to hear from two women who have helped to start a vital conversation around the government in their own country of Russia. Truly, they could not have come to the US at a better time. What could we learn from these women who have dedicated their lives to activism? To changing an outdated patriarchal, corrupt system – through music, nonetheless? I, and I think many others, took Masha and Sasha’s visit as an opportunity to listen and learn how best to move forward in our own situation.

Feminist Punk Rock Protest – and more

Photo: Mike McGrath (mcgphotos.com)

The female warriors who are Pussy Riot are often armed with bright neon dresses, tights, and balaclavas, their loud musical instruments, and their refusal to be quiet. Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow, known for their intentionally disruptive performances in public spaces. Specifically, they broke through US media for their performance at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, for which two original members were arrested for “hooliganism” and imprisoned for two years afterward.

In every way, Pussy Riot demands to be recognized.

As a band, Pussy Riot is inspired by other punk, thought-provoking, music makers, like Angelic Upstarts and Bikini Kill. But, in truth, there is no band out there quite like Pussy Riot. Their creation stems from an oppressive and patriarchal dictatorship which violently condemns any form of political resistance. Sasha told us that those who live in Russia can easily be put into prison for political opinions they might post on Facebook (imagine how many more new babies, kittens, and reports of bagel-eating we would see if that was the case in the US).

As we know, social media is an incredible platform for activism and social justice, albeit an easy, incomplete platform – as one can be an ‘activist’ anywhere from an airplane to their own toilet. But Pussy Riot saw the dormancy of social media for social justice. Beyond that, Sasha talked to us about the fact that the authorities in Russia don’t see sanctioned rallies as a threat to their power, so they simply ignore them. Any voices that come out of those kinds of rallies or protests go more or less unheard by the government. So, the rallies and performances which are not sanctioned are an essential piece to the Pussy Riot movement.

They’re disruptive, unsolicited, and absolutely demand attention

Photo: Mike McGrath (mcgphotos.com)

Pussy Riot knows how to be heard by the audiences they are targeting, simply because they don’t have any other choice but to be loud. The kind of performance art they participate in is intrinsically disruptive, it’s unsolicited, and it absolutely demands attention. Not only that, but it’s provocative. The name of their movement was inspired by wanting to make those who heard, spoke, or wrote about them feel uncomfortable, just by having to use the word “pussy.” These warriors are fearless – they are constantly pushing beyond the boundaries which are built around them with feminism, activism, and progression in mind.

It was amazing to hear these women talk about how they have actively participated in developing a cultural shift in their country that could allow for sexual equality, the proper treatment of LGBTQ+ people and women in Russia, how they have redefined protest for themselves, how they have learned about the power of community. Pussy Riot is a special example of not just talking the talk but walking the walk. They don’t simply talk or argue about the ways in which they are oppressed by their culture and government, but they are actually doing something about it. Something real and something tangible.

“Every person has a choice, every choice is important, and if you choose to stay aside, you’re giving away an opportunity for action. So ACT.” – Maria Alyokhina

It’s easy to sit aside and watch, to scroll, like, comment, share, and retweet in this electronic bubble we’ve blown for ourselves, that is a given (like I said, you can be an activist from the comfort of your own toilet), but what choice are we really making when we do only that? Masha and Sasha both encourage the use of protest and street riots because “you see the eyes of people who are with you,” which can only work to fuel the fires of progression when and where we feel it is needed.

Truly, We all should Pussy Riot

As a young woman, it felt inspiring and rejuvenating for me to watch the way these women have taken control of their country’s situation in their own way—how they have harnessed the power inside themselves and from their community to call for change. Masha and Sasha’s story–and their presence–offered us incredible advice while we take our turn to call for our own change. We ought to refuse to be quiet about the things we believe in, we all ought to Pussy Riot.


Editor’s Note: While the reporting, photography, and writing for this report was done in a timely manner, Editorial staff experienced a set of circumstances that made production and publication impossible until now. The story and the event, however, as well as the prescient and vital opinions and observations of our author are no less valid and important today as they were when they were first produced–in fact, they may be more so, and becoming more and more relevant and true every day. DenverThread apologizes for the timing of publication. Check out another review of this important event.


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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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Suicide Girls in Repose (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque – Inked Punk Rock Pin-Ups Take Over Lodo!

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Suicide Girls will take on Lodo Saturday night, October 19 (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Suicide Girls will take on Lodo Saturday night, October 19 (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Tomorrow night the Summit Music Hall in Lodo will host some of the most raucous, sensual, smart,  inked and shapely punk rock you’re likely to see anywhere. Suicide Girls – the “… online community that celebrates alternative beauty and indie culture,” will be presenting Suicide Girls: Blackheart Burlesque to an undoubtedly hip Denver crowd.  If  you don’t already have tickets, you might as well pack up the car and head for Salt Lake City for Sunday night’s show, or to Seattle for Tuesday’s – the Denver show has been sold out for a while. To get a taste of what you’ll be seeing on stage, take a gander at the slideshow below (WARNING: While none of the images are full-on NSFW, they’re damned close! Gaze accordingly – you’ve been warned…).

That tour created what the troupe claims is a community with “…tens of thousands of models who have submitted MILLIONS of photos  to [their] website hoping to earn official SuicideGirl status.”

When Suicide Girls put together their first burlesque tour in the early ‘aughts, they knew they were offering their audiences something new, refreshing and fun. They also knew they were putting something new, fresh and strong  on stage every night. This interpretation of  burlesque was based in the same vitriol and vehemence that spawned Punk Rock (yeah, with capitals!) in the mid-’70s, with a newfound venom and oodles of sexy defiance. What they may not have known was how deeply their desire to bring back to life the then-staid American Burlesque genre – lethargically kicking and screaming to the worn down tune of “The Stripper” – might affect the members of those audiences, and the power of the ripple effect the tour produced on the genre as a whole.

That tour created what the troupe claims is a community with “…tens of thousands of models who have submitted MILLIONS of photos  to [their] website hoping to earn official SuicideGirl status.” It popularized a community that “…carefully chooses the most unique, beautiful women from those submissions and invites them to join our sorority of badass bombshells and geek goddesses,” and gave all of those millions of people the 21st-century version of the circus that every kid, at one time or another, dreams desperately of running away with.

Missy Suicide  (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

Missy Suicide (Photo: Suicide Girls Press)

This year’s tour – which started in Cleveland,OH on October 11 – stops in a different city nearly every night (consecutively and with very few nights off) until it wraps up the US leg in New Orleans on December 5. DenverThread had a chance to talk with Suicide Girls co-founder Missy Suicide about the new production, and a little about the mark the SG Community has made on pop culture. Read on to get a taste of the intelligent, enlightened world of the Blackheart Burlesque ….

 DenverThread: Tell us about the reasoning behind re-opening the Blackheart Burlesque after six years of quietly growing the Suicide Girls Community. Any chance this tour is a recruiting tool for erstwhile hidden – maybe unaware – future Suicide Girls to join the movement/army?


Missy Suicide: We did a mini book tour last spring for a book we put out called Hard Girls, Soft Light and even with just listing the book signings as Facebook events the word got around so quickly – and the turn out was so incredible -we were just blown away by the enthusiasm for seeing  and meeting the girls live in person. With 500-750 people showing up to have a few of the girls sign a book in a comic shop, we knew we had an opportunity to create a better experience than just a signing for our fans, and so we decided to re-imagine and re-create our Burlesque show from the ground up and put it back on tour.  We are always looking for new girls and the girls are passing out cards to recruit the lovely ladies who come to the shows.


DT: What’s the reaction been, overall, over the first portion of the tour?


MS: Really positive!  People have been posting pics to Instagram and really enjoying the show.  It is a lot of fun.
DT: Over the last decade or so, burlesque in general (as opposed to stripping and punk rock shows – which, on their own, certainly provide a service, but certainly not one as grounded and complete as Suicide Girls)  seems to have been enjoying a resurgence – which could be a result of the number of hip, indie tattooed kids reaching drinking age and attending. Thoughts?


MS: When we first put out our SuicideGirls Burlesque tour in 2003, we were the only people who were doing non-traditional, non-old fashioned burlesque on a large scale. We were excited to put on a sexy performance that didn’t involve feather boas and songs like “Hey Big Spender.” We wanted to use modern music and references to modern pop-culture but still put on a show in the spirit of old time burlesque. Now, ten years later, there are a lot more non-traditional burlesque acts around, and some of them are doing really fun and different kinds of shows. Devil’s Playground and their Star Wars Burlesque is a great example of just how diverse and non traditional the Burlesque scene has become.


Also – look at the spectacle performers like Lady Gaga put on at live shows. People have seen a lot and it’s much harder to show them something that really feels new and original.


We really had to take the spirit of pop-culture modern burlesque that we pioneered ten years ago and up the production values, sexiness and performances by a factor of ten. It’s the same kind of Burlesque show we used to do, but this time I think we have executed at a much higher level in almost every respect: dancer abilities, costumes, choreography, everything.


DT: It seems pretty obvious (to me, anyway) that Suicide Girls – both the movement and the individuals – is likely largely responsible for the resurgence of club-level burlesque over that period of time, starting with its start in 2001. Would you agree? Are you happy to take credit for that development (of course, considering the power and influence the whole concept/group/community has had on all of us)?


MS: I do believe that we helped to pioneer punk rock burlesque but we haven’t been on tour in 6 years – and there have certainly been lots of other people that have been working hard to keep it going while we have been at home.   I hope that people are blown away by the show that they see today.  I hope as we have gotten older and more mature as a company our main evolution has been in upping our game every year. I think we learn how to do what we do better, we listen carefully to our large audience and take what they say into consideration and improve the quality and artistry of what we produce. I hope that people who came to our show 6 years ago see that and people who are seeing it for the first time just enjoy a great show.


DT: I’ve long been impressed by the punk rock aspect of suicide girls, which, as a distinguishing characteristic, seems to put this show into a different arena altogether than either old-time burlesque, ink culture or punk rock – but the mix of all of them have certainly changed each individual phenomena – and all of them for the better. What do you think?


MS: Thanks!  We wanted to create a show that our audience would want to see.  A show that included a variety of music and pop culture references,  embodied the sexy spirit of the girls on the site and would exude the confidence of the women who call themselves Suicide Girls.  It is an eclectic mashup for sure but we hope that it works and that people enjoy the show.  We think we have created the right mix to make one hell of a good night.  We hope you agree.


DT: An underlying theme behind the Suicide Girls is the concept that this community is a haven for real women (and men?), away from the often overwhelming pressure to meet some sort of idealized “American Beauty,” and to embrace one’s natural beauty. Its continued popularity and consistent growth attests to the power of that message. How much of that growth and influence do you attribute to SG’s existence itself, and how much is a coincidental convergence with some natural. generational (and, some might say, inevitable) improvement in self-esteem  – if only in reaction to the overwhelming resistance to – and repudiation of – that bullshit ideal?


MS: I think Suicide Girls is a place that celebrates a wide range of beauty.  In 2001, we started Suicide Girls we built it as a community for alternative culture people to discover each other, have discussions and post and look at photos of alternative pin-up girls. And in the 12 years since we launched, we have had hundreds of thousands of people post tens of millions of comments and millions of photos on our website. Over the years we have made 6 movies for Showtime, 3 books, a magazine, a series of comics and countless other creative endeavors, all of which have contributed to our place in pop culture.  It’s been an amazing adventure.  I am not sure how much of our popularity can be attributed to the fact that we do exist vs. the improved self esteem of the youth of today.  It’s kind of a chicken and egg type of question.


DT: Is there – in your opinion/observation/experience – any truth to what I just pointed out above (that self-esteem in upcoming generationals is improving overall), or do you find even more reason to sound even more alarm (is Miley a product more than a symptom?)? In other words, does the future look bright, or bleak, for the younger, heavily inked and (seemingly) more jaded kids of today?



MS: I think for sure growing up in the internet age has allowed this generation both access to an incredibly diverse amount of information and a thicker skin to cyber haters – because of all the anti bullying campaigns and simply growing accustomed to the trolls. The more diverse the population the harder it is to narrowly define beauty or desirable characteristics.  Since pretty much the whole world has access to the internet and we all carry it around in our pockets now, it is really hard to live in a super categorized John Hughes real world anymore.   I think the internet has been a win for self esteem and more informed people all around.

DT:  How receptive is the Suicide Girls community to likeminded folks that want to “runaway and join the SG circus?” Any advice for the hopeful youth as far as getting to be one?


MS: Do it! 🙂  Have confidence, persistence and apply:  http://suicidegirls.com/model/


The SuicideGirls are the most bad ass sorority of awesome women in the world!  They are constantly having shootfests around the world where girls hang out, meet up and shoot photo sets. The girls pretty universally will tell you that they have gained confidence met some of their best friends through the site.


Anyone who is interested in applying should submit an application to http://suicidegirls.com/model/  One of our model coordinators will help them navigate the process of shooting a set and figuring out all the paperwork.  Once a set is submitted our members take it from there and if the set is well received the girl will become an SG.  If your first set isn’t accepted, keep trying!  SuicideGirls don’t give up so easily.


DT: What’s your tour mix for this leg of the tour?


MS: We made a handy playlist from the show here:  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?feature=edit_ok&list=PL-FC-XO5Mm6Jhv_KBpf-UjdT_IVp00aOn



The Denver version of the Blackheart Burlesque is sold-out, but that shouldn’t prevent you from seeking out some of these badass inked punk rock women online. Check out their Pinterest page, for a start (is is just me, or does the fact Suicide Girls has their own Pinterest seem just the right kind of iconoclastic?)! If you’re not at work, you can also go to the Suicide Girls Tumblr (this one – not surprisingly – is DEFINITELY NSFW!).

If you have tickets to tomorrow’s show, we hope you’re ready. Here’s the slideshow:

 

 


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Arlo White from The Pretty Sure will be showing off his vision at the Broomfield Auditorium until mid-February. THe PRetty Sure will be playing on CapHill in Denver Saturday, January 21st. (Photo: Hypnotic Turtle)

Who’s Playin’ What Where? DenverThread’s Gettin’ Out Guide – January 20 – February 4

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DenverThread’s guide to where you should be and what you should be seeing – and, of course, hearing – for the next few weeks around Denver.

Arlo White from The Pretty Sure will be showing off his vision at the Broomfield Auditorium until mid-February. THe PRetty Sure will be playing on CapHill in Denver Saturday, January 21st. (Photo: Hypnotic Turtle)

The “Planet Rock” Art Show is Now Open in Broomfield, Artist’s Band The Pretty Sure Play Saturday Night

Arlo White really is a post-post-postpunk-post-renaissance man. As many places and genres as his art seems to pop up from around the Front Range, it seems there’s nothing it can’t accomplish. We discovered Arlo a few years back as the frontman of the fantastic Broomfield band Deadbubbles, and he’s also been involved in Lint! and his current musical project The Pretty Sure. And now, white finds himself – and his art (in this case multi-media visual art) on display at the Broomfield Auditorium Gallery (3 Community Park Rd., Broomfield) until February 17th. The show’s 31 pieces have been hung since January 6th, and will feature an official reception this Sunday, January 22 with food and drinks, along with a wine tasting sponsored by Broomfield’s Turquoise Mesa Winery.

White’s art, much like his music, is eclectic, bright, attractive and altogether unique. Wildly colorful and steeped deeply in pop culture themes, he uses various formats and media to reproduce visually much of what his bands’ music does aurally. It’s loud, groovy, sometimes ferocious – but always playful. Deadbubbles reminded us of a slightly polished version of the Stooges, and The Pretty Sure sometimes comes across just a little more like KISS – both carry a simple, strong and sticky rock groove and a ‘70s tinge. White’s art also shows similar sensibilities, some pop collages invoke the Factory crowd of the ‘60s, while some of the more explosively colorful pieces recall expressionists like Paul Klee or abstract colorist Piet Mondrian. We can’t wait to see the whole set on display Sunday afternoon.

And, to get a full sample of White’s mix of arts, you also have the chance to see The Pretty Sure are playing a set at Tooey’s (1521 Marion St, Denver) to help celebrate the Forest of Azure CD release. The show starts at 8PM, also features sets by Bison and DJ Ed Hed, and is FREE.

Lotus Concepts Sponsors Local Bands – and Fans – to Appear on Weekly National TV Show

Oak Tavern features All Access Fridays - to be taped and broadcast on CPT12 and Free Speech TV - every Friday night until Feb. 24. (Art: Lotus Concepts)

Oak Tavern features All Access Fridays – to be taped and broadcast on CPT12 and Free Speech TV – every Friday night until Feb. 24. (Art: Lotus Concepts)


Remember the old days of TV – or at least the scenes you’ve probably seen in the movies about them – when shows like “Soul Train,” “American Bandstand” and “Don Kirshners’ Rock Concert” were virtually the only places (besides live) you could get a glimpse of some of the groovy stuff you were listening to on the radio – and get to see a snazzily dressed, dancing audience with them? Thanks to MTV’s “evolved” lineup, without shows like “Austin City Limits,” we’d be in that same boat. But – don’t fret – local nightclub group Lotus Concepts – owners of four Denver nightclubs including the brand new Chloe – has a solution.

The group is launching a Friday night live music series TONIGHT at Oak Tavern (1416 Market St) that will take place every Friday until February 24. The kicker? “All Access Fridays” will be taped and broadcast on a weekly national TV show – and they’re FREE! The series is designed to feature some of Denver’s up-and-coming bands, covering genres like rock, reggae, hip-hop and more – as well as their local fans. The show will be filmed for PBS|Free Speech TV’s “303 All Access” and will be aired each Saturday night at 10MST locally on CPT 12 (formerly KBDI) and nationally on Free Speech TV.

 

Lineup for the first six shows – starting TONIGHT:

January 20th:: A Vast Eclipse | Series Kick Off Party

January 27th:: Coral Thief | SIA Edition

February 3rd:: Valedictorian | 303 Hip Hop/Dance Beats

February 10th:: Two Fisted Tango | Valentine’s Day Edition

February 17th:: Guerrilla Jazz | Hawaiian Takeover | Fashion Show

February 24th::  Broken Tongues | Rackstar Clothing Party

**All shows are NO COVER, 9PM show|8M doors|21+

 

Hindershot’s CD Release Party for “Curse Us All” Will Be at 3Kings Friday, January 27

HIdershot's new CD, "Curse Us All," is now available for digital purchase. (Art: Hindershot)

HIdershot’s new CD, “Curse Us All,” is now available for digital purchase. (Art: Hindershot)

Local up-and-coming band Hindershot will be celebrating the release of their latest CD, “Curse Us All” Friday night, January 27th at 3Kings Tavern, along with support from local bands Accordion Crimes, The Skeleton Show and DJ Samurai Buck. The CD is already available digitally and for physical pre-sale from local music collective Hot Congress.

Their sophomore release, “Curse Us All” sounds too hopeful to support the cynicism in its title. The four songs are simultaneously  intricate and huge in sound, truly catchy indie pop. The live show promises to be at least as satisfying – and with the rest of that lineup, how can you go wrong?

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Whore’s Town Will Take Over Lions Lair on Friday, January 27th

One Whore's Town brings their unique metal-tinted punk to the Lions Lair on January 27th (Art: Girl Wreck)

One Whore’s Town brings their unique metal-tinted punk to the Lions Lair on January 27th (Art: Girl Wreck)

Locals One Whore’s Town, along with Redbush, The Down and Starla & the Dynamite Daddies will take over the legendary Lions Lair next Friday, January 27th, with their brand of Metallica-meets-Social-D rock, and they expect you to be there.

Angry, aggressive, loud and sometimes downright hilarious, OWT plays a mean, gritty metal-dosed punk rock, fronted by Tom Spain’s truly flattering James Hetfield vocals and anchored by Tim Jadowski’s  Bass (from Reno Divorce – hence the Social-D tint). The band is working steadfastly on their first full length, “Lock n’ Load,” due to be released this spring.

Don’t miss them!

 

 


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Hook and company brought a missing sound to ears that had been waiting for some time. (Photo: Al de Perez)

Live Reverb – Peter Hook & the Light play Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures,” Bluebird, 9-19-2011

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Peter Hook & the Ligth performed a solid, beautiful rendition of "Unknown Pleasures" last Monday night at the Bluebird.

Peter Hook & the Ligth performed a solid, beautiful rendition of "Unknown Pleasures" last Monday night at the Bluebird.

At the risk of eliciting a chorus of jaded groans: Yes, Peter Hook & the Light, led by the bassist for the influential Joy Division, performed a rousing rendition of the post-punk swan song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” last night at the Bluebird in the first of two encores. Did you think they wouldn’t?

The surprise was that the revered hit may have been the worst song of the otherwise iconic, appropriate, set. Maybe Hook meant it literally when he introduced the song as “One that’s meant to leave you with a smile.”

Over the course of 90 minutes, Hook and his much younger sidemen may have won over even the most cynical, jaded post-punk hipster as they played the entire seminal Joy Division album “Unknown Pleasures,” bookended by works that spanned the band’s early career, including a few from their early incarnation as Warsaw.

Though Hook’s reputation as a difficult character preceded him — furthered by depictions of him as a whining 20-something in movies like “Closer” and “24-Hour Party People” and the well-documented feud with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner — his dedication to these classic songs quickly eschewed any of that characterization. Aside from a tendency to scream out in an off-kilter (yet strangely fitting) exuberance, Hook played a strong, tragic Ian Curtis.

Read the Entire Reverb Review in the Denver Post Online!

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The UMS hits full speed today – plan accordingly! Don’t worry – we’re here to help.

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Day Three - and we're hitting top speed!

The 11th Annual UMS is now in its third day, and rounding the inside corner to slingshot itself into full, reckless, dangerous and foolhardy speed, and you’re going to want to grab on for dear life about now, and hold on. It’s going to get a lot more beautiful before too long, and there’ll be more than you can imagine to see, hear, taste and drink.

All the more reason to follow our recommendations for which bands to see, where, and just a little bit of why.

Today’s also the day that the all ages crowd can take the most advantage of the many, many options – and we’ve put a little emphasis on the bands playing that anyone can see, to encourage you to get out from under the Xbox and GET OUT HERE, NOW!

Today’s UMS is brought to you by:

Mombi plays beautiful, deep ambience. Deep, and sexy. (Photot: Mombi)

Mombi plays beautiful, deep ambience. Deep, and sexy. (Photot: Mombi)

 

Mombi
Illiterate Gallery (All Ages)   @ 5:30

Breathy, quiet atmospheric electronic ambient sounds that almost beg to be visual. Mombi’s sounds infiltrate the air like watercolor paint into wet paper, and then imbues the audience. It’s addictive. Watch out.

 

The Blackheart Procession will dazzle you with heavy hearted love stories. (Photo: The Blackheart Procession)

The Blackheart Procession will dazzle you with heavy hearted love stories. (Photo: The Blackheart Procession)

 

The Blackheart Procession
Mayan Theatre @ midnight

They used to be Three mile Pilot (and some say they are again), but they made their biggest splash in the late ’90s and ‘aughts as the Procession. With their slow, dirge-like folk, they leave you with a feeling of being magically fucked with. Depressed, but strangely careless and optimistic. You’ll probably skip down Broadway when you get out. Seriously.

 

 

They should call him Marathon Mark. (Photo: Darin Spring)

They should call him Marathon Mark. (Photo: Darin Spring)

Mark Mallman
Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 11PM –

Chances are you’ve never seen anything like a Mark Mallman performance – and maybe you never will. They don’t make them like Mark anymore. They stopped with the likes of Freddy Mercury, Elton John  and Roger Daltry (which in NO WAY is supposed to bring Mallman’s sexuality to mind). But speaking of sex, did we mention he’s got the sexiest show around?    Minneapolis must  have to get written consent from other cities before they let him visit – his shows are HUGE, passionate cathartic piano-based anthemic pop-rock – and 1000% (typo intended) pure fun…. If you see one show Saturday, MAKE THIS ONE IT.

(But seriously, why would you limit yourself with only one?)

BNLX bring the fuzz to the table. (Photo: BNLX)

BNLX bring the fuzz to the table. (Photo: BNLX)

 

 

BNLX –  Skylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage
@ 6PM

BNLX are a duo of noise that mixes a little New Order/Joy Division with a little Jesus & Mary Chain and X feel, and add their own fuzzy, fun style. Criptic press notwithstanding, they’re currently riding a national buzz – and it’s well-deserved. Check ’em out, and let them singe your ear-hair.

 

 

Accordion Crimes will get your Loaf up and screaming. (Photot: Accordion Crimes)

Accordion Crimes will get your Loaf up and screaming. (Photot: Accordion Crimes)

 

 

 

Accordion CrimesHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage
@ 5PM

Accordion Crimes seems drunk sometimes, on skinny NC punk legends Archers of Loaf, with a Big Black back. It’s all smashing noise, noise, noise – and worth the inevitable Hi-Dive heat.

 

 

 

Fairchildren - one of Denver's gems - oozes sophistication. (Photo: Fairchildren)

Fairchildren - one of Denver's gems - oozes sophistication. (Photo: Fairchildren)

FairchildrenSouth Broadway Christian Church
(All Ages)   @ 5PM (also 7:30 Saturday @ Goodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage)

Fairchildren started as Nathaniel Rateliff’s backing band and includes some of Denver’s finest talent. Fronted by the fantastic Julie Davis (of Bela Karoli, among millions of other projects), they bring an air of sophistication, and a touch of Euro-folk, to the air. Well worth the time to see both sets, in our humble opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

The DenverThread List:

Tulip Wars3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @3 PM –  Moody postpunk, dream-surf

Mercuria  and the Gem StarsIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 3PM – Indy space folk

Marcus Church & the LevelsClub 404 @ 3PM – Early REM-ish Brit-pop

MicrodotsTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages) @ 3PM – Moody, quiet post-punk with poppy ends.

Blue Million MilesHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 4PM – Spaghetti Western meets dark surf, slow metal.

All Liver No OnionsIndy Ink (All Ages)  @ 4PM – Nathan & Stephen/Polyphonic Spree madness – WITH 15 MEMBERS!!

Instant EmpireTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages)  @4PM – Somewhere between The Hold Steady and The Decembrists in style, passionate and cool in delivery.

Boulder Acoustic SocietyGoodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage @4:30 – Deep rooted acoustic with punk enthusiasm – might be one of Denver’s Avett Brothers.

The CavesIndy Ink (All Ages)  @ 5PM – Remember Prefab Sprout? The Caves do, with a dose of shrill psychedelic folk from KC, MO.

Young CitiesTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage (All Ages)  @ 5PM – Emo punky power pop – perfect for the all ages crowd

Bare Bones3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 6PM – Probably among the last defenders of the old “Denver Sound,” Bare Bones brings back a beautiful  alt-country gothic folk to the stage.

The KnewGoodwill Parking Lot – Sailor Jerry Main Stage @ 6PM (also Irish Rover – Red Stripe Stage on Sunday @9PM) – Straight up hard rock, ‘70s reo-phyte style, originating from Greeley. Also sporting a reputation as really, really great guys.

DeerpeopleGoodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage @ 6PM – More beautiful, strong indie Oklahoma piano-led rock – recalls the The Wedding Present, and maybe some White Rabbits and Belle & Sebastian.

My Gold MaskHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 7PM – Electro-proto-new wave, sample and rhythm driven, with strong, sultry vocals. Fittingly from Chicago.

MaudlinSkylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM – Holy Pixies, Batman! Talk about the ultimate complement. Adding a little Peter, Bjorn & John makes this band a solid Weezer power pop rival.

Cotton KeysIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 7PM – Guitar pop, with a sort of Superchunk meets Built to Spill feel. Nicely done.

Le DivorceHi-Dive – Illegal Pete’s Stage @ 8PM – Punky PJ Harvey heavy rock ‘n Roll – Superstar Kitty Vincent fronts this with her powerful personality. It’s a perfect fit.

The Beaten SeaSouth Broadway Christian Church (All Ages) @ 8PM – Iron and Wine-esque quiet folk, also a little Mumfords.

VitaminsClub 404 @ 8PM – Is there something called “Post-New Wave”? Vitamins has it. Guitar-based pop rock. Lizzy’s vocalizing w/ Flaming Lips on tour for the Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Safe boating is No AccidentIndy Ink (All Ages) @ 8PM – Fun Americana-folk.

Red Eye Gravy3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ 9PM – Literally country punk from Oklahoma. Bring your shit-kickers!

GoldenboySkylark Lounge – Verizon Wireless Stage @ 9PM – recalls the beautiful stillness of Elliott Smith, with strong guitar – a soft melodic pop treat.

WanderduskClub 404 @9PM – A funky, American almost version of Bjork or CocoRosie, believe it or not – maybe the UMS’s most original sound.

The DendritesTS Board Shop – Bands for Lands Stage @ 9PM – Fit for your rock steady/ska fix!

Mike Marchant’s Outer-Space Party UnitClub 404 @ 10PM – Space folk, “drugs to take music to” music, One of Denver’s best, and truly a great lyricist.

The HollyfeldsIrish Rover – Red Stripe Stage @11PM (Also at Goodwill Parking Lot – Groove Automotive Stage, Sun @ 3:45) –  Brilliant Americana, country folk with strong harmonies.

Two Tone Wolf PackMichelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar @ 11PM –  Think Violent Femmes’ “Country Death Song.” Yep – ’nuff said.

Houses3 Kings Tavern – Sailor Jerry Stage @ Midnight – Sort of a Denver supergroup – huge, classic rock sound – well done.

PowerpointClub 404 @ midnight – Straight up hardcore punk rock. Need we say any more? No stage diving – since there’s no stage!

BarnacleClub 404 @ 1AM – The dirt underneath true metal, thick with thrash, and rust.

Follow us!!

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 Sunday’s List!


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The 11th Annual UMS Starts Today – So do DenverThread’s lists – here’s day one

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The 11th Annual UMSIt’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.

TRAINING TO BE A BAND ... OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE. (Photo: Barbizon - the band, not the agency)

Barbizon
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)

Guantlet Hair plays reverb-drenched surf punk. (Photo: Gauntlet Hair)

 

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!

No guarantees if Tiana's a no show! (Photo: Hot White)

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.

 

 

The Bonnie Situation

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 BonesClub 404 @ 6PM –  A newer shoegaze two piece – think  Lust Cats of the Gutters howling out moonlight-stricken melodies with Yo La Tengo

Science PartnerSkylark Lounge Verizon Wireless Stage @ 7PM – Tyler Despres’ latest project ( from Dualistics) is full of crunchy, funky pop – think Weezer meets Dump

Vicious WomenClub 404 @ 7PM – Plays a noisy, thrusting industrially pleasing mess – think Big BlackShellacMinistry

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 CarefulsThe Hornet – RMCAD Stage @ 9PM – play Buzzcocks-inspipred dance pop – it’s super fun. And, their new, 2nd album is coming out this fall!

Porlolo3 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 CitizensMoe’s Original BBQ Verizon Wireless Stage @ 10PM – play a solid post-rock passion, mixed in intriguing, psychedelic shoegaze – think American Mogwai.

Royal BangsHi-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 LandgrabbersClub 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!

Follow us!!

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!

 

 

 


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Threading the Scene with Denver City Saltlicks – The DenverThread Interview

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Denver City Saltlicks are here to rock you into delirium witht their own moonshine-fueled musical concoctions. See them Friday, April 16th at Andrews on Lincoln! (Photo: Cate Hate)

Denver City Saltlicks are here to rock you into delirium witht their own moonshine-fueled musical concoctions. See them Friday, April 16th at Andrews on Lincoln! (Photo: Patrick Owen)

If you’ve been a denizen at Denver venues over the past near-decade in search of wild, homegrown roots music, chances are you’ve run into a performance or two from Denver City Saltlicks, one of the best punkabilly/surf/blues/jugbands around.

Denver City Saltlicks – or DCS – pack a musical punch with tunes that explode out of their private backwoods still and into your face with the force of a moonshine firehose. As it finds its way down your throat, it burns with a feeling like it’s removing most of the smooth lining, and then sits inside,  warming while it generates a small nuclear reaction that powers unstoppable hips, cheeks and ankles. I defy you to avoid dancing next time you see them live, without suppressing an inevitable and overwhelming full body twitch fit.

” . . . the guys in this band are righteous people. I mean the best people I’ve ever known. I just want to hang out with them all the time.”
– Cate Hate

And their repertoire isn’t only jet fueled, actually. The four-piece, currently fronted by ‘Bama Slim and Cate Hate, a brother and sister team that covers vocals, ukelele, washboard and the “Blue Spruce” Johnson (look below for more on this fabulous home-grown piece of music history) and joined by bassist George Wilson and Bullseye Dray, the drummer, can just as easily croon any packed bar into a teary singalong with vocal stylings akin to  a duette between a young Elvis and a punkier, grittier, Supremes’ Diana Ross. And they fill in the spaces everywhere in between with solid delta blues, smoking surf guitar and frenzied, scathing punk rock – it all depends on their mood, and possibly the heat in the room at the time.

DCS has recently gone through some major lineup changes also, as longtime bandmates (and husband and wife) Fish (on standup bass and rockabilly gymnastics) and Rev. Spooner (on vocals and spoons, sticks, castanets, and just about anything else she can bang out a rhythm with) left the band in January of 2010. As close a family feeling as they exhibit onstage, it seemed it would be difficult to replace the pair and move on, but the band has done just that, and is now producing their first full length album, which should drop sometime this fall (if all goes according to plan).

The group is also set to play a wicked show THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, April 16, at Andrew’s on Lincoln, along with Marty Jones & The Great Unknowns and Denver faves The Hollyfelds.

I recently corresponded with some members of the band for DenverThread about the new record, lineup changes and the state of the Denver scene. Read on for more:

DenverThread – How goes the new album? I know it’s your first full length – congrats! After about six years, obviously plenty of material, how did you decide what to put on it, and what to leave off?

Cate Hate – The album is running smoothly. We are currently recording at Motaland Studios and it is phenomenal to work with Bart McCrory, and we hope to drop the album in early fall. It’s going be a fucking great album. I really think it’s going to bring something different to the table.

“. . . ‘Bama is a great song writer. I don’t hear a lot of memorable and great songs being written out there in Denver.”
– George Wilson

Bullseye Dray – With the album content we wanted to create a gumbo of Saltlick flavours, so we threw in a Surf tune, some traditional Americana, Olde Tyme Roots, 50’s R n’ B, and of course some D-Town twang!

Cate – It was hard to sift threw our songs and find which gems we wanted to polish on our first full length. Because, we’ve been together so long and with ‘Bama turning out songs like a Denver City Madman, it was hard to keep it limited to just one CD. I wish we could’ve put out a double disc. Doesn’t that sound great guys?

George Wilson – I have to say ‘Bama is a great song writer. I don’t hear a lot of memorable and great songs being written out there in Denver.

DT – Saltlicks has a strong band personality – more a family than many bands – all  united in the kick ass and take names punkabilly style. I know you and ‘Bama are sibs, but it seemed the whole band lives comfortably together. What do you attribute your closeness to (or am I way off base)? Does the new lineup feel as close so far?

Cate – Well, you hit that right on the head, we are that kick ass and take names kinda people, but we are all really laid back. And, we’ve all been friends for years. My bro I’ve known all my life, right? And, the guys in this band are righteous people. I mean the best people I’ve ever known. I just want to hang out with them all the time.

‘Bama Slim– We are all like minded assholes, so we get along well with each other.

Bullseye Dray– I’m just glad to be here.

DT – Speaking of the family – what about the lineup changes – with Fish and Rev. Spooner aloft, how are you finding the [new] aesthetic? Any progress on a new bassist?

Cate – Well, the trio lasted about a weekend. Luckily, we picked up a close friend, George Wilson, who is also Bullseye’s band mate from TARD for 15 years, so the Saltlicks still have a close family feel. We feel very fortunate that we have added a close friend with vast musical chops. He really schools it on the bass. Cooked very rare, by the way.

DT – ‘Bama – I love your 2X4 electrified lap steel, as do many of your fans. It kind of makes me think of the musical equivalent of deep fried thanksgiving turkey – simple, incongruous, but you’ve never tasted anything quite as succulent, full-bodied and sinful. What’s the history behind this instrument? Is it true it’s partially fueled by moonshine?

‘Bama Slim – My wooden friend “Blue Spruce” Johnson is patterned after old fashioned Delta blues Diddley-Bows.  Blues musicians used to play on their porches and nail a piece of bailing wire up to banisters, jam two rocks under each side and play it with a bottle neck, and then let the porch timbers resonate the sound. I always thought it would fit in with the Saltlick sound…rustic, raw and confounding. The actual recipe is two parts Alabama Moon, a spoonful of sweat and a floater of kerosene…smooth.

DT – What are your thoughts on the Denver scene of 2010? From a band’s point of view, what are its drawbacks, its plusses?

Cate – Well, most of us come from a punk background and we all spent many a time in punk bands, or still do. It’s been refreshing and exciting to be a part of a different genre, too.

George – Scene?

‘Bama – Scene? I don’t know. There’s no hometown rockers anymore that really put on a real show. All the same bands play all the same places, nothing changes show to show. We want to be that band that you can only see in Denver but bring a different and great show every time.  I mean rock in hard based right in Denver.

Cate – I agree. I don’t want it to be the same shit every show. I get bored. I like to mix it up. That’s why we have so many different sounds. We could do an all bluegrass show, or stick to surf and 50’s stuff, or bring the gritty blues. I mean, we have so many options for different types of shows. I think that’s what makes us stand out from many other bands.

Dray- We are still new to the genre we are in. But, it’s really cool to play with bands like The Velveteen Loveseat, The Hollyfelds, and Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

DT – Psychobilly seems to be on an upswing at the moment in Colorado – especially in Colorado Springs, or so it seems. What are some of your hopefuls from that scene, and where do you see it going?

Cate – We haven’t really played with any Psychobilly bands, I don’t think. We kind of fit more with those country punk bands around.

George – I think it’s cow punk, Cate.

Dray and Bama – But, we love zombie movies!


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Introducing: 43rd Street Zoo Presents – promoting Denver’s punk and techno scenes

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"43rd Street Zoo Presents" wants you to see the music they see in Denver's scene.

"43rd Street Zoo Presents" wants you to see the music they see in Denver's scene.

Around the beginning of this year, Brandy Darling and Kevin Carlberg – AKA Cardinal – decided to pool their resources towards a common goal: to bring together two of Denver’s thriving sub-scenes. Cardinal is a fixture in Denver’s techno scene, while Darling promotes the punk rock side – and both of them have been stalwarts in the local scene for years. And so, they started booking and promoting local and national acts as “43rd Street Zoo Presents.” Pooling their resources and connections made perfect sense, and the association has already resulted in a few significant offerings.

Their first event, “Globally Dead: The Anti-Global Dance Party,” the  “. . .definitive anti-party after party to the annual Global Dance Party at Red Rocks,” according to Darling, was held at the Denver Creative Co-Operative Studios (DCCS) at 4th and Lincoln last July, and brought in more than 250 people to rock ’til dawn to tunes spun by more than 10 DJs.

Since then, the duo have presented more than a few shows at Denver’s world-famous Lion’s Lair, including D.F.O.S., Sons of Disobedience and The Taints on September 4th, DJ Baggett on September 20th and Privatized Air (California) with Brother Rockwell on October 1st. This weekend they’re presenting Punishment of Scaphae with Eldon Riley on Saturday, October 3rd, and meaTBikini, Slow Form of Suicide (Illinois) and Sons of Disobedience on Sunday the 4th.

"Globally Dead" was 43rd Street Zoo's first official production.

"Globally Dead" was 43rd Street Zoo's first official production.

Darling had this to say about the duo’s intentions: “. . . . Our vision for 43rd Street Zoo Presents [is] to bring together the people of two different music scenes, and to expose people to music they might not otherwise consider listening to. Cardinal, whose real name is Kevin Carlberg, is from the drum and bass/techno scene, and I have my roots in punk and rock. We cross-promote across the two scenes, and have begun building a community around this concept at different venues around Denver, including the famous Lion’s Lair on Colfax Ave.”

Simple? Sure! But a powerful combination, being promoted by a few of these scenes’ strongest insiders.

For a taste of the blend, and to help them continue growing, get out to the Lion’s Lair Sunday night for the meaTBikini (11 PM), Slow Form of Suicide (Illinois- 10PM) and Sons of Disobedience (9 PM) show. This is 43rd Street’s first national act, and they’re definitely worth the measley $5 cover (21+), especially if, like me, you appreciate good, solid punk rock. The show was going to include Doll Dumpster, but a few of the band members had to cancel. Rumor is that a few of the Doll Dumpsters will be at the show, and could be coaxed into playing a song or two!

Support the Denver scene - at the legendary Lion's Lair Sunday night, October 4th!

Support the Denver scene - at the legendary Lion's Lair Sunday night, October 4th!

Support your scene, and show the legendary Lion;s Lair some love! See you Sunday!


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Billy Bragg teams up with “Clash”-ers Mick Jones & Topper Headon for “Jail Guitar Doors”

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Topper, Mick and Billy - together for rock and rehab! (photo: Tom Sheehan/J.G.D.)

Topper, Mick and Billy - together for rock and rehab! (photo: Tom Sheehan/J.G.D.)

For the first time in nearly three decades, Mick Jones and Topper Headon, from The Clash, the only band that ever mattered, have reunited in the studio. Along with Billy Bragg, the boys have formed a trio to record a version of The Clash’s 1977 punk rock hit “Jail Guitar Doors” to help raise funds for a charity to support prisoner rehabilitation named after the song.

The charity aims to provide inmates with musical instruments to learn and create with during their incarceration, to help with rehabilitation. Backed by a band of former inmates, the trio recorded the song in Steve Barnard’s (ex- of Mescaleros) studio, and was filmed as part the film “Breaking Rocks,” an upcoming documentary about the program.

The Clash's Mick Jones. (Photo: Alan Miles/J.G.D.)

The Clash's Mick Jones. (Photo: Alan Miles/J.G.D.)

Check out this video clip, below. The whole idea gives a new, refreshing and hopeful slant to “Jailhouse Rock!”

And who’s not about to jump out of their skins in excitement after seeing such a triumvirate of punk rock together in the studio?


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