Monday, December 31, 2012

Dave Devine's "Relay" 12.18.12

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

There are Jazz clubs and there are "Jazz clubs." Dazzle is a Jazz club unlike any in its market. Candlelit tables extend across the dimly lit room and depending on the evening, one might catch a packed house. Regardless of the turnout, the music is always top notch. On this particular evening, a Tuesday in fact, I found myself in the back booth of the illuminated "main room" with the waitstaff buzzing back and forth. The present patrons grinned widely and laughed loudly during what could best be described as the "social hour" leading up to the show.

Dazzle to me feels like home, tucked away in the back corner of the room. Past the presumed elitism of jazz music, I sit balanced, catching bits and pieces of conversation. The venue was littered with argyle and button-downs, though tie-dyes would have been equally suited. The one thing that Dazzle lacks is hippies. Not the loud, unkempt kind, but more the enthusiastic, genuine appreciators of improvised skill. Regardless of the crowd, Dazzle is always a scene. Wine, brie, schmoozing, tuning and the eventual entrance of Jazz led by a typical radio voice/personality, unfolded from the stage. Band announcements precede a note, yet the notes that follow command the attention of the room. Ambient notation and light effects work the half capacity room into the music, as folks continued to file in late.

A rock vibe took over as demanded by Dave Devine's guitar. Heavy, menacing effects crept in with transitions contrasting the highs and lows of the compositions. Paul McDaniel dropped heavy bass lines from a seated position. Brief mention of the material from the album "Relay," as well as the possibility of a blizzard and the band plowed on. Between songs Dave swapped out guitars on an almost continual basis, consistently bending down to further diversify his arsenal. The songs were tight and well-executed, while at the same time loose musically. Mark Dalio's drumming took many sections to the point of epic, while the rest of the band echoed before reassembling for yet another climb in composition. Interwoven melodies clashed with peaking harmonies. As was the case with many of the selections, the songs ended with echoing sustain.

Dave's control of the guitar were reflected in harmonic precision, with each descending note eloquently delivered. The key work of Michael Bailey went from sounding like synth output to electric guitar. At times it sounded as if the stage was occupied by two lead guitarists. The layers were thick and the band sounded full. The announcement of the show being two sets without any Christmas music, got a rise out of the growing crowd. The closing song of the set followed suit with a slow and ambient approach, a plethora of note bending and tonal manipulation. Intermission provided a needed break from the "mind-scrambling" of the first set. Ten minutes after the band broke, they returned.

The first song came with a hard edge and possibly the first abrupt stop of the evening. A barrage of minor chord progressions kept listeners on the edge of their seats as the tempo increased. Some of the heavier, more distorted material seemed lost on the older folks, but the younger crowd was captivated. The warning of a loud tune, most comparable to Black Sabbath mixed with King Tubby came next and was by far the loudest, most aggressive music that I have heard at Dazzle. It involved hard-rock, dub, jazz and was the track used for the evening's promotional video. The song transitioned back into ripping rock with Devine absolutely shredding until another abrupt stop. A shout out to Dazzle's Musical Director, Kevin Lee, and the band played one final song. Considering that it was a Tuesday night, the turnout was fantastic. Dave Devine has assembled a very solid group of talent, who not only fielded the material well, but knocked it out of the park!

J-man's Photo Gallery

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Springdale Quartet feat. Pete Wall & Whiskey Tango 12.21.12

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel
Photos By J-man

The Mayan calendar expired on 12/21 and Quixote's hosted two of the Front Range's better local entertainers to celebrate. The front bar was rocking to the blended bluegrass of Whiskey Tango while the main stage hosted Boulder's Springdale Quartet. I've seen Tango quite a few times, and always enjoy their show. I don't know how they repeatedly make me forget that they are way more than a bluegrass band, but each time I am surprised when they veer off and tear into some sort of sonic groove. In the case of "Apocalypse Friday" at Quixote's, it came in the form of an epic "Chameleon" by Herbie Hancock. The banjo added a unique flavor to such a funky tune, and I was caught off guard again. Great stuff! Their second set was also filled with high energy as they played a spirited version of "White Freight Liner." Whiskey Tango reminds me of String Cheese Incident often. Besides their stylistic similarities, I have seen them perform several of Cheese's staples with an enthusiasm that surely suggests they are also huge fans of Nershi and company. If the ship was really going down, I was glad to have Whiskey Tango as the soundtrack.

In the other room, Springdale Quartet became a quintet with the addition of saxophone extraordinaire, Pete Wall. SQ is quickly earning the respect of many Denver music fans. Their progressive jazz-funk is highly influenced by Medeski, Martin, and Wood. They cover MMW often, and their original pieces are driven by a similar flavor. The one thing that's different... the guitarist. While MMW does not have a guitarist, Springdale seems to have a unique and ambitious guitarist whose style was aggressive, melodic, and untamed. While watching him deliver screaming leads, he almost appeared to be hanging on to the guitar for dear life... Like Harry Potter's first ride on a quiddich broom. From time to time I expected to see the guitar escape his grasp and fly wildly into the night. My only complaint about the Quartet was that they play a lot of the same tunes at every show. I have thoroughly enjoyed their instrumental cover of Weezer's "Say it Ain't So" yet feel they have the potential to do similar takes on a plethora of other songs. That was another reason Friday night had extra flair. From what I suspected to be MMW's "End of the World Party" to a distinctive extended "Voodoo Chile" jam, the Quartet was throwing in some extras just in case this was really the last night on Earth.

The other thing that impressed me was their use of Pete Wall. While much of the material seemed as though it was loosely rehearsed, the majority of the evening was purpose-driven, tight, technical, and inspired. Like a lot of their output, the work was too extended to be completely composed, and too intricate to be improvisational. The result was a high energy thrill ride that kept me guessing what was composed and what was on the fly. When you can make your improvisation sound composed, you have found the element known as spontaneous composition, and this is a talent that many jam-bands aspire to, but few have accomplished. It was this aspect that has made Springdale one of my favorite local acts. It doesn't hurt that they are an extremely nice group of kids too.

I had decided that if the world were to end, Quixote's would be a great place to be. At the end of the night, I was happy the world was still spinning, if only to have more opportunities to watch bands like Springdale Quartet and Whiskey Tango do their thing.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zappa Plays Zappa 12.14.12 (SOLD OUT)

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

Welcome to an absurd world of kazoos, caricatures, mockeries, but most importantly... spectacular musicianship. It is the world of Frank Zappa, and it is being inhabited by his son, Dweezil. Frank once said, "progress is not made without deviation from the norm." Dweezil pointed out in his first DVD release that Frank's entire career was spent "absurdly corroborating that statement." Dweezil is keeping that torch ablaze, and lighting a new generation on fire.

The Fox Theater in Boulder was far too small of a venue to contain the crowd or the talent of Zappa Plays Zappa. The crowd spilled into the lobby as Dweezil and company took the stage and ripped in to "Willie the Pimp", which is the first Zappa song that really caught my ear, and eventually the rest of "Hot Rats" wormed its way into my brain. That was the beginning of my slow and increasing appreciation for the mustachioed maestro, and it has lead me on a journey through a rich tapestry of ludicrous lyrics, compositional complexities, and preposterous possibilities. Needless to say, I approved of the song choice, and the execution was energetic, lively, and precise. They followed it with "Hungry Freaks Daddy," and I began to realize that Dweezil was not only skilled at performing his father's music, but he has also harnessed his father's ability to put together a group of relatively unknown performers who have super-human ability. Dweezil was backed by six of the most proficient, professional, and exciting musicians in the game. Before the next song, Dweezil called Scheila Gonzalez (sax, flute, keys) up to show us all the "Molly Ringwald" dance. While she cut a rug, Ben Thomas (vocals, trumpet) pulled out his phone and took a video. Dweezil told us that the dance was from the 80's, and so was the next number... "Teenage Prostitute". Like much of Zappa's work, this tune featured intricate melodies, bizarre lyrics, and more required talent than I ever hope to have.

The next song, "Montana" is another of my favorites, and had extra meaning as I finally linked up with a visiting friend, Jason, who had driven all the way from Billings to catch the show. As we caught up, the ridiculous song about growing dental floss on a farm in Montana had the crowd delighted and in the blink of an eye, we were headed into "Echidna's Arf," an unusual instrumental. Through "Penguin in Bondage" into "Pygmy Twylyght" the gamut was executed in mind melting fashion. When it was over, Dweezil told the crowd he was thinking of a color. When the jumbled yelling of an enthusiastic crowd was eventually done guessing, Dweezil announced that the color was "ecru." He tried the game again, this time with the color brown. As the rest of the three hour musical barrage played out, my friend and I discussed the song choices... "Baby Snakes," "Harder than Your Husband," "Debra Cadabra," "City of Tiny Lights," "Peaches," "Whipping Post," (Frank's own favorite) "Strictly Genteel," and more. Jason is a hardcore Frank fan, and proved throughout the night that he could likely host an hour long Zappa episode of "Pop Up Video." He pointed out that the songs were almost all deep cuts... Aimed at Zappa's faithful, rather than the fringe listener. In fact, there were a few that even he could not place... And this is coming from a guy who is currently traveling the country listening to FZ exclusively, just one cd book containing all Zappa. His other observation was that the song choices hailed from Frank's early work, and his very late work, with very little from the middle/ bulk of his career.

I tend to think in life, people are their purest near birth and near death... in the middle, our obligations distract us from what is most important in our lives. Perhaps Dweezil feels the beginning and end of Frank's career were the purest. Dweezil skipped the middle era musically, and concentrated on the bare bones, garage tunes of Zappa's early work, before venturing to the orchestral, refined sound of his later years. Both possess a purity of vision, a clarity of purpose, and a disregard for mainstream popularity. Zappa's desire to push boundaries often had him turning new corners and creating new ideas. As a result of his prolific career and his relentless pursuit of innovation, Frank created music across genre lines, and worked in orchestral settings as well as in his rock bands. This often locks the Zappa door for listeners. He had so much output that it was nearly impossible for a fan to be crazy about all of it. Those that were, were mesmerized by the whole. In the end, Zappa alienated many potential fans simply by creating music that was outside their normal stylistic preferences.

Dweezil's talents on guitar are, in a word, phenomenal. But what made me such a huge fan of ZPZ was his presentation. For starters, his song selection was second to none. Dweezil brought us a non-stop rock show with impossibilities on display like bubble gum in a gas station. Most would think a rocking Zappa show would be hit heavy, but ZPZ crafted a set list of deep cuts that should have been hits. The songs were all energetic, humorous, and inspired. The band went well beyond the expectations of a cover band, and instead became a new incarnation. They captured the tunes in a way that represented the originals with an accuracy that was beyond mimicry. The band felt the music, and their improvisations were as vibrant as the originals. The tone, the solos, the skill, and the absurdity were not lost on a single member of the band, and they all appeared to have a blast recreating the work of a genius.

ZPZ is literally and figuratively the next generation of Zappa, and the world has Dweezil to thank for breathing life into a sleeping giant. Frank was a composer born into a world on the verge of a rock and roll renaissance, and he used his music to point out the beauties and the dangers of our new culture simultaneously through mockery and satire. Dweezil continues to magnify the absurdity, sharing the experience with fans who never had the chance to see the original.

Brad's Photo Gallery

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dopapod's Redivider

Words By Brad Yeakel

If there's one thing I like, it's a palindrome, so I went into Dopapod's new studio release, Redivider, with great expectations. The album began with a feedback laden track called "Build an Android." I felt the song was unnecessary, but did seem to transport me into Dopapod's world, and served as the springboard to the album. The next tune, "Brain Dead" is a bizarre tune that opened with accordion and suddenly became a hard rock song with a weirdness that would be at home in a Les Claypool project. The organ that eventually emerges in the instrumental segue leads to a section that brought the Grinch to mind for just a second. They play a compositional section before returning to their vocal harmonies. But when the song ended, I almost forgot about it entirely as the next tune, "Bubble Brain," jolted to life with a west coast rap synth. Think "California Love", but set to a song that touches dubstep, hard rock, soul, and classical. This song is already an album favorite before I've even heard the whole tune. The following number, "Get to the Disc," features what sounds like an effected didgeridoo with hand drums, organ, and ambience. It cleanses the pallet for what follows. "Trapper Keeper" is a funk tune with Stevie Wonder style clav, clean guitar, and crisp drums, but the lyrics are lacking and the vocals are mediocre. "My Elephant Vs. Your Elephant" begins with a synthesizer pitch shifting riff. Before long the riff is accompanied by some tribal drums and the song begins to evolve. An underwater vibe creeps in as the sound of waves plays through one of the transitions. There is a sense of communication in the song, like animals conversing. Perhaps that is the reason for the song's title. I prefer it to some of the other songs on the album and its instrumental nature begs the question, "should they have abandoned their instrumental only status?" The organ work is actually fun to listen to and the song is one of the better tracks on the album.

"Ooze Weapon" is a very short song that is ambient, spacey, and sounds a little bit like an engine. It resolves to a song called "Blast," which comes out of the gates with the funk element I do like. The bass-line is cool and the synthesizers, guitar, and drums do a solid job of embellishing that groove, but the song seems over-composed to some degree. It's erratic, meandering, and more progressive than required for the type of tune. The kind of thing some would call self-indulgent (not a jamband!?), and others would call pointless. "Vol. 3 #86" began and I was not sure what to expect. As the song's opening guitar lick broke, I distinctly thought that it sounded like an Umphrey's McGee tune, one that the band may have abandoned before it made any recordings or performances. The song is seven plus minutes of intricate guitar and synth passages. It also features what may be the best vocal quality on the album. The lyrics are still lacking in depth, but they're the best on the album. The break after the lyrics leads into a demented carousel breakdown. Like a phoenix, the disco beats and synthy dance grooves rise from the ashes, and the last three minutes of the song are probably my favorite three minutes of the album.

"STADA" sounds like Asbury Park, NJ being invaded by aliens with distortion amps and keyboards of various effects. The bassline in "STADA" seems more fluid, smooth, and harmonious than the rest of the album. The high frequency keyboard tone is slightly overbearing leading into the guitar solo, which is played well. The resolution comes through a busy synthesizer solo that leads to a triumphant sequence of chords and a borderline Dub-step break that takes you to the end with a screeching metal guitar riff. "Give it a Name" is another bizarre tune. I don't even know what to say about it. It has shades of the Chili Peppers, but with a far jammier feel, and less flow. Several of the tracks have an awkward, forced feel, and this tune is no exception. The chops are there, and you can tell that they know how to play their instruments, it just feels like the songwriting could use some development. "Fry the Gorillas" booms to life with an effected drum beat, and is another short tune that it seems was designed to segue between other songs and provides some of the cohesion that the album needs in order to flow nicely. It leads to "Weird Charlie," which features fuzzy guitar masked by organ before some peculiar keyboard effects come in and makes you feel like the robots are about to attack. That fear is wiped away by a twangy guitar phrase that is as country as this band gets (I would guess). It is quickly brushed aside in favor of a metal solo with power chords and attitude. With almost three minutes left in the song, a relaxed, sparse section with organ tones lead me to a punk-like distorted guitar driven change. The organ continued to lay the lead work, and the album comes to a close with grandiose guitars and theatrical piano.

In my opinion, this album could be better. For starters, I never felt emotionally invested in the album at all. Music is about a lot of things; Songwriting, musicality, composition, melody, harmony, and on and on. But a component that is critical is the emotional connection. If I don't feel your music, I am significantly less likely to listen to it again. I understand the value of a party band, and do enjoy just getting down sometimes, but there are options I prefer to Dopapod's blend of styles. I'd also prefer they stick to the instrumentals as most of the lyrics and vocals on the album were sub-par. At the end of the day they have the technical ability, but need to hone their songwriting craft. I'll listen to their next album... as long as it's named with a palindrome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kyle Hollingsworth Band feat. Eric Krasno 12.6.12

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, Colorado

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

It’s becoming a winter tradition that Kyle takes a trip down the Front Range sharing good music and first-class beer. This year he upped the ante by including Soulive as well as a couple fresh brews. He warmed up for two nights in Denver by bringing Eric Krasno to sit in for the show at Hodi’s in Fort Collins. Kyle also brought a variation on Avery’s dry-hopped Winter Day IPA that he collaborated on with the brewery. It was a spicy ale, balanced by an abundance of hoppy goodness. It’s definitely a nice holiday beer.

Opening act Ruff Draft was a nice treat with members of Mofro, Nu Classics, and Super Collider. Focusing on a blend of jazz, funk, and hard hitting vocals this group really had some chops. It almost felt like being transported back to the age of cabaret in some smoky nightspot from long ago. Tightly wound horns backed a lockstep rhythm section that was very impressive. Their bassist was jam stalwart Todd Smallie who has played bass with Derek Trucks Band and currently tours with Mofro. Apparently he lives in Fort Collins now. It’s nice to have such an incredible musician playing the local funk jams and gigging at Hodi’s. They played for about an hour before they left the stage for Kyle.

Kyle has assembled an incredible group with The Motet’s rhythm section consisting of Dave Watts and Garrett Sayers along with Dan Schwindt who has played with everyone from Jeff Coffin and George Porter to sitting in the pit for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Normally we would get a hard-hitting array of KHB tunes intermixed with a few SCI songs and a cover or two. Tonight would be different with the addition of Soulive’s Eric Krasno on guitar things were about to go interstellar. He added an almost soulful tone overall, that alternated between beautiful and face melting often. They opened with a huge instrumental version of the Beatles “Taxman.” This was the absolute perfect way to begin; classic KHB cover and a song out of the Rubber Soulive repertoire. It felt like a clandestine meeting of two great artists. From then on fans were treated to an amazing blend of Kyle’s bouncy pop sensibilities and Krasno’s fiery guitar work. At one point we were treated to an extended bluesy jam that really allowed Eric to blast off.

They broke up the show into two sets and the sold out crowd took the opportunity to mingle. Living in a community as small as Fort Collins, you see the same faces at every show up here. It’s comforting to have such a dynamic group of music fans in this town. They make heading out fun. Highlights from the second set included a nice “Naïve Melody” and a huge “Rosie.” Seeing Kyle Hollingsworth and his band is always a great time, but the addition of Krasno stepped the entire experience up a notch. I would really like to see this group do a tour or two. The integration of Krasno was instant and powerful. This was definitely a unique show, and I compliment Kyle for continuing to make these runs interesting for the fans. With two more nights to go, and a quickly escalating marquee, Kyle Hollingsworth Band was firing on cylinders.

“I guess I must be having fun.” – David Byrne

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Monday, December 17, 2012

MusicMarauders Presents: Two Nights of Kyle Hollingsworth Band & Soulive

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn
Audio By Peter Coffan

With one of the more entertaining and epic musically inclined weekends of the year now in my rear view mirror, I am starting to realize and truly understand why people get stuck here in our great state of Colorado. Being a non-native (Bay Area, California) I thought I knew what a hip and ultra-cool place to live in was like. Then I decided to follow my best-friend out to Boulder, Colorado for college six long years ago and I could not be happier with my decision. This past weekend at Cervantes was a great example of why Colorado and more specifically the Denver area is a downright fucking awesome place to live, party, dream, escape, multiply, dance and rage your “prime” years away. If you were at Cervantes you know exactly what I am talking about because not only did we get Soulive (one of the funkiest jazz trio’s on the jamband circuit right now), but we got Kyle Hollingsworth (from the String Cheese Incident) and his funky Motet friends dropping funk bombs all over the place. Most venues are lucky enough to get one of these bands for one night each, but Cervantes pulled both heavyweights for two nights a piece! The anticipation of funk-dom (The freedom to funk yourself up all over the place) was brutal for the days leading up to the event, but Friday finally arrived and Kyle took the stage with a smile and “Hoptastic” beer in hand.

I have to admit, I was lucky enough to attend Thursday’s show with Eric Krasno from Soulive sitting in for the entire night with the Kyle Hollingsworth Band in Ft. Collins and I couldn’t imagine a night of better music ahead. But, I came into the Friday show at Cervantes with an open mind and no real expectations. “Racer Girl,” a new-ish song that Kyle has really seemed to embrace, came thumping through the beautifully designed sound system, which Cervantes is known for, and the party had officially begun. The place was jam-packed with lines forming for whatever you needed at that particular moment in time and I could just tell this was going to be a fun sweat-filled night. If you have seen the Kyle Hollingsworth Band before you must be aware of the outrageous backing band he has prominently standing/sitting to his left. Garrett Sayers, Dave Watts and Dan Shwindt don’t only provide a bass line, drum-beat, and neck rearing guitar riffs but they transform this band into a funk-fueled machine. Every song has a Motet feel (which is A-ok in my book) and the transitions thrown in between just prove how talented these three gentlemen are. I salute you Kyle Hollingsworth for realizing what was already an amazing group in the Motet and flat-out stealing there core for your own pleasure. I can proudly say I would have done the exact same fucking thing.

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 7, 2012.

“Let’s Go Outside” came next with Kyle’s sweet sounding harmony echoing off the ceiling and “All I Need” was a nicely timed transition right after. Both of these songs are Kyle classics and have been adopted and transformed into bigger String Cheese Incident pieces appearing in more recent 2011-2012 tour dates. “World Girl”, a new Kyle song is just not good in my opinion. I don’t know much else to say about this one as I have heard it three or four times now and just can’t get into the beat, melody, or lyrics. Our previously announced special guest for the evening, Jason Hann, bounced onto the stage with a huge grin and his usual good attitude radiating into the crowd. His first duty was to help out on Kyle’s hit “Can’t Wait Another Day,” which has also appeared in many recent Cheese tour stops. I personally am completely over this song and the hype it receives from Cheeseheads all over. It was great the first two or three times, but after ten or so times hearing this piece, I have given up hope on it being anything else than a Michael Franti wannabe pop hit. “Pack it Up > Boo Boo’s Pik-a-nik” was a pleasant combination featuring all of Kyle’s piano abilities on full display with his Motet friends raging right there with him. Jason Hann provided no real positive or negative effects on any songs he was involved with as his jembe/bongo playing was easily over-shadowed by Garrett and Dan’s fierce bass vs. guitar duels. I wonder why Kyle didn’t have his good buddy Michael Kang come by?

Kyle ended his Friday night set with an “Ordinary > Naïve Melody > Peregrino” which even though very predictable, was an awesome way to get my dancing shoes the work they deserved. All in all it wasn’t the best performance I have ever seen by Mr. Hollingsworth, but maybe he was a bit nervous opening up for the all-mighty funk trio Soulive? Or could it have been the Ft. Collins rage-fest the night before? Whatever the case it didn’t really matter, there was still Soulive and the Saturday night show to go and I knew that weekend was going to kill it no matter what. Soulive came out of the gates dropping jazzy funk all over Cervantes with Alan and Neil Evans leading the charge. The New York based trio can do it all when it comes to music and what is needed on any given night in any given venue. The group led by a formidable leader in Eric Krasno really gets your body moving with their jazzy roots and funky jams. Song after song Soulive brought it to the table and in my opinion stole the show from the Kyle Hollingsworth Band almost immediately. Neil Evans was a keyboard wizard taking on both the keys and the bass line using a B-3 Hammond organ to perfection. His brother Alan was the voice of Soulive and was a damn good drummer to boot. Their sets are clean and well rehearsed with no real stops in tempo or disruptions in the beat to speak of.

Soulive Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 7, 2012.

Eric Krasno is a jazz guitar virtuoso and being the leader of funk bands such as Soulive and Lettuce, one must be able to keep the groove going all night long. His playing style is very similar to that of John Scofield as it seems he flows through the songs rather than shredding from note to note. Krasno can lay a riff in front or behind any bass line or drum beat known to man and it shows in the variety of songs and covers he is flawless in resurrecting any night of the week. Soulive possessed a perfect balance between jazz and funk as the trio jumped from one genre to the other with laser-like precision and the crowd was definitely appreciative of the variety in musical types. I do believe Soulive benefited from having the headlining spot on Friday night as the audience was ready to get it on when the trio hit the stage. To summarize Friday though as a night of disappointments and moments of musical under-delivery would not be the correct thing to do. Even though my mind was not blown at any particular time throughout the night, it was an enjoyable musical experience nonetheless. I could not wait for Saturday though, as we were going to get both of the bands again and Kyle was going to be in the headlining spot. One More Saturday Night!

Saturday night could not have come any quicker if I tried to pull the sun down with a rope myself. Maybe it was the anticipation, or maybe it was the immense amount of caffeine I ingested that morning but the sun-lit hours of Saturday afternoon flew by. I arrived at Cervantes just in time for Soulive to hit the stage and the first thing I noticed was the immense amount of space on the dance floor available to boogie down. For a Saturday night duel-headlining show with this immense amount of talent oozing out of Cervantes pores, I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortable I was for the entirety of the evening. Soulive came out with a bang as the Evan’s Brothers once again led the well-oiled funkified machine, which has become an East Coast mainstay for the last decade or so. What came next was a very unexpected left turn into slow-jam land as the trio went from slow to slower to the slowest funk I have ever heard in my life. The talent on stage could not quench my thirst for some soul-riveting funk, so I left Cervantes and quietly moved over to the Other Side. Wait, what did I just do? Did I really walk out on one of the bands that I have come to love and adore over the last couple years and drool when I hear their name mentioned? Yes, Soulive’s Saturday show was in my opinion boring and if I hear them play any more Beatles songs I will have to punch a baby koala in the face. But what did The Other Side possess which could wet my whistle and help my dancing shoes get their workout in?

Andreux & The See of Sounds was just the thing I needed on this continually disappointing weekend. The lead singer from the recently signed MusicMarauders project, Frogs Gone Fishin’, and his jam-band friends powered through original compositions and rocked The Other Side from start to finish. I had never seen or heard of any of the musicians on stage, but on this night it made no difference as the youthful and energetic feeling that See of Sounds brought to the stage immensely impressed me. Solos passed from electric guitar to drums to a very talented horn section, which included a saxophone and my favorite brass instrument, the trombone. As Louis Armstrong watched over The See of Sounds, it was quite evident that they have a very tight knit group of cult-like followers who like myself, with a band such as Phish or String Cheese, know every subtlety the band possesses and can truly appreciate the beautifulness of each piece. For the sake of this article I apologize for not having more information on the Soulive Saturday performance, but Andrew Portwood and his friends stole my attention from the moment I walked into The Other Side and I could not subject myself to the garbage that Soulive was trying to feed us. I love Soulive, but See of Sounds should have opened the night for the Kyle Hollingsworth Band in my opinion. Hopefully MusicMarauders can get this accomplished in the future, as The See of Sounds is a band which needs to be put on the forefront of the local jamband scene.

Soulive Live at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on December 8, 2012.

I wandered back over to Cervantes as Kyle and his Motet friends hit the stage right on time for their well-deserved headlining spot. The set started with a nice combo of “Too Young > Taxman,” as this was an awesome tribute to the anniversary of John Lennon’s death 32 years to the date earlier. Eric Krasno was nice enough to join in on the rendition of “Taxman” and stayed up on stage to lead Kyle’s band through his original composition, “Unconditional Love.” Our previously announced special guest, Kim Dawson, also joined in for this new song and brought the house down with her gospel like shrieks. “World Girl” came next and as I previously mentioned this song is just not one I want to hear… ever. The Kyle classic “Piece of Mine” was forced to try and save what the previous song had screwed up earlier and did a nice job in turning the set back around. The Motet Horns joined in from this point on and were an awesome addition to Kyle’s already immensely talented band. Then came our first real musical delight of the night as the String Cheese hit “Lost” came blaring through the Cervantes speakers. What a fucking awesome song this is! Funky grooves, great transitional jams and even pretty good lyrics make this song a nice piece of Kyle’s repertoire. WOW! The set had really taken a turn with “World Girl”, but was quickly saved by Kyle and his funktastic friends.

“Way That It Goes > Ordinary” followed and both were great renditions of songs Kyle has commonly placed in his sets over the years. And then the world stopped… The DEEP bass beat of the Peter Gabriel cult-hit “Sledgehammer” came raging through Garrett’s bass and the crowd erupted with joy. Only being 23 myself, I had personally never heard the song, but holy shit am I a fan now. Kyle seemed to have the biggest smile in the world on his face and Kim Dawson provided an amazing vocal accompaniment. To make the first-time cover of Peter Gabriel’s song even more special, the fan favorite “Rosie” came blasting in right after. This was a perfect transition in my opinion and I do hope Kyle might nudge Cheese to look into this one in the future. The set ended with a rousing version of "BAM!" and once again Kyle and his Motet friends had blown my mind. The crowd was stunned after such an energy filled headlining set and I can only imagine what the Soulive boys were thinking as they listened to the carnage backstage.

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 8, 2012.

So what did we learn from this two day rage-fest? A few things:

-Having 2 major bands swap headlining spots can sometimes be tricky
-Andreux & The See of Sounds are badass!
-Soulive needs to stop playing the Beatles
-Kyle knew what he was doing when he stole the Motet’s core group
-And Cervantes delivers over and over again with awesome pairings and great marketing

In the end it was a fucking awesome weekend for all Denver live music fanatics. Hopefully it will happen more often and maybe we'll even see these bands get their own headlining (as opposed to co-headlining) nights at Cervantes in the future. Whatever happens I am pumped as the funk is raging hard in the coolest place I have ever lived. GO DENVER, GO DENVER, GO!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

MusicMarauders Presents: Luke The Knife & Beard of Bees

Cervantes Other Side
Denver, CO

Join us Wednesday at Cervantes Other Side in Denver for MusicMarauders Presents: Luke The Knife feat. Luke Miller (Lotus) & Chuck Morris (Lotus), as well as Beard of Bees feat. Jesse Miller (Lotus)!

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$8 Advance / $10 Day Of Show

Purchase Tickets Here:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

MusicMarauders Presents: Head For The Hills & Iron Horse 12.1.12

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, Co

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man
Video By J-man

For the last decade I have listened to no band more than Iron Horse. Made famous by their bluegrass covers of such mainstream acts as Metallica, Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, Modest Mouse, The Goo Goo Dolls and more, Iron Horse has become a force to recon with. Through their recognition, the band has remained elusive, with limited tour dates and what appears to be a local vision to touring. After ten years of checking their website and waiting to see them live, the day finally came. We did everything that we could to promote the event and make folks aware that Iron Horse was coming to town. We arrived early at the near empty venue and as the time grew near that Iron Horse would take the stage, a certain sense of disappointment overtook me. Where was the crowd of music fans? Did people not get the memo? As Iron Horse took the stage, a massive influx of young folks poured into Cervantes, which became packed within' what seemed like minutes.

Bluegrass versions of rock songs moved the venue as Iron Horse opened up with a couple of clear crowd favorites by Modest Mouse. What followed was Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," with incredible harmonies and instrumentation. The crowd was absolutely ecstatic, dancing uncontrollably and singing along word for word. Metallica's "Unforgiven" raised the energy bar yet again, but also included some terrible feedback as the sound engineer scrambled to handle the mix. The beginning of the set was littered with issues as the engineer threw his hands in the air like a frustrated child. The band played through and kept the show alive through some of the absolute worst sound that I have ever heard at Cervantes.

"Ramble On" was followed by some more Metallica before the band's return to the material of Modest Mouse, which clearly excited the young crowd once again. A ripping version of "Stairway To Heaven" came next and was followed by "Float On," in which the band seemed to forget both the words and the music. The show slowed for a brief number before picking back up with "Crazy Train." The band jumped into "Interstate 8," which fans had been requesting throughout the show. Upon it's completion Iron Horse was asked to do one last song, so they closed with Guns & Roses "Sweet Child Of Mine." The capacity venue was thrilled! Again, they were asked to play another, so they did. Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" closed the show as Cervantes erupted. Backstage, the band seemed excited. Unexpectedly, they were able to perform their opening set to about 800 people, many adoring fans.

Cervantes was at capacity on both sides of the venue as Head For The Hills took the stage for their headlining slot. That evening marked great growth for Head For The Hills. Selling out Cervantes was a big step in their quest for global domination and the band took full advantage of that opportunity. Denver loves Head For The Hills, that much was clear. Their clean, near flawless instrumentation dug deep into the compositions, resulting in an incredible output of sound. With Cervantes as packed as we had ever seen it, we collected our gear and headed over to The Other Side to experience some of Brothers Past. We quickly lost interest in their repetitive beats and unfortunate vocals and made our way towards the exit, having accomplished our objective of seeing Iron Horse.

Carly & J-man's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vital Organ (Porter, Sayers, Schwindt, Hahn) 12.5.12

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Kevin Hahn & Carly Marthis
Audio By Ed Simon

Vital Organ Live at Highland Tap & Burger on December 5, 2012.

Of the bands that play the Wednesday Music Showcase at The Highland Tap & Burger in Denver's Lower Highlands, none draw a larger crowd and provide more energy than Vital Organ. Garrett Sayers Trio is great, as is Joey Porter Trio, however, having both projects come together with Dan Schwint and Daren Hahn is as close as it gets to a super group. On Wednesday the fifth of December, folks at the Tap had the privilege of seeing Vital Organ, as is usually the case on a once-a-month basis. That night would mark the first time that a $5.00 cover charge would be instituted. Outside of a few bogus music fans, folks paid without question to see one of the most incredible bands in the area. The reason I say "bogus" is that if one was actually a music fan, they wouldn't complain about throwing $5.00 to help fund and support incredible live music.

The room packed in with close to one hundred people, drinking, dancing and celebrating the mid point of their work week. Funk and Jazz filled the Highland Tap with each member of the band exchanging solos and absolutely shredding on their respected instruments. In the relative sea of people, Luke Miller (Lotus) and Jason Hann (SCI, EOTO) could be seen enjoying the evening. Following several funk covers and an obscure yet raging cover of George Michael's "Faith," the show wound down. Vital Organ played for about two and a half hours straight, to the delight of those in attendance. With the evening's conclusion, the appreciative crowd headed out into the crisp Denver night.

Catch Joey Porter Trio at The Highland Tap & Burger on Wednesday December 12th!

Kevin & Carly's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Textiles feat. Pete Wall 12.7.12

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

Odds are, if you live in the Denver area and you like funk, you've likely seen Pete Wall guesting with any number of bands from Particle or The Recovery Act to Polytoxic's Last Waltz... Wall is a fixture on sax in the Denver clubs. Much like Warren Haynes, he loves to play and does so any time he can. I went to see Pete's project, Textiles, who was playing at Dazzle, a jazz club with cool lighting, nice ambience and upscale fare. As I made my way inside, I was greeted by soft, colorful lights (some in funky psychedelic fixtures) and the soothing sound of jazz. I was immediately aware that this club was a perfect venue for the music that was being played. The kind of place where a hippie might feel comfortable wearing a tie. The music had a sophistication, a swagger and a looseness that translated well to the room.

There were several things that made this outfit unique. For starters, Pete Wall... This guy plays sax with excellent tone, swift dexterity, fierce intensity and jazzy tension and he does it with an ease that reminds me of Ron Burgundy wooing Veronica Corningstone. He is extremely comfortable performing... And I'm guessing has a touch more humor than you'd find in a typical jazzman. He and his bandmates joked with each other often between songs, not for our entertainment, mostly for their own and that made the vibe lighter. The second thing that makes them one of a kind, is that they had no guitar. The lineup was drums, bass, piano/keys, producer/sound sculptor and sax. Whoa, whoa, whoa... producer/ sound sculptor?!? In a jazz band?! What? Yes... The next thing that makes them unique is their producer, who laid down subtle beat tracks, jazz hooks and funk riffs, within the context of their groove. It's cool because you almost miss it at first and then you start to hear that subtle difference that is an update to yesterday's jazz. He has also created his own instrument, which looked like a Moog Voyager mated with an Atari. Not only is it one of the most unusual instruments I've seen, but he played it in a way that was a step up from Futureman's synth-ax-drum-itar.

The funk element definitely leans in on Textiles sound as well and some of their lounge style occasionally gets a little dancey. When I ran into Pete at setbreak, I told him I had seen him often with other bands. He told me that sitting in with bands is usually straight "raging" and that the Textiles provide a opportunity for him to play music that "breathes" more. I can appreciate that... I really enjoyed their fresh blend of music and thought that Dazzle for Textiles was a really hip place to take a lady. Classy joint, stylish band and excellent atmosphere. Get your collared shirt, hippie. This isn't Cervantes...

Brad's Photo Gallery

moe. 12.1.12

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock
Audio By Chuck Miller

Show two from moe. was on the dock and ready to jump into the icy lake that is the Ogden. After a strange first night I was ready for a more chill experience and some classic jamming from one of my favorite bands. I spent the day playing some disc golf and then lounging at the Rockmada before heading to dinner and then the show. It was a nice relaxing day that got us ready to rage one more night. Local favorites The Congress had been selected to fill the opening slot. Ironically the first time I saw The Congress was opening up for moe. a few years back in Breckenridge. Lead by the powerful vocals and bass of Jonathan Meadows, the band is now striped down into a power trio with Scott Lane on guitar and Mark Levy on kit. Scott gyrates wildly onstage as he sets fire to the neck of the guitar. It’s great to see a rock outfit of this caliber playing in utter synchronicity. Again making the most of their forty-five minute slot, they performed a scorching set that saw an early “Jonah Gideon” energize the crowd. There seemed to be more early arrivers on night two. Perhaps people got the message from a solid set from YAMN on night one. The highlight of their set was a sweet version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” that really demonstrated Meadows’ range as a singer. He can deliver a grumbled rock voice on one song and then sing a delicate blues number on the next go. They also premiered a new song entitled “When I’ve Got The Time,” which was a rockabilly number that sounded fantastic. The Congress’ set was over as soon as it began and it was time for two more from moe.

moe. Live at Ogden Theatre on December 1, 2012.

Set One: Paper Dragon> Happy Hour Hero, Big World> Ricky Marten> Where Does The Time Go?, Water> Haze

Set Two: Skrunk> Shoot First, Y.O.Y, Spine Of A Dog> So Long> Wicked Awesome, Sticks and Stone> Spaz Medicine, Plane Crash

Encore: Zed Nought Z> Time Ed

moe. opened with the Rob sung “Paper Dragon.” This track while relatively new is a great vehicle for tight riffing and fun interplay. They went into the fan favorite “Happy Hour Hero” that became a massive sing along. It was a smooth way to ease into the set before a nice but quick “Big World.” It was obvious that they were beginning with a quicker pace as opposed to the spaced out playing we witnessed on night one. The segues as always were clean, especially during the transition in and out of “Ricky Marten.” “Where Does The Time Go?” was a late set breather before a ridiculous “Water” ignited the fuse. Chuck’s graceful guitar licks hypnotized the audience. “Water” was the first extended jamming of the evening but never really getting too far off the beaten path. They ended the set with a stellar “Haze” that seemed fit in that spot like a well-time Tetris line.

moe. began the second set with a rowdy “Skrunk” that featured some of the most intense jamming of the night. Chuck settled everyone down with a bouncy “Shoot First” before moe. pulled out the now classic “Y.O.Y." moe. continues to be one of the tightest bands touring today. The longevity of the project has really allowed all of the members of the band to meld musically in a way that should be the standard. There are very few of groups in the scene who can say they have been around for over twenty years with not one serious breakup or extended hiatus. They treated fans to another standard with a quick “Spine Of A Dog” that utilized a riff on Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” (Better known as the “Assembly Line Song”) as the segue into “Wicked Awesome.” Al killed it on “W.A.” which is tribute to the radio that shaped his love of music. “Sticks and Stones” is a personal favorite, so it was nice to see it in the mix. “Spaz Medicine” was well executed, but the “Plane Crash” was by far the best jam of the night. Reaching over fourteen minutes, it was an invigorating take on “PC” in its traditional set closing spot.

moe. encored with a very tranquil “Zed Naugh Z” before absolutely jumping over the edge with a huge “Time Ed.” All in all this was a very nice show although somewhat more bottled than night one at times. These two shows demonstrate the versatility that moe. has with each and every outing. They can walk stage and play four songs for an hour and a half or deliver fifteen-song sets. Each one of their tunes is like a piece of play dough that they can stretch or shrink based on their needs for that particular time and place. Much of that comes from their endurance as a band over time. moe. has already announced initial lineups for both Summer Camp and moe.down. Both look incredibly promising and if other festivals follow suit, we’ll be looking at another amazing summer of music. Wait what month is it?

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Monday, December 10, 2012

moe. 11.30.12

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock
Audio By Chuck Miller

moe. made their jubilant return to Denver as makeup for two missed shows in July. Their drummer Vinnie Amico came down with a case of mono and they had to postpon several shows at the end of the summer tour. The wait was long, but worthwhile, as the shows added openers for both nights that included local favorites Yamn and The Congress.

Yamn has been in Jam Band Purgatory and are just back from a yearlong hiatus. New to the group is Paul Evans on keyboards, which is part of the reason for the extended absence from the scene. One would expect some jitters or general nervousness from the band considering the time since their last show. Quite the opposite was true with Yamn coming out as the consummate showmen and blasting through a smoking opening set.

Set One: Burner, Apparition, Floating Leave, Low Gravity, Ricochet, Home Sweet Home^

^w Chuck Garvey

As the opener for a band like moe., it’s important to hit it hard. With lots of potential new fans in the audience and only forty-five minutes to play, it’s important to make an impression quickly. That’s exactly what Yamn did at the Ogden. Soaring through the various sounds of jam and incorporating riff-y electronic effects, Yamn wowed the early arrivers. They proved to the crowd that they are still a force to contend with on the local scene. Given their absence they couldn’t have asked for a better show to reintroduce themselves to the hometown crowd. The highlight was a Chuck Garvey sit-in on Motely Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.” Yamn is known for their random covers of classic rock tunes, but this was an unexpected treat.
After a short set break the five guys named moe. took the stage looking a bit more Grizzly Adams than usual. Al stepped up to his guitar donning a salt and pepper beard and Rob came out looking generally unshaven. They opened with a classic “Graffenberg.”

moe. Live at Ogden Theatre on November 30, 2012.

Set One: Dr. Graffenberg, Hi and Lo> The Pit, Not Coming Down> Wormwood> Deep This Time, Recreational Chemistry

Set Two: Silver Sun> Puebla> Interstellar Overdrive> Head, Awesome Gary> Brent Black*

Encore: Four> The Ghost Of Ralph’s Mom

*Rob Teased the “Peanuts Theme Song” during his bass solo while wearing a Storm Trooper mask.

“DG” stretched on into the realm of spacey with a huge solo from Al before the song melted down into a pleasant “Hi and Lo.” I like this set placement, it was a bit of a step back from “Graffenberg,” but it fit in nicely. From there they broke into the darkly, stunning “The Pit.” By this point I had made it back from the photo pit to Amy and company located to the right of the soundboard. There was an over enthused girl to my right who upon my arrival collapsed into a seizure. Amy and I caught her and braced her as several slacked-jawed gawkers gazed on in bewilderment. I finally said, “Someone go get help,” at which point the girl snapped awake and a yellow jacketed security guard took her away. Not the best way to start a show. The familiar beat of “Not Coming Down” brought the show back into focus before the band took a mid-set breather with a classy “Wormwood.” From the tranquil solitude of “Wormwood,” the band emerged with Rob taking the microphone on a straightforward “Deep This Time.” “Recreational Chemistry” was anything but straightforward. Stretching on to almost 25 minutes and again seeing Al participating in an absolute shred fest and Jim killing it on the vibes, it was an amazing way to end the first set. One can only assume that the extended “Rec Chem” was a nod to the recent passing of Amendment 64 in Colorado.

moe. came back with a gorgeous “Silver Sun” that morphed into a dark rhythmic back and forth. The hallmark of the second set would be long jams with limited singing. It really felt like the boys just wanted to play. “Puebla” reached the ten-minute mark and continued on the darker path. moe. followed up with a massive version of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” This was a track they used to play a lot in the mid to late nineties and gets tossed into the rotation a couple times a year. It’s always a nice song to catch and this version just builds spectacularly. “Head” exploded out of the Syd Barrett classic with the .rons going nuts, but “Awesome Gary” into “Brent Black” was the highlight of the entire show. The “Brent Black” featured a nice drum solo before Rob returned to the stage, donned a Storm Trooper mask, and delivered one of the most amazing bass solos I’ve seen from him. His solo included a holiday wink to the crowd in the form a “Peanuts Theme Song” tease. The band returned to the stage to finish out “BB” and thus the second set.

moe. came back with a tasty “Four” into a brief “The Ghost of Ralph’s Mom” encore to end the first night at The Ogden. With the opener, moe. pushed right up against the 2:00 AM curfew, but managed to squeak this one out at the buzzer. This was a solid show that ventured into the realm of space and deep jam throughout both sets. It definitely felt like the show was for the fans. Night two would prove to be a show more suited for the masses.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Sunday, December 9, 2012

MusicMarauders Presents: Brothers Past & Tiger Party 11.30.12

Cervantes Other Side
Denver, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel
Photos By Britt Nemeth

The weekend began with high hopes as I knew I'd be covering two bands from my home state of Pennsylvania. Friday at Cervantes Other Side, Brothers Past brought the livetronica fans out in full force. The club was elbow to elbow back to the lounge area in the rear. I arrived just as Tiger Party was taking the stage. Being billed with BP, I expected another electronica act, especially considering I've heard some of the members in other projects that lean on electronic. Seth Fankhauser, the drummer of Malah, kept a tight funk based groove going strong. Guitarist Ryan Burnett, from Signal Path, played series after series of mercurial riffs creating a morphing metallic timbre that was edgy, smooth, and sleek, like the bad guy from Terminator 2. The band is a collaboration of musicians in several other bands and keyboardist Blake appears to conduct the pieces, signaling for changes and leading many of the tunes. His energy was contagious as he bounced eagerly with the music. With my memories of Brothers Past shows of yesteryear, I debated if I may be having more fun with Tiger Party than I would with the main event... Especially once they brought Atomga's Leah up on sax. Her funky accents in the composed sections were as delightful as her smoking solo. This girl can really bring the whole thing together with the sultry sound of her Baritone Saxophone. As Tiger Party wrapped up, I was convinced this would not be the last time our paths would cross.

Brothers Past came out to a packed house ready to get down. They began with an indie band vibe as guitarist Tom Hamilton sang a song that sounded a little flat and without articulation. As I tried to make out the words, I wondered if the mix was causing the muddy vocals, but ultimately it didn't matter, as the band launched into my electronica expectations. The predictability was high, but their ability to communicate changes and execute dramatic pinpoint turns was impressive. I didn't remember the alternative/indie angle in my past experience with BP and while it provided for many of the unexpected points of the night, I felt like the predictable parts were more enjoyable. There is no question at all the musicians are beyond proficient, the guitarist continuously delivered a blizzard of notes in our own little snow globe. I waffled at this show. I went back and forth several times as some passages pulled me in and blew my doors off, while others were driven by one or two note repetitions I found to be generic and overdone. As a fan who tends to stay on the outskirts of electronica music, I wasn't sure if BP reminded me of everything else, or if everything else reminded me of BP. It's been quite a while since I had seen them and while some thing's have definitely changed, most of the show was exactly what I expected it to be. Tight rhythms with shades of drum and bass, house and other blends of electronica pervaded the majority of the night.

When I write about a band that I am not as familiar with, I try to isolate the element that makes them unique. With BP, it is the intricate guitar work of Tom Hamilton that had an almost Umphrey's McGee ferocity which relentlessly rode wave after wave of dance beats. It was also the indie leaning vocal breaks. As a cast of vocalists ran through my mind, my friend looked at me and said, "you hear Duritz in there?" Not only did I know what she meant, I had thought it an instant before she said it. It's a strange juxtaposition to put the lyrical parts of your song in an alternative framework from the exploratory style that dominates your sound. That's how it felt to me. It was like seeing a mediocre coffee shop performer one minute and a polished dj the next. The changes were impeccable, but there was no continuity to the themes or ideas. The continuity that did exist was in the electro dance portions, which were at times monotonous, but had an excellent flow. The indie-alternative interludes were disruptive in my humble opinion. This coming from someone who's number one complaint about electronica is the repetition. And yet, I still preferred their dance party to their alternative side. The times when I was reminded of STS9, Lotus, and the like, I was dancing in a sea of money-maker shakers. I even considered playing "air laptop" at one point. Their drummer, Rick Lowenberg was energetic, metronomic and adept at blending the electronic drums with a regular kit, making for a nearly constant dance party. I'd also say that when I liked what they were doing, I really liked it. The frenzy of guitar notes pioneered as the rest of the band laid the landscape resulting in a driven, methodical groove. When I'd start to think it was completely off the cuff, the entire band would change direction, usually for just a measure or two, before returning to the exploratory riffs.

In the end, I really did like Tiger Party better. It's not that BP aren't incredibly talented, its a personal preference... I like the funk beats more than the drum and bass, but it didn't stop the "nuts to butts" packed house from having a blast during BP's Denver visit.

Britt's Photo Gallery