Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bark and Bluegrass Music Festival 8.25.12

Civic Center Park
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Beyond a few puppy pulling wookies, dogs are rarely allowed at concerts. This is most definitely not the case at the Bark and Bluegrass Festival in Fort Collins. In fact the dogs are the honored guests with pools and volunteers passing out treats, it is obvious that dogs are most definitely welcome. This is my second year in attendance and of course my dog’s second show. Set in the Civic Center Park in Fort Collins, this is their third year putting on the show to benefit the Larimer Humane Society. This year was a step back from last year’s two-day event with one night of music and a more centralized lineup. Headlined by Emmitt-Nershi Band there was plenty of music and fun to fill up an entire day.

I was flying in from Vermont for work, so I raced up to town to catch Bluegrass Delta Force at 4:00 pm. The Bluegrass Delta Force are a traditional string group that really impressed. Former WhiteWater Ramble fiddle player Adam Galblum was prominent in their mix, which was nice. As a group they are incorporating great talent and awesome song selection. They were given a hour and a half slot to play meaning they really got to stretch their musical legs in the show and really show the crowd whey they were all about. The highlight of their set was a version of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” sung by bassist Andrew Bonnis.

For anyone who has been to Hodi’s it’s likely that you saw a stout beardo behind the soundboard. What many including myself did not know is that Jeremy Grant fronts the band Turn 4. This Greely based act was a blend of rockabilly, alt country, and bluegrass. They have an intense style to their playing while maintaining solid musicianship. Taking influence from Dylan, Tom Waits, Rolling Stones, and Waylon Jennings, it’s obvious to anyone watching that they are a personified tapestry of all of their heroes. Along with a slew of originals they also busted out their version of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar.”

As the sun set over the park it was time for the Leftover Salmon/String Cheese Incident intermingle Emmitt-Nershi Band. The raw talent of this group is enough get any fan excited, not to mention the fact that the group also includes banjo master Andy Thorn as well as John Grubb on bass. This was my first time seeing them with Grubb and he held down the beat incredibly well. ecept for one or two ENB songs, the setlist was mainly comprised of Salmon and Cheese tunes which really seemed to delight the crowd. They opened with “Gold Hill Line” Additional highlights of their almost two hour set included a massive “Restless Wind”, a beautifully Emmitt sung “Down In The Hollow”, and a popping version of “Johnny Cash”. They encored with a fun and relaxed “Barstools.”

This was by far the best show I’ve seen from ENB and I was incredibly happy they were chosen to headline the fest. Bark and Bluegrass is such a unusual premise for a festival. Sitting beside my pup and listening to some incredible bluegrass is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins. I would highly recommend to any pet or music lover to make the trek to Bark and Bluegrass. It is truly a unique event in Northern Colorado.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Joey Defrancesco Trio 8.24.12

Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge
Denver, CO

Word By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man

When legendary organ grinder, Joey DeFrancesco passed through Denver, there was one club suited to host such an event. Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge presented two evenings (four shows) with Joey D's Trio and we were fortunate enough to catch the very last of the performances! The trio took the stage inside the intimate club to a half filled room of folks dinning, drinking and anticipating an hour of absolute in your face jazz. A short glance at the fairly extensive menu and our dinner and drinks arrived with a delightfully decorative approach. The lights went down and Music Director Kevin Lee took the stage, as he always does, to welcome everyone to Dazzle, lay down a few straight-forward policies and to introduce the talent. The Trio began and as Joey smiled, I clutched the table, as I knew what we were in for.

The trio came flying out of the gates with wailing instrumentation. This was world-class jazz. Joey's expressive playing was captivating and with the band transitioning on the drop of a dime, there wasn't a dull moment. The chemistry and communication on stage was both clear and light, with all of the members smiling as they dug into complex parts. Beyond the organ, Joey was also featured on trumpet for a portion of the show. On guitar, Steve Cotter flew across the fret board with precision and vigor. On drums, Jeremy Thomas drew in the crowd with his fairly loose style that brought his sticks down on the beat every time. Together, the band showcased selections off of Joey newest album Wonderful! Wonderful! as well as other brilliant straight ahead material.

The hour flew by and as I came out of a jazz trance, I glanced around the room and was shocked that Dazzle wasn't packed. It should have been. This man is a jazz legend who is outputting some of the best straight-ahead work of our time, and the half full club who was clearly captivated, seemed to be in on a secret. It felt odd and also intimate. The standing ovation translated to one album sale at the end of the night. My mind was rattled and my jaw was hanging down as we departed Dazzle. What we had witnessed was easily one of the most enjoyable musical experiences that we had seen in some time.

Carly & J-man's Photos

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Dead: San Diego, CA 1970

Golden Hall
San Diego, CA

Words By J-man

Grateful Dead Live at Golden Hall on January 10, 1970.

Setlist: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Me & My Uncle, Dire Wolf, Hard To Handle, Casey Jones, Mason's Children > Black Peter, Good Lovin' > Drums > Good Lovin', Cold Rain & Snow, Turn On Your Love Light

The transition from the 60s to the 70s was much more seamless for the Dead than other decades to follow. One of the first shows of the year, it's an absolute barn-burner. The recording opens with "China Cat" into "I Know You Rider" to fire up the experience! There is some debate over whether or not it the complete recording, though it sounds complete in it's composition. The highlight of the show is a twenty six minute "Lovelight" that features Pigpen herding cats when the psychedelically influenced band took off instrumentally. Enjoy the cleanliness of this soundboard coupled with some great moments from this key transitional period!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bohemian Nights at New West Fest August 9th -12th, 2012

Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

Bohemian Nights is the cornerstone of the summer in Fort Collins. It is a celebration of music and highlights some of the incredible homegrown acts in Colorado. The musical performers are a literal smorgasbord of everything this great state has to offer. The nice thing for any music fan is that you can pick and choose your experience to suit your tastes. Being a fan of bluegrass and jam it was easy to cull through the offerings and check out what was appealing to my preferences. In addition to the great local acts performing across six stages, New West Fest brought in several headliners that are some of the most sought after live acts touring today. With over ninety concerts over three days there was a lot to take in for everyone in attendance.

-Friday August 10th, 2012-

On Friday I made the choice to stay at the main stage for Dubskin, Euforquestra, and the headliner Michael Franti with Spearhead. Dubskin began the night with their brand of fiery American Reggae. Jamal Skinner has an amazing authenticity that permeates everything he does on stage. With the power duo of Ryan Jalbert and Mike Tallman on guitar this band exudes raw talent. Their approach to the reggae genre leaves nothing to be desired. This 7-piece lineup has everything going for them right now with shows at Summer Camp, Red Rocks, and Wakarusa under their belt the future is looking bright. Their show at New West Fest was simply a blast. They brought a powerful energy and really invigorated the crowd for a night of music.

Next up was Fort Collins transplants Euforquestra. It’s no secret that I love these guys. They bring the heat every time they play. With the recent departure of bassist Ben Soltou the band has shaken up things a bit. Adam Grosso went back into the bass slot while newcomer Craig Babineau has taken his spot behind the kit. Grosso has a more “driving the bus” style as opposed to Soltou’s funky roots, which makes for a distinct change in the band’s sound. That being said, this was the first time I had the chance to see the reformatted lineup and I was definitely impressed. Awesome versions of “Soup” and “Road Funk” really hit the mark in a big way. The crowd definitely began to fill in; in anticipation of Franti. Euforquestra did a great job opening for the headliner. Their version of Beck’s “Nicotine and Gravy” was a high water mark of the show.

Michael Franti and Spearhead took the stage around 8:30 PM to a capacity crowd on Mountain Avenue. This guy is a bucket of liveliness and his show in Fort Collins was no exception. Within the first couple songs he was off the stage and in the crowd. A common occurrence at Spearhead shows to be sure, but it’s always a thrill for those in attendance. Versions of “Everyone Deserves Music” and “Hey Hey Hey” were highlights of the hour and half set. Franti bounced around the stage while Carl Young on bass and Manas Itiene on drums held the rhythm down tightly. While Franti may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I have to say his positivity is simply infectious. It was an excellent end to the first night of New West Fest.

The Bohemian Foundation in association with the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association went above and beyond in the creation of this one of a kind event. They worked tirelessly for months to make it all happen and it is one of the best-run festivals in Colorado. In their eight year the organizers continue to raise the bar every summer. With countless volunteers and some incredible staff they give local musicians an astonishing opportunity to perform in front of massive crowds.

-Saturday August 11th, 2012-

Day two began for me with The Holler! at the Old Town Stage in the heart of Fort Collins’ pedestrian mall. The Holler! is an Americana, Bluegrass experience that has become a local favorite over the past few years. Led by Michael Kirkpatrick these guys put songwriting above the jam in a way that makes for some interesting performances. Their show at New West Fest definitely drew a crowd, making it hard for fans to maneuver. They were a great start to my second day at the fest.

Fort Collins favorites Good Gravy! hit the Library stage next. Emerging as a Northern Colorado jam powerhouse since their beginning in 2007. They have invigorated audiences up and down the Front Range and they definitely deserved their spot at Bohemian Nights. They played well, and were a nice segue into Grateful Dead cover band Shakedown Street on the same stage. Playing Johnny Cash’s “Big River” their selection of songs ran the gambit of the Dead archive. They are excellent musicians and Colorado’s premier Dead cover band.

I headed back over to the Old Town Square stage for Trichome. Their brand of funk-infused roots rock is enough to get anyone moving. They too hail from Fort Collins and continue to make strides with fans and festivals across the country. Their show at New West Fest was an excellent demonstration of what supporters have come to expect from Trichome. I left impressed, before heading back to the Green Room to relax before Allison Krauss & Union Station took the Mountain Avenue stage.

Headlining the entire festival Allison Krauss is colossal name in the world of bluegrass. With Grammy winning Jerry Douglas by her side on the dobro the show stuck to both of their roots. Never straying too far from the bluegrass or Americana genre, the band played to an audience that literally stretched form blocks. In fact they ended up setting up gates, as there were simply too many people on the street. Krauss shied away from the press opting only to let photographers in the pit for her second song and even then hiding behind her microphone stand. The music didn’t suffer and her sweet voice reverberated off of the buildings in downtown Fort Collins. She certainly deserves her place at the top of the bluegrass world.

-Sunday August 12th, 2012-

I headed down to Bohemian Nights on Sunday around 3 PM for Widow’s Bane. For those that don’t know this self-proclaimed “Zombie-Death-Polka” band performs adorned in face paint and blood. Led by Mortimer Leech who was poisoned by his wife a few hundred years ago, The Widow’s Bane does not shy away form playing to the crowd. They invited a friend to serve cotton candy to the mass as they performed. They were the surprise of the festival, playing up their characters and making for an intriguing blend of rock, folk, and cowpunk.

I took my time heading back over to the Old Town Square Stage for Leftover Salmon side project Great American Taxi. It had been two years since GAT had played at Bohemian Nights and they definitely drew in the people. The highlight of their set was a beautiful rendition of “Silver Fiddle.” With Vince Herman at the reigns this band never disappoints.

I went to see a bit of Sunday headliners Gipsy Kings before ending the weekend at Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Kyle of The String Cheese Incident has assembled an all star side project including Garrett Sayers on bass and Dave Watts on kit. They played everything you would want to her from them including an epic set closing “Rosie.” I left the event happy to have covered it, and elated with how well it came off. It’s impossible to live in Fort Collins and not make it down for at least a day or two of Bohemian Nights. Even if you don’t like many of the bands there is always plenty to see and do. I took the opportunity this year to pick my very own 10-show weekend, which is easy to do given the fact that so many bands played the event. It was well run and a great time, now let’s see moe. headline a night next year. Thanks to the Bohemian Foundation and the Downtown Association for all the hard work.

Nicholas' Friday Photo Gallery

Nicholas' Saturday Photo Gallery

Nicholas' Sunday Photo Gallery

Members of SOJA feat. Pete Wall

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis

Sure, it sounds unbelievable... Members of the world renowned reggae band, SOJA (who played Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Sunday) would be hosting an evening at The Highland Tap & Burger? This is precisely what happened Monday in Denver's Lower Highlands. Nestled into the beautiful neighborhood overlooking the Denver skyline, we arrived at The Tap to find a touring class bus parked in the dirt parking lot next to the row of businesses. It was an odd site for any small neighborhood, and clued me in to how the evening may unfold. Inside the Tap there was a different crowd from our typical music nights. These folks were sporting dreadlocks and reggae t-shirts. It was a nice change of pace. Following the fairly extensive set up of gear, it was time to plug in and fire up.

A night of acoustic covers, is not so much my forte, in fact I expected it to be somewhat lost on me. With the energy that grew and the addition of special guest Pete Wall (Particle, Textiles), as well as special guests off of the SOJA bus, I stood corrected. On guitar was Trevor Young, on percussion was Kenny Bongos with the help of their roadie. Reaching back to mainly the 90s, what followed was an extensive two sets, fueled by the energy of the crowd, the excitement of the band and a plethora of light beers and shots. Four chord rhythm collided with fantastic percussion and raging tenor and soprano solos. It was clear that the band was excited by Pete's ability as he matched tones and dropped insane fills.

Highlights of the performance included The Police's "Message In A Bottle," Sublime's "Doin' Time" and "Badfish," Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Dave Matthews' "Tripping Billies" and so many more. For many, it's easy to write off an evening of acoustic covers, but that night was special. The packed crowd received the project with thunderous applause and vocal support throughout the show. At one point in the evening there was a full horn section, multiple percussionists and looping guitar. It made for a full sound in such an intimate room!

As the wild evening drew down in the Highlands, people continued to celebrate what was actually a Monday? In the we hours of the morning, folks departed from the Tap with smiles on their faces, for those in attendance witnessed something special that evening. Where else in this beautiful town can you see a band at Red Rocks one night and a small bar the next? That evening was a clear indicator of the think big approach that the music showcases have taken on. Did we mention it was free?

Carly's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shakedown Street, Sprindale Quartet, Atomga, Recovery Act 8.20.12

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis

Arriving to a fairly packed Owsleys' courtyard is not typical given the early hour of the night. Most opening bands draw a handful of people, with folks streaming in as the night gets later. At about 9:30 pm on that summer Saturday evening, the courtyard was crawling with music fans looking to get their first glimpse of one of Denver's newest bands, The Recovery Act. That evening would mark the band's debut and with more well known staples of the scene, Shakedown Street, Springdale Quartet, Atomga and Artist at Large Pete Wall (Particle, Textiles) on sax, the evening was sure to be at least a moderate success.

Our arrival came a couple of songs into The Recovery Act's set and they were already getting to it with the classic soul tune, "Son of a Preacher Man." Not many bands take on such iconic and challenging material on their first gig, yet here we were and lead singer Lindsay French was proving that this was indeed, just the beginning. Her backing band looked young, but displayed the skill set of musicians who were much older. Dan Howson's guitar work weaved in an out of the organ output of Adam Williamson. The rhythm section of Tyler Olmsted on bass and Adam Segalis on drums fit the mold and had the patio groovin'. A few songs into the set and the band called up Artist at Large, Pistol Pete Wall. The energy quickly became elevated as it was clear to see the band's visible excitement at Pete joining the mix.

Pete slayed the solos and fills with precision and a bright quality that clearly stood out. With the set's conclusion, friends family and new fans made their way to the side stage to show their appreciation. From an objective standpoint, the band sounded good, not only for their inaugural gig, but for a band at any point in the early part of their musical career. The instrumentation was strong, the vocals were tight and the energy was great. It would be up to the Denver music scene moving forward to welcome (or not) this new talented group. In a saturated market, exposure and finding your place can be tough, but one thing that The Recovery Act has going for it is its tendency to lean on soul. Denver has a plethora of funk bands, doing soul... But what about a soul band that does funk?

Inside Quixote's was a terrible project that will go unnamed. They had all the annoying aspects of Primus' shrill tone and nonsensical approach, without the extreme talent and showmanship. Back on the patio, second rate Colorado afrobeat band, Atomga took the stage to a packed house. The instrumentation was average, the song selection was fine, but the solo work and energy left much to be desired. With bands like The Motet and Euforquestra so easily accessible locally, Atomga is going to have to step up if they want to make a name for themselves. Somewhere in the middle of their set the band called up Pete to show them how it was done. He took over to the point where I felt like several of Atomga's members were just watching him destroy. To say the set wasn't fun would be inaccurate, it was; but it's time to step it up, Atomga.

Inside Quixote's, Colorado's premier Grateful Dead cover band, Shakedown Street took the stage to a quickly filling room. I recall the first time I saw Shakedown Street and I remember thinking "these guys are decent." The more I see this band, the more I learn to appreciate the carrying of the torch, as well as the quality and appreciation that this group of gentleman has for Dead music. Their instrumentation and intuition was spot on, the depth of the jams were deep and the inclusion of Pete helped to "Furthur" elevate the set. Unlike earlier points in the evening, Pete worked his way into the compositions as opposed to coming out swinging.

As the evening got later and the following morning's obligations came to mind, we slowly made our way to the exit. That night was a promising reminder of the potential of the local music scene. And although we missed Springdale Quartet's set, I received a late night text from Pete expressing his excitement for the band and the potential for what they were doing. As my eyes became heavy I reflected on yet another beautiful night on one of the countries top music scenes...

Carly's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival Sept. 14th-16th

Words By Scott Shrader(J. Scott Shrader Photography)

Bluegrass music has deep roots in the North Carolina mountains and, in line with that tradition, this coming September the mountain town of Pinnacle, NC will welcome the 1st annual Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival. The three-day festival will be nestled into a natural amphitheater at the Jomeokee Campgrounds. The festival will feature two side-by-side stages that will alternate sets of live music all weekend. One stage will showcase the bluegrass, string, and Americana side of the line-up, while the second stage will cater more to the funk, jam, and world music vibe.

The festival will take place on September 14, 15 & 16. It will feature world class acts such as The Del McCoury Band, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams with Travelin' McCoury's, Jimmy Herring Band, Lettuce, Emmit-Nershi Band, Midnite, Floodwood, Patterson Hood & The Downtown Rumblers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Broadcast, Twin Cats, Invisible III, Captain Midnight Band & The Danberrys. The Everyone Orchestra will be hosting two different jams over the weekend. First, Matt Butler will conduct a funk jam featuring George Porter Jr., Michael Kang, Jennifer Hartswich, Melvin Seals, Jeff Sipes & many more. Second, there will be a bluegrass jam featuring Del McCoury, Yonder Mountain, and members of String Cheese Incident & Leftover Salmon.

The producers of Jomeokee have brought us such festivals as Smilefest and Head Jamz, so anyone who has attended either of those knows to expect some of the same vibes and aspects that made those events so special. To anyone who hasn't, you can expect a wide variety of music and arts to keep you more than happy for the weekend. Workshop stages will be available through out the weekend and will host all kind of experiences with different musicians. Love late-night campfire picking jams? You're in luck! Don't think you can make it to the festival because of the family and kids? No worries! Bring them along. Jomeokee is also a family-friendly festival featuring a children's area, family camping, and even a family campfire. These days, there is an abundance of music festivals to attend. While Jomeokee is a newcomer to the game, it offers a combination of affordable ticket prices, a low-key atmosphere, and genuinely talented musicians that makes it stand out from the other choices.


General Admission (3-Day Pass) : $145.00

VIP Pass : $300.00

Vehicle Camping Pass : $50.00

RV Pass (no power) : $90.00

RV Pass (w/ power) : $150.00

Sunday Night Camping Pass: $25.00

*Advance price general admission passes move to the regular rate of $155 on September 4th.*

Full Line-Up:

-Del McCoury Band (Del McCoury will be onsite all weekend)
-Stephen Marley
-Yonder Mountain String Band (2 performances)
-Keller Williams and the Travelin’ McCourys
-Jimmy Herring Band
-Everyone Orchestra (Conducted by Matt Butler and featuring Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic), George Porter Jr., Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band), Al Schnier & Vinnie Amico (moe.), Michael Kang (The String Cheese Incident), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Jeff Sipe, and more!)
-Patterson Hood & the Downtown Rumblers
-Emmitt–Nershi Band
-Larry Keel and Natural Bridge
-All-Star Bluegrass Jam feat. members of Del McCoury Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Acoustic Syndicate and more!
-The Captain Midnight Band
-The Broadcast
-Invisible III
-Twin Cats
-The Danberrys

Monday, August 20, 2012

Joey Porter's Vital Organ 8.15.12

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Preston Heffley (
IdeaZign Media)

Wednesday's Free Music Showcase welcomed an extension of The Highland Tap musical family, and supergroup, Vital Organ. Led by Joey Porter (Juno What, The Motet) his group consisted of Garrett Sayers (GST, The Motet, Kyle Hollingsworth Band), Dan Schwindt (Kyle Hollingsworth Band) and Daren Hahn (formerly of Ani DiFranco & The Eels)! What began as a rare treat of one or two dates with Vital Organ, will hopefully grow into a staple for upcoming Music Showcases at The Tap!

As the band set up near the front garage door style window of the restaurant, excited fans began to stream in and claim tables. Before we knew it, the Tap was packed. The quartet launched into their two hour set, as owner Paul Brown and I moved tables to accommodate the growing crowd. The packed Tap loved what they were hearing, and maybe more so than ever, they danced with approval. The combination of four of the hardest hitters in Colorado, showcased their pure musical ability through fantastically funky instrumentation. Joey's chops and solo work mesmerized as Garrett's low end work blew minds and laid down the groove. Dan's guitar playing elevated the group exponentially adding a fitting layer of raging guitar work. Daren destroyed his kit with fury as if he were not at the Tap, but instead a sold out Madison Square Garden. There was no shortage of intensity with this quartet.

One encore turned to two, two to three and the evening finally came to close with the announcement of free LOHI Music Festival t-shirts for everyone in attendance. The focused shifted from dancing and getting down to showing appreciation for the musicians and scooping a shirt. Outside on the patio folks began to unwind with some of their favorite musicians. That night at the Tap members of The Motet, Juno What, GST, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Lotus and Octopus Nebula turned out to participate on one level or another in the musical happening. The Tap has become a sort of melting pot of talent, growing at an increasing rate with new opportunities for local talent and music fans alike.

Join us every Wednesday at The Highland Tap & Burger and stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding new weekly showcases!

Preston's Photo Gallery

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Dead: Stanford University 1973

Roscoe Maples Pavilion (Stanford University)
Palo Alto, CA

Words By J-man

The historical value of this show is enough to justify it's pick for today's column. Despite the fact that it was The Dead's one and only show at Roscoe Maples Pavillion, it was a hard-hitter. By one account, this was pottentially the first time that The Dead played a sizable show in the Bay area that wasn't produced by Bill Graham, but instead The Associated Students of Standford University, Special Events Program. With it being located in the University basketball court, the motion of the crowd made for a lot of bouncing throughout the show. Additionally, the band's sound system took a full two days to set up with European audio technicians spending hours listening to white noise and testing full spectrum response to tune the system... and tune it they did.

Grateful Dead Live at Stanford University on February 9, 1973.

Set One: The Promised Land, Row Jimmy, Black Throated Wind, Deal, Me And My Uncle, Sugaree, Looks Like Rain, Loose Lucy, Beer Barrel Polka, Mexicali Blues, Brown Eyed Women, El Paso, Here Comes Sunshine, Playing In The Band

Set Two: Wavy Gravy chatter, China Cat Sunflower>Know You Rider, Jack Straw, Dead battery, They Love Each Other, Truckin'>Eyes Of The World>China Doll 6:00, Big River, Ramble On Rose, Box Of Rain, Wave That Flag, Sugar Magnolia, Uncle John's Band, Around And Around

Encore: Casey Jones

The band's energy is it heavy and clear from the get go as they beautifully showcase a plethora of fantastic compositions. This show is absolutely an "all of the way through" type of situation, however, personal first set highlights include "Deal," "Sugaree," "El Paso" and "Here Comes Sunshine." Second set highlights include an incredible "China Cat" > "Rider," "Jack Straw," "They Love Each Other," "Eyes of The World," "Rable on Rose" "Wave That Flag" and "Sugar Magnolia." Truly, the whole show is incredible and worth a play all of the way through...

Friday, August 17, 2012

LOHI Music Festival: An Inside Perspective

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis
Videos By Tony Whaley (
DMTv) &
Jhonette Purdue & Brian Rempel (

MusicMarauders is all about perspective. How we tell each story, is based on how we experienced the events in which we write about. Sometimes we are merely a fan in the back of a massive concert field and other times we are staring down from a rooftop on a sold out crowd for an event in which we helped to promote. For this piece, it was the latter. LOHI Music Festival was an overwhelming success. This is the story of that success... of the people who poured their time and passion into attempting something bigger than we had ever taken on.

Since The Highland Tap & Burger's big entrance onto the Lower Highlands scene, it has been a place of community, passion for food (service), and music. 2011 would mark LOHI Productions' first attempt at a festival and although it went alright, there was much to be learned and a lot to improve upon. 2012 would be a year of reflection and implementation, with planning sessions, meetings and discussions of plenty leading up to the event.

The day of the festival all of the pieces fell into place precisely as planned by LOHI Productions. As the 10:00 hour hit, festival-goers began to enter the grounds and get settled in. Bryan Benner took the stage to start the event also stepping out onto the stage between sets to sing praise for the sponsors. Bryan Benner was followed by The Rob Drabkin Band as we set up the second stage for the transition into Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams' first set of the day. With seamless accuracy we made the first stage transition of the morning. Family Funktion & The Sitar Jams came to life for a half hour of unique sitar jazz/funk & mind bending space. As quickly as it began, Sitar Jams' set ended and we tossed it back to the main stage for Colorado band, Euforquestra! By all accounts their set was great.

Next on the main stage was reggae/dub band Dubskin, who took the stage to a moderate afternoon crowd. People seemed to really dig Dubskin. Following Dubskin on the main stage was The Heavy Pets, who had sold out The LOHI Pre-Party the previous Wednesday took the stage once again. As expected, their set was flawless. Their sound, instrumentation, tones and their transitions were all clear indicators of their growing success on the scene. It was around this point when 32nd Ave. in Denver's Lower Highlands truly came to life. People were smiling, dancing, dining and enjoying this fantastic collection of talent in the heart of their neighborhood. It was a sort of block party of epic proportions with the vibrancy of the community shining bright under the incredible incredible sun. The Highland Tap was the place to be in Colorado that afternoon evening. Things began to progress in a delightful fashion!

The Highlight of the second stage schedule and Highland Tap regulars, Garrett Sayers Trio jumped up to a crowd of hundreds. It was a special moment to see the trio step out of the Tap to such a large and appreciative audience. Up to that point in the festival, this was the hardest that folks had gotten down. Through incredible compositions and clear chemistry, Garrett, Patrick Lee and Jonny Jyemo thrilled the many familiar and even more unfamiliar faces. I smiled in delight from the side of the stage watching as a proud cultivator of this local music scene. Air Dubai came next on the main stage, drawing a large crowd as the energy and anticipation for the evening built.

With the return of the crowd to the second stage, Garrett Sayers Trio tore the house down. People were riding the front of the stage and dancing uncontrollably. One of the trio's biggest fans, Ryan Garrett was yelling and having fun in front of the stage, also basking in the glory of the moment. On the side of the stage Motet members gathered to watch their band mate display his side project. Following Garrett's set, one of the evening's two headliners, Particle feat. Michael Kang, took the stage to a near sold out crowd.

Paul Brown (Director/Owner of HTB) motioned Carly and I up to the roof for a better view. As we approached the edge of the Highland Tap & Burger's roof I was taken back with emotion at what I saw. The festival was approaching a sell out and as I looked around I saw my parents, so many of my friends, Highland Tap regulars and people simply having a blast. Over my radio I heard "Can someone please bring the 'SOLD OUT' signs to the front gate?" To which I responded with a "Congratulations everybody!" and received a scream in the radio from Abby Radbill (Artist Relations). It was then that I realized, this was potentially the proudest moment of my life. This was the culmination of years of dreaming and executing a passionate plan. I hugged Paul and as I glanced back I saw that we were joined by Juan Padro (Owner of HTB) & Kevin Eddy (Owner of HTB). Juan congratulated me, to which I was speechless. Glancing back at the main stage, Particle was absolutely killing it and looking as if they were having the time of their lives.

A deep breath in and I was climbing back down to reality. With Particle's closing notes, we fired up the second stage once more for Human Agency. What they did was fine and folks seemed to enjoy it, but personally I was hoping that they would be joined by drummer Jonas Otto for a more refined and instrumental sound. Headliner, The Motet commanded the attention of the sold out crowd, with one more wave of tickets being released and sold out prior to their set. By all accounts it was a powerful set, but as The Motet played, we at the second stage scrambled to assemble the stage/gear for the late-night VIP set inside of the Highland Tap. With fury we set up, soundchecked and prepared for the final sets of the evening.

Out back of The Tap I introduced the Padmanabha Brothers (Sitar Jams) to DJ Logic who had turned out purely to enjoy the event. As The Motet ended, we headed inside for one last musical stand! Sitar Jams open the late-night to a moderate crowd that grew as folks collected themselves. Through an hour of energetic sitar driven fusion, FFSJ gave it all they had on the first day of their Colorado tour. Following their set Narayan was approached by Steve Molitz (Particle) who gave praise and insisted on doing work with Sitar Jams in the future. An extended set up and the tossing of one of the band's belligerent sound guys and the final set of the evening/early morning was underway!

The closing set featured Signal Path with Michael Kang, Steve Molitz and Pete Wall! Paul asked who I thought we should have on the late-night and this was my first response. Kudos to Paul for making this vision translate into reality! To think that The Highland Tap would ever see Signal Path with said guests is mind-blowing. Yet there we were, staring the beast in the face as the improvised extravaganza began. For the most part, it was great. Each musician contributed a unique and raging aspect to the compositions and as the set progressed, folks/the band got more and more intoxicated. The second half of the extended set boasted some pretty sloppy moments, but ultimately it was a party of epic proportions.

Following a full day of music, partying, great food and the best of times, folks stumbled back to their houses and apartments. To say the event was successful would be a shear understatement. To assume it will be a staple for years to come, returning as Denver's premier city festival year after year, bringing better line-ups and fun new themes seems more fitting. Sure you can call me biased... or you can talk to any one of the folks who turned out for LOHI Music Festival. The following morning at The Highland Tap, staff and owners were cleaning up both the restaurant/bar and the street as well. To see the owners pushing brooms after throwing an event of LOHI's magnitude was humbling and reminded me of why The Highland Tap & Burger is so well regarded in Denver, Colorado.

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