Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer of Serendipity: Space Lab, Genetics, Vital Organ & More 5.25 & 5.26

Denver's Civic Center Park
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

Saturday May 25th 2013:

The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, two days of free music made me want to move my dancing feet. This past weekend Civic Center Park was the scene of the Summer of Serendipity free concert series featuring two days of fantastic music at the Greek Theater. The city was buzzing like a music festival as I approached the empty venue. The production crew was setting up at a rapidly efficient pace, while the vendors and merchandise booths took shape. The Malai Llama finished their opening set and made way for Colorado new-comer, Genetics. The five piece band began their set to a near empty space, but as their set progressed, and with the sound of "free music" bouncing between downtown buildings, the crowd grew in size. Through an hour and a half set Genetics shreded and displayed their ability to start, stop and change on the drop of a dime. The most interesting aspect of their set came with a Jamtronica breakdown that took the set to a whole other level. Following the time slot, those who were present sought the name of the band that they had just been blown away by.

Following a few hour break from the festivities I returned to Civic Center Park to find Pete Wall on stage with DeadPhish Orchestra who did a great job of reproducing some classic material from a couple of the scene's most beloved bands. For a band that's easy to write off as a cover/tribute band, I was impressed with their output and transitions. I wasn't the only one, as Civic Center began to fill in for the evening's main event! The Space Lab hit the stage around 9:00 PM to perform the music of Kraftwerk. The influence of Kraftwerk cannot be overstated, however on that night, I felt like the significance of the music was lost on an ill-informed crowd. Though many were not familiar with Kraftwerk, they had a clear understanding of tasty beats, nasty synth and grooving rhythms as the stage was packed with talent. From left to right; DJ Logic (Turntables), Scott Metzger (Guitar, Gene Ween Band), Allen Aucoin (Drums, Disco Biscuits), Jesse Miller (Bass, Lotus) and Steve Molitz (Synth, Vocals, Particle,) with special guest Pete Wall (Flute, Saxes), leaving no room for unseasoned jamtronica talent. Folks danced and celebrated the free music, also at times waiting in extended lines to purchase beer and alcohol. The night was a perfect evening of music in the park.

Sunday May 26th 2013:

I arrived at Civic Center Park just prior to Genetics' set, my legs still sore from the previous day's exertion. I was not surprised that a band had been added last minute by promoter Jay Bianchi, however, I was caught off guard by the talent displayed from a band that I had never heard of, Soul Explosion. What a treat to start the day! The organ driven group featured a Soulive style sound that seems much needed in this part of the country. Though their set was short, it was a great way to kick off Sunday in Denver! Genetics followed with a set as consistent as the day prior, however with an earlier slot, turn out was limited. That didn't stop Genetics as they powered through a killer set of progressive jam. Across town their was a music festival of a different sort, and following Genetics set, I headed down to the 16th St. Mall.

The Mall was buzzing with people holding anti-Monsanto signs, folks in costumes and patrons of Denver's Rock Festival. I made my way past several stages nestled off on the streets intersecting the mall, until I arrived at the stage in which The Congress were playing. The Congress has come a long way in the past few years from a raw rock band to a refined near popular rock act. They were joined by Pete wall for a portion of their set, further elevating the energy and output. The street was packed as I made my way back to the 16th St. vein and headed home for a few hours, only to return to Civic Center later that evening just in time to catch Joey Porter's Vital Organ.

The Space Lab Live at "Summer Of Serendipity" @ Civic Center Greek Theater on May 26, 2013.

The quartet ripped through classic funk/jazz covers and originals at a straight-ahead pace as Civic Center Park began to fill in for the evening. Ripping solos were passed around with Dan Schwindt stealing the show with his precise chops. As the sun set Vital Organ's set concluded and the set up for the main event began. An intro from DJ Logic transformed into a full band jam before taking a turn towards Kraftwerk. Highlights of the set included Steve Molitz speaking in French, Allen raging so hard on the kit that he broke the backline and Pete sitting in. However, song-wise, I was caught off guard by a cover of Lotus' "Shimmer & Out," that was very well-executed. Around 11:00 PM the weekend of free music in the park concluded. Fear not, the Summer of Serendipity concert series will resume on Saturday June 22nd!

J-man's Saturday Photo Gallery

J-man's Sunday Photo Gallery

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Two Nights of Lettuce & The London Souls

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Join us this Friday May 31st and Saturday June 1st at Cervantes in Denver, CO for MusicMarauders Presents: Two Nights of Lettuce & The London Souls feat. Eric Krasno!

Purchase FRIDAY Tickets Here:

Purchase SATURDAY Tickets Here:

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm (event ends at 2:00 am)

$20 Advance / $25 Day Of Show / $35 2-Day Pass

Head For The Hills w/ Drew Emmitt 5.18.13

Mishawaka Amphitheatre
Bellvue, Colorado

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

The unofficial start to every summer concert season comes with Head For The Hills opening Mishawaka with their Pickin’ On The Poudre festivities. This year was no different and included the special treat of the first ever live performance of the Drew Emmitt Trio as well as local favorites Mosey West. The night began with a beer tasting featuring the H4TH/Odell’s Brewing Company collaboration on what has been dubbed Head For The Hills Colorado Amber Ale. This drinkable Amber is incredibly smooth and delicious with a sensible 5.1% ABV and a lightly hopped 24 IBU.

“Tastes like bluegrass.” –Matthew Fritz

A few lucky fans nabbed tickets through Mishawaka’s email list. The band sampled the beer and mingled with the crowd for about an hour before we were left to our own devices. The show was sold out so fans floated around with fingers in the air and desperately asked for extras. As the buses offloaded their cargo of people it was obvious we were all at Mishawaka for one thing, bluegrass. Mosey West took the stage right around 8:00 PM. There was a little rain during the tasting, but by the time the music began the clouds had parted and sun was beginning to set on a beautiful night in the Poudre. Mosey West is an Americana outfit with tinges of bluegrass and alt-country. Cody Russell’s slide guitar was alarmingly beautiful and added a thickness to their overall sound. Their driving song “State Trooper” was intense and beholding, however the highlight of the set was their take on The Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’.”

Drew Emmitt Trio made up of Drew, Andy Hall on dobro and Andy Thorn on banjo, were up next. This stellar lineup was simply mind-bogglingly good. They opened the set with the Emmitt penned “Midnight Blues” made popular by Leftover Salmon.

“Sure does feel good to be way up here in the Poudre.” –Andy Thorn

Their set was mostly a mix of Emmitt originals, Leftover Salmon tunes, and Dead covers. Joe Lessard sat in for a few tunes, which really helped to fill out their sound. Drew bounced between mandolin and guitar fluidly and helmed this group marvelously. Honestly this is a band I would go on tour with; they were that much fun. Versions of “Deep Elum Blues” and “Rain And Snow” were deliciously done bluegrass style and made for some serious dancing in the crowd. They also busted out a powerful “Troubled Times” before closing the set with the predictable, but undeniably awesome “River’s Rising.” Again this lineup is incredible and something I could simply watch for hours. I truly hope they continue to perform in and around Colorado for years to come.

Finally it was time for the two set throw down from hometown heroes Head For The Hills. They opened with an instrumental before they launched into “Light The Way.” Head For The Hills is absolutely on fire right now, with big shows at Rockygrass and around the country this summer. They are also on the cusp of releasing yet another studio album entitled Blue Ruin. Everything they touch seems to turn golden. The first set was literally a cavalcade of all the goodness H4TH puts out into the universe. “Never Does” and “Solsbury Hill” were notable high points. They invited pianist James Thomas up for a few songs including “Up On The Mountain.” James also played on the upcoming album. After a cosmic “Unchain My Heart,” the band took a set break, which caught me a little off guard because it was already late and apparently only getting later.

The second set became a massive jam session with sit-ins from local hanger on Boots on harmonica as well as Drew, Andy, and again James Thomas on keys. The end of the night played out just as expected with a beautiful cluster pluck filled with friends. Drew even came back to the microphone for “Bend In The River,” which was a nice touch. Additional highlights included a rendition of “One Foot In The Grave” and “Colorado Back Country.” H4TH played into the very late evening before saying their goodbyes. These guys are destined for bluegrass greatness. With a new album coming out and a commitment to putting on powerfully original shows, they will continue to climb. Head For The Hills is Northern Colorado bluegrass and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Monday, May 27, 2013

Black Moth Super Rainbow 5.17.13

Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

The excitement was palpable as dedicated fans and curious first-timers convened at the Bluebird Theater to see the aptly named Black Moth Super Rainbow. The western Pennsylvania experimental music group has developed a style that seems to show dark energy (black moth) in a dazzlingly colorful (super rainbow) way. They have amassed a cult following, that seemed to be ecstatic for the opportunity to witness the bizarre band live. Preferring near anonymity, BMSR was shrouded in shadows throughout the show. A projector lit up the stage with imagery of nature. Each slide eventually revealed very subtle motion, such as smoke rising from a smoke stack, a person unexpectedly running by the camera, or other random variations. The lights were stagnant, changing infrequently in dull tones. It was a very banal visual production, yet it seemed to accentuate the mysterious, psychedelic oddities that defined the group... a group led by a guy named Tobacco. To add to their mysterious nature, all the members have adopted stage names including female drummer Iffernaut (she played the entire show in a ninja mask), bassist Pony Diver, guitarist Ryan Graveface, and (personal favorite) lady keyboardist, The Seven Fields of Aphelion.

The music was unique. Founded on electronica rhythms, the band injected nuances from several disparate influences. My first thought was of Trent Reznor. There was an industrial, dark, heavy, brooding in the sound, but it wasn't as destructive as Nine Inch Nails. The use of echoes and distortion had a certain 90's air, at times reminding me of Pearl Jam's spacey guitar solos. A friend mentioned shades of the early Flaming Lips (pre-Vaseline) and eventually Tool. Both were also accurate in my assessment. Not to mislead, the band had alternative nuances throughout, but their weren't enough of any of those influences to overcome their electronica foundation, which centered on Iffernaut's dancey rhythms and Tobacco's use of the vocoder. The vocoded lyrics had a Daft Punk element to them, but not nearly as poppy, happy, or clubby. Throughout the show I found myself in a perpetual state of intrigue, overwhelmed by a sound I didn't know how to process. I imagined that a background in BMSR's music would have enhanced the experience for me, but was still impressed by the puzzling spectacle. What they did, they did precisely. It was executed flawlessly, and left the crowd somewhat speechless. Their integration of traditional rock and roll instruments with futuristic instruments such as their vocoder and monosynth exemplified the potential for a band to nod to their influences while blazing new trails. It was adventurous music that would likely only appeal to adventurous ears, but I was satisfied with my decision to step outside my comfort zone.

Post show, most talk was about the unusual sounds and creepy energy. I heard no complaints over the buzz of the Bluebird's marquee, nor did I have any to voice. Some conversations touched on the show being short, yet everyone seemed pretty much satisfied. Even after a few days to digest the show, I was still contemplating all the unusual aspects of their music. I remained intrigued. The mystery, the shadow, the underground... expressed in aural subterranean grey with LED peripherals.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: The Everyone Orchestra 5.18.13

The Oriental Theater
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Jedediah Liddell (Lovemore Creations)
Audion By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

Denver was buzzing on this particular Saturday as The Everyone Orchestra made a stop at The Oriental Theater, just outside of town. The sidewalk out front of the venue was packed with folks socializing and participating in the swing of what felt like a shakedown. Following an intro from Matt Butler explaining the concept of the project, the group launched right into an improvised "composition" that involved the crowd yelling "yes" almost immediately. From left to right the line-up included Jans Ingber (The Motet), Kai Eckhardt (Garaj Mahal), Dave Watts (The Motet), Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass) and Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth)! It had a very Colorado vibe from the line-up to the execution. "What do you mean by that?" you might be asking. What I mean is that Colorado has a very high regard for string music, hence the stacked string section as well as the involvement of members of The Motet. The music played out with furious string and funk execution that contributed to one of the most cohesive Everyone Orchestras that I have heard to date.

The performance features each member at the top of their game and on their toes as Matt pointed to specific participants and called them out (musically). The pressure of the moment creates a certain spontaneous output that makes even the musician themselves smile as they dive into uncharted territory. The jams climbed, peaked, dropped and fell back into danceable grooves with each member of the group contributing everything from a small lick to all out massive solos that caused the crowd to go wild! As Matt tossed cues out, the band responded, willingly accepting the challenge and further painting the canvas. The intuition of Matt Butler cannot be overstated. For all of these top notch musicians to put themselves out there and to take directions from a conductor speaks loudly to Matt's ability and the respect that he has gained throughout his the span of The Everyone Orchestra's existence. Additionally, the crowd clearly respected Matt, his concept and his choice of musicians for the project as The Oriental was packed!

Everyone Orchestra Live at Oriental Theater on May 18, 2013.

The following day it was announced that The Everyone Orchestra with the addition of guitar wizard, Steve Kimock, would play a free show at Denver's Sculpture Park as a part of the "Summer of Serendipity" concert series. We arrived to find a large crowd of music fans had gathered to celebrate their Sunday with the "Orchestra." Grateful Dead cover band, New Speedway Boogie, performed as the sun beamed down on Denver. Familiar faces danced, hooped and smiled while members of EO wandered through the crowd dodging children being chased by their caring parents. I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Butler, who was clearly excited about how the weekend was going! I complimented him on the project and the group's output, saying that the previous night was one of the best EO shows that I had seen to date. He smiled and agreed. A few minutes later I was approached by Tim and Anders, who were also excited about the band's Colorado performances. It was great to hear Anders speak excitedly about being put on the spot by Matt and being forced to create without thought. As well, how great it was to travel with Tim and to get to catch up as opposed to seeing each other in passing.

Overall the buzz surrounding The Everyone Orchestra is currently the biggest that I have witnessed. The members involved were having a great time performing and the audiences ate it up, then asked for another serving. And another serving is what they got with Sunday's show going off with incredible energy! What a fantastic way to kick off the "Summer of Serendipity!" Be sure to catch the next phase of the concert series this weekend at Denver's Civic Center Park with Space Lab feat. DJ Logic, Members of Particle, Lotus, The Disco Biscuits & more! Also, catch Matt Butler's next Colorado visit on Saturday June 15th when he returns to MC and create a little magic at LOHI Music Festival! Go see The Everyone Orchestra and support the concept of conducted improvisation!

Jedediah's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Daft Punk: Random Access Memories

Words By J-man

The hype surrounding the release of Daft Punk's fourth album, Random Access Memories, has overtaken social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Very rarely does an album draw such a wide range of criticism and appreciation, so with no other choice, I hit play. A large build up resolves to a Nu-Disco dance party with talkbox at the forefront on "Give Life Back To Music." The immediate unexpected Nu-Disco sound will intrigue many and turn off many more. Those who expected electronic dance music are instead treated to actual instruments, instrumentation and an output that sounds more like baby-making music from the 70's. Tracks like "The Game of Love" bring the album to an almost swaying stand still, but keep the listener holding on to catchy lyrical melodies and sonic range. "Giorgio By Moroder" offers listeners verbal insight into the life of upcoming DJs before dropping into basic beats that could easily overtake the critical aspect of the mind with guilty pleasure style grooves. Conceptually, the album seems all over the place as a grand piano enters the picture on "Within'," and slows the album to a staggering near crawl. "Instant Crush" may offer the most catchy riffs off of the album. As I drive in my car, lay in my bed, or walk to the store, I hear the chorus of "Instant Crawl" in my head giving my body a uncontrollable sway.

"Lose Yourself to Dance" triggers funky guitar chops, some slap bass and high register vocals that open up to clap track. The song wreaks of vintage swagger and synth wank. "Touch" provides an ambient aspect that the album was missing before opening up into an all out disco full of digital foreplay that is sure switch up your two-step. "Get Lucky" returns to a straight-forward 4/4 vibe that should drop your tenies to floor on a regular beat and increase your odds of getting laid at a dance-party ten fold. "Beyond" welcomes yet another change of pace, this time with the backing of an orchestra before returning to the albums signature beat. The instrumental "Motherboard" scrambles the listener's brain with full on sonic intercourse that may leave folks a bit uncomfortable and unable to move. "Fragments of Time" may be the most popular sounding track on the album, though it still offers interesting layers and effects. The build to the close of the album hits with "Doin' it Right." The tracks space may be the most interesting aspect of the composition, leaving room for the vocals to clash with the digital chorus. The album's closing track, "Contact" features vintage audio eluding to life beyond what we know on our rotating rock. The music builds and builds until it reaches a boiling point of instrumental layers, sonic depth and intense energy.

Random Access Memories is a masterpiece of sorts, offering a mind-blowing range of musical ideas from a band who in the past has been limited by their use of digital technology. The songs play over and over in my head, coming and going with stunning regularity. Daft Punk has done a fantastic job of stepping outside of their comfort zone to challenge themselves and to create something altogether different and incredible. Stop what you're doing and treat yourself to this captivating collection of sound. It's ok to dance, nobody is looking...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Everyone Orchestra 5.16.13

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, Colorado

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Everyone Orchestra travels the country bringing one-time only musical experiences to the masses. From the mind of Matt Butler lineups are assembled and during his shows he creates themes and tangents for the band to follow. Everyone Orchestra scheduled a three-night romp through Colorado that included stops in Gunnison as well as Denver, but they began with a night at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins. The lineup was made up of Matt Butler conducting, Dave Watts on drums, Steve Kimock on guitar, Anders Beck on dobro, Jans Ingber on percussion and vocals, Kai Eckhardt on bass, and for one night only Bridget Law on violin. This power packed group was certainly enough to create an amazing musical experience, but first up was Marcellus Wallace.

Marcellus Wallace is a soul, funk, rock, and adventure lead by singer Devon Parker of The Nu Classics. They came out strong mesmerizing the crowd with their blend of brass and soulfunk. It was almost a throw back to an earlier R&B sound, with more than one attendee asking, “What does Marcellus Wallace look like?” With originals like “Lover” their vibe is certainly intriguing if not infectious. The highlight of the show was a sit-in by Jans Ingber on John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” If you dig a retro sound full of soulful nuance I would recommend checking out Marcellus Wallace and finding out what he looks like for yourself.

Everyone Orchestra took us on a two set journey through rock, jam, jazz, folk, and a little bit of bluegrass thrown in for good measure. With Bridget Law only hopping on for one show of the run she was truly a featured artist. With his small dry erase board Butler wrote down things like “Ya” and “4/4 Rock Beat” during which he took to some improv on the microphone. The first set went quick going just over an hour, but the second set was a 90-minute jam that went almost to bar close. The crowd at Hodi’s again was light making for easy maneuvering but a little disappointment on my part. As I stated in my review from the week prior of Euforquestra, this is a funny time for venues in college towns. The kids are taking finals, graduating, packing up, and moving out. This makes for a somewhat spotty attendance for any show. If Everyone Orchestra had scheduled this performance a month ago, I have no doubt that it would have sold out. Jans Ingber alternated between singing a few tunes and ripping it up on the congas. One of the jams featured Kai Eckhardt who I have not had the pleasure of seeing live since his days with Garage Mahal. He is as agile on the bass as ever and his harmonious notes were truly a pleasure. Kimock was great without overpowering the lineup. I’ve seen him with EO before and he honestly knows how to perform in a group dynamic. This night was no exception. Everyone Orchestra is always a treat and if you are truly a fan of the jam they are worth any amount of effort to catch them live. Butler never disappoints when choosing a lineup and they are always unique. With their upcoming show for Make a Difference at Summer Camp it might have been easy to let this one slide by, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Euforquestra & Jet Edison 5.4.13

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Euforquestra has traveled through the murky waters of change and emerged triumphant and unscathed. Musically, the adversity of losing a founding member could be enough to rock the very foundation on which any band is built. This is not the case with Euforquestra. They continue to tour relentlessly and are currently celebrating their tenth year on the road. The one two punch of Craig Babineau on drums and Scott Mast on percussion have become the new foundation on which Euforquestra is plowing ahead. Both have rock solid licks reminiscent of the Joimoe/Trucks combo when they push past the Southern Rock and into the World Funk. Matt Wright on keys has truly stepped up and has wholeheartedly embraced playing the front man singing with a silky demeanor that really pleases. With Jeter recently becoming a father, his time on stage has been limited, which means there have been a number of local players who have sat in on second sax. This has allowed for a freshness to seep into their overall sound and it leaves room for the unexpected. One unexpected turn was their headlining set at Hodi’s Half Note.

It has been two years since their last rendezvous at this Fort Collins establishment. With headlining gigs at the Aggie and all around Colorado, it was a real treat to see them playing a smaller room. The night began with Rudie Clash, a Dubskin side project featuring lead singer Jamal Skinner and keyboardist Jason Wieseler, in a strange amalgamation of roots reggae and dub sonic sounds… but we’ll get to that in a minute. I arrived as Jet Edison was hitting the stage with their original “Gold.”

Set One: Gold, Places, Style Of The Times, Wasted, Simon, Wading Through The Rubble, Burn This Disco Out*, Undercover

*w/ Austin Zaletel on Sax

This tight four-piece from Boulder knows how to rock. Lead by keyboardist Phil Johnson who will occasionally pull out a trumpet too. They are a convincing jam powerhouse to say the least. With a new album due out this year, they have plenty to prove. Touring with enthusiasm, it’s impossible to go more than a couple months without catching them live here in Colorado. These four formed a bond in college through late night jam sessions and lots of time on the road. That bond is evident in their transitions and in songs like “Wading Through The Rubble,” which takes on a driving swing feel as they navigate the debris. They tossed it back with a version of Michael Jackson’s “Burn This Disco Out,” with Austin Zaletel sitting in on sax before ending the show with “Undercover.”

The setbreak was filled in with self-proclaimed “ugly” music producers, Rudie Clash, consisting of Jamal and Jason from Dubskin. They too are on the cusp of releasing a new album and have developed a wholly unique sound. To say that I enjoyed it as much as seeing Dubskin would be an untruth. Jamal is a true showman and will always engage his audience with his bombastic style. That being said this blend of electronic dub and his vocals was a bit jarring. If you are a fan of roots reggae blend and electronica I would recommend you check them out.

As Euforquestra took the stage I found myself wondering why the room was only half full. With finals approaching and many students getting ready to head home for the summer, perhaps they just opted out of going. This was the wrong choice. What followed was a two-hour blast through all the things that make me love this band. Opening with “Backbone” Euforquestra started the night like a freight train.

Set One: Backbone, Cause A Reaction, Milk & Honey, Obatala, Called You, Yogi’s Day Out, The Events of December 11, Solutions*, Madison Square**, Nausea, 64:18, Price Is Right, Instant Coffee, Dr. Standby

Encore: All Light, Hang Ups

*w/ Jamal Skinner on Vocals
**w/ Phil Johnson on Trumpet and Nick on Saxophone

This was a hometown show with the warm feel of a family throw down. Huge versions of “Cause A Reaction” and “Obatala” got the show moving. They pulled out a classic Euforquestra tune “Called You,” which was originally sung by Matt Grundstad and is now crooned by keyboardist Matt Wright. Wright’s vocals can simply be described as clean. He just nails it. “Yogi’s Day Out” was a blast, but “December 11” really sucked in the crowd. They brought out Jamal to sing on “Solutions” before inviting Phil and Nick to fill out the horn section on the instrumental cover of “Madison Square.” They rounded out an epic set with a 1-2-3 punch or originals culminating with an immense set-closing “Dr. Standby.” This show had everything a music fan could want. Hard hitting percussion backing a world approach to music that has been the hallmark of Euforquestra since the beginning. They closed with a two-song encore that included a great version of “Hang Ups.” Through thick and thin Euforquestra perseveres and continues to create amazing music and incredible live performances across the country. The next time they come to your town get out and make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

Nicholas' Photo Galley

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bela Fleck with The Colorado Symphony Orchestra 5.3.13

Boettcher Concert Hall
Denver Colorado

Words & Photo By Nicholas Stock

Few people have so mastered an instrument as Bela Fleck has the banjo. In fact, the man is so synonymous with this instrument that words like “master” and “genius” almost fall short in their simplicity. From the time he was first inspired listening to the Earl Scruggs’ recording of The Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song to his time with The New Grass Revival to forming The Flecktones it’s difficult to think of anyone who has been more innovative with their instrument. Fleck has been nominated for a Grammy in more musical categories than anyone and all with the banjo. Having just toured through town with the Flecktones he made a return visit this time for an ‘Inside The Score’ session with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Having seen Trey Anastasio perform with the CSO last year I thought it would be a relatively similar experience. I was wrong. Firstly, despite the fact that this concert played host to a living legend the room was only about half sold out. Secondly, the crowd was more along the lines of season ticket holders rather than rabid live music fans. The result being that other than some boisterous coughing from a few souls trying to get over their spring colds, the 2600 person room was utterly quiet. This was a benefit and a curse. It was nice to be able to focus on the music and really listen, the bad was that a single click of my DSLR seemed to echo to the point of absurdity. The result was that I took all of one picture before putting my camera away amongst a few sideway glances and glaring stares.

The night began sans Fleck with an orchestrated version of Pat Methany’s “Minuano” which featured a dual time signature we were told to listen for by conductor Scott O’Neil. Fleck wowed audiences with his take on Bach and Debussy. One of the real highlights of the first set was a banjo led rendition of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” The delicacy and attention to detail that Fleck demonstrates at times made the humble banjo seem otherworldly. The peak of the set came in the form of a piece written by Bela Fleck and dubbed “Crooked Run” which was simply an all out jam between himself and Claude Sim on violin. They finished prior to intermission with what would be the only Flecktones original “The Landing” with the full orchestration. After a short break Bela Fleck returned with a much longer composed piece entitled “The Imposter.” All in all it was a beautiful night at the symphony. Bela Fleck continues to demonstrate why he is at the height of his instrument and why he is not to be missed in any capacity when he is performing. Bela is simply mind blowing and it’s always incredible to me that he continually stuns audiences with an instrument that was long thought of as Appalachian jabberwocky. Fleck has risen the level of the banjo on par with the violin and the French horn as far as I’m concerned. He ended the night with a meet and greet in the lobby, but we opted to head home with visions of banjer in our head.

Preview: MusicMarauders Presents The Everyone Orchestra 5.18.13

The Oriental Theater
Denver, CO

Join us on Saturday May 18th at The Oriental Theater in Denver, CO for MusicMarauders Presents: The Everyone Orchestra feat. Matt Butler, Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth), Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Dave Watts (The Motet), Jans Ingber (The Motet) & Kai Eckhardt (Garaj Mahal)!

Purchase Your Tickets Now At:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Family Funktion & the Sitar Jams 5.3.13

Bullfrog Brewery
Williamsport, PA

Words & photos By Jon Irvin

If there was ever a soundtrack to Les Claypool tripping in India it would probably be played by one of the most eclectic bands I have ever seen; Family Funktion and the Sitar Jams. The Padmanadha brothers brought their sitar jamming band to the Bullfrog Brewery last weekend for a mind opening experience. Family Funktion does a masterful job of blending contemporary jazz, heavy bass, and Indian melodies to bring a breathtaking sound that is rivaled by few. Being close to MusicMarauders for years, I have heard J talk about these guys for awhile now and was surprised to see them coming to my small corner of the world. The turnout was disappointing, for it being first Friday, there were many things going on in the area, but I’m sure the few that hung around at the frog did not go away disappointed. The night was filled with all three brothers; Naryan (sitar), Aneal (bass), and Ravi (drums) taking turns exploring an instrumental journey while giving each other space without trying to step on any toes. The result proved to be hours of improvisational psychedelic gratification that even the late Ravi Shankar would have been envious of. Be sure to check these guys out during their remaining New York tour dates and their much publicized Colorado run later this summer.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Conclusion of The Highland Tap Wednesday Music Showcase

The Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By J-man

Through my short time in Colorado, I find what we've done at The Highland Tap & Burger on Wednesdays to be one of the things that I am most proud of. Wednesdays at HTB have become known nationally as one of the country's premier music showcases/residencies, with mentions in the press popping up from coast to coast. Above and beyond the incredible music is the sense of community surrounding the weekly event. Wednesdays are not only for fans, but they have also become a hot spot for musicians to come out and enjoy the mastery of their peers. You never know who you're going to run into at The Tap, whether it's members of The String Cheese Incident, Lotus, The Motet, Signal Path or a band just stopping in on their national tour.

It is with great pride and a little bit of sadness that I announce the conclusion of the Wednesday Music Showcase at The Highland Tap. I want to thank Paul Brown & Juan Padro for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible happening, and for their efforts towards the continued growth of this incredible scene via LOHI Music Festival & Armoury! I want to thank The Highland Tap staff for their hard work and dedication to making everything work (on the fly). I want to thank everyone who turned out and supported the music, contributed to the scene by their presence and helped spread the word about our events!

As the month of May rolls on, we have two more Wednesdays on the books before we close out the showcase! Join us on Wednesday May 22nd for Jalbatross feat. members of The Motet, then one last time on Wednesday May 29th for Scott Law Trio!

Come on out and celebrate our beautiful scene & incredible music at The Tap twice more and be sure to get your tickets for LOHI Music Festival which will be taking place on Saturday June 15th!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Unified Field (feat. Alex and Allyson Grey) 5.3. & 5.4

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & photos By Brad Yeakel

This weekend was about connections. The Unified Field theory, in it's simplest form described that we are all extensions of one being. Within that one being, there were infinite variations, sometimes repeating within the whole. Our lives, intwined in a series of systems, webs, and planes, have become increasingly connected through the Internet, Facebook, and other fields of communication. The theory pointed to those types of examples as evidence of the Unified Field. The presentation was brief, and vague, but carried enough resonance to be effective in piquing my interest.

I was impressed by the number of attendees who had come out early to listen to the lecture. They sat on the floor of Cervantes, and intently listened to Jamie Janover and the Grey's. Alex presented his artistic depictions of the Unified Field, highlighting the newest book, "Net of Being," as well as his in-progress art sanctuary project known as "Entheon." Grey described using LSD as a lens through which he was able to see alternative planes of existence (his description made me think of changing camera lenses). Through those enhanced perceptions, Allyson and Alex claimed to uncover the nature of reality and ultimately they're capable of seeing the universal mind lattice, or neural web, that connects all of our knowledge and consciousness. Much of Alex's work depicted that grid in varying capacities. They ended the presentation by showing a kick starter campaign designed to raise money to fund the "Entheon" project. At the conclusion, Alex led the rapt crowd in a collective Om. As we chanted together, the interconnections intensified, and Cervantes became a smaller model of the whole... a singular system of connected beings exchanging energy and heightening our vibrations together.

Musically the weekend featured artists from next month's Sonic Bloom festival, and served as a sort of pre-party. The dj's and bands were all unique, and several of them were fun to watch. The two who really grabbed my attention were Orchard Lounge and Zilla.

Orchard Lounge, a Chicago-based dj collective, played some of the best house music I've ever heard. Consisting of a husband and wife (Spencer and Beth Lokken) and friend, Ben Silver, the trio rotated in and out, spinning off of each other's hooks, and inciting a dance party I didn't want to leave. I can honestly say I think Spencer Lokken's part of the set was my favorite DJ'ing I've ever seen. His mix was funk-heavy, groove-based, interesting, and unique... But most of all it was fun, and it made me move.

Zilla featured Michael Travis (String Cheese Incident, EOTO) and Jamie Janover accompanied by Aaron Holstein. As Travis laid down the rhythms, Janover countered with a combination of percussion and his specialty, the hammer dulcimer. Holstein provided bass and sampling to help propel the music. The trio was unique, entertaining, and sharp. It had been a while since Zilla played, and even longer since I'd seen them... It was refreshing to hear they were still as vibrant as ever. The band played a free flowing set that lasted about an hour and a half as Alex and Allyson Grey painted live on stage.

A mesmerized crowd stood in awe, admiration beaming, as Alex turned rhythm into line, line into form, form into being, and being into existence. It was truly inspiring. Alex exuded an energy I've never witnessed anywhere. Comparisons to both Salvador Dali and the Dalai Lama played in my head as I watched a mystic create spiritual, psychedelic art. As if a conduit from the spiritual plane was transmitting the ethereal detail to our reality, his strokes came deliberately, methodically, and perfectly. At times his eyes appeared to be closed as he laid his brush to the canvas, at others he felt the painting with his hands in what appeared to be an attempt to receive information from the canvas itself. His piercing eyes... enigmatic, captivating, and kind, intrigued and matched the brilliance and mystery of his work. It was an honor to watch him work. While Allyson hasn't enjoyed the same notoriety as Alex, the two of them were a gleaming example of love, creativity, exploration, and unity. They were cemented in my mind as a collective entity, just serving to crystallize the concept behind the entire evening.

When Zilla ended, another DJ took the stage and played into the night. At approximately 3:00 am I peeled myself away from a still-raging crowd, as the Grey's painted. With no end in sight, I reluctantly left the party. There was something peculiar about stepping out of Cervantes. Like leaving an Andy Warhol warehouse party with a touch of Burning Man flair, and stepping into a reality I'd nearly forgotten. A reality I was a part of.. We were a part of... just another node of the universe.

Brad's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Preview: Summer Camp Music Festival May 24th-26th

Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

Summer Camp Music Festival continues to be one of the most diverse and interesting festivals still operating today. In an era were events come and go Summer Camp has been a constant, going strong for their thirteenth year. This year plays host to yet another incredible lineup that is sure to please any music fan. One of the nice things that the organizers of this festival do that is rarely talked about is the way they break up the performances. Any festival is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” type experience, but oftentimes fans of specific genres of music are left with tough decisions on whether to see one show or the next. Sure there is some overlap as there are at all music festivals, but for the most part they try to make it easy. By having say a bluegrass band, an electronic act, a jam band and a local group all playing at the same time you can see the show you want without missing too many of your preferred sets. With six stages, not to mention the VIP bar stage, there is plenty to see and do at any given moment.

Many of the events that have gone on throughout the years are back again with a few new features that are sure to add to the experience. Favorites like The Kid’s Camp, Field Day, and The Make A Difference drives culminating with the Everyone Orchestra Performance are all back. New this year will be a Masquerade troop featuring hoopers, fire throwers, dancers, and more. The members of the troop will be paired up with specific musicians to add a visual element to their live performances. Also Make A Difference is expanding by including a Live Art Gallery for live painters at the festival. These little touches and that fact that the organizers are always expanding on them are a big part of what makes Summer Camp such an amazing experience. Kyle Hess has been named the 2013 Summer Camp Counselor making him the third ever in a short, but prestigious lineage. Both of the previous counselors and several Counselors In Training will be making it back along with an entirely new crop of CITs for 2013.

Musically the lineup is top notch. Of course Summer Camp staples moe. and Umphrey’s McGee will headline again this year, but there’s so much more. Fan favorites Family Groove Company, Cornmeal, Floodwood, Brainchild, and The Henhouse Prowlers will all be there to share in the groove again this year. Electronic fans will be happy to know Zed’s Dead, Big Gigantic, STS9, and Thievery Corporation are all on the bill for 2013. Personally, I am most excited about the inclusion of Trey Anastasio Band, which continues the SCamp tradition of having a huge Sunday headliner.


moe., Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, STS9, The Avett Brothers, Thievery Corporation, Zeds Dead, Big Gigantic, Yonder Mountain String Band, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Keller Williams With More Than A Little, Diplo, EOTO, Big Boi, Taj Mahal Trio, Gramatik, Paper Diamond, Griz, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, North Mississippi Allstars, Conspirator, The Wailers, Cornmeal, Lettuce, Future Rock, Victor Wooten (Artist At Large) & MUCH MORE!

Purchase your tickets at

Words To The Wise: Make sure you bring all the essentials for proper festival raging. Sunscreen and rubber boots are must haves, but also be sure to bring plenty of water and food. Check your gear before you get to the festival to make sure your tent is in proper festival condition. Get plenty of rest prior to Summer Camp as you will most likely get very little sleep over the four days. Know that you are driving into central Illinois and police presence can be expected. As Bayliss pointed out last year during the UM soundcheck on Thursday, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Know your limits and know when to rest. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the weekend and the next thing you know you’re dehydrated and in no condition to continue the party anyway. The residents of Chillicothe love Summer Campers by the way. They know how much money we bring in and tend to want us to come back. I recommend stopping by a local restaurant on Monday on your way out. You’d be surprised at the warm reception you’ll receive. Also there is a shopping center just up the road from the festival grounds, so if you forget something it’s fairly easy to hop in your car and pick up some essentials. Finally, be prepared for any an all weather. Anything from rain to a blazing sun is a possibility so being equipped with warm clothes as well as summer attire is smart.

Summer Camp is a chance for all types of music fans to come together and bask and the beauty and wonder of Three Sisters Park. New friendships will be made, amazing collaborations will happen, and music will fill the air. Be safe and enjoy the ride.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bill Frisell's "Beautiful Dreams" 4.30.13

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

Dazzle filled in quickly as Tuesday's work concluded and folks sought a weeknight escape. We arrived early to truly enjoy our dining experience and a delightful bottle of wine prior to the music kicking off. As 6:30 PM approached, Bill and his band stepped out from the kitchen into the near capacity room and took the stage. A brief, always entertaining intro from Music Director, Kevin Lee and the show was underway. Bill's beautiful, passive approach to the guitar played out like a dream with Eyvind Kang by his side on Viola matching melodies with a straight face as bill smiled and laughed. On drums was Rudy Royston, who was loose and all over the place, yet in a tight/controlled manner that fit the percussive demand for such loosely structured music. One composition bridged to another with the utilization of obscure scales and ambient style as Bill bent down often to alter the tone of his guitar with his effects pedal.

The music took listeners' minds on a journey through tasteful and explorative arrangements. From the vantage point of the crowd, it may have seemed as if the music were improvised, if not for the music stands and infrequent glances at the charts. The music and performance was masterful, with all three musicians contributing extremely impressive parts to mix, and though Bill's compositions were incredible, the familiarity and spin that the band put on The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields" may have been the clear highlight of the set. Upon it's conclusion, the full room cheered loudly and the band disappeared back into the kitchen. It was such a pleasure to see Bill Frisell in such an intimate environment. I look forward to his return to Dazzle and would recommend seeing him whenever the opportunity presents itself!

J-man's Photo Gallery

Preview: Two Nights of Genetics Performing The Music of Oysterhead

Catch Fort Collins' own, Genetics Wednesday May 8th at Hodi's Half Note in Fort Collins for the first of their two nights of Oysterhead (FREE)! Then be sure to catch them on Saturday May 11th at Quixote's True Blue in Denver with special guest Chuck Morris (Lotus)!

Get your tickets for the Denver show at:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Contribution & The Drunken Hearts 4.28.13

The Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Kevin Hahn & J-man

The Contribution is a true collective of contributing talent from several of our scene's most coveted bands. From Railroad Earth, Tim Carbone. From The String Cheese Incident, Keith Moseley. From New Monsoon, Phil Ferlino and Jeff Miller. Though I am not sure where Sheryl Renee is from, it could easily be heaven. Lastly, the newest contributor, from The Everyone Orchestra, Matt Butler. Together they've created a completely different sound and feel from any of their aforementioned projects. We arrived at The Bluebird early finding their block of Colfax Ave. near empty, with only the friendly Bluebird staff out front of the venue leading up to the show. Following a quick bite at the Mexican restaurant across the street, we headed into the venue to catch one of my recent favorites, The Drunken Hearts. Led by vocalist/guitarist, Andrew McConathy, The Hearts put on of of the best sets I've heard the band perform. They dug deep into some of my favorites from their original catalog, reflecting a certain comfort and more developed compositions. The current incarnation of the band sounds the best that The Hearts hav sounded in the couple of years that I have been hearing them play. If you haven't checked them out, you should do so. Start by streaming their album Live For Today on Spotify!

Setlist: Don't Go > Under the Sun, Kaleidoscopic Eyes > Sakajawea's Reel > Kaleidoscopic Eyes, Happy When You Do*, Swingtown, Holes in My Shoes** > High Seas** > Holes in My Shoes**

* new original (1st time played)
** w/ Jeff Miller on electric guitar

Following the opening set, The Bluebird remained near empty. The evening's headliner hit the stage with smiles on their faces and a clear excitement to be performing together once again. The first set featured a handful of slower songs to warm up the Sunday crowd and included some fantastic calculated solos. The band also shared some new material in "Oh No," and "Ain't No Sin." The songs were solid and translated well live. Those in attendance, though few in number, were extremely attentive and grateful for the special evening. A short break came and went welcoming the second set and a much more energetic selection of songs including Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same," "Hoedown," and "Fear of Nothing." The second set also featured new material with "The Great Boot" and "Passengers of Darkness," which sounded great! It was a shame to see such a low turnout for a group with some very reputable talent, though limited in the project's name recognition. Check out their album Which Way World on Spotify and see them live if given the opportunity!

Set One: Come Around, Back This Way, Oh No*, Time Was only Yesterday, Dream out in the Rain, Steady Ride, Not This Time, Year of Jubilee, Aint No Sin*

Set Two: The Great Boot*, The Song Remains the Same (Led Zep), The Race Is On (George Jones), Passengers of Darkness*, Which Way World, Hoedown, Walk Upon the Water, Fear of Nothing

Encore: Somewhere on a Train, Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)

*=Brand New

J-man's Photo Gallery

Kevin's Photo Gallery