Thursday, December 19, 2013

moe. & Technicolor Tone Factory 12.7.13

Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock
Audio By Brad Ziegler

Saturday felt downright balmy with the mercury hovering right around 0 degrees. Most fans spend the daylight hours either hunkered down beneath layers of blankets or they opted to go to the Jay Blakesberg Jam book signing. Rumor had it that moe. would show up and they most definitely did. After a short performance and a bit of revelry for Jay it was all over and time to focus on round two. Doors again opened at 8 PM with Technicolor Tone Factory starting up right around 9 PM. I’ve seen the TTF name floating around the Front Rage scene for a short while now. This was my first opportunity to see them perform live, and I have to say I was impressed. Tight riff-heavy jams were the hallmark of a band that defies categorization. It’s as if elements of Daft Punk and Jimi Hendrix went to a secluded cabin in the woods and came back with a love child. That love child is Technicolor Tone Factory. This five-piece is one to keep an eye on. Their original “Heist” into a spot on version of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” was a real highlight of the entire evening. Their performance at The Ogden on Saturday was both musically skillful and totally proper given the audience. I wouldn’t be surprised if Technicolor Tone Factory makes their way to a festival near you this summer.

moe. stuck to the game plan and again made their way onto the stage a little after 10:00 PM. They opened up the night with a crunchy “St. Augustine” that contained some serious shredding from Mr. Chuck Garvey.

moe. Live at Ogden Theatre on December 7, 2013.

Set One: St. Augustine> Wind It Up, Bluejeans Pizza*> Waiting For The Punchline, We’re a Couple of Misfits, Jazz Wank> Buster

Set Two: Queen Of Everything> George, Captain America> Seat Of My Pants>Yodelittle> Lazarus> Yodelittle, Dr. Graffenberg

Encore: Akimbo

*w/ Taylor Frederick of Technicolor Tone Factory

Night two was a literal parade of crowd pleasers, several done with a great attention to detail and with much panache. “Wind It Up” was straight forward, but they invited TTF guitarist Taylor Frederick out for a little extended collaboration on “Bluejeans Pizza.” This particular version went well over fifteen minutes and included lockstep transition into a perfect “Waiting For The Punchline.” moe. just knows how to build a proper set. Peaks and Valleys, ebbs and flows, they get it. “Punchline” just exploded into an all out dance party before the band gave a two minute tease with their punkish rendition of a rare tune off of their 2002 Season’s Greetings album, “We’re a Couple of Misfits.” “Jazz Wank” went sort of bouncy as they built the intricate layers of that song. They segued beautifully into the set-closing “Buster.” A great closer, this song became a giant sing-along before moe. called it a set.

The Ogden overall seemed relatively relaxed. Perhaps the jitters of running a live music venue in the one of the first states to legalize it, have finally subsided. The crowd too, seemed to be fairly in tune with the band. There was a distinct lack of utter spunions dotting the perimeter. All in all, the atmosphere on Saturday night was damn near textbook. moe. opened the second set with a tight and invigorating “Queen Of Everything.” Jim Loughlin and Vinnie Amico went back and forth on percussion, pushing the song to its absolute limit. The subtle segue into “George” did little to foreshadow the massiveness of this version. Al blasted off on vocals as the rest of the band fell into a stone groove. The band finally paused momentarily before again launching off into a much appreciated “Captain America.” Chuck and Al shared the microphone for “Seat Of My Pants,” which went intensely metal for the jam. The “Yodelittle” sandwich with “Lazarus” as the baloney was the highlight of the second set. They closed with an incredible “Dr. Graffenberg” and continued the recent tradition of pushing this song into the psychedelic stratosphere through deliberate and distorted jamming.

Again Al, paid his respects before they launched into a one song encore. This time fans were treated to a high-energy burn in the form of “Akimbo.” Having seen moe. now 55 times I can honestly say that this is a band that comes to play. Night after night they throw down. Although their tour schedule has retracted a bit due to family and what not, they are still one of the hardest working bands in the live music scene today. Both shows at The Ogden were solid and despite the weather fans enthusiastically engaged in the experience. As we wandered out into the late night on Colfax I was struck by a thought. Summer Camp is just around the corner, until then moe.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

moe. & Magic Beans 12.6.13

Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Photos, Words & Video By Nicholas Stock
Audio by Chuck Miller

Moe. has reliably made Colorado a part of their annual winter tour schedule since the late 90’s. This year was no exception. We were treated to two nights of the boys from New York at what has become their winter home in Denver, the Ogden Theater. Moe. at times has had trouble gaining a real foothold in Colorful Colorado. The dedicated .rons will always make it out. Despite being full for both shows, neither night was completely sold out. This particular run happened to fall smack dab in one of coldest streaks we’ve had in Denver this year. As we drove down from Fort Collins, the mercury was dipping well below zero.

The Magic Beans are a Boulder band that has made great strides in developing a devoted fan base on the Front Range. Their bouncy jam infused sound is wholly approachable and quite enjoyable. They opened with their original, “Luck” that featured Casey Russell trading licks on the keys with Hunter Welles on guitar.

The Magic Beans Live at Ogden Theatre on December 6, 2013.

Set One: Luck, Dying Day, Who’s Crazy*> Zumbai

*w/ Con Te Patiro tease

Their four-song set stretched to just under an hour as the crowd quickly filled in to just under capacity. Their set was a great demonstration of what The Magic Beans do well. A very clean show that culminated with a huge “Who’s Crazy.” The version was a great musical juxtaposition of their tight but relaxed sound and the frenetic rage jam that they are also known for. It also had a striking Con Te Patiro tease. They finished just before 10 PM. Keep an eye on these guys, as they continue to develop and reinvent themselves with each live performance.

Fans that went outside were slapped in the face with a frostbite inducing -8 degrees. Many opted to hunker down and wait for moe. They opened with a healthy “Tubing The River Styx.”

moe. Live at Ogden Theatre on December 6, 2013.

Set One: Tubing The River Styx> The Pit> Kyle’s Song> Bear Song, Lost Along the Way, Tailspin> Timmy Tucker

Set Two: Big World> Ricky Marten> Time>Hi and Lo, Oh, Hanukkah, McBain> Down Boy> Billy Goat

Encore: Spine Of A Dog

Moe. brought the power early. “The Pit” went to the dark side and allowed the boys to flex their musical muscles. The band simply exploded into an amazing “Kyle’s Song.” The jam stretched on filling up an entire twenty minutes with multiple teases including a sly riff on Birdsong. And without missing a note the band launched into a sinister and intense “Bear Song.” They gave a nod to Lou Reed with a “Walk On The Wild Side” tease. It seemed like the band was really having fun, which will always transmit to the crowd. Fans were finally able to catch their breath during the slower, Al sung “Lost Along The Way.” They went back into high gear with a tight “Tailspin” before the very suitable closer “Timmy Tucker.” This first set of music was at a very high caliber and a great indication of what was to come.

During the break kids debated weather a smoke was worth the bone-chilling cold. Others simply mingled with their neighbors. After a short wait they came back to the stage with the brooding classic “Big World.” Moe. wasted no time by segueing beautifully into a ridiculously funky “Rickey Marten.” The unexpected highlight came in the form of Pink Floyd’s “Time,” which has been played sporadically since 2000. After a brief “Hi and Lo” they busted out “Oh Hanukah” that featured some sick surf drum riffs from Vinnie Amico. This instrumental had not been played in 643 shows. “McBain” was another journey into the deep going a full 19 minutes with all the boys settling in nicely. It also featured some of the best back and forth guitar work of the night with both Chuck and Al taking it to the extreme on their instruments. “Down Boy” into the “Billy Goat” closer was another high point in a great show.

After Alnouncements, Moe. encored with a straight forward “Spine Of A Dog” before saying their goodbyes. The first set was the obvious winner, but the entire show was just solid. Musically there are very few bands that are as tight as moe. They’ve been together for so long and play with each other so consistently that there is an apparent effortlessness to every performance. Their first night in Denver was totally worth braving the cold. Fans bundled up and flailed for cabs on the corner. Others sprinted to hotel rooms. As I happily walked out into the crisp night air I kept thinking one down, one to go.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Friday, December 6, 2013

Leftover Salmon Ft. Bill Payne 11.30.13

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

When thinking hard about it most of my friends these days listen to the same music I do and generally a good number of those relationships have started at one of the many great local live music venues that surround us here in Colorado. Bands such as Phish, The String Cheese Incident, and Umphrey’s Mcgee unite me with some of the more special people in my young life and truly bring me to where I am “supposed” to be. Leftover Salmon would definitely be on the list of bands that I have enjoyed many a nights of debauchery and unlimited laughter with some of those incredible people I mentioned above. Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt, and the rest of the Cajun slam-grass Boulder based group bring a sense of joy to whoever is in the audience and the recent shows at the Boulder Theater were nothing short of spectacular. Making these shows even more special than just a normal gathering of the “Salmon-Heads” was the addition of one of the funkiest keyboardists coming all the way from the 60's, Bill Payne from Little Feat. This was not just an addition, it was a treat for all whom were lucky enough to attend and by God did the local boys not disappoint.

Forming now more than 20 years ago in my now hometown of Boulder, Colorado, Leftover Salmon has gone through more than a few lineup changes through their jamband tenure, but their most recent group is hitting on all cylinders. Vince Herman and his hilarious antics are still at the helm, while “Mr. Cool” Drew Emmitt, in my opinion, should be considered as one of the more elite musicians of our time. Vince and Drew have been the cornerstones of Salmon for 24 years and both seem to have no intention of slowing down anytime soon. Drew stands on stage with a battle-ready supply of various stringed instruments, which consist of all sorts of mandolins, electric guitars, and even a fiddle or two. The tones he achieves with some of the fastest picking on this side of the Mississippi combined with using the back of his hand for a slide device is just mind-blowing. Herman is not as well known for his instrumental skills, but you would be hard pressed to find a better front man anywhere in our music scene. But other than these two jamband veterans, the Leftover Salmon lineup has evolved over the years due to various deaths, departures, and forced exits. With Andy Thorn on banjo, Greg Garrison on bass, and new drummer Alwyn Robinson on the kit, Leftover Salmon is back in full swing.

Playing the banjo is hard, or at least it looks incredibly difficult when seeing some of my friends try and recreate those familiar twangy tones. But when watching someone like Andy Thorn do his thing on the 5-string banjo, it is made to seem as though his fingers can flow almost effortlessly along the fret board. Thorn can definitely be described as somewhat of a phenom, and with Garrison and Robinson providing more than just a good rhythm section (They are both incredibly talented, and to say otherwise is just stupid) Leftover Salmon has three younger members who will carry the torch long into the future. Adding anything else to this could be seen as unnecessary, but when it is a true living legend such as Bill Payne from Little Feat, “The dude abides.” This past Saturday night was just another example of how far Salmon has evolved with not only their lineup, but also song choices as they blasted through two heavy-hitting set lists consisting of classic numbers and some choice covers.

Leftover Salmon Live at Boulder Theater on November 30, 2013.

Us Salmon-Heads were treated to “Breakin Thru,” “Squirrel Heads,” and “Mountain Top” right off the bat with “Breakin” having some beautiful harmonizing vocals to set the mood right for the rest of the evening. Cover-wise the traditional bluegrass hit “Steam Powered Aereoplane”, The Band’s “Ophelia” and Bill Payne’s own “Dixie Chicken” both made an appearance in the first set with Payne showing off his soulful vocals on the Little Feat classic. Along with Payne’ s noteworthy solos was the Andy Thorn newly christened Salmon song, “Thornpipe?” With Thorn leading the charge on a furious pace via banjo, both Drew Emmitt and Bill Payne were able to play along with each taking turns almost seeming to tease Thorn to pick faster. As the crowd bounced along in an incredibly happy fashion it seemed as if the Boulder-based group was getting stronger as the night progressed, with “Dixie Chicken” truly providing the band with an awe factor as they exited stage left.

Set One: Hollerwood, Mountain Top, Steam Powered Aereoplane, Pepper In The Vaseline, Breakin’ Thru, Squirrel Heads, Last Days of Autumn, Thornpipe, Ophelia, Dixie Chicken

After a fabulous first set it was hard to imagine Salmon having much left in the tank to get us through the second set with as much force as they had just previously. But wow was I wrong about that! “Rueben’s Train” led off the set with beautiful playing from all members of the now sextet, as we got another surprise when String Cheese’s Kyle Hollingsworth joined one of his personal heroes Payne on organ/keyboard. Kyle provided some delicious keyboard riffs during “Here Comes the Night” and “Keep Driving”, as Payne went back and forth with him on chord combinations and quick transitions. Other Salmon classics such as “Up On the Hill Where They Do The Boogie” and “Don’t Look Back” were played to thunderous applauses, but the ending 4-song combination of Little Feat’s “Willin,” Waylon Jennings' “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” and finally the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was nothing short of sensational. “Willin” is not only a Little Feat classic, but the lyrics are also some of the more poignant you will hear in any decade. Payne absolutely destroyed all of his solos and to see him smile as much as he did while playing some of his more known tunes was an amazing thing to experience. Vince Herman took lead on the next two, and provided great versions of both Jennings and Reed legendary pieces and Mr. Drew Emmitt showed us another part of his insane musical repertoire by belting out the lyrics to the Rolling Stones classic. This combination almost brought me to tears as “You Can’t Always” is one of my more favorite songs, and hearing Emmitt sing it was bucket-list worthy. To close the night out “Hot Corn, Cold Corn” (with Colonel Corn onstage) gave us a great laugh, right before “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin finished the night off in a rocking fashion.

Set Two: Rueben’s Train, Here Comes the Night*, Keep Driving*, Don’t Look Back, Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie, Light Behind the Rain, River’s Rising, Willin’, Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way, Walk on the Wild Side, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Feelin’ Alright

Encore: Hot Corn, Cold Corn & Rock and Roll

*With Kyle Hollingsworth

For the last few Thanksgiving weekends here in Boulder, Leftover Salmon has been treating us Cajun slam-grass fans to spectacular nights of shredding string music and some truly special moments. This year we were lucky enough to catch our homegrown boys play alongside a true legend in Little Feat’s Bill Payne. In my humble opinion, Salmon’s music is supposed to have a keyboard player integrated within the ever-evolving jams so you never know what the future has in store for this eclectic group. Whatever happens I will be along for the ride, as I know Salmon always will provide a good time.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Two Nights of The Infamous Stringdusters

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Join us on Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8th at Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO for two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters on their "Road To Boulder" Tour!

Purchase Your SATURDAY Tickets Here:

Purchase Your SUNDAY Tickets Here:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: George Porter Jr.'s Runnin' Pardners & Juno What?!

Denver, CO

Join us this Friday December 6th & Saturday December 7th for two nights of MusicMarauders Presents: George Porter Jr.'s Runnin' Pardners at Cervantes Other Side in Denver, CO! Also, be sure to check out MusicMarauders Presents: Juno What?! Performing the music of Zapp & Roger on Friday December 6th at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom!

Purchase FRIDAY Tickets For Runnin' Pardner's Here:

Purchase FRIDAY Tickets For Juno What?! Here:

Purchase SATURDAY Tickets For Runnin' Pardner's Here:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Leftover Salmon feat. Bill Payne 11.29.13

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)
Photos By Justin Gardner

My Black Friday was spent at work recovering from a food battle. When I got out of work, I had some leftover turkey, and then some Leftover Salmon. I have only seen Leftover a handful of times, and not anytime recently. From the look of things Friday night, things were good in Salmon-ville. The band had changed a lot since the last time I saw them. All for the better. The last time I had seen Leftover was as a supporting act and Vince Herman was a little sauced. It didn't make the show any less enjoyable, but it didn't allow for the fiery precision I witnessed at the Boulder Theater. Since I had seen the band, they added banjo master Andy Thorn and drummer Alwyn Robinson. Both phenomenal players! Thorn seemed to inject a vitality into the band that was ferocious and ambitious. Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman were visibly elated to have their baby firing on all cylinders again.

Then there was Bill "Bring The" Payne. Little Feat keyboard wizard, Payne, was outstanding. His playing was not only flabbergasting musicianship, but his intimate knowledge of Salmon's tunes could have fooled me into thinking he was a full time member. From jazz passages through honky-tonk, funk through rock, Bill made me laugh repeatedly in bewildered delight. Holy smokes, he was amazing. His improv skills were honed, sharp, lethal doses of creative genius. At one point he and Andy had me captivated in a jam, and I realized it was only the beginning of first set. The boys were on! Drew's playing was stellar as usual, alternately bringing Jeff Austin and Sam Bush to mind. I can say honestly, Drew Emmitt has never let me down. He has always been energetic, enthusiastic and exciting to watch, but something about Bill Payne and Andy Thorn kicked him into overdrive as he destroyed solos on every instrument he touched. Fire, I tell ya.

With a sturdy rhythm section of Greg Garrison and newly acquired Alwyn, Vince Herman was the last piece of the puzzle. The first time I saw him was in Allentown, PA opening for Bruce Hornsby. After their set, I had a chance to ask Vince a couple of questions. The one thing I've always remembered... I asked him if he had any advice for musicians who were just coming up or finding their way. Vince said, "Play it all at once. Don't build walls around yourself or your music." That was, after all, how "poly-ethnic, Cajun, slam grass" came to be, right? So, more than a decade later, I was happy to see that while some things have changed... That had not. From my limited Leftover history, I can say Friday was the best show I've ever seen them play. It reminded me of the passion and love for music that was evident in early Salmon shows I've heard. This time the Leftovers might have been just as good as the first go-round. Yum.

Justin's Photo Gallery