Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons 12.28.14 (Photos)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Juno What & Richie Aldente and The Braxmatics 12.20.14 (Photos)

Nectar Lounge
Seattle, WA

Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

View Scott's Full Photo Gallery Here!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Darol Anger's "Keep It In The Fam" Holiday Show 12.20.14 (Photos)

Critters Buggin' 12.12.14 (Photos)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tnertle, Human Agency & SkyDyed 12.19.14 (Photos)

Sunsquabi, Vine Street Vibes & Artifakts 12.12.14 (Photos)

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Infamous Stringdusters & The Drunken Hearts 12.5.14

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The Infamous Stringdusters were set to co-headline the Hoppy Holidays show with Kyle Hollingsworth Band at the Fillmore in Denver. They took the opportunity to host a concert of their own the night beforehand at the Aggie Theater. The Stringdusters had been on a break since their performance on Halloween in NYC. The show at the Aggie was a reunion of sorts for the band. The Dusters invited local jamgrass heroes, The Drunken Hearts, to open up the night. They took the stage early around 8 PM. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive until they were performing their set closing song with Andy Hall. The lack of a substantial crowd at The Aggie let me know I wasn’t the only one who thought the show started at 9 PM. The fact remains that The Drunken Hearts have truly progressed into a full-blown musical spectacle capable of powerful performances. The Hearts are firmly establishing themselves in the upper echelon of Colorado bluegrass. Zebulon Bowles remains a fascinating focal point for this band. The Drunken Heart are an impressive group with limitless potential. Check them out if you haven’t seen them live.

The Infamous Stringdusters are dominating the bluegrass scene. They have been on a relentless tour schedule that has brought them through Colorado several times in the last year. They even performed with Governor Hickenlooper at the Viva Lyons celebration. At the Aggie they played two superb sets of music. They opened with a perfect bluegrass rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It's Alright.”

Set One: Don’t Think Twice It's Alright, Time To Part> 17 Cents, Rivers Run Cold, Night On The River, Well, Well, Middlefork, Thirsty In The Rain, Paddy On The Turnpike, Tragic Life

Set Two: Hobo Song, High Country Funk Tease> In Gods Country, The Place That I Call Home, You Can’t Stop The Changes> Home Of The Red Fox, Scarlet Begonias> This Weary Heart You Stole Away, Like I Do, How Far I’d Fall for You, No More To Leave You Behind, Love Grown Cold, One More Bridge, Gentle On My Mind, Machines

Encore: Bar Tender, Uncle Pen

By the time The Stringdusters took the stage the room had filled in nicely and there was still quite a long line of people waiting to get inside the venue. The first set was bit shorter than the second, but it was full of fan favorites. They gave us a pair of aquatic tunes with “Rivers Run Cold” into a beautiful “Night On The River.” They performed a driving version of Peter Rowan’s “Thirsty In The Rain.” They closed the first set with “Tragic Life.” Every member of this band is a musical virtuoso. Each and every time The Infamous Stringdusters take the stage they play from the heart with a special brand of vibrancy and skill that is truly extraordinary.

They began their second set with their homage to vagrancy, “Hobo Song,” before teasing “High Country Funk.” They treated fans to a wide array of originals as well as a couple of covers. Pulling from a bit deeper in their catalog they performed “You Can’t Stop The Changes” into the instrumental “Home of The Red Fox.” Jeremy Garrett was center stage much of the show including a huge solo on “Red Fox.” Not to mention the way these guys interact while pickling together. It’s obvious that each member of the band is happy to be there as they swing their instruments around the stage. They delighted fans with a rendition of The Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias” before Andy Falco took the microphone on the lively “Like I Do.” The Stringdusters went back to their debut album Fork In The Road with “No More To Leave You Behind.” After a picturesque Travis-sung “Gentle On My Mind,” they closed with “Machines.” The Dusters hastily returned for a two-song encore that included Bill Monroe’s classic “Uncle Pen.” I can’t really say it enough; The Infamous Stringdusters are in contention for being the best bluegrass band touring today. They play from the heart with intensity. They are incredibly talented and yet gracious at the same time. They have quickly landed on my not-to-be-missed list. Their show at The Aggie would act as the perfect warm-up for Hoppy Holidays the following evening.

Nick’s Photo Gallery



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Infamous Stringdusters, Kyle Hollingsworth Band & Euforquestra 12.6.14

The Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

The air was crisp and the night young as folks wandered into The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO for "Hoppy Holidays!" The beer tasting/musical extravaganza kicked off at 5:00 PM with thirty breweries providing free tastings for all ticket holders until 8:00 PM! One could only imagine the amount of hippies and wooks that would be patiently waiting for access around 4:45 PM and in turn would be carried out before the evening's headliner. Kevin Hahn, who would be shooting the evening's event, and I headed for a quick bite to eat to line our stomachs prior to what would presumably be an evening of excessive intake. We dropped off our coats backstage at The 1up - Colfax and headed over to what used to be Mammoth Garden at the corner of Clarkston and Colfax. There was a smaller line than usual out front, which at first I thought may be an indicator to how few were inside, but just the opposite was the case. Walking through the doors, the auditorium opened up to a massive turnout inside.

Euforquestra had just wrapped up their set and the evening's host, Kyle Hollingsworth, had just taken the stage with his band. I was disappointed to find that the beer tasting that was taking place on the floor behind the soundboard was being torn down early. Though I was not able to participate in the early format of the tasting, our VIP passes would grant us access to a plethora of free beers on rotating taps in the Fillmore's balcony. On my way back down to the floor I ran into Chris Pandolfi and congratulated him on The Infamous Stringdusters largest play in the market.

"Well, I like to drink beer. Hopefully you guys like drinking beer too. I like to make beer, but I think my favorite thing to do is to make music! Lets do that..." -Kyle Hollingsworth

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Fillmore Auditorium on December 6, 2014.

Kyle began with "Let's Go Outside," which was a great way to kick off the set. Kim Dawson backed up Kyle on vocals adding a much more full sound to the chorus. The music broke down and went into "Eminence Front," which was strong through four minutes of rock that went back into "Let's Go Outside." Another song with the word "Go" followed in "Here We Go," welcoming Matt Grunstad on percussion. Dan Schwindt stepped up on guitar ripping through some impressive notation, while Paul McDaniel laid down some huge bass in the background. The combination of Paul and drummer Brian McRae seemed a perfect fit for Kyle's compositions. "Falling Through The Cracks" came next with Kyle trying to capture the southern California vibe. Once again, Dan shredded while the crowd danced furiously. "We Can Work It Out" began with Kim's powerful vocals and special guests, the Euforquestra horns!

"You've got The World," a track off of Kyle's newest album came next with Kyle digging into some nasty tones on his keyboard. A huge solo followed with the entire band joining in at the end to peak. The midsection got spacey before building back up and concluding. The Speed Racer inspired "Racer X" delighted the appreciative crowd with funky swagger and wailing organ work. The highlight of the track came in the form of yet another big solo from Schwindt. Upstairs we found ourselves having to make choices on what kind of craft brew we wanted to try. Whereas I usually drink IPAs or pales at shows, I found myself with a chocolate Porter in hand.

"Bring it down and let's funk it up a little bit... for now." -Kyle Hollingsworth

"Way it Goes" began with some solid riffing from Dan before Paul took off on the bass eluding to some massive low end to come. After a couple of verses Brian dropped into some heavy drumming and Paul made the bass pop before Kyle jumped into some talkbox. Up next was Kyle's new single, "Happening Now," a song that Kyle wrote to remind everyone of their childhood. It sounded almost Bowie-like and the middle of the song got extremely funky before Kyle took the Denver crowd to space. An instrumental jam started slower, before Kyle requested the band speed it up a little bit "Billy Nershi" style. Kyle called up Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters) for a song Kyle had written about his daughter, "Can't Wait Another Day." The added dobro sounded fantastic painting bright colors to the already vibrant musical piece! Brian took a solid solo towards the end of the jam with Andy outputting some almost dreamlike steel.

Kyle called Mike Tallman (Euforquestra) to rip some guitar with Dan, as well as the horns to blow some notes on The Talking Heads' "Crosseyed And Painless." It started slow then took off rapidly. The whole song was a shredfest and a clear highlight of the evening's first co-headlining set! Members of Euforquestra remained on stage for fan favorite and the set closer, "Rosie." The song's melody sounded great with the horns taking the lead! Paul took over on bass as the near full Fillmore got the fuck down. Kyle took one last massive solo before the song took a turn towards its close. The jam got loose and spacey before building up, tightening up and charging full steam through one last chorus and peak. The set was very enjoyable and as anticipation for The Infamous Stringdusters set built, Paul Hoffman and Dave Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass could be seen tuning up and soundchecking on the fly.

Back upstairs we obtained a coffee IPA and a Coffee Stout. Much like the earlier porter, the stout went down like motor oil, but with a delightful taste. Back on the main floor the lights went down and the fab five took the stage. A tease of "Piece of Mind" with a ton of thrashing opened the set before the band kicked into "Mountain Town" with Andy Hall leading them off. It was a strong start and the crowd went crazy upon its conclusion! The band immediately launched into "Black Rock" with fierce fiddling from Jeremy Garrett.

The Infamous Stringdusters Live at Fillmore Auditorium on December 6, 2014.

"Happy Holidays, everybody! Well done, thanks for coming out tonight! Big thanks to Kyle for having us out as his guests! Big thanks to Denver for being the musical center of the universe!" -Travis Book

Musical perfection poured from the stage through the instrumental track, with each member getting in on the action and moving around the stage in a fluid motion. Percussive strikes rung out intertwining with jazzy newgrass. They wasted no time in getting to "Get It While You Can," that featured Travis on the vocals before heading into "Fork In The Road." Jeremy's vocals were incredible as Pandolfi keep the time with precise banjo. An abrupt stop opened back up to some great solo work and an excited cheer from the crowd! "Angeline" came next with beautiful riffing between Chris and Andy Falco. The composition felt like a journey through picking at an incredibly high level. The slower love song, "Head Over Heels" entered the picture and as I glanced around there was a lot of air guitar and air fiddle going on. The harmonies were well tuned and the transitions of the solos seamless. The tempo sped up as the song cruised towards its close.

Another love song, "Summercamp," followed with Travis on vocals and poppy instrumentation. Jeremy stood out on this song going absolutely over the top with Chris in tow. What began as poppy sounding turned into a barrage of notes that seemed to bounce off of the faces of the hardcore Jamily riding the rail. The song slowed down and transitioned into The Police's "Walking On the Moon," to the delight of the Denver fans. The melodies were soaring and the vocals true to form. Andy Falco's "If I Had A Block of Wood" felt faster than normal and featured some great movement on stage as the band chased around the lead parts and squared off. "Hey You" featured Andy Hall and added harmonies from the rest of the band. In the middle of the composition Chris took off, before Andy Falco, until their melodies crossed and went back and forth. A train song followed with "End of The Line" with Jeremy at the vocal helm and at times ripping into the fiddle. The song was short and sweet, before the band kicked into the extended, fast-paced "Hitchhiker!" I found myself singing along with Jeremy and snapping to Andy Hall's dobro work. Glancing to my left, Kevin had his eyes closed and was also singing every word. Goosebumps rose on my arm as the band's output broke into a spacey section, with Jeremy's fiddle grinding away in the background and Falco on lead guitar.

"All The Same" began with heavy bass from Travis before the band joined. There is something about the song that creates such a beautiful sound, whether it's the solid lyrics or the swagger of the tempo that feels swanky. Fan favorite, "Long Lonesome Day," came next as folks danced and slapped their knee. The song slowed down and transitioned into "Fire," with some weird effects and tones. Andy Hall's strong vocals energized the packed house before the band noodled and jammed resulting in Chris being shot out of a cannon on the banjo. "Stranger" lead off with a beautiful melody and soft vocals and more strong banjo work before "Y2K" and what felt like a turn toward the close of the extended set. Jeremy tore into his fiddle which answered with screaming perfection, before Chris began firing off notes and up-ended rolls. "Getting Down The Road" featured each member with colliding melodies and amazing interplay. The band peaked and went from zero to sixty to close the fantastic composition.

The Stringdusters took a second to thank the evening's support before performing an incredible version of "Let It Go" that featured a massive sing along. Looking around it appeared that most were participating and those who weren't were tuned into the message of the song. Then, Andy Hall called Kyle Hollingsworth to the stage for "Colorado." The added keys fit perfectly into the already tight mix and gave the song a soulful feel. Kyle took the first solo as The Stringdusters looked on with smiles. Kyle remained on stage for "High Country Funk," which felt loose from the get go. The instrumental song took turns and dives, at times soaring through what felt like purely improvised sections, at one point teasing The Grateful Dead's "China Cat." "High Country Funk" went right into Shawn Camp's "Travelin' Teardrop Blues." Travis took the vocal responsibilities through a song that has become a bluegrass classic. The tempo sped up and the band went into JJ Cale's "After Midnight." Following a solid Kyle solo, they transitioned back into "Travelin' Teardrop Blues" to close the first set.

The Stringdusters welcomed drummer Brian McRae to the stage for The Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place." The Stringdusters' approach to the song was bright and progressive and Kyle's raspy vocals and missed high notes added a very raw vibe to the mix. For the next song, Travis called up Paul and Dave from Greensky Bluegrass for Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City." Paul's vocals were strong though the song selection a little slow for an encore, hopefully eluding to a barn burner of a show closer. The evening closed with The Stringdusters welcoming Kyle, Kim, Brian and members of Euforquestra along side Paul and Dave for Stevie Wonder's "Boogie On Reggae Woman." Kim and Andy Hall traded vocals before the jam opened up into a section of solos that included Bruzza, Kyle and the horns before returning to the verse and ending in a disjointed fashion. For such an incredibly tight show, the encores seemed very "pickin' party" esque and loose in nature.

The lights came up in The Fillmore and Denver music fans headed in every direction. For us, it was off to The 1up - Colfax for North American Scum performing the music of LCD Soundsystem. We arrived at the barcade to a packed house of fans singing every word to every song with their hands in the air. It was quite the stark contrast for me coming from The Fillmore, where I knew almost every word to every song. There I was watching North American Scum and completely out of the loop of the music, though it was fun and danceable. We found ourselves backstage, hanging with a few of our friends who attended the Stringdusters show as well, when I got a text from Chris checking in to see if he could come hang. When I got to the front, I was greeted by Chris, Andy Hall, Paul and Dave. I turned to Carly excitedly and said "two of the five!" A short time later, I was back up front bringing in Travis and Andy Falco. "Four of the five" I said to Carly. I began to smile as I went back up front to grab Jeremy. Backstage I glanced at Carly and smiled as The 1up quickly became the after party for our favorite band following their biggest market play. I woke up the next morning, still smiling, awaiting the next time we would have the pleasure of seeing The Infamous Stringdusters...

Kevin's Photo Gallery




Monday, December 15, 2014

Critters Buggin 12.12.14 (Photos)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

North American Scum, Ableminds & The RunniKine 12.6.14 (Photos)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" 11.21 & 11.22.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)

What would happen if a hand picked band consisting of members of The Allman Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Big Gigantic, Leftover Salmon and more got together for two nights in an arcade? What would the mix of blues, jazz, bluegrass, funk and electronic music sound like? The first "Colorado Get Down" came in the form of three nights on the Front Range with Members of The Motet, Leftover Salmon, Big Gigantic, Lettuce, Soulive and Pretty Lights turning out to throw down. Its elevated reception made way for the project's triumphant return for YarmonyGrass. For round three the line-up was mixed up a bit and the focus became two nights in Denver, CO. For weeks, fans awaited the return of Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" and with all of the logistics and loose ends tied up, time ticked by slowly until Thursday, November 20th came. The first to arrive was my friend Murray from New Jersey, followed by Roosevelt from Miami, then my brother (Brandon) and my friends (Matt and Teri) from Michigan. That evening our group headed for a team dinner at Mongolian BBQ, when I received word that my favorite bass player had landed in Denver. Following our dinner, Roosevelt, Murray and I headed to Oteil Burbridge's (Allman Brothers Band) hotel room to welcome him to Colorado. A short time later we were headed home to rest up for what would be a huge weekend. I all but pinched myself. This was really happening.

Friday, November 21:

I drank cup after cup of coffee, smoking cannabis at an alarming rate to jumpstart my morning, as I had barely slept in the days leading up to the weekend. Sometime around 1:00 PM, members of the band started to arrive at the arcade at the center of the universe. It was interesting to see everyone meet and get acquainted with one another. The level of excitement in the air was palpable. A short time later, with everything in its right place, The 1up's audio team ran through soundcheck and rehearsal began. I stood alone in the middle of the room and from left to right I found myself staring back at Chris Pandolfi (The Infamous Stringdusters), Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters), special guest Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon), Roosevelt (The Lee Boys), Oteil and Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic). As they began to jam, I was overcome with emotion and the realization that this was why I do what I do. With the rehearsal in progress, I took to social media which was flooded with talk of the evening's show. Pre-sales were through the roof, the band sounded incredible, the staff was ready and the venue looked clean and sleek as it always does.

The 9:00 PM hour rolled around and the venue was already starting to fill in. The Jaden Carlson Band kicked off the weekend with an hour and fifteen minutes of in your face musical madness. As seems to always be the case during JCB sets, folks conversed, then passed along to the person standing next to them, the fact that Jaden was only thirteen years old. In a short conversation that I had with someone, I mentioned that she was "a ripping guitarist that happened to be thirteen, as opposed to a thirteen year old guitarist, as it is not her age that defines her musically." During the band's impressive set they welcomed Jeremy and Oteil to the stage to participate. JCB's chemistry, which flowed between Jaden, Eric Luba and Will Trask, reflected a band well rehearsed and maturing at a rapid rate. Their songs and music have grown into refined masterpieces and by the set's conclusion, the place was packed.

Roosevelt and I headed down to The Ogden Theatre where we were greeted at the backstage entrance in the ally by the road manager of The Southern Soul Assembly tour which consisted of JJ Grey, Luther Dickenson, Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard with special guest Todd Smallie. The vibe was odd as the room was packed, yet the band was seated and playing acoustic. Following a handful of songs they called Roosevelt to the stage where he had it out with Luther to the delight of the capacity crowd. The sit in really elevated the energy and with a plug for our show dropped, we were on our way back to The 1up with Murray who had joined us. Upon our arrival back at that venue, we found a line at the box office and a quickly filling arcade.

Backstage the troops were assembled for an all out musical assualt that would raise the bar for "super jams" in the market. With smiles abound and the crowd demanding what they paid for and more, Roosevelt and Jeremy took the stage to get things started with a slide and drum jam. A short time later Rosie called the remaining members to the stage before jumping into The Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Roosevelt took on a Hendrix style with percussive strikes on the slide and ripping instrumentation, before Chris took over on the electric banjo and Andy followed suit.

"This song is going to be featuring everybody on stage. That's what every song is going to be doing..." -Roosevelt Collier

The following song kicked off with Oteil and Jeremy establishing the rhythm before Rosie jumped in taking the jam through several different parts and ultimately shredding back and forth with Andy until the drum and bass punch entered the picture with heavy force. Chris riffed hard in three finger fashion as the composition plateaued and turned towards its conclusion. Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" featured Oteil on vocals before massive ripping from the slide section ensued. The music returned to the melody and concluded with Roosevelt noodling far beyond the song's end. Band intros came next and Rosie called vocalist Emily Clark to the stage to sing what sounded like an improvisational number. Rosie then quieted the music and called Jaden Carlson to the stage to the delight of the packed room. Jaden built up and tore down an incredible solo, before Emily stepped back up and passed the ball to Oteil who captivated the room with his skat bass solo.

With one last song remaining in the set Roosevelt brought Andy Thorn to the stage for some added banjo. Roosevelt plugged the following day's slide guitar workshop with Andy Hall, as well as the following night's show with special guest, Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic), before jumping into Johnny Cash's "Big River." Thorn turned it up immediately with insane banjo work and a fast paced modal approach. Andy Hall fielded the vocals prior to the group passing around the solos once again. Andy Hall threw it to Chris who ripped it up before passing it back to Andy for the verse and off to Roosevelt to get after it. The whole time Jeremy and Oteil were all over the place while keeping the groove very tight from beginning to end. With the first set of the weekend in the books, the assembled band headed backstage where there was no shortage of smiles and high fives.

The second set began with Roosevelt and Andy Hall performing a slide duo of "Rueben's Train," a song that they played together last June for an instructional video and a song that helped spark the idea of a slide workshop at The 1up. The composition was beautifully executed with the trading off of the rhythm and melody back and forth. The next couple of tunes to follow were songs that Roosevelt and Andy Thorn wrote during the time of the first "Colorado Get Down" last May for their Second Story Garage studio session. They began with "Skunk Mountain" and matching melodies that opened up to the full band. Andy Thorn took off taking the banjo to soaring heights before returning to the signature lick. Another passing around of solos lead to the song's end. The following number titled "Fiddling Around," began with a sort of Celtic sound, then opened up to a bonanza of slide before Oteil took over once again, turning heads while matching each tone vocally as he hit it on the bass. The song wound down beautifully with harmonizing melodies. Then to everyone's surprise, Roosevelt called Luther Dickenson (North Mississippi Allstars) to the stage, as well as Emily. What followed was a barrage of guitar that only slowed down to make room for Emily's vocals that were clean and soulful. Where as Luther's sit in was only going to be one song, Rosie demanded an additional in Jeff Beck's "Going Down." Andy Hall fielded the vocals as Chris jumped into a solo that was chased by guitars from every direction. It was pure madness.

After introducing the band, they remained on stage for their encore which came in the form of "Altitude Sickness," another song that Rosie and Andy Thorn created for their Second Story Garage session. The song took off quickly featuring the composers of the track tearing through notes at a wild rate. Rosie slowed down the jam, told everyone to return tomorrow and thanked The 1up as the song came to a close ending a truly incredible first of two nights. The crowd erupted with joy as the band exited the stage. Without any thought or attention to anything else going on around him, Roosevelt went straight to the Galaga machine to jump into a couple of rounds before even looking up. The greenroom turned into a celebratory scene, with the focus shifting from nailing the notes to consuming some beers and unwinding with friends. The party wound down and Rosie and Oteil departed in their towncar to the hotel. We had a full Saturday ahead of us and we were already partially into the day and losing hours of potential sleep.

Saturday, November 22:

My alarm sounded at 7:00 AM, a mere three hours after my head hit the pillow. I began to loathe Roosevelt and Andy Hall for choosing to conduct their slide workshop at 11:00 AM. I consumed as many burritos, cups of coffee and as much cannabis as possible before picking up a bunch of folding chairs and heading to The 1up with Roosevelt and Carly. A short time later Andy arrived and we set up the room for the workshop. Folks began to arrive at The 1up with their dobros, lap steels, pedal steels and amps for an educational session that would last three hours and cover a ton of slide material. I glanced around the room as Rosie and Andy spoke about their history with the music and I saw members from a handful of Colorado bands ranging from Lotus to Caribou Mountain Collective to Genetics, all soaking in the knowledge. Roosevelt and Andy discussed technique, approach, went through a bunch of exercises and walked around assisting in individual focus. During a short break, while folks got water and used the restrooms, Rosie and Andy played a few participants' instruments and jammed with attendees before returning to the second half of the lesson. The duo ran through riffs that increased in speed with the group following suit. As the session wound down, Oteil and Chris came through the door from Chris giving OPteil banjo lessons, just in time to catch the group jamming and passing around solos. The session ended with participants taking pictures with the musicians, networking with one another and collecting their gear. Ultimately, the workshop sold out and was a huge success for the educational music community and all involved!

An afternoon of recovery translated to evening as the sun set over the mountains on the second night of the "Colorado Get Down." Pre-sales hit a record for any previous Roosevelt Collier show to date eluding to the fact that it would be an incredible evening with a packed house! Fan favorites, The Drunken Hearts, kicked off the evening early with a sizable crowd! This play would mark their first since the passing of their drummer, Ted Welles. Fans came out early to show their support through what would be an incredible and emotional set. During their performance they welcomed Chris on the banjo and truly dazzled the room with their fantastic songwriting and well packaged delivery. Towards the middle of their set, the venue began to fill quickly and by the end, they were playing to a crowd of several hundred smiling faces.

Backstage, the members of "Colorado get Down" posed for a photo shoot and prepared their weapons for battle. The show began with Oteil and Jeremy digging into a nasty groove that reflected the intention of the "Get Down" to get down. Roosevelt followed suit leaning into some nasty instrumentation and Oteil dropped bass bombs over the shred. Rosie called the remainder of the band to the stage to continue the battle, riffing again on "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" that featured some incredible output from Oteil and Jeremy. A quick round of introductions of Roosevelt's "super heroes" and some love for Colorado lead to the next track that featured some cool parts from Andy and Chris. Then, as it happened prior, it happened again. Oteil took over in epic fashion, tearing up the bass and skatting along with the outpouring of notes. The hair stood up on my arms and a tear rolled down my check. That moment for me was so euphoric and blissful and yet the night was young.

"So I am going to say this... Colorado has the best music scene." -Roosevelt Collier

As they had done the previous night, the band jumped into "Skunk Mountain," however, without one of the song's composers, Andy Thorn, the song felt a little more hollow. A quick shoutout to Roosevelt from Chris triggered a large cheer from the crowd and the band continued with Jeremy, Oteil and Chris laying down a solid foundation on Maxine Nightingale's "Get Back to Where We Started From" before the slide moved in. Chris dove into a killer solo that lead into the band peaking hard and the song's conclusion. LaDamian Massey was called to the stage to sing, as well as Jaden to play some guitar, on Steve Wonder's "Higher Ground." LaDamion's strong vocals provided the perfect touch to the music that had the packed house moving. The band took the music down low and the slides went back and forth building up the energy at an alarming rate before LaDamion steered the song towards its close and set break.

Backstage the vibe was festive, yet focused on a quick turn around to maximize stage time. The second set began with Roosevelt and Andy noodling before going into "You Are My Sunshine" that felt like an interlude. The jam took a sort of dark turn towards "Rueben's Train" once again. Night two's version provided an extra dose of exploration as the two alternated parts for about eight minutes. Roosevelt called the rest of the band to the stage, including the evening's special guest, Dominic Lalli. The jam started loosely with everyone adding a little something to the mix before Dom took a big solo that built up the energy quickly. Chris jumped in on the banjo and took it even higher before the band dropped back in the song's main riff and eventual close.

Oteil kicked off the next track with prominent notation. The rest of the band were right behind and the vibe got a lot funkier with sax in the mix. The mid-section of the song got loose and opened up in perfect improvisational fashion and strong interplay from Oteil and Dom. The next jam continued with the same energy and pocket as the room swayed and grooved. The bass punched alongside of the drums as the guitars swung back with staggering force. The jam built and built before coming to an abrupt stop with the crowd going wild. Jeremy took off on the drums with Oteil right behind him as the vibe got a little jazzy before returning to the funk. I found myself fixated on Oteil who was all over the neck of the bass, pumping out some incredible low end with ease. Rosie called LaDamion back to the stage for Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious," with Rob Eaton Jr. (The Drunken Hearts) and Oteil passing it back and forth. The vibe inside of The 1up was peaking as the instrumentation soared. Dom took a solo and Rosie jumped back on the mic for one last round of band intros. Then out of nowhere, Rosie had the band take it down low and he called me to the stage. I stepped out for a quick wave and bow before ducking backstage. The song built right back up and came to a close. The band exited the stage and returned a short time later to jump into "Big River," with Andy on vocals. The music picked up once more to close the incredible weekend of music.

The party was in full swing backstage as the new group of friends and "bandmates" shared one last little bit of time together. As I looked around the room I took a deep breath and was overcome with gratitude. I was so grateful for all of the musicians that participated and made the weekend one of my favorites to date. I was so thankful for my team, from The 1up staff, to Carly and my friends who traveled from around the country to join. Lastly, to the fans who turned out to support the music and make it possible for us to bring some of our musical heroes to The 1up - Colfax stage, thank you. Rosie came up and gave me a big hug and we thanked each other for the experience and began to discuss the next round of the "Get Down." Slowly folks began to wander off. We said our goodbyes, snapped some pictures and I escorted Roosevelt and Oteil to their towncar. Off they rode into the darkness as we headed in the other direction for some much needed sleep and recovery. I awoke Sunday morning to realize that the weekend wasn't a dream. This is the life we live...

Jim's Night One Photo Gallery

Jim's Night Two Photo Gallery


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hot Buttered Rum & The Brothers Comatose 11.14.14

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Terry TLP Lapointe

Circa the year 2002, Hot Buttered Rum was a nascent jamgrass band from the Bay Area exciting audiences across the country. Now, 12 years later, they are still comprised of the same four core-founding members and playing top-notch progressive bluegrass. Matt Butler, their original drummer, has moved on to conducting The Everyone Orchestra. They finally settled on Lucas Carlton on the kit in 2008 and he has been with HBR ever since. Despite their almost constant touring and regular appearances at major festivals across the country, they seem to have fallen off people’s radar. While the turnout at The Aggie was decent it was nowhere near capacity. The cold weather was a deterrent, not to mention that Juno What?! was hosting their CD Release show down the street at Hodi’s Half Note. Nonetheless, Hot Buttered Rum began their two-night run with gusto and the vibrant energy they are known for. They brought along fellow San Franciscans, The Brothers Comatose, to open both shows.

Following a recent series of tours that included supporting Yonder Mountain String Band as well as The Devil Makes Three, The Brothers Comatose are continuing to make a name for themselves. Their blend of authentic string music with rich harmonies is absolutely intoxicating. Their set at the Aggie was a great introduction to the band. They opened with a lighting fast rendition of “Pig In A Pan.”

Set One: Pig In A Pan, Brothers, Pie For Breakfast, Modern Day Sinners, Strings, 120 East, To Be Young, Roots, The Ballad of Tommy Decker, The Van Song, Trippin On Down, Pennies Are Money Too, Freedom, The Scout

The band formed around brothers Ben and Alex Morrison and their song “Brothers” talks about how music cured them of their rowdiness. Musically, this band is incredibly tight; their study of traditional bluegrass is evident with each original song. They have only been together for four short years, but they play like a band that has been on the road much longer. The vocals on “Modern Day Sinners” were arresting. The rail remained clear while I shot my photos. Eventually people took the hint and began dancing along to the music. The Brothers displayed their storytelling side with “The Ballad of Tommy Decker” about a homeless man who would wander into their house in the Haight and try to play Rolling Stones songs with the band. They closed with a fiddle-heavy tune about staying young entitled “The Scout.” The Brothers Comatose are a fresh breath of acoustic air drenched in talent and authenticity. Their show at the Aggie definitely earned them a number of new fans.

Hot Buttered Rum was all smiles as they emerged from the darkness of backstage. As they opened with a heavy “Busted in Utah” the dance floor filled with all those that braved the cold.

Set One: Busted in Utah, The Crest, Blue Night, Own my name, Cumberland Blues, Ramblin Girl, Got A Feeling, Desert Rat

Set Two: Angeline the Baker/Cindy, Another City, Let the Love, Life During Wartime, Blue Ridge Mountain Home, Butch and Peggy, When that Lonesome Feeling Comes, Mighty Fine, Anarchy in the UK, A Great Many Things

Encore: 3.2*, I’ll Fly Away*

*Performed acoustic at the edge of the stage with The Brothers Comatose

Hot Buttered Rum Live at Aggie Theater on November 14, 2014.

Hot Buttered Rum still sounds fantastic. They exude positivity in their music that seems to be a rarity these days. Not to mention their amazing talent as musicians. Erik Yates pulled out his flute on “The Crest” which is just another well-written song in this band’s vast repertoire. “Own my name” is a weighty self-reflective tune featuring some powerful vocals from Nat Keefe. They treated us to a version of The Grateful Dead’s “Cumberland Blues” before going into the banjo-tastic “Ramblin Girl.” Hot Buttered Rum indulged us with an extended version of their gospel grass opus “Got A Feeling.” They closed the first set with a striking “Desert Rat” that again saw Yates on flute performing a musical ballet with Redner.

“We’ve decided to play all of our face melting songs.” - Bryan

Despite Bryan’s assertion they began very traditionally with an instrumental version of Stephen Foster’s “Angeline The Baker/Cindy.” “Let the Love” was a huge highlight of the entire show as Yates both belted out the lyrics and soloed on the Dobro. Bryan Horne channeled his inner David Byrne on “Life During Wartime.” HBR treated us to The Foggy Mountain Boys’ “Blue Ridge Mountain Home,” also known as the “Blue Ridge Cabin Home.” “When That Lonesome Feeling Comes” became a sing-along. Their rendition of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” was unexpected, but very welcomed. They closed in classic high-energy Hot Buttered Rum fashion with “A Great Many Things.”

The band returned to the apron of the stage with The Brothers Comatose to perform a pair of acoustic songs without the aid of the PA. Those that remained crowded around the pickers. They went into “3.2” before they ended the night with a beautiful “I’ll Fly Away.” Hot Buttered Rum still has that magic that sucked me in all those years ago. They are sheer positivity and take an almost spiritual approach to bluegrass. While some fans have moved on, Hot Buttered Rum continues to innovate while still remaining true to the sound they originally cultivated over a decade ago. If Hot Buttered Rum has fallen off your radar it’s time to take another look. Not many bluegrass groups touring today can have a set that includes the Sex Pistols alongside Earl Scruggs, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Nick's Photo Gallery



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Twiddle & Jaden Carlson Band 11.13.14

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Audio By Dan Russ

Twiddle is rapidly making it okay to say words like "jamband" and "noodling improv" again. They are part of a new generation of jam that has taken note of everything that has come before created an extraordinary musical synthesis. Twiddle hails from Vermont the land that Phish made famous. Since their performance at Arise Music Festival, they have been making regular tour stops across Colorado and have been quickly gaining fans here. This tour marked a four show run through the state that began in Fort Collins and ended at the Belly Up in Aspen. They invited Boulder phenom Jaden Carlson and her band to open up the night. Jaden has been wowing audiences all over Colorado for a number of years. I’m not overstating when I say her style is reminiscent of Jeff Beck meeting Jimmy Page. Perhaps more startling, she is barely past her preteens.

Set One: Church> Get Down On It, Nameless, Mudflip, The Wrong Way, Done Did It, No Use Hanging Around, Virtual Insanity, Waiting All Day

She has assembled a power trio consisting of herself on guitar and vocals, Will Trask on drums, and Eric Luba on left hand bass and keys. With Luba cranking out the rhythm with his off hand they have the sound of four players. Their set started early around 8:45 PM. Their music is fusion rock with elements of funk and soul tossed in for good measure. Twiddle keyboardist Ryan Dempsey sat in on “No Use Hanging Around.” Mihali Savoulidis sat in on guitar for “Virtual Insanity.” Jaden is impressive to say the least. She has the skill of a musician well beyond her years. The X’s on her hands were barely visible as she shredded the night away. Seeing her live causes instant fandom. They played for about an hour total before they made way for the headliner.

Twiddle played for a single set that went way past midnight. Each song was a heavily composed piece with huge changes throughout. They opened the night with a reggae infused “Polluted Beauty.”

Set One: Polluted Beauty, Beehop, Carter Candlestick, Apples*, Latin Tang, Frankenfoote**> Be There

Encore: Cabbage Face

*w/ Eric Luba
**w/ Jaden Carlson

The fact that they filled well over two hours time with just seven songs should give you an idea about the scope of this bands jamming capabilities. Taking the classic four-member approach, Twiddle is all business. “Beehop” began as a frenetic jazz tune before it exploded into a heavy progressive rock jam. Fans rejoiced for “Carter Candlestick” that again featured some rapid-fire lyrics from Savoulidis. Eric Luba returned the favor sitting in on “Apples” which sounded a bit like a Dave Matthews tune on speed. They teased Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” during the beginning of “Latin Tang.” This song was a massive musical journey accentuated by Latin tones and reckless abandon. They invited Jaden back to the stage for the bombastic “Frankenfoote.” Twiddle continued on as Carlson exited the stage. They closed with “Be There.” They returned to encore with their driving ode to “Cabbage Face.” This band has it all, versatile vocals juxtaposed against impeccable musicianship makes Twiddle a contender. Seeing them live gives me hope for jam and jam fans alike. They certainly tour like a jam band having already announced their plans to return to The Centennial State in the spring. Twiddle is the great white hope of jam. Their conquest is imminent, wait and see.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery



Yonder Mountain String Band & The Larry Keel Experience 11.11.14 (Photos)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twiddle 11.15.14

Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

As a fan of jam-bands with an ear to the ground, I'd been hearing about Vermont-based rising stars, Twiddle, for a couple of years. I had seen them in Fort Collins a couple of years ago as they opened for The Heavy Pets. We arrived late, but I remember thinking they had a really busy sound. Since that night, I've heard them pop up again and again. I recently saw a video of them covering Phish's "Harry Hood" on the Relix rooftop. It piqued my interests again, and when I had the opportunity to attend the sold out show at Denver's Bluebird Theater, I went for it.

Nursing a hangover from a Friday night of boozing, my motivation was lacking. When the time came, I rallied and made my way to the east side of Colfax. Vowing a night of sobriety, I intended to leave at the set-break. When Twiddle finally hit the stage, they brought the packed house to a frenzy and I knew I was in for the long haul.

At first, I admit I thought they wanted to be Phish too much. The drum solo turned vocal jam was bordering on too Phishy, but to be honest, that was the only moment of the night where their exceedingly obvious appreciation for the jam gods was overbearing. The rest of the show was only Phish-like in ambition. Through heavily compositional passages and into the improvisational deep end, all four members were technical, versatile, and professional.

I watched guitarist Mihali Savoulidis maneuver through intense jamming and obviously composed melodic patterns with dexterity, fluidity, and confidence. He seemed to be enjoying the energetic reciprocity as his smile widened during particularly intense moments of improvisation. Of the very few guitarists in the world that I have described as "surgical" with their precision... Savoulidis was one.

Bass-monster, Zdenek Gubb (wait a minute here, are these names for real?!) was comparably impressive. Fully capable of laying down the supportive low end or dropping face-melters in stride, Gubb was fantastic. At one point the entire band laid down their instruments to listen to Gubb's loop-groove. When he began soloing over the loop, the room went wild. I noted how effortless he made it look, with giant tone coming from what appeared to be a very soft touch.

Ryan Dempsey had to be good on keys, right? With such stellar talents on bass and guitar, it just wouldn't have been right to have a slacker in the band. Dempsey was no slouch. Often responsible for the fullness of their sound in a supportive role, Dempsey made clever choices and peppered integral nuances to their grooves. When the light was on him, he was as capable and talented as anyone else in the band. He not only played keys very well, but he also added a fun energy that led him to stage dive during one of the tunes... Not a typical sight at a jam show.

Last, but not least, drummer Brook Jordan was a musical warden, keeping everything locked down. His rhythms drove the band through a variety of ideas as he subtly and deftly maintained the flow. I think his role reminded me of Phish the most. Jon Fishman had undoubtedly influenced Jordan's style, slipping in intricacies with such casual precision, only the focused ear noticed. Tricky, yet smooth. Impressive.

Impressive was the word. I found myself wishing I'd done some listening before the show. The songs were all new to me, but I could immediately sense the depth, passion, and talent that had earned their reputation. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defined twiddle as "to play negligently with something." I saw a band with far more purpose than their name would suggest.

Brad's Photo Gallery


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trad-Plus & Genetics 11.14.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

Friday was unusual for me. My lady was out of state and I decided to go hit the town. After a mostly liquid dinner at World of Beer, I was off to The 1up - Colfax. I had never seen Chris Padolfi's solo project, but expected a bluegrass show. I was more than a little surprised by what I heard.

For some reason or another, Trad Plus gave up their headlining slot and gave Genetics the main slot. When Pandolfi and his drummer took the stage, I was really surprised by the sound. Funky, electronic, loop-based jams were punctuated by live drumming, creating a sound that fell somewhere between Break Science and Bela Fleck. Much like Master Fleck, Pandolfi has taken the banjo off the front porch and into the laboratory.

The rich, thick output sounded much fuller than a two piece band would have you expect. During one jam Chris teased Phish's "Sand," bending it to his style and riffing on it before moving on. The project definitely had potential, but felt a bit like a rough draft instead of a developed performance. The strengths lied in Chris's picking and original style. The live drumming gave the project gravity. Since it was only the first performance of Trad-Plus with a drummer, I'm guessing there will be improvement as they build a rapport with each other and the material. It wasn't bad for an early gig in a young band's life.

Having shifted slots with Trad-Plus, Genetics closed things down. Genetics hadn't let me down yet. There was something about their sound that really appealed to me immediately. They caught my attention with their groove-centric flow and thick, wet tone.

It felt as though the night had been inverted. As Trad-Plus finished, several people in the crowd left to go tend to their tomatoes, or play bridge, or something. The floor seemed to thin out before Genetics ever had a chance to wow them. That was a shame. Had they stayed, they'd have been treated to a young band with solid talent, dropping casual electro-funk like bosses.

Sparse vocals and deep diving instrumental passages blended together as they wove their way through songs with no breaks in stride or energy. I admired their ambition, playing to an underwhelming crowd and not letting it weigh on their music at all. They gave 110% regardless, and that spoke to their passion and dedication to their art.

Bassist Joel Searls and drummer Nat Snow had been in bands together before, and it showed. They locked into step and propelled the smooth, svelte sound. Ivory tickler Scott Anderson and guitarist Jeff Ervine added melodic and rhythmic lines which were very supportive in nature, as they fused with the rhythm section to drive a cohesive, balanced mix that was better than most margaritas. All in all, the band was good with a ton of potential to be great. The casual, cavalier ease with which they seemed to play made me wonder what would happen if they really drove it hard.

It was not my first Genetics show, and it certainly won't be my last. I stumbled out of The 1up satisfied. Hammered, but satisfied. I ambled down Colfax, onto the 16th Street Mall Ride, and eventually onto the W line, westbound. Saturday morning was an unwelcome intrusion, and I popped some ibuprofen and went back to bed, a victim of The 1up and her vices.

Brad's Photo Gallery



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MilkDrive & Porcelain City 11.6.14

Avogadro’s Number

Fort Collins, CO
Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

I first saw MilkDrive at WinterWonderGrass last year. Over the course of the weekend they played several sets taking ownership of one of the tents in a memorable way. Hailing from Austin, Texas the four-piece group consists of Brian Beken on fiddle, Dennis Ludiker on mandolin, Noah Jefferies on guitar and Jesse Dalton on double bass. However, due to the impeding birth of his daughter, Noah Jeffries flew back home, leaving MilkDrive as a three piece. Again, my search for good music took me to Avogadro’s Number. They have had a number a great shows recently and their Dead Jam continues to draw a large audience. On this night it was mostly a sit down crowd, but an empty seat was hard to find. The evening began with the newly formed Porcelain City. Originally known as the Snake Oil Trio, they have undergone some lineup changes and added a few members making them a trio no longer. Their first set started as a four piece with Nick Bonnet on guitar, Logan Lightfoot on bass, Andy Benson on drums and Danica Cunningham on fiddle. Danica joined the band just two days prior. Megan Rice would unite with them for their closing set to end the show.

Set One: Precious Time, Don’t You Dare Leave Me, No Good Fucker, What I Got, Here I Am, Eastward Bound, At Day’s End, Jam Song

Porcelain City was a blend of hip-hop and sincerity delivered in a jamgrass format. The addition of the drummer gives this band a new foundation on which to build their songs. They did an incredible rendition of Sublime’s “What I Got” mid set. They sounded great and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for Porcelain City.

As stated above MilkDrive sans Noah took the stage around 10 PM. They opened with “Sciota.”

Set One: Sciota, Last Night I Dreamed, Random Access, Dear Prudence, Water Ground, Gulf Road, Leaving, Lady Be Good, Soho, Waves

Set Two: Angeline The Baker, Garfields, Meat Glaze, Squirrel Hunter, Good News Blues, East Virginia, Dry Creek Inn

Milk Drive blends bluegrass with elements of jazz, blues, and more. Their first set they stuck to the three core members before inviting some friends up for set two. Their version of Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” was downright spiritual. There is a striking blend of talent and polish with these pickers. Jesse took the vocals on “Water Ground.” Their attention to detail was apparent with each song. They closed the first set with a beautiful “Waves."

After a short break they returned opening back up with “Angeline The Baker.” They invited Geoff Union up to the stage to play guitar. Geoff is a member of Denver based band, Ragged Union. During the show it came out that Geoff had introduced Jesse the bassist to MilkDrive, which obviously led to him joining the group. Geoff also sang “Meat Glaze,” a tune he wrote based on an experience at a ‘vegan lesbian pot farm community.’ They would eventually invite Christina Union also from Ragged Union up to sing a song. MilkDrive went into Billy Joe Shaver’s “Good News Blues.” After they finished up Porcelain City returned for a short set to close out the night. It being a school night I headed home. Both bands were impressive. It’s never optimal to see a band missing a member and at this show I saw two. I can’t blame Noah for going home to be a daddy. MilkDrive made the most of the set by playing stripped down versions of their original songs and inviting up the Unions to fill out their sound. It was an ideal night in Fort Collins.

Nick's Photo Gallery