Friday, July 25, 2014

Umphrey's McGee, The Motet & Moon Taxi 7.5.14

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Morrison, CO

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

Red Rocks Amphiteatre is one of the countries greatest venues, with a respective capacity of 9,450. That evening in Morrison, CO would not mark the first time that Umphrey's McGee had played the incredible venue. In fact, they have been playing Red Rocks for a handful of years, headlining with a variety of band combinations in an attempt to hit the milestone of a sell out. On July 5th, 2014, the right combination fell into place with the help of Colorado funk superstars, The Motet, and alt rockers, Moon taxi, from Nashville, TN. The formula was complete and that night, with the support of their passionate fans, Umphrey's McGee sold out the fabled venue. Perfect conditions swept over the Front Range and as folks partied hard in Red Rocks' stacked lots, the evening began.

Moon Taxi Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 5, 2014.

Setlist: Hypnus, Running Wild, Morroco, Suspicious, Whiskey Sunset > Blinded by the Light, Southern Trance, The Stand, Mercery

First to take the stage was Moon Taxi, who from the get go commanded the attention of the quickly filling amphitheatre. Their combination of dancability, instrumentation and catchy lyrical arrangements made for a great start to the evening. It was clear that their fanbase was well represented as they dove into their repitoir for a variety of genre-crossing compositions. Three songs into the band's set they called attention to one of the guitars on stage that belonged to Jerry Garcia and was played during the infamous Cornell 77' show. Following the intro the band launched into a pop sounding tune, "Morroco," which seemed an odd choice considering the history of the featured instrument. As the first of the evening's three sets progressed, the venue continued to fill towards capacity. Towards the end of the set, Moon Taxi launched into Manfred Mann's Earth Band's "Blinded By The Light" to mix things up a bit. As the set wound down, Moon Taxi laid it all on the table through a barrage of wailing guitar, intense grooves and sweet melodies that captivated the crowd.

As the stagehands and roadies swapped out gear for the evening's next band, Red Rocks was packed! It felt as if the show's headliner was about to take the stage and for many who turned out, the following band was who they came to see. The Motet has been putting in time for a while, building their brand and securing their core group of musicians. Over the last couple of years the band has sold out rooms at an increasing frequency, building up to a massive sell out on 4.20.13 at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO. Through all of the bands that Umphrey's McGee has tried to fit into the formula of a Red Rocks sellout, no one knew that it would be The Motet that would push them over the top. With the band's entrance to the stage, the capacity crowd erupted before getting served a large portion of Colorado funk!

The Motet Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 5, 2014.

Setlist: Introduction, Keep On Don't Stoppin' > Shake Your Bootie, Closed Mouth Don't Get Fed, The Fountain, 123 > Cut The Cake > Nemesis > Extraordinarily High, Like We Own It

Following a short intro from vocalist Jans Ingber, Dave Watts launched the band into "Keep On Don't Stoppin," with heavy grooves from the start. Joey Porter leaned into the keys with quick chops and his signature talkbox to lay out the funk, before the outfit transitioned into "Shake Your Bootie," which featured solos from Garrett Sayers on bass and Ryan Jalbert on guitar. "Closed Mouth Don't Get Fed" paved the way for some great horn section work from Gabe Mervine and Matt Pitts, to which the crowd responded. "The Fountain" slowed things down a touch before a run of songs that included "123" > "Cut The Cake" > "Nemesis" with near seamless transitions. "Extraordinarily High" came next in fitting fashion as cannabis smoke filled the air and further contributed to the Colorado vibe. What's more Colorado than smoking legal marijuana and dancing to The Motet at Red Rocks? The band finished their set with "Like We Own It" and that night in front of 9,000 plus people, The Motet certainly did own it.

If the evening ended at that point, fans would have gotten their money's worth, however it did not. Umphrey's McGee took the stage to the excitement of the sold out crowd! The energy and anticipation was extremely elevated as the band began with a brief "Lucid State" that went into "Conduit." A short but intense "Cut The Cable" came and went with guitarist Brendan Bayliss exclaiming "Red Rocks, we love you so much, thank you guys so much for coming out! This is one of the most magical places we've ever played. You know, we get to play here I don't know how many times and every time it feels like the first time. Thank you so much!"

Umphreys McGee Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 5, 2014.

Set One: Lucid State[1] > Conduit > Cut the Cable, JaJunk > Ocean Billy > Gents[2] > Ocean Billy, All In Time, End of the Road, Educated Guess[1], Hollywood Nights

Set Two: Little Gift, Bridgeless > Bad Friday[3], Dump City, Slacker, Wappy Sprayberry > JaJunk

Encore: Ophelia[4], Hajimemashite > Bridgeless

[1] debut, original
[2] partial
[3] with Dominic Lalli on saxophone
[4] with Gabe Mervine on trumpet, Matt Pitts on saxophone, and Jans Ingber on vocals

"JaJunk" came next with the raging fury that Umphrey's puts out through most compositions. The mid-section of the jam opened up and created an airy space of improvisation. Heavy ripping between Jake Cinninger and Bayliss lead to the transition into "Ocean's Billy," leaving "JaJunk" unfinished as Kris Myers on drums and Andy Farag on percussion drove the music to epic heights as Ryan Stasik threw punches on bass as each note of the composition was hit with precision through all sixteen minutes. Fan favorite "All In Time" came next eluding to another lengthy segment of soaring jams! The band did not disapoint as the Colorado crowd went absolutely nuts through the majority of the seventeen minute song. "End of The Road" featured the piano work of Joel Cummins and Jake on Jerry Garcia's 1977 guitar. The song was short but sweet, as was the "Educated Guess" that followed with sparactic shredding. Bob Seager's "Hollywood Nights" closed the first set.

The lights came up and the crowd came to life, as if apart of some weird psychedelic game show. People danced, celebrated, did stand up comedy among their peers and dashed in every direction while Denver's city lights sparkled in the distance. The second set began with a short but rowdy "Little Gift" that went into "Bridgeless" with riffing power. The jam expanded and collapsed as the band segued into "Bad Friday," leaving "Bridgeless" unfinished and with UM welcoming Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic to the stage for some added sax. "Dump City" came next with heavy bass and chops from the rhythm section throughout the jam. Following "Dump City," Bayliss got on the mic for the following gem.

"So, uh... when I was a sophmore in college, I went up to the music department and said that I want to be a music major and the head of the music department told me that since I had no formal training and I couldn't read music, that me trying to persue a career in music was like him trying out for the Cincinatti Reds. Yeah, right... I got two words for him, 'Red Rocks'. That being said, I was kind of lost for a minute and I had a couple of classes with a professor who kind of reinspired me and turned me onto some good writers and good performance artists like Lori Anderson. He inspired me to follow my inner-voice and disregard what people say. I think he's out there tonight. Professor Fredman, if you are out there, thank you for inspiring me to come back to this place."

"Slacker" dropped in with Bayliss at the vocal helm before a descending section that further reflected the tightness of UM. "Wappy Sprayberry" kicked off eluding to the impending conclusion of the second set. Heavy synthesizer from Joel pushed the jam over the top as it neared the end of the composition. "Wappy Sprayberry" turned into the earlier unfinished "JaJunk" to close the second set. A short five minutes later, UM returned to the stage with The Motet's horn section in tow for The Band's "Ophelia." Gabe and Matt added a fantastic layer to the mix for the duration of the easy going jam. "Hajimemashite" seemed the perfect close to an incredible night of musical fantasy and the achieving of dreams for a bunch of hardworking folks. With one last transition, UM went into the unfinished "Bridgeless" for one last auditory assualt! What started out as a mission to sell out Red Rocks, ended in glory for one of the live music scene's true greats! Congratulations to Umphrey's McGee, The Motet and Moon Taxi and thanks for one of the best evenings on the Rocks in some time!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Monday, July 21, 2014

Umphrey's McGee 7.4.14

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words By J. Picard

It was just another 4th of July in Colorado, unless you had tickets to Umphrey's McGee's sold out show at Boulder Theater! The line, comprised of Umphrey's fans from around the country, wrapped around the block past the band's bus. For many, the search was on and fierce for a "golden ticket." For those who could not swing it, The Lazy Dog, just around the corner, was streaming the evening's affair. Inside of Boulder Theater bar lines reached four deep, while the bartenders moved swiftly and efficiently to meet the high demand. With no opener on the bill, the band promptly took the stage and began with a short and intense "Gurgle" that went right into a "Der Bluten Kat" that featured an array of quick changes and ample shredding. The band stopped mid way for Brendan Bayliss to communicate "Ladies and gentleman, before we continue taking this room into the stratosphere, we need to make sure you guys are ready." The capacity crowd erupted and the band continued before transitioning into a "Kabump" that noodled and built to its exercised potential. Umphrey's then dropped back into "Der Bluten Kat" to complete a diverse and energetic forty minute run to open the show!

Umphreys McGee Live at Boulder Theatre on July 4, 2014.

Set One: Gurgle > Der Bluten Kat > Kabump > Der Bluten Kat, Booth Love, Hourglass, Professor Wormbog, America the Beautiful[1], Great American[2] -> Baby You're A Rich Man[3] > Great American[2]

Set Two: Phil's Farm > The Triple Wide > Drums[4] > Phil's Farm[4], The Linear > Utopian Fir[5] > Prowler > Similar Skin, The Floor

Encore: Mad Love, Mulche's Odyssey

[1] Ryan solo
[2] with Bela Fleck on banjo
[3] with Bela Fleck on banjo; with America the Beautiful tease
[4] with Michael Travis on percussion
[5] with Bertha (Grateful Dead) tease

"Happy Birthday, America," Bayliss called out.

"Booth Love" appeared next with a certain subtlety that began to expand with furious notation from Jake Cinninger and his guitar. Sound vocals lead to some fantastic synth tones from Joel Cummins, triggering a complete ground assault to the close. The crowd began chanting "USA, USA, USA..."

"Oh God, that's beautiful. How about we try this; If I say 'America,' you say 'fuck yeah.'" America.." to which the crowd responded, "fuck yeah!"

The newer "Hourglass" followed, with the intensity growing for a brief three and a half minutes. Up next was "Professor Wormbog," featuring a cool accapella section that was followed by "America The Beautiful" solo from Ryan Stasik on bass.

"God bless America and God bless you. Tonight people we got a good friend of our's in the house, a very special guest. He's the second best banjo player in the world. His name is Bela Fleck." Bayliss said nonchalantly.

The Boulder crowd went absolutely wild. There was a sense of disbelief that quickly subsided with Bela's first notes on "Great American." It was an incredible surprise from left field. The focus of the show shifted to Bela and Jake, who began tossing notes back and forth at a rapid pace, before transitioning into The Beatles' "Baby You're A Rich Man." The band went back into "Great American" to close the first set with Bela aboard the craft.

"That's Bela Fleck, everybody. We're taking a short break. Stay patriotic out there," Bayliss exclaimed.

The second set began with "Phil Farm," to the delight of the patient and fortunate crowd. Rockabilly turned to shred and returned, then transitioned into "Triple Wide," per Kris Myers and Andy Farag's cue. Boulder Theater transformed into a dance party with the lighting of Jefferson Waffle taking center stage with near unmatched prominence on the lighting front. Michael Travis (The String Cheese Incident, EOTO) made an appearance for a "Drums" that transitioned back into "Phil's Farm." "The Linear" featured Bayliss at the vocal helm and Jake quick to follow with an unbelievable amount of guitar, mellowing to head into "Utopian Fir." In the middle of the jam, the band jumped into a disjointed tease of The Grateful Dead's "Bertha," quickly returning to their expected riffs. The composition provided an enjoyable amount of space that made for some pretty creative moments over the course of fifteen minutes. The band transitioned into "prowler," picking up the tempo a touch for Joel to take over on keys for the mid section before shred ensued and Umphrey's headed into the title track off of their newest album, "Similar Skin."

"The Floor" followed to close the evening's second set. The energy came from the ground up, building and peaking at levels that most bands could only dream about reaching for. As they always do, Umphrey's McGee set it up and knocked it down over and over with massive punches coming from the band's infamous rhythm section. "The Floor" was a strong closer for the appreciative crowd, who still was not ready to walk away from their evening.

"God bless you, Boulder and God bless America. Thank you so much." Bayliss said as the band exited the stage.

The crowd once again chanted "USA, USA, USA..." as Umphrey's returned and began the first of their two encores with a straight forward "Mad Love." The more extensive and energetic "Mulche's Odyssey" seemed a much more fitting conclusion to an incredible evening of heavy output from one of the live music scene's true juggernauts. The night provided an above and beyond type of experience for a select group of lucky fans! On the eve of the band's first Red Rocks sell out, the energy inside of Boulder Theater was thick and palatable and the band was at the continuous and ongoing peak of their career...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

MusicMarauders Four Year Anniversary: Dave Watts Super Jam 6.21.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

Four years... a powerful amount of time. High school. College. Presidential terms. Olympic Cycles. Leap Years. MusicMarauders. Saturday night, I joined a four year Anniversary party for MusicMarauders. I went for a variety of reasons. First, I wanted to support a friend and colleague in celebrating a monumental anniversary. Second, I wanted to see the collective talent assembled to mark the occasion.

When we entered the land of Donkey Kong and rock and roll, Genetics with special guest Chuck Morris (Lotus) was mid-set. At first I thought they were going to be heavy on the electronic influence, but as the show progressed, I found myself noting hints of Umphrey's McGee, Dopapod, the Grateful Dead and more. Through every musical turn, they confidently maneuvered. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. They had chemistry, balance, and direction. I found myself really enjoying their set.

As their set came to a close, I was pulled into the green room where an all star band was getting loose. From spirited conversations to intent gaming, a talent-rich conglomeration of some of my favorite musicians were unwinding and building rapport for a night of musical collaboration. Roosevelt "The Dr." Collier enthusiastically tapped buttons as he played Galaga (posting the 2nd highest score). The atmosphere was quite refreshing. I could tell the musicians were enjoying themselves. From the inner child being cut loose on an arcade, to the excitement of playing music with a lineup that only existed for two nights, everyone seemed stoked to be a part of it.

Centered around the Motet's drummer/founder, Dave Watts, the lineup was superb. Tea Leaf Green's pioneering bassist, Reed Mathis laid impeccable grooves in sync with Watts energetic drumming. Keyboard wizard Todd Stoops was a sonic chameleon, showing a versatility rivaled only by his track suit collection. Roosevelt Collier's slide work was impressive. His tone and energy were electric. String Cheese Incident's percussionist, Jason Hann, guested throughout the show and the trumpet duo of Gabe Mervine and Jen Hartswick provided the icing on this cake. Watts had put together the right ingredients, they'd just needed to apply some heat.

With sets that relied heavily on the funk, the band was dynamic, cohesive, synchronized, and inspired. The fun happening on stage translated through the speakers and washed over the dancing crowd. I was excited to see something that was so organic and tight. For an ensemble that was put together solely for this event, the band seemed extremely well-rehearsed. Pulling from each of their solo work and a shared repertoire of funky classics, the night was filled with familiar riffs by familiar faces. Hartswick and Mervine placed powerful, jazzy trumpet with classical precision and funky swagger atop a solid foundation. Roosevelt Collier's slide work was immaculate with searing soul and high-flying energy. His style was fierce, yet easy, with touches of Derek Trucks and Robert Randolph. What I enjoyed most about him was that he appeared to enjoy playing as much as we enjoyed watching. The same was true of Reed Mathis. He truly seemed to be happiest on stage, jamming with friends. With all that fun going on, there was nothing left to do but smile for the tandem drum combo of Hann and Watts.

Over the last four years, MusicMarauders has bloomed through a commitment to quality and innovation. I've enjoyed being around for a lot of it. The festivals, the unusual collaborations, the seemingly spontaneous side projects have been surprisingly intimate without losing the feel of something big. I've been honored to be a part of the team and look forward to all that is yet to come. Here's to much more Marauding!

Brad's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

LOHI Music Festival 6.14.14

Highland Tap & Burger
Denver, CO

Words By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions) & Kevin Hahn (Split Open And Shoot)
Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)
Audio by Chuck Miller

Kevin's Perspective:

Music festivals are not for the faint of heart, and when I say this I speak of those attending, planning, executing, and raging as hard as humanly possible. But to know those who are putting on the music festival, shows one a completely different side of what happens behind the curtain, and truly made me aware of how much work goes into any sort of musical gathering. LOHI Music Festival, held in Denver's Lower Highlands, has turned into one of Colorado’s best summer musical events and has become one of the premier one-day music festivals. Each year the LOHI managing/planning team puts together an action-packed, non-stop day of pure music bliss with some food and booze sprinkled in between. With Justin Picard (MusicMarauders/The 1up) and Paul Brown (LOHI Productions/Highland Tap & Burger) at the helm, us music-lovers were in for a special experience no matter what our tastes were. I can’t say enough about this monster of musical management epic-ness, and LOHI Music Festival 2014 truly proves my point.

Last year the Kyle Hollingsworth Band with special guest Michael Kang was the headliner of LOHI and while their set was absolutely brilliant and the LOHI crowd loved it, this year’s headliner is on a whole other level of jam-band superiority. Hailing from Buffalo, New York, moe. has been shredding the jam-band scene for the past twenty years and having just released their latest album, No Guts, No Glory, it doesn't seem like they'll be slowing down anytime soon. But while we waited for the New York jam-titans to grace us with their presence, the LOHI management team filled the day with some other awesome national touring acts, as well as some of our favorite local acts. From our amazing state of Colorado we had Genetics, Tiger Party, Chrome Drones, and Joey Porter’s Vital Organ raging both stages at various times throughout the day. Genetics, as always, provided a very straightforward, jam-heavy, extremely entertaining set, which started the day off on a great note. This Denver-based group has become one of my favorite local acts and truly has the talent to turn into something very special. They even have the balls to cover some of Oysterhead’s catalog and man does it make me wish that project would reunite. As Genetics wound down, I made my way over to the main stage to witness the Denver-based group Tiger Party.

Blake Mobley and his groovy group of funky friends have come together to form a dancing machine known a Tiger Party and they have been raging the Denver music scene for the past year or two. This group has an ever-rotating cast of members, and for this year’s LOHI music festival, Blake recruited Garrett Sayers of the Motet, Tom Hamilton of American Babies, Mike Greenfield of Lotus and special guest David Murphy formerly of STS9 to round out a uber-talented lineup. Tiger Party’s set was raging from their first note, and with Sayers laying down his usual thick bass grooves, I couldn’t stop moving my feet. Tom Hamilton was an absolute beast on the electric guitar and seeing him for the first time only made me want to listen to what the American Babies are all about. Blake Mobley is an awesome bandleader and is definitely becoming one of the more recognizable and prominent keyboard players in the Denver music scene, while also writing and promoting all of Tiger Party’s events. Murph ended up bartending in the VIP tent after his set, and for him that must have been a personal highlight. After Blake’s group finished up their funky set, the Fort Lauderdale based The Heavy Pets took the side stage for a rock filled set. The Heavy Pets seem like a great group of talented young gentlemen who have a lot of success coming up on their horizon. The Pets raged it hard and did not let up until the last minute, but for me, the next band due on stage was one I was truly looked forward to. This group was the Pimps of Joytime and man did they have a rough go weather-wise.

Under the threat of rain all day, the LOHI festival management team was ready and prepared to jump into action in order to protect equipment and attendees from the incoming Colorado thunderstorm. As Brian Jordan and John Staten led the Pimps of Joytime through a funk-heavy set, the LOHI attendees deserted the streets and ran for any cover they could find to avoid being soaked by the intense rain, which even with its overall “shitty-ness,” the weather did not delay any scheduled LOHI activities. Staten has quickly become one of my favorite drummers to see live as his smile is almost as big as his biceps, when pounding down on snare, bass, and other parts of his smaller drum kit. Brian Jordan is the founder and leader of the Pimps and does a great job in keeping the crowd involved while bringing the Brooklyn attitude to the forefront with his raspy vocals and great guitar licks. Luckily, those who were attending the late-night party at Cervantes would have the chance to see the Brooklyn based Pimps of Joytime rage it one more time in a much more temperature/weather-controlled atmosphere. At this time during the storm/Pimps of Joytime I decided to take full advantage of my VIP status and mosey on over to the bar to indulge in some Tito’s Vodka drinks. I now turn to my co-correspondent, Nicholas Stock, to take you through moe.’s two glorious sets and the late-night shenanigans of Cervantes... Nicholas take it away.

Nick's Perspective:

In just its fourth year the LOHI Music Festival has propelled itself from a fun daylong event in Denver to a premiere show with an impeccable lineup. This year they brought in major leaguers moe. for two sets along with a full day of music from both local and nationally touring acts. After an unforgettable Friday night at the Mishawaka, we took our time getting down to the festival. By the time we arrived the crowd was nearing capacity. The festival maintained the L-shaped layout, moving VIP across the street for a better view of the main stage. We walked in just as Joey Porter’s Vital Organ was getting started.

This is yet another group that flows from the copious fountain of talent that is The Motet. Joey Porter’s Vital Organ my have a slightly uncouth sound to the name, but the music they play smoothes that all away. Their funk is strong, but this group harnesses their years of experience to give a more emboldened approach with strong roots in the genre of jazz. Garret Sayers, one of finest bassists touring today, lends his talents to the group. Dan Schwindt of Kyle Hollingsworth Band fame plays guitar and Daren Hahn rounds out the group on kit. At LOHI they treated us to the perfect blend of funk and soulful jazz. Far from the electro-funk explosion that is Juno What?!, the Vital Organ is a well rounded group focused on instrumental improvisation and tight arrangements.

Matt Butler came to the stage for a short introduction, which focused on the Beverage Distributors, Uncle, and the upcoming late night festivities. moe. opened with a bass-heavy “Billy Goat,” which was one of the older tunes included on their new album No Guts No Glory.

moe. Live at Highland Tap & Burger - BD Stage @ LOHI Music Festival on June 14, 2014.

Set One: Billy Goat> Little Miss Cup Half Empty, Stranger Than Fiction, Queen of Everything, Spine Of A Dog> Buster, Wind It Up

Set Two: Captain America> Annihilation Blues, George> Down Boy, This I Know, Hi and Lo> Bring You Down> Brent Black

Encore: Plane Crash

On paper this looks like a crowd pleaser through and through, and it was. However, this show contained the very same enthusiasm for the long form jamming we saw the previous night at the Mishawaka. They segued beautifully into “Little Miss Cup Half Empty,” which was a dark Beatles-esque tune they first played during the acoustic tour of DISGRACe in 2010. “Stranger Than Fiction” was a nice touch, but “Queen of Everything” really wound up the engine. The blast off came in the form of the smash hit, “Spine Of A Dog” into “Buster.” The docile Denver crowd began to surge and sway to the music. They closed with a melodic and dark “Wind It Up” that saw some intricate percussion work from Loughlin.

LOHI never has a break in the music and the sets never overlap. That meant moe.’s set break would be filled with a 75-minute show from the Chrome Drones. This band, according to front man Pete Wall, is basically, “…Textiles on steroids.” A blend of members of Signal Path, Tiger Party and Pete, this group spews rhythm-based textures that lack the restraints of conventional musical performances. Their sound was both dynamic and utterly inviting at the same time. If this band continues to book gigs, go see them. They were perhaps the best way possible to spend a set break.

Moe. returned for set number two just after 8:00 PM and wasted no time at all by opening with their prolific anthem “Captain America.” They transitioned succinctly into the new tune “Annihilation Blues” which was just debuted at Summer Camp this year. Al took the spotlight on the “George” that seemed to go on for quite some time. At one point as the last bit of the sunset was ducking behind the mountains and a single streetlight suddenly illuminated a spot in the crowd, Al told a story about being a bad teenager in Upstate New York and occasionally putting out streetlights with a patented kick. Of course he wasn’t advocating anyone doing that… “George” disintegrated into a tight “Down Boy.” “This I Know” and “Hi and Lo” while on the slower side featured some of the more progressive jamming of the two sets. However, the “Bring You Down” was absolutely massive clocking in well past fifteen minutes. They closed with an equally gargantuan “Brent Black” that left fans very happy. These last two songs of the second set gave Denver fans a taste of what they missed in the Poudre.

“It’s always good to be in Colorado… look at this.” – Al Schnier

They closed the fest with “Plane Crash” which was the nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned. moe. played a huge set that catered to a festival audience. Digging into their catalog of crowd favorites with a solid mix of long, progressive jams as well as some new songs. It was a stellar show that won over the crowd in a big way. LOHI has truly become a rock solid event with everything a music fan could want out of single day of music. The lineup was a huge step forward with the addition of moe. In just a few short years this festival has morphed from a block party, to a highlight of the summer in Denver. Next year will mark five years and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

LOHI Late Night 6.14.14

Cervantes Masterpiece
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

We headed out quickly and flagged a weasel for a ride down to Cervantes. With no shuttle we had to rely on the kindness of the first friend we saw leaving the gate at LOHI. We got down to Cervantes early and ordered a little food from Pass the Peas that was formerly Magoo’s. The sandwiches were decent and just what the doctor ordered for four more hours of music. The menu for the evening consisted of a set from the Pimps Of Joytime and The Heavy Pets over at The Other Side, as well as a chunky two-hour party with the Everyone Orchestra in the Ballroom.

Soon after we arrived, the Pimps Of Joytime took the stage as the festival attendees poured into the room. This band is usually a bucket of energy, but their show felt more subdued but with the same concentration on the instrumentation. Lead by Brian J, the Pimps are a funk powerhouse. With strong vocals and an impeccable rhythm section, the POJ have all the tools to throw an awesome party. Having missed their set during the day, I was more than happy to see them at Cervantes. They played for just over an hour as people began to flow between the two rooms.

The next two hours were spent firmly planted in front of the main stage with Everyone Orchestra. EO shows can be difficult to describe, because they are always different and the music performed is totally improvised. Personally I love super jams, I always have. They are an opportunity for tremendous musicians to share their craft in a way that is completely unique. Now that being said, they can easily go into trainwreck mode. That’s why the inclusion of Butler as the conductor is so important. On this particular night the bill was full of truly talented people including Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico of moe., Mike Greenfield of Lotus, Jans Ingber, Joey Porter, Gabe Mervine, and Garrett Sayers of The Motet along with Blake Mobley, Tom Hamilton, and Tanya Shylock, as well as few other friends who dropped in. This time around Butler utilized a tablet and a stylus along with his usual white board shenanigans. Al simply shredded the night away, while Joey Porter also stole the spotlight. Eventually, Porter made way for Mobley and the night continued. At one point David Murphy (formerly of STS9) emerged from the darkness to join in the fun. As time ticked on it became obvious that they were not going to take a set break. So, I meandered back over to The Other Side for a little slice of The Heavy Pets.

They had a decent crowd vibing to their brand of smooth rock and shred-tastic sounds. The vocals from Jeff Lloyd are just as entrancing as his searing guitar playing. This band sounds tighter and more driven each time I see them live. The Heavy Pets are part of a resurgence of real rock that seems to be propelled at least locally by bands like The Congress, West Water Outlaws, and Rose Hill Drive. The Pets are happy to include elements of reggae and funk, but everything seems to have that heavy edge to it that is captivating. I hung around for a while before returning to catch the end of Everyone Orchestra.

I looked over to see moe.’s newly anointed tour manager, John, standing off to the side of the crowd. I asked him if he was finally off work and he informed me that he was not. He said that the bus was parked outside waiting for Al and Vinnie to finish up so they could head to Kansas City for the next show. ‘God speed John, your road is long, but you have one of the best jobs on the planet. I wish you luck.' Everyone Orchestra ended their set with a massive flurry of sound and we made our way to the exit. LOHI was an all around excellent experience this year. They seem to really be building something viable here in Denver. LOHI looks forward to a future of limitless possibilities and it would appear that this little festival is all grown up. See you in 2015.

Jim's LOHI Music Festival Photo Gallery

Nick's LOHI Latenight Photo Gallery

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Preview: Umphrey's McGee, The Motet & Moon Taxi 7.5.14

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Morrison, CO

Join us on Saturday June 5th at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO for a very special evening with Umphrey's McGee, The Motet & Moon Taxi!

Purchase Your tickets at!