Roosevelt Collier's Colorado Get Down 11.19 - 11.21.15

Words By J. Picard
Photos By J. Mimna Photography

The music industry is an industry of challenges, ups and downs. This story begins with immediate challenges that we met with adversity and an overwhelming influx of support that reflects the true nature of the Colorado music scene. The week started with the closing of The 1up - Colfax, a Denver venue that had quickly become a staple on the national scene. The mad scramble ensued with both myself and the musicians making phone calls to nail down a new venue for Friday and Saturday, and to obtain gear for the run. Within' twenty four hours of being handed lemons, we had already made lemonade. Long time Denver promoter and venue owner, Jay Bianchi, stepped up to make the move to Quixote's True Blue for the Denver, shows! A few phone calls later and the announcement was made to an incredible response!

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Thursday November 19, 2015:

We arrived at The Fox Theatre late afternoon and loaded in for the evening's performance. Pre-sales were strong and there was an excitement among the arriving members of the band, as is often the case with the first night of these sort of runs. Soundcheck commenced without a hitch and before long, we were dialed in and ready for the evening. We headed for a quick bite to eat at The Mediterranean and dined on tapas while Bill Nershi told hilarious stories about a couple of wild things that happened to him while touring with String Cheese in the 90's. A short time later we headed back to the venue to warm up in the greenroom.

Tom Hamilton's American Babies opened the evening with a unique blend of Rock, Americana and fantastic songwriting. Over the course of the past couple of years I have seen American Babies a handful of times, and that evening at The Fox represented the most well packaged product that I have seen from the band. Tom's soaring guitar work coupled with the heavy bass lines of Clay Parnell helped to establish the band's signature sound, but the sweet vocals and rhythm guitar work of Raina Mullen brought a new spice to the American Babies material. A short hour later, their opening set concluded to a quickly filling room.

Backstage Colorado Get Down warmed up and prepared for their first performance of the weekend. Roosevelt finalized the setlists as Bill worked on the lead part for Allman Brothers Band's "Hot Lanta," a song that they were considering attempting after some more practice. Our team's photographer, Jim Mimna (Former 1up House Photographer) popped in to stash his stuff and Bill quickly slid over to discuss camera gear. A short time later, the setlist was ready and Jim snapped a group shot before Roosevelt Collier, Matt Lapham (Shak Nasti) and Jeremy Salken (Big Gigantic) took the stage to a large applause!

The trio eased into the extended set with some Jimi Hendrix material, before welcoming Joel Cummins (Umphrey's McGee) for "Papa Was A Rolling Stone!" Bill was welcomed to the stage and the band jumped into "Hot Lanta," which featured some fantastic dual lead work from Roosevelt and Bill. Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic) joined on "Root Down," rounding out the stage. The Roosevelt original "Skunk Mountain" followed with a jumbled output and members working hard to get on track. Once they caught the melody, they dug in and steered the ship towards land before turning towards outer space with Herbie Hancock's "Spank-A-Lee." The track featured Dom on the sax as the Boulder crowd got down excitedly. The String Cheese Incident's "Outside Inside" got off to a rocky start before shifting into gear. The crowd seemed not to mind, but instead jumped right on board as Billy bent down to provide an array of effects that sounded like a spaceship. The set concluded with "Rampage" and the crowd cheered for more! Roosevelt brought special guest James Charles Dunstan Jr. to share the keys with Joel for "Stratus" to close the show.

The greenroom packed in with guests as the party ensued. The venue cleared out and tear down commenced. The Fox Theatre has one of, if not the best stage crew in the country, resulting in a smooth execution from start to finish. Jeremy and I cleared out some of the remaining hospitality and a short time later, everyone headed in their respective directions. For us, it would be back to Denver to rest and prepare for the weekend's wild card shows at Quixote's.

Jim's Fox Theatre Photo Gallery

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Friday November 20, 2015:

Roosevelt, Matt and myself headed towards 13th and Grant listening to the music of The Grateful Dead. We loaded in to Quixote's where we were joined by Taylor Hines (formerly of The 1up, Audio). There was a very light-hearted vibe in the room, with Roosevelt showing both Joel and Bill the basics of the pedal steel via some hands on lessons. Both Joel and Bill noodled cautiously before Roosevelt said "Justin, why don't you get up here and I'll teach you." "There is nothing that you could teach me that i don't already know," I said sarcastically. Bill handed me the slide bar and I took a seat glancing at Joel to my right behind the keys and Bill to my left. I stretched and dropped into some unexpected E Blues. "Whoa! Justin has been sand-bagging us!" Bill yelled laughing along with Joel. "Hold on, hold on, hold on, let me get this on video, do it again" Roosevelt said. I threw down once more as Rosie filmed the couple of measures and posted it to Facebook. "How did I get here?" I thought to myself.

Following the conclusion of soundcheck myself, Roosevelt, Bill, Joel and Matt headed over to Mongolian BBQ where we were joined by my wife, Carly, as well as our friends Murray, Matt and Teri. Upon our arrival we bellied up to the bar for a shot to set the pace for dinner. Snow fell on Denver, with members of Colorado Get Down well fed and heading back to the venue for the evening's sets. The band warmed up and talked through the setlist backstage while Aqueous warmed up the room on the dancefloor, literally, due to the mass of their gear. Joel sat in with Aqueous for the last song or two of their set for a fantastic. Colorado Get Down took the stage in the same format as the previous night except instead of Jeremy, Dave Watts (The Motet) would command the drums. A song or two later, Joel was welcomed to the stage, then Bill on "Hot Lanta," which sounded more calculated and tighter than the previous evening's version. A quick hour after they took the stage the band exited for a quick set break.

During set break in the main room, the crowd shifted to the front room of Quixote's for another mixed line-up that included local favorites Blake Mobley (Tiger Party), Josh Fairman (Kinetix, Analog Son), Seth Fanhauser (The Malah) and Ashley Niven (Tiger Party)! Quixote's was packed and buzzing as Colorado Get Down Returned to the stage! The second set was loose and included a handful of new songs that I had yet to hear the band play. There were a couple of songs specifically that I was waiting for that didn't happen. "Maybe they would come night two," I thought to myself. At one point Roosevelt called up Nicholas Gerlach (Turbo Suit) to blow a couple on sax. The room sounded great and people were partying on a level that I hadn't seen in some time. As I roamed through the room, so many folks approached to give words of encouragement and kind sentiment about MusicMarauders' future in this town. It was an incredible night that wrapped up around 2:00 AM. Most of the guys came out to meet with fans, shake hands and take pictures, finalizing the truly amazing vibe.

Jim's Quixote's True Blue Photo Gallery

Saturday November 21, 2015:

We got a late start on the day followed by a big breakfast with myself, Carly, Roosevelt and Matt. Soundcheck was scratched and we ended up at The Ogden Theater where Greensky Bluegrass had sold the venue out. Backstage we were greeted by the Greensky gentleman, who were warming up and ran into Joel and Eric Krasno. Greensky headed upstairs to the stage with both Joel and Roosevelt in tow, to the delight of the capacity crowd. After a couple of songs, we were on our way to Quixote's for the final evening of the Colorado Get Down run. Backstage the band laughed and joked as they pieced together the setlist. A short time later, Colorado Get Down took the stage for their final performance of the run. Once again, Roosevelt started with Matt and Dave as a trio, while Joel and Bill worked their way out after a couple of songs.

Showing face for the third night in a row was "Hot Lanta," that sounded the most polished of the run. I have no problem with a couple of repeats as it allows the band to really dig in and expand on the material. Roosevelt's pedal steel screamed as did Joel, who was turned up that night on the Hammond B3 and the Moog! With Denver's quintessential Grateful Dead tribute act, Shakedown Street, performing in the front room and following a brief setbreak, the band returned to the main room. The second set may have been one of the best of the weekend and included a song dedicated to Taylor Hines (the band's audio engineer). The song came in the form of a ripping and extended version of Umphrey's McGee's "Glory." Taylor threw his hands in the air with pure joy as the band got after it!

The second set also welcomed special guests Emily Clark and Jeremy Salken for a couple of fantastic tunes! Towards the end of the second set the band performed The String Cheese Incident's "Jelly Fish," with Bill at the helm. At one point the crowd yelled "Alice!" triggering Matt to look up with unexpected delight as he was unaware of the subtle nuances and crowd participation of the song. After the conclusion of "Jelly Fish" I stepped up and whispered to Roosevelt "there is no curfew tonight and it's Bill's Birthday." "It's Bill's Birthday," Roosevelt asked, half doubting me. "Yup," I said with a smile. Roosevelt got on the mic and to the surprise of Bill, he announced that it was Bill's Birthday! Bill happily played along as people wished him a happy birthday. A short time later the band exited the stage and I stepped up to the mic to rally the packed house for an encore. The band played one final jam and concluded around 2:15 AM.

Again, the band came out and met with fans as the tear down of the gear began. Bill turned to Roosevelt and said "The Birthday thing is an old String Cheese joke that we used to get free drinks on the road! Someone must have know about it," Bill said laughing. "Yeah, I did," I said smiling back. "How did you know about that?" Bill inquired. "I've listed to all of the old '95/'96 SCI recordings on Archive," I said happily. Gear went in every direction and I assisted Bill with his gear. The band said their goodbyes and we were on the frozen road around 3:00 AM. Around 4:00 AM I picked up Joel and took him to Denver International for his early morning flight. Given the insane circumstances that we found ourselves in earlier in the week, the band came together as a team and with the help of Tim Mathisen, made the run happen without even the slightest of issues! As a promoter, these are the moments that create interesting challenges and it is the overcoming of those challenges that reflect the ability of the team, and in turn, the support of a community...


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