Monday, June 27, 2016

Clear Creek RapidGrass Music Festival 6.25.16 (Photos)

Shelly/Quinn Baseball Fields
Idaho Springs, CO

Photos By Nancy Isaac Photography

View Nancy's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Joe Doria Quartet feat. Skerik 6.21.16 (Photos)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Jeff Austin Band 6.18.16 (Photos)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Keller Williams' Grateful Grass 6.19.16 (Photos)

Breck Riverwalk
Breckenridge, CO

Photos By Nancy Isaac

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Dead & Company 6.10.16

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC

Words & Photos By Bain Stewart Media

Dead and Company kicked off their Summer Tour at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina last night. This sold out show, to no surprise, had an amazing turnout as it filled the venue with over 15,000 people. With a number of North Carolina concerts being cancelled this year due to the HB-2 law, this performance, while controversial, meant a lot to so many people. Rather than following in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr, and others, Dead and Company decided to follow through with the show as planned, donating $100,000 dollars to various groups to benefit the LGBTQ community.

They kicked off the first set with a “The Music Never Stopped” and moved right into a “Cold Rain and Snow." The band had the crowd in the zone immediately as they wasted no time igniting a John Mayer-lead “Friend of The Devil." John Mayer played a huge role in the first few songs until Bob Weir lead the band for a tour debut of “Liberty.” As the jams kept getting heftier and heftier, a powerhouse “Cassidy” kept the crowd’s bones shaking before and until the band closed out their first set with an unexpected “The Promised Land” Chuck Berry cover.

During the entirety of the show attendees were urged to make their way to the HeadCount booth to register to vote. This is nothing foreign to the band, though, as they have always wanted to make a difference for the better within the community. The band returned to the stage for their second set wasting no time with a 25-minute “Eyes of the World.” John Mayer took on a smooth-grooved “Deal” Jerry Garcia cover, setting the mood for Weir who then lead the band for a nostalgic “Estimated Prophet.” For the first time of the night drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann took the stage for a mesmerizing 20-minute "Drums > Space" with Mickey’s new experimental approach. They then moved into “Feel Like A Stranger,” and “Black Peter” prior to closing out the night with Bob Weir’s “Turn on Your Lovelight.”

Unfortunately the band wasn’t able to play an encore due to a very strict 11:00 PM noise ordinance. While there was no encore, there was a closing statement. Weir is never one to talk much while on stage, but he used his voice right before the band stepped off stage for the night: “On your way out of here tonight, don’t forget to register to vote. There are folks everywhere out there that will help you do it. If you go online right here at the venue, you can do it there. Register to vote, and lets get this shit off the table.” This statement sent the crowd into a thunderous applause as the band took a bow. Bass player Oteil Burbridge decided to grab the microphone for one last statement as he shouted “Hashtag – Queen City," and walked off the stage.

Dead & Company Live at PNC Music Pavillion on 6.10.2016

Set One: The Music Never Stopped, Cold Rain & Snow, Friend Of The Devil, They Love Each Other, Liberty, Cassidy, The Promised Land

Set Two: Eyes of the World, Deal, Estimated Prophet, Drums/ Space, Feel Like A Stranger, Black Peter, Turn On Your Lovelight

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros 6.16.16 (Photos)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

PREVIEW: The Drunken Hearts, Mama Magnolia & Cold River City 6.30.16

The Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Join us on Thursday June 30 at The Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO for Openvape Presents The Drunken Hearts' Love & Thirst album release party with Mama Magnolia and Cold River City!

Electrifying performances around the West have folks buzzing about The Drunken Hearts and the band’s fiery sound. Forged on Colorado's high peaks and river banks, the band is comprised of five gentlemen that came together to create an honest brand of alternative Americana that resonates with audiences everywhere. Their sound has truly evolved over the course of only a few years, from an acoustic trio to the current electric powerhouse.

They fearlessly bottle a tempestuous, yet smoky brand of American music, infusing spirited vocals with electric and acoustic guitars, bass, pedal steel, and drums. This Spring marked the release of the band's second studio album, produced by multi Grammy-winner Rob Eaton of Dark Star Orchestra!

Tickets are available at

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Henhouse Prowlers 6.12.16 (Photos)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Coral Creek 6.8.16 (Photos)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Kimock 6.4.16 (Photos)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Infamous Stringdusters w/ Keller Williams 6.4.16 (Photos)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

KIMOCK 6.3.16

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
Photos By Derek Miles (Miles Photography)
Audio By Scott Schneider

What happens when the Phenom becomes an aging legend? Steve Kimock got a reputation in the Bay Area after Jerry Garcia called him his “favorite unknown guitarist.” His link to the Dead Family is prolific having performed with the Godchauxs in The Heart of Gold Band, with Bob Weir in Kingfish and Ratdog, with Phil & Friends, The Rhythm Devils & The Other Ones. However, it’s his original projects that are far more impressive than his Dead cred. Zero was a jamband before jam had a name. They were a San Francisco Super Group that changed the game on the West Coast. While playing with Zero, for fun, Kimock co-founded KVHW featuring Bobby Vega, Ray White & Alan Hertz. I first heard of Kimock when I saw a sticker on the door of the old Quixote’s True Blue in Denver that read, “Who is Steve Kimock and why is he stealing my bar.” This was in reference to some small but incredibly packed shows where regulars were unable to gain entry to their favorite watering hole because of the sold out performance. In recent years Kimock has been a hired gun, a ringer who is sure to spice up any ensemble. He has played with members of the String Cheese Incident, Everyone Orchestra and countless others just to name a few.

His current project which was on display at The Aggie Theatre was simply called K I M O C K. The core of the band consisted of Steve and his son John Morgan Kimock on drums and percussion. This endeavor features new compositions inspired by his most recent album Last Danger of Frost and features the unbelievably good Bobby Vega on bass as well as, Leslie Mandelson on keys and vocals. The father and son came to the stage as the audience remained still. I, not wanting to be rude, clapped ardently which prompted a few others to do the same. Steve smiled to himself and told the attentive crowd a story about giving some overly enthusiastic applause for a cellist in a church and being scolded for doing so as he retreated. The entire concert felt like a steady incline, but in reality there was incredible ebb and flow. The two Kimocks began the night with some acoustic improvisation that was so delicate you could hear the slightest cough in the background. For once I saw a Colorado crowd lean in to listen.

Steve Kimock Live at Aggie Theatre on 6.3.16

Set One: Banter, Acoustic Improvisation*> Surely This Day, Careless Love, High and Lonesome, Variation, Come Back My Love, Orson

Set Two: Satellite City, Live of the Party, Bobby Vega’s Muhamad Ali Eulogy, Fingernail Boogie, Mother’s Song, Queen Jane Approximately, My Favorite Number

Encore: Hillbillies on PCP

After some ethereal guitar work from the master, Vega and Mandelson slipped on stage for “Surly This Day.” Leslie’s subtly beautiful vocals on “Careless Love” had an arresting effect on the audience. The classic instrumental Kimock composition “High and Lonesome” was a huge highlight for the diehard fans in the room. Mendelson again lent her voice on a massive “Variation.” Kimock called “Come Back My Love” an Ali Akbar Pop Tune…. done in a surf style.” They closed the first set with a world beat rendition of “Orson.”

Mendelson took the spotlight on the rocking second set opener “Satellite City,” which she co-wrote with Steve and his son. K I M O C K is a shapeshifting amalgamation of musical genius transposed through forty plus year of experience. The senior Kimock keeps the music utterly fresh and novel with the inclusion of Leslie and the stalwart bus driver Bobby Vega. John Kimock has matured into a solid drummer with the same sense of nuance as his father.

Word of a fallen legend slowly percolated through the crowd before Mr. Vega eulogized Mohamad Ali with a powerful bass solo. The “Fingernail Boogie” was another Leslie led number that took on a bluesy, rockabilly tone with the organ under the spotlight. The instrumental “Mother’s Song” built beautifully before they went into a version of Bob Dylan’s “Queen Jane Approximately.” The fans were delighted to help Mendelson by singing along. K I M O C K closed the second set with a spacey “My Favorite Number.” The band returned to encore with the now classic KVHW tune “Hillbillies on PCP.” So what happens when the Phenom ages? He passes his wisdom on to his son and he spends his time doing what he loves. Steve Kimock is a living legend and a guitar god. While some may find this ensemble to be a more stripped down affair, I find this to be some his purest work. He is pulling from his impressive career spanning four decades stylistically while continuing to push the boundaries musically. Now go pray to the guitar gods that Mr. Kimock and his band of merry travelers makes a trip to your hometown.

Derek's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pete Pidgeon & Arcoda wsg. Jen Hartswick & Natalie Cressman 6.2.16 (Photos)

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Travelin’ McCourys 5.13.16

Tractor Tavern
Seattle, WA

Words By Coleman Schwartz
Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

Ballard’s intimate Tractor Tavern hosted the Travelin’ McCourys on a Friday evening. While not quite sold out, the show was very well attended. The group, comprised of Ronnie McCoury (mandolin/vocals), Rob McCoury (banjo), Jason Carter (fiddle/vocals), Alan Bartram (bass/vocals) and Cody Kilby (guitar), demonstrated impressive versatility during their set. Ronnie and Rob are the sons of bluegrass legend, Del McCoury. With Del getting too old to continue touring all of the time, the next generation has taken the family name on the road. I had seen them perform once before, with Del, so this was a new experience for me.

The first difference that I noticed was a lot more newgrass influence. This group is all over the place between traditional and progressive styles of bluegrass, but are definitely exploring a more progressive sound overall in Del’s absence. This is a double-edged sword to me, because I’ve always had an easier time enjoying the more progressive (read: jammier) tunes, but it is also tough not to miss so prolific a talent as Del’s when it is removed from the equation. Cody is as good of a replacement as he could be, and I like the fact that he is confident in doing his own thing and doesn’t feel pressured to try and be Del.

This group is an unbroken chain with no weak links. Listening to them play is a rhythmic assault on the senses, with each instrument doing its part to help me completely forget there was no drummer. Jason’s fiddle was perhaps the most glaring example of this, as he alternated between going all-in on the rhythm (percussive, staccato bowing) or all-in on the melody (piercing, legato high notes). Ronnie seemed to play off him the most effectively, as the pair engaged in some wonderful call-and-response style grooves. Ronnie doesn’t take very many solos (perhaps he gives some of them to Jason), but he is an extremely energetic player to the point where I didn’t realize that for most of the show because he was exciting enough without them. His vocals are definitely a highlight of the show, he has a great twangy voice, and more importantly isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself or his voice, either with his lyrics or his delivery. It’s the same dynamic that Goober Pyle utilized on The Andy Griffith Show, only Ronnie does it intentionally and is well aware of what’s going on. The man is a true entertainer.

I also really enjoyed watching the interplay between Rob and Cody. Though Cody has only become an official member somewhat recently, I get the feeling that him and Rob go way, way back. Their internal metronomes are seemingly locked to each other, and this allows them to navigate complex musical landscapes fearlessly, knowing that the other will always be right at their side. When they are playing off each other the hardest, they almost seem to make a point of refusing to look at each other. It was hard enough to believe my ears, but the lack of eye contact lends them an almost-robotic quality.

Obviously there is a lot of interplay between the other combinations of players in the group, but those were my two favorite dynamics to watch during this set. Alan did a brilliant job of unifying everyone and giving them a steady place to meet back up musically once their explorations came to an end. All in all, the McCourys put on a wonderful show that sits right in the middle of the bluegrass spectrum (bluegrass to newgrass). There is something for all types of listeners, and most importantly I get the feeling that they are completely adaptable from end to end of the spectrum, depending on the situation. This is the type of band that could hold up well on a single-mic set, or a fully amplified set with effects. They have the talent and the experience to do it all, as long as they have a willing room of dancers to energize them.

Scott's Photo gallery

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Poor Man's Whiskey & Polecat 5.27.16 (Photos)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Roosevelt Collier's Colorado Get Down Feat. Bill Nershi & Genetics 5.28.16 (Photos)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Westsound Reunion Feat. Unsinkable Heavies, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio & Lucky Brown Band 5.11.16

Seattle, WA
Nectar Lounge

Words By Coleman Schwartz
Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

The Westsound Reunion is more than just a concert; it is an annual funk extravaganza that brings together some of Seattle’s finest funk musicians for a wild night of tunes. The event is a celebration of the work of the members of the Westsound Recording Cooperative (The Westsound Union), as well as a birthday party for leader and producer Lucky Brown. Traditionally held on a Friday evening, 2016’s iteration was instead planned for a Wednesday. The musicians responded to this scheduling by treating the performance with the intensity of a weekend night anyway, and eager fans were happy to follow suit.

The first band of the evening was the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3 for short). This was somehow my first time catching this group performing, although I had seen Delvon a few times before with Rippin Chicken. This trio features Delvon, Jimmy James on guitar and Dave McGraw on drums. They played a wonderful set of 60’s and 70’s-inspired funk music, complete with full narration from Delvon. In the breaks between songs, he took it upon himself to educate his audience about the history of the group’s cover choices, as well as the influences behind their original material. This lent a personal, informative touch to the set.

Delvon is definitely among the most proficient organists I have seen play. In this small of a group, you really get to see him do it all, from carrying powerful melodies to unleashing a rhythmic onslaught of aural texture with his other hand. Hearing organ music like this always makes me feel like I am at a church, and this was no exception. Delvon did an excellent job of squeezing out every bit of the spiritual power of his instrument onstage. His work was perfectly augmented by Jimmy’s soulful, evocative guitar playing. Jimmy’s face is a great indicator of what is going on in the music, and he was consistently outstanding to watch and listen to. The group is tied together by Dave’s precise pocket drumming, which serves as a steady, calming influence to help unify these two loose cannons.

The Unsinkable Heavies came up next to lay down a blistering set of psychedelic space-funk. I’ve written about these guys before, and it was great to see them play a bigger show finally. Guitarist Ben Bloom and keyboardist Nathan Spicer wasted no time getting into energetic solo sections to loosen up the room. I spent most of this show trying to pay close attention to the communication between the band members, which was a cool way to watch. At one point, saxophonist Art Brown called for a solo, and Ben intuitively knew to come in behind him from the start with a funky strumming pattern to fill in the gaps in his breath. Stuff like this takes a lot of practice to get down, and it’s great to see this much polish on a band that is technically a side project. All of their practice together with the Polyrhythmics has certainly paid dividends.

These guys play funk music with that perfect jazz sensibility. The best track of their set was one called “Right On,” a song that reminded me of Martin, Scofield, Medeski and Wood because of its tight, well-rounded interplay and an especially Scofield-inspired guitar line. My favorite dynamic to pay attention to during this set was the amazing chemistry between drummer Grant Schroff and Nathan’s organ. They spent the entire set weaving beautiful and complementary patterns with their four hands, syncopating effortlessly against each other. With Jason Gray locking down the bassline, Nathan was free to explore and play up high with both hands as he unleashed a flurry of rhythmic texture into the mix.

The evening’s headlining set, the Lucky Now Mystery Orchestra, was basically a giant superjam featuring all of the members of Unsinkable Heavies, along with Lucky Brown (trumpet, flute, vocals and percussion), Thomas Deakin (alto saxophone), and Jason Cressey (trombone). This powerful orchestra rocked us hard during their hour-long set, which contained many jaw-dropping spots of improvisation. You can really tell that these players have all spent time studying each other’s technique and learning to enhance each other’s sound. Lucky tied it all together with some basic conducting as he switched between his instruments, and his infectiously positive energy rubbed off on everyone in the venue. The highlight of the set had to be the dual-keys action between Nathan and Delvon. Delvon took the organ over, while Nathan went into mad scientist mode on the synthesizer. The group closed their set by playing a heartfelt “Happy Birthday” to Lucky.

Previous Westsound Reunions have seen the full superjam pushed until the final set of the evening, and as a listener I was happy to hear it when I still had some energy left to dance. To conclude the evening, we were treated to a full set of the Lucky Brown Band. This group was most of the superjam lineup, minus Nathan Spicer and Grant Schroff, who was replaced on drums. Their set focused in a bit more on original songwriting and Lucky’s soulful vocals. He also had a few breathtaking flute solos, which helped to keep things fresh late into the evening. I was very impressed with the way he was able to feature himself musically, while still making the musicians around him sound better.

All in all, this year’s Westsound Reunion was a smashing success. Members of the Westsound Union delivered sets full of classic, original deep funk tunes, in addition to their epic superjam. These guys are a big part of what makes the Seattle music scene so unique and cool, and we are really lucky to have the opportunity to see them play around town frequently. Keep your ears and eyes peeled this summer for an exciting new collaboration between the Westsound Union and the Polyrhythmics, called “I Believe in Love,” that is sure to blow your mind!

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