If you're in one of the countless bands who got turned down by SXSW, there's an alternative to this week's sprawling music confab down in Austin.
Denver's Underground Music Showcase, now in its 15th year, is currently accepting online applications to play this year's festival, which will take place from July 23 to 26. Last year, UMS was attended by more than 16,000 people, any one of whom could be that major-label rep who's so eager to rip off you and your band in order to maintain his or her hipster lifestyle.
But no matter how you view it, that's a lot of exposure, which is why some 400 bands played last year. SXSW, the biggest showcase in the world, hosts 2,000 bands, so UMS appears well on its way.
This year's deadline to apply is expected to be June 1, organizers tell us, "but we may close early based on the response we are seeing." So if you're interested in playing, you might want to get moving.
The application can be found at theums.com. It takes all of five minutes to click through and complete, assuming you fill in all the boxes with made-up nonsense (as I did in order to check it out). Maybe two or three times that long if you're a real band and actually want to play there.
Meanwhile, for fans who can't come up with $895 for a music badge — but still want to experience the Bacchanalian clusterfuck that is Austin's Sixth Street during SXSW — you can always attend the Colorado Music Party, which kicked off on Tuesday and will continue through Saturday.
"What started as a campaign designed to rise above the noise at the world's most acclaimed music festival has become a Revolution, with Colorado established at its center," declares the manifesto on the CMP website (coloradomusicparty.com), where you can RSVP for any and all days.
Among the 120 Colorado bands who'll be performing at the Austin showcase — which is being held this year at a venue called The 512 on 6th — are Denver hip-hop heavyweights Wheelchair Sports Camp and Colorado Springs' own We Are Not a Glum Lot, plus Wandering Monks and The Robby Wicks Band, both of whom have roots in the Springs. And that's just the Ws.
Meanwhile, if you're in Austin for any reason at all this week, be sure to check out the unofficial and no-badges-required outdoor shows along South Congress Avenue, which feature a number of the official acts and are just as much fun.
As for the coming week, the 719's hip-hop shows of choice include Saturday's CD release party for Teqnik G's The Life & Rhymes album at the Black Sheep, which will also include sets from Earsiq, Hott, Stoney Bertz and Hiatus.
Or, for the more competition-driven among us, there's the March Madness Rap Battle show this Friday at Rawkus. Prizes will include a support slot for Mike Jones, whose 2005 debut album Who Is Mike Jones? yielded a pair of platinum hits with "Back Then" and "Still Tippin." The Houston rapper will be performing at Rawkus on April 9.
One last note: Reverb will be on hiatus for a week due to the aforementioned Austin events. We'll see you back here April 1.