Monday, September 14, 2015

Photos from the Indy Music Awards and Freewheelin' Music Fest

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:47 AM

With autumn now just around the corner, the 5th annual Indy Music Awards Festival and the inaugural Freewheelin’ Music Fest served as a fantastic close to the summer festival season.

Hosted at the Ivywild School in conjunction with Bristol Brewery, Friday and Saturday saw numerous Indy Music Awards winners and national acts take the dual stages, entertaining the crowds who braved the end of the summer heat and providing a wide, diverse swath of musical variety.

Friday night headliners Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires and Saturday night’s Phosphorescent each delighted the crowd with their blistering classic soul and arena-ready indie rock, respectively, while the local winners, such as The ReMINDers and The Mostly Don’ts, drew hugely enthusiastic responses of their own.

And, of course, there were plenty of surprises, such as local metal act Malakai’s out-of-nowhere Rick Astley cover and folksinger Joe Pug’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Donald Trump.

For a more detailed recap of the weekend’s events, check out next week’s Reverb column.

Charles Bradley - CAMERON MOIX
  • Cameron Moix
  • Charles Bradley

Miguel Dakota & The Differents - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Miguel Dakota & The Differents

  • Cameron Moix
  • The ReMINDers

Eros & The Eschaton - CAMERON MOIX
  • Cameron Moix
  • Eros & The Eschaton

  • Cameron Moix
  • Joe Pug

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Charles Bradley and Phosphorescent sign on for Freewheelin Music Fest

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 12:38 PM


Bristol Brewing Company’s Freewheelin Music Fest announced today that Charles Bradley and Phosphorescent will be the headliners at this year's inaugural event. The two-day festival, to be held on multiple stages at Ivywild School on Sept. 11-12, will feature more than a dozen acts, including Joe Pug, Paper Bird, Pujol, Chimney Choir, and Natural Child.

In addition to the main festival (tickets for which are available at the Bristol Dry Goods Store or through, the event will include a free Indy Music Awards stage featuring winners of this year’s reader’s poll, who will be announced in our Sept. 9 issue.

Like this coming weekend's Blues Under The Bridge headliner Naomi Shelton, the Brooklyn-based Bradley is a veteran soul artist who was rediscovered by Daptone Records, as were Sharon Jones and Lee Fields. You can click here to read our 2013 interview with the artist.

Phosphorescence, aka indie-folk artist Matthew Houck, is also Brooklyn-based. His album, Pride, was chosen as the Number 12 album of 2007 by the staff of Stylus magazine

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

System of a Down and The Prodigy added to Riot Fest lineup

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 3:46 PM


Organizers of Denver’s Riot Fest — or Riot Fest & Rodeo, as it’s being called this year — have just announced a handful of additional acts for the August 28-30 festival at the National Western Complex.

System of a Down, The Prodigy, 88 Fingers Louie, Input & Broken, and Chef’Special are the latest to join more than a hundred previously acts, which include Ice Cube, Pixies, Modest Mouse, Motorhead, Drive Like Jehu, L7, Run DMC, The Black Lips, Bootsy Collins, and Anthrax.

You can find the full lineup at

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Newly announced Riot Fest lineup includes Modest Mouse, The Pixies, and Run DMC

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 6:57 PM


Denver’s Riot Fest is is investing heavily in the nostalgia market this year, with its biggest names hailing from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

The just-announced lineup for the three-day music festival — which this year will take place at the National Western Complex from August 28 to 30 — ranges from generation-spanning hip-hop (Run DMC, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, GZA, Doomtree) to punk icons (Iggy Pop, The Damned, Rancid, The Vandals, Off!) to indie-rock stalwarts (The Pixies, Modest Mouse, The Black Lips, Drive Like Jehu, Eagles of Death Metal).

The Denver Post’s Kiernan Maletsky was first out of the gate with the complete artist roster, which is as follows:
Modest Mouse
The Pixies
Snoop Dogg
Iggy Pop
Tenacious D
Ice Cube & special guests
Flogging Molly
Coheed and Cambria
Drive Like Jehu
Explosions in the Sky
The Airborne Toxic Event
Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band
Babes in Toyland.
The Damned
Eagles of Death Metal
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
De La Soul
The Dead Milkmen
Nada Surf
The Lawrence Arms
Reverend Horton Heat
Andrew W.K.
The Black Lips
The Get Up Kids
American Nightmare
The Vandals
Less Than Jake
The Joy Formidable
Cloud Cult
7 Seconds
Benjamin Booker
Joyce Manor
The White Buffalo
Post Malone with FKI
Jazz Cartier
Teenage Bottlerocket
The Bunny Gang
Speedy Ortiz
Beach Slang
The Hotelier
Fit For Rivals
Direct Hit!
The Moth & The Flame
Main Attrakionz
Broadway Calls
White Mystery
Skating Polly
Northern Faces
Meat Wave
Rozwell Kid
Sleep On It
Gateway Drugs
Daye Jack
Indian School
Cypress Hill
Alkaline Trio
Cold War Kids

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Telluride announced 2015 blues festival headliners

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Sharon Jones
  • Sharon Jones

It's a six-hour haul from Colorado Springs to Telluride, but fans of seasoned blue-rock, gospel and R&B artists will want to consider grabbing tickets for the Telluride Blues Fest, which announced its lineup earlier this morning.

This year's festival headliners are Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, ZZ Top, Greg Allman, John Hiatt & The Combo, Taj Mahal and Anders Osborne.

Other performers at the event, which will run from Sept. 18-20, include The Blind Boys of Alabama, Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, Otis Taylor's Hey Joe Opus, The Revivalists and The London Souls.

Look for more information at You can also find a guide to less distant summer festivals in this week's Indy.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Llamapalooza rained out

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 11:50 PM

  • Galyna Andrushko / shutterstock

Bad news for local music fans: According to a post on its Facebook page this evening, Colorado College's Llamapalooza Festival has been canceled due to weather conditions.

The annual event was to set to take place this Saturday with a lineup that included Brooklyn's highly-touted art-funk band Phony Ppl, as well as Kithkin, Netherfriends, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, and Moon Hooch. 

The cancelation follows a previous decision to move the festival from Worner Quad to the nearby Armstrong Hall parking lot in order to avoid a sinking stage and damaged grounds. 

Look for further information and updates at

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blackalicious emcee to play Flux Capacitor Thursday

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 12:27 PM


Flux Capacitor is rapidly establishing itself as Colorado Springs’ "little venue that could." Less than six months after opening, the alternative music space has been bringing in several all-ages shows a week, most of them featuring national touring artists, while showcasing a broader range of music than many of us expected.

Now comes the good news that Gift of Gab, emcee for the hip-hop duo Blackalicious, will be headlining the venue this Thursday night.

It’s a pretty big score for Flux Capacitor, and for Colorado Springs in general. The Bay Area rapper is widely regarded as one of the best in underground hip-hop, with Pitchfork drooling over his “astonishing verbal dexterity and enunciation.”

And just in case you think this booking is a fluke, you should also know that Rhymesayers artist Blueprint is slated to play Flux Capacitor on June 19.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Riot Fest goes rodeo

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 5:57 PM

  • Pramega/Shutterstock
The perennially nomadic Riot Fest today unveiled the location and date of its 2015 festival, which will be held at Denver’s National Western Complex from Aug. 28-30.

While this year’s lineup won’t be announced until May, those who want to take a leap of faith can purchase $69.98 presale tickets starting tomorrow at noon. Given the quality of the two previous years’ acts — including The Replacements, The Cure, Die Antwoord, Wu-Tang Clan, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Rocket From the Crypt, Iggy Pop and Slayer — it should be money well spent.

It’s also a reasonably safe bet that the event won’t have to change locations this year, as it did when the bite-sized town of Byars — which had hosted 2013’s inaugural festival — made an eleventh-hour decision to pull the plug. Promoters managed to save the event with a last-minute relocation to the less-than-ideal parking lots outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Although best known as the site for the Denver County Fair, the National Western Complex also plays host to the Great Western Alpaca Show, Tortillas for Tepeyac, Foam Wonderland, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and the much-anticipated Rocky Mountain Reptile Expo.

In keeping with its new location, this year’s event has been dubbed Riot Fest & Rodeo, and will feature a host of thematically linked attractions that may or may not include blood and clowns.

Find more information as well as early bird tickets at

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Monday, March 23, 2015

SXSW: ‘Assholes, yellers and screamers’

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 6:27 PM

  • photo by Luis Molinero/Shutterstock

South By Southwest came to a close this weekend, just like many of the cordoned-off streets in downtown Austin, where careening pedicabs transported attendees from far-off parking spaces to more than 100 venues, all in pursuit of musical enlightenment and Facebook fodder. We’ll have a detailed wrap-up in next week’s issue, but in the meantime, here’s one last blog post on SXSW 2015.

Although weekend panel attendance benefited from an influx of actual Austin natives not having to work, that was largely counter-balanced by severe hangovers and considerable rain. One of Saturday’s most well-attended sessions was, predictably enough, “Power Networking in the Music Business,” where Emily White, cofounder of a crowdfunding platform called Dreamfuel, advised the gathering of ambitious musicians and aspiring moguls to collect at least five business cards when attending any business or social gathering.

White is also partner in a management agency and took issue with people characterizing managers as “assholes, yellers and screamers.”

Quiana Conley, who has directed music publishing and management companies representing clients from Beyonce and T-Boz to Taylor Swift and Motorhead, vouched for the fact that her co-panelists were nice people and said that the musicians in the audience should also strive to be nice. “But maybe you’re just not nice,” she added, in which case “you should get others who are nice people to represent you.”

The panelists who participated in “What Is Record Production and Why Do You Need It” also seemed very nice, even as they talked about sharing co-production credits with artists who had no idea what a producer actually does. They also discussed the challenge of translating musical intentions into all-too-vague words: “If you like something because it’s shiny,’ wondered UK producer Tarek Musa, “what does shiny mean?”

Stewart Lerman, a Grammy winner who’s worked with artists like Elvis Costello and Regina Spektor, echoed the concern: “I’ve never heard an artist say, ‘I’d like to make a record with a small sound that’s brittle and really annoying.”

Of course, sounds that are big and really annoying were easily found, thanks to the numerous Tom Waits impersonators performing in Sixth Street bars, their gravely voices and over-the-top theatrics approaching minstrel-show proportions. (Something has to be done about that, but no one knows what.)

Thankfully, all that was offset by a historic closing-night event at the Paramount Theatre where, at one point, more than four dozen incredible musicians were onstage together. More on that in next week’s issue.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

SXSW: Twin Peaks, Turtles, and crowd-surfing kangaroos

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 11:47 AM


If you're in a room full of lawyers listening to a panel full of lawyers — as they discuss a case that could dramatically change the way the music industry operates — one thing you don't want to do is misquote them.

So let's save our fastidiously-transcribed and legally-vetted quotes from "Unhappy Together: The Turtles with Sirius XM" for the upcoming SXSW wrap-up feature in our print edition.

For now, suffice it to say the musicians behind much-loved '70s hits like "You Know She'd Rather Be With Me," Elenor" and, of course, "Happy Together," sued the satellite giant for refusing to pay royalties on recordings that were released before 1972.

Late last year, The Turtles won judgements from federal courts in New York and California — thanks, in large part, to attorney Henry Gradstein, who argued the case in court and also dominated the discussion at SXSW.

The appeal process will, of course, live on, perhaps longer than the musicians. But assuming they prevail, it will mean a monetary windfall for musicians and an equally major financial blow to streaming music services and even that old-school terrestrial classic rock station you occasionally listen to in your car. A more serious subject, perhaps, than panels like "Rockin' SXSW in Four Hours," but ultimately more important as well.

On last night's live music front, Courtney Barnett deftly demonstated why she's Australia's most currently celebrated rock singer-songwriter, with a set that suggested an electric guitar-wielding Patti Smith with more rousingly accessible choruses and a couple of nice left-handed feedback solos.

"Now it's like a real festival," said Barnett, as a yellow inflatable kangaroo bounced above the crowd. From there she launched into the evening's loudest song, complete with the regionally appropriate chord progression A-C-D-C. But the biggest crowd-pleaser was definitely her signature "Avant Gardener," which she introduced as "the reason some of you may have heard of us." It also remains the most catchy song about a potentially life-threatening medical condition in recent memory, complete with singalong "I'm having trouble breathing" chorus.

Later that night in rain-drenched Austin, Broncho frontman Ryan Lindsay also sounded like he had trouble breathing, although that's more likely because of a helium-affected vocal style that made The Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley and Material Issue's Jim Ellison sound like deep Paul Robeson baritones.

But as the shoegazer-inclined Oklahoma band performed material from its recent sophomore album, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, the bathrobe-clad singer-guitarist began looking less like a tormented Kurt Cobain and more like a rock musician having fun. And by the time he launched into the stuttering falsetto chorus of the closing "Class Historian," Broncho proved themselves to be a band worth standing in the rain for.

That was all the more true of Twin Peaks, the Chicago band who started out as high-school students in 2009 and now have two critically applauded albums under their belt. In fact, the group's late-night performance proved to be more powerful and varied than the vast majority of contemporary bands who wear their garage-rock hearts on their sleeves. With three of the five band members alternating as lead vocalists, many of their songs shifted gears unexpectedly and dramatically, while their skillful writing and rock arrangements at times recalled The Replacements in the more sober moments of their Let It Be tour. And unlike Broncho, Twin Peaks don't sound even remotely like anything their David Lynch-derived namesake would embrace. And for fans of loud, smart rock and roll, that was totally fine.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

SXSW takes on Colorado, Sheboygan and Anakin Skywalker

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 12:51 PM

  • Altas did Denver proud at the Colorado Music Party

The music industry loves to talk about itself — who doesn't? — and that becomes more than apparent during SXSW's daytime panel offerings. Thursday's sessions ran the gamut from "Beethoven to Beyonce: The Science Behind a Hot Beat" to "How to Fill a Club When You Play Sheboygan."

The majority of these panels are geared toward record industry insiders and career-motivated artists, who are really the only people incentivized to venture out into daylight after long days and nights of musical debauchery.

"New bands come up to me and say, 'We need a publicist," recounts Ken Weinstein, owner of the prestigious Big Hassle agency. "And, in most cases, I tell them, 'No, you DON'T need a publicist. What you need is to get in that van and play. And then call me in a year. Or two."

With repeated apologies to the Wisconsin town that inspired the panel's name, Howard Wuelfing of Howlin' Wolf Media led his fellow publicists in a discussion of tertiary markets, places where musicians can put still put the word out through locally originating podcasts, Yahoo groups (!) and record stores "where they still exist," as Rounder Records publicist Regina Joskow put it.

In another panel, "AES Platinum Producers & Engineers," the topics of the hour ranged from technical talk to overall commentary on the industry's increasing instability. Recalling his personal excitement about digital downloading as a way to hear everything, panelist Eduardo Cabra went on to talk about how he eventually became aware of the long-term consequences.

"It's like the Latin industry found Anakin Skywalker and then Anakin went to the dark side, and now Luke has to come and save us." Exactly how that'll happen is still anyone's guess. "I really don't know why I'm talking about Anakin and Luke Skywalker," he joked as the metaphor began to wear thin.

As for Thursday evening's musical performances, many fell into the not-unexpected categories of exuberance, disappointment and revelation that SXSW is known for. The Brothers Landreth, who'd just received a Juno Award (which will forever be described as the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) may have celebrated just a little too much, as they messed up the opening bars of Paul McCartney's "Let 'Em In." From there, the going got much easier, as the bluesy Americana act eased into a more surefooted rendition of their Canadian hit "I Am the Fool," a song they borrowed from their dad, musician Wally Landreth. ("Hey, old man, YOU'RE not using it.")

Elsewhere, neo-soul newcomer Leon Bridges filled a cavernous space called the Hype Hotel, showing why he's becoming the Next Big Thing among Daptone-revering R&B fans. Bridge's eight-piece band — which included two excellent backing vocalists and a sax player who would occasionally venture into overly loungey terrain — sometimes reached the point where a polished performance becomes a lackluster performance, but there's no doubt that the understated soul man at front and center is the real deal.

Later in the night, Wyclef Jean took things in the opposite direction, blasting the crowd with hyped-up renditions of songs that were, in som cases, approaching drinking age. Among them were the obligatory Fugees hit "Killing Me Softly" as well as a take on "No Woman No Cry" in which Wyclef went on about his taste for marijuana and resulting negotiations with a drug-sniffing dog. ("They brought Mister German Shepherd to talk to me...")

Later still, Death Valley Girls, a retro-punk band who've garnered comparisons to The Flesheaters and Mo Tucker, offered off-key unison vocals that showed they need to take serious lessons from bands like The Mutants.

Fortunately, the night's true revelation was right across the street at the Colorado Music Party, with a 1 a.m. set Altas. If they were from Europe or Asia instead of Denver, Altas would be worshipped by fans of German trance bands like Can and American post-rock groups like Tortoise. And while a microphone loomed at the front of the stage, which would have allowed that tremendously appealing instrumental soundscapes to be spoiled by disappointing vocals at any moment, THEY NEVER USED IT! Instead, the five musicians stared at their instruments — or into a space halfway between them and something no one else could see — and delivered what was, for me, the most unexpectedly brilliant set of the night.
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

SXSW: Life of the parties

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 8:03 PM

"Is everybody having a good South By thus far?" asks The Family Crest's keyboardist-flautist Laura Bergman before an enthusiastic crowd at downtown Austin's sweltering Clive Bar patio.

Barring some as-yet-unheralded new British Invasion, her's was most likely the only case of Shakespearean English slipping into the stage patter during today's South by Southwest Festival, where the unofficial parties start earlier and earlier each year.

San Francisco's newish orchestral-pop septet — who were chosen as NPR Music's "Favorite New Band of 2014" — also provided what were conceivably the the most transcendent moment of the afternoon's musical celebrations, particularly during the near-operatically ambitious title track to last year's Beneath the Brine album. Factor in a cellist, violinist and trombonist (alongside the usual rock instrumentation) as well as the occasionally Poe-faced lyric ("Now the dark is nigh, and she lays here at my side"), and this might all start sounding a little pretentious. But the band's wide-eyed enthusiasm and self-deprecating manner make it just the opposite. It also doesn't hurt that Liam McCormick is a phenomenal vocalist on a par with Jeff Buckley.

This afternoon's show was one of four SXSW appearances The Family Crest will be making this week. Other repeat performances included The Ting Tings (who at times gravitated toward more Deee Lite-style electro-funk than their tinselly pop albums might suggest), British hip-hop newcomer Little Simz (who raps fast onstage than she does on record), and Barcelona's Macaco (whose frontman Dani Carbonell made his name in flamenco music but is now trafficking in more Train-like acoustic pop).

In addition to the proliferation of daytime showcases, there were still more than 50 panels to choose from today. More on those tomorrow, but in the meantime, there's still a full night of music ahead.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Members of The National to play free show Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 6:13 PM

  • Lanzendorf Experiment today at Shove Chapel

Music fanatics love to brag about their “I was there” moments:

“The Promise Ring gave me a group hug after a really emotional house show in Detroit.”

Or, “James Murphy was crashing on my living room floor when he wrote ‘Losing My Edge.’”

Or maybe “I saw three members of The National play for free at Packard Hall.”

You can make at least one of those things come true this Thursday evening, when the band Lanzendorf Experiment — featuring National members Scott Devendorf, Bryan Devendorf, and Ben Lanz — play the Colorado College venue at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Fuel/Friends blogger and Chapel Sessions curator Heather Browne — who’s had more legitimate “I was there” moments than the rest of us combined — spent some time with the group this afternoon at Shove Chapel.

"Today's session was an open rehearsal for the band," she says, "but the tapes were rolling and the video camera capturing, so we might see a sneak peek as a non-traditional Chapel Session on Fuel/Friends."

Browne says the Lanzendorf Experiment may also release the full session recording at some time in the future.

You can go here to find more details on the show, which will also be live-streamed here. (Although watching a show on your computer isn't be all that much to brag about.)

And finally, you can go here for a 15-second teaser from the Shove performance. It sounds a whole lot to me like they’re covering Joy Division’s “Transmission,” but I wasn't there.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mighty Diamonds and Pato Banton battle it out tonight

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 6:52 PM

The Mighty Diamonds
  • The Mighty Diamonds

Je suis irie! In what can only be described as a random act of Jah, two internationally famous reggae acts are simultaneously performing across town from each other in Colorado Springs tonight.

With virtually no publicity, The Might Diamonds will be playing what amounts to the stealth gig of the year at Spice Island Grill, the tiny Jamaican restaurant located at 10 N. Sierra Madre Street.

Meanwhile, Pato Banton, who's best known for his collaborations with UB40 and the English Beat's Rankin' Roger, will be at the Mighty Culture Sports Bar at 2355 Platte Place.   

With Bob Marley's 70th birthday just a week away, expect to hear a whole lot of Wailers songs at both.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jermaine Rogers to offer pre-Riot Fest Die Antwoord print

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

  • Jermaine Rogers' Die Antwoord homage

If you're planning to see Die Antwoord's opening night performance at Riot Fest Friday, you already know why renowned poster artist Jermaine Rogers is drooling over everyone's favorite South African rave-rap duo. "This band rules," declared the talented Springs refugee on Facebook earlier today. "Don't ask questions and don't try to figure the thing out. Just feel it."

But here's something even the most hardcore Yolandi and Ninja fans may not know: Rogers will be releasing a limited-edition, seven-color screen print of his recently commissioned Die Antwoord poster this Wednesday at 1 p.m. MST.

A run of 75 signed and numbered pieces will sell for $50, with an additional 25 on holographic 'shattered' pattern foil stock for $100. Both are 30x23 inches and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at

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