Thursday, May 31, 2018

Roy Zimmerman brings honest laughter to this absurd world

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Roy Zimmerman: ReZist, June 1, 7:30 p.m., All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, - DC ANDERSON
  • DC Anderson
  • Roy Zimmerman: ReZist, June 1, 7:30 p.m., All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church,
Comedian and singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman says that satire is “the most hopeful form of expression.” By laughing at something, we acknowledge that nothing is so powerful it can’t be poked, prodded and — ultimately — resisted.

Zimmerman’s progressive-minded satirical folk music, which he writes with his wife Melanie Harby and performs in venues all over the country, covers topics from the easy targets (“T-Rump,” which praises our current president with the liberal use of butt-related puns) to the tougher subjects (“Thoughts and Prayers,” about politicians’ lukewarm and ineffective responses to mass shootings.)

“These songs aren’t just funny,” Zimmerman says. “It’s not just potshots, jokes about people’s appearance or their voices or those things. What Melanie and I try to imbue each song with is some sense of analysis, some sense of history, some sense of the context, and maybe even a suggestion for how things might go better.”
Hope and honest laughter are commodities in short supply these days, at least for the “blue dot” audiences Zimmerman typically performs for. These are “the most progressive people in some of the least progressive places in the country.” A phrase Colorado Springs audiences may relate to. Needless to say, he’s visited the Springs many times, and wrote “Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual” about one of our fair city’s conservative claims to fame, the evangelical preacher caught with a male prostitute in 2006. Haggard’s response to the song: “It’s really bad — I mean, it’s poorly done — but it’s funny.”

The job of the satirist isn’t easy in this day and age, as Zimmerman well knows. “The pace of absurdity has picked up so much,” he says, “that by the time you start writing your Ronny Jackson song, you have to write a [Rudy] Giuliani song.” But it’s precisely because the current state of the world is so absurd that people gravitate toward Zimmerman’s music. We can all use a laugh in any political climate, but especially, Zimmerman says, in this one.

In a culture that increasingly values diversity of voice, Zimmerman doesn’t forget that he is a white, middle-class man addressing issues of the resistance. He says acknowledging that privilege on a personal level is his first step toward treating a subject with sensitivity. He asks his audience, from his place of privilege, if they share his consternation, confusion and sadness at issues affecting the marginalized. “That, I think, is the most honest way for me to get into that subject matter.”

And honesty, Zimmerman asserts, is far more the goal of satire than laughter (though it helps to laugh along, too).
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Campout for the Cause marks 10th year of charitable giving

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 1:13 PM

Mt. Princeton seen behind the stage from The Meadows. - CAMPOUT FOR THE CAUSE
  • Campout for the Cause
  • Mt. Princeton seen behind the stage from The Meadows.

There are two things that go perfectly together: camping and music festivals. If you find yourself missing out on this weekend's Meadowgrass Music Festival, or just can't get enough of this kind of summer season past-time, fear not. Campout for the Cause, June 1-3 at The Meadows in Buena Vista, has everything you're looking for from camping in a tree-lined meadow next to a bubbling creek with mountain views, to yoga-filled days, educational workshops and, of course, live music all weekend long.

“Historically the festival has always taken place in Eagle County,” says organizer Ariel Rosemberg of the event's relocation from Vail to Buena Vista. “Every aspect of Colorado that I love and that keeps me here, Buena Vista has.”

The 2018 Campout for the Cause marks 10 years of charitable giving, too, raising money for a nonprofit environmental, educational or humanitarian cause each year. This year's show will benefit The Beach at South Main, an outdoor music venue in Buena Vista, and
Emmy’s Friends, a nonprofit supporting two year-old Emery Welle, daughter of festival co-director Michael Welle, in her fight against childhood cancer. The group was the benefactor of last year's Campout for the Cause following Emery's first year of chemotherapy, she was diagnosed with a rare for of childhood cancer when she was 5 months-old.

"Since [March] she's been off of treatment, got to come home and hang and let her hair grow, and just be a regular two-and-a-half-year-old," says Welle. "Unlike last year where she was really feeling pretty bad from all the treatment, she's feeling great at the moment. It's just incredibly beneficial to get outside, breathe some fresh air and being around lots of folks and lots of love."

Benefits aside, Campout is still much more than a community musical festival, offering a little something for everyone in the family.

Yoga class during Campout for the Cause 2017. - CAMPOUT FOR THE CAUSE
  • Campout for the Cause
  • Yoga class during Campout for the Cause 2017.

Among a number of workshops is Waste Free Earth's Marina McCoy's presentation on going waste-free, which Rosemberg calls "amazing." And Campout is dedicated to running a leave-no-trace, low impact event.

“Sustainability, diversity of music and a non-profit partner have always been at the core,” says Rosemberg.

And after river surfing, trail exploration and afro pop workshops, one should be ready for some family and/or SUP yoga sessions.

We Dream Dawn at Campout for the Cause 2017. - TYLER GRIMES
  • Tyler Grimes
  • We Dream Dawn at Campout for the Cause 2017.
But Campout is still a music festival, and as such, members of Elephant Revival and friends will perform as the Elephant Family Jam on Friday night. It's the first chance to catch any of the group's members following their May 20 Red Rocks show.

Some local acts returning to the Campout
stage include Bonfire Dub, Grant Farm (and Grant Farm covering Grateful Dead as the Grantful Dead Revue), Tierro, Ramona, Intuit, and The Copper Children, along various special guests.

For ticketing information, a full line up and more details, visit Campout's website.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stevie Stone & JL, Bob Seger, and Ian Moore top new show announcements

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 12:45 PM

Stevie Stone and JL
  • Stevie Stone and JL

Strange Music has always shown love for the Black Sheep. Even after label founder Tech N9ne ascended to Red Rocks headliner status, he's continue to play the Colorado Springs venue, as does the rest of his label’s Juggalo-friendly hip-hop roster. Tech and Krizz Kaliko, for example, will be back at the all-ages club on June 21, while Stevie Stone and JL will be there to promote their new collaborative album Kontra-Band  on July 6. Meanwhile, here are the rest of this week’s new show announcements:

Eminent Terror, Marquis Theater, Denver, June 16
Fighting the Phoenix, Black Sheep, June 16
The Lonesome Heroes, Paradox Beer Company, Woodland Park, June 21
Under Auburn Skies, Marquis Theater, Denver, June 22
Stevie Stone and JL, Black Sheep, July 6
Ian Moore, Globe Hall, Denver, July 11
Palisades, Back Sheep, July 17
Fit for a King, Black Sheep, July 29
Havok, Bluebird Theater, Denver, Aug. 5
Parkway Drive, Ogden Theatre, Denver, Sept. 2
Casting Crown, Broadmoor World Arena, Oct. 14
Dreamers, Marquis Theater, Denver, Oct. 15
Bob Seger, Pepsi Center, Denver, Feb. 17, 2019
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Sting and Shaggy’s joint live tour schedules Denver date

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 3:36 PM


Here’s one that’ll sell out fast: Crossover dancehall artist Shaggy and former Police crooner Sting have joined forces for a tour of unexpectedly small American venues, including an October 5 gig at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium.

It’s a pairing that makes sense, given the pronounced faux-Jamaican accent and boombastic bass-heavy production values on “Roxanne” “Message in a Bottle” and other Police hits that Shaggy grew up listening to on the radio. Much more recently, the two musicians teamed up for their newly released 44/876 album, and subsequently serenaded the Queen of England for her birthday. Under the circumstances, a world tour was all but inevitable, and is guaranteed to sell out quickly. Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 24, at 10 a.m.

And with that, here’s this week’s full list of new show announcements:

A New Fiction, Summit Music Hall’s Moon Room, Denver, May 26
Jonah Matranga, Marquis Theater, Denver, June 8
Iya Terra, Black Sheep, June 17
Seven Sea Voyage, Marquis Theater, Denver, June 23
Convictions, Black Sheep, June 25
Badflower, Marquis Theater, Denver, June 28
Kiss Army, Black Sheep, June 28
The Faceless, Black Sheep, June 30
Drake, Pepsi Center, Denver, July 28
Godsmack with Shinedown, Pepsi Center, Denver, July 31
Havok, Bluebird Theater, Denver, Aug. 5
Ragin Fyah, Black Sheep, Aug. 11
Parkway Drive, Ogden Theatre, Denver, Sept. 2
The Exploited, Black Sheep, Sept. 9
Sting & Shaggy, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Oct. 5
Colony House, Black Sheep, Oct. 24
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Pop-star holograms replicating at alarming rate

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 9:33 AM


Surely no one on their death bed has ever said “I wish there were more pop-star holograms.” The live music industry, on the other hand, cannot get enough of them.

A holographic Roy Orbison, the rock and roll legend with the operatic voice and sunglasses, recently completed a sold-out 16-date European tour, with accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Now comes word that Abba, the only Swedish band that matters apart from Blue Swede (you know, the one-hit-wonders responsible for that “ooga-cha-cha” chant in the creepy dancing baby video), has reunited to record new music and move forward with a tour featuring holographic avatars of Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

And then, of course, there’s virtual Tupac and God knows how many other avatars who are still patiently waiting in the wings.

But can any of them truly compete with Hatsune Miku, the animated J-Pop star who skipped the whole "this mortal coil" thing entirely? Of course not, and here’s live concert footage to prove it:

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Friday, May 11, 2018

P!nk and J. Cole top this week’s new show announcements

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 5:35 PM

  • Photo: Ryan Aylsworth
P!nk may insist these days that her name be spelled with an exclamation point, but, to us, she’ll always be plain old Pink! The perennial superstar also insists that next year’s April 1 concert at the Pepsi Center is for real, as is the venue's newly announced J. Cole show on Sept. 10. Meanwhile, here's this week’s full l!st of new concert announcements.

Elevated Sickness, Black Sheep, May 18
The Horrors, Bluebird Theater, Denver, June 25
Shawn Mendes, Pepsi Center, Denver, July 2
Shaman’s Harvest, Black Sheep, July 31
Mephiskatpheles, Black Sheep, Aug. 1
The Melvins, Gothic Theatre, Englewood, Aug. 10
J. Cole, Pepsi Center, Denver, Sept. 10
Brett Eldredge, Bellco Theatre, Denver, Sept. 13
Modern Life Is War, Marquis Theater, Denver, Sept. 15
Café Tacvba, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Oct. 10
U.K. Subs with Agent Orange and Guttermouth, Black Sheep, Oct. 20
Kamasi Washington, Ogden Theatre, Denver, Oct. 26
Pink, Pepsi Center, Denver, April 1, 2019
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Monday, May 7, 2018

Tech N9Ne beer coming to a city near you

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 3:56 PM


Tech N9ne is the latest musician to lend his name to a craft beer — “Tech N9ne Bou Lou” unfiltered wheat beer will arrive in select markets, including Denver, on June 18 — but he’s far from the first.

An extremely short list of prior offenders would include AC/DC’s “Back in Black” (a black IPA, of course), “Wilco Tango Foxtrot” (a chocolate-tinged imperial ale), Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” (a raspberry-infused wheat ale), Thelonius Monk’s “Brother Thelonius” (a Belgian-style abbey ale), and, yes, Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew” (an imperial stout and one thread honey beer with gesho root).

Granted, not all artist-inspired beers have gone down smoothly — a Baltimore brewery had to recall its unlicensed “I Miss the Old Kanye” porter under threat of legal action — but “Bou Lou” is clearly legit. And to prove it, here’s a surprisingly dull video of the horror-core rapper talking about it:

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Smokebrush to present Daniel Johnston documentary screening and Q&A

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 4:32 PM


While it may or may not be true that Metallica was controlled by Satan, that possibility was just one of many obsessions that plagued Daniel Johnston, the bipolar singer-songwriter and artist whose praises have been sung by the likes of Kurt Cobain and Jeff Tweedy.

Johnston’s psychological instability and its relationship to his art are the focus of the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which will be screened at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, at the Red Crags Art and Agriculture House (302 El Paso Boulevard in Manitou). The event, which is being presented by the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts, will be followed by a question-and-answer session with “former advocates and friends of Daniel” Don Goede and Jeff Tartakov.

Goede, an influential figure on the Colorado Springs arts scene, was a cofounder of Soft Skull Press, Johnston’s former tour manager and, under the pseudonym Jack Medicine, his collaborator on the 2006 album The Electric Ghosts. Tarkatov, meanwhile, released Johnston’s early lo-fi cassette recordings on his Austin-based Stress Records.

Donations will be accepted, and you can find more information at

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Childish Gambino and Billy Bob Thornton top new show announcements

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2018 at 10:19 AM

  • Photo: Debby Wong / Shutterstock
  • Childish Gambino
This week’s newly added concerts feature a higher than normal allotment of actors who double as musicians, or vice versa, thanks to national tours by Childish Gambino and Billy Bob Thorton & the Boxmasters. Other noteworthy announcements include Colorado dates from gender-bending artist BØRNS and platinum-selling country artist Pam Tillis. Here’s this week’s full list of new show announcements:

  • Entropy, Black Sheep, May 18
  • Michael Lington with Paul Taylor, Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, June 15
  • Pam Tillis, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Palmer Lake, June 15
  • Sunny Sweeney, Black Sheep, July 13
  • Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Palmer Lake, Aug. 21 & 22
  • Kathy Griffin, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver, Aug. 22
  • Sawyer Fredericks, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, Palmer Lake, Aug. 24
  • Angel Olsen, Paramount Theatre, Denver, Sept. 17
  • Ben Howard, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Oct. 1
  • Childish Gambino, Pepsi Center, Denver, Oct 9
  • BØRNS, Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Oct. 14
  • Joshua Headley, Globe Hall, Denver, Oct. 19

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Make music videos great again

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 10:14 AM

John Maus
  • John Maus
Whenever sight and sound find themselves in competition, you can typically count on sight to win the battle.

In the case of the music industry, that’s been true since at least the dawn of MTV, the music video network that archly took to the airwaves back in 1981 with The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Taking its cue from the superficial approach of celebrity publications like People and TigerBeat, the new medium privileged visual appeal over musical talent, or at least that was the claim of the countless worthy musicians who were shunned because they didn’t fit in with whatever new image the network was selling.

For better or worse, the internet managed to turn the tables and help kill off MTV. The result is that YouTube is now overrun with countless vanity videos of artists pantomiming to their latest song, intercut with narrative plots that involve sex, violence, extreme wealth and really bad acting.

Meet the new medium, same as the old medium, right? Except, that is, in the case of several in-studio series being produced by media outlets like KEXP, Pitchfork and National Public Radio.
Granted, there are still cameras and close-ups, but the more intimate environment of a recording studio makes most musicians feel less compelled to dress to the nines and play to the back row. Instead, we get exceptional sound quality, minimal pretense and zero overdubs.

Take, for example, Juan’s Basement Live. The series, which had been on hiatus for the past 10 years, was resurrected by Pitchfork this past February, and is well worth watching. The reboot features a live-streamed performance and interview format that concludes with the artist answering viewer questions sent in via Facebook.

While the interactive element is a bonus for devoted fans who may have a little too much time on their hands, most of us will be just as happy with the archived version, which looks and sounds just as good.

The series kicked off with John Maus, an Austin native whose echo-drenched, synth-heavy, slightly art-damaged sound would fit nicely alongside three other rock eccentrics: the German band Can, post-punk space-case Julian Cope, and kindred spirit Ariel Pink, with whom Maus has sometimes collaborated. Fortunately for Maus, he appears less prone to the other acts’ infamous off- and on-stage breakdowns.

Subsequent Juan’s Basement episodes have focused on Iceage, Alex Cameron, Homeshake and, most recently, Frankie Cosmos, who was interviewed in these pages three issues ago. MTV may be dead, but the sound of music lives on.
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