Stayin’ Alive: Unconventional Venues Save The Scene

March 4, 2021

When Ben Mozer was 14, he took a trip to Spain with his family. Across from their hotel, a theater was playing the newly released hit Pulp Fiction, which he and his brother had been unable to see in the U.S. due to its R rating. But what stuck with him after the movie was over wasn’t Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic monologue. What stuck with him was the theater. 

Earlier this winter, Mozer’s Fort Collins movie theater the Lyric was one of the only venues in Northern Colorado that was still producing live music.

And Mozer isn’t the only one finding a creative way to amplify local sounds. This winter, Dan Mladenik has tapped local talent for the Mishawaka-produced Live on the Lanes series at Chipper’s Lanes, converting a bowling alley into a cosmic live music experience.

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Kolby Cooper’s Best, Worst Year

March 2, 2021

Kolby Cooper returned through single-digit temperatures and deep snow to his East Texas home on January 17 to find the hallways full of water.

That just sounds like a country song, doesn’t it? Well, here’s how Cooper referred to it in an interview with BandWagon: “Whatever man, it’s nothing. Yada yada yada. We were lucky, man. It was a horrible year, and a great year,” Cooper said.

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Battle Profile: Nelsen

February 16, 2021

“The momentum was really good,” Nick Nelsen said. “We were doing four gigs in a one month span.”

On the first day of February last year, Nelsen (the band) beat out Hot Tub Wrestler, Ethan More or Less and the Able Dogs in round one of BandWagon’s 2020 Battle of the Bands. The success was three years in the making. Nelsen had also competed in 2018 and 2019, never to make it past the first round.

Now, armed with tearjerkers new and old, Nelsen is poised and ready to make the audience “feel” when the Battle of the Bands returns on March 12.

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Battle Profile: Lady Denim

February 15, 2021

“We were starting to get the ball rolling, you know, the snowball effect,” recalls Lundeen, Lady Denim’s lead vocalist, of the band’s momentum heading into March 2020, “and then it all got paused.”

Lundeen looks back on the band’s last headliner at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins, where the band walked out to a crowd of 450. At a show a month later on March 13, just as news of COVID-19 began to flare up, the band walked out to a crowd of less than 50. 

“The silver lining of it all was that we were able to set aside time and record,” Lundeen reflects. Trading rehearsals for recording sessions not only brought the band closer, but also yielded the seeds for what Lundeen said will be their next release.

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Battle Profile: Hannah & The Cuddies

February 13, 2021

Hannah Rodriguez knew that The Cuddies were entering a new chapter in January of 2020 when they won the first round of BandWagons’ Battle of the Bands. She eagerly planned their finalist set and looked forward to the future. But the future had changes in store.
So now, after a year-long unplanned intermission, losing / gaining new band members and the optimism of a vaccine, Hannah is ready for The Cuddies’ first gig in 2021.

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Battle Profile: Graham Good & The Painters

February 12, 2021

Graham Good is relentlessly upbeat. Not only is that really his last name, it’s his nature, and it’s the band’s aesthetic. Even the band’s website greets you with “I believe good things are coming.” He wants people to be happy.

So after a year-long delay between the semi-finals and the finals of our Battle Of The Bands, he’s ready to rock.

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Joy as Resistance: Wayne Watts Raps Decompression for Revolutionaries

February 2, 2021

Wayne Watts is a man of letters, but he is also an educator and activist.

“I wanted to make music for revolutionaries to decompress to. While you’re fighting these things it’s really essential to remember to breathe.”

The power of his dedication to words lies in the myriad of ways in which he employs them.

“They’re filled up with a lot of manifestations and affirmations,” he said. “I treat my mantras like songs.”

As an educator, Watts co-founded the Dream Create Inspire Tour. “The intention has always been to create an incubator to give disenfranchised creators a platform.”

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Dead Amps: Where We Are Now / Harnessing the Chaos

January 12, 2021

Erin O’Toole isn’t Dr. Phil, but she does have a little marital advice:

“If you can record an album together and remain happy,” O’Toole says, “you can survive anything.”

O’Toole would know, given that she’s made music with her husband, Jonathan Payne as the band Dead Amps since 2005, a year after they met. She says when they both find something they like, it can be magical )as on their new full-length “DA4”) but it’s usually more arduous than that. Just like a marriage with moments that inspire rom-coms and adult contemporary hits, there’s a whole lot of hard work behind the magic.

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