As footage of the capitol riots circulated online, James Laurie, aka Jonny 5, watched with a unique kind of discomfort. A discomfort that stemmed from familiarity. Some of the rioters looked like they could have been at a Flobots concert circa 2008 — an era where the band’s merch was decorated with stars and stripes and their music was the soundtrack to protests against the Iraq war.
Their latest single, “When It All Falls” directly addresses the tumultuous, to say the least, landscape of the past year – one which mobilised, yet polarised much of the nation on both intimate and massively public scales.
Emily Nelson had a feeling the universe had something in mind for her.
“The drums were just a fun way to get healthy again,” she said, “and a year later, Erica was there.”
Erica, Brown, the Denver blues diva and Greeley favorite, brought Nelson in to her all-woman band the Cast Iron Queens after several life-changing events gave Nelson the strength not to be paralyzed by perfectionism.
After a year, The Burroughs have re-emerged with a new video and single, “Zero Sum Game,” a first time songwriting collaboration between drummer Mary Claxton and frontman Johnny Burroughs. It marks Claxton’s official debut as a lead vocalist with The Burroughs. On one Saturday afternoon at Greeley’s huge, vacant Union Colony City Center stage, the video was filmed in a single, continuous shot, keeping focus on Claxton’s unbroken gaze as her environment seamlessly changes around her.
Justin Watada sighed through a tired laugh. “I’ve had better years,” he said. Watada’s run 17 Greeley Stampedes and this year’s been the toughest. Yes, this year, even with the good news that there will actually be a 2021 Stampede. “We are on version 10 of our budget this year,” Watada said. “We are 50-some days away, and there’s still so much unknown.”
Still, even more big events look promising, The Greeley Blues Jam, May Play, Friday Fest, The Greeley Arts Picnic and more promise to happen, but what they’ll look and sound like remains to be seen. If last year was a bummer, this year is more like chaos. Let’s Dig In.
Over 63 days, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), created a set of criteria, launched an application, administered the selection process and allocated just under $6 million to organizations and businesses state-wide including music venues.
“We were given the charge to distribute the funding as quickly as possible,” a CCI spokesperson told BandWagon.
This hasty allocation of public funds was met with cynical speculation from independent venue owners who were not awarded money.
Until now, the controversy over the grant has remained purely speculative. No one has pointed to specific evidence of nepotism or neglect on CCI’s part. But, thanks to the Colorado Open Records Act, BandWagon was able to obtain a copy of the scoring rubric used to evaluate grant applicants.
Tom Amend has been in a band since he was 6 years old, playing piano for his dad’s yacht rock cover band (when his hands were just big enough to reach a few chords) up until 2019 when he stepped down as the Burroughs’ keyboardist of many years. Now at 26, he’s making his mark in the Denver jazz scene as one of Colorado’s best pianists, playing one-off shows every other night with a constantly rotating collection of musicians.
“It’s the freedom of everything – the spaces, the sound, the tunes… [jazz] is a free form of music. It’s cliche, but it’s truly why I love it,” Amend tells BandWagon.
President Joe Biden believes we’ll have smaller gatherings with family and close friends by the Fourth of July. But this Labor Day sounds like it could be a party.
Northern Colorado venues say they are hopeful they can host full concerts again by September and venue operators still plan to hold limited-capacity concerts throughout this spring and summer.
“There are people saying July or August, but we are confident things will be returning to normal in September,” said Dani Grant, owner of the Mishawaka Amphitheater.
Other venues don’t have to follow the same restrictions as Colorado, such as the Chinook Drive In at the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne. “We are super stoked,” Hamilton Byrd, a promoter with the Chinook says. “That definitely creates a ton of optimism.”
As for restrictions? “We have 27,000 acres. That’s a pretty wide net.”
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“We are three brothers” is the first sentence Holdfast. wrote in their Facebook bio and they’re not really wrong about that. Brothers Tom and Mikey Maddocks and their cousin Charlie Maddocks grew up right next door to each other in Windsor, CO. They did everything together, including signing a sync licence with Audio Network in 2020 and releasing their first full length Stay And Fight on January 8, 2021.
Independent artists made more music online and at home during lockdown, and recording studios have adapted. Mike Davis was uniquely prepared for this shift, founding Koncept Jewel Studios, an itinerant collection of recording equipment and instruments that operates wherever Davis happens to be living at the time.
“It’s kind of an amorphous thing. I’ve moved around since I started it and plan to continue moving around,” he said.
This can-do, remote DIY sentiment is echoed by Ben Behrens of Wright Studios: “It doesn’t matter how cheap or weird your gear is. If it works, we can make something cool with it.”
Stone Cottage studios in Boulder has even turned its space into a stage for live-streaming artist performances online.
Despite the chaos that was 2020, Fort Collins singer-songwriter Sarah Slaton has been able to find one gig: “I’m joining a bunch of other folks from the music industry who have been laid-off from their normal jobs,” she tells BandWagon. “We are part of a Covid rapid-response team, going to small cities to build testing infrastructure and testing sites.”
Because let’s be honest, if you need to build a mobile facility meant to deal with a lot of people, call are the music festival folks. “We get shit done quickly,” Slaton says.
Additionally, Slaton released the “Get Up” single and video in December, which speaks to what so many are going through. She championed the Save Our Stages Act, spearheaded community events and much more.
During the 2013 Colorado Floods, John March broke both of his elbows and then continued trying to make a living as a gigging guitarist despite crippling pain.
“Two weeks later, I was playing at a fundraiser for people whose homes had been destroyed in the floods,” March said.
MusiCares was the first organization to provide financial assistance to March, who is now donating a portion of the proceeds from his new album For Once In My Life to three charities, including MusiCares.
The album is March’s second tribute to his former mentor and jazz guitar legend Ted Greene.
“It’s nowhere near the money I need to sustain, but I was lucky,” says Travis Ragan.
Ragan was a partner in the Roxy Theater in Denver and the Mesa Theater in Grand Junction, booking shows in 15 different markets. Now he hauls equipment for his brother, a construction manager out of Colorado Springs.
“I know venues are closing down, and yet, we have no leadership backing us and supporting us. We have no one telling us what we should do as opposed to what we shouldn’t do,” Ragan says.
“The place is not made to be at a 250 person capacity,” Renee Jelenik says of The Lincoln Theater in Cheyenne, “and even then, it’s not like we sold out those shows. People just aren’t coming out.”
“We’ve been asked to shut down, or told to shut down, for months now,” says Ely Corliss of The Moxi Theater in Greeley. “We’ve done that, and where are we now?”
Allen and Hannah Maddox want you to believe that their world is pain. But it would be hard to find a greater contrast between Heartsick Heroine’s image and the actual lives Allen and Hannah lead together. Some of the anguish is real (2020 sucked all their gigs away) and the band is more than a hobby – but it is not their lives.
For Northern Colorado-based synth hop trio NGHT WLVS, creating music together was nothing new. Long-time friends Will Duran, Sam Archuleta, and Tommy Martinez began making music together over a decade ago, and while life took them down separate roads, they reconnected. Rocking a sound saturated in the lushness and sparkle of classic synth pop while sticking to their hip hop roots.
Before “I See Red” went viral, Longmont-based soul rock duo Everybody Loves An Outlaw were just DIY, writing the songs, producing the records, and managing the band themselves. Then, they got signed to Columbia records and “I See Red’ got featured in the Polish soft-core film ‘365 Days.’ This thrusted them into a new world, but they remember every little step along the way.
For her new mural on the Maddie Apartments in Downtown Greeley, Betony Coons found herself challenged with how to include Union Colony’s most famous principle: temperance. Not only is “the active moderation of libation intake” hard to paint, but ironically, one of the reasons downtown Greeley continues to thrive is the world class breweries and distilleries it inspired.
Sunsquabi sit in a very unique spot in the music industry. With the career they’ve had so far and the following they’ve built, they were able to step into isolation somewhat comfortably until things return to normal. If and when things do, they’ll be hitting the scene with a lot of great momentum built on the dedication to their craft and their love of the music.
“Obviously we want to play shows in [traditional] venues again but we’re grateful to the drive-in thing because we’ve been having a lot of fun with it,” says guitar / synth player Kevin Donahue.
David Rodriguez’ first comedy set, more than five years ago, was at Hodi’s Half Note, the beloved FoCo rock club which recently announced its closing. He believes it’s fitting, then, that he will open Comedy Fort in the Hodi’s building, probably sometime in January. “When this opportunity came about, it just felt perfect,” Rodriguez said.
“I mean, what is stopping us? Why don’t we?” said Maddie Hein of Dream Cult Press. Well, she was 17, but that wasn’t enough, apparently. Nor was the fact that they met online and not in her hometown of Greeley (one of them, in fact, was from Kazakhstan). The new indie label released their first album in July 2019 and started picking up fans and followers, but quickly also decided to use their platform to benefit individuals and organizations that were helping out during protests across the country.
Kyle Hollingsworth and his bandmates in The String Cheese Incident had been on tour for a solid decade. They needed a break, so they took 6 months off. Then, live music itself took a break for the foreseeable future. Ironic, isn’t it?,” Hollingsworth said. On September 11th, Kyle Hollingsworth Band will play a socially-distanced Drive-In Theater show at The Chinook in Cheyenne, Wyoming, another first for him. “We’re just, so excited to be playing – it’s shining out of us. We’re bringing great energy.”
This weekend, in lieu of the real, re-scheduled thing, FoCoMX will offer “A Digital Retrospective” of photos taken by fans as well as rare backstage shots by FoCoMX staff on September 4-5 via the festival’s social media channels. The festival wants to celebrate the fan perspective and involvement as well as host live, in-person music to folks in their cars every Tuesday via Drive & Jive, pulling from its scheduled lineup of more than 400 acts.
A comedy-drama from R.W. Perkins of Loveland, “Small Town Remedies” tells the story of two siblings (Andrea Dratch and Ty Sells; Dratch is also an executive producer) dealing with their relapsing alcoholic mother (Sally Knudsen) while juggling their own personal struggles and surprises. It’s not a prototypical film about addiction, and that was Perkin’s intent, saying he had a different take on addiction as a family dynamic.
The film premieres September 10 at the Horsetooth International Film Festival.
Downtown Greeley’s been quiet since March, when the outbreak shuttered bars (for the second time now), restaurants and other fun places that made downtown as successful as it’s been in decades. But business owners hope to make some noise by closing 8th and 9th streets and putting open dining tables out. They also added an open container law that essentially extends the Go Cup law full-time until fall, only with loosened restrictions: Any alcohol is OK now, even if you have some from home, though the idea is to support the businesses on the blocks. The Greeley City Council approved the plan and began it July 1.
Devin Tremell insisted to the crowd of hundreds looking up at him from the Lincoln Park gazebo in Greeley that he was just a regular Black dude. “The message had to reach all the nooks and crannies of the country,” Tremell, a UNC student, rapper and activist said. “Greeley is kind of out of the way, and it needs to reach there too,” he says of the Black Lives matter movement. “This is a problem across the board. But I was surprised at the amount of people who felt the same way I did. I see more of that coming out.”
Going from doing at least 80 live shows a year (with everyone from Mos Def to Nappy Roots) to performing for a six-year-old’s backyard birthday party in Arvada, Colorado is just one of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his typically flourishing career, but Kosha Dillz is a rare breed. With 16 years of sobriety under his belt (to the day) he must guard his recovery like he guards his life, something that’s even more challenging when you’re immersed in the music industry.
If you ask Robert Randolph what his 2006 hit “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That” is about, his answer would be: “It’s about what’s going on today. I write songs to inspire and to love each other, because if you don’t have respect, you don’t have love.”
Randolph’s songwriting focuses on bringing people together, which is his mantra as an individual and an artist. He continues to uphold that mantra with every album he’s released since then. He believes those messages are more relevant now than ever.
Join Robert Randolph and his All Star Super Band at The High Plains Buffalo Jam on Saturday, July 25 in Cheyenne, Wyoming with Allman-Betts Band, Deitch & Shmeeans (Lettuce) Blackberry Smoke and The Burroughs.
Until recently, the pandemic, and our directive to stay put, wasn’t all that hard for Hayden Farr, baritone sax player for The Burroughs and Trash Cat. Farr is an introvert, so when was invited to protest for Black Lives Matter in Denver, he declined.
“But I’m wondering,” Farr asked, “why do we need to have this conversation every two years? I wonder if it’s because people are stuck at home and forced to see what’s going on, or is it because people want to see a change?”
Even though it was the music that got Greg Carroll into his jazz career, he became a champion of the art form, teaching, preserving and protecting the history of it, because it is the music of his fellow black Americans. “It excites me to see everyone play it, but jazz was created by African Americans, born out of the experiences of people forced on this land as a way to honor their culture – the only thing that couldn’t be ripped away from them. It’s a gift to the world, and it’s welcome to everyone. But it’s historically black, and the more I got into it and learned the history of it, the more I appreciated that. It made me proud.”
“I’ve reset my expectations with everything we do in the music business,” said Adam Aijala. “The best attitude is to just roll with it.” The last time his group Yonder Mountain String Band played was March 12, 2020. Then coronavirus hit. With band members scattered across different time zones in the lower 48, they made video collaborations. But then, their agent called. They had a gig. A live one. Blue Pig Presents in Cheyenne took a chance and installed a drive-in theater set-up at Terry Bison Ranch, booking Yonder Mountain live.
The idea of drive-in concerts spread almost as fast as the virus itself, with The Holiday Twin Drive-In Movie Theater in Fort Collins collaborating with FoCoMX to fill the festival void with their Drive & Jive concert series.
The Mishawaka Amphitheatre’s second live show during the pandemic happens at the night before Independence Day – and it’s not for the money. For independent music venues and clubs across Colorado, July 1 is perhaps as important as the day we celebrate our independence as a nation. Governor Polis’ new guidelines take effect that day, allowing the assembly of crowds which make live music possible, if not exactly feasible.
Even right after she was the sickest she’d been in her life, Alison Hamling still cried after she essentially canceled Friday Fest in Downtown Greeley. Live music “pales in comparison” to the need to avoid a second wave, Hamling said, even as she hated her decision.
Concert producer Colin Bricker says “I find it hard to imagine pulling off any live music this summer. There’s just no way to do that.”
But WAIT! If you don’t mind sitting by your computer, part of Greeley’s summer festival season may in fact, still be on.
With stay-at-home orders in place, students still want to make music with their teachers and with their peers. Fairview High School students in Boulder decided to try a “virtual choir.” Virtual ensembles, including choirs, are a huge trend worldwide, allowing musicians to collaborate with their friends, bandmates, or favorite artists from home. But putting together a collaboration of 15-plus people requires a lot of time, a hefty budget, and in this case, a supportive community.
In 2013 and 2017, Chris “K” Kresge had what he called “crazy ass idea” to raise a million dollars for the musicians affected by natural disasters and community devastation, now called Rocky Mountain Music Relief.
With live music shut down due to DOVID-19, every week, RMMR updates a spreadsheet that points musicians and music industry professionals to grants and resources.
A slew of financial resources are available to musicians, but there’s more. The Music Minds Matter organization provides a platform for mental first aid as well via free, weekly online meet-ups.
Coronavirus continues to devastate bar and club owners, restaurants and musicians, but there may be a bright spot: the power of streaming live concerts. Some are even making good money at it.
“We’ve learned how to use the tools of social media better now. We are using them rather than just placing facades online,” said Tim Coons of Giants & Pilgrims.
“If I can make $100 sitting on my couch, that redefines the industry for me,” said Brandon Harris of NoCo Band Meat & Potatoes.
“The arts are a mental lifeline for kids in the public school system,” says Mary Claxton, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer for Trashcat and the Burroughs. “Everyone deserves to express themselves and have joy throughout the school day. It’s not a privilege.”
Her band The Burroughs have launched the Bands Give Back Initiative, engaging students in music education while raising funds, constructing instrument storage and more for the Greeley, Evans School District 6.
“It’s pretty easy to see how unprepared everyone was,” said Brian Claxton – a touring drummer and music educator based in Greeley, Colorado. Music venues, restaurants and bars across the globe and in Colorado have been ordered to close due to coronavirus precautions, essentially cutting off the lifeblood of the music industry. But the ramifications go deeper, from the 50th anniversary of the huge UNC Jazz Festival delaying one year to smaller bands such as Float Like A Buffalo cancelling their shoestring budget tours.
“I think it will take a year to recover, not just in the economy but in the entertainment industry here,” Moxi Theater Ely Corliss said, “and that’s if we resume in April. If this goes until May 11 or so, it’ll be catastrophic for the Moxi and (his restaurant) Luna’s both.”
“This is like some horror movie shit.” Old Man Saxon is looking back on one of the scariest moments during the 13 months he was living in his 2001 Ford Explorer Sport while trying to “make it” in Los Angeles. It was the middle of the night and he was sound asleep when a loud noise jolted him awake …
… but with homelessness now in his rearview, Old Man Saxon was able to focus on his next adventures, which included landing a song on HBO’s Silicon Valley soundtrack (“That was a miracle,” he says), a teaching role at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood where he taught rap and a spot on the Netflix competition show Rhythm + Flow.
Max Barcelow’s life as a professional musician in Fort Collins has had plenty of twists and turns. Drumming for prolific folk artist Gregory Alan Isakov, he’s played Red Rocks, in Europe, with the Colorado Symphony and attended this year’s Grammy ceremony on January 26 at The Staples Center, long dubbed “Kobe’s House,” on the day of Kobe Bryant’s death.
An evening torn between celebrating music and hastily trying to address and honor Bryant, Barcelow witnessed the pomp and grandeur of the Grammy’s while being reminded of how no one can escape life’s fragility – even with success and money. “It’s funny how death just brings it all back home,” Barcelow said.
As the talent booker for the Greeley Stampede’s music acts, John DeWitt always liked the Tyler Walker Band. But now that he’s in the band, he’s an even bigger fan. “I believed in him for a lot of different reasons,” DeWitt says. DeWitt and Walker will be part of this year’s Rocky Mountain Country Music Awards at the UCCC in Greeley on March 13.
Jim Curry is not John Denver. Well, no #@%*!, you say, but when you see him sing on stage, you may have doubts. Curry brings his Denver act to Greeley, performing with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra March 6. Curry has worked with Denver’s old bandmates themselves, though admitting: “I never did embrace the idea that I could have a music career.”
At the end of every show on his first tour as a solo artist, Kyle Emerson found himself exhausted. Emerson supported his first solo record, 2017’s Dorothy Alice, which he named for his late grandmother, with a lengthy tour.
Now, with his release Only Coming Down, Emerson focuses on the energy and connection with the crowd, bringing his more upbeat band shows to The Moxi Theater in Greeley on Thursday, February 20, presented by The Colorado Sound.
Since the 90’s, Ani DiFranco has been steadily creating a legacy for herself. She released 20 albums under her own record label Righteous Babe, and inspired an entire movement of women artists. Now the year is 2020, and the industry has changed once again. But Ani’s message hasn’t.
“I think there’s many people who think feminism doesn’t seem urgent,’ but you can’t prevent imbalance without addressing it,” DiFranco said.
An instrumental jazz pianist at heart, Marco Benevento has always searched for new sounds, musical tools or ways of composing, though his newest discovery is that of his own voice, and that’s worth a champagne toast.
Benevento calls his vocals a direct extension of his composing. “It’s just like another instrument,” he says. “It’s the fourth member of our trio, but it’s still the trio.”
The Marco Benevento Trio play The Aggie Theater on Thursday, February 6.
In 2017, Theo Katzman’s father died, he had a bad breakup, and he lost a bunch of money on what he thought was a cool professional opportunity. This is how he discovered his sense of humor.
“Out of the wake of all that was sort of this ‘f— it’ attitude,” Katzman said, and though a core member of the very funny Vulfpeck, he says: “I don’t think I’m making comedy music. If I’m doing my job right, the people in my audience at times will be insanely sad. You can explore the light along with the dark.”
Katzman released Modern Johnny Sings: Songs In The Key Of Vibe mere days ago, “tackling the issues” of our times with unique poignancy.
One look around Blast N Scrap and the authenticity is palpable. A new Fort Collins DIY performance art venue located inside the art reuse center called Who Gives a SCRAP, Blast N Scrap finds itself with the right combination of quirky and weird for a unique line-blurring artistic experience that the people of Fort Collins didn’t even know they needed. At its helm is Blasti, a scrappy 36 year old New Yorker with a vision for an all-ages punk rock art space for everyone. “How are you going to tell teenagers they can’t go to shows?” Blasti says. “They invented rock and roll.”
Not everyone has to meditate for an hour and a half every day like author/rapper Andy Seth does, but he wants everyone to achieve their goals, as they resolve to do in the New Year. He chose the parable of a rapper to communicate his philosophies in his book and album Bling.
“Hip-hop is a big part of my life. I wanted to provide a book that’s accessible, along with music that is a part of our culture, to make [life] lessons stick,” Seth says. With reflection and flow, he believes success and balance – not only the struggle – is real.
In many ways, Wildermiss made it big a couple years ago with their first album “Lost With You,” spawning regular rotation on 93.3 KTCL, performances at Red Rocks and a slot on Last Call With Carson Daly. But they’re not exactly flying in private jets when outside the comfort of Colorado. In fact, they’re still driving vans that suck. Wildermiss haven’t forgotten where they came from because they can’t afford it yet. And that’s reflected in their new album “In My Mind”.
A shared approach to creation is the driving force behind an upcoming collaboration between rock band Silver & Gold and Greeley’s Brix Brewery and Taphouse. On December 19, a collaborative beer release and concert benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Weld County will take place in Downtown Greeley’s Moxi Theater, showcasing the spirit of collaboration.
Murs was well aware the open mic part of hip-hop culture was dying, or at least inching toward its last breath. So he and The Bohemian Foundation started Groundwaves: a monthly hip-hop open mic / proving ground mentored by Murs himself,the finale of which was lat month. There, hopeful MC’s would spit their stuff in front of a critical, constructive audience of their peers. “I think you can get your feedback right there. That one little word of feedback (from the crowd) is all you needed to do more work,” Murs explains. Before Groundwaves returns in 2020, Hodi’s Halfnote will house Co-Op, an open mic workshop hosted by Bad Neighbors.
The Blasting Room didn’t start with a Big Bang, as you might expect, but a drunken nap. The engineer for one of the Descendents’ mid-80s records fell asleep at the recording console. As he snored, Bill Stevenson, the band’s drummer, rolled the engineer’s chair out of the way to work the dials himself. 25 years later, the studio he built with Jason Livermore has become a punk rock recording institution, producing pop and folk records too. But the heart of the original Blasting Room still beats like a punchy snare, a place where young bands make their punk rock dreams come true.
Alysia, Staci, and Tobias were in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma when the sky turned green. They could see the tornado dead-ahead through an eerie, rainy clearing in the atmosphere. Even though the gusts of winds were powerful enough to lift their van packed with equipment, the three friends made it safely to the next stop. Literally and metaphorically, this resulted in Fort Collins folk trio Whippoorwill’s first full length album The Nature Of Storms. The album releases November 15 at Washington’s in Fort Collins.
As much of a beast as Cory Wong is on the guitar (and how catchy his composing and songwriting is) “Motivational Music For The Syncopated Soul” isn’t exactly a pedestal of attention for himself. Instead, he collaborated with several well established musicians, evoking a collaborative vibe like that of his other band Vulfpeck. Wong (with support from Paris Monster) play sThe Aggie Theater on Halloween night as well as Boulder and Denver November 1 and 2.
“We do not want to forget what happened,” said Ed Rogers, chairman of the Greeley Arts Legacy board. “It’s easy to select what we know, but we also want to go back and make sure our past is remembered.” The Arts Legacy board did just that, honoring Ruth Savig, a visual artist for decades in Greeley, Hellen Langworthy who started Little Theater Of The Rockies 80 years ago, the Greeley Philharmonic and more. Friday, October 4 at Union Colony Civic Center, all 6 inductees will be celebrated.
Mike Doughty knew he wouldn’t be able to shed his association with Soul Coughing, though he describes the band as “a dark, abusive marriage.” The only thing he chose to keep was their approach to music: the idea that compositions were fluid, not songs to be played in their recorded forms to-the-note. “You reinterpreted it,” Doughty said. For his current tour he broke his own rule and listened to ‘Ruby Vroom’ (Soul Coughing’s debut) for the first time in decades, using it as a reference to honor the 25th anniversary of the recording. He performs ‘Ruby Vroom’ in its entirety October 5 at Washington’s in Fort Collins.
Tim Coons, a longtime spiritual musician in Greeley who’s released several albums now works for the Weld Community Foundation. He recently launched Weld Found – a new podcast examining the phenomenon of isolation and loneliness in the modern world, particularly in Weld County. Episodes feature Neyla Pekarek, Sociologist Dr. Josh Packard and more.
“Our audiences are like us,” Slim Cessna says. “They don’t belong in any category. More often than not, they’re just music lovers, and those are the people we attract.” With 27 years as a Colorado band, and several side-projects under their cowboy belts, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club brings their macabre, avante-garde roots music to Greeley for the first time, Friday, September 20 at the Moxi.
Peter Paul & Gary (yes, Gary) are going into their 24th year as a band, and they are unoriginal in every way. Intentionally. On September 13 they will headline the 12th Annual My Favorite Bands entertaining the patrons of the Moxi Theater with a performance of, as per their own tradition, an iconic movie soundtrack. This time, it’s “Back To The Future” with Trash Cat performing Flight Of The Conchords and Matt Skinner performing Willie Nelson.
The 5th annual Edge Fest on August 24 in Cheyenne Wyoming is anything but country. The free outdoor concert in a brand-new amphitheatre park features K-Flay, a Grammy-winning, out, female rapper as the headliner.
Charley Crockett spent a decade on the street, making a living off tips he earned as a busker. He played the “old sounds of struggle” that he identifies with even now. Recovering from heart surgery and mindfully straying from the rough life he lead at a young age, he plays Fort Collins this month: BandWagon presents Charley Crockett at the Aggie Theater Wednesday, August 7.
Jared & The Mill was birthed into the hot Phoenix sun by Jared Kolesar and his Arizona State University buddies in 2011. Since then, they’ve been consistently creating their own brand of what Kolesar refers to as “Western Indie Rock.” Touring the country and even performing for US troops on an aircraft carrier, the band hits The Moxi Theater Friday, August 16 in support of their “big artistic statement,” aka their newest album This Story Is No Longer Available.
DJ Drez is rooted in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene. He’s rubbed elbows with Eminem, collaborated with Macy Gray, Black Eyed Peas, Black Star and KRS-One. Now, Drez his wife Marti Nikko are heavily involved in the yoga world, founding the Rock Om program and headlining Loveland’s ARISE August 2-4 in the festival’s Yoga village.
If you’re considering the Arise Music Festival in Loveland August 2 – 4, here’s a tip: Bring your own water bottle. The festival provides water itself, but no single-use plastic. They even plant a tree for every ticket sold. Bands and performers who follow the guidelines of ‘Leave No Trace,’ headline the event: Tipper, Leftover Salmon, Railroad Earth and more. “We are more than a music festival,” organiser Mo Hnatiuk said. “It’s a movement. Music is supposed to feed your soul.”
Rhonda Welch, festival / event coordinator for the City of Greeley answers calls from close to 150 artists and crafters, 24 performers (including 18 music groups) more than a dozen food vendors and representatives for the Coors beer garden at The Greeley Arts Picnic. She’s spends most of June and July inside so you can be outside in Lincoln Park the weekend of July 27 for the 41st annual Arts Picnic, featuring a kick-off party on the 26th by Funkiphino. For now, Welch is still at it.
“Songwriting was the longest curve,” Nick Urata of DeVotchKa says. “You have to write all these bad songs before a good one comes out. It took a lifetime really.” Formed in the 90’s, each member of the band make up an orchestra themselves and they each ‘got it’ from the beginning. After years as a famed Colorado act, DeVotchKa play Greeley for the first time July 17 and 18 at The Moxi Theater.
Built To Spill was ultimately grouped in with the “Northwest sound” from the outset, a result of being signed to Up Records. Although they left and signed with Warner Bros., they managed to retain their independence. After eight albums, the Doug Martsch-led group are still a mainstay in the indie rock world.
“The main key is, of course, luck. But there’s also the fact that I am so simple, I don’t get bored playing these songs over and over again,” Martsch jokes.
Built To Spill play The Mishawaka Amphitheatre July 26.
At this summer’s Concert Under the Stars series at the University of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins bluegrass band FY5’s performance will be in a new, indoor venue. Although the concert series name directly refers to its typical venue, the university’s outdoor Garden Theatre stage, more than half of this year’s shows will be in the new Campus Commons Performance Hall. A first since the series began in 1931.
Led by singer Lauren Johnston, Swerve are colorful, quirky, exciting and eccentric, but they all wanted to be in a band playing music that was not only fun, but their own. “You don’t need permission to do anything musically, which is great,” said bassist and back-up singer Julian Cary. After winning the 2019 BandWagon Battle Of The Bands, Swerve’s future is uncertain, but they will hit the Stampede Free Stage Tuesday, July 2nd.
“Good luck trying to find someone to sign this contract,” remarked the label representative. Cody Johnson knew country artists rarely demand complete creative control, but he insisted upon it. As his 2016 album title states, he’s just ‘Gotta Be Me.’
“You don’t work for 12 or 13 years to give up all you worked for,” Johnson said in an Interview. He headlines the Superstar Concert Series at The Greeley Stampede July 5th and 8pm.
“You can drop us anywhere in Colorado,” Nappy Roots emcee Fish Scales says. “We bring entertaining hip-hop to people who otherwise wouldn’t see a hip-hop show.” The Kentucky rappers play The Greeley Stampede on July 5th at the free Extraction Stage, adding: “I definitely am country.”
Kimberly Dunn has described her sound as country-without-a-box, Eli Young Band started out as just an acoustic duo and Resurrection have more connections to the real Journey than you might think. They’ll all crush the Greeley Stampede stages this summer.
Colorado may not be as familiar with the bhangra as is Red Baraat’s home city of New York. The upbeat North Indian style of playing which colors the band’s music might be rare to these parts, but everyone can relate of the musical elements the band incorporates. Bandleader Sonny Jain says: “I would argue that our sounds aren’t foreign really anywhere.” Red Baraat bring their colorful, amazing show to Fort Collins June 27 at Washinton’s.
Shemekia Copeland was pissed off on a Tuesday morning. It was something she heard from one of Trump’s “offspring,” as she calls him, about how if poor people want more in life, they just have to work harder. Recognized by many as the finest blues singer of her generation, Copeland headlines the Greeley Blues Jam June 8. She also draws attention for being outspoken in a world that tends to be surprisingly silent about social issues.
Cha Wa, the New Orleans funk band incorporates the tradition of Mardi Gras Indian music and the feel of a New Orleans brass band with all the attitude of a proper funk ensemble. “It was a perfect pot of gumbo,” said J’Wan Boudreaux. Cha Wa performs Saturday, June 8 at The Greeley Blues jam at Island Grove Park.
The band needed a name. Matthew Sease pulled the biggest book from his mom’s shelf, opened to a random page and pointed to a word. “The.” That wasn’t going to work. Now properly named, The Beeves will be hitting the Fox Theatre May 17 in Boulder to release their first album Adam and Beeve. Their sound mixes punk, 60s mod, and country – and it comes out like an exorcism on stage.
Ori Naftaly grappled with his record label, Concord Records, over Southern Avenue’s upcoming album, Keep On, out May 10. Fortunately for us, they both came out on top. “I want people to listen to this in 2040 and think we sound as relevant honoring the music that we love from back in the day,” Ori says.
The Greeley/UNC Jazz Festival is more than just a way to celebrate America’s original form of music. It’s a recruiting tool. The University is excited to bring the festival to its campus for the first time ever at the new Campus Commons venue. “We’ve been doing this for however many years without anyone seeing the campus,” said Michael Alexander, the director of the UNC School of Music.
My reaction to 311 playing the modest Aggie Theatre was probably similar to other locals. ‘What!? How!? It’s so small. These guys sell out Red Rocks and have their own 311 cruise for god’s sake.’ But I quickly remembered the same people who book the Mishawaka Amphitheater took over the Aggie’s booking in March, so maybe they really wanted to kick off the concert season with a bang?
The first time Take 6 came to the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival the guys packed rooms full of squealing girls who asked questions such as “boxers or briefs?” That was in 1999, a time before smartphones, streaming or even much of an internet. Take 6 returns 20 years later to the Jazz Fest at UNC’s new Campus Commons venue April 25.
When Michael McDonald is on stage Thursday, April 11 at Union Colony Civic Center in downtown Greeley, singing our favorite songs like “Taking It To The Streets,” or “I Keep Forgetting,” for the millionth time, he is thanking us for continuing to love who he is.
Jeremy Grant admits he doesn’t even really like jam bands. Regardless, the 40-year-old Greeley native is the monitor engineer and stage manager for Leftover Salmon, one of the most celebrated jam bands around.
Every time Gary Mullen sings, he says grace. His uncanny ability to sing like Freddie Mercury gave him a nice career as the frontman for One Night of Queen, a tribute to one of the greatest bands in history. Mullen and crew play in Greeley on March 8 at the Union Colony Civic Center in downtown Greeley.
Andy McKee’s technical brilliance, so unique that many had never seen it before, went viral in 2005 (which, back then was just called popular) earning him millions of views in just a few weeks. It wasn’t long before people wanted him to play – in person – around the world. Catch McKee at The Moxi Friday, March 8.
Since their beginnings, The Unlikely Candidates have toyed around with a slew of different sounds, despite charting more than once in Billboard’s Alternative Rock category. “We’ve Always been influenced by bands who weren’t stuck on one particular sound,” Kyle Morris Says. The Unlikely Candidates play The Moxi Theater on March 3.
Noel Johnston envisioned a play where the protagonists are group of smart, curious kids who are – most importantly – different from one another. Three speak Spanish and English fluently, and several other characters give a second language a solid effort. The Stampede Troupe premieres this original play February 22-23 in Downtown Greeley.
Silver & Gold’s new EP Color (out February 8) used the influence of a short production span, their closeness as a band (both geographically and emotionally) a man named Dan Diaz to create an album that stands out from the rest of their work.
Jojo Garza laughs easily. The Los Lonely Boys vocalist/bassist — who plays at Washington’s in Fort Collins February 2 alongside his brothers Henry and Ringo — applies his positive attitude to everything he does, especially Los Lonely Boys’ music, though his brother suffered major injuries on stage in 2013. “Even to this day we’re feeling the after effects,” he admits. “It hasn’t gone away at all.”
During a rare quiet moment the “Dave Cave,” a basement devoted to metal music, members of Open Fire remember the day Dave MacKenzie sent out the news that his son, Tyler, was killed in Iraq in 2005. Just two months before, they’d had so much fun playing their first big gig before thousands at the first “Thunder in the Rockies.” This month, Open Fire play their 14th anniversary show Saturday, January 26 at The Moxi Theater.
Before Neyla Pekarek became a third of The Lumineers, she saw Rattlesnake Kate’s famous dress and read the story while she attended the University of Northern Colorado. The story stuck with her. “She spoke her mind and lived completely outside of what was expected of women.” Pekarek says. “Western stories are so dominated by men. The tales of women have yet to be told.” Her debut solo record Rattlesnake premieres at The Moxi Theater January 25.
Since June, 2018, Cranford’s Tea Tavern has hosted the The Blues Party, a recurring Wednesday night hang for musicians, from those who only know three chords to experienced professionals who’ve played their whole life. It didn’t matter what instrument they played, Buchholz and Haug gave them an equal opportunity to play. In between songs, the players exchanged song choices, guided each other through grooves and made sure they knew how to kick off the songs.
Each member of Gogol Bordello’s multicultural melange grandstands throughout, exuding practically nuclear energy. From Russian-born Pelekh’s dizzying solos to Pedro Erazo’s spitfire Ecuadorian rapping en Español, native Ethiopian Thomas Gobena’s rich, reggae bass and more, the whole band take the spotlight with a prowess that commands respect, invigorating Gogol’s crazy crowds. Catch their New Year’s shows at The Aggie December 30, The Ogden December 28 and 29, and The Boulder Theater December 31.
Rapping is a tiring, literally breathtaking affair, and Bryan Thomas, quite honestly, didn’t have the stamina for it. He was, to be blunt, too fat to rap. He then endured a sickly stint in the hospital that led to him having throat surgery. So he quit drinking, stopped taking street drugs and started eating better, including flirting with a Vegan diet, and exercising. Since he and Adams formed the hip-hop/country band Long Cut in January, he’s lost 115 pounds.
On the new Stubby Shillelaghs EP, The Great War, the band covers classic tunes that detail the horrors of war, with a special focus on World War I. Knaub got the idea for the record from a popular podcast, Hardcore History, by Dan Carlin, a show that details “the extremes of human existence,” Knaub said. The band will play at the Moxi Theater on Saturday, December 15 performing The Great War in its entirety, but you shouldn’t expect to see the Stubbies play many gigs in Greeley any longer.
The rap duo Ces Cru have been Strange Music mainstays for 12 years. But over the past few months, there’s been a noticeable change within the group. Ubiquitous has embarked on his own solo tour while Godemis is seemingly laying low. During Tech N9ne’s 2017 Independent Grind Tour, there was some type of incident on the bus that resulted in Godemis leaving the tour.
For Gary Dean Smith it’s been a transformative year. The 55-year-old singer-songwriter signed a deal with The Symbols’ vocalist Mer Sal and Grammy winning Jazz musician Jeff Lorber to Manta Ray records – a division of Sony. But one year ago, Smith was bouncing back from a botched surgery that destroyed his vocal chords, leaving him uncertain of his musical future.
The next time you attend a Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra concert, you may want to bring your kazoo. Oh, you don’t have one? That’s OK. The Philharmonic’s gotchu.
On November 9, the orchestra will play, among other classics, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, perhaps the most striking and well-known piece in classical music (yes, you’ve definitely heard it). To celebrate the performance of this masterpiece, the Philharmonic wants the audience to play along using, yes, a kazoo.
You think your life is bad? Let’s consider the life of Gov. Mortimer Leech. It would seem that Leech would make you jealous. Leech is eternal, so his nasty coke and hooker habits don’t harm him. He’s a musician, and he lives the lifestyle, partying with Stevie Wonder in Denver, gigging for hundreds of years, getting to be a snarky smartass in interviews with the press. His band, The Widow’s Bane, is still relatively hip, even if they’ve been around for hundreds of years. The band will release an album of the music they wrote for the production and will perform a proper headlining full-band show at Washington’s in Fort Collins on Halloween night, October 31.
“I was so down-and-out mentally,” says David Wimbish the vocalist and bandleader of The Collection. We spoke over the phone while he was in Asheville, North Carolina safely just outside the path of Hurricane Florence where he was preparing for a five-week tour to support The Collection’s latest album Entropy which perfectly describes where Wimbish was in his life. Entropy is defined as the gradual decline into chaos and Wimbish was feeling it after a rough string of life events, from an almost crippling bike accident in Frisco, Colorado to core members of The Collection doing some real soul-searching about the longevity of the project. Wimbish is excited for Entropy’s recent October 5 release and upcoming tour dates, including a three-date run with Greeley’s Silver & Gold culminating in a combined Moxi Theater appearance Saturday, October 27.
Misty Boyce is no stranger to big stages in Colorado. The New Mexico native has performed at Red Rocks, The Gothic Theater and plays a sold-out show at Denver’s Ogden Theater on October 5th, clocking more performance time than the headliner. How? By not quitting her day job. “If I’ve had a big break it was playing with Sara Bareilles. It was life-changing. That propelled me into a sphere of musicians that elevated everything.”
Speaking with Shatterproof drummer Benji Spoliansky over the phone, the excitement he had looking forward to 2019 was almost palpable. So much was in the works for this Ft. Collins hardcore gypsy alt-rock band but… he couldn’t really talk about it except in cryptic, nondirect affirmations so as to not give it away. “I feel like everything we’ve done this far as a band has led to what’s going to be happening next year,” says Spoliansky.
Legendary smash-comedian Gallagher has suffered a heart attack early this morning, September 11th, 2018.
Postponing a slew of shows including his only scheduled appearance for September at The Moxi Theater in Greeley, Colorado September 16th, the 72-year-old performer is currently in recovery at a Los Angeles hospital. At the of time of this article, his recovery status is unknown.
Greg Holden’s music has always been incredibly timely and inspired. Rallying the emotions of a global fan base, the British born singer-songwriter’s tunes might be more familiar to you than you think. “Half of it boils down to the fact that I’m writing about current events. The way I’ve written has always changed and it really is just whatever has been swirling around in my head. I don’t sit down and say ‘I’m gonna write a song about a Sudanese refugee now’ – I just wait for it to hit me.” Catch him with Butch Walker at The Bluebird Theater this Sunday, September 9th.
A fun-focused consideration of audience perspective permeates the party ethos of The Great Salmon Famine. Releasing the single “The Funky Circus” September 4 via bandwagmag.com and winning our 2018 Battle Of The Bands with a dancey, fan-favorited final round, their energetic live show is an expected highlight at this year’s Block Party in downtown Greeley on Friday, September 21.
As tempting as it would be for legendary comedian, performer Gallagher to cull from his many stand-up comedy shows on Showtime or his fame as one of the more well-known comics of the 1980s because he smashed stuff on stage, Gallagher doesn’t want to rehash those gags or rely on a bit that he’s performed thousands of times. He couldn’t work that way. Gallagher will play on Sunday, September 16 at the Moxi Theater, which, as cool as it is, is not an art center. It’s a concert venue, which means Gallagher can make a mess.
Cleto Cordero grew up in Lubbock, Texas, a dusty city in an area dominated by oil rigs and the badlands. Like most kids who live in a quiet hometown, Cordero believed there wasn’t much to do. But he looks back on that time with fondness: That’s how he grew into the eventual frontman and songwriter for Flatland Cavalry, a Country-Folk and Americana band on the verge of a breakout. The band plays on August 16 at the Moxi Theater.
Eugene Mirman has a voice for comedy. Speaking with him over the phone for this interview with BandWagon Magazine ahead of his performance at Washington’s in Ft. Collins on August 8, it was almost hard to believe the man on the other end was responsible for so many beloved comedy characters (most notably Gene from Bob’s Burgers) but there he was. After a few minutes of back and forth with the comedian, it became clear how this sharp and experienced Massachusetts native has become one of the most well-liked names in the business.
“Most ‘magic’ sucks,” Paul Noffsinger says. In our interview with the magician and member of The Mystery Collection, this stuck out like a joker in a stack of spades. Noffsinger returns to The Moxi Theater on August 23 to perform a show called “Unreal.” It’s a showcase of unexpected, bigger, more involved routines that he can’t do in the smaller venues and private house shows which are his bread-and-butter.
“Straight Shot,” the lead single from DeVotchKa’s forthcoming release This Night Falls Forever, takes both citizens of “Old Denver” and global fans of the pioneering Gypsy-Folk band “right back to the good times – before the paperwork got signed.” After years of soon-to-be-released announcements, the album finally arrives this August 24. “We have been extremely lucky in attracting so many great collaborations,” Nick Urata says. He admits, however, “with the benefit of hindsight, we now see that it took us away from finishing our album. We can only hope that the projects we have done will somehow find a way to influence our latest music.”
One cold February morning in 2015, the two masterminds behind Thievery Corporation—Rob Garza and Eric Hilton—left the frigid air of Washington D.C. and touched down in Kingston, Jamaica. They then made the 60-mile journey to the jungle-hemmed city of Port Antonio, a place the locals call the “real Jamaica,” where they would record their 10th studio album, The Temple Of I & I.
Boulder-based Dynohunter never want to completely fit in with what’s going on around them. Cutting a way for themselves through the festival and EDM scene across the country, they have opened for legends such as Infected Mushroom, Papadosio, and Bonobo. A household name amongst the Colorado festival circuit, each year their name climbs higher and higher on the line-up posters. We spoke with the Dynohunter guys ahead of their gig at ARISE about all the things that make them tick.
“We love that house and techno seem to be catching on with a larger festival and jam audience. Being born out of the jam scene and gravitating towards house and techno ourselves, we have helped others see how, for example, a DJ is able to weave together a 2-hour set and take the audience on a ride in a similar way to a jam band.”
West Coast collective Living Legends — Murs, Eligh, The Grouch, Aesop, Bicasso, Sunspot Jonz, Luckyiam and Scarub — are ready to rock the Eagle Stage at The Arise Music Festival with their classic boom bap, no-frills hip-hop. Over the years, the group have taken a couple of hiatuses, but Aesop confirms their reunion is official (however, it’s unclear if Murs will be at the Arise Festival). “We are definitely back together,” says Aesop. “Our break was for spiritual reasons if you can call it that.”
Queen. When did this obsession start? Is it an obsession? “It’s funny – It’s almost accidental and almost as if the world willed it to be so. We were getting compared to Queen well before there was any conscious effort to emulate or borrow from them. My voice would be compared to Freddie Mercury’ s (which was always a huge compliment) which I see as a natural progression of learning to sing at the piano. When you have to sing over an instrument that big and loud you think about range and volume differently.
Cold War Kids are a force of nature in popular music. With six full-length albums and several chart-topping hits including the song “First” which peaked at number one on the U.S. alternative charts, the label of indie rockers hasn’t applied to them for years. For lead singer Nathan Willett, looking back on his career (and looking forward) the name of the game is being the best versions of themselves they can be.
Almost two decades after their debut, Dayton, Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights continue to live up to their reputation as s one of the seminal bands of the emo-rock genre. Lead vocalist and frontman JT Woodruff says Bad Frequencies (their first release as a band in almost 3 years) “is about going back to some of your favorite times in life and using those memories to push you forward.” It’s a compilation of undoubtedly new yet strikingly familiar emo-rock anthems akin to the ones that kept the class of 2007 company in high school. Catch them live at The Moxi Theater in Greeley on Saturday, June 2nd.
It’s a good time for Brent Cowles and his music. Recently signed to Dine Alone Records alongside industry giants like Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eats World, How To Be OK Alone is set to pop. “We were talking to a few different labels at the time. I guess there are a few super important things you want to consider. First off, does it seem like they care about your music? When you meet someone in person you can tell if they’re being genuine and real. When we met our label rep Jason it felt like the right decision.”
As the hygienically-sound MC celebrates the release of his joint project with producer Amp Live — Gate 13 — Del The Funky Homosapien is making his way across the country in support of the album. People go nuts for Del and he’s one of the few MCs out of the Hiero crew who’s really forged a lucrative career separate from the rest of the guys. From his work with the Gorillaz to his side project Deltron 3030 with Dan The Automator and Kid Koala, artistically he’s always stood out.
I attribute a lot of Trout Steak’s success to stamina. As we built the band, it felt like the steps of growth took much longer than we expected. We play about 120-150 shows each year. While we are on tour we travel in a van a lot, sleep in a different place every night. There are a lot of amazing moments on stage, there are also a lot of moments that cause you to ask yourself why you’re in a touring band. The thing that has held Trout Steak together over the years is communication. We treat each other fairly, we know each other very well and we know when to tread lightly and when to sit down and talk about it. It’s a family and we were friends first. My advice for a budding band would be to start a band with people you admire and trust: your friends!
Walking into Harms Labs in Old Town Square, Fort Collins, one immediately discovers that founder Steve Harms’ passion for music and high-quality speakers drives him every single day.
But Harms is a discovery all his own. The Chicago native, whose father wanted to name him DoNo (as in ‘Do No Harms’), attended Colorado State University in the ‘70s, where he stumbled upon his life’s work. Harms, who started building speakers at 14, was an electrical engineering student at the time. He started to realize speakers were his future when he unexpectedly had to provide a P.A. for a band whose monitors had blown out during a campus party.
We spoke with Alex from Wild Child about their show at the Bluebird Theatre this past Saturday. The Austin based indie-pop band performed a very intimate and lively show to a sold out crowd in Denver. The seven piece group played some of their oldest songs from their first record as well as played their brand new songs from their recently released album Expectations, which came out February 9th of this year. The group’s refreshing songs had everyone dancing and singing while lead vocalist and violinist Kelsey Wilson went into the crowd to perform their song “Pillow Talk” off of their first album that was released in 2011.
As Cut Chemist was making his way to Colorado, the tenured Jurassic 5 turntablist and Los Angeles Hip Hop staple endured an appearance at Austin’s annual SXSW festival, a bout with the flu and trip to Montana. But it’s all par for the course. At this stage in his nearly three-decade career, he’s learned to adapt to whatever life (and tour) throws at him.
I Turned Away, is a Quentin finding themselves in their own noise. What set them apart early on in the northern Colorado music scene was their jazzy approach to modern rock music. A band molded out of the music performance program of the University of Northern Colorado, Quentin formed when guitarist Jack McManaman and drummer Adam Gilsdorf wanted to branch out from the traditional jazz and classical music they were learning in college.
Last Friday, Los Angeles based band The Mowgli’s hit the stage at Globe Hall playing to a sold out crowd. The feel-good alternative rock band played their Denver show on one of the last dates of their “Real Good Life” national headlining tour. Finishing the tour with them was Mainland out of NYC to open their show. The Mowgli’s also celebrated the release of their new single “Kansas City,” which also came out Friday. We chatted with Andy from the band to talk about their upcoming single and what’s next to come for the band.
Alex Cameron and his business partner/saxophonist Roy Malloy know what it means to put in time. From their humble beginnings in Sydney, Australia to their consistently sold out shows around the world, the name of the game has been stay on the grind and cash those checks when you can.
As the lead singer of Antibalas, Amayo is used to juggling the various demands that come along with being a working musician. Founded in 1998 by Martin Perna, the 11-piece outfit was inspired by Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, who wove jazz, funk, Ghanaian/Nigerian highlife, rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms into one cohesive fabric.
Slow Caves evoke a depth of maturity that belies their youthful, blonde, surf-rock appearance. Their freshly squeezed 7-Inch release Poser / Rover stays the chilled-out course for the Denver/Ft. Collins quartet’s consistent brand of loveable, lilting slack-rock.
Poser / Rover sets cruise control smack-dab between Morrissey and Ric Ocasek era Weezer, with both tunes coasting in at a steady 135 bpm. It’s just enough drive to let your hair blow in the breeze – like a Mac Demarco tape was in the deck as you drove down Colfax to Poser / Rover’s release show a few Fridays ago.
Nine albums and several Rolling Stone nods later, Blitzen Trapper — Earley, Erik Menteer, Brian Adrian Koch, Michael Van Pelt, and Marty Marquis — is at the forefront of modern Americana. Serving as a follow-up to albums like 2008’s critically acclaimed Furr and 2015’s All Across This Land, the group’s ninth studio album, Wild and Reckless, is filled with personal anecdotes about a bygone era. From the moment the album opener “Rebel” begins, it immediately draws comparisons to Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, something he hasn’t grown tired of… yet.
Tried and true emo-honesty comes off OFW’s chest in spades, but the truth is, more and more of Northern Colorado is all ears. Shout-y open-throated hooks throughout the EP evoke images from its release show last month at The Bluebird Theater, packed with hoodied disciples bopping and shouting along.
“One thing we tried really hard to convey on this EP was the energy of our music that we display at our live show” OFW says. “A big part of that was incorporating gang vocals into the recording. We always get the audience to sing along when we play live and we wanted to harness the energy that comes with that into a recorded song.”
Maryland-based rapper .idk (formerly Jay IDK or IDK for short) lost his mother in 2016. Out of that tragedy, he’s delivered some of his most personal work to date with his debut album IWasVeryBad. Released in October 2017 on Adult Swim’s imprint, the 12-track project features hip-hop royalty like Del The Funky Homosapien and MF Doom (now DOOM), and veteran beatsmith Swizz Beatz.
Saturday, February 3, the historic Ft. Collins landmark will once again be re-birthed as a 900 capacity music venue simply dubbed: Washington’s. A sold-out crowd will unite that evening for the venue’s inaugural performance by Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
Denver indie-pop group Wildermiss combine rhythmic, harmonic tension with the chart-tested power of hook repetition. Though first looks at synth-wielding front-woman Emma Cole may conjure pop stereotypes, look deeper. Wildermiss are a guitar band in …
When Silver & Gold began five years ago in Greeley, Colorado, reaching the point where they were releasing material and actively touring was a distant dream. At the time, most of the band were students …
Jones County, Georgia musician Demun Jones is almost the last person you’d expect to draw musical inspiration from hardcore gangsta rappers N.W.A — but don’t judge a book by its cover. Jones has been rapping along to songs like “Fuck The Police” and “Straight Outta Compton” since the ‘90s.
People tend to equate Flavor Flav with being the star of VH1’s now-defunct reality show Flavor Of Love. Every week, he’d floss his oversized clock while yelling his signature catchphrase, “Yeahhhhh boyyyeeee” at the top of his lungs. But there’s much more to the New York native. As a member of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy, he’s established himself as one of the best hype men in the music business. In fact, he essentially invented the role. Perhaps surprisingly to some, he’s also a self-taught musician who plays over a dozen instruments.
Earlier this year, the Boulder area based band, Gasoline Lollipops, comprised of Clay Rose on guitar and vocals, Bradley Morse on standup bass, Adam Perry on drums, Donny Ambory on stratocaster, Jeb Bows on fiddle, and vocalist Alexandra Schwan, had their most legendary show to date — playing on the Red Rocks Amphitheatre stage for Film on the Rocks.
For the last year, EDM artist Maddy O’Neal has been hitting the road hard. For this St. Louis native turned Denverite, it’s all been a dream come true as her music has taken her to some of the best venues in the world. With a relaxed, nuanced style of electronic music that is more about melody and rhythm than pushing cliches, it’s no wonder she is becoming one of the most sought-after artists in Colorado. We caught up with O’Neal mid-tour to discuss the industry, her music, and her goals for the new year.
Brady Parks, vocalist and songwriter of The National Parks, was drawn to folk music by the storytelling aspect of the genre. “There is something about telling a whole life story in a three minute song,” he said in a recent interview with BandWagon Magazine. It’s this love for folk music and conveying himself artistically that eventually led him to form The National Parks in 2013 and there was no turning back.
Although Fort Collins is often considered a creative hub of music and art, Hip Hop often gets underrepresented in the overall big picture. There are a few sporadic shows with artists like EPMD, Doomtree’s P.O.S. or Zion I, but for the most part, indie rock acts and folk music is more common in the Front Range-area. The Music District aims to change that with November’s week-long celebration of Hip Hop culture.
I hope you are ready because The Burroughs are back at it! Premiering their new video “Touch The Sky” in anticipation of their new album out January 9th, The Burroughs show why they are so good at what they do.
Its Just Bugs。 are one of the most outrageous bands to ever win the BandWagon Battle of the Bands. Entering as the underdogs, no one saw them coming as they swept the whole thing, winning the cover of this magazine and taking home the $1,000 prize. Essentially a hip-hop band, Its Just Bugs。 mixes elements of hardcore, electronic, and comedy into an honest and insanely original wrapped package. Made up of MCs Patrick Richardson and Alex Koutsoukos, Noel Billups on keys, Tyler Sanderson on drums, and Jack Jordan on bass, Its Just Bugs。 has found themselves resonating with audiences. We spoke with Richardson and Koutsoukos about winning the battle of the bands and the answers weren’t quite what we thought they would be.
With the dreamy, shoegaze Fort Collins band’s newest record on the way, songwriter, frontman and engineer Corey Coffman reflects on conviction in inspiration, friendships, and the writing and engineering process behind new album Anymore.
Canadian Jazz collective BADBADNOTGOOD is currently comprised of four dudes— Matthew Tavares, Chester Hansen, Alexander Sowinski and Leland Whitty. Since emerging in 2010, they’ve inched their way towards notoriety with albums like 2011’s BBNG and the aptly titled BBNG2, which they released in 2012.
The Boulder-based folk/punk/alt-country outfit Gasoline Lollipops launches a successful Kickstarter campaign to complete their new album, Soul Mine, back in July, resulting in their first vinyl release. We quizzed drummer Adam Perry about the creation of Soul Mine, the Kickstarter campaign and releasing their first vinyl record.
For Nate Valdez and Eric Reilly of the two-piece rock band In The Whale, the last seven years has been a wild ride on the slow burn to success. From their humble beginnings in the early days of the Greeley music scene to their grind touring at a national level, In The Whale has evolved both sonically and professionally.
“As long as I don’t start murdering people are robbing banks in the name of Thundercat, I’m good,” Stephen Bruner says regarding his fixation with the ‘80s action figures and cartoon series. “I kind of had a creepier fascination with it when I was younger. It scared my parents a bit. My mom had to be careful and pay attention because if she didn’t, she would turn around and I would seriously be worshiping the toys. I’m sure eating the cat food, staring at the toys and not really playing with them would scare anybody though [laughs].”
Infamous for his tendencies towards dark, twisted rap tales, or what many call “horrorcore,” Sacramento native Brotha Lynch Hung (real name Kevin Mann) has established himself as an inimitable force in the business. Since stepping out with the 24 Deep EP in 1993, he’s continually pumped out solo albums, only taking a hiatus between 2003‘s Lynch by Inch: Suicide Note and 2009’s The Gas Station Mixtape Volume One. Admittedly, he was not exactly sure what he was going to do during that period of his life.
Roughly one year ago, Atmosphere released its most personal album to date – Fishing Blues. MC Sean “Slug” Daley rapped about fatherhood and marriage, or what he calls #DadRap, ad producer Anthony “Ant” Davis got a new creative burst after putting down the Budweiser and cigarettes. In particular, Daley appeared to present a new, more mature side and seemingly shed the once overbearing ego that was often so prevalent on older albums like 2002’s God Loves Ugly.
Life as a stand-up comedian is not easy, just ask Josh Blue. Winner of the fourth season of Last Comic Standing, this Denver resident made a name for himself for his unapologetic candor regarding his cerebral palsy. His national success has made him an important figure in the Denver comedy scene where he’s maintained a strong presence over the years. His success has also attracted the attention of some unsavory characters and recently during his show in St. Paul, Minnesota, he was assaulted in the bathroom of the venue. We got the chance to speak with Blue about the assault and his life as a Denver comic.
Fort Collins, Colorado is a collaborative, non-competitive, startup music city without a big ego. This is a city built for musicians by musicians. For over ten years, musicians laid the groundwork for the next golden era of “musicprenuers“ by constructing an ecosystem built on encouragement, support, and empowerment. This shifts the paradigm and disrupts the music industry systems of the past.
Bassist for the funk band Lettuce and accomplished studio musician Erick “Jesus” Coomes earned a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the mid-90s. Over the past couple of decades, he’s honed his craft to become one of the most prolific bass players out there. His brother, producer Tycoon, has multiple platinum hits and works with some of the most successful people in the industry, including Ron Fair, Diane Warren and Dr. Dre. Coupled with their musician father, who essentially came up with “Jesus music,” it’s truly a family affair.
Rooney is a band you know you’ve heard. The commercial success of songs like “Don’t Let Your Heart Go Missing” and “I’m Shakin” made them a part of the high school experience for many young people growing up in the early and mid-2000s. What many casual listeners don’t know, bandleader Robert Schwartzman is also an accomplished filmmaker. In 2016, he released his directorial debut Dreamland at the Tribeca Film Festival while almost at the same time releasing Washed Away, Rooney’s first full-length album in six years. We spoke with Schwartzman about his incredible life as an artist.
By now, most people have heard of the Barenaked Ladies — the ‘90s alternative band responsible for the Billboard Hot 100 hit “One Week” and songs like “If I Had $1000000.” Established in 1988 by Steven Page and Ed Robertson, the Canadian group never intentionally set out to use its band name as what eventually became a clever marketing tool. It just kind of…happened.
Still riding high from his performance in Baltimore the night before, Twiztid MC Monoxide Child (real name Paul Methric) is admittedly anxious about the second show. The Detroit native was pleasantly surprised by how well the first show of The Psychomania Tour went despite the group adding several new tracks to the set list.
When illustrious ‘80s actor Corey Feldman emerged with his recent musical project, Corey & the Angels, many people were left scratching their heads. They couldn’t seem to understand how the long time thespian’s passion for music could transcend any insecurity he was apparently supposed to feel. After his now infamous Today Show performance video went viral and drew harsh criticism, he retreated from the public eye for a while, which if you know Feldman, is completely understandable. The Los Angeles native, by all accounts, is one of the most congenial “celebrities” out there.
If you were to ask around the city of Greeley who the best guitarist in the area was, the general answer will be Ben Pu. A few will make note of one of the students or faculty of the University of Northern Colorado’s jazz program, but to the regular folks who don’t frequent the UNC jazz recitals, Ben Pu, real name Ben Puchalski, along with his band, Ben Pu & Crew are our shining stars.
Every once in awhile a notable local rapper comes along, but few have blindsided the rap game like Angelo Robert Trevino-Villamil, otherwise known as Anville. In just 4 months he’s opened for multiple notable artists including; Madchild, Krizz Kaliko, Kosha Dillz, OG Maco, and even Devin The Dude. Anville also performed an unofficial set at SXSW this year in Austin, Texas this year. His journey to this point has certainly been a testament to his drive and ambition.
Egomania is defined as “the quality or state of being extremely egocentric,” according to Merriam-Webster. In the music business, ego can often cloud the better judgment of artists and other industry players and, consequently, become a huge turn-off for anyone who crosses their path. Fortunately, for the four South African brothers of the band Kongos — Daniel, Dylan, Jesse and Johnny Kongos — they basically have built-in moral compasses that allow them to check each other if they ever feel their egos are getting out of control. The group’s third studio album, Egomaniac puts the topic front and center, and dives into the curious human condition. Although the brothers often go off on their own to write their individual parts of the music, they usually wind up with one, cohesive idea.
For Devin The Dude, it would seem there’s no better place to perform than in Colorado. The weed-friendly state has more dispensaries popping up than it does Starbucks and welcomes anyone fond of it endless herbal treats. As Devin The Dude (real name Devin Copeland) prepares to descend on Northern Colorado in support of his new album, he’s undoubtedly looking forward to the perks that come with playing our great state. After all, the Houston native has been synonymous with marijuana for years now, however, it’s not necessarily something he sought out to do.
When it comes to colors in the rainbow, yellow is the loudest. And when it comes to personalities in the art and music world, Peelander Yellow (sometimes known on planet Earth as Kengo Hioki) frontman for the action punk band Peelander Z is the same. With his yellow skullet, missing teeth, and ageless embrace of the punk lifestyle, Peelander Yellow’s vibrancy is magnetic and contagious.
Rap titan Tech N9ne (real name Aaron Yates) is sitting in his Star Coach tour bus behind the Slowdown music venue in Omaha, Nebraska, where he’s presumably getting ready to take material from his latest album, The Storm, to the stage. Fully stocked with a bed, shower, toilet and an entertainment center in the back, the bus is a symbol of the undeniable success he’s attained since establishing his Strange Music, Inc. imprint in 1999. Based in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, the label now has a massive roster, including Krizz Kaliko, Rittz, Murs, and Ces Cru. Not everyone, however, is impressed by his rock star status.
20 years ago Sherri DuPree was writing and performing music with her sister Chauntelle out of their family’s coffee shop in Texas. By 2001 the two sisters had recruited their other siblings Stacy and Weston to join the band. Pretty soon Eisley was breaking into the Dallas music scene and beyond signing to Warner Bros. in 2003. Over the years, the DuPree family has toured and collaborated with an impressive list of indie rock bands as Eisley including New Found Glory, Switchfoot, Say Anything, Taking Back Sunday, Rooney, and Mutemath among others. Sherri and her sisters would even lend their voice to the Bright Eyes album Cassadaga in 2006 while in the studio for their second album: Combinations.
Thirty-four-year-old Erin Fein, better known by her alter-ego Psychic Twin, found inspiration for her latest album, Strange Diary, as her marriage began to dissolve. Out of pain, often comes powerful art, and the nine-track album is no exception. While the project is a sometimes brooding and emotional ride through her divorce, it also provided some much needed therapy at a crucial time as she tumbled through her painful, artistic purge.
It’s great to see when Colorado bands ‘make it.’ Touring year-round opening for huge bands, playing big festivals, and shredding for the impressionable youth. However, it’s not always easy for those bands to continue playing music because of how tough the music business really is. The reality is that until you reach a certain level, things are well… financially underwhelming. Touring is also extremely dangerous from all the time spent driving, and longevity is nothing but an uphill battle while most lucky and successful metal bands only become self-sufficient… if they stay together.
That’s a quote from me. I said that. I said it to myself last night after a drunk guy shattered his beer glass on the floor while I was mid joke. I said it again when 20 percent of the crowd (one lady) fell asleep and started snoring. I said it a third time, I don’t know why, in the bathroom when a guy walked in on me pooping after my set. And I’ll say it again right now: stand up comedy takes guts.
Mike Bigga may be more recognized by the name Killer Mike, but underneath the menacing moniker is a Southern-bred heart of gold. Bigga is a former Morehouse College student who values the lessons instilled in him by his grandmother, adores his children, loves his wife, but at the same time can murder a microphone with his politically charged and brutally honest lyrics.
For the guys in the tropical indie-rock outfit The Hip Abduction, life could be worse. Based out of St. Petersburg, Florida, according to bassist Chris Powers when they’re not on tour or recording new music, they’re spending time on the beach. A band since 2007, it wasn’t until 2013 that the band began to experience a breakout when they released their self-titled album to a warm reception in the reggae market.
The Wailers are eternally synonymous with the word ‘reggae.’ Its music was sparked by a revolutionary time when social unrest was bubbling to the surface, but it’s soundtrack was fresh and innovative. Along with the late reggae icon Bob Marley, The Wailers successfully attained International recognition and continue to spread its positive messages built on the foundation of Rastafarianism around the world despite Marley’s untimely death in 1980.
Mark and Matt Hill of The Floozies are two brothers on a funk mission. Since their first show as The Floozies in 2008, The Hill brothers have taken that mission around the world, sharing their brand of EDM everywhere from house parties to sold out festivals alongside so many industry greats. Recently, we spoke with The Floozies about the things that make their world go around.
For Denver-based MC Kalyn Heffernan, life has never been easy. Born with brittle bone disease she’s had to endure countless surgeries in a lifetime of judgment due to her, what she calls “CripLife” (short for crippled life), but that’s who she is- witty, funny and bursting at the seams with personality, especially when she grabs the mic. The results are nothing short of explosive.
American Blackout, the punk band out of Ft. Collins is here to have a good time. In today’s heavily charged political climate, it’s easy to associate their name with a more protest oriented style of punk but the truth of the matter is these guys came to party.
Rhymesayers Entertainment artist and Minneapolis native Brother Ali has been spitting out albums since 2000’s Rites of Passage. It was a brave introduction to the life of an albino rapper and offered some insight into his heavily politically minded views. In 2003, he released Shadows on the Sun and followed up with 2007’s The Undisputed Truth, 2009’s Us, and 2012’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, delivering content-driven, independent hip-hop. There’s a new business model in the rap game and Brother Ali is vocal about his stance on where things are going. He took a few minutes out of his schedule to talk about his stint with Rock The Bells and the independent music business model. Brother Ali plays The Aggie on December 15.
Formed in Los Angeles in 2013, blossoming indie rock group Badflower is comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Josh Katz, lead guitarist Joey Morrow, drummer/percussionist Anthony Sonetti, and bassist Alex Espiritu. After playing gigs around West Hollywood and a bevy of popular venues in L.A., the group started gaining more traction with its single “Animal” after playing the 2013 SXSW Music Festival, where iHeartRadio Austin decided to throw the single in its rotation. In November 2013, the band’s acoustic rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” played on The Voice of Germany and since then, Badflower’s notoriety has exponentially increased. Signed to Republic Records/Universal Music Group, Badflower has just begun to plant its roots. Katz took a few moments to talk the band’s name, what it felt like to put out their first album and why “no mediocrity” is allowed.
Folk singer/songwriter Danielle Anderson has been playing as Danielle Ate The Sandwich since she initially started putting out YouTube videos of her work. Since 2009, she’s held successful Kickstarter campaigns for her albums and tours and has even had her work featured on the soundtrack to the HBO Documentary Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Wilkinson.
Bryce Merritt’s latest release, Chroma: I, effortlessly blends pop with elements of funk and R&B. He pulls his influences from artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to John Mayer, but it was actually country music that first got him into writing songs. “I grew up in Oklahoma and just based on what my parents listened to, growing up, the only thing that I knew existed, musically, was country music. They controlled the [radio] dial in the car,” recalls Merritt. He knew he always wanted to sing, so naturally he got his start writing country songs. “But then I got my car whenever I started driving in high school and I had control over the radio and I started discovering so much more music. The first thing I really got into was Motown,” he says, realizing that was the music that he wanted to make.
Born in South Carolina, Toro Y Moi (born Chaz Bundick) is in the middle of a career that is taking him all over the world, which could explain his rather eclectic musical style. From 2010’s Causers of This to 2013’s phenomenal Anything In Return, he’s found a way to incorporate everything from ’70 style funk and disco to downtempo grooves and ‘80s R&B.
Memphis, Tennessee based band Southern Avenue, has a co-sign that most bands dream of. They recently have signed to the legendary music label Stax Records which has been home to Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ Elvis Presley. Their self-titled debut album is set to be released February 17th, 2017 on Concord/Stax Records and the profile of the band is quickly rising. Members include Ori Naftaly, Tierinii Jackson, Tikyra ‘TK’ Jackson, and Daniel McKee. Speaking to Bandwagon Magazine Ori spoke on the process behind the new album, his musical upbringing, and the story behind the formation of SA.
The beginning piano chords on The Summer Set’s latest album Stories for Monday tell the story of optimism and promise. But, it was only last year that The Summer Set nearly broke up ending their almost decade long career. “There was a lot of pressure for our fourth album and we always want to grow artistically,” says lead singer Brian Logan Dales. “We want to keep moving forward and never be satisfied.” The band consisting of Dales, Josh Montgomery, John Gomez, Stephen Gomez, and Jess Bowen were at a crossroads. After touring and playing for many years the gravity of having to follow up their successful previous album Legendary was evident.
Growing up in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Strange Music rapper Rittz (real name Jonathan McCollum) was exposed to a wide variety of music, which really influenced his current musical style. His father made a living playing music for the first nine years of his life and inspired him to walk the same path.
When local hip-hop artist Taylor White (aka Tay Don Die) walked into the Wells Fargo Bank on 23rd avenue and 16th street in Greeley, Colorado on November 20, 2015 he had reached rock bottom. He approached the teller with a note that demanded $10,000 and after that there was no going back. Panicked, White left before receiving any money. “I came out with nothing so I now I’m tripping out. I was like, ‘fuck, I have to do this.’ So I went down to the Guarantee Bank and did that one and got the cash,” says White in a recent interview with the BandWagon. White made off with about $2,000.
Every week, Andrew W.K. pens a popular advice column for the Village Voice in New York City that offers poignant nuggets of wisdom on a variety of life topics. From questions like, “Does heaven exist?” to “How do I make my friend put bros before hoes?,” the topics swing from the wildly absurd to mundane, seemingly common knowledge type of inquiries. Andrew W.K., however, finds a way to not only intelligently answer each one, but also does it in such a way that it feels like the reader is getting a lesson in philosophy. The Michigan-born musician, motivational speaker, and producer is essentially taking his column on the road with his Power of Partying Speaking Tour.
When Denver musician Danny Stills was surfing the internet one day, he stumbled across an 888, which is a tape made for a machine manufactured in the 1960s used to record the Beatles and other timeless acts. Stills brought the suggestion to Aaron Rothe and Danny Cooper, who also gravitated towards the idea of naming their electro-pop project, 888.
As one can imagine, growing up in the vast nothingness of Sioux Falls, South Dakota doesn’t exactly provide for an exciting upbringing or much of a musical landscape, but The Spill Canvas vocalist Nick Thomas …
The United States is currently in a state of emergency. Fresh on the heels of the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the massacre of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest, the Prophets of Rage supergroup could not have surfaced at a better time. Coupled with an intense political race between presumptive nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Prophets of Rage are urging people to get off the sidelines.
In June 2003, when 16-year-old Marissa Mathy-Zvaifler was raped and murdered backstage by the venue’s janitor at an Atmosphere show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sean “Slug” Daley’s perspective on life changed forever. Since that dark, dark day, the Rhymesayers Entertainment co-founder realized it wasn’t just about him anymore. He had a greater purpose, one he’s been chasing for the past 13 years.
As the eldest son of reggae icon Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley had impossibly large shoes to fill. After his father’s untimely death in 1981, the young Marley was left to continue his father’s legacy, one that began in the early ‘60s. Through his music, Bob Marley called for political and social reform, spoke out against injustices and soothed the souls of countless fans. It was a daunting job, but the seven time Grammy Award winner has managed to slide into the role with ease.
It’s safe to say The Epilogues have put in their time in the Greeley scene. Ten of the last twelve years they have been a band they have regularly made the trip from their home in Denver to play for the local scenesters. While they have rode the rollercoaster that is the professional music business with both extreme highs and extreme lows, Greeley has been inconsistent with its appreciation of the band. Having personally been to probably several dozen Epilogues shows, I have seen a hundred people turn out on some nights and five people turn out on others. Part of it is the somewhat spoiled nature of Greeley concert goers who have the best in Colorado music presented to them and it still not being good enough to buy a ticket, and The Epilogues not having a sound that resonates with a secondary market like Greeley where there is less experience with live (and different) music and more experience peering through the pop filters of the internet.
Before he was in The King Khan & BBQ Show, Mark Sultan played drums for the Canadian punk outfit Powersquat, who were noted for particularly violent live shows. After Powersquat disbanded, Sultan took over vocal duties for The Spaceshits, who also had a reputation for violent shows. They were so crazy in fact, The Spaceshits were eventually blacklisted from multiple venues in Montreal. Needless to say, Sultan has quite the history.
The best part of Greeley-based visual artist Wesley Sam-Bruce’s work is it’s clear he goes all the way with an idea. When he conceptualizes a piece, no matter how intense or bizarre the idea is, he makes it happen. Recently, the BandWagon got the chance to speak with Sam-Bruce about his work after his return from San Diego, California where he recently wrapped up a massive project with the New Children’s Museum. Listening to Sam-Bruce describe his projects, for the most part his ideas seem weird and far-fetched. He paints a very large picture for very large ideas and approaches his projects only limited by his own imagination. The grandioseness of it could easily be brushed off by sceptics… But then he delivers. Not only does he deliver, but he makes a living doing it.
When sisters Jen and Jessie Clavin were little, the Los Angeles natives would play around with their father’s guitars, often daydreaming about starting a band one day. As they discovered groups like Siouxee and the Banshees, The Slits and the Velvet Underground, they realized it was actually a possibility. Right before graduating from high school, their dreams finally surfaced into reality.
Before Jr. Jr. was unmistakably on the musical radar, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Zott was still living in grandmother’s basement, where the duo actually recorded 2010’s reinterpretation of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” off their first EP, Horsepower.
Rodney Barnes, ceramist and President of Madison & Main Gallery, has never met Colorado Springs native Mike Rust, but said that he has come to know Mike through stories and riding his High Wheeler, also known as a Penny Farthing.
Flying Lotus (real name Steve Ellison) came from a musical background. As the great-nephew of the late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane and saxophonist John Coltrane, it quite literally was ingrained in his DNA. Music, however, wasn’t his first love.
Comprised of founder/vocalist Michael Glabicki, bassist Patrick Norman, percussionist Liz Berlin, percussionist Preach Freedom, and guitarist Dirk Miller, the current incarnation of Rusted Root explore and execute almost every type of musical genre. This fact alone is what makes them so unique. African, Latin American, Native American, and other various forms of world music are injected into their material, which are sounds Glabicki sought out in the beginning stages of the band.
After ten years in New York, Bright Silence singer Kevin Johnston returned home to Colorado to make the biggest leap of his music career yet. Fortunately for music listeners, he came bearing gifts – namely the winsome nine-song LP Time Is New, set to release on July 22nd.
Only a handful of indie hip-hop artists have experienced the meteoric rise to fame Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have. From relative obscurity to the cover of Rolling Stone, the Seattle-based duo is deeply submerged in the spotlight. It’s all moving incredibly fast, but they are apparently enjoying the roller coaster ride. The pair’s latest album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, chronicles his growth as a husband and father while juggling the insanity that comes along with his new celebrity status.
Growing up in the Isle of Man, 29-year-old blues musician Davy Knowles learned to play guitar by listening to records he’d find in his father’s collection, which included artists like Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher, Oasis and Eric Clapton. At 19, after sharpening his skills in the local music circuit, he opted to split for America, where he toured with his band, Back Door Slam.
Bringing a little taste of Mississippi country blues to the Greeley Blues Jam, Luther and Cody Dickinson are the two brothers behind North Mississippi Allstars, celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Both are the sons of Memphis institution Jim Dickinson, who, along with fronting Mud Boy and the Neutrons, also worked along Aretha Franklin, Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan as a pianist and producer. So Cody and Luther have an enviable background. They describe their sound as “blues-infused rock and roll.”
Blues music is not a homogenous genre. The various sub-genres of blues music are very much shaped by the location they come from. Zydeco, for instance, hails from Louisiana, shaped by French Creole speakers and taking its inspiration from blues, R&B and indigenous music from both Louisiana Creoles and Native Americans. And Grammy Award Winner Chubby Carrier is bringing some Zydeco to the Greeley Blues Jam.
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Charlie Musselwhite was exposed to music early on in his life. His father played guitar and harmonica, his mother played piano and one of his relatives was a bonafide one-man band. When he was 3-years-old, Musselwhite moved to Memphis. At the time, Memphis was experiencing the period when rockabilly, western swing, and electric blues and other forms of African-American music forged together to birth rock and roll.
By 2006, Matisyahu (real name Matthew Miller) had experienced a meteoric rise to fame. The live version of “King Without a Crown” had broken into the Modern Rock Top 10 and he was named the Top Reggae Artist by Billboard that same year. With his roots firmly planted in his Jewish heritage, the fact he was a Hasidic reggae artist became his whole persona. Not surprisingly, when he shaved off his infamous beard in 2011, a lot of people were shocked.
Everyone finds comedy in life. For Patrick Richardson, comedy is found in the act of living–and the funny shit that comes with it. Already having a prominent presence in both hip-hop and short films, he has been making a name for himself within the comedy scene of Northern Colorado. Recently we sat down with Patrick and asked him a few questions.
Har Mar, real name Sean Tillman, met The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas at a house party, a momentous moment in the making since leaving high school. As soon as he graduated, the Owatonna, Minnesota native moved to St. Paul, where he really started to hone his unique musical talent, which often included stripped down performances in not much more than his underwear, sometimes even less.
Over the course of the last 17 years, Explosions in the Sky have perfected its self-described “cathartic mini-symphonies.” The Austin-based group— guitarists Munaf Rayani, Mark Smith, bassist Michael James and drummer Chris Hrasky— create intricate, guitar driven ballads full of wonder. All four members are equally as vital and each experimental instrumental they create is as elaborate as the one before. The group’s latest album, The Wilderness, is out now, prompting the band to head out on a (mostly) sold-out international tour, which hits Denver May 10 and 11. Hrasky took a break from sound check to talk about the decision to be all instrumental, living in Austin and doing the music for Friday Night Lights.
In late February, NPR affiliate KUNC (91.5 FM) went to an all news format, seemingly leaving music fans on the front range in the wind. However, it came to light in March that KUNC had launched a new music-only station on 105.5 FM, dubbed The Colorado Sound.
It’s been three years since New York-bred emcee Aesop Rock (real name Ian Bavitz) has released a solo album, an excruciatingly long wait for those enthralled with his signature brand of independent hip-hop. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t keeping us entertained with one of his many other projects—Hail Mary Mallon with Rob Sonic, The Uncluded with Kimya Dawson and Lice with Homeboy Sandman—but he had to wait until the timing was right to unleash another one into the world. That all changed April 29, when Bavitz released The Impossible Kid, his seventh solo album.
If you’re lucky enough to have heard the band from North London known as Wolf Alice you know that they are a band of many genres. The uniqueness of both their music and the members themselves will compliment the uniqueness of the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater at the upcoming show on May 2nd with The 1975.
In 1987, Masta Ace (real name Duval Clear) was back in his hometown of Brownsville, Brooklyn for Christmas break. He had been studying at the University of Rhode Island, where he was pursuing a degree in marketing. During that time, he got a phone call that would change the trajectory of his entire life. He didn’t know it at the time, but his decision to head down to the United Skate of America skating rink for a talent show was a pivotal one.
There’s not a stoner alive who doesn’t know the song “I Got Five On It” by the Oakland-based duo, Luniz. Released in 1995 on their seminal album, Operation Stakola, it took Yukmouth and Numskull from every day street hustlers to platinum selling artists seemingly overnight.
Bastard Suns are hitting the road partly in support of legendary ska band The English Beat and make a stop in Greeley Tuesday, April 19. Hiers took some time in between soundchecks to talk Powell Peralta, comparisons to Sublime and why he’s a “bastard sun.”
The UNC Greeley Jazz Festival is shaking things up once again this April. The 46th annual will be held April 21st-23rd, 2016. This event, according to the UNC festival website, “brings together internationally recognized artists, jazz lovers, award-winning clinicians, and over 250 college, high school, and middle school big bands, combos, and jazz vocal groups from across the country.”
Sacred Anatomy, the debut album from The Panoramic, is one of the most intense metal albums Northern Colorado’s music scene has ever seen. With bone-crushing grooves, rigorous guitar leads, a driving rhythm section, and soul splitting vocals with brutality to match, the LP is as ambitious as the men who sought out to create it.
Skipdogg tha Souja is a man of the Greeley hip hop scene. Few people have dedicated themselves to the development of local talent like Skipdogg, and for the last 10 years Skipdogg built First Platoon Studios into the go-to place for local hip hop.
The Neighbourhood – Cry Baby They presumably made stores sell out of ‘those little high-waisted shorts’ in 2013 with ‘Sweater Weather.’ Now, The Neighbourhood is back with their next west coast dream-hip hop song …
So you’ve written a handful of songs and your post reggae swing fusion band is ready for the next level, how do you proceed? As a witness to the lower levels of band development I have compiled a basic list of steps to get that post reggae swing fusion sound into the ears of possibly dozens of potential fans.
Willis is an award-winning, Greeley-based science fiction author responsible for 1992’s Doomsday Book. She grew up with “girls’ books” such as Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, but eventually discovered the work of sci-fi author Robert Heinlein and fell in love with science fiction. Soon, she had devoured all the science fiction she could find at her library, including The Year’s Best Short Story Collections.
Miami-based rap collective ¡Mayday! never imagined a superstar like Lil’ Wayne would gravitate towards their music. But sure enough, while Lil’ Wayne was shooting a video for his rock-inspired album, Rebirth, the director suggested Mayday to appear in a video. Naturally, emcees Bernz and Wreckonize, and band members Gianni Cash, LT Hopkins, Plex Luthor, and NonMS jumped at the opportunity.
String Cheese Incident and Nahko and Medicine for the People at Red Rocks 07/26/15 BandWagon Magazine Mark Rudolph A beautiful sunny day at the spiritual Red Rocks Amphitheater was the perfect way to …
Believe it or not, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s first record contract with late Eazy E’s Ruthless Records resulted from a single phone call. In 1993, original members Lazyie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Bizzie Bone and Wish Bone hopped on a Greyhound in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio headed for California. The self-described “broke millionaires” had no idea how they were going to infiltrate the rap scene, but they knew they just needed the right person to put them on. It just so happened to be Eazy E, former member of the groundbreaking rap collective, N.W.A.
As we move into a new era of Colorado festivals the focus has been shifting as the tastes of Colorado music fans has been shifting as well. While the formula of big names + camping + various visual gimmicks = ticket sales has more or less stayed the same from festival to festival, ARISE has tapped into something missing from the others; cleanliness.
Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado hosted it’s third annual Arise Music Festival. The three day camping extravaganza featured artists such as Earth Guardians, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes, Mike Love, The Shook Twins, Elephant Revival, Caustik, Polish Ambassador, Project Aspect, Rising Appalachia and many others.
Hailing from the island of Oahu, Hawaii Mike Love was a powerful force at the ARISE music festival this weekend. The islander preformed top tracks from his two albums and a few from his upcoming release entitled Love Will Find A Way. This 35-year-old family man is well grounded in his life and career sharing the stage with artist such as Nahko and Medicine For the People, Jack Johnson and the John Butler Trio. His music settles between the genres of conscious roots rock reggae and his presence at Arise was befitting for a festival in which the motto was “More than a festival, it’s a movement.”
Aunque apenas había regresado de su viaje a Guadalajara, el rapero Sonorense, MC Magic compartió detalles sobre el comienzo de su carrera musical, trabajos actuales, y de su gira nacional, Love & Kush Tour al lado de Baby Bash. Esta gira comenzó el 23 de julio en Salinas, CA. El rapero aclaró el nombre de su gira, que comenzó el 23 de julio en Salinas, CA, declarándose “entusiasta de canciones de amor” y su compañero el que promueve el kush. Nos damos cuenta que MC es promotor del canto romántico con los trabajos originales que lo hicieron arrancar en su profesión como cantautor.
The most obvious observation about The War On Drugs is they sound like old Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. However, lead singer and founding member Adam Granduciel would rather have you focus on their progression as a band. Formed in Philadelphia in 2005 with fellow artist Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs put out their first album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. After a few lineup changes, they released their most recent album, Lost in the Dream, in 2014. Despite its name, The War on Drugs, in fact, does not have a war on drugs.
Fort Collins, Colorado native Derek Smith, better known as Pretty Lights, started making beats in high school, but eventually found himself at the forefront of the electronic music scene. His first album, 2006’s Taking Up Your Precious Time, 2008’s Passing Up the City Skies and 2009’s Passing by Behind Your Eyes revealed Smith’s ability to seamlessly sew together a blanket of sonic textures, but 2013’s A Color Map of the Sun uncovered his aptitude for actually composing every single musical note of each track. The 34-year-old producer is once again on tour and ascends on the Red Rocks stage August 8 and 9. He took some time to discuss the severity of drug use at EDM shows, the recording process and his outlandish height.
“Everything from the groove that you’re in, to the words that you say, to the melodies you sing is suppose to come from right here,” Johnny Burroughs says using both open faced hands to clutch between his gut and lower rib cage. “If it’s not coming from here, than it’s not soul music.”
Kyle Hollingsworth is famously known as the keyboardist for The String Cheese Incident and his own “SCide project,” The Kyle Hollingsworth Band. The band was formed in 2007, while SCI took a step back and Hollingsworth fronted his own solo career. He’s been playing music for over 20 years professionally with a Jazz Piano degree from Towson State and along with his free-spirited dedication to music, he is a grand proprietor of beer. The upcoming Kyle Brew Fest in Denver on July 23rd is the official SCI pre-party as well as a chance for fans to indulge in craft beer, enjoy an exclusive performance by the KHB and support the Conscious Alliance- art that feeds. BandWagon caught up with this down to earth creative at his birthday celebration earlier this year to talk skills in music and hops.
Anyone who has seen Macfadden on the turntables knows he will be just fine. Last year’s Renegades of Rhythm Tour with DJ Shadow featured albums pulled strictly from Afrika Bambaataa’s collection, which is currently archived at Cornell University. The performance was nothing short of mind-blowing. From the Shaft in Africa soundtrack and Isaac Hayes to Chicago Gangsters and even Jurassic 5 (which Macfadden couldn’t believe Bambaataa had), the magical duo took the audience on a trip through some of the best eras of soul, funk, disco, hip-hop and more.
Before Nirvana, there were the Melvins. Lead singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne has been at the helm since its 1983 inception. The story is not only did the Melvins inspire Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s first album, Bleach, but apparently Osborne is responsible for their very existence. Born in Montesano, Washington, Osborne grew up 10 miles away from Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen. It was only a matter of time before their strong love of music and desire to escape their hometowns put them in each other’s paths.
“EOTO” in Japanese means “good sound” which perfectly suits electronic duo, EOTO. With extensive histories as professional drummers, it seemed only natural that members Michael Travis and Jason Hann would evolve to another level in their musical careers. After all, they had mastered their percussion instruments and almost needed to embark on a new journey. During their days in the progressive bluegrass band, String Cheese Incident, Travis and Hann discovered a shared love of electronic music during late night jam sessions. EOTO was formed in 2006 and they’ve been going at it ever since. The 100 percent improvised sets Hann and Travis perform night after night are created without a script or prerecorded loops, lending their material a completely original feel. BandWagon Magazine caught up with Hann to discuss how to easily classify EOTO’s sound and their integral role in the dub-step boom.
It wasn’t always this way though. In the Whale got their start after Valdez recorded an acoustic EP titled Songs About You and drummer Eric Riley’s previous project dissolved. In the early days at AF Ray’s (Greeley’s only rock venue at the time) I personally witnessed them clear the room night after night as they searched for what would become their signature sound.
Ganadores de la Batalla de las Bandas de Colorado del Norte y Los Campeonatos de la Feria Estatal de Colorado, Poquito Maz comparte su emocionante música tejana con sus fans y comunidad. Además de ser completamente originarios de Greeley, desde su establecimiento en 1989, han encabezado en la escena de música tejana aquí como banda tejana más larga permanecida en nuestro sector. En una entrevista con los miembros declararon que tienen grabados dos CDs de su música vieja y tres “un-released” álbumes con su sonido más reciente.
Cardo Camp is located in El Paso, Texas at a place called Sonic Ranch Recording Studio, the world’s largest residential recording facility. Sonic Ranch is on a 2300-acre farm that provides anything a musician could ever want for their recording session.
“Clearly there’s something happening here that is worthwhile, so let’s talk about why we like Greeley,” says Mothershed and thus emerged a production about just that–Greeley.
Repeated in a quote, this sounds unintentionally cheesy and was far from the original vision for the show Oh Greeley! An All American Musical. It seeded from an eye opening visit to Greeley’s historical museum and playful musical banter about Prohibition. Under the company and troupe of Cheaply Intellectual Theater, Mothershed, Eric Long and Shane White compiled their historical interests and gave birth to a hilariously entertaining and witty production about the town.
Red Rocks was packed elbow to elbow for Sunday’s show as Ingrid Michaelson and Ben Folds preformed with the Colorado Symphony and Folds Choir that featured students and alumni of the University of Northern Colorado.
In the early 2000’s, Suzi Horn had numerous jobs that brought her close to music: “I had worked in music venues all my life – behind the bar, in the coat room, on the door – but never played in a band. Then I met Tobin.” By Tobin, she means Tobin Prinz, the other half of the uncategorizable experimental rock outfit, Prinzhorn Dance School. The two began tooling around with the spare instruments Prinz had scattered about his flat, specifically the drum and bass. As Horn puts it; “We didn’t set out to start a band – and now it’s ten years on.”
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino has gone through some noticeable changes since the duo’s 2010 debut, Crazy For You. Aside from her smaller appearance (the result of lots of exercise), her confidence has blossomed and she’s much more self-assured on stage. Whether that’s the result of the dissolution of her long-term relationship with Wavves’ Nathan Williams or simply getting older, on Best Coast’s third studio album, California Nights, it’s clear she’s a new woman. Album opener “Feeling Ok” and “Wasted Time” seem to touch on finding strength after a break-up and reflecting on what went wrong. While her lyrics are nowhere near complicated, it’s the simplicity of them that make them so relatable. Everyone’s experienced these feelings at one point yet she’s not afraid to talk about them. While the ‘50s/‘60s surf-pop influence is still heavily intact, the album shows more maturity than past efforts. It’s not all about bong hits and the love for her cat. As Best Coast prepares to kick off another national tour, Cosentino opens up about body image issues, her not-so-secret love for Hillary Duff and California Nights.
This years Annual Post Widespread Panic Power Jam at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom is set to feature two members of the band this weekend during the three day Widespread Panic show at Red Rocks. Even an entire …
Born Teren Delvon Jones, Del didn’t stumble into it by accident. As Ice Cube’s cousin, he had plenty of influences surrounding him during those early years. Yet Jones was always a bit of an anomaly and decidedly went a different route than his West Coast gangster rapping contemporaries. When he was just 18-years-old he released his 1991 debut, I Wish My Brother George Was Here. He took a more tongue-in-cheek approach to hip-hop, sampled a lot of Parliament and it was obvious he was a having a lot of fun with it. That album produced the single “Mistadobalina,” now a cult favorite. A couple of years later, he came out with 1993’s No Need For Alarm, which also introduced the entire Hieroglyphics crew. It showcased a style that was unparalleled to what was coming out of the Bay at that time.
The Providence, Rhode Island-native, former spoken word champion, seasoned emcee and founder of Strange Famous Records has built a comfortable career for himself over the last two decades, but he would rather stay under the radar. Francis has never been one to seek out fame, it kind of found him. His incredible writing talent was undeniable. Coupled with a strong stage presence, it was only a matter of time before he attracted attention. Curiously, it’s the attention he tends to want to avoid. As a self-proclaimed introvert, he’s much more relaxed inside the fours walls of his home than he his outside in the world. However, that all goes out the window when he takes his first step on stage; he explodes with confidence.
There are several issues going on with the whole Smash Mouth incident that occurred over the weekend. Granted, they are one of the last bands on Earth that should have been booked, well, anywhere, but lead singer Steve Harwell should have been able to deliver his god awful music in peace.
Red Rocks Amphitheater was alive this weekend as Colin Hay opened up the Barenaked Ladies show who’s acoustic set consisted of mostly classics from his days back with Men at Work. He ended his set with a beautiful cover of the Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun.” Violent Femmes took the stage for a 45 minute set that included the first new song that the band has performed in 15 years.
Elvin Bishop has had a long and prolific career as a blues guitarist. A teenager in Chicago during the ‘60s, he had the privilege of both witnessing and taking an active role in blues in it’s heyday. Under the tutlage of several blues greats such as Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and John Lee Hooker he honed his skills in the best way possible before launching into an incredible career that included a song that peaked at #3 on the US Billboards in 1975 with the song “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” which featured Mickey Thomas and Donny Baldwin of Jefferson Starship (and for you younger kids was on the Gardians of the Galaxy soundtrack with last summer). Gearing up for the Greeley Blues Jam, we had a chance to sit down with Bishop to talk about the blues and his amazing career.
If there is one thing you can say about the music industry it’s there are a lot of people really working their asses off. From the countless promoters, managers, photographers, press outlets, sound guys, door guys, bartenders, and not to mention all the artists putting everything out there every night just to scrape out a living, everything is a grind to have a seat at the table. But then there are those people who walk in, step on stage and are just so talented that everything fits perfectly together before our eyes.
New York City native Justice Allah Cadet, better known as J-Live, has a laundry list of collaborations, albums and EPs he’s done since emerging in the mid-90s. He’s worked with everyone from Handsome Boy Modeling School and DJ Rob Swift to DJ Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 and Oddisse. Prince Paul, who had his hands in De La Soul, Stetsasonic, Gravediggaz and, of course, Handsome Boy Modeling School, really took J-Live under his wing. Being from Long Island, Prince Paul was easily accessible to J-Live at an early age. Their first collaboration was on Rawkus Records’ now infamous compilation album, Soundbombing II. From there, they did J-Live’s album 2001’s The Best Part and formed a tight-knit friendship along the way. Eventually, J-Live popped up on a Handsome Boy Modeling School album and ended up contributing vocals to one of the strongest tracks on the record, “The Truth.”
If it’s not already evident, maintaining a band presidency for forty-nine years is a pretty impressive feat, especially when the band is a 16 member jazz ensemble that came about during a racially tense America in the ‘60s. The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has welcomed several top named professionals in the industry and undergone a succession of directors, but they’ve consistently produced lively, intricate jazz performances throughout their existence. They currently post up in New York City performing the historically reputable Village Vanguard, where they’ve been a weekly headline for decades. The VJO have successively preserved the initiative of big band music against all popularity odds allowing their talent to transcend listeners back and forth through time.
From Kansas City, Missouri to the farthest borders of Indonesia, renowned jazz soul singer Deborah Brown has been establishing footholds in contemporary jazz for over thirty years. Her discography expands 26 albums and as jazz is inevitably a list of collaborations, Brown’s book includes legends such as pianist Monty Alexander, trombonist Slide Hampton, double-bassist Red Mitchell and trumpeter Clark Terry among others. All big names aside, Brown has made her own path in jazz and although her music isn’t as prevalent on American radio, with good reason she doesn’t mind that her talent has a greater influence on the international jazz community.
Growing up in San Diego, California made it easy to fall in love with reggae. The sound of the ocean, the inevitable “chill” vibe and countless music festivals around southern California painted the perfect picture for reggae music to thrive. Brothers Steven Rene and Tony-Ray Jacobo were immersed in the music early on. Consequently, it comes as no surprise they are the co-founders of the San Diego-based reggae band, Tribal Seeds. Founded in 2005, it was the Jacobo brothers’ way of finding a spiritual connection through reggae music. Much like their predecessors, which include Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, among others, reggae gives them a sense of peace unparalleled by other musical genres.
Chris Potter is no stranger to hard work and the nature of the beast that is the professional jazz world. With over fifteen album releases and 150 guest spots on records of some of the most prolific musicians in the industry (a list that includes Steeley Dan for all you non-jazz heads out there) Chris Potter sits in the top echelon of saxophonists in an ever changing and modernizing international scene.
This month, The BandWagon sat down with Connie Hong, lead singer of Denver’s very own Ivory Circle. During our discussion, we talked about the release of the band’s triple EP series. They are titled Equilateral, Isosceles, and Scalene, respectively. In the first two chapters, Hong and her cohorts have crafted a thrumming, vibrant collection of dream-pop tunes. Equilateral is out now, and Isosceles hits shelves April 14th. Scalene is currently slated for a 2016 release. During our talk, we discuss Hong’s creative goals for this project, and how recent life events found their way into the the backbone of its content.
As a fan of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and other “riff rock bands,” as he puts it, Barnes is not afraid to go big. Evidence of that comes within two seconds of the opening track, “Bassem Sabry.” With its heavy guitar riff, it’s more reminiscent of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath than an Of Montreal song, but as soon as his vocals kick in, it goes into a disco beat. This is typical of Barnes. He loves to experiment with all types of music and often incorporates several genres into one track. Often described as a “modern-day Bowie,” Barnes doesn’t shy away from this comparison at all. It’s clearly a compliment.
If music is a universal language, Jerry “J Boog” Afemata has mastered that language through reggae. Born in Long Beach, California and raised in Compton as the youngest of eight, J Boog worked to make his sound a collaboration of family influence and personal freedom. With the help of reggae artist Fiji in 2005, J Boog produced his debut album Hear Me Roar. Joining up with Wash House Music Inc, he worked with reggae family legend Ambassador Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage, island producer and artist Don Corelone, and international reggae star Yami Bolo to put out his Billboard charts topper Backyard Boogie in 2011. He won Best New Entertainer at 2012’s International Reggae and Music Awards. He continues to produce singles that make their way to the top charts for reggae and put out his latest EP Live Up in 2014.
Producer Blockhead (real name Tony Simon) is currently on another leg of his solo tour in support of his latest album, Bells & Whistles, which was released in November 2014. His last effort, 2012’s Interludes After Midnight, offers more instrumental brilliance and puts the cherry on top of an already impressive catalog. From 2004’s Music By Cavelight (his Ninja Tunes debut) to 2009’s The Music Scene, literally every track that bares Simon’s touch is flawless. Growing up in Manhattan, he was enamored with hip-hop since the moment he heard it. He met emcee Aesop Rock while attending Boston University in 1994 and it was on from there. Although Simon prefers rap music over instrumental music, he has a deep appreciation for all genres
Anyone who has followed Doomtree’s career knows emcee P.O.S (real name Stefon Alexander) was having severe health issues that caused him to lay low for the better part of three years. The Minneapolis native and Rhymesayers signee had just released 2012’s We Don’t Even Live Here when he was forced to cancel a major national tour due to health concerns. Thankfully, that ordeal is over and he is now the proud owner of two new kidneys. Naturally, he’s back to killing it. The Doomtree crew, comprised of Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Sims, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, Dessa, and P.O.S., dropped their latest studio album, All Hands, January 27, their first full-length since 2011’s No Kings.
In Oakland, California, if you mention the name Zion I, most likely people know who you’re talking about. Go further inland and there’s less of a chance people have ever heard of them. However, emcee Zumbi and producer Amp Live are on a mission to change that. They’ve come a long way since their 1997 debut, subsequently spitting out albums on a regular basis for over 15 years. With Amp Live’s futuristic production and Zumbi’s introspective, often metaphysical lyrical content, Zion I stands out amongst the contemporary rappers of today. Zumbi is more likely to rap about yoga before he raps about “da club.” As we continue to sail through the worst economy the world has seen in decades, it’s ironic that mainstream rappers brag about how much money they have, something Zumbi approaches with common sens
Imagine Dragons, the quartet from sin-city capital Las Vegas, Nevada released Smoke and Mirrors this weekend. Their second studio album stands to fill some large shoes as their debut album Night Visions went platinum winning the band’s number one single “Radioactive” a Grammy for Best Rock Performance. Smoke and Mirrors track “I Bet My Life” has been looping through radio networks since last fall, giving fans a taste of the upcoming album, yet their single is no indication as to the overall sound of the album.
As the baritone voice of Jurassic 5 (J5), Chali 2na has been lending monumental contributions to hip-hop culture since he emerged from Los Angeles’ Good Life Cafe scene in the early ‘90s. Originally part of the Unity Committee (with Cut Chemist and Mark 7even), Chali 2na formed J5 after merging with The Rebels of Rhythm (with Akil and Soup) in 1993. After J5’s self-titled debut dropped in 1998, the group followed up with 2000’s critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Quality Control. On the track “Contribution,” Chali 2na spits: “The most that you can spend on any child is time.” It’s a philosophy he took to heart and carried into his family dynamic. Growing up on the Southside of Chicago, the now 43-year-old artist was lacking a strong male role model in his life.
They are six distinct characters that don’t initially seem to match one another. A juggler, a poet, a bilinguist, a mechanical mind, a beat-boxer, and a Rubik’s cube master, are all musicians with a singular vision: to play good music. And that vision won this funkadelic reggae band the 2014 BandWagon Magazine Battle of the Bands.
The Ugly Organ would prove to be the group’s breakout record, earning accolades from Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. There are several tracks on the album where the use of the cello is abundantly clear and contributes a powerful element to already electric songs. Thankfully, as Cursive gets ready to reissue The Ugly Organ and head out on tour in support of the record, the group has decided to reintroduce the cello at each show.
In 2013, the Lips’ released its 16th studio album, The Terror, which completely abandons any formulaic methods of songwriting and delivers something refreshingly unique. It may not be as commercially accessible as previous efforts, but it’s another descriptive chapter in The Flaming Lips’ story. They followed up with 2014’s With A Little Help From My Fwends and also released an EP called Peace Sword. Once again on a massive nationwide tour, which makes three stops in Colorado, Drozd took some time out of his day to talk about Wayne’s “celebrity status” and drug addiction.
Aesop Rock, real name Ian Bavitz, is one of those rare hip-hop artists who has developed such a unique rhyming style, he’s basically impossible to replicate. The second you hear his voice, you immediately know it’s him. While his rhymes often appear nonsensical and so cryptic it’s difficult to decipher any meaning, once you dig deeper you can discover a lot about the man behind the moniker. For example, he craves solitude, has no interest in “fame” and is just as down to earth as any one of us. Those qualities alone are the most refreshing about him. In an industry supersaturated with massive egos, especially in the hip-hop world, humility is hard to find. Aesop Rock is like a breath of fresh air. However, all coyness goes out the window when he grabs the mic and jumps on stage.
Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, Brian Rosenworsel, Luke Reynolds, and Joe Pisapia make up Guster, a Tufts University-birthed pop outfit, which began when Miller, Gardner, and Rosenworsel met Freshman year. Evermotion is their long awaited 7th studio album, and it’s just the dose of cheer that I needed, full of atmospheric charm, and stellar melodies.
Talking to Pittsburgh native Mac Miller is just what you’d expect. He’s a smart ass, laughs a lot and appears not to take his career too seriously, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mac Miller (real name Malcolm James McCormick) is self-made and essentially a workaholic. He knew from an early age he wanted to make music for a living and he made it happen. As a child, there was never any doubt Miller was musically gifted. At the age of six, he taught himself how to play piano, drums, bass and guitar. His older brother was getting into hip-hop in the mid-’90s and soon little Mac was pilfering his albums.
In true DFA fashion, the album bristles with vintage synthesizers and dreamy arpeggios, and the length of the songs allows for the grooves to have a settling effect that fits nicely into their aesthetic. With vocalist Nancy Whang taking more of a lead on the album, the songs exude class and talent. Recently, we had a chance to catch up with The Juan MacClean after his DJ set at Bar Standard in Denver.
BandWagon: Do you ever see yourself as a Top 40 musician at some point? Do you ever see yourself shooting for that 3 to 5 minute pop song that’s accessible to everyone?
The Juan MacClean: Yeah I used to think that kind of thing, that one day, I don’t know if you would even call it “selling out,” but as an experiment see if it is possible to do that kind of thing. But the reality of it is, it’s not really possible. At that level everything is so manufactured. I could sign to a major label and that kind of stuff but it would be burning my career. I would lose all my real fans and it would be too weird for the rest of the world.
“I’ve seen a lot of personal friends lives be damaged, destroyed or ended through making the wrong decisions with drug use,” Lorin Ashton says. “I’ve also seen some amazing transformations happen from very limited and responsible experimentation. I want to be ultra careful about not condoning anything without expressing how important it is to be safe and aware.”
Ashton, better known by his stage moniker Bassnectar, is often at the helm of massive EDM parties and has undoubtedly seen all sorts of debauchery in the crowd. However, at age 36, he’s learned valuable lessons over the years— not only as a musician, but also simply as a human being.
Mothershed has put on theater productions in Greeley, mostly at the Atlas Theater on 16th Street for the last few years under the title of Cheaply Intellectual Theater, a platform for skewering (and informing the audience about) topics such as The Bible, American History and Classic Literature. On November 19, Mothershed and his production partners, Shane White and Eric Long, took over The Moxi and put on their most ambitious show yet, Oh Greeley: An All American Musical.
It was a big surprise to hear Grandmaster Dee wouldn’t be joining the other two members of Whodini for the Winter Wonderland Jam on December 6 in Denver. After all, as DJ for the ‘80s soulful hip-hop group Whodini, Grandmaster Dee carved out a permanent place for himself in hip-hop history with the celebrated group. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the trio’s second album, Escape, was certified platinum and delivered eight solid tracks, including hit singles “Five Minutes of Funk,” “Freaks Come Out at Night” and “Friends.”
Final Round is Saturday November 6th. The bands will compete and score points based off technique, style, stage prescence etc. But most importantly the crowd vote. A good band entertains their audience. Be a part of the 2014 Battle of the Bands vote on Saturday at the Moxi. Read up on the three finalist and check them out live.
Jager’s Got Talent was a competition consisting of three rounds that were judged and voted on to find the winner. Copycat edition refers to the theme performers were given each week to “copy” in order to fulfill the requirement (i.e. ‘90s or Boybands etc).
The second J Mascis got on the phone, everything I had read about him was verified to be true. He was a man of few words, spoke with a bit of irreverence in his voice and was very matter-of-fact, but in the best way possible. As front man of Dinosaur Jr. he’s earned the right to be a little nonchalant about these things. My introduction to Dinosaur Jr. began as a teenager when I heard 1991’s Green Mind. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, indie rock or “alternative rock” as it was called back then, was just beginning to inch its way into the Midwest from the “grunge capital” of Seattle and various West Coast music hubs. Although the group originated in Massachusetts, Dinosaur Jr.’s sophomore album, 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me had been released on SST Records, a fierce independent label based in Long Beach, California and home to Black Flag, Descendents and Sonic Youth. It was kind of the “it” label at the time. Mascis began carving out a niche for himself.
When Immortal Technique speaks, you listen. There’s no way to get around this. You sit in your chair and you listen because every word he says carries weight. Sometimes it’s almost too heavy and you want him to crack a smile, but he stays steadfast in what he’s saying. There’s no wavering from his agenda—an agenda that started in 2001 when he released his first album, Revolutionary Vol. 1 with his own money and pushed it down the throats of anyone who would listen. And again, they listened. Immortal Technique, born Felipe Andres Coronel, emigrated from Peru to Harlem in 1980. As a teenager, he often found himself in hot water with authorities, which led to a yearlong prison stint during college. After he was paroled, he took up political science at Baruch College in New York City and at the same time polished up his rapping skills. All of his hard work paid off and soon he was rubbing shoulders with pioneers of the genre, including Chuck D of Public Enemy, KRS One and Mos Def. Armed with messages of a political nature, his lyrics revolve around controversial issues surrounding global politics, although he believes the word ‘revolution’ is used too loosely these days.
Afroman could quite possibly be the best spokesperson for the legalization of marijuana. His first single, 2000’s “Because I Got High” became the pothead anthem of the new millennium and sent Afroman spinning out of control into a media frenzy. The South Central Los Angeles native never imagined that song would carry him so far, but it did. Now we’re here. Afroman, real name Joseph Foreman, released a remix of “Because I Got High” in mid-October and the internet exploded. With over one million hits in two days, it almost seemed like Afroman never left, although he’s been flying under the radar for the past few years. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t making music. Since 2000’s Because I Got High album, he’s put out over 25 various albums, singles and EPs. He never stops creating. At 40-years-old, he is experiencing a resurgence of popularity, but there’s a newfound maturity to Afroman’s style.
Mention Tenacious D and people’s faces light up. The superstar duo comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass has delivered their signature brand of comedy-infused rock since 1994. At the time, they only had five original songs, including “Tribute,” “Kyle Quit,” “Krishna,” “Melissa,” and “History.” Since then, of course, they’ve catapulted to international recognition and appear to be unstoppable. Black has released several lucrative films while Gass has made a number of movie appearances, as well. At the same time, they’ve balanced an incredible musical career revolving around “the D.” Gass also started The Kyle Gass Band [KGB] in 2011 alongside fellow D guitarist John Konesky, guitarist/vocalist Mike Bray, drummer Tim Spier, and bassist Jason Keene. Talking to Gass is what one would expect- a non-stop laugh riot. That’s right. Riot. It’s impossible to have a serious conversation with a guy like Gass. And why would you want to? He knows he was put on Earth to make people laugh and that’s what he does. In anticipation of KGB’s appearance in Greeley this month, we got him on the phone as he was driving to the Shrine Expo Hall in L.A. to prepare for his Festival Supreme event, an annual extravaganza he puts on with Black.
Could it be? Could Grieves, the Rhymesayers emcee, be leaving hip-hop for neo-soul? Not so fast. Although the Seattle-based artist’s most recent album 2014’s Winter & the Wolves offers more soulful singing than previous efforts, it’s still very much a hip-hop album. After all, Grieves (real name Benjamin Laub) has been “professionally” rapping since his brief stint with Black Clover Records in 2007.
The moment vocalist Yukimi Nagano drops her first note on the 2010 Gorillaz track “Empire Ants,” she promptly steals the show from Damon Albarn. As the 32-year-old front woman of Little Dragon, she’s used to being in the spotlight by now. Since 2009’s Machine Dreams, the Swedish four-piece (sometimes five) has been steadily on the rise, especially in the United States. Their third album, 2011’s Ritual Union, appeared to cement their arrival, reaching number 78 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It’s their most successful album to date.
“Everyone can have fun being a DJ,” DJ Qbert says. “But it still takes a lot more to be a scratch musician.”
The San Francisco native has carved out his own spot on the list of legendary turntablists, beginning with his involvement in FM20 with Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boy fame) and DJ Apollo in the early ‘90s.
First off, Riot Fest was awesome. There is no other way to say it, after it’s all said and done and we the critics have our say about what went well and what didn’t and ask the ultimate festival question of if it was worth the ticket price, Riot Fest was still awesome. To see this particular line up whether you grew up listening to them or not was something everyone there knew would only happen a few times in our lives. To see The Flaming Lips then literally turn around and see Primus begin made me wonder, where the hell am I?
Aside from the mesmerizing instrumental electronic music Slow Magic makes, there’s a mysticism surrounding the young producer that pulls you in even more. The “young” part is even a guess because nobody really knows for sure who the mastermind behind Slow Magic is, his real name or what he looks like. Armed with a multi-colored imaginary animal mask, Slow Magic takes to the stage like the untamed beast he represents. He pounds on the drums like he’s harnessing his primal instincts and delivers an infectious sound so sweet, it’s impossible not to love. More performance art than anything, Slow Magic reveals why he hides his identity.
Clutch, an original 90s rock band played the Byers General Store Stage at Riot Fest this weekend and an interview with drummer Jean-Paul Gaster shed some light on the process of building upon their legacy as successful musicians.
Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst always seems to be in high demand, at least in terms of interviews. He seldom consents to one and if he does, it’s for the typical major publications like Rolling Stone or Spin. It’s a rare day when he agrees to one on a smaller scale. However, Oberst grew up in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve seen him around since he was a wide-eyed 14-year-old at Creighton Prep, an all-boys Jesuit high school. Even then, Oberst had his eye on playing music, not so much his studies.
Rhymesayers Entertainment artist Brother Ali has been spitting out albums since emerging out of Minneapolis with 2000’s Rites of Passage. It was a brave introduction to the life of an albino rapper and a little insight into his heavily politically minded views. 2003’s Shadows on the Sun, 2007’s The Undisputed Truth, 2009’s Us, and 2012’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color continued Brother Ali’s path of delivering content-driven, independent hip-hop.
Every dream 79-year-old Rock ‘n Roll idol Jimmy Angel ever had growing up was to be a New York Yankee, not a legendary Rock star. But when his baseball career with a Yankees farm team was cut short by an injury, the pressure to support his mother who he humbly referred to as Mommy couldn’t be solved by a simple day job.
As we all know, hip-hop has a revolving door of rappers. With contemporary artists being chewed up and spit out faster than you can say Lil Jon, the probability of a career spanning multiple decades is highly doubtful. Notable East Coast emcees such as KRS-One, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are among the few that can claim years of longevity. Lyrics Born (real name Tom Shimura), however, has been at it since the early ‘90s and is still going strong with his latest release, As U Were. Growing up in Berkley, Shimura had a hard time getting his hands on good hip-hop. Fortunately, he crossed paths with future label mates, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Lateef the Truthspeaker (Latyrx) while attending school at UC-Davis where the idea for Quannum Projects was born. In addition to putting out their own records, the three entrepreneurs started putting out material by artists like DJ Shadow, Lifesavas and Pigeon John under the Quannum moniker. As Lyrics Born, Shimura has reveled in plenty of success with his funk and soul-infused hip-hop, something he learned as a college radio DJ in California.
Considering the music Aaron Holstein makes, you’d never guess the man behind VibeSquaD is a trained multi-instrumentalist with a background in jazz. The talented Colorado-based music producer emits sounds that can make your ears bleed with its pounding bass, swirling synthesizers and relentless energy—just don’t call it dubstep. His infusions of funk, hip-hop and other polyrhythmic textures into his electronic concoctions defy categorization. Combined with his eccentric stage persona, Holstein is in a world of his own.
When Big Boi walked out on to the Red Rocks Amphitheater stage in 2010 for a Rock the Bells performance, Andre 3000 was noticeably absent. Nonetheless, he performed many of Outkast’s singles, including “Elevators (Me and You),” “ATLians” and “Rosa Parks.” However, it just wasn’t’ the same. This year, when Big Boi and Andre 3000 perform at Denver’s Mad Decent Block Party on August 22, things will be a little different.
Sha Na Na, the doo-wop band who began their successful career in the 1969 performance of Woodstock, is touring through Northern Colorado for the 1st Annual Rocky Mountain Rock n’ Roll Sing-Along Festival 45 years after their magical beginning.
The band started as an a cappella group at Columbia University. In the summer of ‘69 they decided to give the competitive musical scene of New York a shot. It was only their 8th musical gig when they impressed their peers at a downtown nightclub and landed the biggest live performance of their career.
Last August, BandWagon Magazine made the voyage to the ARISE music festival, located in Loveland, Colorado. It’s first year as a festival it had a few growing pains, but ultimately it provided the perfect opportunity for Northern Colorado to see what the festi scene is all about.
Among the many faces of country music, Martina McBride leads in an industry of widely known female voices. With a long standing career in the music world her ability to create songs full of meaning is something to be recognized and has been noted professionally in her awards as Female Vocalist of the Year and specifically Country Music’s Top Female Vocalist. With 11 studio albums this singer has plenty to say and a range of sound that evolves through the decades. More than 2/3rds of her albums have received gold certifications with over 14 million records sold in the US. McBride’s firm position in the history of country music continues with a mutual foundation between her the dedicated fans that inspire her, something that doesn’t seem to be fading away.
Quite possibly the most ostentatious music duo to come out of the country music scene in decades, John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin first hit it big in 2004 with their debut album Horse of a Different Color; the song the general public knows them for was the album’s number two single, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”
Clearly the atypical rapper, he deals in fallen angels and atheism, which alone sets him worlds apart from most other MCs. He has a style that absolutely murders the competition; speedy raps that combine wicked, tricky wordplay with melodic hooks, an on stage presence that involves tribal face paint, a straight jacket and blood red hair, making him one of the most unique figures in the game. With a career spanning over two decades, including fourteen studio albums and over two million independent sales, he’s no slacker either. After becoming increasingly frustrated with major labels, Tech launched his own imprint, Strange Music, Inc. in 1999 with his manager.
Fake Four, Inc., a small independent record label in New Haven, Connecticut, has far surpassed the expectations of its founders, brothers Ceschi and David Ramos. Established in 2008, it was born out of a mutual passion for music and grown by the love and support of its fans. As Fake Four was gathering momentum, putting out album after album and touring the world, Ceschi Ramos found himself in a terrible predicament, one even Hollywood couldn’t make up.
It’s June again and that means one thing for the people of Greeley: it’s time for the Blues Jam. After ten years, the two-day event that turns quiet downtown Greeley into a Mecca for celebrating the blues continues to keep the blues alive and kicking in Northern Colorado. Local businesses see record sales, bands play anywhere a stage will fit, and Blues Jam feeds the flame to a weekly summer event called Go-Cup where the city pretty much gets to party outside. This year, the good people behind the Blues Jam have topped themselves with an incredible line up from across the blues genre. Sitting in the highly coveted headlining spot is none other than the legendary Tab Benoit.
By the sound of the new single, “Bitter,” on Atmosphere’s eighth official studio album, Southsiders, you’d never guess it almost didn’t make the record. In fact, it started off as a gag between Minneapolis-natives Sean Daley (Slug) and DJ/producer Anthony Davis (Ant).
Recently, a viral video surfaced of a construction worker boarding a crowded subway train. He starts beat boxing, using a cardboard coffee cup to amplify the sounds coming out of his mouth. After some bewildered stares another passenger starts singing. And then another. And another.
In the early ‘90s, Seattle native Sir Mix-a-Lot proudly proclaimed: “I like big butts and I cannot lie” on 1992’s Mack Daddy, his third studio album and first for Def American. However, little do people know the two albums that preceded Mack Daddy contained some of his best material. From “Square Dance Rap” and “Swap Meat Louie” to “Posse on Broadway” and “Beepers,” there’s more to Mix-a-Lot than just big butts.
“420,” pronounced “four-twenty,” has established itself quite definitively in the pop culture zeitgeist as a blanket term for all things marijuana, spawning everything from straight-faced legitimacy to raucous Internet memes. The exact origins of the term 420 are heavily contested, with theories ranging from connections to Bob Marley and Grateful Dead to the number being shared with the quantity of ingredients in cannabis and the code for marijuana consumption. All are untrue. Instead, 420 originated with high school students in San Rafael, California in 1971, who decided on a time—4:20 pm, though probably not on April 20th—to meet at a statue and smoke together. It stuck as a broader allusion to marijuana in general, and now enjoys its status as a flagship term for the drug.
For those interested in dance and local filmmaking, The Kress Cinema and Lounge will be premiering a short film on Saturday, April 12th titled Light in the Dark. The short, directed by Greeley resident Casey McConnell, was inspired by a choreographed dance by Wendy Klein of the Colorado Dance Collective, which McConnell expanded upon.
With a string of solid EPs and some serious chops, her rap is intelligent (a degree in psychology and sociology from Stanford helps with that), frankly speaking to the things that make the average hip hop fan normal. She doesn’t boast about street cred or display an image of a rich kid roughing it, she simply tells her story. Oh and she’s fast.
MTV has called him, “a quirky, playful guy with exotically hot looks,” saying, “His charisma and sweet demeanor are magnetic.” Ryan Malaty, who calls Greeley home now promotes himself and the Television show Are You the One around the state to earn a wage.
C.S. Lewis has long been known for his ability to tell a creative engaging story while also delving into serious theological and religious matters. His works create platform for discussing such topics in a manner that is compelling and appealing to a large audience. Such is the case for The Screwtape Letters, a piece comprised of correspondence from a senior demon to a new recruit, providing a picture of the temptation to engage in harmful or destructive activities or lifestyles.
No, Kamtin Mohager, the brains and the brawn behind The Chain Gang of 1974 is not a DJ. Although he may do a DJ set from time to time, the synth heavy dance rock sound that has dominated their music since their conception is electro in nature, the sounds you hear are band driven.
For Greeley-area fans, the duo’s show March 29th at the University of Northern Colorado’s Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion stands to be memorable for them. It’s the only stop on Love And Theft’s tour this year that will be in Colorado. Liles said that he and Gunderson love the state, except for possibly the horse at DIA.
Recently there has been an influx of hip-hop artists outspoken about their battles with addiction and subsequent recovery. Macklemore got real on the track “Otherside,” while Eligh of The Living Legends devoted an entire album to his recovery process in 2010’s Grey Crow.
In a time when popular rock is filled with indie and folk acts, and hard rock with the same generic rock that’s been on the radio for years, Disguise the Silence fills a gap that few bands fit into. Their energetic live performance at the Battle of the Bands got the crowd moshing and jumping and demonstrated the bands connection to their songs.
If you have been visiting the Cranford Cove Tea Tavern over on 10th Street in January, you’ve probably noticed some of the artwork of Rick Destree up on the walls. For 32-year-old Destree, this is his third art showing in Greeley, but that doesn’t mean he’s an amateur.
If there were a single word to summarize The Burroughs as a band it would be family. Yes, three of the members are brothers but for this modern soul outfit, the name Burroughs reaches beyond the bloodline.
It was unseasonably cold for an Alabama Winter. The temperatures were record setting; black ice caused by the Tennessee River was developing on the O’Neil Bridge each day. A peculiar something was developing in Muscle Shoals, Alabama that year; something different. This wasn’t the ‘70s when Muscle Shoals was “The Hit Recording Capital of the World.” This was 2005, the last hit song written by anyone in the Shoals area was “I Swear” by Gary Baker and performed by both country music legend John Michael Montgomery and pop- group All 4 One in the ‘90s. The Pussycat Dolls were climbing the Top-40 charts, and the terms EDM and tweet had yet to sink their claws in the English vocabulary. BoomBox had just gotten the master recording of Visions of Backbeat back from their mastering engineer, and I didn’t know I would get lucky enough to be in the room when the box of CDs came in. I didn’t know I would be listening to the record as much as I did when I first put the disk in my car stereo. I didn’t know I would get lucky enough to be so close to the beginning of something bigger than I was.
Carl graduated from Lesley University with his masters in Psychology and just recently moved to Greeley after working at a behavioral health institute for many years. He also has worked at North Range Behavioral Health here in northern Colorado. Being a psychologist it is no surprise that he has the eye for catching individuals in his photography at just the right emotional moment.
Johnny Burroughs, self-proclaimed preacher’s kid, grew up playing church music and listening primarily to soul music, doo wop, and the Raisins. Immersing himself in these genres, Johnny honed his musical talents by forming different bands over the years, building a strong local following.
Leghounds’ music is influenced by old-school funk, soul, and R&B adorned with a certain class and charm that makes it appealing to music fans young and old. They are able to command any crowd, and endless moving is inevitable during their live performances.
Silver and Gold, a new Greeley band comprised of current and prior UNC music students, will be bringing their refreshing performance experience to this year’s Block Party, opening the Moxi afterparty for the Epilogues and The Photo Atlas.
Gregory Alan Isakov’s songs dance around the edge of modern folk music and he plays by an old set of rules. Not only was Weatherman the product of abandoning a previous album, but it was also made on analogue recording equipment from a cabin in Nederland, Colorado. His sounds as rich as they are simple, rooted in the patchwork of the hills of that state.
Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Quixotic has become a force to be recognized in modern art. Infusing multimedia, electro, and ballet, their performances at ARISE gave audiences a break from what many would consider a traditional act.
On Thursday afternoon the BandWagon had the chance to sit down with Ryan Jalbert, and Jans Ingber from The Motet. The band members were very excited to be at ARISE and were having a great time being apart of the festival. The fun, easygoing band members answered a few questions about their music and history as a band.
On Friday August 17th, Michal Menert brought one of the largest crowds out of all of the artists at the first annual Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado. A couple hours before the show, the BandWagon had the opportunity to sit down with Michal Menert and talk about his music and his story of becoming a successful artist.
While attendance was not quite where it could have been, it was still a success overall and there is little doubt about a year two. Over the next week, the BandWagon will be sharing our experiences at the festival meeting people, taking pictures, interviewing bands, and exploring all the things that make festivals the experience we all love having.
Garden City is an anomaly to many people who have lived in the Greeley. It’s own municipality .1 mile in size, population of 250-350 (depending on who you ask), and with no real central industry, Garden City has struggled through the years to maintain itself after it’s heyday as the only place alcohol could be sold in the area until 1969. But with the legalization of marijuana on the horizon for the state of Colorado, and Garden City being one of the only places in the region to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, the potential to reclaim some of those glory days is there.
In an era music saturated in synthetic sounds its always pleasure to find artists who can successfully incorporate classical sounds with new technology. Axs, released in 2012 includes songs like “Maya” and “Synergist” that would win the approval of even the most devoted bass head.
Listening to Random Rab is a unique experience while sitting at my favorite coffee shop barely being able to keep still. His variations of spatial harmonies weave in and out of glitchy over tones, and smooth trance progressions all strung together with a heavy drum line.
For the last decade the Motet has asked only one favor from fans, “Dance your ass off!” This summer alone they have blasted some of the most beautiful concert venues in the state of Colorado with their soulful grooves and funky beats.
The transcendent spirit of the ‘60s is alive and in ascent thanks to the upcoming ARISE Music Festival. The event takes place at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch starting on August 14th and runs all the way through the 18th.
Although they are certainly established and thriving, Fierce Bad Rabbit is looking at a new chapter in their music. As they begin to start families, they are considering their future as a band. Chris Anderson is relocating to Boston later this month, on the tail end of a two-week midwestern tour. For many bands, the frontman moving away could be a death sentence, but Fierce Bad Rabbit doesn’t see it that way.
A musician’s status is usually measured by the number of record sales, number one singles, and sold-out shows they achieve, but the indie duo Capital Cities has found success without even releasing a full-length album. Their first single, “Safe and Sound,” has been in heavy rotation on alternative and pop radio since its release and has continually grown in popularity.
Huff n’ Keen played day one of FoCoMX at Washington’s Bar on the downstairs stage. Although the sound for the stage was below average, the artists still managed to put on a great show with their catchy beats and fine-tuned lyrics. After the set I was able to talk to Dustin and Patrick from the group about their music and future goals, as well as their views on the Colorado hip-Hop scene.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich filled up Everyday Joe’s to the point that standing room in the back of the audience was shoulder to shoulder. The young and extremely gifted acoustic folk band was fantastic to watch and full of good vibes. Danielle, Denis, and Chris have been playing as a trio for three years and their great chemistry shows both on and off the stage.
The Wendy Woo Band played to a packed house, bringing everyone into their Mile High spirit and the audience really responded to their energy. The band is composed of six members, including two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, keyboardist and a multi-instrumentalist (violin/guitar).
MISCOMUNICADO brings dance, psychedelic, rock, and sweet guitar licks together to melt faces. Mine was liquidated, for sure. I remember looking over to the guy next to me and saying, “This right here is baby making music!” He said, “What?” I just smiled and nodded and he did the same, both of us dancing like headless chickens.
Rachel and the Kings looked like they were bigger than Kings of Leon and Florence and the Machine combined on that stage. You could see the passion on their faces and hear it in their songs. I think Rachel and I made eye contact once.
All of a sudden we, the audience, were surrounded by furries who were all dancing madly to the leader of the animal gang, David Jacoby, donned in a fuzzy cat outfit of his own and playing the drums, singing insanity into the microphone.
Newcomers Mike Ring and the Connection haven’t been in the Greeley music scene for long, but you’d never know it. Blending folk and electronic pop, the band explodes with a percussive mix of invigorating songs. And while the band has a well-polished studio sound, their passion for live music is what drives them.
Now is the time. You have always wanted to start a band. You already play music: you rap, jam in the garage with your friends, program beats in your bedroom, and you probably play in your church band. Now is the time to give it a form and let the world see. On April 25th at the 9th Street Plaza in downtown Greeley, The Crew Presents will launch Greeley’s first all-ages dedicated music venue, capable of bringing to town the acts the good people of northern Colorado deserve.
Neil Hagerty, of The Howling Hex (and formerly of Royal Trux and Pussy Galore), has just released his newest album, ironically titled The Best of The Howling Hex. The songs sound like a single insane polka number from a circus staffed by schizophrenics and sociopaths. It’s fun, frightening, and a bit off-putting, but certainly never boring. And it’s obvious Hagerty knows what he’s doing.
Artists performed on Snowball’s three stages constantly throughout the weekend. A large torch launched eight-foot flames into the sky at the center of the festival grounds. A big air snowboard/ski ramp featured professional riders showing off their skills.
We’ll have coverage of some of the best acts of Snowball early next week on our blog, but this month in our print issue we featured some of our favorite performers from this year’s event. Here are the BandWagon staff’s picks for the hidden gems of the 2013 Snowball Music Festival.
Macklemore’s career is proof that you can work hard enough to earn your place in the spotlight. Ben Haggerty, the rapper known most commonly as Macklemore, found his love for music and began writing rap in his teens.
The Larimer Lounge was perfect dark and intimiate venue to house Buke & Gase on February 11th. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez came to the Denver venue armed with their signature handmade instruments and an impressive, yet modest set of pedals.
Starfucker (STRFKR) released their latest album, Miracle Mile, yesterday (Feb. 19), which is now available in the usual formats as well as an über-hip cassette tape. (Remember those? They’re like 8-tracks but newer and less hip.) To celebrate and promote the launch, the members of the band created avatars to DJ their tracks live on Turntable.fm.
Jon Gooch, famous in the electronic dance music scene as Feed Me, performed at the Ogden Theater on Tuesday, February 12th. The 29-year-old DJ, originally from England, conducted his show “Feed Me with Teeth” for all his dedicated Colorado fans. Even though the concert was on a Tuesday night the line to get in the Ogden wrapped around the block.
Trichome’s story is one of reinvention. It is the story of a band that found their sound and made that sound work, but when they reached a crucial moment when it was time for something new, they knew what they needed to do. Where many bands that reach this point flounder in trying to maintain an original concept, Trichome has continued to move into new and interesting places.
There’s only one thing more disgusting than the music industry and that is the night when the entire train wreck comes together to stroke itself off, congratulating itself for exceeding previous mediocrity and breaking the will of even more Americans: The Grammys.
Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez make up the inventive duo from New York, Buke & Gase. After being discovered by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, they were signed to Brassland Records in 2007. Although relatively new to the music scene, Buke & Gase have already made their mark in an industry where standing out is becoming increasingly difficult.
One local Greeley rapper’s music has finally started to take off. ROOKE5 released Colossal Chronicles on January 22nd and received lots of positive feedback on his project. The 24 year-old rapper started performing when he was 13 growing up in northern Colorado. The local hip-hop artist has been working hard on Colossal Chronicles for the past three years and has finally completed his well constructed project. The album is the first for the rapper Luke Whitrock, better known as ROOKE5.
In a time when electronic dance music rules the airwaves, The Photo Atlas is refreshing proof that post-punk is still breathing and can serve the same demographic. Their unique style of danceable hardcore music has rocked bodies throughout Colorado and across the country. The band’s first full-length release, No, Not Me, Never, introduced these alternative rockers to the nation. Its fantastic follow-up, Stuck In A Honeytrap, is set to drop this month.
2012 was an interesting, often surprising year for film. Especially surprising, given 2011’s output. As we get older, the enthusiasm we had for what we loved in our youth begins to fade, be it sports, …
The Strokes released a new single today called “One Way Trigger.” Upon first listen you might ask, “Who in the left-hell is singing?!” It would seem Julian Casablancas is once again attempting to diverge from his usual drunken mumbling and occasional cracked yelping with an interesting falsetto. The sound overall is closer related to Casablancas’ solo album, “Phrazes For The Young,” with more keyboard-sounding guitar riffs. The guitar at some points almost sounds like steel drums on a Nintendo.
Greeley’s art community has been growing rapidly over the past few years, guided by a few local art enthusiasts and supported by the large art department at the University of Northern Colorado. Places like The Clay Center of Northern Colorado, located in downtown Greeley, give people interested in learning and becoming a part of an art community a chance to do so without having to get a four-year degree to learn a skill.
Denver-based singer/songwriter Katey Laurel has offered BandWagon readers a chance to download her EP From Here for free. The 8-track folk pop record is available free here exclusively to the first 200 downloaders, so don’t wait.
[slideshow gallery_id=”1″] Bloc Party played a killer show at the Ogden Theater in Denver on Tuesday (January 22nd) to a severely stoned audience. (I’ve never seen and smelled that much cannabis at a concert before. …
Hodi’s Half Note, bar and music venue in Fort Collins, is under new management and despite recent rumors is not up for sale or going under. The venue has been one of the few sources of exposure for smaller bands on the rise for many years in Fort Collins and this tradition is being revamped.
The Squid Kids have been around the block a few times when it comes to playing shows in Greeley. Moving up a spot from fourth to third from last year’s Battle of the Bands, these Greeley natives continue to elevate themselves musically with each show.
Grits & Gravy stand apart from other hip-hop acts. The duo of Neal Titus, providing the instrumentals, and Marcus Steward, aka GiovanniRaps, on vocals, are both classically trained musicians and bring a unique perspective to the rap scene. What has typically been a street-driven and trained art form has grown to the tipping point, becoming an art that can be studied and composed academically.
With layers of harmonies that exist to move and flow, a soulful sweetness, and technical savvy, there is little surprise as to why the Leghounds won our Battle of the Bands and the $1,000 prize. With their new End of the World EP, the Leghounds are marking their territory as a Greeley groove machine.
It’s at The Crvsh Room: This art gallery/bar/restaurant is the perfect setting for a fun painting event. The space is casual, the decor clean and minimal. Artwork by local artists is displayed on the wall. …
Longtime fans of Magic Beans keep coming back for their staple rock-funk sound, filled with high energy grooves and invigorating rock organ. Their new album, Slice of Life, still has that, but those fans might also cock their head in confusion.
Catch them live at The Beanstalk Festival on June 24 in Bond, CO.
On Butte La Rose, Colorado’s mountain-bred quintet Tenth Mountain Division find space between extremes: A party with a big band, booze, questionable substances and endless jams; and relatable, folk-influenced storytelling. They stamp a crisp modernity on top, incorporating styles as far reaching as the Rockies themselves.
‘Lighthouse Sessions’ is the debut EP from Denver’s D.C. Myers, and while it’s a dark catalogue of a sad man alone in a room with his electronics, it’s also one of the most engaging, smart and fun records to come out of Colorado in months. Myers knows this well: stimulate the more sophisticated neurons of those goths and their black-leather-clad hips will follow.
Fort Collins indie poppers People In General find themselves aptly named for the theme of their upcoming single “icicic.” Seeking universality in songwriting is usually a great idea. If lightning strikes and the writer finds …
Smooth and understated, Denver’s Cous, continues to find ways to make writing simple and approachable music look easy. “Turpentine” is easy going yet packed with a loneliness just below the surface that gives some wonderful depth to its sentiments.
The Denver-based acoustic duo LVDY (pronounced “lady”) show what beautiful sounds two women and a guitar can make on their full-length album, Gold. In 11 songs, Kathleen Hooper and Aubrey Mable give us tight harmonies, the sway of natural acoustic pop refrains and a warm folk ambience, showcasing the creative ways two women use sparse instrumentation and vocals to create full sounds.
Cole Scheifele writers heartbreaking music and delivers a soaring melody with unrestrained emotion. Behind his voice, an ambient brew of siren-like drones creates texture while he keeps time on an acoustic guitar.
In Denver, a hyperactive, fashion-forward group is making music that could just be the cutting edge of this pop punk resurgence. Though VYNYL strayed into synth-pop territory with their first EP, Pink, 2021’s aptly titled The World Is On Fire, and I’m Lonely is full of grit without losing any of the hookiness of the band’s earlier work. Catchy melodies are paired with crisp production and colossal energy, making it a good case as the perfect bittersweet summer soundtrack into the final stretch of the pandemic.
Denver-based Mlady’s full length album Maladaptive Daydreaming feels like its title: an atmosphere of vivid dreams told by lead singer Hannah Beeghly, accompanied by washy, pop orchestration. The record favors reversed reverb and atmospheric textures …
“This isn’t the normal, like, girl-joins-the-band story,” DEBR4H’s Jed Murphy tells BandWagon. “I was really kinda hitting the end.”
Murphy’s dead-end feelings were palpable to his audience and especially to his romantic partner. “Kayna literally got tired of going to shows and just sitting there,” Murphy laughs, “so she joined the band.”
But it’s not that simple. “It’s more about having a team,” Murphy says, citing DEBR4H’s newest single “The Court Of Richard II” as a turning point, with synth modulations atop an ever-steady beat, while stabs of disoriented Kraftwerk-keyboard undercut Murphy’s Morrisey-like monotone.
“Richard the 2nd was a boy king. He did whatever he wanted. Then he’s overthrown and they starve him to death. I really liked that idea: have whatever you want, but it can turn bad.”
The term “in the box” has taken on more meaning over the past year, especially for musicians forced to do almost everything from only (and often for only) their computers. But that doesn’t mean artists like Carti Ferrari aren’t thinking outside of it.
On his new single “The Farthest,” Ferrari flexes a talent for wordplay, compressing all the feelings of a sad, romantic saga into a tight two and a half minutes of sharp rhymes.
“The Farthest” premieres exclusively today via BandWagon.
Colorado’s A.J. Fullerton is a roots, blues artist with a reputation for slick, fingerpicking guitar and bottleneck slide talent. He has won 16 Colorado Blues Society Members Choice Awards in 9 different categories – all while under 30 years of age.
Featuring a Canadian cast of handpicked session musicians, AJ leaps from the acoustic to a rich full-band sound on The Forgiver and The Runaway.
Intense, haunting guitar work, funky bounce and searing soloing pair with tasty, powerful harp from guest harmonica players Paul Reddick and Jake Friel throughout.
Bones Muhroni, aka Crew Rienstra has done a lot over the years to find ways of making interesting music. While folk rock was always at the center of the breadth of material Rienstra (along with many other talented musicians) released under the Bones Muhroni name, there was always something bizarre and out of place happening underneath.
Packed with nuance and texture, Boom Snap Clap is Rienstra letting go in a lot of ways, creating something that bounces between electro, R&B, grunge rock, even a metal tune.
Coloradan songwriter Wolf van Elfmand’s music has always had a western flair. This remains true in his newest album All Blue released in February, but he also incorporates what the title suggests: the blues.
Cool and steady like a long lost J.J. Cale gem, van Elfmand incorporates improvisation and musical playfulness between the melody and simple chord structures, leaving comfortable spaces for harmonica, pedal steel and lead guitar to add conversational nuances to the texture.
On (yes) Valentine’s Day, Colorado’s funky genre-hopping Shwarma continued their saga of madness with the Loveworthy Live EP, debuted as a live stream. In the video, the overtly-silly mix of tightly-arranged funk jams and melodramatic ballads is accompanied by a revolving door of meticulous costumes, sets and effects.
Denver singer/songwriter/shoegazer Isadora Eden’s history includes living in New Orleans and New York City where underground music scenes the likes of the late, great Sidewalk Cafe shaped her talent for forlorn, connectable music. The soft …