In the heart of Colorado’s music scene, COLLUR, an alternative artist and college student, has been making noise with his genre-defying sound. In this exclusive interview, COLLUR takes us on a journey through his evolving …
Dive into Tyler Halverson’s online presence, and you’ll be greeted by a cheeky cartoon: a Western cowboy, sporting stubble and flashing a grin, while a joint smolders between his lips, captioned “Western Amerijuanna Music.” This …
On the first of April this year, Northern Colorado metal bands Thrash Hard City and Phantomstone played back-to-back opening sets at the Moxi Theater’s 10th anniversary. Each band was less than a year old and …
In the dynamic realm of the indie music scene, there are albums, and then there are sagas—musical odysseys that weave tales as enthralling as the notes themselves. The Burroughs’ latest offering, “Honey Imastar,” falls firmly …
School is back in session and summer’s end is around the corner, which means it’s time for Greeley’s biggest, most diverse music festival of the year! This morning, BandWagon Presents unveiled the lineup for The …
There are countless ridiculous band names—from Chumbawamba and Limp Bizkit to Hoobastank and Thirty Odd Foot of Grunt. Then there’s Toad The Wet Sprocket. What’s a sprocket, why is it wet and what does that …
“When I moved to Fort Collins, I didn’t want to have to drive to Denver to go to hardcore shows,” Billy Fabrocini tells BandWagon. “Now people will drive up here to go to shows. That’s what DeadBeat was always about. DeadBeat was about showing people, ‘yeah, we can do it ourselves. We can do it here.’” In addition to being a hardcore band, xDeadBeatx is “straight edge,” a label that arose from the hardcore scene in 1981, after the seminal band Minor Threat released a 46-second track by the same name that disparaged drug and alcohol abuse. Since then, straight edge has evolved, morphed and splintered into its own genre and subgenres. A strict set of ethical guidelines come along with the musical characteristics — no drinking, smoking, drugs, promiscuous sex or addictive behaviors of any kind for life. Each member of xDeadBeatx has his own reason for embracing the straight edge ethos. Each of those reasons can be traced back to long before the band was founded in 2019.
The band members in Silver & Gold don’t seem to believe it, but it was a decade ago when they were just a group of college kids crowded together in a music rehearsal room at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to go over some songs they’d just written. They were regulars after 9 p.m. most nights at Frasier Hall, the music building, where they honed their craft beyond jazz choir, soon becoming one of Northern Colorado’s most beloved rock bands. The band will release a new EP next month, and the six songs reflect a group much more sure of itself than those kids in Fraiser, Hildebrandt said. This is despite the fact that they recorded the album just a few months into the pandemic. Maybe, in fact, because of it.
Strong inspiration can carry you a long way. For Denverite and man of many musical hats Seth Beamer, inspiration struck at least once recently and the propulsion is palpable. Having embraced a solo career path after parting ways with Wildermiss (a group he founded) a handful of years ago, Beamer has embraced his true self: a connector, teacher, master of many trades, and conduit of positive energy.
Releasing his debut single “The Runaround” on December 7, 2022, Beamer has hit the ground, well, running – racking up tens of thousands of instagram followers and winning Channel 93.3 KTCL’s annual Hometown For The Holidays competition last month. For Colorado artists, that’s a huge deal.
Treaty Oak Revival didn’t really have a choice but to be a country band. They grew up in West Texas, a market that practically demands bands play country, and, well, it’s also hard to escape your roots.
“I have an accent,” said Sam Canty, the band’s lead vocalist, in an interview with BandWagon – and for the record, he sure as heck does.
Even so, all that Texas red dirt country the band seemed destined to play couldn’t bury their love of rock and roll, especially in a world of modern crossovers. Canty is unafraid to proclaim his love of big punk acts such as Sum 41 and Blink 182 and Treaty Oak Revival finds themselves with their feet in more than one arena.
Eternal Glory, $5,000 and the cover of BandWagon Magazine are grounds for musical fisticuffs in Colorado. Last month, 16 Colorado bands who stood out from 100 submissions slugged it out (yes, metaphorically) at 4 of the state’s most worthy music venues: Oskar Blues Colorado Springs, The Moxi Theater in Greeley, The Coast in Fort Collins and The Black Buzzard in Denver. The four finalists rocked hard to surpass their contenders and secure their spot in the final round on December 10 at The Moxi Theater. In the initial rounds, each act was assessed by a panel of celebrity judges on a combination of talent, skill, stye and conduct (along with an element of fan voting) to determine the finalists. Here’s what the original sweet sixteen brought to the battlefield in the first round.
Langhorne Slim’s “Strawberry Mansion” was the result of a burst of creativity that emerged from the pandemic and after winning a battle with clinical anxiety and prescription drug abuse. He’s still happy to talk about that time and his never-ending struggles, and he remains honored to share his experience with mental health organizations. But sometimes he has to remind people that those are things he’s dealt with his whole life. They do not necessarily define him.
“I’m also having fun too,” Slim said with a laugh in a phone interview with BandWagon. “It’s not beating me every day. For the first time ever, I was finding some semblance of stillness. I wasn’t running from myself because I wasn’t able to.”
“I think there’s an element of a lonely cowboy out on the trail,” Jared Kolesar of Wheelwright tells BandWagon. “There’s many songs now with a story that is best told while I’m alone with my guitar.”
The reworked songs give his Jared & The Mill fans a chance to preview his new sound, one he calls more sonically interesting, with more synth and more effects to his vocals to go with some new hip-hop vibes. He calls the sound Neo-Western and compares it to a mix of 80’s futurism and Americana. Or, in his own words, “like Blade Runner with more cowboy vibes.”
On a whim, Briana Harris submitted a grant proposal along with a demo of her soulful song “Ground Up” which she had performed for The Burroughs’ Virtual Telethon in 2020. That June, Harris received a message that she was awarded the funding to record an album.
“I wanted to make the most volume of work I could, and see where that would take me,” Harris said. “I want to really present what I feel is the fullest version of myself. Just the process of doing that for me has been important and empowering.”
“There were ravines growing between me and people in my life,” Justin Osborne tells BandWagon. “And with COVID, everybody got pushed back together. Some of those changes had to be faced head on.”
Osborne is the commandant of North Carolina’s Susto and he’s just gone through some of the most intense years of his life.
“If humans are dimensional,” he says, “there’s a whole new dimension of myself that was awakened.”
Susto’s sound sits between Americana, psych-pop and the indie-rock church of rootsy folk. A mix of satire and earnestness adds a roughness; a raised eyebrow setting it apart from rural radio. Its dark, drug-influenced sentimentality and staunch idealism is, at its heart, just barefaced American songwriting.
“There were a lot of attempts at reconciliation – my own beliefs with how I was raised,” he says. “I’m trying not to disrespect,” he says, “but to participate in these big life events.”
Kevin Russell was nearing age 40, and given the upheavals in his career, should have been facing the clichéd mid-life crisis. Instead, he gave himself permission to be himself.
He left a band he’d played with for nearly 20 years, to focus on Shinyribs.
“The odds were against me for sure,” Russell said in a phone interview with BandWagon, “But I felt like I had to do it. It was a now-or-never kind of feeling. It was a gamble. But it was so great. We are now an instant party – wherever we go.”
It was written by a busker, in a closet, for a few friends at a youth hostel but somewhere on Planet Earth in the last three years, you’ve heard it.
The song is “Dance Monkey” and the number of times it has been streamed online is literally incalculable.
“I didn’t write that song to release at all,” Toni Watson aka Tones And I tells BandWagon. “I lived at a hostel. Like – I’d parked my van there, I used the showers. I played that song for a year on the street before I decided to release it.”
Now, for the first time, the one woman wonder is ready to collaborate – with her musical hero Macklemore, of course. “It’s just the most perfect track for both of us,” Watson says.
And she will finally release her first song ever about love. “I don’t mean to, but I’ve actually never written a love song,” Watson says. “I just don’t feel like I’d ever really known what it is.”
J.R.’s life as a touring bluesman came later than some. In his late 20’s, he was living in Brooklyn, bartending and teaching at a pre-school. He had a masters degree in printmaking, but the medium was quickly being usurped by digital alternatives. Still, he needed a creative outlet.
A few years before, J.R.’s college roommate had introduced him to a song that made him fall in love with the blues. It was Blind Lemon Jefferson, a 1920’s singer and guitarist who is sometimes credited as the “Father of the Texas Blues.”
“I had never heard that raw, gritty passion in anything else,” he said. “It just kind of leveled me.”
From then on, J.R. spent his in-between time — in between work, school, relationships and everything else — playing the blues.
“There were a lot of DIY venues that popped up in loft spaces or garages. They were perfect for the type of music I was playing,” he explained. “All you needed was a condenser microphone, a picnic table and a cooler of PBR.”
The fires that have burned vast tracts of land near his childhood home in Colorado and not far from his former home in California. The fire that burned a warehouse full of his merch in Detroit last December. A fire that burned down the house in Fort Collins where he used to live with his bandmates in 2004. And all of the other metaphorical fires that have raged through his life over the years.
“Things burn down and then you watch the flowers grow back out of the cracks,” Menert reflected in an interview with BandWagon.
The theme has permeated the Pretty Lights cofounder’s music in recent months.
The Greeley Stampede’s new stage was built with Brad Paisley in mind.
The last time he played here, in 2007, Paisley had 10 semi-trailers full of equipment, said Justin Watada, executive director of the Stampede. Way back then, three “up and coming” acts performed with Paisley, including a young lady named Taylor Swift.
The brand new stage is bigger and much better, with all the fixins you’d expect from a show at Red Rocks, including a platform that will allow the artists to walk 50 feet out into the crowd. And Paisley is back as the Stampede’s biggest act in a lineup that includes Stone Temple Pilots, Jon Pardi, Cole Swindell and Jordan Davis.
Kodean IX doesn’t know where he would be without music, but he knows it wouldn’t be good. He has been in and out of jail, and one of his cousins was in Greeley’s chapter of the infamous 18th Street gang.
“He asked me why I was gang-banging,” Kodean recalled, “and I said, ‘Because I grew up here.’ – He told me to do something better. Break the legacy. And I did.”
Kodean and a grieving Keen OGT (who lost his sister to suicide) were rapping to help quell the pain they felt, and they began to call themselves OGT, or One Great Team.
Then the Moxi Theater gave OGT a chance, a big show, and Korean hasn’t forgotten it.
“I’d still be in a different life,” Kodean told BandWagon. “[The Moxi] gave me a chance to show what I could do.”
The Arcadian Wild really listen. You can see it in their patience with fans, their gentleness with each other, and most of all in the cohesive interplay of each melodic line in their music. Like mycelium spreading nutrients throughout a forest, each individual is inseparable from the whole.
The band began in an impromptu post-choir-class jam session in 2013. The lineup has shifted so often over the years that founding member Lincoln Mick refers to the band as a “revolving door,” but he remembers the band’s five-or-so departed members with much more sweetness than bitterness.
“To take a turn of phrase from Fred Rogers, so many people have ‘loved this band into being’ over the years,” he told BandWagon.
When the Polyrhythmics first gathered in a Seattle recording studio a decade ago, they planned to make a vinyl record and then, perhaps, go their separate ways …
“When we started, we wanted to perform the music we recorded,” Bloom said, “and now our live set is a living, breathing thing that we do every night. There is this ethos from the fans that they want to see something new, and that feedback has played into what we do live. We are still sort of trying to reach something every night. We are trying to leave room for magic.”
Blast N’ Scrap has become the de facto community hub for underground music in Fort Collins, but the organization does far more than event production. Its projects include a 6-week theater program for school kids, weekly screen printing classes using sustainable and recycled materials and Band Blast Off, a music education program teaching professional skills to aspiring musicians ages 7 to 17.
The prolific volume of Blast N’ Scrap initiatives is due, in large part, to the scruffy 38-year old at the helm. Michael Gormley is bursting with ideas.
And though Blast N’ Scrap events now include established local bands, Gormley adamantly says they will always be there for local bands to play their first show.
If André 3000 playing a Mayan double flute for your band’s movie score isn’t proof that the multiverse exists, we don’t know what is.
But it exists. And there’s so much more. André, Moses Sumney, Randy Newman, Mitski, and David Byrne are among the guest artists Son Lux acquired for what became a 49-track film score with more musical ideas than one universe can hold.
Son Lux (Ryan Lott, Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia) have been making music from their own universes for years. In 2019, they were contacted by film directing team Daniels to score their mind bending, multiverse movie ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’ It was a match made in multi-heaven.
Now on tour supporting their recent, triple album ‘Tomorrows I, II & III,’ Son Lux bring an organic approach to represent their cinematic, layered and dynamic music.
Horse Feathers’ spin on traditional folk and Americana spans barn dance to backyard reverie, airy ballads to full-blooded country jigs.
Justin Ringle launched Horse Feathers shortly after moving to the Pacific Northwest at a time he says “all the cliches from Portlandia were being developed.” Rent was cheap and you just needed a shitty job to keep your creative aspirations afloat.
“It was really less preposterous for me to try to become a professional musician than it was to get a job in graphic design at the time,” he said. Though dispelling any romantic notion, Ringle points out, “There was really high unemployment in Portland and it was just kind of tough going. Everything was really close to the bone.”
Even with a name like Goatwhore, there’s room for subtlety.
Yes, there are Satanic overtones in Goatwhore’s lyrics — duh — and their music reflects it, with the kind of hardcore black metal crunch you’d expect in the drums, guitars and, of course, the vocals (also duh). But the last record’s lyrics come from a concept album, Vengeful Ascension, which portray Lucifer as an underdog slighted by a God who was equally oppressive.
L. Ben Falgoust II, the band’s singer (and keeper of one of the best metal monikers in history), uses historical references to color the themes, but Zack Simmons, the drummer, likes to apply the lyrics to real life.
Some kids grow up listening to Barney, Elmo or Little Einsteins. Rory Rummings listened to Dio, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. “My Dad raised me on the classics,” Rummings tells BandWagon, and you can hear it in Cloud Catcher, the Denver band he formed nine years ago. Rummings is the frontman and main songwriter, and he loves paying homage to the classic metal of the 1980s as well as the bands that started it all, such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. But Rummings insists that Cloud Catcher isn’t just another replica.
If you notice a particular sweetness in the vocal harmonies soaring above the sludgy riffs, ripping guitar and ruthless drums of Denver rock trio Pink Fuzz, you’re on to something. If you pick out stylistic parallels to another Denver trio The Velveteers, you’re getting even warmer.
The sound you hear in the voices of John and LuLu from Pink Fuzz is called blood harmony. That sounds pretty metal, which is appropriate, but it’s a term used to describe the unmatched accordance that happens when blood relatives sing together.
Joshua Ray Walker’s role model for his hit “Sexy After Dark” was not Tim McGraw, Billy Ray Cyrus or Keith Urban. It was Conway Twitty. Twitty, Walker said in a phone interview with BandWagon, was sort of a goofy guy who managed to sing some of the most romantic songs in country music. It’s not like Twitty belonged on the cast of Hee Haw, but he wasn’t Elvis. One of the intentions of “Sexy After Dark,” Walker said, was to pay a backhanded but lighthearted tribute to all the people like Twitty.
“There’s a history of country crooners who aren’t sexy – putting out sexy songs,” Walker said. “‘Slow Hand’ is one of my favorites. Twitty is so goofy-looking, but he sold it. He really sold it.”
The other intent, Walker said, was to poke fun at himself. He knows he’s also not Elvis.
Corb Lund is the son of a ranching family that goes back eight generations in Southern Alberta. If he can tell you something in three words, he won’t use 20. “Pretty country,” was all he needed to say in an interview with BandWagon to evoke the rolling sage brush on his family’s ancestral homestead.
While Lund may be conversationally economical, he is lyrically verbose. Over the course of twelve full length LPs, he has become one of Amercana’s most beloved songwriters; lyrically and sonically a modern embodiment of life on the range.
Last May, the Alberta provincial government rescinded a 1976 ban on open-pit coal mining on the slopes of the Canadian Rockies which threatened to scar the landscape and taint the water of nearby communities.
“It pissed off everybody up here, not just the lefties — ranchers, hunters and the first nations people,” Lund said. “It affects the water I drink. This was too egregious to let go.”
Lund collaborated with other Canadian musicians to re-record his 2009 song “This Is My Prairie,” in protest. A few months later, the government backed down and even introduced new protections.
“Every song is a different rhythm that represents a region in Latin America,” Zeta’s Juan Yilo Alvarado says of Todo Bailarlo, the Venezuelan punk orchestra’s upcoming LP. “It was really liberating and really challenging at the same time.”
“Our communities dance through everything: sadness, happiness, the good, the bad,” Alvarado said. “We are always dancing through life, moving and adapting and looking for better opportunities in remote places.”
But Zeta has not lost its frenetic exuberance by embracing its roots. This is calypso (and salsa, samba, latin jazz…) made for moshing. “It’s still rock and it’s still progressive,” Alvarado assures.
While Zeta’s sound might be aggressive, the band’s ethos is the opposite. They are compassionate, inclusive and intent on fostering community wherever they go. Dani “Debuto” Hernandez, the band’s other guitarist/vocalist in addition to Alvarado, is notorious for feeding tour mates, fans and anyone else that walks by. In keeping with the band’s shared pacifistic and environmental ethics, his cooking is vegan (with a Venezuelan flair).
“We’ve connected to, not only to latinos, but also to immigrant people from other countries and ethnicities,” Alvarado explained. “We all feel very identified with the immigrant struggle. In the band and orchestra we are all either immigrants or the kids of immigrants.”
The band still carries his name, but G. Love is taking a step back from the spotlight.
G. Love was as synonymous with the Special Sauce as a Big Mac and fries, but he’s now touring with The Juice, and the move signals a shift in musical direction, both in his music and the way he approaches it.
“Special Sauce has been great, but I’d been thinking about a bigger band for some time,” G. Love said in a phone interview for BandWagon. “It was a chance to play with a lot more soloists instead of just a trio. It was a lot of fun for me.”
“Little by little, my own tastes came through for Soulfly,” Max Calverra tells BandWagon. “As I get older, you’d think I’d get more mellow. But I like the heavier and heavier stuff. When you get older, you play what you like. You play what you feel.”
“Riffs are my church,” he said. “That’s my paradise. I will spend hours riffing on the guitar and just chugging on the guitar. I call it Chug Life. When you finally find a killer riff, man, it’s like you’ve won the lottery.
On the last day of 2021, David Wimbish, a millennial, posted a viral video on TikTok. It’s is a perfect snapshot of what The Collection does best. The instrumentation is catchy and Wimbish inhabits the unambiguous emotion of the song with his vocal performance. The lyrics are intense, vulnerable and painfully relatable (“another lockdown stuck inside this shit town I can’t find a way round my intrusive thoughts now”).
“I went from someone who was trying to please everyone, to someone who is outspoken about my sexuality,” Wimbish told BandWagon later. “Why are you so afraid of pleasure,” he sings in their new single ”Get Lost,” and this celebration of pleasure is on full display at the Collection’s live shows. Wimbish twirls his mic stand theatrically from among the folds of flowing white clothing and band members bounce around the stage wildly during instrumental breaks. Huge grins and perspiration are the band’s unofficial uniform.
“LowDown Brass Band has roots in the Jazz education world,” MC Billa Camp tells BandWagon, “but the Jazz education world has the habit of treating Jazz like an island. As if – Jazz isn’t birthed from the same struggle as Hip Hop. As if they are not Black father and son, born fighting the same fight.”
Lowdown Nights, the latest and most future-leaning record from LowDown Brass Band, was appropriately released during Black History Month. It takes things further out of the pigeonhole and into the pan-genre stage, using the history of the African American experience as its guide.
Especially with the hit single “Be The One Tonight,” they go mainstream – and that’s a good thing. The collective has enough talent within its ranks to deliver a show with as much variety as Beyoncés 2018 Homecoming at Coachella. It’s the multi-lingual, multicultural, multi-genre kind of mainstream pop and dance music that encapsulates the musical stew of 2022.
Zachary Williams, whose powerful voice drove him out from the Brooklyn Bar4 open-mic world and onto the international stage, is best known as the belting leader of The Lone Bellow. His new solo record Dirty Camaro is indeed an escape from that band’s gravity; one that’s weird, head-turning, soulful and fresh.
Williams says “I’ve wanted to do it for a long time – really, right after Jim James from My Morning Jacket released his solo record.” He says James had “graciously come out to a couple of my shows,” and the two connected.
What began as a two day trial session resulted in the full length record. The album is rich with expert pedal steel guitar, orchestral strings, saxophone and a Texas-band backbone that really cooks.
“A lot of bands say ‘well, we can’t box ourselves into a specific genre because we play funk and jazz and rock or whatever,’” Hunter James & the Titanic says. “It’s nice to be in a band that says, ‘we play rock and roll 109% of the time.’”
Hunter James & the Titanic refuse to be lured into the post-genre vortex despite that impossible percentage and their lineup of eclectic players. They play Americana — no caveats. Well maybe a couple.
“I really wanted to have this band feel really focused.” Hunter James explained. “But, there’s something inside of me that won’t let me just write like that. But, we always sound like us no matter what.”
In just three years, the band has put out an EP, five singles and two full-length LPs. Their latest album, 2021’s La Liberté, finds the band settled even deeper into a roots rock sound.
“There was a point where I was trying to end my whole life,” Evan Thomas – aka TX2 – tells BandWagon. “I felt worthless. And I had friends help me out. Once people feel like they’re alone, they need someone to talk to. I feel like that helps save lives.”
In addition to putting on cathartic, high energy pop-punk shows, Thomas is the founder of The X Movement, an online safe space for his fans (and anyone struggling) after battling with his own mental health.
A few years ago, Mom Rock booked their first gig at The Garden, a notorious house on the Boston DIY basement show circuit. They were ecstatic… until they saw the 6 pm time slot. Barely anyone would be there. What happened next cemented the quartet as a fixture in the scene.
“We went up to play and the crowd was electric,” guitarist/singer Josh Polack told BandWagon. “It was the first time I ever crowd surfed during a guitar solo.”
“Our fans are the best people on earth,” guitarist/singer Curtis Heimburger said.
It’s 1 am in San Antonio, Texas and Aaron Martin wants to give you a hug.
He’s the singer and co-founder of Okey Dokey and why wouldn’t he give you a squeeze? You are, after all, a part of Okey Dokey too.
“It’s everything you’d want after two years of, you know, the absence,” Martin tells BandWagon of their current tour. He’s been excited to finally practice Okey Dokey’s mission statement with the people who make the live music experience what it is to him: pretty much everyone who’s not in the band.
“The whole statement is kind of anti-separation,” Martin says. “Bands aren’t just a band. It’s everyone involved.”
What sets Eric Riley and Nate Valdez apart from other heavy acts isn’t their musicianship (though it is excellent) but their ability to translate unflinchingly raw moments into music. Starting with INTHEWHALE’s last EP, Dopamine, the band’s tone shifted from the sophomoric humor of their earlier releases to brutally honest explorations of the darker moments of life. These explorations continue on Vanishing Point. The band wrestles with pharmaceutical addiction, suicidal ideation and gentrification. The pain and anger is palpable.
“My thinking was, ‘Yeah, get me off this bus,’” Andy Whilden said. He decided to leave touring as a musician for a job at The Matthews House, a place for underserved youth.
Starting the Uplift: FoCo festival two years ago gave Whilden more personal satisfaction than he expected. The benefit festival will feature acts that are acoustically driven. “They can play any genre,” Whilden said of the house band, though the 2021 installment will also deliver something different, and, well, a little less tenured.
After leaving his job as the lead talent buyer managing Lost Lake, Larimer Lounge and Globe Hall in Denver, Tony Mason saw a new position booking for the famed Gas Monkey in Dallas turn into a depressing slog of cancelling shows remotely from Denver during the pandemic.
Now, Mason will put his contacts to use to work for an expanded BandWagon enterprise which will offer a full-on, regional concert promotions and event production entity from Colorado Springs to Casper, Wyoming.
When The Velveteers (Demi Demitro, Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig) pulled up to a hip, all-ages venue in Detroit, they didn’t expect anyone to recognize them.
“Most of the last two years we’ve just been doing the same thing we always do, which is the three of us practicing music alone in a tiny garage,” Pottersmith tells BandWagon.
As soon as they stepped out of the tour van that day, the illusion of isolation was shattered. Maybe shattered is the wrong word. A fan, sporting Adidas flip flops, a Johnny Cash t-shirt and playing air guitar on a squash racket, was pacing outside of the venue and screaming the lyrics to the lead single “Charmer And The Snake” from their deliciously sinister hard rock album Nightmare Daydream.
Greeley’s greatest-of-all-time cartoon-inspired indie funk rock band Trash Cat features Mary Claxton on lead vocals and electric ukulele, Hayden Farr on baritone sax and Brian Claxton on drum kit.
“Imagine you’re 13 years old and you’re trying to write about your innermost feelings,” Mary Claxton tells BandWagon of the band’s character writing. “It’s a lot to share. On some level I felt the same way about myself.”
Though all three members hold down day jobs and tour with The Burroughs, they have clearly carved out plenty of time for their “side project.” Their live performances are exceedingly danceable, and their recordings are meticulously produced.
On December 3, Trash Cat will set the mood during rounds of cosmic bowling at Chippers Lanes in Fort Collins, marking the first ever live performance of the band’s sophomore album, The Tide.
An unlikely icon has burst onto the EDM scene. Brandon Wisniski, known eponymously as Wreckno, creates earth-shaking bass drops, raps about pulling up on your dad and refers to himself as a “FULL TIME BUSSY BOPPER” on Twitter. He may be the biggest, loudest, gayest producer the bass scene has ever seen, and he’s just getting started.
Wisniski’s music melds together the aggression of old-school gangster rap with the manic energy of bass music and the glamour of a drag show. It’s a perfect fit, but it has never really been done before.
Even when he’s in bed, trying to calm his crazy mind so he can sleep, Tech N9ne keeps his phone within reach. He never knows when the next lyric will come, and when it does, he wants to be sure he gets it down.
“I hate to lose my ideas,” Tech N9ne said in a phone interview with BandWagon. “My mind races. I have that kind of torment. I can see things behind my eyelids.”
That’s the kind of devotion you’d expect from a rapper who’s recorded 14 albums — with a new one on the way soon — but it’s also the kind of work he has to put in (even as he’s about to turn 50) for his record label Strange Music.
“Keep believing in yourself. Keep believing in your dreams and the value you bring to the world,” Graham Good tells BandWagon. Good is the frontman of the Northern Colorado pop folk-rock outfit Graham Good & The Painters, and he delivers that statement with the well known blanket optimism he has towards life. This optimism has become a staple in his music and he sees spreading that positivity a part of his musical journey. “Just know there’s so much good you have to offer every second of the day,” Good says. “To spend that time thinking you’re not good enough, you’re underdelivering on what you’re capable of providing.”
“When you believe in something, you don’t have to sell it,” Delvon Lamarr tells BandWagon.
The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio were playing festivals before they had recordings and the way Lamarr shreds across the keys and seamlessly grooves the organ pedals with his feet, you’d think he had been doing this his whole life. But he didn’t even touch an organ until his early 20s.
And with guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Dan Weiss on board, Lamarr says “the combination felt unique and connected. No one person makes the band, but what puts it in perspective is all of us.”
Mike Silverman – AKA That 1 Guy – knew what it would take to make it. Only his band wasn’t willing to live that hard life. So he did it himself.
“I was working so hard to fill this cosmic space,” Silverman said of the bass, “and I was playing on this thing that wasn’t meant to do that.” So he built an instrument that would help him create a big sound.
“It was very hard,” he said. “Some instrument builders study their whole lives to do this.”
The Reverend Peyton always had an appetite for nostalgia – everything from the traditional country blues that influenced his guitar picking, to the vintage 1950’s outfits he and his wife Breezy wear on stage. Those touches complement their rowdy rockabilly and southern roots sound, so the Rev decided to take it all the way on his new album. He recorded it using the best technology available in the 1950’s. That meant analog. If you don’t know what that means, go ask your grandfather or any recording engineer worth their weight in two inch tape.
Taking place on Sundays this month at the historic Holiday Twin Drive-In, FoCoMX: Drive and Jive continued its live offerings last month with further programming into August and beyond. Reimagining the series to feature a mix of established veteran Colorado acts as well as “discovery” artists from the region, Drive and Jive aims to build engaged audiences and more.
In light of yesterday’s news that the Bohemian Foundation’s recently announced Bohemian Light Music Festival is now in fact cancelled due to COVID precautions, the Drive and Jive series offers a live music format which has proved to function well under pandemic restrictions.
The Bohemian Foundation will put on a music festival this summer in downtown Fort Collins, and though the headliners are big names, fans of Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest should temper their expectations somewhat.
Dubbed the Bohemian Light Music Festival, free, live concerts will commence two nights instead of three, featuring psychedelic soul band Black Pumas and singer-songwriter Randy Newman, plus Shovels & Rope and dozens of Colorado’s top bands.
“I don’t get blowback from traditional country fans,” Orville Peck said in an interview with BandWagon. “There’s always been something new introduced to that genre, whether it’s an instrument or Willie singing about weed or it’s me singing about men and wearing a mask. Everyone freaks out and says it’s not country, and then slowly it becomes part of it. I don’t mind that blowback. That means I’m doing it right. I take it as a challenge.”
“I’m terrified. The scope of this is insane and it’s going to be heavily publicized,” The Yawpers’ front man Nate Cook tells BandWagon. The last time he attempted a feat a quarter as intense, he stated: “I was absolutely certain I was going to die.”
This summer, Cook’s attempts a nation-wide, musicians charity bike ride stretching from Greeley Square in NYC, through Death Valley in August, to LA in September with live gigs along the way. With characteristic dark wit, he quips: “I’m concerned about failing, although, I feel like if I get hit by a car or something it will drive donations even more.”
“A lot of people that are emotionally driven tend to gravitate towards the arts,” musician Maxwell Tretter tells BandWagon. “But, then they also hit this pivotal moment between the path of isolation or the path of connection. I’m sick of hearing about the tragic origin story. I want to hear about the well connected, like, ‘life went great for me and I made amazing shit’ story.”
And thus sparked Make More Everything, a “game of telephone between writers, musicians and visual artists.” Tretter collaborated with film-slam organizer Jesse Nyander, culminating in a bonanza, multi-media event Friday, July 2nd at The Lyric in Fort Collins.
When he’s reminded that he will open for Dwight Yoakam, who was country before country was hip the way it is now, Ian Munsick’s reflexive response is exactly what you’d expect from a rising young star: “Oh, man, that’s gonna be awesome,” says the Wyoming native. But then he pauses and chuckles when asked how he thinks the crowd will respond to him at the 99th annual Greeley Stampede. Are those nerves?
“It’ll be interesting,” Munsick tells BandWagon. Munsick, after all, is doing what he can to push the music beyond the traditional sound that made Yoakam and others like him a legend.
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.