Tag: Act So Big Forest
Somewhere along the way I put aside my point-and-click camera and got serious about concert photography. The first event where I used a DSLR was the 2009 Mile High Music Festival because their photo policy prohibited any other kind of camera in the pits. From there on out I fell in love with the art of photography and tried to capture the experiences I had through photos. Looking back on the last couple of years, here are my favorite 10 shots.
The Fray – MHMF 2009: As someone who had very little experience with a more-professional camera, I was surprised at some of the great shots I got that hot weekend in July of 2009. The Fray closed out my experience at Mile High with a real spectacle: U2′s old stage rig, a big crowd, and a sense of completion.
Monotonix – Monolith 2009: While not a particularly great shot, I will always remember this set from the now-defunct Monolith Festival. It’s the kind of picture that would offend most anyone, therefore it has a certain charm and power that your average concert photo can’t achieve.
Paean – Hodi’s Half Note, December 27, 2009: Being from Fort Collins I found myself up there for the holidays without much to do. When I saw that Danielle Ate The Sandwich was playing a show with a few Act So Big Forest bands at Hodi’s (formerly The Starlight, as I knew it), I said, “Why not?” As it turns out Hodi’s has one of the best light rigs in Northern Colorado. This shot matches great lighting, ambient fog, and perspective in a way that I have seldom replicated.
The Knew – Pulperia release party at the Bluebird, March 6, 2010: At a time when people were just starting to figure out what Something Like Sound was, The Knew were preparing to get big. I ended up seeing the Knew 3 times at the Bluebird (and once at Hi-Dive), and they remain as one of my favorite Colorado acts. I recall seeing this particular shot floating around on their websites for quite some time.
Fellow Citizens – Skylark , October 8, 2010: I saw Fellow Citizens and Old Radio (now Amazing Twin) play two shows at the Skylark within one year. This photo of Fellow Citizens singer Eliza Boote was originally done in color and not cropped, however I edited it for print in the Oredigger newspaper. After looking at the two versions I decided that I liked the black-and-white more- it has a certain aesthetic that is reflective of that time and place.
Andrew W.K. – Warped Tour 2010 (Chicago): I had been to several years of Warped Tours before I decided to live in Chicago last summer, however none of that could prepare me for Andrew W.K. Perhaps one of the most energetic and bizzare performances I’ve ever seen, W.K. thrashed about the stage while putting himself into the most intriguing positions.
Safe Boating Is No Accident – Denver Does Denver 2010: The first show I saw after coming back from Chicago was Denver Does Denver (a fitting return, if I can say so myself). Safe Boating did a set of Pee Pee covers in the Flobots.org community space and something about the lighting in that room lent itself to some really dramatic shots.
Night of Joy – Denver Does Denver 2010: Sometime great photos are purely dumb luck. Another shot for DDD2010, I managed to catch the flash from a camera across the room at the often low-lit Meadowlark. The result: A photo that captures the face-melting nature of a Night of Joy set.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount, November 2, 2010: I bought my tickets for Sufjan nearly 4 months before he came to Denver. Fortunately I snagged some primo seats and was able to snap a few shots with my point-and-click. This photo was taken during a reworked rendition of “Seven Swans” which literally took my breath away.
FLASHLIGHTS – Split Cassette release at Larimer Lounge, February 23, 2011: FLASHLIGHTS usually like to party with the house lights down and their special Rande Kamolz-controlled rig in full operation. This, however, makes getting a decent shot of the group a challenge. I decided to experiment with long shutter speeds and zooming out while taking this photo.
Things at Something Like Sound have hit a feverish pace as we approach the final month of active existence. In the wild business that was the pre-SXSW weekend, I caught the send-off show for two Act So Big Forest acts going on a week-long spring break tour. Thrifty Astronaut and Galaxies (both of whom have a surprising lack of songs about outer space) played the modest Yellow Feather Coffee on Santa Fe. These are a few shots from that evening.
Catch both bands this weekend at the FoCoMX festival in Fort Collins.
Electro-pop (e-p) is an interesting creature. The seminal e-p record was 2003’s Give Up from The Postal Service. It was a somber reflection on life matched with 8-bit bleeps-and-bloops, synthesizers, and danceable beats. Owl City moved the genre on to more accessible grounds with 2009’s Ocean Eyes using ultra-sugary lyrics about lightning bugs and dentistry. It is on from this backdrop that I will introduce Galaxies- an electro-pop project headed up by Colorado musician and Act So Big Forest cohort Dillon Groeneman.
With regards to the aforementioned spectrum between sobering and sugary, Galaxies falls somewhere in the middle- which I would say is a good thing. The trouble with overly-morose electro-pop is that the lyrics undermine the fun instrumentation and my issue with overly-sweet lyrics is that they’re just cheesy. Galaxies manages to find balance between serious and fun with song like “Lost at Sea” and “At The Zoo With You” (along with other songs about zoos and animals). My favorite song is certainly “Kite Song,” which features beautiful airy female vocals.
Instrumentation is where Like A Lion really shines. In addition to synthesizers and samples, Galaxies uses live drums, ukulele, and guitar. The album’s BandCamp page claims it has been “years in the making,” a statement which shows a dedication to polished and cohesive sound. At the end of the day I would say that Like A Lion really shows Galaxies’ potential and ability, so give it a listen- you can stream this entire record below.
There’s a new lo-fi surf group in Colorado: Moon Tides. The newest members of the Act So Big Forest collective have 2 songs out: “To Be” and “Swimming.” Both are full of bright, reverb-drenched, summery guitars and breathy vocals. Moon Tides will be playing the upcoming FoCoMX music festival at the Alleycat Cafe in Fort Collins at 8pm on Saturday, April 9th. Keep an eye out for these guys, as I’m sure they have more up their sleeves.
Watch the video for “Swimming” and listen to “To Be” below. Click for more Moon Tides.
Last night snow began gently falling. This morning the world outside was covered in a glorious white sheet of powder. With the holiday season in full swing, the last few weeks have been filled with the schlocky songs of Christmastime with many looking for better listening alternatives. Along with the snow this morning, another delightful winter tradition took place: Act So Big Forest’s annual Christmas Forest compilation (Volume 4: Red Basilisk). A basilisk, for those unfamiliar, is a variety of mythical serpent.
The compilation brings together the recently re-branded/expanded Act So Big Forest collective in a more wintery context than their previous compilation Triton. Recently Pitchfork-premiered Candy Claws track “Snow Bridge” sits nestled in among a handful of delightfully gazey non-traditional winter songs. Among the more-familiar tunes are Fellow Citizens’ take on “Christmas Time is Here,” Galaxies’ percussion-based version of “Blue Christmas,” a jazzy “Three Kings” from Hosannas, and Paean’s “O Holy Night.”
Download Red Basilisk here. Listen to Candy Claws – “Snow Bridge” below.
Read this article in-print in this week’s Oredigger!
There are a lot of music-collective groups bouncing around Colorado these days (so many, in fact, it’s hard to keep track of them all). In my opinion, creating a culture that fosters cooperation and collaboration truly speaks volumes about the local music community. Case-in-point: Act So Big Forest Compilation Vol. 1: TRITON. A broad range of acts from all-over the Front Range constitute the 20 bands featured on the compilation curated by Jonathan Alonzo (who is a member of at least 5 groups on the ASBF label).
Since talking about every track on this hour-and-a-half long release might get a little long winded, I’m only going to talk about my personal favorites. However, this is by no means a way of saying these are the only good tracks, it’s all quite good (don’t take my word for it, just listen for yourself).
Before I get to the question “How?” there’s the little matter of who to see at this year’s UMS. While this list is by no means a picking of “who’s hot and who’s not,” it might be useful for those not well versed in the Colorado music scene. This post covers the first two days, July 22-23.
THURSDAY, JULY 22
Act So Big Forest Showcase (Skylark, 7pm-12am): Featuring some of the best music that Fort Collins has to offer, the Act So Big Forest collective has their own showcase during the UMS. Swing by the Skylark any time on Thursday to catch the likes of Good Evening Titan, Paean, Sour Boy Bitter Girl, and Candy Claws. Roger, Roll will be closing out the evening’s showcase.
Hot White (3 Kings, 9pm): Don’t be surprised if somebody gets a beer thrown at them during Hot White’s set. The trio packs quite a punch and doesn’t take crap from anybody.
Ian Cooke Band (Hi-Dive, 11pm): The always enjoyable Ian Cooke will be playing a full band set. Hopefully he’ll play “Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme” or whatever that song is actually called.
Paper Bird (Hi-Dive, 11:55pm): Why not end the evening feeling joyful? Paper Bird takes on the Hi-Dive’s closing spot on Thursday but will also play a set at 7:30 pm on Friday at the Goodwill lot stage.
FRIDAY, JULY 23
A Mouthful of Thunder (TS Boardshop, 6:30pm): We haven’t actually had a chance to see Stephen Till’s newest musical project since Hearts of Palm broke up (and started playing again). However, hopes are high for what AMoT’s MySpace page dubs “Christian Rap/Punk/Regional Mexican.”
Action Packed Thrill Ride (Club 404, 7pm): Last time I saw Action Packed Thrill Ride my roommate got me really drunk. As I try to recall, it was pretty great; although the morning after was a bit rough. Maybe this time we’ll all be a little more sober (or maybe not?).
Kaiser Cartel (Hi-Dive, 8pm): I saw KaiserCartel a couple times during last year’s UMS. The Brooklyn-based duo is one of the few out-of-town acts playing, so be sure to catch this set.
Lil Slugger (Brown Barrel Tavern, 9pm): These guys are the only band I know that has their own series of comics. Also, a free full length album to download via Hot Congress.
11:55pm: Take Your Pick: Why do they always do this? There are definitely more than 4 bands I’d like to see all playing at the same time. Oh well, catch them if you can. Houses (Hi-Dive), Achille Lauro (Club 404), Fellow Citizens (Skylark), Young Coyotes (Irish Rover) and more.