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.
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.
There’s nothing quite like a Friday night in Boulder. Mississippi-based Colour Revolt played the intimate Club 156 on the CU-Boulder campus with local openers Paean and Fellow Citizens.
Halloween weekend is always a great time to go to a show. Costumes and rock music go together like too-much-candy and diabetes. If you don’t have plans yet, here are a few of our tops picks.
Hot Congress Halloween Show (10/29 at Skylark): Just a glance at the lineup for this show was more than enough to convince me to go. From Lil’ Slugger to Hindershot (and everyone in-between), it’s sure to be a wild one.
Elf Power, Mike Marchant, Paean (10/30 at Larimer Lounge): Colorado has been a hot spot for Elephant 6 bands lately. In the past weeks Of Montreal and Apples In Stereo both came through, while Elf Power will be here on Saturday (with openers Paean, Mike Marchant, and Faceman.
Devotchka and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (10/29 and 10/30 at Boulder Theater): It would be difficult to imagine a local-only lineup better than this one. If you’re up for the trek to Boulder (and paying a pretty penny), there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than with Devotchka.
Other concerts of note: Ween (10/31 at FirstBank Center), Woodsman (10/29 at Hi-Dive with No Joy | 10/30 at Meadowlark with Gauntlet Hair and others), Electric Six (10/29 at Larimer Lounge). Update: Electric Six has been canceled due to a family emergency.
Day one of the UMS is always a little more relaxed than the rest of the festival. Only 8 venues featured music Thursday night (compared to 22 on Friday, 24 on Saturday, and 15 on Sunday) and shows didn’t start until 8:00pm. Even so, it was one of the most eventful and exciting Thursday nights I’ve had in recent memory. Despite staying between Ellsworth Ave and Cedar Ave (read: between the Hi-Dive and the Skylark) the whole night, I managed to catch at least segments of 8 or 9 (mostly great) sets and explore the wonderful Baker neighborhood; It was a great way to start one of Denver’s best weekends.
I started off my night at the Skylark Lounge for Fort Collins’s Sour Boy, Bitter Girl. This indie-folk band performed really well, and was a good start for the UMS – a local band who shows their passion for music each time they play, reminiscent of all the great local bands performing this weekend. After the FoCo group, I strolled to the Hi-Dive to see the solo act of Jeremy Messersmith. Messersmith started off his set playing acoustic guitar and singing over a recorded drum beat. His relaxed tunes at times channeled Neil Simon.
After 4 or 5 songs of Messersmith, I decided to head back to the Skylark and check out FoCo band Paean. This group was very intriguing; featuring occasionally non-standard instruments (at one point, there were 3 guitars, a violin, and a bass on stage), the band made a lot of noise. They created brilliantly-structured soundscapes, and filled the Skylark with their avant-rock sounds. I when Paean had finished, I stuck around for Good Evening Titan. Their bright and poppy melodies were another great addition to the night’s shows. I had never heard this group before, but am looking forward to seeing their dancy and upbeat guitar and synth-driven music again.
Next, I ventured back to the Hi-Dive for Shapes Stars Make!, a band from Texas which gave my favorite set of the night. The group draws easy comparison to Explosions in the Sky, if Explosions occasionally sang. Despite their similarity, watching the intensity with which they played was fantastic. I was very sad when they stopped play, after having only heard a few of their songs.
Because Shapes Stars Make! had finished a bit earlier than expected, I was able to catch The Swayback at 3 Kings Tavern. The venue was packed, filled with fans who fully appreciated the energetic punk-rock sounds of the group. After a few songs, however, their set was also over, and it was back to the Skylark for SLS-favorite Candy Claws.
I’ve seen Candy Claws a number of times this summer, heard reviews from friends of their recent sets in Chicago and Somerville, MA, and each time it seems like their a different – but better – band. The dream-pop landscapes they produce are joyous and relaxing, and it seems like they’re finally getting their due. The Skylark was absolutely packed with people eager, and pleased, to hear FoCo’s newest buzz band.
After a great Candy Claws set, we stuck around for Roger Roll. Eric Peterson (who will have played at least 5 sets when the UMS ends on Sunday and receives the honor of Denver’s hardest working musician) fronts this band, which also features Corey Teruya (of Hello Kavita) on bass and a viola and cello. We saw Roger Roll not too long ago at the Hi-Dive, where potential for brilliance was obvious, with the performance not quite matching the song-writing. At the Skylark, however, the group was much more cohesive and the beautifully-written lived up to their promise. It’s exciting to hear such deliberately well-crafted songs, and I’m looking forward to more Roger Roll music in the future.
Finally, it was back to the Hi-Dive for one last band – Paper Bird. As always, this Americana band is fun to listen to and a joy to see live. The Hi-Dive at midnight, however, wasn’t the sort of place where they really shine through. So, after a long first day at the UMS, I ventured back to Golden after 4 or 5 Paper Bird songs, excited to hear them again later on Friday.
Words and photos by Jake Rezac. More coverage from the UMS to come…
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.
Last year, when SLS was still in its first stages, we got a big boost from local music journalist Dave Herrera at Westword when he asked me to nominate 20 bands for the 2009 showcase. A year has passed and once again I was asked to nominate 20 local bands that had made an impression on me. In the spirit of transparency, I’m going to list the bands I nominated. I decided to choose acts I had not previously nominated.
Be sure to check out these groups (even if a few didn’t make the final list) and vote for your favorites by clicking here.
In no particular order… Tim’s picks for the 2010 Westword Music Showcase:
Gregory Alan Isakov
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light
Jim McTurnan & The Kids That Killed The Man
Backstage with Less Than Jake at E-Days 2010
Life has been a bit nuts recently, but it’s understandable. With the wildness of mid-terms and E-Days behind me, I can get back to writing about music. What better way to start back up with a good ‘ol fashioned concert calendar.
4/17 Who’s Having Fun? @ 1346 Lipan: Kicking things off is a day of lo-fi and experimental pop music free of drugs and alcohol. Some of the best up-and-coming acts from Denver and Fort Collins will be there (including Candy Claws, Paean, Night of Joy and Hideous Men, to name a few). Click to poster for more details. A $5 donation is strongly suggested.
4/18 I Am The Dot @ Meadowlark: Zach Tipton may have pulled his roots and gone back to Atlanta, but he hasn’t totally left Denver behind. He’ll be playing with Young Coyotes and as I Am The Dot on Sunday at the Meadowlark.
4/24 Neighborhood Hero CD Release @ Marquis: Making their debut on the Denver music scene Neighborhood Hero will be releasing their EP Three Songs. Julie Tiehen is headlining that night and is also releasing an album. For good measure, Dan Craig will also throw down a set. Listen to “Remembering” from Three Songs by downloading SLS Presents: Colorado Sounds.
4/24 Salesman @ Meadowlark: A bit of Austin is coming up to Colorado for a mini tour. Salesman will be in state starting 4/15 and will play a show on April 24 with Magic Cyclops at the Meadowlark.
4/30 Paean CD Release @ Hi-Dive: Fort Collins-based indie rockers Paean will release Songs For Us To Sing at Hi-Dive at the end of the month. Also playing: Bad Weather California. Listen to a stream of their new record below:
Being on vacation is great. No work, no school, nothing to do. To fight boredom I decided to head to downtown Fort Collins for some Northern Colorado-grown folk and indie-rock on a Sunday night. Rather than writing about each band I’m just going to post a few photos from the night’s sets. Enjoy.
Danielle Ate The Sandwich
Sour Boy, Bitter Girl