Tag: Safe Boating is No Accident
Oh the subjectivity! Trying to decide on my favorite shows from the last few years is truly a difficult proposition. For this post I’m just going to talk about shows that were not a part of bigger festivals. These shows serve as a sampling of events that had such an impact that I can still remember them today.
Hot IQs – Farewell show at The Bluebird – June 19, 2009: The first Denver band I ever got in to was Hot IQs. I would listen to them on KCSU in Fort Collins when I was in high school. I saw them a few times before their farewell show, and every time was something special. Their at-capacity grand finale at the Bluebird was no exception: burlesque dancers, a Cookie Monster costume, and some of the catchiest pop-rock this city has ever known.
Hot Congress Prevue – Patrick Kelly’s Apartment – October 16, 2009: Pulling up to the ill-kept apartment building on Pearl St. had me second-guessing my choice to go downtown until I got inside and experienced the wild house party thrown by Hot Congress. That night introduced me to a bunch of great acts: Old Radio (now Amazing Twin), Night of Joy, the Jim Jims, and Fissure Mystic.
Everything Absent or Distorted – Farewell show at the Bluebird – October 24, 2009: I cannot remember a more raucous, energetic, and ultimately melancholy show than EAoD’s last big gig. Playing through every song they had ever written (and then some), the 11+ members of EAoD kept going until nearly 3 am.
Brand New – The Fillmore – January 30, 2010: Another throw back to my high school years, Brand New has always had a special place in my music library. As I grew up my tastes changed and Brand New changed along with them. No longer an emo-troupe, they brought their newer style of manic Lonesome Crowded West-inspired music to the Fillmore in a set that celebrated the new while appreciating the old.
Tjutjuna & Fissure Mystic – 7″ Split release at Meadowlark – February 5, 2010: Apart from Dick Dale (king of the surf guitar), the loudest show I have ever been to was Tjutjuna at the Meadowlark. With Woodsman and Fissure Mystic opening, it was certainly a night of intense psych the likes of which I have seldom seen replicated.
Julian Lynch – The Low Key – May 20, 2010: On an unassuming street in north Fort Collins sat a rather normal looking house. This was no ordinary house, it was the residence of Matt Sage who had dubbed it “The Lowkey.” During his time there Matt hosted shows for the underground and experimental alike. I happened to be in Ft. Collins one summer when Julian Lynch came through for a set of experimental tunes. I still remember sitting in that basement taking in the sound and color.
Denver Does Denver 2010 – August 28, 2010: It was fitting that my return from Chicago was marked by a showcase of Denver music and art. Hearing Safe Boating is No Accident take on Pee Pee, Pink Hawks doing Bad Weather California, and the Flobots performing Hot IQs made this an unforgettable event.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount – November 2, 2010: Last fall was undoubtedly the hardest academic semester I ever undertook. This had me feeling down on most things, concerts included. Fortunately I was lifted out of my funk by the prolific Sufjan Stevens. This performance helped me realize how magnificent The Age of Adz really is.
Hello Kavita – Farewell show at the Hi-Dive – December 28, 2010: Of all the times I saw Hello Kavita, this one was my favorite. Not only did Roger, Roll open (it was their farewell show too), but Hello Kavita played one of the fullest sets I can recall. From old and new originals, to Steely Dan covers, and a mash-up of “Colorado” with Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” it was Hello Kavita at their best.
Bad Weather California – Rhinoceropolis – February 18, 2011: I will close with this show, because it stands as a harbinger of things to come. While I only went to the Rhinoceropolis a few times during the life of SLS, I was always impressed by the nature of the place: it is a venue that encourages innovation. Bad Weather California has played the warehouse space more times than most, and as the group prepares for the release of their new full-length I can’t help but wonder where they’ll go and what kind of audience they’ll reach.
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.
Every year for the last 3 years I have been invited to act as a nominating committee member for the Westword Music Showcase. Every year I publish my picks for the sake of total transparency and because I think these bands deserve some recognition (even if they didn’t make the final ballot cut). The rules for nomination were simple: name 20 local bands which have had an impact on me in the past year (with the stipulation that none can have business ties to me, because that would be a conflict of interest). I have taken things a step further and decided to not re-nominate any act which I nominated in a past year. So here they are, in no particular order:
Night of Joy
Oak Creek Band
Fingers of the Sun
Panal SA De CV
I would have also nominated the following, but can’t since they’re all affiliated with my record label (don’t let that stop you from checking them out).
The first thing you’ve probably got to say about this post is “Take it easy on the acronyms, we can only take so many ‘nyms you know.” Yes, I do know, so I will explain:
SBiNA: Safe Boating is No Accident (possibly one of the best band names in Denver)
BWC: Bad Weather California (although I don’t think they actually have bad weather in California)
NoJ: Night of Joy (yeah, nothing to coy or sly to say here, maybe they’re just musicians who are happy and play at night)
In any case, last Friday found me in 5 Points for my biannual trip to Rhinoceropolis (it seems that I only make it down there about twice a year, it’s not intentional though). The lineup for the evening was an entirely local showcase of bands I hadn’t seen in a few months. Safe Boating kicked off the night with a few songs from their record Isn’t It Fun. At this point in the review I’m going to send you away to read a write-up from Leighton Peterson’s “mom” (click here, it’s quite the entertaining read, but come back when you’re done please).
Bad Weather California was next and had (what I would consider) the best set of the night. The group recently returned from recording a new full length in Detroit with members of Akron/Family and their enthusiasm for the new material showed. A sampling of new and old songs kept people dancing in the smoky room as Chris Adolf & Co. pulled out jammer after jammer. It was really excellent to see this group playing in their prime.
The last band I stuck around to see was punk trio Night of Joy. Their high-energy, raw power style kept everyone moving and moshing around even though the clock had already passed 1 am. Their set was a collection of original songs capped off with an cover of Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Shifter Unit” that kicked and screamed off into that good night.
In late 2009 Something Like Sound released Colorado Sounds, a compilation of music from the Centennial State. Two years later Colorado Sounds Volume 2 is making its debut with an expanded roster and greater diversity of sound. The new release comes just weeks before Denver bands and fans swarm Austin, TX for the annual SXSW conference (where download cards for this free compilation will be liberally distributed). Curator Tim Weilert designed this project with one goal in mind: expose people everywhere to the quality and uniqueness of modern music in Colorado.
- Dan Craig – Enough – from Alchemy
- Gregory Alan Isakov – Evelyn – from This Empty Northern Hemisphere
- John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light– In My Neighborhood – from Beautiful Empty
- The Raven and the Writing Desk – Space Grenade – from RECIDIVIST
- Flashbulb Fires – Revenge Song – from Glory
- The Knew – Yellow Moon – previously unreleased
- Monroe Monroe – Ready The Fall – from Love Wins EP
- American Tomahawk – Sunshine People – from Contradictions, Generalities, and Future Criminals
- Fingers of the Sun – In My Basement – previously unreleased
- Amazing Twin – Naked Girl, Pt. 2 – from New Wives’ Tale
- Makeout Point – Don’t Drown Me, Please – from Don’t Look Up
- Safe Boating Is No Accident – Who Will Marry You? – from Isn’t It Fun?
- Thrifty Astronaut – Middleclass Suburban Teenager Blues – from Caffeine Heartache
- I Am The Dot – We Have Not Arrived – from Bridges EP & A Collection of Songs (2008-2010)
- FLASHLIGHTS – More Sunlight – from FLASHLIGHTS EP
- Fellow Citizens – Cincinnati – from Fellow Citizens
- The Biz – Infinite Light – from The Ancient Future
- PANAL S.A. DE C.V. – You Knew I Was A Snake – from You Knew I Was A Snake Single
- At The Forefront – Till I Find You – previously unreleased
- Tjutjuna – Mosquito Hawk – from Tjutjuna
Of all the shows I could have attended to mark my return from Chicago there are few that could hold a candle to Denver Does Denver. Not only did I get to see (nearly) everyone from the Denver music scene, but I also witnessed some truly excellent art. For those unfamiliar with the premise of Denver Does Denver, here’s the low-down: Local bands covered 3 to 5 songs from other Colorado musicians (there was also a graphic-art portion of the evening too). I could not do every set its due justice, so I’ll just be covering the highlights.
Safe Boating Is No Accident (covering Pee Pee): Dedicated to the “departed” Doo Crowder, SBiNA played a tribute to folk-collective Pee Pee. Starting with a high-energy rendition of “Jaroline,” SBiNA displayed the same amount of energy and musicianship you’d expect from the ~10-person Pee Pee, but with a concentrated 4-piece. The jammer “Pee-Pee Song” may have been a loose interpretation of the original, but I’m not really sure that a meticulous copy would be an effective way to channel the song’s namesake. (SBiNA also gave out copies of their forthcoming EP, expect a review soon! Release show 9/3 at Hi-Dive).
Night of Joy (covering Lust Cats of the Gutters, T. Rex): The normally reserved crowd at DdD got loose when Night of Joy ripped through covers of fellow Denver femme-punks Lust Cats of the Gutters. Even without their signature eye make-up, Night of Joy kept things at a “face-melting” level (see above photo) as they transitioned into playing a couple T. Rex covers (not technically a Denver-band, but at that point nobody cared).
Pink Hawks (covering Bad Weather California): The 11-piece Pink Hawks took on one of Denver’s beloved underground band Bad Weather California in a stunning display that earned my nod as “best set of DdD 2010.” Festival organizer Yuzo Nieto and his big band breathed a distinct latin-flavor and energy into BWC classics such as “New Religion,” “Two Ways,” and “This Is My Country Too,” ending with the most frenzied version of “Let’s Go To Bed” ever performed.
Flobots (covering Tickle Me Pink, Hot IQs, The Pirate Signal): For a band that has found success on the national level, the Flobots certainly haven’t lost connection with their roots. Playing a set at the packed-out Flobots.org Community Space the group started off with a spoken-word rendition of Tickle Me Pink’s “Typical” (the performance felt slightly jestful, in the same vein as Pictureplane’s take on 3Oh!3 at last year’s DdD). The highlight of the Flobots set was certainly their take on the late Hot IQs- complete with a rap-rhyme segment worked in during the bridge on “Retromuff.” Closing out with a couple Pirate Signal tunes, the entire crowd got down to the hip-hop beats that filled the small space.
For many more photos (including Key of D, Tom Murphy, Hunter Dragon, Houses, and more) click here.