Nov 162012

Denver electro-pop artist Roniit.

Searching for some great live gigs in Denver this weekend? There are plenty of ’em, as usual. To help narrow the search, here are a few suggestions from the cream of the crop.


Local blues/funk band Chris Daniels & the Kings will be headlining at the Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st St. in Denver. Tickets are $10-$15, available from Soiled Dove Underground. Doors at 7:00 PM; show starts at 8:00. Ages 21+.

Denver folk-rock act Grub Street Writer will be performing at The Walnut Room, 3133 Walnut St. in Denver. Opening acts include Poet’s Row and Jon Boland. Tickets are $7 each, available from The Walnut Room. Doors at 7:00 PM. Ages 21+.

Local electro-pop artist Roniit is having an EP release show at the Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway in Denver. Openers are Eldren and AdrienneO. Tickets are $8 each, available from the Hi-Dive. Service charge may apply. Doors at 8:00; show starts at 9:00. Ages 18+.


Hot Congress Records is having a showcase at 3 Kings Tavern, 60. S. Broadway in Denver, featuring local acts Achille Lauro, Shady Elders, Kissing Party, Hindershot and Fingers of the Sun. Tickets are $7 each, available through 3 Kings Tavern. Service charge may apply. Show starts at 9:00 PM. Ages 21+.

Indie-folk act the Ben Sollee Trio is making a tour stop at Swallow Hill Music (Daniels Hall), 71 E. Yale in Denver. Opening the show is Luke Reynolds (Guster). Tickets are $18 each, available from Swallow Hill. Discount given to Swallow Hill members. Show starts at 8:00 PM. This show is all-ages.

Have a great weekend!

Oct 262012

Photo: Shelby McQuilkin.

There are plenty of great live shows going on this weekend in and around Denver, with both local and touring acts performing. If you need some help narrowing the search for some awesome live music in the Mile High, check out some of the more promising events below.


I managed to make it out to Megan Burtt‘s Bonnie Raitt tribute show at The Walnut Room last night; what an awesome evening of music! If you didn’t brave the elements to make it out there last night, she’s playing the show again tonight at The Little Bear, 27895 Hwy. 74 in Evergreen, between 6:30-9:30 PM. It’s well worth the drive up the hill to see it. Stay on even later to catch Janiva Magness starting at 10:30 pm. $6 cover at the door at 5:00 pm, $12 cover after 8:00 pm. Ages 21+.


Gypsy-punk act DeVotchKa is making their annual return to the Front Range for their Halloween show. This year’s event is dubbed “The Day Of the Dead” Ball, and happens Friday and Saturday night at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. in Boulder. Opening acts include March Fourth Marching Band on Friday, and Land Lines on Saturday. Tickets are $29.50 per night (plus service charge), available through Boulder Theater. Doors at 8:00 pm nightly, show starts at 9:00. Friday’s show is all-ages; Saturday’s is 21+.


Blues-rockers Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are making a tour stop at Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson in Denver. Opening act is Rayland Baxter. Tickets are $34.50 plus service charge, available from LiveNation. Showtime at 7:00 pm. Ages 16+.


Local indie-rockers Instant Empire are playing a show at The Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut St. in Denver. Openers are FaceMan and Somerset. Tickets are $10 each, available from The Walnut Room. Doors at 8:00 pm. Ages 21+.


Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Kaki King is also playing at The Walnut Room this weekend, on Saturday night, along with Beekeeper. Tickets are $18 advance, $20 day of show, available from The Walnut Room. Doors at 7:00 pm. Ages 21+.

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Oct 122012

Looking for some great live music this weekend in Denver? As usual, there’s a lot to choose from–and as usual, I’ve narrowed it down to a few of the more promising shows to help make it easier to decide. You’re welcome.


British singer/songwriter Beth Orton is appearing at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th Street in Boulder. Opening act is Sam Amidon. Tickets are $25 each (plus service charge), available from Fox Theatre. Add $2 for under 21. Doors at  8:30 PM; show starts at 9:00. Ages 12+.

Boulder all-vocal band Face is headlining at the Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 E. 1st St. in Denver. Tickets are $12-$15 each, available from Soiled Dove Underground. Doors at 7:00 PM; show starts at 8:00. Ages 21+.


Local singer/songwriter Kyle James Hauser is playing a “Farewell to Colorado” show at the Hi-Dive, 7 S. Broadway in Denver, before relocating to Kentucky. Opening the show are Lee Avenue and Natalie Tate. Tickets are $7 (plus service charge), available from the Hi-Dive. Doors at 8:00 PM; show starts at 9:00. Ages 21+.

New York-based singer/songwriter Ron Pope is making a tour stop at The Oriental Theater, 4335 W. 44th Ave. in Denver. Opening acts include The Stolen Instruments and Poet’s Row. Tickets are $12 each, available through The Oriental Theater. Doors at 7:00 PM; show starts at 8:00. This is an all-ages show.

Have a great weekend!

Oct 032012

If you’ve hung around the Denver music scene much, you’ve probably heard of rock/funk band Bop Skizzum. Founded by former Flobots member Andy “Rok” Guerrero, this band has been rapidly making a name for itself, not just for their niche fusion of rock/funk/soul, but simply by making great music. I’ve seen them play around town a few times, and each time I’ve seen their high-energy performance take over the crowd.

Next week, Bop Skizzum officially releases its new album Coloradical, and I have to say I’m even more impressed than I was before. It’s tight, professional, well-produced, and shows great range–and in my opinion, it represents very well what I’ve seen live on stage.

While “funk” is probably the dominant trait in Bop’s sound, it would be unfair to pigeonhole them as such. They gravitate easily (and seamlessly) between funk, soul, rock, pop and even hip-hop, and are just as able to throw down a moving ballad as they are a rock jam. Lead singer Julie Almeria’s vocals are flawless, SF1’s occasional raps add to the mix, and the horn section is just plain tasty.


The album will be released officially on October 9, but you can hear a sneak peak with the lead single “Do You Want It?” embedded below. And if you’re in the Denver area this Saturday night, you owe it to yourself to catch Bop Skizzum’s official CD release party at The Gothic Theatre, also featuring Rachel and the Kings, Rebel Tongue, In the Whale and Dakar.


Sep 202012

Ayo Awosika. (Photo: Jeff McQ)

Welcome to the new Denver Live Music Weekend Picks! This feature has been moved to The Oomph Music Blog from my column at The weekend picks are here to give you tips for catching some of the more promising shows each weekend in the Denver area. That said…let’s get started.


Canadian electro-pop outfit Dragonette will headline at Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St. in Denver. Opening the show is The Knocks. Tickets are $20.75 advance, $25 day of show, available through Larimer Lounge. Doors at 7pm, show starts at 8pm. Ages 16+ for this show.

Local singer/songwriter Wendy Woo is playing at the Little Bear Saloon, Hwy 74 in downtown Evergreen. $6 cover at the door; Wendy starts playing at 9pm. Ages 21+.


Local jazz/soul vocalist Ayo Awosika is headlining a show at Swallow Hill, 71 E. Yale in Denver. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 day of show, available from Swallow Hill. $2 discount for Swallow Hill members. Show starts at 8pm, and is all ages.

Canada rocker Bryan Adams is making a tour stop at the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place in downtown Denver. Tickets are $25-$75 (plus service charge), available from TicketHorse. Show starts at 8pm. This is an all-ages show!

Have a great weekend!

Jul 222012

I have to be honest: between a hectic schedule involving more than just the UMS and overall exhaustion, I went home a bit early from the Underground Music Showcase on Saturday in order to save my strength for Sunday. :) However, I did manage to catch a few cool shows in the time I was there, including separate acoustic sets by Churchill’s Tim Bruns and Bethany Kelly at The Hornet (with an acoustic set by The Heyday sandwiched in between them).

(Forgive the quality of the pics–point-and-shoot on the fly.) :)

Bethany Kelly

I also stopped by The Irish Rover to catch a few minutes of Americana/country artist Patrick Dethlefs, and was duly impressed. I’m gonna have to make plans to hear more of this guy.

Patrick Dethlefs

Evening on the main stage was dominated by touring noise-rockers A Place to Bury Strangers and local act Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, both of whom drew large crowds, and both of whom did justice to their sets.

A Place to Bury Strangers

Off the beaten path of UMS are several “unofficial” house shows that go on now and again. I stopped by for a few minutes at the home of Nate Meese (dubbed “The Banana Stand”) to catch glimpses of In the Whale, The Centennial and Churchill.

The Centennial

Before heading home, I stopped into South Broadway Christian Church (along with a lot of other people) to see cellist Ian Cooke’s solo performance. If you haven’t heard him play, you haven’t fully experienced the Denver music scene. There’s a reason he draws crowds.

Tonight wraps up the UMS, and on the hot list tonight for me: Nathaniel Rateliff, Megan Burtt, In the Whale, Glowing House, The Centennial, and Rachel and the Kings, among others.

Jul 202012

If day one is any indication, this year’s Underground Music Showcase is on track to be the best attended yet, and possibly the best one overall.

I’ve been to several of these things, and in my experience, opening night of the UMS is generally slow as things are just getting started and people are just starting to trickle into the event. But last night, it felt as though everything was already in full swing, even without the main outdoor stages active (which will open tonight), with numerous shows filled almost to capacity. (Not bad considering the current heat wave.) Likewise, the bands I saw all seemed to be energized and on their game. A lot of great music for opening night. Here is just a sampling of things seen and heard at Day One of UMS 2012.

Indie rock band Wire Faces kicked things off at 3 Kings Tavern with a high-energy set of music. This interesting 3-piece band has a sound that somehow seems bigger than the sum of its parts, with Shane Zweigardt leading center stage from the drums. Very solid.  Meanwhile, a couple of doors down at the Irish Rover, there was standing room only for the set of indie-folk band Fairchildren, who plays around the area when not backing up Nathaniel Rateliff. (Nathaniel is slated for the main stage Sunday night.)

The Oak Creek Band, a Denver roots/rock band (by way of Arizona), also played a lively set at the Skylark Lounge. It was my first time hearing them play and I was fairly impressed by their sound, which blends elements of rock, soul and even a tinge of country.

I’m taking a quick break to write this as the UMS is already underway tonight (Friday). Must-sees for tonight include The Raven and the Writing Desk and John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light. I’ll let you know.

Oct 092011

So before I tell you about singer/songwriter Stephanie Mabey, a bit of a disclaimer…

Just so you know, I’m a huge believer in crowdfunding projects and sites like Kickstarter, and I’m even down for throwing some money at them myself. But I’ve had some misgivings about promoting artists who are doing Kickstarter campaigns, simply because I am friends with some of these people, and I don’t want to create a conflict of interest or be accused of playing favorites with promising artists who are raising money for their projects–as in, “You promoted so-and-so’s project–why didn’t you support mine?”  I just don’t want to go there.

And yet, this morning, I’m all like, “Well, if I am willing to promote someone’s record on this blog after it was made, how is it any different to promote it before it gets made?” So that made me think of it a little differently.

And then there’s the question: if we don’t do what we can for an artist whose music really ought to be released, perhaps it won’t be–and then where would we be?

The thing is, after hearing a couple of tracks from her upcoming record Waking Up Dreaming, I’m convinced that Stephanie Mabey’s music needs to get out there. She’s very current both in songwriting and in style, and her songs are engaging. The song below, “Zombie Song” (which Stephanie is currently giving away for free), currently has my vote for most entertaining song of the year. It’s inventive, funny, and extremely catchy–not to mention it’s a perfect song for October. :)

So don’t expect me to make a habit of this, but since I suppose it’s my prerogative to support a record “before the fact” or “after the fact”–I’m inviting my readers to participate in this particular campaign. At this moment, Stephanie needs to raise about $1400 in the next week to complete her record, or she basically has to start over with fundraising. So if you dig the track below, hop on over to her Kickstarter page and at least pre-order the record. If you want to do a little more, she’s offering plenty of cool incentives, as well. If we all do our part, “mabey” we can get it done.

Oh, come on. You knew that pun was coming, didn’t you?


ADDENDUM NOVEMBER 1: Not only has Stephanie surpassed her Kickstarter goal, but she’s released a YouTube vid of The Zombie Song which is getting lots of views. Thought I’d stick it here as well:

Jun 292011

I'm With Her (Photo: Lucia De Giovanni)

What do you get when you take an established country/roots singer from Denver and an established folk singer from Fargo, and put ’em together? When Angie Stevens and Haley E. Rydell tried it, they came up with a new collaboration called I’m With Her.

Both artists have found success on their own–Stevens with her band Angie Stevens & the Beautiful Wreck, and Rydell with Haley E. & the Rydells–but this collaboration seems to combine the best of both artists in an expression that is much different than what either one has produced thus far.  According to Stevens, with whom I had a chance to talk prior to the release of I’m With Her’s self-titled EP, this project provided a chance for them to share some heartfelt music that doesn’t quite fit the vibe of the artists’ respective bands.

Released earlier this month on Stevens’ label Boss Koala Records, the I’m With Her EP contains songs that are simple, reflective, passionate, beautiful…and deep.

Deep.  That’s a good word for it. The girls ventured into deeper waters with this collaboration. If you’re a fan of Stevens, Rydell, or both, chances are you’ll love this collaboration a lot.

Take a listen to the track below, and if you like it, go buy the EP at I’m With Her’s Bandcamp site.

I’m With Her: “But I Do”

Jan 012011

I first heard indie-folk band Glowing House play live in a Denver venue, and I was impressed to the point that I asked to review their record. The band is co-fronted by singer/songwriters Jess Parsons and Steve Varney, accompanied by Patrick Kline on percussion. Together, the band features an interesting duality–although the overall sound is definitely folk, Parsons’ voice adds a touch of jazz while Varney leans more toward an alternative sound. Don’t ask me how, but the combination works.

The Annual Demise of Every Aspen was released back in 2009, and listening to them live a few weeks ago, it was apparent that Glowing House has grown beyond the music on their record.  Annual Demise carries an overall downtempo melancholy which you might expect with a title like that, and they’ve expanded their sound a bit since then. Nevertheless, the record has some brilliant moments on it–strong melody lines, solid harmonies, and some haunting string arrangements thrown in.

Thankfully, Glowing House has announced that they’re recording a new record that will hopefully reflect their expanded range. If Annual Demise is any indication, we have a lot to look forward to. This band is definitely on my radar.

Glowing House: “Paper And Pen”