I’ll talk more about changes in The Oomph after the UMS, but for now, let me use this as a bit of a diary to talk about Day One (yesterday), and share some picks for Day Two (tonight).
First of all, the UMS is my favorite Denver music fest, and it continues to grow year by year. While opening night crowds are usually a little sparse, they definitely were NOT sparse this year. By the time the 9:00 hour rolled around, most of the venues I visited were at or near capacity–so I’m thinking the UMS may be breaking attendance records again this year.
I started out Thursday night at the Hi-Dive to catch psych-rockers Hollow Talk, who started late and stalled on their opening tune, but managed to hit their stride soon after. A pretty solid opening once it got started. Afterward, I hiked up to The Hornet to catch a Nashville-based artist named Christian Lee Hutson (well, actually, it was Christian Lee Hutson and a female friend on BGVs). A really cool vibe for those who like their country “old-school”.
Wandering down Broadway, I stopped in for a few minutes of local act Somerset Catalog, a self-described “bubble-gum doom pop outfit” comprised of bandmates from Poet’s Row and The Big Get Even. I could tell within a minute why the Irish Rover was packed to the gills. Keep your eye on this band.
From there, I wandered down to Skylark Lounge to catch the last 10 minutes of Calder’s Revolvers, which turned out to be the best 10 minutes of music I heard all night. A solid soul/rock flavor, the kind that scratches the inner itch of a musical soul like mine. Definitely gonna make more time for these guys the next time around.
Other honorable mentions of the evening go to Science Partner at Skylark Lounge (who are consistently great to listen to, and fun to watch), and folk artist Elin Palmer at The Hornet, who recently began performing again in Denver after spending several years in her home country of Sweden (welcome back!).
MY PICKS FOR DAY TWO
Just so you know, I generally leave main stage coverage to the other guys, so if you’re coming to the UMS for the headliners, hang out there, and you’ll hear some good music. If you’re like me and you are looking for gems in the smaller venues, here are just a few bands worth checking out Friday night (obviously NOT a comprehensive list):
Kyle James Houser (Skylark Lounge, 6pm)
A Mouthful of Thunder (Illegal Pete’s, 6pm)
Covenhoven (South Broadway Christian Church, 7pm)
The Maykit (Irish Rover, 7pm)
Rachel and the Kings (Irish Rover, 9pm)
Navy (South Broadway Christian Church, 9pm)
Disgrace the Traitor (Moe’s BBQ, 10pm)
Flashbulb Fires (Illegal Pete’s, 11pm)
Strange Americans (Irish Rover, midnight)
The Yawpers (Skylark Lounge, midnight)