The Show(case) Must Go On!

"Our sonic path has altered a bit," confesses lead singer/songwriter John Common. "We started as an alt-country-type band, but now we're headed towards what I'll call American rock. It's not unlike what happened to Wilco. They started as an alt-country band, but now, if you listen to them, their sound is closer to indie rock. For us, it's the same kind of evolution."

The quartet has been working the local music scene for a little over four years and has two albums, Collecting Empties and The Longest Street in America, under its belt. Rainville is currently working on a new disc and enjoying its expansion into the rock realm.

"We still like song-oriented roots stuff, but we're getting a little more aggressive with our sound," Common says. "You're still gonna hear some of our old stuff when we play, but we've worked up a ton of new material. I don't want to keep making the same album. It's not that we're getting rid of our alt-country influence; it's more like we're making room for different styles." -- Hutchinson

ROGUE
NOMINATED IN HARD ROCK
Few Denver musicians can hold a candle to the work ethic of Rogue vocalist Bill Terrell. He makes hundreds of promo calls and puts up a minimum of 10,000 handbills for every show, all while juggling two jobs and a family (he's married with two kids) and managing affairs for the band and his own indie label, Infexious Recordz.

"If my band put as much into it as I do, they'd probably die," Terrell says, laughing. "I'm a workaholic, a severe workaholic."

A hard-hitting metal quartet, Rogue was born in 1996; the current lineup -- Terrell, guitarist John Bollack, drummer Devon Kimzey and bassist E.A. Schuster -- entrenched itself a year later. The band plays 100 shows a year and has opened for such metal icons as Megadeth, Judas Priest and Alice Cooper. The third Rogue Album, Rogue Nation, came out in 2002, and its release party set alcohol sales records at the Ogden Theatre. "Our friends are all dysfunctional alcoholics," notes Terrell.

Built like a cannonball and focused like a laser, Terrell studied opera in college but doesn't sing like it; vacillating between gruff, booming and emotive vocals, he eschews Dio-esque theatrics. His backing band is a metallic juggernaut -- fierce and raw, but technical.

"Success motivates the band," says Terrell. "I have a total fear of dying normal. I'm from a small town in Indiana" -- Terre Haute, where he might well be the second-most-famous former resident after basketball legend Larry Bird. And he's confident he's picked a style with staying power. "Metal will never die," he says. "I think it's coming back tenfold." -- Peterson

SISTA D
NOMINATED IN HIP-HOP
5 P.M., DAZZLE
When hip-hop first started to move west after germinating on the East Coast, Sista D was a preteen girl busting moves and breaking out beats with her friends on the 16th Street Mall.

"They called me Lady D back then," she says. "I was a rapper and I was a breakdancer. We were like the '80s version of the B-boys and B-girls. The boys were the Spin Masters, and I was the Spin Masterette.

"Music has always been part of my life," she adds. "If there was something going on musically in this city, I was there."

Two decades later, Sista D is still here. This month, she'll drop Rapstar, her second full-length album for the local production team Kut-N-Kru; it's her first release since 1999's Sista D in the Mile High City. Produced with her friend and DJ, Scratch G, the album is a hometown shout-out with plenty of Brown pride: One of Denver's only female Latin MCs, Sista D flows with the streetwise swagger and deft rhymes of one who's spent more than a few rounds in the game.

"I think the new album really shows the maturity in my music, that I'll be able to hang with the big boys in the rap industry," she says. "I listen to the radio and hear Lil' Kim, Trina and Foxy, and I think, 'I can give all of them a run for their money.' I hear 'em and it's like, 'I could do that. I do do that.'"

Rapstar coincides with the release of an as-yet-untitled compilation CD of works from other Kut-N-Kru artists; in Sista D's view, the double dose is proof that she's an MC who can lead the charge for Denver hip-hop.

"I see Denver grow. I used to walk the 20th Street viaduct with my mom; it isn't even the same now," she says. "I'm here to stay, and I've been here since the beginning. If anyone's gonna make a claim to fame in this town, it's gonna be me." -- Bond

SONS OF ARMAGEDDON
NOMINATED IN ECLECTIC
7 P.M., LA RUMBA
A nine-piece outfit that trades in "post-apocalyptic electro-jazz," the Sons of Armageddon blend a heady brew of trip-hop, acid jazz, porn-style funk and just about everything under the stylistic sun. First taking the stage in early 2002, the Sons "meld the organic and the inorganic," says Mark Prather, aka DoctorP, the band's drummer and production man.

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