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The Show(case) Must Go On!

"Everything will be looser, but with a tighter sound on this album," offers Mest. "We're just trying to put together the best product we can, so we can hopefully generate enough cash to keep putting out album after album and tour."

According to Mest, southern Colorado, New Mexico and Texas are all on the itinerary in the near future. A return trip to Texas should be well received: Last year the act played a hip-hop showcase at Elements in Dallas to a packed house. Though the group has plans to take the show on the road, the players are far from making their mark on Denver. The local hip-hop scene, much like Dialektix, has come a long way since its formative years.

"Our fans are wide based, and our music is friendly and fun. People have been really supportive -- like Adict [host of Radio 1190's Basementalism] and the local promoters who keep bringing hip-hop artists to town," says Mest. "And the Denver scene is sick, but I wish it was just a little more organized. The cool thing is, though, everyone sounds opposite of each other." -- Herrera

D.O.R.K.
NOMINATED IN PUNK
9 P.M., SERENGETI
Dishing out radio-friendly bubblegum punk, the members of D.O.R.K. have ears for music and minds for business: In fact, guitarist/vocalist Bryan Knoebel just graduated with a finance degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. "And he can play the shit out of the guitar," notes bassist Donovan Welsh.

The year 2002 was a big one for D.O.R.K., and 2003 is shaping up pretty nicely, too. Last September, the band traveled to Los Angeles and recorded three songs with producer Geza X, whose client list includes Primus and Sonic Youth. "We were extremely excited," says Welsh. "But we were extremely intimidated to work with the multi-platinum producer, being a young band." D.O.R.K.'s members range in age from nineteen (guitarist Schuyler Ankele) to 25 (Welsh). For all but drummer Jimmy Blair -- Knoebel, Ankele, Welsh, and vocalist Dylan Martinez -- D.O.R.K. represents a first band experience.

Tunes like "Friday Night" ("The cops show up, everybody turns to run/Running from the police is half the fun") unapologetically target the pubescent, adolescent and I-refuse-to-grow-up demographics. "Most of our fans are kids...ages twelve to 25," says Welsh. "We did the bar scene here in Denver, and then we started doing all-ages shows, and our numbers started getting a lot better." The typical draw boomed from around 100 attendees to more than 500.

D.O.R.K. has just come off a West Coast tour that was capped by two weeks in an L.A. studio and plans to self-release its debut album in the fall, to coincide with a national tour. "We're this close to being full-time with it," says Welsh, holding his forefinger and thumb a quarter-inch apart.

What looks like an acronym actually stands for, well, just dork. "It's just to get you to ask," says Welsh. But D.O.R.K. is soliciting ideas from its fans. Talk about geek love. -- Peterson

DRESSY BESSY
NOMINATED IN POP
10 P.M., DAZZLE
There's an art to pop music: Melodies have to be sharp and compact, familiar hooks should be given just the right twist, and there must be a delicate balance between elation and pensiveness. Dressy Bessy's got the formula down. Drawing mostly from the chirpy sounds of the '60s, the group long ago climbed out from under the shadow of the Apples in Stereo; Apples guitarist John Hill formed Dressy Bessy in 1997 with singer/guitarist Tammy Ealom, drummer Darren Albert and bassist Rob Greene. While both Bessy and the Apples look backward to the era of classic pop, the members of the former seem less like archaeologists of the period than they do kids on a beach digging up seashells.

Little Music is the band's third and latest disc, a collection of singles and compilation tracks, and it's the perfect overview of Dressy Bessy's nearly seven years of crafting raw, gorgeous pop. Though often stuck with lazy comparisons to candy bars and jump ropes and such, the group's sound has much more depth and dimension. Songs like "Gloria Days" and "2 My Question" come across like a roughed-up Beach Boys or Association, making ache and isolation sound oddly hummable. "Live to Tell All" and "Lipstick" are straight out of the garage, but the ragged abrasion of the Troggs is softened with a knack for singsong melody worthy of the Ohio Express. Throughout the album, doe-eyed innocence is tempered with winks of mischief -- and even an occasional downcast glance of regret and melancholy.

The band has toured numerous times across the U.S. and Europe and contributed to the surprisingly great indie-rock soundtrack to The Powerpuff Girls Movie. With stuff like Avril Lavigne's music and American Idol making "pop" a bad word all over again, thank Dressy Bessy for keeping the art form vital, true and pure. -- Heller

FLOORFILLERZ: DJ VITAMIN D AND SEAN BIDDLE
NOMINATED IN DJ/DANCE/ELECTRONIC
10 P.M., THE CHURCH
DJs Derrick Daisey (aka DJ Vitamin D) and Sean Biddle have been staples of the Denver house scene for years. Both moved here in 1995 and came together two years later to form the DJ duo Floorfillerz. "We got the name because these kids wanted us to do a remix for them," recalls Daisey; the group, called Floorfillers, never paid the pair for their efforts. Later, Daisey and Biddle accidentally adopted the deadbeat group's name. "It wasn't until later that I was like, 'That's where that name came from,'" Daisey says, laughing. Adds Biddle, "They didn't think it was very funny."

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