By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Welcome to the twelfth annual Westword Music Showcase. Twelve -- the dirty dozen. Can you believe it? When we launched the first Showcase all those years ago on a rainy Sunday night in LoDo, who would've thought that it would grow to such a mammoth event?
Then again, did anyone ever imagine that Denver music would take such a quantum leap over the last decade, that our scene would become so high-profile? Heck, we still remember being blown away when we found the Fluid's albums mixed in with all those other "national" releases at the local record store. Back then, if you asked most musicians, they would have said that you just couldn't make it out of Denver -- that you had about as much of a chance of getting a record deal as you had of playing at Red Rocks.
How things have changed. These days, local bands are filling Red Rocks and signing deals like crazy. From Morning After Records entering into a partnership with Island Def/Jam, to the Fray climbing to the top of the Billboard charts and selling out nearly every show on its headlining tour, to Rose Hill Drive linking up with Megaforce Records, Denver has become a bona fide music town.
Thing is, we didn't need any record-label execs to validate our scene. The Mile High City has always possessed amazing talent. And we've followed that talent every step of the way. So even as the scene has grown, so has the Showcase. Think last year's lineup was great? Buckle up, pal. It's even better this year, with must-see performances on the Outdoor Stage (including one by Arrested Development), a funkalicious dance party at La Rumba, indie-centric outfits at the Acoma Center, an alt-country superbill at Shelter, a jazz-and-blues blowout at Dazzle, and singer-songwriters at the Bannock St. Garage. Oh, and don't forget about the rock extravaganza at Milk Bar, or the hip-hop hootenanny on Vinyl's rooftop, or the DJ dance party in Vinyl's main room. And if you dare, stop by the punk-and-metal throwdown at Two AM hosted by Maris the Great, which is guaranteed to rip your face off.
You'll wish you could clone yourself to catch all the acts. To help you prepare, we've compiled this Showcase guide. Every performer and group nominated this year was sent a survey; read the answers we received below. For updates, go to www.westword.com.
Enjoy, and we'll see you at the Showcase. -- Dave Herrera
BASHEBA EARTH (Portia Davis)
NOMINATED IN HIP-HOP -- MC
Personnel: Timbuk cutz sharp on the 1's and 2's; Eitef (ee-tef) Hotep Vita from Moetavation is the fiery ampman/vocalz/afrikan drumz.
Native or transplant? I am a Pioneer descendant mixed with Blak and Cherokee.
Releases/discography: Just released the Mothership this past spring; have a song, “Bladez of Tongue,” featuring Chuck D., on DJ Phyre Presents Ghetto Manifesto; the song “Undaground Railroad” appears on SoulLovely; and “Horizon” appears on Tommy Tee's Beats, Bonds & Beliefs.
Describe your music in a sentence: Wavez uv galaktik luv waiting 2 bust ur head open.
Do you think you can make it out of Denver? I have actually had the wonderful opportunity to travel; being my home town, I got out of here as fast as I could when I was twenty! New York had much luv for my art, as well as the East Coast and Down South, 2. Spent time in the ATL -- it was fly, fo' sho'! So I been gettin' luv 4 sumtym, grateful and honored 2 have blessed many a stage. Be my pleasure 2 rock plenty more!
What's your idea of "making it"? My idea uv making it is having the ability 2 travel and touch folkz with my galaktik flyness while making a decent living in order 2 have sumthing 2 pass on 2 my kidz, like a healthy planet with oxygen, 4 example.
What local artist(s) are you most excited about? There is ALOT uv talent here in Colorado! I'm no good for competition; I like everybody. I believe in buildin' and not tryin' to battle. I'm feelin' Black P., and Yo, Flaco! and Future Jazz are both tight, and so are Flobots and 5 Style Fist. Dent got skillz, 2. Melissa Ivey is off the hook. DJ Lazy Eye be holdn' it down, and so do DJ Idiom. I'm just old-fashioned like that: I don't believe in being the best, I simply believe in doing ur best.
What albums have had the biggest impact on you? KRS-1, Edutainment; Public Enemy, Yo Bum Rush the Show; Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon; Stevie Wonder (every album he has ever done); Alice Coltrane, Ptah; The El Daoud and A Tribe Called Quest, People's Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm.
Myspace: godsend or the devil? I never have time 4 it, but it's a great marketing tool. www.myspace.com/bashebaearth.