By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Britt Chester
By Noah Hubbell
Welcome to the seventeenth annual Westword Music Showcase. Seventeen years! On the one hand, that's a long freaking time — a lifetime, in fact, for some of our performers. The members of Sauna, for example: They were born the same year that Westword launched this event: 1994. (Yeah — let that sink in for a moment.)
But on the other hand, seventeen is an enviable age. Ask Winger. And like those precocious kids in Sauna, the Showcase is still young and good-looking, as the Dwarves would say, old enough to know right from wrong but too young to say "no" — and young enough to raise some hell without it going on your permanent record.
1100 Acoma St.
Denver, CO 80210
Category: Music Venues
Region: Central Denver
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On Saturday, June 18, we'll be raising a lot of hell, essentially throwing a big-ass kegger in the back yard — the Golden Triangle, where the Westword office is located — and inviting our friends and our favorite bands to throw down at the Westword Music Showcase. Hands down, this is one of the values of the summer — seriously, each of the national acts on the main stage (read about them on page 68) is more than worth the price of the ticket — with performances by more than a hundred of the town's best local acts, culled from this year's Westword Music Showcase ballot (which you'll find on page 48) and playing on fifteen stages in the neighborhood.
To help you get to know this year's performers a little better, we asked each of the featured bands to tell you everything you need to know about them in 100 words or less. Read what they have to say, in their own words, and then check them out this Saturday.
But first, get your tickets. They're $30 the day of the Showcase — and that's assuming there are any tickets left (last year's sold out). And be sure to stop by Backbeatblog.com for a more thorough rundown and download free music from the performers.
See you at the Showcase!A. Tom Collins Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 6:00-6:30 Curious Theatre
Before you ask, the answer is "yes": a. Tom Collins is the great-great-grandson of Tom Collins, creator of the eponymous gin cocktail. Other notable relations, near and distant, include British monarch Anne Boleyn, second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin, fictional detective Hercule Poirot, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons. But here we are, in the present moment, the only time that actually exists — according to Zen Buddhism (and the Stooges) — and a. Tom Collins walks among us, taking note of the wilderness of horrors and occasional blips of joy that are this waking life and turning them into boozy, moody, stomp-and-wrangle-worthy anthems of the times. With inexhaustible insight and a smoky voice, Collins slithers, smooths and seduces his notes into your skull and soul, lilting and tilting the moments between awareness and suffering, the hot-potato game of tragic flaws, leaning on and propping up love, alternately.Aakash Mittal Nominated in Jazz 2:15-3:00 Dazzle
Aakash Mittal is emerging as a fresh voice in the creative music scene. His latest self-released album, Videsh, has been hailed as "point[ing] toward new possibilities in improvised music." This stems from his approach to composition and improvisation, where Mittal is not held back by specific genres but draws inspiration from an eclectic mix of modern jazz, rock, Indian raga music and field samples of our modern world to tell a story of the human experience. As a composer, Mittal has written extensively for jazz quartet and was commissioned to write "Urban Raga" for the Playground Ensemble. Mittal has self-released two recordings, Possible Beginnings and Videsh, to rave reviews (aakashmittal.com).
Accordion Crimes Nominated in Post-Punk 1:30-2:00 Bar Standard
Our live show is tossed up in a way that would appeal to anyone out there thinking they could do the same thing if they had enough time to ever get around to it. We follow three rules: First, a lack of proficiency on our chosen instruments — this allows a more unique style to emerge. Second, a definite omission of melody. And third, a demeanor of abandon, a reckless execution mixed with an offhand delivery with hard-to-hear wordplay.
Achille Lauro Nominated in Rock — Indie 3:45-4:15 Curious Theatre
What should Denver know about Achille Lauro? We love you. All of you. Even the ugly parts.
Adai Nominated in Metal 3:00-3:30 Rockstar Lounge
The Denver duo enlarges its innovative experimental doom-metal sound on its latest release, Felo De Se (June 2010 on Cavity Records). Adai is massive both on stage and record. Felo De Se was recorded by Matt Talbott of Hum and mixed by Kurt Ballou of Converge, and not surprisingly, Adai achieves an astounding amount of color (instead of just going for "dark") while keeping it crushingly heavy. The two friends that comprise the band, Justin Trujillo (drums, samples) and Devin Mendoza (guitars, vox, amps) are hard-working, diligent, focused, and they clearly love what they do.Air Dubai Nominated in Hip-Hop — Band 6:45-7:15 City Hall, Street Level
Easier experienced than described, Air Dubai is a bustling seven-piece hailing from the burgeoning music scene of Denver. With disparate musical backgrounds and indiscriminate influences, the boys of Air Dubai have truly created something new: pure, melodic cacophony. Named Westword's Best Hip-Hop Band, this young band has the world ahead of it — working efficiently and successfully to catch up to it.
ALERT Nominated in Electronic 12:00-1:00 Vinyl Rooftop
Halloween is the only day I care about.
Amazing Twin Nominated in Rock — Indie 3:00-3:30 Broadways
Amazing Twin is a four-man guitar-based band that plays songs. Remember those?The Big Motif Nominated in Rock — Traditional 2:15-2:45 City Hall, Amphitheatre
A Denver-based power trio emerging onto the scene, the Big Motif plays rock music in a way that can be described in one word: naked. The band has molded a sound combining elements of many genres, including rock, blues, jazz and reggae that is stripped down and raw, for a powerful musical concept that appeals to a diverse demographic. With the recent release Does It Weigh Heavy, the Big Motif has been tapping into the Colorado music scene while continuing to expand its original repertoire. The always fresh and exciting live performances leave audiences with an experience they won't soon forget.
Peter Black Nominated in DJ — Progressive 5:00-6:00 Vinyl Rooftop
A seasoned promoter, designer, DJ and record-store nerd, Peter Black has been a constant fixture in the Denver nightlife scene for over twenty years. Known for working with local bands, orchestrating music events and independent festivals or discovering new ways to foster local talent, Peter is a extremely versatile individual who aspires to "connect the dots" on multiple levels. Operating under the promotional platform Analog Space, Peter's primary focus is on championing Denver's music scene as well as providing an independent forum for local DJs and artists to cross-pollinate and perform. "Music without boundaries" describes his mission, futurism his modus operandi.
BLKHRTS Nominated in Hip-Hop — Group 4:30-5:00 City Hall, Street Level
BLKHRTS is three MCs that were actually born in the pits of hell, but you can't put that on a birth certificate, so we will say they are from Denver. King FOE, Karma The Voice and Yonnas can not only rap circles around you, but they also would have no problem punching you in your shit if you got out of line. BLKHRTS is inspired in equal parts by Morrissey and E-40, Joy Division and Brotha Lynch Hung, Robert Smith and Robert Diggs. Their hearts are not black because they are jaded, cynical or any of that garbage; they are black because black is the combination of all colors in one, and that is beautiful, and the three of them are the most beautiful things you have ever laid your sore, bleeding eyes on (blkhrts.tumblr.com).
Boa and the Constrictors Nominated in Blues 1:15-2:00 Dazzle
"I love blues music. Blues bands are not hard to find. But a band that can play blues music with complete precision and purity and in such a way that one watching is compelled to get up off one's ass is! Enter Boa & the Constrictors. Erik Boa's vintage blues vocals and stellar guitar work intertwined with the slammin' solid rhythm section of Jodie Woodward bass and Tim Molinaro drums combine to create a blues sound that is both contemporary as well as traditional. I witnessed it all at the Jazz Aspen Festival." — Ashton D. Allen, JAZZIZ Magazine
Boldtype Nominated in Punk 5:15-5:45 Bannock Street Garage
We thought long and hard about how best to describe what Boldtype is in one hundred words or less. Besides being a band whose live shows play like an alcohol-induced sing-a-long in the drunk tank with friends and fans chanting along, we decided to write this like we write our songs, a five-way split. So here we go (with remaining words available): Mike: Why do you ask? Jeff: Fierce. Honest. Determined. Drew: Exciting. Melodic. Bodacious. Chris: Two words one hyphen "all-inclusive." Manuel: Fast and awesome.Bop Skizzum Nominated in Funk 6:00-6:30 City Hall, Street Level
We are on a mission to save the funk and get people on the dance floor. Our name is not Bob Skizzum, but Bop Skizzum. No one in this band is named Bob, so please get down with the bop!
Boulder Acoustic Society Nominated in Americana 4:30-5:00 City Hall, Amphitheatre
Boulder Acoustic Society is a band of four young musicians ready to take audiences to the edge of American roots music. Americana, gospel, and the blues all combine with a muscular indie-rock edge to craft music that is rooted deeply in the past but pointed directly toward the future. The energy these players bring to the music results in an incredibly varied live performance. One tune may conjure up an apocalyptic hurricane while the next may take your hand and lead you directly through the eye of the storm.
boyhollow Nominated in DJ-Progressive 4:00-5:00 Vinyl Rooftop
Boyhollow is an old goth DJ/producer that plays electro, indie, dubstep, rock and '80s music for hipsters, bass-heads, ravers, gays, party kids, trannies, meat-heads, woo girls and the occasional hippie. He doesn't believe in writing bios containing clichés about what an awesome DJ he is. He'd rather be making you dance. He is resident DJ and founder of Lipgloss, which celebrates its ten-year anniversary on Friday, June 24, with guest DJ Baio of Vampire Weekend. Lipgloss has won more than ten Westword Best of Denver awards, and boyhollow has been nominated for "Best DJ In Denver" nine times.
CacheFlowe Nominated in Electronic 3:45-4:15 Opal
A staple of the experimental electronic-music scene in Colorado for the past seven years, CacheFlowe continues to advance his craft with new sounds, an integrated audio/visual show, an internationally acclaimed record label and new collaborations with an array of local superstars, including members of Flobots, Paper Bird and A Shoreline Dream. He's played for the local experimental, dubstep, techno, improv jazz, hip-hop, ambient and indie scenes, and shows no sign of homogenizing. With several imminent releases, videos and more, be sure to look for interesting new entertainment from CacheFlowe.
Kal Cahoone Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 6:00-6:30 Rooster & Moon
We are aging musicians who are not cool and just like to play together and have been writing together this year, hoping to record with Colin Bricker because we like him. We also like Bob Ferbrache. Thanks, Kal.Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels Nominated in Country 5:15-5:45 Sutra
Casey James Prestwood, formerly of Hot Rod Circuit and Drag the River, plays and sings his heart out. His band, the Burning Angels, play true two-stepping classic honky-tonk country music infused with crying steel guitar, spanking Telecaster guitar licks and ripping fiddle. Beware: This isn't new or alt. It's just plain honest country.
Cavem Moetavation Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 1:00-1:30 La Rumba
Straight out the garden, representing the Historic Five Points, DJ Cavem is an O.G. — Organic Gardener, teachin' hip-hop history and how to grow greens (and not the ones you roll). He is hip-hop: Higher Inner Peace, Helping Other People, an award-winning activist, founder of the Brown Suga Youth Festival, a Green For All Fellow, b-boy and midwife. This vegan chef is producing more than just beets, harvesting two albums, Deep Rokc and The Teacher's Lounge, as well as working with Dead Prez, Digable Planets, KRS-One and Bun B, to name a few. See him in the "Produce Section," coming soon!
The Centennial Nominated in Pop — Alternative 6:45-7:15 Curious Theatre
Local musicians Nathan and Patrick Meese, formerly of the band Meese, recently formed a new band called The Centennial. The trio is rounded out by Patrick's wife, Tiffany. The debut EP from the group, Second Spring, is available now for free digital download via the band's official website or for purchase through iTunes. The Centennial is a mellow, melodic, family-rock band from Denver. Consisting of husband, wife and brother, the trio mixes ambient guitar and synthesizer tones with towering, borderline-tribal drums and percussion. "We've played in a lot of groups before this," says songwriter Patrick, "but there is a very different dynamic playing with people you're related to. Sometimes it's more difficult, but it also can be satisfying in ways I haven't experienced with other bands."
Choke the Word Nominated in Gothic 12:00-12:30 Sutra
Fun Facts About Choke the Word: They are a band made up of six people (three guys and three girls), some drums, a sampler, two bows, and 21 strings of various sizes and gauges. Most of their songs have time changes or non-traditional time signatures. They only cover songs from Batman movie soundtracks. They all hate the band they get most frequently compared to. They used crowd-sourcing to finance their CD. Their album was recorded using solar power. Their name has no particular significance. Cellos and violins don't traditionally have lights on them.
Russ Christiansen (Surplus Cheaper Hands) Nominated in Rock — Roots 3:00-3:30 Rooster & Moon
Simple songs from complicated origins.
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 5:15-5:45 Curious Theatre
Local fixtures John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light are about to embark on a U.S. tour in support of their Beautiful Empty album, which was released nationally this year. Recorded in Denver and featuring such local musicians as Jess DeNicola, Daren Hahn, Scot McCormick, Wesley Michaels, Adam Revell, Casey Sidwell, Carl Sorensen, Jimmy Stofer and Jon Wirtz, John Common's Beautiful Empty has ridden a wave of critical acclaim onto the national music scene this year.
Cysko Rokwel Nominated in DJ — Hip-Hop 3:00-3:15 La Rumba
I am a hip-hop junkie with a passion for scratching and flipping beats. I would consider myself a versatile DJ who can spin many genres, but always hip-hop influenced. I am passionate about my craft and eventually want to take the world on an international level in the DJ battling circuit. I have placed high in national battles — USA DMC Showcase (2nd USA Finals 2007), USA DMC Supremacy (2nd 2010 Supremacy Finals) and Guitar Center Spin Off (top 6 USA 2006). I will never stop until I come out on top! Shouts to my crews: Prime Element, Basementalism, House of Waxx, Hip-Hop Congress and The Crunk Bros.Danielle Ate the Sandwich Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 6:45-7:15 Rooster & Moon
Danielle Ate the Sandwich: I'm a girl. I write songs. I try to not suck.
Della Nominated in Pop — Traditional 5:15-5:45 Stoney's
Are you here for a casual encounter or a relationship? Like a date set up through Craigslist, Della will fill this awkward first date during our courtship. Whether it's a one-night stand or an engagement, we will make sure that you leave satisfied. This five-piece pop phenom will not only tickle your senses with high-energy rock-guitar harmonies and unparalleled soulful vocals, but it will also make you strip naked with anticipation as you wonder what is coming next. Bring a fresh pair of undies, because we will rock your world!
Patrick Dethlefs Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 5:15-5:45 Rooster & Moon
Patrick Dethlefs is a "Colorado songbird." His songs have been described to be "open as the sky," which hasn't gone unnoticed. In 2009 he was chosen Swallow Hill's Best Teen Songwriter, as well as winning the Best Performance Award. He has shared the stage with many well-known acts and has had the pleasure of collaborating with Kentucky cellist/songwriter Ben Sollee. A song of Patrick's is now being featured on the Patagonia website, and his recently recorded Daytrotter session is soon to be released. His set is not to be missed at this year's Westword Music Showcase.
D'Girl Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Female) 12:00-12:30 La Rumba
Denver should know that I am going to do me regardless of what anybody feels or says. I may not be the best rapper in the world, but I'm going for my dream and I'm making the best out of my circumstances. Denver should know that I'm a winner, and I will never give up.
DJ Dragon Nominated in DJ — Dance 6:00-7:00 Vinyl Rooftop
I'm the youngest of six kids. My next closest sibling is eighteen years my elder. So needless to say, I was a surprise. Coming from a traditional Vietnamese family, who managed to escape during the Vietnam War, it's still very hard for my mom to see me rocking a club or massive event. So to appease my family, I'm also a VP of one of the top investment firms in town. Take that, Clark Kent!
DJ Ktone Nominated in DJ — Hip-Hop 1:30-1:45 La Rumba
Ever meet someone who works so hard, you can't help but work harder when you're in their presence? Doing transcontinental shows and rocking no less than three gigs a week in Colorado, DJ Ktone's resumé is impeccable. Most recognize him as a club/mixtape DJ, but he dabbles in an array of functions, from working with nationally acclaimed comedians to hosting weddings and even birthday parties. His musical ear is immense, giving him the ability to mix hip-hop, Top 40, salsa and R&B. Starring in his own bio-doc, called Turf Tours, due for release in spring 2012, DJ Ktone is a star.DJ Vajra Nominated in DJ — Hip-Hop 3:45-4:00 La Rumba
For over a decade, Vajra (pronounced "VAHJ-rah") has been a dominant force in Colorado's DJ scene. Winner of the 2011 Red Bull Thre3style competitions in Boulder and Dallas, he will be representing Denver in the national finals in Las Vegas later this year. On August 6 in NYC, Vajra will be making his fifth DMC USA finals appearance (which ties the record for most appearances by anyone nationwide), after crushing the rest of the field at the Denver qualifier. Popularity contests aside, when it comes to stepping on stage and proving who is the best DJ in Colorado, Vajra holds the title. Hands down.
Dovekins Nominated in Folk/Acoustic 3:00-3:30 Curious Theatre
With a force of will and New Belgium's Tour de Fat beneath their feet, the Dovekins played over one hundred shows in 2010, alongside Punch Brothers, State Radio, Yonder Mountain String Band, Vetiver, the Books, and Akron/Family, to name a few. Described as "beautiful and unhinged," the Dovekins are a new-edge, gypsy gem of a band redefining genres and the Denver sound itself, with guitar, mandolin, piano, banjo, trombone, melodica, stomps, spoons, cornet, drums, washboard, raspy voice, accordion, flute, kazoo, standup bass and clarinet.
Eolian Nominated in Rock — Progressive 6:00-6:30 Opal
Eolian plays a forty-minute piece of continuous music titled Egg. It is influenced by 1970s progressive-rock bands like Genesis and Jethro Tull, and also by 1990s independent rock bands like Fugazi and Jawbreaker. Egg is about birds and flight, and the nest-like origami design of the record reflects those ideas. The album was recorded by Bob Ferbrache and features members of A Shoreline Dream, Tauntaun, Uphollow and Ian Cooke Band. The album is available for listening at eolian.bandcamp.com.
The Epilogues Nominated in Pop — Alternative 1:30-2:00 Main Stage
Since their inception in 2004, the Epilogues have steadily clawed their way to the top of Denver's music scene. With back-to-back Westword Music Showcase Awards in 2009 and 2010, and with their single, "Hunting Season" reaching number one on KTCL's most-wanted list for twelve weeks straight, these boys have set the bar on how to establish your band as a household name in the Centennial State. While always striving to create something different and exciting, the Epilogues' combination of dark undertones with infectious dance hooks, as well as their nonstop, energetic, live show, has captured audiences, both locally and nationally.
Es-Nine Nominated in Hip-Hop — Producer 2:15-2:30 La Rumba
I'm all about music, going back to the talent, skill and just good music being the center of focus.
FaceMan Nominated in Rock — Indie 12:45-1:15 Bar Standard
Multiple choice: FaceMan a) lives off water from window air-conditioning units b) is a 103-year-old man without nose or ear hair named Kevin c) is on the Casa Bonita dive team d) grew up in an ant farm near Tiny Town e) all of the above. Submit guesses on June 18 at 12:45 p.m. at Bar Standard. Be naked. Most winners get an amazing prize.
Fierce Bad Rabbit
Nominated in Rock — Indie
The members of Fierce Bad Rabbit are four established northern Colorado musicians magnetically drawn together to create indie pop music with a hook and a heart. Featuring Chris Anderson (vocals/guitar/piano), Alana Rolfe (viola/vocals), Dayton Hicks (bass) and Adam Pitner (drums/percussion), Fierce Bad Rabbit immediately found regional success after forming, earning the love of fans and respect of the industry. With the October 2010 release of their first studio LP, Spools of Thread, the band is poised to gain broad attention. The songs on the album are an emotionally powerful, infectious brand of indie pop. Anderson pens songs with an honesty and depth that captures and connects listeners.
Fingers of the Sun Nominated in Pop — Indie 2:15-2:45 Sutra
Fingers of the Sun's music is made of sci-fi pulp novels, lazy teenage afternoons and a vividly realized wonderland of imagery, psychedelia and mid-20th-century pop. The act smoked the banana peels, but only because it enjoyed the taste, believing the world is acid-damaged enough to send anyone on a bad permatrip. Like its namesake — The Fugs song adapted in part from a 5000-year-old Egyptian poem to Nun, the goddess of the watery abyss — Fingers of the Sun "grip the mountain where hawk claws flash and flicker in the dawn."
Flashbulb Fires Nominated in Pop — Alternative 12:45-1:15 Stoney's
Known for their distinctive brand of emotionally rich American indie rock, Flashbulb Fires have a genuine conviction to push the boundaries of popular music. The Denver band's knack for combining dynamic song structures with beautifully magnetic arrangements is instantly recognizable, while its live show is immediately captivating, blending polished artistry and raw electricity. The Dallas Morning News called the band's 2009 release, Glory, "emotional and engulfing," and the Des Moines City View named it "one of the best indie-rock albums of the year." Flashbulb Fires is currently recording their second album, which is due out later this year.
Flashlights Nominated in Electro-Pop 3:00-3:30 Opal
Denver, if you have only just heard our music, it's time you check us out live. We have an awesome light engineer, Rande Kamolz, who absolutely kills it running our light show. Think projectors, strobes, light orbs and tons of fog! Coupled with the powerful bass coming through the venue subwoofers, it's for sure going to get you moving.
FOE Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 6:30-7:00 La Rumba
FOE — or King FOE, as he is commonly known — is as much a polarizing figure in rap as he is a beast on the mike. A creative force with a voice easy on the ears, he manages to spit fire with dizzying rhyme schemes and hilarious content in such a manner that he rarely turns down a chance on the mike. On his own accord, FOE is the answer to the question of innovative and diverse lyricism with a cutting edge as he carves his niche amongst artists who have inspired him. Not only does he manage to have one of the most dynamic stage shows ever (amongst anyone), he matches his energy with an even more gregarious personality.
The FoodChain Nominated in Hip-Hop — Band 3:00-3:30 City Hall, Street Level
With Corpses, the Foodchain vows to make music true to the heart first, focusing on issues political to social and every point in between. There are street-driven tracks like "Fucc N*ggaz," featuring Talib Kweli, as well as more radio-friendly songs like "Rich Girl," featuring rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother, and politically driven cuts like "Drama Class" and "Blind," which balance Corpses and make it a well-rounded, inspiring and powerful project that will be sure to last the tests of time.
The Foot. Nominated in Rock — Traditional 3:00-3:30 City Hall, Amphitheatre
We are often asked where The Foot. comes from. We are hesitant to divulge this information, but the readers of Westword properly provoked us: The Foot. was created in a Pakistani laboratory by a team of rogue scientists intent on combining human and panther DNA. Lightning struck their laboratory, immediately fusing the genetic material, and three thin, ruggedly handsome beings sprang into existence. Fearing their union would threaten the world, the scientists scattered the hybrid children throughout the United States. Implausibly, they attended university together in Denver and rejoined forces, swearing to use their powers for good. Now you know.
Force Publique Nominated in Rock — Progressive 4:30-5:00 Opal
"His eyes shone before me like a kind of phosphorescent light. From them came two rays that flowed into each other and merged into a glowing circle... I was gradually falling into the power of this mysterious man." — Prince Yusupov on Rasputin. And all of our songs are free at forcepublique-music.com.
4H Royalty Nominated in Rock — Roots 6:00-6:30 Sutra
Probably the only Denver-based band that can, does — and prefers to — pull off the entire nine-to-close tavern show by themselves with original material in rural communities across Colorado. Whip-smart, evocative and liberating lyrical narratives, ace musicianshippery, and AP Chemistry.Fresh Breath Committee Nominated in Hip-Hop — Group 1:30-2:00 City Hall, Street Level
Fresh Breath Committee is a crew formed in 2008, comprised of eight different Colorado artists who maintain the same common vision: to create quality hip-hop for the people. The Committee's debut album, CPR (featuring the legendary Masta Ace and The ReMINDers), led them to earn the award for Best Hip-Hop Album in Westword in 2010 and to appear on stages with marquee performers such as The Game, Dilated Peoples, Guru, Digable Planets and many more. New projects by the crew/info can be found at freshbreathcommittee.bandcamp.com.
Frogs Gone fishin' Nominated in Rock — Jam/Improv 6:45-7:15 City Hall, Amphitheatre
At a Frogs Gone Fishin' show, fans are treated to heavy-hitting rock with the Frogs' signature improvisational twist. In an age of auto-tuned vocals and laptop superstars, it's great to find a band who relies on tight harmonies, strong melody and dynamic rhythms to keep their fans coming back. On any given night, FGF cuts across genres and material from their two albums and never, ever play the same set list twice. The Frogs are signed to locally owned Mountain Size Records and record at solar-powered Evergroove Studio, tucked in the woods outside Evergreen, Colorado.
Frontside Five Nominated in Punk 6:00-6:30 Bannock Street Garage
We're Frontside Five, and we know how to have a good time. If you like to have fun and want to see the best punk-rock show of the summer, come see us at 6 o'clock sharp at the Bannock Street Garage and get some cheap-ass beer spilt on your nice shirt.
Gangcharger Nominated in Post-Punk 3:45-4:15 Bar Standard
"I fucking hate this band. Why do they want me to die?!" — overheard at SXSW after getting shut down for being too loud. P.S.: We hate your earholes.
Git Some Nominated in Hardcore/Post-Hardcore 1:30-2:00 Rockstar Lounge
Howl doo! Git Some was formed in Chicago's fiery cauldrons in 2003. We moved to a remote location in the Rocky Mountains shortly thereafter. We are ex-members of bands like: Planes Mistaken for Stars, White Dynamite, Peralta and Runner. We are current members of bands like: Kingdom of Magic, Nightshark and Jefferson Slaveship. We love to play rock-and-roll shows, and we love Hall and Oates. We have records out on Alternative Tentacles records, and 1-2-3-4-go! Records. We will kick your fucking ass like a satanic ninja!
Glowing House Nominated in Folk/Acoustic 12:00-12:30 Curious Theatre
Glowing House is a folk trio. Each person who reads that will imagine something different, so let me lay it out a bit more clearly: Glowing House uses guitar, banjo, octave mandolin, piano and drums to play music. The band has two lead vocalists who harmonize with each other very well, and it writes lyrics carefully and skillfully, then rewrites the lyrics even more carefullyer. Glowing House hopes that you noticed the use of the nonexistent word "carefullyer" because they love people who take the time to look deeply into the things they write. And the drummer is awesome.
The Gromet Nominated in Rock — Roots 6:00-6:30 City Hall, Amphitheatre
Hello. We're The Gromet. Born from a love of Southern rock and folk, we pride ourselves on injecting our live show with as much energy and rawness as possible. After three years of honing our sound, it's evident that our music is versatile yet cohesive. "...they were focused and having fun, which added to their strong stage presence." — Jester Jay
Greg Harris Vibe Quintet Nominated in Jazz 3:15-4:00 Dazzle
Having worked and created music in the Denver area for ten years, Greg Harris has performed with Future Jazz Project, Ninth and Lincoln Orchestra, SuperCollider and the Heights. The Greg Harris Vibe Quintet's new album, Glass Gold, was recently released on Dazzle Records and features Venus Cruz, Matt Fuller, Erinn Bone, Jonathan Stewart, Mark Emmons, Gabe Mervine and James Calvin Thompson.
Haven Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 4:00-4:30 La Rumba
Haven is definitly an act that you do not want to miss. A Colorado native who is well known for his lyrical ability and compelling stage presence, Haven has recently released his full-length album King Kong, which has received rave reviews from fans and artists alike. He has been featured on numerous albums and mixtapes from various artists in the hip-hop and R&B scene, and has performed at major venues in and out of the state. A well-rounded artist whose distinct style will keep you captivated. Be sure to look for more things to come from this MC.
Hearts in Space Nominated in Rock — Indie 12:00-12:30 Opal
Hearts in Space is a Denver four-piece comprising Ezra Darnell on vocals, guitar and bass, Jordan Hubner on vocals and guitar, Johnny Lundock on drums and Ryan Slowkowski on bass and guitar. We've played with bands such as Sleepy Sun, Crocodiles and the Fresh and Only's. Sonically pleasing with touches of lighthearted and lush vocal harmonies and soul, the band's songs have solid structures that lay a bed for the experimental sounds to lay in. Psychedelia is no stranger in the band's landscape of Southwestern-born garage explorations.
Hideous Men Nominated in Electro-Pop 6:45-7:15 Broadways
Once upon a time in the early 2000s, Ryan McRyhew went through a mall goth phase — well, maybe it was more of a Mindless Self Indulgence/Orgy kind of thing. But his high school girlfriend, Kristi Schaefer, had a Propagandhi and NOFX problem, too, and he hated that pop-punk crap. Fast-forward a decade, and you'll see that true love prevailed: The now-husband-and-wife duo found DJ Screw and Le Tigre, and Hideous Men was born. We could bore you with all of the modular-synth details, but instead just know that when you experience Hideous Men — between drips of Ryan's warbled samples and Kristi's trance anthemic voice — you feel love. The weird, awesome, uncategorizable kind of dance-floor love that exists between two people, a mixer, a microphone and a box of almost-melted cassette tapes.
Hindershot Nominated in Rock — Indie 3:45-4:15 Broadways
Hindershot was founded on a simple premise: Music, however challenging, should always be a good time. Despite poetic lyrics, unusual chord changes, complex harmonies and an eclectic list of influences (Beck, T. Rex, David Bowie, the Beach Boys, the Pixies), Hindershot boasts a repertoire of post-whatever jams you can dance to, with lyrical content ranging from the mundane and lighthearted (inhalers, insects, and oscillating fans) to the grandiose and grim (black holes, death, political unrest). The immediacy, earnestness and breathless energy of punk rock still grins through, missing teeth and all.
Ideal Fathers Nominated in Post-Punk 3:00-3:30 Bar Standard
Seeking to inject the Denver punk scene with a new life, Ideal Fathers formed in the spring of 2006. Taking influence from both the angular, groove-oriented post-punk of the '70s U.K. and blending it with more frantic, noisy '80s U.S. post-punk influences, Ideal Fathers carved out an almost exclusively unique sound that's aggressive and danceable. Ideal Fathers have had a great time playing with national acts such as the Giraffes and So Many Dynamos. For fans of Gang of Four, Wire, Jesus Lizard, Big Black, Mission of Burma.
Iuengliss Nominated in Ambient/Noise 2:15-2:45 Opal
Iuengliss ( pronounced "eye-wen-gliss") is the music of Northern Colorado-based Tommy Metz. Growing up in Fort Collins and later moving to Denver, Tommy is heavily involved in the Denver and Fort Collins DIY/Indie music scenes, co-running Bocumast Records and releasing music with Plastic Sound Supply (CacheFlowe, Scaffolding) and Laser Palace (Hideous Men, Pictureplane). He is also one half of the drill-and-bass experimental duo Yawn Tron with drummer Shane Zweygardt.
Kid Hum Nominated in Hip-Hop — Producer 7:00-7:15 La Rumba
A philosophical young man, Kid Hum is an unaffiliated DJ/producer who makes beats. His albums include Fossil Fuel, Offshore Drilling and Suicide Watch. His influences include such luminaries as Paul Simon and John Belushi.
Kinetix Nominated in Rock — Traditional 5:15-5:45 City Hall, Amphitheatre
It would take at least 125 words to explain exactly why we are, unquestionably, the greatest band of all time. So we'll have to skip the question.
King Mob Nominated in Electro-Pop 1:30-2:00 Opal
Denver's newest electro-warriors, King Mob, light the way to a radical future of body modification, strange portends and never-ending sexy time. This electronic soul odyssey is a bio-machine engineered to excite your heart, brain and loins in equal measure. Take my hand, I'm changing.
King Rat Nominated in Punk 4:30-5:00 Bannock Street Garage
King Rat was formed in the basement of a music store/head shop in the summer of 1995 by Luke Schmaltz. Sixteen years, seven records and a slew of tours later, King Rat is rocking with more pungency than ever, seamlessly linking together and slinging out two-and-a-half minute, riff-heavy, anthemic tirades of venomous melodic rancor for an hour straight — sometimes two. This band doesn't need a light show. It doesn't use fancy pedals or effects. No stage props (doucheboxes). No apology. The music grabs you by the ears and rattles your bones, reminding you that life is short, brutal and beautiful, and you are the keeper of timepiece, wielder of battle axe and beholder of glory.
Kissing Party Nominated in Pop — Indie 2:15-2:45 Broadways
A few lyrics from one of our favorite Guided by Voices songs: "When you motor away beyond the once-red lips/When you free yourself from the chance of a lifetime/You can be anyone they told you to/You can belittle every little voice that told you so/And then the time will come when you add up the numbers/And then the time will come when you motor away/Oh, why don't you just drive away?"
The Knew Nominated in Rock — Alternative 6:45-7:15 Sutra
The Knew does not believe in guilty pleasures. We like to play American music and water basketball. We are surly young men. We aren't too into modern sounds. Our songs will remind you of times past but will loosen you up just the same. We've been fortunate enough to play stages large and small with some other damn fine talents, and we always have a good time doing it. We are recording a new LP as you read this, and guarantee it to be sticky. We firmly believe in the power of rock and roll.
Katey Laurel Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 3:45-4:15 Rooster & Moon
Folk-pop songstress Katey Laurel crafts both radio-friendly tunes and gorgeous songs for film and TV. Katey has been honored as a finalist in the Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Competition and as winner of the Walnut Valley Festival New Song Contest. Her music has been featured in Microsoft Windows 7 "Playlist 7" and Heineken's "Ultimate Playlist." She was also one of seven national finalists in the Nine West "Voices of Vintage America" contest. Katey has shared the stage with Matt Morris, Katie Herzig, Braddigan (of Dispatch) and Trevor Hall. She loves sunshine, vintage leather jackets, a good cup of tea and black licorice.
Le Divorce Nominated in Rock — Indie 4:30-5:00 Bar Standard
Le Divorce is a guitar-driven indie-rock foursome from Denver. The band formed in 2009 from members of Everything Absent or Distorted, Sun Red and numerous other bands. The act's music mixes melody with raw distortion, and the members are inspired by early indie-rock bands like Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey and Joy Division, as well as contemporaries like the National, Blonde Redhead and the Kills. Le Divorce recently played Red Rocks and SXSW 2011. Also, early this year, they opened for Liz Phair at the Bluebird Theater. The band is working on its second EP, which will be released later this summer.
Lil' Slugger Nominated in Pop — Indie 4:30-5:00 Broadways
The story of Lil' Slugger begins during the summer of 1974 in North Philadelphia. After seeing King Crimson in concert, Fat Albert sneaks backstage, and a flirtatious comment made to Robert Fripp concerning his amazing Mellotron solo quickly turns into a night of passion between two star-crossed lovers. Nine months later, a child is born.
Lion Sized Nominated in Post-Punk 2:15-2:45 Bar Standard
We have lived with the prospect of early death for the last six years. We're not afraid of death, but we're in no hurry to die. We have so much we want to do first. We regard our brains as computers that will stop working when their components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
Lords of Fuzz Nominated in Rock — Heavy 12:45-1:15 Rockstar Lounge
Lords of Fuzz was formed by frontman Oscar Ross in early 2005 near downtown Denver. Years were spent defining the band before its first full-length LP was released in the summer of 2009. This was met with solid reviews from a number of local publications including Westword and Colorado Music Buzz. The former chose Lords of Fuzz as Best Hard Rock Band in 2010! Their well-produced video from the hit single "The C of B" and all of their music can be experienced at Lordsoffuzz.com.
Lost Point Nominated in Metal 4:30-5:00 Rockstar Lounge
Music is life, and this band wants to live it all. The five young men that make up Lost Point are influenced by an entire spectrum that ranges from old blues to hip-hop to rip-your-face-off metal and even punk. After only a few years jabbing its way inside the scene, Lost Point has managed to gain airplay on many radio stations, as well as obtaining sponsorships, playing with some of the biggest bands in rock and metal, and traveling halfway through the country infecting people with its unique yet mainstream sound.
Lyin' Bitch & the Restraining Orders Nominated in Punk 3:00-3:30 Bannock Street Garage
Lyin' Bitch & the Restraining Orders were conceived out of an unholy marriage of skatin', drinkin' and a love of punk music. We just try to play good old-fashioned punk music with a gnarly hard edge while screwing with people's sense of humor. That said, we're either hated or loved — no middle-of-the-road garbage here! In ten years, Lyin' Bitch has gone through a few lineup changes, but we now feel that we've melded into a band that can press on to bigger and better opportunities. Come check us out some time, if you've got the balls!
ManCub Nominated in Electro-Pop 12:45-1:15 Opal
ManCub is a duo from Denver unlike any other band or DJ. Using analog synthesizers, '80s drum machines and a heap of guitar pedals, the outfit mixes the art of analog noise with the sexiness of dance music. Not another kid with a laptop, ManCub makes real music with real instruments, real feelings and love. Catch an early buzz with your favorite day-drinking, DIY noise cadets.
Mane Rok Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 5:00-5:30 La Rumba
Dear, Denver, somehow, Westword made this feel like I'm writing some sort of blurb for a dating service...and my e-dating game is weak. I'm a truth sayer. Some say "my truth"...but whatever you call it, it's genuine, to the point of fault. I will tell you that your police department sucks in accountability just as quick as I'll say some of your rappers are no-talent savages. Stop me when I'm lying. All the same...I'll say "I love you"...because I do. "Direct from my heart that's shaped like a box/The place that made me will be the place that I rot." — Mane RokMike Marchant Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 2:15-2:45 Rooster & Moon
Mike Marchant, known around Denver as the tall dude with a strange patch of white hair that serves as frontman for Widowers and guitarist for Houses, has been quietly releasing spacey, experimental folk records under his given name since 2009. He's been praised as one of Denver's best songwriters by Westword and the Denver Post, but continues to deflect all praise to his bandmates and those whose music he apes with reckless abandon. Delete a few gigs of pornography and download free records at MikeMarchant.Bandcamp.com.
Monroe Monroe Nominated in Pop — Alternative 6:45-7:15 Stoney's
We're passionate about music and passionate about people. We hope you feel love when you see us live.Mr. Midas Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 2:30-3:00 La Rumba
Given how popular his city anthem has become, it's a bit surprising that Mr. Midas hasn't enlisted a chorus to walk behind him and chant the hook to his über-catchy "Run My Town." The killer single released early from his full-length album Son of the Crack Era, "Run My Town" gave an immediate glimpse into the authentic material that Midas had planned for the record — and he more than delivered on that promise. His account of the struggle and his optimism throughout the disc set his account of 'hood politics apart from the typical crack tales.
MTHDS Nominated in Hip-Hop — Band 3:45-4:15 City Hall, Street Level
MTHDS — Music That Heightens Different Senses, or, "the methods" — is based out of Colorado and combines the fury of punk, the street-wise soul of hip-hop and funk with an over-the-top, bombastic, roots-party groove.
Musketeer Gripweed Nominated in Rock — Traditional 3:45-4:15 City Hall, Amphitheatre
Jump up and testify! Musketeer Gripweed is playing the Westword Music Showcase! The Loveland-based blues-fusion band simply explodes on stage with the energy and fervor of a revival preacher out to save a filthy sinner's soul. This group of highly accomplished musicians, however, isn't about pushing religion — unless your religion is drinking, dancing and some damn good music — they're about creating "American revival, stomp-ass, shake and holla" music. With a passion influenced by modern and classic rock and soul heroes, Musketeer Gripweed creates an extraordinarily powerful live energy, and the band's "gasoline intense vibe" manifests in spontaneous, uncontrollable dancing and a compulsion to stand up, run to the stage and testify.
My Body Sings Electric Nominated in Pop — Alternative 6:00-6:30 Stoney's
My Body Sings Electric should be taken seriously. We are fun guys, but when it comes to our music, we are all business. In the last year, we have sold out the Bluebird for the release of our full-length album, Changing Color, recorded at Interlace Audio in Portland (Dance Gavin Dance, Fear Before, Alesana). We recorded our single "Step Into the Light" at the legendary Blasting Room, and gained statewide recognition as we placed in the top three during 93.3's Hometown for the Holidays. However, our successes have only made us hungrier. Trust us, we aren't slowing down soon.
The New Ben Franklins Nominated in Country 1:30-2:00 Sutra
The New Ben Franklins began as an experiment in nurturing the darker side of pop music as a three-piece with a drum machine. Through the years, the sound has drifted back to the old, twangy country that David DeVoe grew up listening to. The Franklins now attempt to take old-school country music and marry it with the noisiness of the "shoegaze" wave of the early 1990s. It doesn't always work, but sometimes things turn out just fine.
Night of Joy Nominated in Post-Punk 5:15-5:45 Broadways
Night of Joy's first incarnation began in the fall of 2008, as the brainchild of two friends — bassist Bree Davies and guitarist Valerie Franz. The two had very different influences, but came together on the notion that the music they were creating didn't have to look or sound like what others wanted. Because of this, it took two years, six drummers (and a drum machine) to find the missing piece in Fez Garcia. The trio's shared love of bands like Shellac, Sonic Youth and Minutemen fuels not only their music, but the necessity to GET IN THE VAN! Fresh off the road from a West Coast tour this past spring, Night of Joy is in the final mixing stages of its first full-length, Hardcore Girls Are a Hoax, which will hopefully reach the listening public, on wax, by the end of this year.
Ninth & Lincoln Nominated in Jazz 4:15-5:00 Dazzle
Our new album, featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu, was released nationally on June 14 and is available right now at Twist and Shout.Novus Folium Nominated in Metal 5:15-5:45 Rockstar Lounge
Few bands from the Rocky Mountain region have been as successful of late as Longmont's Novus Folium. The modern-rock sextet with the Latin name (meaning 'new leaf') are currently 106.7 KBPI's Best Band in Denver and Westword's Best of the West title holder, a feat never before accomplished. In addition to their own headlining performances, they've opened for Korn, Papa Roach and Drowning Pool within the last six months. Having recently signed with national booking agent The Fuel Agency, Novus will soon be touring in support of their debut full-length album War Games, to be released June 25.
Overcasters Nominated in Rock — Alternative 5:15-5:45 Bar Standard
Denver is a city that doesn't overpower the moon, doesn't choke out the breeze or speak in uppercase letters. It has an older, more successful brother, but it will live to 103.
PANAL S.A. DE C.V. Nominated in Rock — Progressive 5:15-5:45 Opal
PANAL S.A. DE C.V. is an instrumental rock band based in Denver. In 2008, the band hit the local music scene with a blend of experimental rock. Since then, the group has played extensively in Denver, blowing audiences away with an electrifying live show and anthemic instrumental music. In 2009, PANAL released its debut EP Cortometraje, which was well received by fans and the local press. Although the music has often been labeled as post- or experimental rock, PANAL S.A. DE C.V. has crafted a signature sound that will not be ignored.
The Photo Atlas Nominated in Post-Punk 6:00-6:30 Bar Standard
The Photo Atlas is a party band! We've been dancing our way around the country/world, touring hard for the better part of six years, building an underground following and making a good name for the Mile High City. We're an indie/dance/punk band who appreciates every soul in the room, and we wanna make you sweat! We're the lover you don't have to love. We'll play in a bar. We'll play in a basement. We'll play anywhere things can get crazy. Expect to see flying tambourines. Expect to feel pounding dance beats and grinding guitar riffs, and it'll all end in one hip-shaking, fist-pumping on-stage dance party!
Pink Hawks Nominated in World 1:30-2:00 Curious Theatre
Pink Hawks tickle your roots/make feet uncontrollable/like moths in the light — and it makes world music cool. With African drums, jazz horns and a sound that is 100 percent born in Denver, Pink Hawks is a joyful sprinkling of rhythm, noise, lament and celebration. Come prepared to pick up your ass from the floor because you're guaranteed to dance it off.
The Pirate Signal Nominated in Hip Hop — Group 5:15-5:45 City Hall, Street Level
The Pirate Signal is the bright, shiny future. The Pirate Signal is not who we are. It is what we do, and the people who do it now are an MC/Producer named Yonnas, a DJ named Sam, a drummer named Hogans and a Unicorn that plays guitar and keyboard, that for now, for this, we will call Chez. Ever since 2000, The Pirate Signal has existed in some form or another, but this, by far, is the best one. After putting out a number of releases since 2004, The Pirate Signal is finally everything it is meant to be. Having won best hip-hop from this publication four times now, toured the nation several times, The Pirate Signal needs you to know one thing. We are just getting started.
Ploy for Extinction Nominated in Metal — Extreme 3:45-4:15 Rockstar Lounge
Unofficially labeled heaviest band of the Westword Music Showcase, Ploy for Extinction is pure METAL from Denver and recipient of delectable accolades ranging from induction into the Pandora Music Genome to hearty mounds of tasty reviews by Westword, Colorado Music Buzz and KBPI 106.7. The true marrow of the Ploy Bone is the sensation rendered from witnessing their awe-inspiring live performances. With a vicious vocal array complemented by highly technical and blazingly fast guitar riffs, machine-like double bass and multitudes of facial expressions, Ploy for Extinction holds the potential to unite genres, inspire listeners and induce labor.
Port Au Prince Nominated in Pop — Indie 12:00-12:30 Bar Standard
Since the band's debut performance at SXSW, Port Au Prince has captivated the attention of tens and tens of listeners. Drawing on a diverse range of influences such as Okkervil River, Belle and Sebastian and Roy Orbison, Port Au Prince offers auditory surprises at every turn. The band also likes turtles.Potcheen Nominated in World 12:45-1:15 City Hall, Amphitheatre
Potcheen (Poitin') means "the Illegal Moonshine Whiskey," and the elixir sometimes contains impurities and off flavors. On rare occasions, it may contain dangerous levels of toxic alcohols — just like the Colorado Celtic Pirates that have scorched the throats of crowds from New York to San Francisco with one helluva kick. Potcheen's campaign began in 2003 and has continued unabated, even surviving a near-fatal bus crash in '09. The outfit has produced five albums and performed over 2,000 shows. The group has honed its high-energy shows, which mix Celtic traditional with flavors of bluegrass, zydeco, punk, jam, blues and rock, all rolled up with a pirate sensibility. What doesn't kill 'em just makes 'em stronger!!!Prime Element Nominated in Hip-Hop — Group 6:00-6:30 La Rumba
Prime Element is the leading example that proves hip-hop is alive and well here in the heart of Colorado. The mix of world-class turntablism from DJ Cysko Rokwel, production and engineering from Es-Nine, and the vocal energy of A.V.I.U.S. is unparalleled in the region. Prime Element's live set continues to gain accolades across the underground hip-hop community. In its three years as a group, Prime Element has garnered three years of Westword Showcase Award nominations. There is no substitute for the combination of two turntables and a microphone.
Radical Knitting Circle Nominated in Folk/Acoustic 12:45-1:15 Curious Theatre
Give us this day our daily bread or I give up. Goodnight and good luck. Bring me home slabs of bacon, because our heads are filled with passwords and our hands can spell them backwards. Why sit wasted, counting lines all the time? Get back up. Again. Walking around with crackers on our shoulders, like we got something to prove better to climb upon stilts and walk away. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; the big circles eat us while the little circles feed us. It's the same dream every night.
Randy Ramirez (The Heyday) Nominated in Pop — Traditional 4:30-5:00 Rooster & Moon
Hailing from Denver, the Heyday fuses catchy hooks and soaring melodies with a classic-rock backbone that propels them into the summer of 2011 with their sophomore release, Till We See the Sun. Seasoned veterans of colleges and clubs alike, this foursome has been performing around the U.S. since 2006 with an energy and passion befitting their music. Look for the Heyday to make waves this coming fall and into 2012.
The Raven and the Writing Desk Nominated in Americana 2:15-2:45 Curious Theatre
In the past year, The Raven and the Writing Desk have broken out on the Denver music scene like an urgent heartbeat. The sextet draws from classical influences in the creation of a sound that is dark, haunted, dreamy, carnivalesque and full of theatricality. Don't miss their stunning live performance.Reno Divorce Nominated in Punk 6:45-7:15 Bannock Street Garage
No matter where in the world we're playing, we are a Colorado band at heart. When Reno re-formed in Denver ten years ago, we had no idea this city would be so amazing to us. We're able to do what we love because we have the most awesome and supportive fans, right in our back yard. If you haven't seen Reno Divorce, get to a show and see some of the finest rock and roll the Rockies have to offer. Come on, Denver, say it...say it like you mean it...tell Westword like you told me, that we're your one and only!
Rie Rie Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Female) 12:30-1:00 La Rumba
Mile High Sista Supreme Rie Rie (pronounced Ree Ree) is a lyrically versatile veteran MC on the regional scene. Rie Rie is the only female to put it down for Colorado on a consistent basis since the early '90s. Although born in Denver, she was raised in Texas, and that's where her lyrical skills were developed. Influenced by MC Lyte, Redman and gospel music, Rie Rie started her indie label MobRuled Productionz and has over a dozen releases, including Lucky #7, which will be released on June 18. Rie Rie is black, Indian, Spanish and French. Funk and R&B/hip-hop are her main influences. Nothing shall hold her back from becoming an international performer.
Safe Boating Is No Accident Nominated in Americana 12:45-1:15 Broadways
Safe Boating Is No Accident is the world's foremost and only post-angular, neo-noise-folk-ciderhaus, princess wave band. We are two parts Stephen Malkmus and Phil Ochs, one splash Tiny Tim and a zest of Mark E. Smith. We are available for bridal showers and life-coaching sessions. We want you to make us mixtapes. We want to go to the movies and maybe go bowling with you.
SAUNA Nominated in Pop — Indie 12:00-12:30 Broadways
Hi, we're Sauna. Some people like us and some people probably don't. We like to make music that makes you wanna dance — not weird club dancing like grinding, but cool dances like the shag and stuff. Our music sounds like it was made in a basement by kids who surf, and it was indeed made in a basement, although none of us surf. We like Lust-Cats of the Gutters. You should, too. They're super-nice. Hopefully you'll wanna come say hi after a show if you come see us sometime.Caleb Slade Nominated in Singer-Songwriter 4:30-05:00 Curious Theatre
Caleb Slade's music stays with you long after you've heard his songs. Drawing on the songwriting traditions of Americana and Brit pop-rock, his unforgettable piano-driven melodies give way to determined and thoughtful lyrics.
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake Nominated in Rock — Indie 6:45-7:15 Bar Standard
Now a five-headed snake, these Colorado kids are walking the line between darkly melodic, beat-driven songs and loud, sweaty basement rock and roll. Snake Rattle Rattle Snake's heart pumps big love for Denver, and the band appreciates fully the embrace of the music and arts community. Having spent the first half of the year working on its first full-length album, SRRS is looking forward to its release in the fall and a summer filled with night vision and vibe-outs!
Something Underground Nominated in Rock — Traditional 1:30-2:00 City Hall, Amphitheatre
If you're reading this, we love you. (If you're not reading this, we love you, too.) We love playing music. We call our music roots rock. Roots rock includes, but is not limited to: reggae, rock, funk, pop, hip-hop, folk. We are a power trio with an emphasis on POWER. We are two brothers, plus one brother from another mother. We harmonize, a lot. We play our hearts out every chance we get. We love the Colorado music community (somethingunderground.com).
SP Double Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 3:15-3:45 La Rumba
A leader, innovator and an advocate for Colorado hip-hop, SP Double has traveled, performed and released music with multi-platinum artists and Grammy winners such as Royce Da 5'9, Chino XL, Focus, Termanology, Statik Selektah, Joe Budden, Omar "Big O" Gooding, etc., nationwide, always bringing it back home to Denver. Fresh off of his crew Boostwell's (Westword's Best of Denver 2007) latest release, COLAb, SP is gearing up for his long-awaited and anticipated Loyalty, Honor, Respect (due out this summer).Spoke In Wordz Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 5:30-6:00 La Rumba
DJ Chonz and Spoke In Wordz are two of Denver's most influential hip-hop advocates, embracing the original styles of hip-hop with just a mike and two turntables. DJ Chonz and Spoke In Wordz are known for dominating the stage, whether they're an opening act or closing. This year, they're displaying tracks from their new mixtape, Cross Over, and tracks off Spoke's new album, Beautiful Dead. Expect back-to-back rhymes, hard punch lines, raw mixing, cutting and scratching, all-new material packed in thirty minutes. This is a show you don't want to miss! Radio Bums over and out!
Spools of Dark Thread Nominated in Metal 6:00-6:30 Rockstar Lounge
Denver's Spools of Dark Thread have been dishing out their brand of punishing metal to the Denver music scene for several years now. After recording their debut EP in 2007 with A-list producers Dave Fortman and Tom Polce, the band revamped their lineup, managing to recruit some of the region's top metal musicians from other quite successful local and national acts. With their current roster of monster players, today's Spools are now focused more on aggressive songwriting, chops, and the international stage, and that professional approach really shines through in their exhilarating live show, which is not to miss! A much-anticipated new release arrives this fall.
St. Fall Apart Nominated in Punk 2:15-2:45 Bannock Street Garage
St. Fall Apart is a stripped-down, no-frills punk-rock band from Denver that combines unique larynx-busting vocals and loud guitars with pop-punk sensibilities and sincere lyrics. After a tour with Off With Their Heads in 2009, the band recorded its recently released full-length CD titled Somos Extremos.
The Sunshine House Nominated in Folk/Acoustic 3:00-3:30 Sutra
The Sunshine House is a band that will hopefully challenge you musically and emotionally, without even realizing it. We operate on utilizing intricate melodies and deep orchestral textures while maintaining folk-based songwriting. At the very least, we merely hope you find a bit of joy in our humble tracks (thesunshinehousemusic.net).
Take to the Oars Nominated in Pop — Alternative 2:15-2:45 Stoney's
Fresh off the heels of a sold-out CD-release show and opening for national acts like Young the Giant and Rooney, Take to the Oars is hitting 2011 running, and people are taking notice. With the release of its debut album, the band is primed for the airwaves and ready to conquer the national stage. Take to the Oars has been seen sharing the stage with Fuel, Paper Rouge, Eisley, Great Northern, the Gracious Few, the Epilogues and Rooney, and were featured at the 2011 SXSW Music Showcase.
Tin Horn Prayer Nominated in Rock — Roots 4:30-5:00 Sutra
We are a bunch of guys who grew up playing punk rock and then decided to pick up weird instruments like accordion, harmonica, banjo, mandolin and resonator guitar. We still play the same angry punk rock we always have, but due to the instrument selection, people seem to assume we are actual musicians — boy, did we fool you! We like playing with bands of all genres, but our favorite shows are the ones where the whiskey flows like wine and the crows are circling overhead, waiting to pick at the first one of us that drops dead.
Traitors to the Queen Nominated in Pop — Alternative 1:30-2:00 Stoney's
Hey kids, it's Traitors to the Queen Mad Libs! Grab a pencil! Traitors to the Queen is a group of __________ who write __________ music because they suck at everything else. Everywhere they go, people shout, "Hey, Traitors, you guys __________ my __________!" Find their music on any of the Internets by searching for __________. That way you can put the songs on your __________, learn the words, and sing along at the show! Fill this __________ out and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will post the __________ one online. See you at the show!
Vices I Admire Nominated in Pop — Alternative 3:00-3:30 Stoney's
Vices I Admire is a band dedicated to writing honest, passionate music. We make music we enjoy listening to. We are influenced by musicians who are committed to honing their talents and working together to write songs that mean something and connect with people. We believe that music should be sincere and performed live with energy, passion and expression, regardless of genre. We are a group of songwriters with a goal to create music that is captivating and memorable. We are a rock-and-roll band. And we are proud to call Denver our home (vicesiadmire.com/freemusic).
Vicious Women Nominated in Post-Punk 12:00-12:30 Bannock Street Garage
"I suspect that the Vicious Women would describe their sound as 'garage rock,' and while there are certainly garage-y aspects, there is so much more. They blend fuzzed-out bass, which sometimes borders on early American punk rock and sometimes veers pleasantly close to prog, with jagged drums that would make Gang of Four or Joy Division say, 'Now, that's some crazy cool drumming!' Add to that the hoarse, smokey/sexy, Brenda Vaccaro-style vocals, and you've got one of the most delicious bands in Denver. Dig, if you will, their thunder." — Dan Kaufman!Vitamins Nominated in Rock — Psych Rock/Shoegaze 1:30-2:00 Broadways
Vitamins first formed in Greeley in 2005, and has since relocated to Denver, playing and performing in the Colorado area as well as on tour as a four-piece since 2008. Vitamins has amassed a modest yet powerfully inventive discography full of smart songwriting, tight execution and sparkling production of music that is completely self-composed, arranged, recorded, mixed and mastered. The band has performed alongside many of today's finest indie artists, including Man Man, Citay, Birds & Batteries, Chairlift, Gauntlet Hair, Woodsman, Tjutjuna, Tennis and many others. The band was also recently hand-picked by the Flaming Lips to open its show at the Belly Up in Aspen this past December. Vitamins has traveled on tour to the West Coast and performed at SXSW 2010.
Wheelchair Sports Camp Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Female) 12:45-1:15 City Hall, Street Level
What Denver never knew about the four of us until now: Abi has a birthmark on her left butt cheek that reads "diva." Nice guy DJ B*Money stabbed a fool for mixing one of his 5th Dimension records into his 8th Creation section of the crate. Isaac was pronounced "drummer" for the band after he clogged the toilet and flooded a party. For being so little, Kalyn passes more gas than rest of the band combined. But most of all, we would like Denver to know that we love this place, and none of this would be possible without your hometown support.
Whiskey Tango Nominated in Rock — Jam/Improv 12:00-12:30 City Hall, Amphitheatre
As Whiskey Tango gears up for only its third summer as a band, the group can be proud of what it has already accomplished. The members have crafted a high-energy, original live sound and developed a dedicated fan base at Quixote's, where they've played a weekly gig for a year. Bluegrass, rock and roll, psychedelic, funk, jazz and electronica are all well within their repertoire. While the act continues to play in Denver, it is branching out around Colorado and beyond this summer, with stints at the Waterfront Music Festival at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. There's much more music to come.
Whygee Nominated in Hip-Hop — MC (Male) 2:15-2:45 City Hall, Street Level
I am Whygee, a rapper from Denver, Colorado. I helped create the Suicide Watch series with Sunkenstate (aka Quiz Spits), Kid Hum and B-Money. Dispensary Music is one of the best Colorado hip-hop albums ever, and I created that with King FOE. I'm all about good music, simple and plain. I'm trying to be the Spike Lee of this Denver rap shit.
The Widow's Bane Nominated in Gothic 12:45-1:15 Sutra
What can be said about the Widow's Bane that hasn't been said already? We've all heard that it is the best and most well-endowed band in town. We've all heard that the guys once saved a school bus full of children from an untimely demise. We all know that quite frankly every other band in Denver pales in comparison — figuratively speaking, of course. Honestly, the only thing that can be said is that we would personally like to announce that any citizen that arrives at Sutra on Saturday, June 18, at 12:45 p.m. sharp will receive a kitten and a lollipop.
Yerkish (now known as Lexigram) Nominated in Rock — Progressive 6:45-7:15 Opal
Formerly known as Yerkish, Tim Kaminski (vox), Nate Huisgen (guitar), Brent Moran (bass) and Alvin Ramos (drums) sought to rename their band in May 2011. A fortuitous partnership with Sprint put the band in front of more than a hundred million YouTube viewers, and the band chose a new moniker from over 54,000 suggestions. With a clap of thunder and the rattle of a paint can, one of Denver's best progressive rock bands re-emerged as Lexigram. At live shows, the outfit performs mind-altering rock and roll against a backdrop of thematic imagery to enthrall audiences.
Young Cities Nominated in Pop — Alternative 3:45-4:15 Stoney's
First and foremost: We love Denver. Colorado is where we want to be. We are stoked to be able to be a part of the music scene here and are very grateful to readers of local press and listeners of local music. We're pretty sure national acclaim is almost a lost cause these days, so we are doing this purely for the challenge and for the fun of it. We like playing our music to people. So thanks for being awesome, Denver. Don't change your hair.
When does the MUSIC STOP??? Just a bunch of loud noise...someone should put a ban on this for next year. A true disturbance to the neighborhood!!!!
Is there an updated schedule somewhere? Some of the bands appear to have changed stages. Sauna, for one.
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