The best jam-band shows in January
Pioneers of the jamtronica genre, Philly's Disco Biscuits build interesting set lists; they invert portions of jams into each other, surprising the crowd again and again while shining a mega ton of lasers in your face for an overstimulation extravaganza. They'll be taking over the Ogden for two nights and then expanding for a big finale on Saturday night at 1STBANK Center. The Biscuits always show Colorado tons of love even when their touring schedules decrease to give them time to work on other projects.
What a month for jamtronica in Denver! The month ends with one of the greats of the genre, STS9 setting up shop for two nights at the Fillmore. STS9 takes its instrumental jamming to trance like levels; moments of euphoria are certain while highly regarded lighting director Saxton Waller turns the stage into swirling patterns of colors that ebb and flow with the music. No surprise at all that there is a Facebook fan page called "The Church of STS9," as the act's shows can be downright spiritual.
Roots Americana newgrass sextet Railroad Earth from Stillwater, New Jersey, continues touring heavily and building a strong fan base here, this time taking over the Fillmore for a night of acoustic genre blending; jazz, rock, bluegrass and even Celtic music all come into play in the group's sound. The live shows are full of improvisation and instrumental prowess, and openers Head for the Hills from Fort Collins holds its own with upbeat, fast-paced bluegrass originals and covers like Talking Head's "Life During Wartime."
This past NYE at the Phish Madison Square Garden show, Trey Anastasio showed that he still had his chops from thirty years ago, executing a series of elaborate and obviously practiced Gamehendge compositions to a jubilant and grateful crowd. When playing with his side project, he is able to explore the smaller intricacies of song crafting, often using it as a launchpad for future Phish jam vehicles. The stage is filled with wildly talented musicians, in which horns blare and a focused set and light design create a flow that is almost theatrical in nature.
The Motet is ubiquitous in the state of Colorado, with a show at the Fillmore being extra special because it's also the band's new album release party. While Motet shows that cover other bands are fun, the outfit's real talent lies in the original funk it creates and the psychedelic improvisations. The night will be jam packed with new material sure to have the dance floor bumping and bringing something different and new to its hardcore fan base.
There's no better place for a Grateful Dead tribute than in one of Jay Bianchi's Dead-themed venues, and popular Midwest Grateful Dead/Phish cover band Hyryder is sure to invoke the spirit of '72 with the help of local psychedelic reggae band Rastasaurus, as well as That Damn Sasquatch, who brings its own unique spin to the huge Dead catalog. Hyryder pays close attention to detail and precision, and the night is sure to have a unique set list, as the band never repeats a show, just like its inspiration.
Dubbing themselves "Ameritronica" on their Bandcamp site, these guys lay down bouncy grooves with electric mandolin adding a unique element to their textured sound. Coming from Four Mile Canyon, this band has created a strong local community of fans, and it isn't afraid to throw bluegrass into the electric funk dance mix.
This unique band of wanderers takes the stage at Park House, all playing stringed instruments with force and passion. Coming from Nederland, with Vince Herman's son Silas on guitar and mando, Gipsy Moon has a distinct Colorado mountain sound (coined Gipsygrass) that sounds reminiscent of the past while maintaining a modern edge through youthfulness and contemplative lyrics.
The new 1Up Colfax is fast becoming a popular jam band venue, and Technicolor Tone Factory, recent openers for moe., are set to hold things down with fellow local favs Genetics. Bringing a fusion of funk and rock to the table, Technicolor Tone Factory gets you dancing while keeping you entertained by the antics of the charismatic musicians on stage.
Like all good jam bands, these hard working local musicians blend an array of genres into their sound, creating an electronic-funk-dance sound in the vein of STS9 and Lotus. Vine Street Vibes take it up a notch, though, by going in a very psychedelic direction during their instrumental jams with cosmic sounds and vibrations that make things seem otherworldly.
Taking ideas from contemporary EDM and mashing it together with '70s funk is always a good recipe for an upbeat time, and Kung Fu manages it extremely well. The band has generated a great buzz with a lineup full of seasoned veterans of the festival and jam band circuit. Rob Somerville on tenor sax adds an extra smoothness and oomph to the whole thing, taking it from show to full-on party. (Dopapod is set to open the show.)
• BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS •
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.