UMS 2015: A Guide to Things You Won't See Anywhere Else
40th Day | Larimer Lounge | July 20, 2013
The Underground Music Showcase launches on Thursday, July 23, and runs through Sunday, July 26, in various venues, from as far north as Sixth Avenue to Alameda. The yearly festival, originated by the Denver Post, brings together a huge array of local and touring bands, and the event as a whole is well worth checking out. But some sets are more unusual than others. What follows is a selection of nine shows or showcases that you aren't likely to see again
40th Day at Irish Rover, 8 p.m. on Friday, July 24, and at 3 Kings Tavern, 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 26
From its 1986 inception to its dissolution in the mid-'90s, 40th Day was one of a handful of popular Denver bands that never quite broke through to the mainstream of even the alternative-rock world. But like many of its peers, it had an enduring impact on the local scene. One wouldn't call 40th Day dream pop, because it was too rock for that; not industrial, because it was more organic than that; and not metal, because its music wasn't as aggressive as that, and it was far too ethereal and possessed of an almost otherworldly beauty. 40th Day was simply one of the most powerful and evocative bands of Denver's alternative-rock era. Its 1992 album, Lovely Like a Snake, is a Denver music classic. As nearly half the band lives out of state, it hasn't played many live shows since its first reunion performance in nearly two decades in 2013. In some
A Shoreline Dream at Illegal Pete's, 7 p.m. on
This long-running shoegaze band used to perform regular shows throughout the year, but in recent years, it has cut back its local performance schedule drastically.Shoreline Dream shows immerse you in soothing yet heady sounds, shutting the mundane world out, which sounds perfect for a Friday evening at a bustling music festival.
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk at the hi-dive, 10 p.m. on
BBDDM used to be based in Lawrence, Kansas, and made Denver a regular stop on its seemingly regular tours. A few years back, Drew Gibson, the band's
Bad Luck City | Hi-Dive | July 9, 2015
Bad Luck City at Gary Lee's Motor Club and Grub, 11 p.m. on
A staple of the Denver underground scene of the first decade of the 2000s, Bad Luck City now plays about once per year. Its beautifully brooding songs build an unparalleled level of tension and intensity throughout, and singer Dameon Merkl's riveting stage presence puts him among the best frontmen in town. And since frontpeople are a rare commodity these days, here's your chance to see one of the best, alongside a band that gives those stage antics the proper context to shine, with songs that evoke like Nick Cave and Cop Shoot Cop with an exquisite sense of humor.
Boise Day Party at The Skylark Lounge, 1-5 p.m. on
Little known to much of the world, Boise, Idaho, is currently home to a fairly rich music scene, with bands that should
DIIV at Main Stage 9 p.m. on
When DIIV released Oshin in 2012, it proved that one could synthesize post-punk, dream pop and modern electronic pop music and not have it sound stale and like it was trying too hard. It was a breath of fresh air at a time when indie
Force Publique | Larimer Lounge | November 11, 2012
Force Publique at Blue Ice, 11 p.m. on
Before Force Publique moved to Portland a few years ago, it garnered a good deal of local attention for its dark, synth-based post-punk. But at that time the community that would have supported Force Publique's style of music didn't really exist. Coming back for the first time since relocating to the Rose City, the duo's sound has been honed and refined, emphasizing even more the electronic side of the dark pop confection represented on its 2015 release, Bloom.
Jux County at the Irish Rover, 7 p.m. on
Another classic Denver band from the '80s and '90s, Jux County has been mixing punk, country and post-punk in always interesting ways across four decades now. The current incarnation of the band is especially focused and intense, with the bandmembers seemingly having discovered a renewed passion for the music they make together.
Rowboat | UMS | July 21, 2013
Rowboat at Brendan's Pub, 7 p.m. on Saturday July 25
Sam McNitt was once in the late, great space-rock band Blue Million Miles, but his songwriting was always grounded in writing on acoustic guitar and folk-music ideas first. His experience in doing both kinds of music informed the moodily gorgeous melodies and soundscapes of his
If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.
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