For those of you lucky enough to be up in the mountains this afternoon for day two of the SnowBall Music Festival gets ready to get underway, you're probably going over the lineup and hatching a plan for what you're going to see today. If so, we've got you covered. We put together a short tipsheet of the must-see acts on today's bill. Keep reading to see what we've picked. If you're not in Winter Park, not to worry, it's a winter wonderland back here in the Mile High City. Tons of great shows to catch here, and you can always check out the SnowBall pics to see what you're missing up there.
SCHOOL KNIGHTS - BALLROOM, 02:15 - 03:00 There seems to be a big influx of reverby, neo-garage rock everywhere lately. School Knights fares better than many bands because its youthful exuberance is not a pose. It's obvious this band has listened to more than its fair share of No Age and Siltbreeze artists like Eat Skull or Times New Viking -- or at least the bands influenced by that music. School Knights never lacks for musicianship, as evidenced on songs like "Prom Queen," where the guitar seems fluid yet spiky as it engages in rapid, precise arpeggios without showing off. Thematically, the guys in School Knights also keep things wonderfully angsty instead of engaging in a rewrite of high school as a golden era that so many of us were too big of losers to fully enjoy.
TUMBLEWEED WANDERERS - MAIN STAGE, 03:15 - 04:15 Tumbleweed Wanders recently opened up for Tea Leaf Green at the Bluebird Theater, and their sound was similar to that act with sweet, sweet vocals and mad banjo playing skills on songs like "No Longer Waiting," "Roll With the Times" and "So Long Blues." The group's version of Dusty Springfield's "Son of A Preacher Man," meanwhile, was pitch-perfect. Tumbleweed Wanderers have a nice rhythm, and their harmonica makes their songs Bob-Dylan-beautiful.
THE DELTA SPIRIT - MAIN STAGE, 04:45 - 05:45 Hailing from San Diego rather than Louisiana, Delta Spirit writes the type of music that will always be lumped in with some strain of Americana. A casual listen to the band's music reveals roots in the folk, blues and soul that is very much a part of that tradition, but rather than wallow in a fetishistic mime of what has gone before, this fivesome has figured out that inspiration is more important than imitation. With songs that soar into atmospheric-rock territory and wouldn't sound out of place on a space-rock record alongside more traditionally folk-sounding material, Delta Spirit creates a unique voice in what is largely overmined territory. Equally embracing past and present, the band points to its bright future.
POLICA - MAIN STAGE, 06:15 - 07:15 Polica, which hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, features former Roma di Luna vocalist Channy Leaneagh, Ryan Olson of Gayngs fame, a pair of drummers, Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson and bassist bassist Chris Bierdan. Formed in the summer of 2011, the act came together rather quickly and garnered enormous praise right out of the gate first with its full-length debut Give You the Ghost. With a fiercely suductive electro sound kindred to acts like Purity Ring, JJ and XX, Polica, and particularly the vocals of Leaneagh, is patently irresistible.
PORTUGAL. THE MAN - MAIN STAGE, 07:45 - 09:00 Portugal. The Man is arguably one of the hardest-working bands making music. The band has released a record every year since 2006, and it tour tirelessly, constantly churning out its psychedelic funk grooves for the enjoyment of its dedicated fans. The Portland-via-Alaska band got its start in the summer of 2004 recording demos, and shortly thereafter, the outfit embarked on a tour with Chiodos. The group continually evolves, meticulously crafting a diverse yet musically enthralling sound. Placing Portugal. The Man in a genre unfairly limits the depth to which its music and be embraced. The sound is diverse, ranging from funk grooves to more experimental indie rock.
DATSIK - GROOVE TENT, 08:30 - 09:30 The merging of hardcore hip-hop with heavy bass lines and melodic keyboards was an inevitable one, but you would never have guessed that its birthplace would be Canada. Datsik, known in his home town of British Columbia as Troy Beetles, fuses the heaviest elements of rap and dubstep to create a unique sound that translates into the equivalent of standing in the middle of an epic man-versus-machine battlefield. With heavy distortion and intergalactic samples, Datsik delivers a show similar to that of Excision, a fellow Canadian who helped boost his status by collaborating on various tracks. Drawing on influence from rappers such as Wu-Tang Clan and injecting a rock flavor from the likes of Korn, Datsik is making good on the promise held by his first studio release, issued this past April on Steve Aoki's Dim Mak Records imprint.
JAPANDROIDS - BALLROOM, 08:45 - 09:45 Since 2006, Vancouver's Japandroids have been purveyors of a raw post-punk. Not the kind that became de rigueur in New York at the turn of the century, but rather the sort that is more sonically resonant, with the spiky, urgent melodies of Hüsker Dü and the free-flowing catharsis of the Minutemen. The band's aesthetic comes from a place further back than any modern trend, and even its album art is reminiscent of the kind of simple yet stylized images that graced the albums of early hardcore bands and acts from the first wave of post-punk. Touring in support of its latest release, Celebration Rock, this duo puts on a visceral live show that is worthy of its most obvious influences.
PRETTY LIGHTS - MAIN STAGE, 09:30 - 11:00 At this point, Pretty Lights needs no introduction. What started off simply as just one guy making music, is about so much more than that: It's now a brand, a label -- hell, it's virtually a cottage industry, churning out a steady stream of promising EDM prospects. But ultimately, the heart of things comes down to creative output of Derek Vincent Smith, from the music he makes to the way he delivers it onstage. If you haven't experienced Pretty Lights live, make it a priority. Smith puts on one of the most captivating and energetic EDM shows you're probably going.
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