At this year's Westword Music Showcase, some of Denver's most prominent local acts will be taking the stage at Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge, located at 930 Lincoln Street. The eighteen-year-old club has hosted such groundbreaking jazz artists as Esperanza Spalding and Joe Lovano, earning it a reputation as the prime spot to hear such music in Denver. The all-ages lounge also offers late-afternoon and late-night happy hours, featuring delicious cocktails and food to complement its cozy environment. Dazzle has live music seven nights a week; on Saturday, June 25, however, the music starts at noon and lasts until 5:15 p.m. Here's a closer look at the eclectic — jazz and definitely not jazz — acts taking the Dazzle stage that day:
The first act to perform at Dazzle will be the self-proclaimed "modern cinematic experience," Aspen Hourglass, a fusion trio that defies categorization with its eclectic range of styles. Powerful vocals and shredding guitar from Grayson Erhard resemble modern alternative-rock acts like Incubus and King Tuff, but slapped bass, classical piano and funk rhythms put the group into its own stylistic division. Elvin Holderfield provides masterful chords and melodies on keyboard while simultaneously supplying synth bass and holding down the band's complex rhythms with drummer Sean Hanson. The band's recent track "Better Answers" is a perfect example of its unique sound, an upbeat tune with swelling rock choruses embellished with syncopated jazz breaks and soaring falsettos. You can catch the raucous set from 12 to 12:40 p.m.
Joseph Lamar is perhaps one of the most fascinating artists in the Denver music scene today. His electronic pop tracks feature immersive storytelling that details Lamar's introspective and creative processes, as well as smooth vocals and beautiful instrumentation. The pensive artist has a self-titled EP of original music to his name, on which he provides the bulk of the production, exemplifying his commitment to his craft. Last year, Lamar announced an ambitious new venture, "Project 11:11," an eleven-EP multimedia series to be released over the span of this year. Last November, he released the first EP of the series, ...of the young and stupid, an eleven-minute track that features beats ranging from experimental hip-hop to EDM as well as Lamar's characteristic mixture of heart-on-sleeve spoken word and enthralling vocals. Lamar will bring his imaginative brand of pop to the Dazzle stage from 12:55 to 1:35.
Bigwheel Electrosoul is a collaborative effort of DJ Check One and keyboardist Jerod Sarlo, aka Qknox, in which the two meld the art of production and beatmaking with live performance. They have an extensive catalogue of instrumental tracks that range from hip-hop to acid rock, giving them the ability to back vocalists or other musicians as well as to perform on their own with the use of embedded remixes of artists such as Michael Jackson and Nate Dogg. In 2011, they released a twenty-track self-titled album of their instrumental originals in which they showcase their eclectic musical palette. Electrosoul's exhilarating live performances (which often features stand-ins from other musicians) are known to give way to spontaneous eruptions of dancing as the group performs. You'll be able to witness this for yourself at Dazzle from 1:50 to 2:40 p.m.
Dave Devine Relay
Layers of textured guitar and synth and pulsating grooves are the tools employed by Dave Devine Relay, a four-piece instrumental group led by (you guessed it) Dave Devine. The band also features synthesizer from Michael Bailey, with Paul McDaniel and Marc Dalio holding down rhythms on bass and drums, respectively. Devine, who is known throughout Denver for his skills as a rock and jazz guitarist, makes use of ambient and experimental sounds as well as shifts in meter and harmony to formulate compositions that are both musically intriguing and accessible to all listeners. Devine's career has taken him all over, including international tours with popular acts like Sun Kil Moon and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley. With Relay, Devine has released three full-length LPs of psychedelic post-rock numbers. Bop your head and sway back and forth to their trance-inducing tunes from 2:45 to 3:25.
3:40 - 4:20 p.m.
By combining influences of retro pop and an indie flare, in/PLANES' Desirae Garcia and Inaiah Lujan craft beautifully chilled-out indie-pop songs that are delightfully palatable to all listeners while retaining a unique charm. Their four-song EP of demos is proof of this, each track calmly churning with honesty and alluring melodies. Each song feels like a manifesto of love and nostalgia, embellished by seamless harmonies and tight grooves. The duo shares vocal duties, while Garcia lays down bass and adds baritone ukulele and Lujan plays guitar. Although in/PLANES is still a relatively young project, Garcia and Lujan are veterans of the music scene, both being founders and core members of folk group the Haunted Windchimes. They'll be serenading the Dazzle audience from 3:40 to 4:20 p.m.
4:35 - 5:15 p.m.
The final band to take the stage at Dazzle for this year's Showcase will be Go Star, the brainchild of Denver trumpeter Joshua Trinidad. Trinidad garnered some cred for himself when he wrote and produced a soundtrack for New York photographer Chris Buck in 2012, and has since expanded on his success by performing with internationally acclaimed acts such as Ikey Owens and OK Go, among others. He also boasts an extensive catalogue of solo material, comprising experimental electronic tracks that are embellished by the prowess of his horn playing. As Go Star, however, Trinidad is more interested in displaying his improvisation skills, which are of the highest caliber, while simultaneously using his deep understanding of pop music to create a listening experience that is both enjoyable and unpredictable. Go Star will close out the Dazzle portion of the Showcase from 4:35 to 5:15.
The 2016 Westword Music Showcase takes place in the Golden Triangle neighborhood on Saturday, June 25, with Dillon Francis, Cold War Kids, Matt and Kim and more, as well as 100 Denver bands across a dozen stages. Get your tickets for the 2016 Westword Music Showcase here. Current GA ticket prices are $45, current VIP ticket prices are $95, and the Showcase 4-ticket Squad Pack is $140.