July 22, 2011

Are you coming to the Underground Music Showcase this weekend?

Dear readers, I am home from my epic roadtrip adventure, well-sunned, well-loved, well-fed, and deeply grateful. In addition to lots of outdoor time with those who matter most to me, my path also crossed with wonderful several musicians, adding spatters of color to the late nights. As an adventure it ranks right up there with the best thing I’ve ever done.

Because I can’t stop/won’t stop, this weekend I am gearing up for the finest days in music that Denver has to offer all the livelong year at the Underground Music Showcase (UMS). The stretch of South Broadway that houses the Hi-Dive, Sputnik, Irish Rover, Skylark (etc) becomes an extended runway of jubilant, genre-crossing, warmly illuminated venues as art galleries, print shops, big ole churches, parking lots, and coffee shops all convert for the weekend into performance spaces.

Thousands of Denver music fans and bands both local and national are coming together to rock your face and perk up your ears. Wristbands for the entire weekend are only $40. Single day passes are also available in limited quantities each day on-site for $20.

Last night kicked off with some terrific artists (Nathan & Stephen, El Ten Eleven, Ha Ha Tonka) but you still have an insane amount of goodness to choose from as we hit our stride starting tonight. Here are some of my don’t-miss picks. Including that one song I am supposed to sing duet on, for my DENVER LIVE MUSIC DEBUT. Yes, really. Come cheer me on.


The Pirate Signal
Saturday at 7:30pm @ Goodwill parking lot stage

Yonnas is one of the most literate, spirited hip-hop artists I have ever known, and his live performances are legendary. As their Facebook says, The Pirate Signal sounds like: “That point when you’re having sex and your face goes numb and heart feels like it is going to burst out of your chest.” So, um, GO.

Their is also my theme song for the upcoming weekend:
I Can’t Wait – The Pirate Signal

Gardens and Villa
Friday 10pm @ Hi-Dive

Very recently, all my social media feeds have lit up with friends raving about this Santa Barbara band (signed to Secretly Canadian), saying that their live shows are dance-party frenzies unlike anything going. They also apparently carry a bag of flutes on their back. Even though it’s going to be a billion sweaty degrees in the Hi-Dive tonight by 10pm, that sounds like something I need.

Saturday at midnight @ 3 Kings Tavern

The soon-to-be-called-something-else band featuring Denver music friends like Andy Hamilton, Mike Marchant, Johnny Lundock, and Matthew Till has been one of my favorite musical representatives of our fair city for a while now. They just finished their darkly atmospheric Winter EP, rounding out a sonic year of seasonal bliss. They also put on a terrific show, so it’s a no-brainer.

Friday at midnight @ Hi-Dive

You know that super duper catchy song “When They Fight” that I put on my summer mix that sounds like a retro girl group (“I love you, bayyyyybayyyyyy”) but is actually two guys from Louisiana? Yeah well, they’re here tonight. Let’s go see them.

Old Canes
Saturday at 7pm @ 3 Kings

I’ve peppered several mixes with the percussive-heavy rattle and pop of Saddle Creek band Old Canes, the new project of Appleseed Cast frontman Chris Crisci. Their album that I still play constantly is called Feral Harmonic, and I find them to be both, marvelously.

Candy Claws
10pm Sunday at Delite

Named a “rising” band by Pitchfork, this Denver duo makes melodic and shimmery music inspired by lines from a Richard Ketchum book they found in a used bookshop and fed through www.translationparty.com. Rad.


Iuengliss, 11pm Friday @ Delite (I love shaking my shit to Tommy Metz)

Fort Frances, 5pm Saturday at The Hornet (produced by Josh Ritter’s piano player Sam Kassirer, and a band that friends keep telling me to check out)

Denison Witmer, 10pm Friday at Moe’s BBQ (I love him so; watch for the Fuel/Friends Chapel Session we’re taping Sunday)

Gregory Alan Isakov, 8:15 Sunday at the Goodwill parking lot (because he is amazing)

The Centennial, 11pm Friday at 3 Kings (new band from the Meese brothers)

Saturday afternoon music panels The Sesh(I’m facilitating the Conversation with Duncan McKie who runs all the cool Canadian music funding programs)

A. Tom Collins (former frontman of Machine Gun Blues at 1am at the art deco Mayan? IN.)

Port Au Prince, 5pm Saturday at 3 Kings (new sounds from old friends in Astrophagus et al)

All the comedy at Sobo151 (Denver has some FUNNY COMICS)

Glass Hits, Friday 9pm @ 3 Kings (because they’re extremely loud and incredibly close) and their tightly-wound Fugazi tribute they’re reprising on Sunday at 10pm at 3 Kings.

Fairchildren, 5pm Saturday @ the South Broadway Christian Church / 7:30pm Sunday @ the Goodwill parking lot (Nathaniel Rateliff is not at the fest this year as far as I can tell, but the musicians that play with him will be, and their songs are based on fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm)

Panal SA de CV, 6pm Sunday @ Hi-Dive (Denver’s own anthemic instrumental rock band, reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky and other good things)

The H is O, 3pm Sunday @ the TS Board Shop (I’m gonna sing. I think.)

LET’S DO THIS, people.

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  • Looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time together at the Hi Dive tonight!

    Michael Thompson — July 22, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  • HEATHER- Go see The Fox and the Bird. They are my friends from Dallas and they are AMAZINGLY awesome and folky. 5pm, Saturday, Irish Rover. You will love. Also, I Iove this blog so much. I think we should be friends.

    heather — July 23, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  • Hope you made it to Fort Frances! We discovered them at Summerfest in Milwaukee earlier this month and caught them today at Wax Trax. Love their song Ghosts of California.

    jaunti — July 24, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  • Yay Denison! Have a great time, HB!

    Bart Wang — July 28, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  • Some of the most talented musicians in the world are unsigned and virtually unknown. In the past, ultra-talented performers have gleaned listeners primarily through live performances and mp3 distribution. The goal is to develop a loyal fan base through a grass-roots, word of mouth style marketing plan. The hope was to generate enough interest to get a recording contract.

    Jeremy Gilbert — July 30, 2011 @ 1:29 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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