This blog is dedicated to music, live and recorded. I review shows and albums and also publish feature stories on artists.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We're Back!

After a 4 week hiatus due to the realities of life and having to pay the bills, I am back. It's been a couple of weeks without live music for me but that's all fixin' to change now. I'll get a pick of the week up today and then we'll be back with live reviews and the rest of the regular content.

Thanks for sticking around!

Listen Up Denver!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

PICK OF THE WEEK: American Music Club - Friday, May 9th - The Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO

Why You Should Go: Formed in 1982 by the brilliant songwriter Mark Eitzel American Music Club went on to record seven albums before a self imposed ten year hiatus that began in 1994. When they returned four years ago with the critically acclaimed Love Songs For Patriots they were received by fans new and old alike with open arms and their new record The Golden Age is every bit as good if not better. While their music is often slow, mellow and slightly sad, the passion that Eitzel throws into his performances is amazing and something not to be missed.

With Denver standouts Hello Kavita & Bela Karoli also on the bill it promises to be yet another great night of music at The Larimer.
American Music Club

Venue: Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, Denver, CO - 303.291.1007

7:00 PM

*Approximate Set Times:
Hello Kavita - 9:00 PM
Bela Karoli - 10:00 PM
Amreican Music Club - 11:00 PM

$11.00 (ADV)
$13.00 (DOS)

*All times and prices are gathered from other sources and I am not responsible for mistakes or inconsistencies. They are intended only as guidelines. Please, always call the venue if you desire the most accurate information possible.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: Jamie Lidell - Jim

With hints of Smokey Robinson and other classic soul artists of the '60s and '70s, Jamie Lidell's new album, Jim, transports the listener back to those simpler days while at the same time keeping things fresh.

Those familiar with Lidell's previous solo work and his work with Super Collider may be surprised at how polished and accessible this record is. However, it's clear this is the next step in the evolution Lidell's sound has been undergoing throughout his career. From the sampling and electronic meanderings of 2000's Muddlin Gear to the edgy electronic soul of Multiply, it seems that Lidell has been plotting this course to refined soul music for the 21st Century for last eight or more years. While this album is highlighted by more actual instruments than anything he's released in the past, Jim does use electronic manipulation and the other studio wizardry to enhance the vintage feel of the tracks.

While songs like "Wait for Me," and the album's first single, "Little Bit of Feelgood," are poised to be breakout summertime smashes on the scale of the 2006 Gnarls Barkley megahit "Crazy," a cut like "Figured Me Out" seems to pull from the playbook of Jamiroquai and the smooth, jazzy feel of "Green Light" could land Lidell on tour with Steely Dan.

Overall, a very solid and durable album from the king of the next generation of Blue-Eyed Soul singers, Jim is an album sure to appeal to many walks of life and get all generations out on the floor and dancing.


PICK OF THE WEEK: The Swell Season - Saturday, May 3rd - The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver, CO

Why You Should Go: Unless you've been living in a box for the last year and half, you have at least heard of the movie Once. It is the enchanting and touching story of one man, his music, and the woman who helped him to get it out to the world. The man, Glen Hansard of The Frames, and the woman, Czech singer and pianist Marketa Irglova, are now touring together as The Swell Season. Unless you plan on heading out to Telluride for the Bluegrass Festival this is your only chance to catch these two performing songs from Once live, right in Denver, in the beautiful Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Though Once received an enormous amount of attention in the months following it's release it remained a largely "indie" movie until the Academy of Motion Pictures nominated the song "Falling Slowly" for the Oscar for Best Original Song. Hansard and Irglova won the Oscar and their popularity has since soared.

Craigslist may be your best bet for tickets to this one, but it never hurts to check ticketmaster as they frequently release tickets as the event approaches.

The Swell Season

Venue: The Ellie Caulkins Opera House 950 13th St, Denver, CO 80204 - (720) 865-4220

Doors: 7:00 PM

*Approximate Set Times:
Joshua James: 8:00 PM
The Swell Season: 9:00 PM

$35.00 - $37.50

*All times and prices are gathered from other sources and I am not responsible for mistakes or inconsistencies. They are intended only as guidelines. Please, always call the venue if you desire the most accurate information possible.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

PHOTOS: Kraftwerk - April 23rd, 2008 - The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO

Below is a link to the pictures I took at the Kraftwerk show on Wednesday night at The Fillmore.



PICK OF THE WEEK: Colin Meloy - Saturday, April 26th - The Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO

Why You Should Go: As lead singer and songwriter for The Decemberists Colin Meloy has, for the last 6 years, been creating some of the most beautiful indie rock there is. Though known as a pirate shanty kind of songwriter, Meloy is much more. His lyrics and melodies are intricate and thought provoking while being amazingly pleasing to the ear.

As he does from time to time, Meloy has chosen to leave his bretheren in the Decemberists behind for this outing and is taking the stage solo to support his recent release Colin Meloy Sings Live which features performances from his 2006 solo tour. The tracks on the record are primarily familiar to Decemberists fans though some newly penned songs that have yet to be featured on a Decemberists record rear their head here as well.

Recently Rolling Stone said Meloy is "a master of improbable juxtaposition: arcane, detailed fictions of star-crossed passion and avenging bloodshed dressed up in indie-rock jangle, la-de-da choruses and vintage prog-rock bombast." Though much of the prog-rock will be stripped out on this tour, it promises to be entertaining as Meloy seldom lets his fans down.

When you head out to the show be sure to pull some extra change from those couch cushions to pick up a copy of Meloy's latest in his series of tour only EPs Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke. As the name would suggest the EP is a collection of five Sam Cooke songs, intimately arranged and performed by Meloy, with opener Laura Gibson singing harmonies throughout.

Colin Meloy

Venue: The Fox Theatre 1135 13th Street, Boulder, CO - 303.443.3399

8:30 PM

*Approximate Set Times:
Laura Gibson: 9:15 PM
Colin Meloy: 10:30 PM


*All times and prices are gathered from other sources and I am not responsible for mistakes or inconsistencies. They are intended only as guidelines. Please, always call the venue if you desire the most accurate information possible.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

REVIEW: Copper Sunsation Festival - April 12 & 13, 2008 - Copper Mountain, CO

Saturday: Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. There ain’t no party like a P-Funk party. Like it or not, it’s true. George Clinton and his band of misfits have been dishing out the Cosmic Slop for nearly 40 years and if their performance at Copper Mountain was any indication, they are still going strong. Sure, the cast of characters has changed a bit, Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell came and went along with many others, but Clinton still surrounds himself with very able musicians and several of the old timers are still funkin’ it up with him.

A small portion of the band took the stage at about 2 pm just as the snowflakes were beginning to fall and noodled their way through a couple of warm up jams to melt the frost from their fingers before the full force of the P-Funk storm hit us about 40 minutes later and the group blossomed to about 12 members. Leading the charge for the first 30 minutes or so was long time funkateer Garry “Starchild” Shider. Though Shider has been with P-Funk since the 70’s and is known for his penchant for emerging on stage clad in only a diaper the snow and freezing temperatures kept the diaper at bay to the dismay of many in the crowd. “You may know me better in a diaper,” he said at one point, “but it’s just too cold out here for that today.”

As the snow increased in intensity and the crowd managed to get their groove on despite the thick layer of late season snow and ice under foot, P-Funk turned up the heat and Clinton himself finally emerged suitably attired in a ski coat that was covered with golden imprints of cash. He remained on stage for much of the rest of the 2 and half hour performance trading vocals with Shider and others as the band funked up a classic set-list that included “Up For the Down Stroke,” “Flashlight,” “Atomic Dog,” and of course the classic “Give Up The Funk.”

One of the musical highlights of the set was the epic psychedelic guitar solo during the legendary “Maggot Brain.” Featuring long time P-Funk guitar hero, Michael “Kidd Funkadelic” Hampton this song stretched well past the 10 minute mark and marked one of the longest single songs of the set. As he wailed and conjured up images of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmore much of the rest of the band took a break to warm up backstage before diving headlong back into the set and going strong until the stroke of five O’Clock.

During the second half of the set, Clinton and company featured a few tracks from their most recent release How Late Do You Have To Be Before You’re Absent, including the highly danceable “Bounce to This” and the rap “Somethin’ Stank,” which regrettably didn’t feature Sativa as it does on the album. None the less, the mountain crowd loved the message of the song and obliged by sending up plumes of the sweet smelling smoke that has fueled so many of these parties.

In addition to the obligatory drug references, the performance was full of sexual innuendo largely fueled by Carlos “Sir Nose” McMurray, who emerged several times throughout the afternoon and seemed to take delight in flipping off the crowd and grabbing at his crotch as he undulated to the music in a shaggy white fur suit and wide brimmed hat. As the party raged on, the band seemed to have some kind of cosmic control over the snow fall as it seemed to come down harder and faster when the funk was raining down hard and let up as the band slowed the pace. It was a unique experience to party with P-Funk in the snow and one that many in the crowd will not soon forget I am sure.

Sunday: Sunday morning dawned a completely different day as so often happens in the Colorado springtime. By mid-morning the temperature was in the fifties and there wasn’t cloud in the sky. As a result the scene at the base of the mountain was totally different than Saturday. When the techno fueled Lotus took the stage the dance floor was noticeably sloppy as the ice and snow were beginning to melt in the hot mid-day sun and there were shirtless guys and girls in tube and tank tops brushing shoulders with the hardcore skiers in their North Face and Mountain Hardware jackets.

Though there was a noticeable contingent of Lotus fans with their hands in the air there is no doubt that the band won over some new fans as their energetic sound permeated the decks, patios and bars that surrounded the stage area. From the opener “Suitcases,” through the final note of “Sunrain,” the band was firing on all cylinders. The rock solid rhythm section of Steve Clemens, Chuck Morris and Jess Miller provided the foundation for Luke Miller and Mike Rempel to stretch out and take the trancelike melodies to the next level. There were moments when they seemed to have it turned up to 10 and then they pushed it a little bit further. This has always been a hallmark of a great jamband and Lotus is well on their way. They harnessed the energy of the crowd and fed off of it for the duration of the 90 minute set and didn’t let up for a minute.

After Lotus wrapped up their set, the weekend, and the ski season, was drawing to a close. But not before the Hassidic Reggae of Matisyahu rocked the sun-soaked music fans who had crammed the base area to hear him perform. Despite his set being absolutely plagued by sound problems that sent shrill feedback echoing off the walls of nearby mountains, Matisyahu delivered an upbeat set that was a perfect compliment to the weather. The hope and good vibes that are radiated out by this man as he moves around the stage like an MC spreading his music to the world can’t be denied.

The set featured many of Matisyahu’s crowd pleasers, but also featured guest musican Trevor Hall who emerged midway through the set with his guitar in tow. The pair played a song they had co-written called “I Will Be Light,” that will likely be featured on Matisyahu’s next album.

As his set drew to close, and with it the 2007-2008 ski season at Copper, I was struck by how perfectly this weekend had ushered in the summer festival season. With the snow and cold weather that we endured for P-Funk to the bright, warm sun that brought with it the trance-jam of Lotus and the Reggae of Matisyahu, this festival perfectly represented the unpredictable weather of the mountains and Colorado’s insatiable appetite for good music.

Organization: A-
Crowds: B
Sound: B-
Prices: A
Line-Up: B+
Venue: B+

Overall: B+