Last night at the Fillmore I got a chance to shoot a big show with lots of lights; such a treat when you aren’t fighting for every little bit of light in the hopes of one clear shot. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers opened, bringing that Grateful Dead country funk sound together with her clear as a bell powerhouse vocals; it was my first time seeing them and I thought they were incredible, authentic and fun. More in-depth review Monday at Westword.
Last night local Bob Marley tribute band Wake Up and Live celebrated Marley’s birthday with a packed house at Cervantes’ Other Side. Thank goodness they took that elevated platform out by the bar, for once no one tripped there! With the new layout and coffee being served, the Other Side is fast becoming a favorite of mine. Portland’s The Quick and Easy Boys from my Jam Bands to Watch list opened, and completely blew me away. I highly suggest checking them out live. Rastasaurus were also on the bill, acting ever more like the polished touring band they are shaping up to be. Read my review at the Westword here:
I also got a chance to take my first promo shots, musicians are slightly harder than babies:
The Monday before Thanksgiving I got a chance to review and shoot Black Joe Lewis for the Westword. As a long time fan, I thought the new material sounded great live, and breathed fresh takes to old material as well. Read my review here, and scroll down for some more photos. It’s time for a better lens.
Last night, local Denver favorites Rastasaurus played their first show at the Bluebird. They have a dedicated fanbase, as they went on promptly at 9:00 to around 25 people and within about two minutes the place filled up with happy people that all seemed to know each other. They have a reggae sound that is complimented by more psychedelic jamming, my interest certainly piqued when I saw all their pedals. A “Divided Sky” tease by lead guitarist Eric Ciccone followed by his twin brother Mark on bass playing Makisupa Policeman and noticing it was in the same key as the song they were about to play made the Phish fans of the audience get all excited, but this is no Phish cover band, and the teases were left at just that. Just as well, because their originals are great. Lead singer and guitarist Justus Lacewell is a huge guy and commands the stage well, they all do. All in all, it was a fantastic showing at Bluebird for these first timers, I’ve seen many touring acts absolutely bomb there in the opening slot, so kudos Rastasaurus.
Finally got to see Said the Whale last night, and they surpassed my pretty high expectations. The success of their single “I Love You” brought quite a few teenagers and every pretty young lawyer that lived in the area. While their latest album has a very polished sound, their live show is much more raw, intricate and careful sounds coming from everyone, often leading up to moments of distortion and reverb that I didn’t expect from them. I don’t get a chance to shoot females often, but when I do, I shoot their shoes. They are currently on tour with Kopecky Family Band, go see them if you like sweet pop rock that gets a little chaotic.
Cultivate Fest by Chipotle in City Park proved to be wildly successful once again. The production coordinators really have the free festival logistics down, easy to get up close to the stage, tons of food options, celebrity chef tents, and you could bring your dog. Cold War Kids put on a note perfect set, mixing the setlist with old hits like “Hang Me Up to Dry” and new material from their latest release. The last few times I’ve seen them have been little SXSW shows, kind of forgot they are really, really popular, everyone knew every word. Expect to see more of Cultivate Fest here in the future, looks like a keeper.
Last night, Donna the Buffalo played to a full, happy crowd at the Oriental Theater in Denver. These veterans of the Americana scene are a group of highly professional and technically talented musicians, and the onstage unspoken language between them is a comfort and joy to watch. With the help of the psychedelic lights the Oriental has, I was able to get some fun shots of the band while they took turns showing off their prowess.