Last night I was invited to the Westword Music Showcase Pre-Party by Vices I Admire, a quirky, rocking local band. They’ve got a genuine punk energy while writing great songs with interesting changes. The lead singer has some really pretty vocals too, try to catch him sound checking.
Shows To See in Denver, June 11-17
Tuesday, June 11
The Staves – Hi Dive – three pretty women singing prettily, like the Corrs, but cooler.
The Dandy Warhols – Gothic – one of my old favorites
Wednesday, June 12
Bonerama – Cervantes – saw them at the Festival of Water thinking they were a bunch of high school kids with a name like that. Nope, excellent New Orleans band with many trombones. They cover Led Zeppelin and get everyone dancing. I probably won’t be there because Cervantes smells like throw up.
Crystal Fighters/ Alpine – Larimer – was very impressed by Alpine at sxsw, and am excited to see Crystal Fighters since their new album. I love this video and song: Crystal Fighters – You and I
Thursday, June 13
Superhumanoids – Larimer – light pretty dancey prettiness, listen here: Hey Big Bang
Friday, June 14
The Orphans – Hi Dive – often acoustic punk, great for fans of Flogging Molly and other endearing punk bands that sound like they really like to drink: Anorexic Mind
Fitz and the Tantrums – Gothic – always a good time live, they have a new single they are promoting so it will be very high energy.
Amanda Palmer – Red Rocks – unbelievable singer writes THE most poignant and earnest story songs. I’ve blogged many times about “The Bed Song” being the most beautiful but uplifting song ever, here it is again (lol I cried just typing the song title into Google): The Most Tragically Beautiful Song in the World
Rastasaurus – Cervantes – great local band headlining for the first time!
Saturday, June 15
Everest – Larimer – these guys have toured with Neil Young, they definitely picked up some whistling tips. Just the slightly minimal rock sound I yearn for in the summer. Plus, I’m a total sucker for whistling (heeey Andrew Bird): Into the Grey
The Melvins – Summit Music Hall – grunge gods with two drummers, huge influence on Nirvana even though Kurt slagged them in the past, one of the drummers looks like he is wearing a Fishman dress. Go hear to blow out your eardrums: Civilized Worm
Monday, June 17
Generationals – Hi Dive – I LOVE this upbeat band, although I am biased because they’ve crashed at my house. This past year I couldn’t believe how many people were at their sxsw shows, they’ve definitely made the leap. I’ll be shooting this show for sure: Put a Light On , Ten Twenty Ten , Yours Forever . I could sit here linking videos all day, love every one of their songs.
Last night ZZ Ward played her heart out to a sold out audience in Denver, and everyone left wanting to be her. What a cool, talented chick. She can belt the blues, rage a soulful blues guitar, rock the keys and play a wild harmonica. We needed an exciting blues musician like this. The audience was packed into the Gothic over an hour before she even hit the stage, volume buzzing ever higher as the great Ft. Collins opener, You, Me and Apollo finished.
She started the show with her hit single “Put the Gun Down”, and the audience of mostly females freaked out. Above you can see ZZ’s interpretive dance for the lyric “I’ve got ten fingers to the sky”.
I love when artists have a huge backdrop of their name, and I thought ZZ’s looked great.
I’d say ZZ Ward is one to watch, but I think everyone’s already watching! I can’t wait to see what happens in her future, a collaboration with Gary Clark Jr. would be amazing….
….and of course, there were a ton of hats in attendance. Don’t miss ZZ Ward when she hits your town, but go early for a good seat, she’s in the big time.
Lovelife is bringing their heavily 80’s influenced synth pop to the Gothic this Thursday, May 30th, sure to be a great high energy dance party. This Brooklyn by UK duo fits right in with the nu-R&B/electro dance pop wave that’s getting gaining steam right now. I know, these genres are getting so particular, but it’s great for organization. They just traveled around the country playing with Capital Cities, who have this big hit right now (when I saw them play this at the Perez Hilton SXSW party this year, many guys inexplicably took their shirts off): Safe and Sound
Listen to the new Lovelife single here: Dying to Start Again
Watch Lovelife video here: Your New Beloved
Got to cross “Be In a Dave Vann Picture” off the list at Red Rocks Saturday! I’m on the left front row in a grey and red-sleeved Phish hoodie. Represent!
Music in Denver May 1-7
Wednesday, May 1
Har Mar Superstar – Hi Dive – legendary crooner, looks like Ron Jeremy, often gets down to his underwear, his music gets sexy so bring a date: Lady You Shot Me video
John Statz – Walnut Room – songwriter with very interesting influences. On his last album he traveled to ghost towns and wrote the songs there full of inspiration. John Statz website with my photos on the front page!Yay I hadn’t seen that!!
Powerman 5000 – classic American metal
Thursday, May 2
Milk Carton Kids – Bluebird – saw these guys two years ago play in a church and oh how I cried in a good way. Excellent minimal music.
Alex Clare – Ogden – guy has an amazing voice, go to watch everyone wait for his overplayed song: you’ve all heard this one
Crystal Castles – Gothic – high pitched annoying glitchy stuff that I LOVE for 40 minutes. Alice Glass rocks out excellently, doesn’t look like a try hard like that girl from Dead Weather. I have a crush: live video, don’t say I didn’t warn you that the audience sucks
Friday, May 3
Bela Fleck w/ Colorado Symphony – Boettcher – best living banjo player with the symphony? No brainer.
Melvin Seals and JGB – Quixote’s – and then race over here to dance to Melvin and the Jerry Garcia Band
Sunday, May 5
Devendra Banhart – Gothic – is Gothic doing awesome or what? Thank you, AEG. Intellectual king doing his thing, this tour is not as quiet as some others I’ve seen, and I liked what I saw at sxsw and look forward to the extended set.
Tuesday, May 7
Yngwie Malsteen – Summit – all the guys that practice metal solos at Guitar Center will be here with their ponytails and black shirts. Get your guitar wank on.
Faun Fables – Marquis – sometimes they make you sit down, so wear pants, ladies: video for Faun Fables
Metz w/ No Joy – Hi Dive – rage night! No Joy is my current favorite band, and Metz rock it loud live. I’ll be at the front shooting the show, say hi! wild Metz video, you either love or despise
ZZ Ward is exploding right in front of our eyes. This talented songwriter wowed the crowds at sxsw, with everyone singing every word of Put the Gun Down, her single that is shooting up the charts. Her Denver show at Bluebird sold out overnight, so she got moved to the much larger (and beautiful) Gothic Theater. I got to speak to her today about the upcoming show on May 29th, and she is sweet and grateful and so deserving of the fame she’s gaining. Don’t miss the Gothic show, it’s going to be a high energy soul spilling.
Leslie Loudspeaker: I caught you at sxsw and the audience totally loved you, what did you think of that whole experience?
ZZ Ward: Oh that’s a great question, I mean sxsw was the second year I had done it, and it was so different from the first year, because people actually knew who I was. It was really fun, I mean the first year we did it it was grueling we played so many shows, like 4 or 5 shows a day. Just crazy.
LL: It’s hard to get your gear around!
ZZ: Oh yeah, sooo hard. But this year we also played a lot of shows and in the middle of it we actually flew to Denver and did the Kegs and Eggs festival, then we flew back to sxsw, so you know, Denver had a little place in my sxsw! It was great, it was following a really long tour for me so it was great, going to Austin and having the hot weather was really cool.
LL: What’s it like having Put the Gun Down being such a big hit? When you were playing it before, was it an audience favorite then?
ZZ: Yeah, people always liked Put the Gun Down and when I wrote the record I didn’t know it was going to be my single, but it’s been really fun, when we play it everyone knows the song and all sing the lyrics, so it’s been really cool, I’ve gotten to play it on TV a lot, like the Tonight Show and Conan O’Brien
LL: So your show here in Denver got moved to the Gothic, how does that feel to just be quickly on the rise right now?
ZZ: I’m not going to lie, it feels REALLY good, Denver has always been a really cool city for me. I always have a lot of support there from the people that live there, just one of my favorite places since the very beginning, and yeah we put tickets for sale for the show and we sold out overnight, and we moved to a bigger venue, I am so excited, it’s very flattering.
LL: When you finish a show how do you decompress?
ZZ: I usually just go and wind down, I mean it is a process, it’s an interesting question, I’ve never had anyone ask that before. A lot of times you play a show, and you have to get the energy going in the room of a thousand people, and I have to start that energy and it’s just contagious, but it’s a great question, how do I turn it off when I go to sleep? You know, you’re up at 7am still watching tv. I have a dog that I will bring on tour with me.
LL: Aw, what kind of dog?
ZZ: She’s a border terrier, her name is Muddy Waters. She hasn’t been on tour yet but she’s been to a couple shows, since I got her after the last big tour. She’s been on about 7 flights already though, and she does really great.
LL: Rockstar dog!
ZZ: I know, when we are home, she’s like “what are we doing, why aren’t we leaving, we need to go somewhere”!
LL: So how is your life different from a year ago, so much has changed!
ZZ: It’s very different, I feel like I’m in a really good place, though. I mean, I put out the record in October, and it feels good to have fans, it feels good to have people love my music, with all the writing and all that time that I put into this album and how passionate I was about making this record, it really feels like it paid off in the sense that it means something to people, you know? I have people come up to me at shows and say my record helped them get through a situation. Things like that are really incredible, it just makes sense for me to keep making music because I know I have people out there that want to hear it now.
LL: What is your process when it comes to writing new songs, do they come to you or do you try to schedule a time?
ZZ: At this point in my life I have to schedule a time, because I’m so busy, but usually I try to write about things I’m going through, and I have a lot to say about it, which is the first thing, because if you sit around going “man, what do I want to talk about right now” no, I’m an overthinker, I think about things WAY too much, which suits me very well as a songwriter, so I usually just try to come up with a good concept first.
LL: Who are your biggest influences music wise and what are you listening to now?
ZZ: My biggest influences are songwriters that write their own music, but also great singers are a big influence to me. Tina Turner is a big influence but also Tom Petty and David Bowie, and then I’m checking out the Emili Sande new record, and it’s really great.
LL: I haven’t heard her, I’ll check her out right now!
ZZ: Yeah, you definitely should! She’s awesome.
LL: Well thank you for your time, ZZ, and I can’t wait for the Gothic show!
ZZ: Well thank you very much and I will see you there!
Gwar sold out the Gothic (never seen it so packed), killed Hitler, and stained everyone red. I think the pictures explain better than I do.
They started right away with a blood bath. Everyone’s crisp new white t-shirts stained forever, maybe off to get framed one day.
Man of the hour, Mr. Urungus.
So they showed this concert live on tv and said no photogs in the pit. Fine by me, I had a fantastic view of the never ending mosh pit.
How does he not fall? Also, this has to be the tallest band there is, right?
Some of this action
Hardest working man in show business last night. Taking that blood to the back of the head like it was a cool spring breeze.
at the crucifixion
Music in Denver 4/17-4/22
GWAR – The Gothic – metal cartoony grossness (sold out)
Los Amigos Invisibles – Bluebird – modern sounding Latin dance flava
Family of the Year- Hi Dive – fleetwood mac’y (sold out)
GHOST – Ogden – metal seriousness in elaborate religious costumes
Dilated Peoples – Cervantes – good hip hop
Lucero and Langhorne Slim- three nights at the Bluebird, check them out any night this weekend
Tesla – Gothic – black t shirts and your dad
Blaze Ya Dead Homie – Roxy – this is where the juggalos will be, and where I would be if in town (sold out)
Slightly Stoopid/Cypress Hill – Red Rocks – where the people acting a fool on 4/20 will be, wear a potleaf lei
Bob Mould – Bluebird – formerly of Husker Du and Sugar, still sounds great live
How To Destroy Angels – Paramount – new Trent Reznor project with his wife
Black Mountain – Larimer – good, loud rock
Pegi Young – Walnut Room – Neil’s wife
Marnie Stern – Moe’s BBQ – current favorite female musician, she shreds her guitar with this tapping method and is just awesome
Polica– Bluebird – plain ole beautiful music
Akron/Family – Larimer Lounge – second date of the tour promoting the new album, awesome art rocks that builds live footage
Acid Mothers Temple – Hi Dive – Japanese psychedelic band that’s been around forever in various lineups
Beach Day – The Moon Room – beachy pop rock with sweet female vocals video for Beach Day
Keaton Simons – Soiled Dove Underground. He was a friend of a friend when I lived in LA. Now I hear his voice in the mall, restaurants, some hotel in San Diego, tv shows, soap operas, and trivia- he’s Eric Roberts stepson…. live version of Currently
Grey Boy Allstars – Cervantes – nuff said. Playing Saturday as well, same place. This is the party.
Angel Olsen – Hi Dive – she’s all the rage right now in attractive chicks with bangs that sing old timey. I’ll be shooting this show, say hello…..video for Angel
Ponderosa – Lion’s Lair – southern rock from Atlanta, lead singer’s voice is captivating live….video for Ponderosa
Death -Gothic – twee indie pop with a ukulele. Nah, I’m kidding, it’s masters of Death Metal.
Bon Jovi – Pepsi Center – if I get the go to shoot this show, I’m so there…
The Dear Hunter – Marquis – …but most likely will be here. Progrock from Providence, RI, they’ve got albums that tell a story in three parts, with a son poisoning someone and basically Gamehendge but it sounds like this
Les Racquet – Hi Dive – indie rock power trio out of Brooklyn who sound like an indie rock power trio from Brooklyn. I’m going to try to make this and Dear Hunter, tough choice. video of Les Racquet
Parenthetical Girls – Hi-Dive – experimental indie pop from Portland video for “A Song for Ellie Greenwich”
Hidden Towers – 3 Kings – post hardcore rock trio from Vancouver, they are touring for their first full length album
Shakey Graves – Hi-Dive – one man band from Austin, used to play on the streets, now he’s having a moment. True talent. video with story of his name and song
Acid Baby Jesus – Lost Lake – fuzzy punk from Greece, you may have seen them open for Black Lips a couple years ago: video for “It’s On Me”
Cold War Kids – Gothic – Long Beach based moody pop trio with piano. I LOVE these guys. Some friends don’t like the singer’s over-pronunciation, I love it, so make your own decision: new single from latest album
Spiritualized – Bluebird – space rock from England following the demise of Spacemen 3
Airborne Toxic Event – Ogden – for people who like this song
Merchandise – Marquis – these guys are good live video of Merchandise
Deer Tick – Gothic – see them if you haven’t, even the lead singer solo is great their main video
The Suspects – 7th Circle – Houston, TX ska band I’ve been seeing my whole life, great ska
Detective – Lions Lair- awesome band on the rise, favorite at sxsw some of their music
Slaughter – Grizzly Rock – gotta do some people watching at a hair metal show at least once a year
Purity Ring – Gothic – sugary dance pop, openers Blue Hawaii are pretty good so come early. For a good time read their Youtube comments where people fight over who was a fan first. Purity Ring Video