The Dylan Miles Experience steals the show at the Highlands Street Fair

When The Dylan Miles Experience took the stage on Saturday at the Highlands Street Fair, around twenty people stopped, curious to see what this thirteen-year-old was like on the guitar. By the time he played Pink Floyd‘s “Have A Cigar,” that number had grown to well over a hundred. Kicking off the set with Phish‘s “Free,” Dylan showed a maturity in song selection and musical knowledge that you don’t usually see in a young teen. A guitar prodigy from the Denver School of the Arts, Dylan is no stranger to the stage- by the time he was three his musical talents were already shining through, and he has sat in with national touring acts like North Mississippi Allstars. On Saturday, Dylan played in his trio with Niek Velvis on bass and Alana Dym on drums.

Dylan Miles Experience

The Dylan Miles Experience draws a big crowd at the Highlands Street Fair

Saturday’s set saw a primed Dylan Miles playing both classic songs like Talking Heads “Psycho Killer,” as well as a rocking original titled “Reality” that segued into the Grateful Dead‘s “Deep Elem Blues” then back into “Reality.” With a heavy rock sound, he showed that his writing prowess was just as strong as any cover that he performed. Sporting a hat representing local Mile High kosher bagel experts Rosenberg’s Bagels, Dylan showed his love for the local scene, and the scene responded back in kind.

Guitar prodigy Dylan Miles rocks the Highlands Street Fair

Guitar prodigy Dylan Miles rocks the Highlands Street Fair

Local celebrity and famed artist Scramble Campbell was on deck, painting the band while they played. With his signature bopping dance and swirling, psychedelic style- Scramble’s presence is a true sign and official stamp that “you’ve made it.”

Scramble Campbell paints The Dylan Miles Experience

Scramble Campbell paints The Dylan Miles Experience

The highlight of the show was at the end when the band closed out with a rousing “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills and Nash that then segued into Rage Against the Machine‘s protest song “Killing In The Name.” As a major Phish fan, Dylan knows the ins and outs of a good segue, and took the audience completely by surprise when he turned on a dime and segued back into “Ohio.” The cheers from the crowd could be heard throughout the annual neighborhood street festival and the people got DOWN.

The Dylan Miles Experience rocks the Highlands Street Fair in Denver

The Dylan Miles Experience rocks the Highlands Street Fair

It felt like the entire festival was at the music stage, and the crowd screamed “ONE MORE! ONE MORE!” at the end of the set, completely charmed by The Dylan Miles Experience. Go see the band on August 24th at the Arvada Center Arts & Ales Festival as they play a two-hour set!

Dylan Miles and his guitar pedals at the Highlands Street Fair

Dylan Miles and his guitar pedals at the Highlands Street Fair

Children can't take their eyes off The Dylan Miles Experience at the Highlands Street Fair

Children can’t take their eyes off The Dylan Miles Experience at the Highlands Street Fair

The Dylan Miles Experience steals the show at the Highlands Street Fair

The Dylan Miles Experience steals the show at the Highlands Street Fair

Dylan Miles plays lead guitar for The Dylan Miles Experience in Denver

Dylan Miles plays lead guitar for The Dylan Miles Experience

The Dylan Miles Experience dominates the stage at the Highlands Street Fair

The Dylan Miles Experience dominates the stage at the Highlands Street Fair

Scramble Campbell painting of The Dylan Miles Experience

Scramble Campbell painting of The Dylan Miles Experience

Setlist:

Phish – Free

Dire Straights – Sultans Of Swing

Dylan Miles – Reality > Grateful Dead – Deep Elem Blues > Reality

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

The Dixie Cups – Iko Iko

Niek Velvis – Zhen Kill-ya Blues

Bob Marley – Soul Shakedown Party

Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar

Phish – Sand

Crosby, Stills & Nash – Ohio > Rage Against The Machine Killing In The Name > Ohio

 

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Ten Songs To Listen To Today

photo by Leslie Simon

photo by Leslie Simon

    Ten Songs To Listen To Today

1. Mystic Braves “Born Without a Heart”- bright, energetic 60’s throwback sound

2. Galactic with JJ Grey “Higher and Higher”

3. Blitzen Trapper “Coming Home” – sweet country swamp funk

4. Miniature Tigers “Swimming Pool Blues” – sunny indie pop

5. Little Racer “Punk Life”- reverb drenched chill surfpsych

6. Charles Howl “Garden Train” buzzy lofi garage rock

7. Cloud Nothings “Psychic Trauma”- pretty rock noise with punk energy

8. J. Roddy Walston and the Business “Heavy Bells”

9. FUZZ “Raise”- heavy, muffled fuzz

10. St. Vincent “Regret”- aggressively cool guitar driven pop

Wake Up and Live with The Quick and Easy Boys- Photos and Review

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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:

http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2014/02/review_wake_up_and_live_cervantes_otherside_denver_february-6-2014.php

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I also got a chance to take my first promo shots, musicians are slightly harder than babies:

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Bands to check out at SXSW p.1

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Since I am a detailed person and a bit of a nut, I enjoy listening to every single band that is being showcased at SXSW before I attend (if you’d like a link to the detailed spreadsheet, follow the blog and I will put up a post when it’s ready close to three weeks prior with calendar). I’ve picked out the best for those that just don’t have the time for this daunting task, and will continue to through the festival, got my flights and vrbo booked, just need new ankle boots. These are my favorite groups out of Group 2 (with Group 1 to come because I accidentally did it backwards).

The Apache Relay- Nashville- Americana folk rock with mano and harp and Edward Sharpeish melodies and singalongs

Black Pistol Fire- Austin- TX rock/garage/blues goodness

Bobby Jealousy- Austin- big, bright happy pop

Brass Bed- Lafayette- reverbed out indie rock

Bully- Nashville- Juliana Hatfield-esque indie rock

Crying Nut- S. Korea- loud, crashing melodic pop punk done right

The Growl- Perth, Australia- sexy garage rock

Hurray for the RiffRaff- New Orleans- gorgeous female vocals, zydeco folk

La Femme- France- plain hot stuff

The Parrots- Spain- garage rock

Quiet Company- Austin- upbeat indie pop

Rey Pila- Mexico City- Scissor Sisters-like disco pop

September Girls- Dublin- grungy but pretty garage pop

So So Glos- Brooklyn- power pop twangy guitar goods

Spires- Brooklyn- jangly psych pop

Streets of Laredo- Brooklyn- fast paced folk rock

Troker- Mexico- funk with some killer organ and horns

Angel Olsen is going to be huge with this new album!

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Don’t think she is like all those twee, quirky singer-songwriters with weird inflections in their voices that you hear on every single car commercial, Angel Olsen is a true talent. When she played the Hi Dive last April, she captivated the audience, just her and her guitar. While a backing band eventually joined in, it was nothing like the electric glimpses she has been giving us of her album Burn Your Fire For No Witness out February 18th on Jagjaguwar. Combining her soulful, crackly Americana voice with fuzz guitar is a match made in heaven, and today she released her next single off the album, “Hi-Five”. My first instinct on first listen was to tear up when she croons “Are you lonely too?”, she somehow hits you straight in the feelings. This new album is going to make her a major star. Listen here:

Black Joe Lewis at Bluebird – PHOTOS

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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.

Westword review for Black Joe Lewis

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Mike Donovan new album Wot is clean and strong.

large_donovan_mike photo by John Dwyer

Mike Donovan sounds like a city punk who went to the country and found out he fits right in. Former member of the grittier Sic Alps, he shows himself to be an extremely capable singer/songwriter with this solo effort. The single “Do Do Ya” has such a great guitar twang background slinking up the half step melody, sounding like early Rolling Stones honky tonk. His soft, almost muted at times guitar tone is gorgeous on opening track “New Fieldhand Bop” as he strums just ahead of the beat, sliding each note into place and giving the whole thing some sass.

The tempo of “Fly Them Yourself” drags too slow for my taste, but the energy is high on most tracks, “Sic Ballad” having a soulful “Hey Joe” reminiscent verse; electric guitar sounding just properly dirty enough. The spaghetti western horns and slide guitar of “Sexual Reassignment Surgery Blues” gives serious credence to a song that could be seen as novelty. “MP3 Farm” has a forceful downward strummed rhythm that begs for getting down, and a simple acoustic major key solo. Overall, it’s a really well produced album, he can write beautiful songs, and he sounds good singing them.

Mike Donovan “Do Do Ya” video