Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Samurai" at the Denver Art Museum, Orchestral performance

The night of April 29th, 2016 was a musical night to be at the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado. The museum showcased multiple orchestral works in relation to Japanese culture and history. The theme of the orchestral show "Samurai" included many elements of avant garde and performance art and included works by John Williams, Krzesimer Debski, Gustav Holst, and Denver's own Gregory T.S. Walker. Gregory Walker is a professor at University of Colorado Denver, and composed as well as performed a piece for the night entitled "Kawanakajima for Video Guitar and Orchestra." Walker's piece took in modernist aspects by using the Japanese video guitar instrument, coupled with performance art of a mobile orchestra. It was specifically avant garde, as orchestras typically stay seated; while this performance's orchestra mimicked pop musicians of today by enacting a visual performance. The instrument that Walker played was sort of a futuristic guitar, dare I say prepared guitar? Without question, there was a strong parallel with the oddity of Walker's piece and the psychedelic sounds of the 1960's. The piece was futuristic and also had comical political commentary. As Walker started his piece, he vowed to make the Kawanakajima great again. Obviously this is political commentary, and shows the multidisciplinary aspect of performance art. As the night went on, the exhibits of the art museum were open to all visitors. Again, this was an example of "museum culture" as the orchestral history of western music was accompanied by relics of the past. Music is the only art form that is not fixed in time. As tangible pieces of art can be kept for centuries, music can only be carried through time via performance and new performers. The night of April 29th, 2016 was one to be remembered at the Denver Art Museum, especially for its mix of music and relics of history. It is an honor to be around the musicians keeping orchestral composition alive, and one would recommend checking out the "Samurai" exhibit of the museum as soon as you get the chance.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 4: Hooka Hey, Thought Tempo, The Moolandingz, The Octopus Project

Day four was by far the busiest day for me. The first official day of music was jam packed with more panel discussions, meetups and conventions. I caught a discussion about how music drives film marketing, and I learned a lot. I learned that movies usually have specific purpose driven trailers, usually in numbers of three. Say for instance, there is an ad campaign for a movie coming up. There will probably be three trailers, and each one showing a bit more than the last. The information was really valuable, and I was happy to attend. I also caught an artist meetup, where I networked with a number of folks who are artists, writers, filmmakers, and people from advertising. I walked so much on this trip, I’m pretty sore right now. All of the venues are spread apart around Austin, and it can be a hike going all around town. I would say that I’m finally getting used to the pandemonium that has been happening on 6th street. Strange how at first it was overwhelming, but now that I’m about to leave; I’ve gotten used to it. I’m going to miss this place with all its crazy shows and crowds of people. It is quite an experience to go somewhere you’ve never been before. Everything is so new, and every street corner is a blank slate. As the night drew on, I wanted to see a few bands and artists. I first caught a rock and roll band from France called Hooka Hey. Their set was punchy, and his vocal style reminded me of Jim Morrison. I was jamming out to their songs I then went to a music venue called Cheer up Charlies, and caught a number of interesting electronic projects. I met A DJ named Thought Tempo, and he was really cool. His set had great visual effects, and great beat variation. He told me that he was from L.A, and that he makes music that; if he was the last person on earth, he would still enjoy. I thought this was pretty interesting. I decided to stay at Cheer Up Charlies, because there were two groups following that caught my attention. I walked around and met people from all around the world, including the U.K. The first band was The Moonlandingz. This group was unique sounding and their stage presence was awesome. Their style was a bit like neo-psychedelic rock. All the way from the U.K, they sounded great. After the set I met the bassist and he also told me about his band members’ side project named Fat White Family. I also caught a set by The Octopus Project, and I was impressed. The group also had a neo-psychedelic rock feel with state of the art visual stage tools. At this point, I was so tired, so I walked back to the hotel for a little rest. Tuesday the 15th was a non-stop day, and I’ll never forget it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day three: Panel Discussions, Trade show, Sausage Party

As day three started, I was happy to finally get a music badge. The process was fast, and I was on to some sessions. I walked over to a hotel nearby that was holding many meet ups for music; and having worked conventions before, I was happy to find a convention type setting that really fits my vocational direction. The first panel discussion was about protestors in the present age, and comparing the effects of social media with the age of the 1960s. The man consensus I got from it was that social media has made protest movements spread out faster, but possibly die out quicker. This has to do with the seriously far reaching arm of social media in the world, but also the lack of personal connection. The larger media also usually has more of a chance now (as opposed to the 1960s) to distort images of protest to fit their agenda. After this convention I walked around and saw the many events already happening around the hotel. I knew I was to work the CU tradeshow booth later in the day, so I wanted to catch as many events as possible. The next discussion I caught was about the importance of storytelling in the current age. I learned that storytelling is big business for brands today. If one can tell a great story, chances are that that story will easily help sell a product. The speaker talked about advisory ground rules for collaborating with other artists. There was also a portion of the talk directed at how to end a story well, in a way that connects the audience with the main character. After that, I caught a panel discussion about music in television, and film. I learned a lot about how to approach getting into the industry of film scoring and composing for film. More than ever I appreciated that I was in the very same college of arts and media as many other film students. I am excited to get back and try to compose music for as many film projects as I possibly can. I was glad to have learned so much in such a small amount of time. I then worked the CU Denver trade show booth, and continued to meet many people from all around the world. During those three to four hours, I exchanged many business cards and visited other booths that sparked my interest. The South by Southwest trade show convention is a showcase of many of the world’s cutting edge ideas, business startups and people working to make it happen. As the night rolled on, I caught a screening of an animated film by Seth Rogan called “Sausage Party.” The movie was definitely funny. After I saw the movie and laughed, day three came to a close and I walked back to the hotel for a great nights rest. With the music just starting up, I was eager to rest, wakeup the next day and see as many musical artists as possible. Thanks to all the readers, and all who made this possible. There’s no way I could have done this without you!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Landing in Austin, East 6th and Trade show day 1

I have arrived here in Austin, Texas for a very busy and chaotic week. I am in a hotel downtown, and there are so many people out there, it is intense! I am honored to be in a place where so many musicians are playing. This blog is about the two sides of Austin that I’ve experienced in the past two days. I landed around 4:00 pm central time on the night of spring daylight savings. This means that not only was I losing one hour of sleep from the time change for mountain to standard time, but I was losing an extra hour from daylight savings. Nonetheless, I still went out and explored the “lay of the land.” Never having experienced Austin, Texas before, I was happy to get a feel for the town itself. On historic 6th street, not only is there a rambunctious downtown area (with hundreds of people in the streets and bar after bar showcasing bands,) there are outskirts that are artful and full of history, and even more bars that showcase underground bands. The east side of 6th street may not be as pretty as downtown, but it sure seems authentic. I currently, as I write this blog, am listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn; a late prolific blues musician that was an Austin local. He was one of the first blues guitarists I ever heard growing up. I can almost guarantee that he walked that very same east side of 6th street. Words can’t express what it meant for me to see where he came from. I walked back to the downtown side of 6th street, but I was happy to have experienced the East side of Austin that holds its history dear. The older buildings and saloons have a distinct cowboy feel, and I realized that I was in the birthplace of the cowboy image that has permeated throughout the entire world. I walked back to the hotel for a short nights rest, and got myself ready for the first trade show day at the Austin Convention Center. I received a wakeup call at 7:30 AM, which as I said before was what felt like 5:30. Regardless, I was excited for the free hotel breakfast and ate as much as I could. After that, I got ready for my first day representing my day at the trade show. As I explored the tradeshow, I saw a booth about Texas born musicians; with their names printed on Texas license plates. I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn’s name, among many other legendary musicians. The booth was taking pictures, so I put on my cowboy hat and took a good photo with a guitar. The trade show experience was a great chance to try to meet possible contacts for my career. I met a good amount of people that could definitely influence my career. There were a whole lot of industry professionals, however, that seemed to have little time for networking. Working at a trade show booth can be daunting; surrounded by professionals in suits that at some times show a true indifference to you. At the same time, I felt that same indifference myself as I explored the booths on my free time. At the end of the day though, I believe that social interaction really boils down to two things: kindness and respect. If you have faith in these principles, it’s only a matter of time before you find someone with whom you can be mutually beneficial to each other. The trade show also featured an impromptu musical set by Lamar Williams Jr., who really sounded great. Everywhere you go in Austin, Texas during the week of South by Southwest, there are dedicated musicians playing. As the trade show experience was over, I couldn’t help but go back to the east side of 6th Street. The art scene and music of this side of town seemed the most underground of all Austin areas. I caught a set at Hotel Vegas by a band named Emily Wolfe. I’m pretty sure that’s the name of the lead singer and guitarist. Her music was all things rock and roll. I have to be honest here; (though gender shouldn’t matter) she is one of the best girl guitarists that I have experienced in my life. She’s definitely breaks the rock and roll gender norms. Girls can rock, and she is proof. She has amazing tone and great use of feedback during her solos. I was happy to be in the right place at the right time to catch Emily Wolfe rock out. I finally took a walk back to my hotel, but not before I tried one of the tastiest Cajun food trucks. Gumbo hit the spot, and as I got back to my hotel; I realized that two days were already gone. I have three days left here, and I am more than ready for them. This town is the place to be tonight, and I’ve never felt more connected to a music scene. It’s a beautiful thing: to find that people still love music enough to have a whole town rocking out at once. Here’s to the whole world from Austin, Texas. Till next time people; this is Soundluver signing off.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In the airport terminal, waiting to take off…

Here I am, at gate C26, about an hour early and waiting for my flight to Austin, Texas for the 2016 South by Southwest festival. Time couldn’t seem to go any slower at this moment, and I am growing with anticipation as each minute passes. I really don’t know too much of what to expect from this week. I know that SXSW is one of the biggest festivals of the year for up and coming artists, and I will also be making all my songs on soundcloud available for free download this week (soundcloud.com/tdtrackz.) I am glad to be a part of this amazing trip, and I plan on representing my college well. To be one of only two music students that were chosen to go to SXSW is a major honor that I am deeply grateful for. Words can’t really express how excited I am. I expect there to be so much going on that it will be absolutely impossible to see all the attractions, artists and conventions over the course of the next 5 days. After going over the official schedule and planning my days out, I know for a fact that there is just too much going on to catch everything. There are so many different types of events for all types of music and film lovers, also including business people and entrepreneurs. I aim to further my knowledge on sync licensing for film, blogging about hot new bands that catch my attention, and getting tips on DIY (do it yourself) musicianship. I also plan to experience Austin for the first time, and get a feel for the music culture that it is welcoming this upcoming week. In addition to this, I hope to network with as many people as I can. It is important to add value to other’s lives; and in this way I hope to meet people that will be able to use my music in their branding, projects, and films. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity; especially for someone like me who couldn’t usually be able to afford a trip like this. Business cards are ready, and I’m all packed to go. The only thing left to do is to avoid impulse buying at the airport.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2/15/16: Gregory Walker and Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra: still keeping Orchestral traditions alive

The King Center Concert Hall in Denver, Colorado was set for an performance by the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra the night of Monday the 15th, 2016. The performance featured works by both Johannes Brahms and Claude Debussy. The 100 person orchestra also featured solo violinist Gregory Walker, who displayed great skill and prowess on his instrument through his self composed instrumental cadenza. This extended cadenza was performed in the first movement of Brahms's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op 77; and also included small melodic excerpts from other works by Brahms.The violinist's solo was a great representative of the cadenza: showing virtuosic control on the instrument and pitch perfect tone throughout. An argument can be made that Walker was also channeling an influence by Niccilo Paganini in his composition; pushing the limits at points to how far one can go within a solo violin cadenza. Walker's cadenza also represented Brahms(who represented Beethoven) well in the way he composed soaring melodies over the top of the complex sonata form. The first part of the concert was a great example of Orchestral music in its highest forms: showcasing Brahms's composition attempts at living up to the tradition of Beethoven. The second part of the concert included French impressionist Debussy's composition La Mer, a work that displayed the sheer beauty, sublime and serene aspects of the Romantic era. The whole night was also a great display of "museum culture" in the way the Orchestra is still keeping alive the lineage of works by Brahms and Debussy.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Compare/ Contrast of Electronic music pioneers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Richard D. James, A.K.A. Aphex Twin

                
This paper is dedicated to comparing and contrasting 20th century German composer and innovator Karlheinz Stockhausen with the current English composer, DJ and producer Richard D. James; also known as Aphex Twin. In a way, Stockhausen and his contemporaries in Germany are the “grandfathers” of electro-acoustic music. In respect to the same discussion, Aphex Twin and the rave scene of the 1990s owe much to the exploration and experimentation of European electronic composition in the 1950s. One could also argue that Aphex Twin also deserves the title “Mozart” of electronic music. Aphex Twin, or Richard D. James pushed electronic music to its limits, and in this way is also directly similar to Mozart. This paper will give short biographies of Stockhausen and Richard D. James, then will explain both major differences and major similarities between the two. There are similarities and differences between the two artists; but all in all both were prominent figures in the evolution of electronic music and composition in the 20th century.
            The paper will start with a short biography of Karlheinz Stockhausen. Stockhausen was born on the 22nd of August, 1928 and died aged 79 years on December 5th of 2007. He was born in Germany. His father was a schoolteacher, and this may have influenced him early; igniting a passion for teaching himself. According to Oxford Music Online (1) Stockhausen was the leading composer of his generation. He was an innovator, and pioneer in electronic music. Following his father’s footsteps, he was also a teacher throughout a great portion of his life. He graduated with a degree in music education in 1951, and early in his career took composition lessons from Frank Martin. Early in his life he considered a career as a writer. He gained and participated in a radio scholarship early in his life with a purpose to study phonetics and communications theory. Though he didn’t complete the program, he still was influenced by it and used the scientific knowledge of sound for his musical compositions.
            By 1953, he was established as a young avant-garde composer. This was also the year in which he started focusing heavily on electronic composition. He was part of projects that revolutionized music, and actually came up with the first structure for composing music electronically. According to Herbert Eimert, “The basis for production of electronic music was worked out in the Studio for Electronic Music of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, from Cologne, Germany.”(7) This experimentation brought multi-channel electronic music to the world, and was the first time that humans could create a machine to play multiple tracks at once. Stockhausen was a member of this electronic music group, and actually composed for them. Stockhausen’s work was the face of European electronic composition in the 1950s.
            By the 1960’s Stockhausen had an international reputation and was a prominent musical figure in the popular world.  His face was even featured as one of the many faces on The Beatles’s “Sgt. Pepper” album cover. One of his most famous works is called Gesand Der Junglinge, and was created in 1955. This work became the first work to establish fully the aesthetic viability of the electro acoustic medium. Much of Stockhausen’s work uses the Golden Fibonacci sequence as a compositional tool. In this way, Stockhausen is known for using mathematical equations in his electronic compositions.
He wrote for and received critical acclaim for both acoustic instruments and electronic sounds. A group a music articles complied by Jon Savage states that there was a “movement in the 1970s that moved avant-garde composition into the realm of popular music.” (4) Following the footsteps of Stockhausen and his contemporaries, a musical group called Kraftwerk expanded on the use of electronic machines for making music in the 1970’s. Kraftwerk, along with Stockhausen helped established a new form of German industrial sound in the 20th century. Though Karlheinz Stockhausen was against writing operatic works for most of his early life, he did indeed compose and write an opera in 1978-1980. In this opera, he used the modern Piano synthesizer, of which he helped build the electronic hybrid’s eminence in the early 1980s. The story of the modern synthesizer is important in the story of electronic music as a whole. Synthesizers were a momentous sales success in the 1980s, and brought about a new sound in mainstream culture. Stockhausen’s words on piano music and new technologies in 1993, “Today I see the development this way: piano music has come to an end and something quite different is coming. I sense it clearly: … there is nothing new to discover anymore.” (5) Stockhausen was correct, and possibly saw the birth of “techno” music in the making.
 Aphex Twin would be the face of this computer music movement, and the next part of this paper is dedicated to a short bio of him. Aphex Twin is the stage name for English composer, DJ and producer Richard D. James. He was born the 18th of August, 1971 in the suburb of Cornwall, UK. He experimented with electronic hardware in his early teens and soon became a noticeable face in the London dance music culture. An interview led by John Peel has James admitting that he was once a miner in one of the lower income areas (Cornwall) of the United Kingdom.(3) This possibly gave him ample seclusion for making music.
His styles are similar to Stockhausen’s in the use of electronic devices, free meters, and use of dark overtones. Richard D. James’s first few albums were promoted heavily in London dance clubs by the time he was 17 years old. By this time in his life, he was also featured on the Warp record label’s compilation album, showcasing his rising popularity at such a young age. He worked with internationally known musician Moby and helped push the idea of “techno” music to its limits. The tracks of Aphex Twin are always different, yet always create a distinct computer music feel. Sometimes the music is as fast tempo as possible, which creates a Mozart feel to the sound at some moments.
Richard D James’s album Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is most particularly similar to Stockhausen’s electronic musical composition style, and has received commercial as well as critical recognition. The album developed a large underground reputation as being representative of the 1990’s electronic music culture in London. Aphex Twin’s music is strictly electronic, leaving little room for acoustic elements. He also created his own electronic music making machines, not unlike Stockhausen and his contemporaries. James’s musical sound took what German compositions invented, and sort of perfected it like Mozart did with Franz Joseph Haydn’s model of the symphony. Some fans actually do argue that Aphex Twin is the “Mozart” of electronic music. In his defense, he has a vast array of influential musical works that took electronic to new heights, and set a standard for future electronic composers and musicians. He is part of the broad “sound art” movement that entails use of any available sounds in artistic creation.
Though both artists do have a lot in common, there are also a lot of things that make each composer different than the other. For instance, Stockhausen wrote for acoustic instruments, symphonies, and classical musicians; while Aphex Twin wrote strictly computer music. It is important to mention that Karlheinz Stockhausen bridged a gap between historic music traditions and new sounds created by electronics. Another obvious difference between James and Stockhausen is that Stockhausen is German, whereas James is English. Stockhausen was born about 40 years earlier, and Aphex Twin was born into a world already starting to use computers (the 1970s.)
The function of the music that was made for the electronic composition experiments in the 1950s was a lot different than the rave culture music of the 1990s. The electronic music of the 1990s focused of dancing, and club culture while the 1950s electronic compositions were strictly experimental and even scientific. It is notable to mention that Stockhausen was a teacher throughout his life; something that James never vocationally got into. It is possible that Stockhausen’s father had an influence on his choice to teach. Nonetheless, being a teacher continuously challenged Stockhausen and led him down a path of musical discovery.
The similarities between James and Stockhausen overshadow the differences in the history of electronic music, however. To start off simple, both were composers; and both could be called pioneers in electronic music. It is safe to say that each of these artists pushed the boundaries in electronic music to darker sounds, and blazed new paths for themselves. In this way, they are each comparable to Beethoven.  Both are key to the discussion of the history of electronic music. Karlheinz Stockhausen and Aphex Twin are each prominent figures of modernist movements (European electronic composition and 1990’s rave culture) and each represent the Romantic ideals of the 18th century well. Each artist signifies the use of new technologies in music making and set the trail for many of the electronic music making geniuses thriving today.
In conclusion, Karlheinz Stockhausen and his contemporaries are the “grandfathers” of electronic music, while Aphex Twin is the “Mozart.” Both of these artists are prominent figures in the history of electronic music, and each are musical pioneers in their own right. While Stockhausen was the original pioneer, Richard D. James took the idea of computer music to a whole new level. Stockhausen took many influences from acoustic music, and bridged a gap between electronic and acoustic sounds; creating a successful electro-acoustic medium. Stockhausen and his contemporaries literally witnessed and initiated the birth of electronic music.
While Stockhausen bridged musical gaps in the 1950’s, electronic music would from this point constantly evolve to new pinnacles. By the time Aphex Twin was born in the 1970s, German music group Kraftwerk was taking Stockhausen’s electronic acoustic ideas, and literally bridging avant-garde music with popular music. Richard D. James took the torch of electronic music to new heights, synthesizing both the electronic experimentation of Stockhausen with the sounds of a new dance music culture. Both James and Stockhausen are faces of their respected electronic movements, an aspect that is comparable to Beethoven in the Romantic era.  There are similarities and differences between the two artists; but all in all both were prominent figures in the evolution of electronic music and composition in the 20th century.


Works cited

1.    Richard Toop. "Stockhausen, Karlheinz." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/26808>.
2.    Ian Peel. "Aphex Twin." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/47229>.
3.    Peel, John. "John Peel's Sounds of the Suburbs - Cornwall (1/2)." YouTube. YouTube, 1999. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
4.    Aphex Twin.1993.Jon Savage.Village Voice, The. Machine Soul: A History Of Techno/12/02/2016 15:43:14/http://0-www.rocksbackpages.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/Library/Article/machine-soul-a-history-of-techno
5.    Fowler, Michael. "Becoming The Synthi-Fou: Stockhausen And The New Keyboardism." Tempo 65.255 (2011): 2-8. Music Index. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
6.    Taruskin, Richard, and Christopher Howard Gibbs. "34." The Oxford History of Western Music. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1038-039. Print.
7.    Eimert, Herbert. Electronic music. Ed. Karlheinz Stockhausen. Vol. 1. National Research Council of Canada, 1956.

     

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In the Whale at The Hi-Dive, Red Bull sound select (1/21/2016)

When I got to the Hi-Dive, there was a super long line stretching the whole city block. After walking to the end of the block, I had doubts as to weather or not I would make it inside the Hi- Dive to see the show. This was the night of the Red-Bull sound select; a music series that had made its stop in Denver, CO. After about 45 minutes of waiting and chatting with a new friend that I had met in line, I was in the front. As I walked in, I didn't have any cash and needed to use an ATM. Sadly their ATM was out of service, and I was about to be booted back outside. However, from some strange stroke of luck, a lady who worked for red bull overheard the conversation and actually payed for my ticket in. That was awesome! Go buy RedBull! Anyways, now that I was inside, I went to the bar and got a tasty beer.

The one band I'll be covering from this night is In the Whale, a hard rock influenced duo that brings blues to a new, heavy extreme with aspects of heavy metal. The duo was as heavy as metal, yet still had a blues feel. The band consists of Nate on Guitar and vocals and Eric on drums and vocals. From the bands warm-up, I was intrigued. Eric did a funny "Metallica" sound check where he grunted and made punchy sounds in his microphone. As the group played their first song, I could sense a real early to mid generation punk influence, along with early blues influences. Nate's guitar playing was heavy as can get and his vocals vary from a melodic singing voice to a distressing scream. Eric's drumming uses double bass and on point fills, keeping the beat with a vengeance. The show was great both musically and visually: there were even giant inflatable whales bouncing around the crowd like beach balls (this added a fun element to the nights vibe.) After the show, I met both Nate and Eric. I though this showed a great fan dedication and it also showed how personable the duo is. I bought both Cds they were offering at the merch table. In the Whale is from Denver, CO and is currently touring in the Western United States. Check em out!




The Austin Young Band at The Rusty Bucket (1/15/2016)

This is the next chapter of my new music blog, and I am very happy to write about The Austin Young Band. I met the bassist Alex Goldberg through a friend at school, and actually jammed with him a bit. He recommended that I check out his show with the Austin Young Band at a wild bar called The Rusty Bucket.

It was no doubt a wild bar. I was surrounded by older party folk, who were really into the blues. The bar was full of Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia. I definitely felt out of place, but I saw Alex and talked to him a bit, so that made be feel a bit more welcome. As the band started playing I knew that it would be a great night. After getting permission from Alex, I used a sound recorded to capture one of the Band's sets.

The slide guitar of Austin Young was phenomenal. The pocket was also quite impressive, with Alex holding down the bass, and a professional quality drummer named Forrest Raup bringing forth the beats. The band played some roaring traditional blues numbers such as "Catfish Blues," "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Crossroads." The song selection was equally phenomenal. The band played so much on this one night; song after song. The band also added a female guitarist named Michaela Rae who is very skilled on the guitar, with unique solos and rhythm playing that adds a guitar duo element to the group. They also played "Pride and Joy," by Stevie Ray Vaughn, and "Manic Depression" by Jimi Hendrix among originals. Additionally, Alex and the drummer also had a solo interlude that displayed the bassist's jazz and blues influenced style. It was a great night for music.

The band is also playing on the Joe Bonamassa Cruise in the next few weeks, so If your going, check them out! :) Also, If i can get permission, I can post some of these audio tracks, so stay tuned!

Till then...

Two Faces West at Herman's Hideaway (1/6/2016)

The night I went to two faces west was a great choice for any blues music lover. Two faces west is a young, up and coming bluesy rock band from the mountain town of Gunnison, CO. I personally know the bass player from school and it was great to hear them live. Caden's Bass playing has a slight Jazz feel and the blues guitar riffing is thick. Herman's Hideaway is on the south side of Denver, on South Broadway. All in all this is a great blues rock band that is mostly giggin' up in mountain towns. Again, Colorado is a great place for music from both the city and from the mountains. It was great to hear a band that is actually from one of these mountain towns.

I was happy to also get a free CD from Two Faces West, and a couple stickers. Cool!

Exclusive Dj set review: Dillard on New Years Eve (12/31/2015)

This is the next chapter of concert/show reviews that I will be writing about in the year of 2016. New years eve 2015 was a freezing cold night. After hitting a couple friends up, I messaged my friend Dillon Gabehart A.K.A Dillard to see what he was up to. He is a DJ for the Submission production company, and I was hoping he was playing a show. Luckily, he invited me up to a mountain house where he and other friends were hosting an underground music evening.

I remember that is was freezing that night as well, and driving up to the Colorado mountains was a bit of a rush, partly because it was late at night (around 11:15) and I was rushing to get somewhere before the clock struck 12 midnight.  As I drove up the winding roads, the feeling that I was going into the unknown was immense. I had never been to this town, and I was pretty much relying of google maps. Our generation is spoiled, by the way. Directions are just so easy for us.

The Colorado scene, I might add, is one of the most unique scenes in the U.S because of the sheer amount of shows both in metropolitan areas and in rural mountain towns, where music is equally if not more appreciated. As I got closer and closer, the stars were clear as ever. There was little light pollution where I was, making the moonlight shine bright as ever. There is definitely something about driving mountain and country roads. As I finally fund the place and parked, I could hear the bass in the distance. Another great part about partying or jamming in the mountains is the ability to bump your music.

Mind you I still didn't really know anybody at this place, but it was about 11:45 and I had made it. As I walked in, there were a bunch of music lovers. I felt welcome and was so glad I didn't stay home by myself. I realized that one must go out and find the music to embrace it like our ancestors have. One can always listen to music at home nowadays by his or herself, but going out and experiencing the music and new people is where it's at. There were bongo drums for playing, and I played a bit along with the music. As new years hit, I was happy with my experience. I had went out and found something to do, even if it was by myself. There is a freedom to that...when you don't need anyone to go and enjoy some music.

And that is just what I did. Dillard's set had a distinctive "reggae" dubstep feel. I personally appreciate this because that is where "dub" comes from. He will take reggae songs, and emphasizes the bass; giving it a great traditional dubstep quality. At the same time; the way he uses the bass also has dirty overtones... giving it that Denver- Dubstep feel. Dancing to the decks was a great time. I was also free to play the bongos, and personally being in a room full of dancing music lovers in such a chill environment is kind of what the origins of EDM is all about. The underground and exclusive feel was equally, if not more valuable to me than spending a lot of money to go to a concert on NYE.

Till next time


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Review of Umphrey's Mcgee and The London Souls at the Fillmore in Denver on 1/2/16 (1st review)

The night of January 2nd, 2016 was no doubt a cold one for me. I was on a mission, and that was to go and enjoy Umphrey's show at the Fillmore off Colfax in Denver, CO. I took the bus (which was a bit late) to the bus station in Denver. The show's doors opened at 7 PM, and I got to the station around 7:00.

 I remember catching a glimpse of the clock, walking out towards the south stairwell, reading 7:01 and taunting me and saying "it's too late for coffee."  So I started walking down 16th street mall, taking deep breaths and remembering all the good and bad times I've had from walking and skateboarding to school and what not on those west-side blocks. I haven't even been in Denver that long, but it is intense to try and sense the mass quantity of "happenings" that each corner in a metropolitan United States city sees on a day to day basis.

So I was walking 16th street mall trying to get down east to Colfax. I can remember how cold it was, so I started running. Each block was a quick rest. In my mind, staying warm and getting to the concert faster sounded like a great deal to me. By the time I reached Lincoln, I was warm and ready to walk at a brisk pace to Colfax to see Umphrey's play. The next thing I remember, I was getting a nice runners high to start the night off. Thanks, mother nature, you made it interesting. Before I knew it I was there. I took a celebratory shooter shot and I was on my way. 

I got through to the other side just fine. The venue was still relatively empty. I was early, if anything. I took the first moments to take it all in, and get into the mood for a great concert. I got a tall brew with a strong ABV, and started to check out the pictures of the many performers that have played the Fillmore in Denver.  I remember most the pictures of Jeff Beck, ZZ Top, Bill Graham, and reading about how The Doors played there. There is definitely the sense that some serious musicians have played at the Fillmore auditorium in Denver, CO. Can I just take this moment to say that I am so happy to live near Denver. What a beautiful place.

After awhile, the opening band came on, and I bought another tall one. The band was called "The London Souls" and I must say, they were a great live duo that brought back feelings of good old bluesly rock and Roll from the 1960's. It was refreshing to hear a guitarist and drummer rock out with real instruments. The music was punchy, bringing great feelings of euphoria and love for the electric guitar. The drummer was equally captivating with the rhythm of a 20 ton stagecoach. The drummer's fills and finesse was a tribute to rock drummers of history. I could sense a Hendrix vibe from London Soul. It was impressive that so much sound was coming from 2 people, and nothing more. 

I went out for a smoke and met some great people. I used my phone to write down people's names, number's and businesses. Concerts are a joy to go to, and the smoker's section is a great place to meet people. I met a couple musicians, owners of a bar, and a couple people from out of state. As I walked back in the concert, The London souls were still rocking out great music, and putting on a great show. I really enjoyed the guitarists solos, because there is a sort of neo-blues feel to the music that they were putting out. As the night wore on, I waited for Umphrey's to come one during the intermission, taking to time to grab some food. 

 The London Souls had really warmed the place up, and by the time they left the stage there was a big crowd ready to hear more music. During the intermission while I ate, I continued to enjoy the fact that so many great musicians had played the Fillmore Auditorium in the past. When Umphrey's came on, the place was pretty packed. I was in a great crowd of people, and really enjoyed the amount of production used, starting with the first note. The lighting was amazing, the group was also playing some amazing music that created magnificent intro to their set. The first set they played was dreamlike, and the music was a mixture of jam band feel with heavier overtones. The music was such a mixture of genres that it was overwhelming. I couldn't help but dance...

Umphrey's is different than most artists I've heard in this day in age. Their virtuous playing styles mix in great with older styles of psychedelic rock. Their use of arpeggio's adds the feel that they are musically trained and influenced by the 80's metal guitar styles. I have to say that I was happy to stay the whole length of the show. During the second intermission I met some more great people, and by the time they finished their second set, I was still not ready to go home. They put on a spectacular show, with great production and not even one sound mishap. They played their encore, and I was back into the cold. It was so worth it, though, and I walked the 2 miles back to the station, music still ringing in my ears. 

Till next time, Denver

Monday, January 4, 2016

new experimental blog series

Hello all!

Happy new years to you. I am writing to inform you of a new blog series I will be starting about live music here in Denver. I personally am located in the same proximity of thousands of high-quality music acts and artists...so why not write about it? From local shows to big shows (with tickets I can get my hands on,) I'm going to review acts and artists that I personally like, and whom I believe represent the thriving music scene (across all genres) that is here, now in Denver, CO. Yes, weed is legal here, and I think It may help create a unique art scene; but it was awesome here before that, too. I'm also hoping I can catch any sort of artistic benefit to writing an ongoing music blog about a scene that is both located in the city, and in the mountains. For skiers and boarders, there is a definite music scene that takes place in the small mountain towns of Colorado. In Denver, there is a healthy, mixed music scene including artists from EDM, Jam bands, Hip Hop, Country, Jazz, Blues, Latin music, and Rock.  If you want to be around a huge array of different musical styles and cultures, then Denver is not a bad place to be.

Until my next blog.... I'll be writing about my experience at Umphrey Mgees at the Fillmore in Denver, on 1/2/16. Happy 2016!!!!!!