My D-fest Schedule:

Traffic/level of inebriation willing, this is what I’ll be tracking down this weekend at Denverfest.

Friday:
6 – Ryan Windham: I’m hoping it’s Barry Windham‘s son, but I’m probably wrong.
7 – Brainhammer: From the name, I’m expecting smooth jazz.
8 – Bailer: One of my favorite Denver bands, and one that’s jumped up a notch.
9 – Across Tundras: Sludge, grime, and red sunsets set to operatic doom.
10 – The Forecast/Autokinoton: Tough call. Something you’ve never seen vs. something you love?
11 – Kylesa: See Across Tundras–and rocket fuel.
12 – Red Sparrowes: See Across Tundras, add pretty pictures, Isis (it’s an Isis side project).

Saturday:
5 – Big Timber: Trevor from Bailer will be a busy man this weekend.
6 – El Minotaur: D&D Rock en Espanol?
7 – Low Oriole: Played with these guys not too long ago.
8 – New American Ramblers: Gonna get me some old time religion.
9 – Crestfallen: Heller’s band from back in the day. Denver emo-punk stalwarts.
10 – Planes Mistaken for Stars: FUCK YEAH. RIP.
11 – Christie Front Drive: Back from the dead for one night only.

Sunday:
6 – City of Ships: Just sounds pretty.
7 – Ghost Buffalo: Bros (and sister).
8 – Git Some: Apologies for playing favorites, but Denver’s best punk band right now.
9 – Red Cloud/Mustangs and Madras: Our erstwhile tourmates and brothers in arms.
10 – Golden City: From Brooklyn, with pieces of Christie Front Drive
11 – Think in French: So glad we’re getting to share this experience with them.
12 – TNA plays: One last time, with feeling.

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Denverfest shows and set times ANNOUNCED…

They’re all here. Highlight shows of each night, in my opinion:

Friday: Marquis Theater, all ages
Smoke or Fire, The Forecast, Concrete Cleaner, Bailer, Eyes and Ears

Saturday: Marquis Theater, all ages
Christie Front Drive, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Crestfallen, The Volts

Sunday: Arapahoe Warehouse, all ages
The North Atlantic, Think in French, Golden City, Red Cloud, Git Some, El Toro de la Muerte, Jor Dan, Polar Opposite Bear

TNA’s last show is the last slot of the entire festival, and nothing else is scheduled for that time slot. I’m guessing things will get weird.

Denverfest lineup is OUT

DenverFest 3 LINE-UP

It would be ridiculous of me to try and point out all the “highlights” (personal and otherwise) to which I’m looking forward. This will be my first look at Smoke or Fire, The Forecast, and my first look in a while at several others. In the interest of festival spirit, I’ll be posting writeups of a few bands each day in the run-up to the three day festival, which takes place from August 31 to September 2 in the mile high city.

Across Tundras (Denver)
Arms for Hands (Wichita, KS)
Autokinoton (Denver)
Bad Weather California (Denver)
Bailer (Denver)
Battlefields (Fargo, ND)
Big Timber (Denver)
Bosnia (Denver)
Brainhammer (Denver)
Joseph Childress (San Francisco, CA)
Christie Front Drive (Denver)
City of Ships (Richmond, VA)
Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire (Denver)
Concrete Cleaner (Wichita, KS)
Crestfallen (Denver)
Dead Commuter (Wichita, KS)
Dead to Me (San Francisco, CA)
Dugout Canoe (Denver)
El Minotaur (Springfield, MO)
El Toro de la Muerte (Colorado Springs)
Empires (Minneapolis, MN)
The Empress (Wichita, KS)
Epileptinomicon (Denver)
Eyes and Ears (Denver)
Falcon Crest (Minneapolis, MN)
The Forecast (Peoria, IL)
Fucking Orange (Denver)
Ralph Gean (Denver)
Ghost Buffalo (Denver)
The Golden City (New York)
The Green Fuse (Denver)
Gryphyns (Galena, IL)
The Hope Symphony (Sacramento, CA)
Horace Van Vaughn (Denver)
The Ians (Denver)
Jah Tool (New York)
Jor Dan (Tulsa, OK)
Kingdom of Magic (Denver)
Kylesa (Savannah, GA)
La Columna Quebrada (Denver)
Lady Speech (Denver – spoken word)
Lethe (Lawrence, KS)
Lion Sized (Denver)
Los Dos and the New American Ramblers (Denver)
Lost Hands Found Fingers (Cincinnati, OH)
Low Oriole (Hutchinson, KS)
Machine Gun Blues (Denver)
Minsk (Denver)
Modernstate (Portland, OR)
motheater (Denver)
Mouth Movements (Knoxville, TN)
Mustangs & Madras (Denver)
New Dialect (Denver)
The New Rome (Denver)
No Plot Kill (Denver)
The North Atlantic (San Diego, CA)
Paradox (Denver)
Pictureplane. (Denver)
Planes Mistaken for Stars (Denver)
Red Cloud West (Denver)
Red Sparowes (Los Angeles, CA)
The Revenge (Phoenix, AZ)
Scorpion Child (Austin, TX)
Samothrace (Lawrence, KS)
Sherpas Ruse (Iowa City, IA)
The Short Histories of Powerful Nations (Springfield, MO)
Smoke or Fire (Boston, MA)
Spirit of the Stairs (Wichita, KS)
Stereotyperider (Phoenix, AZ)
Tarmints (Denver)
Think in French (Reno, NV)
The Valley Arena (Long Beach, CA)
Viper : Viper (Denver)
The Volts (Denver)
Weather is Happening (Wichita, KS)
Whiskey Kiss (Denver)
Ryan Windham (Wichita, KS)
You’ll Be A Torso (Wichita, KS)

Show Review: Barfer?/Git Some/Drunken Boat/Cabron, Zombie Lounge

Due to a magic disappearing/reappearing computer cable, I wasn’t able to get around to posting this until today, even though the show was last Saturday. I’m new to this stuff, alright?

The Zombie Lounge is close to the perfect venue for this kind of show, featuring the kind of gritty punk rock bands that would have been right at home at CBGB’s before it became the pay to play mecca of Long Island post-hardcore bands. The sound isn’t great (vocal mics only), but sound, as far as I’m concerned, is of secondary importance to presence and proximity. The Zombie delivers on both counts, and Another Zeke Productions really does a good job of bringing harder bands to town.

 

Cabron was up first. Though I missed their first two songs, I was treated to yet another serving of SST-style punk rock. They occupy the rehearsal space right next to ours off Mission Gorge, so I’m pretty familiar with their musical offerings. They sounded much better than their last few shows, which took place at the well-intentioned by acoustically-challenged Voz Alta.

 

Cabron

 

Cabron

Next up was Drunken Boat. Hailing from Portland, Drunken Boat play fast, sing-along punk rock in the vein of a lot of No Idea bands and local heroes Vena Cava. Too bad those guys weren’t out at the show, as I think they would have dug it. To be honest, they weren’t all that tight on this occasion. Seeing them the next day, my belief that it might just be an off night for them was confirmed.

Drunken Boat

 

Third was the mighty, mighty Git Some. Git Some is one half of Planes Mistaken for Stars (Neil and Chuck, playing bass and guitar, respectively) fronted by Denver’s own King Midas (everything he does musically is gold) Lucious Armand Fairchild. I’ve seen Git Some on the order of ten times or so; mayhem is usually a given (I’ve seen Luke fall forward–not catching himself at all–and take a steel pipe in the throat, get up, and continue without missing a beat) and brutal, Black-Flag-meets-Motorhead-meets-Jesus-Lizard punk is usually on offer. But with the addition of new drummer Andrew Lindstrom, the band has really moved from being one of my favorite bands of friends to one of my favorite bands, period. For fans of hard music of various stripes, missing these guys was practically criminal. It’s all the good things about hardcore stripped of the agenda, all the great things about metal and hard rock stripped of the unnecessary machismo. I just can’t say enough good things about this band.

Git Some

Git Some

Git Some

 

Last but not least was Barfer? At this point, I’m not going to address the rumors running around about these guys, except to say that the focus should be squarely on the music. I’ve seen all of Barfer’s shows save two, and this was definitely their tightest as a musical ensemble. Given the particular musical vision to which they adhere, that’s saying something. Mikey, like a man on shrooms, seems to find something on which to fixate each time. This time it was poor Ziggy’s baseball cap, which Mikey donned to marvelous effect on several occasions. Otherwise, there were lots of odd time signatures, lots of screaming in people’s faces, and lots of exposed skin and hair. You know: the usual.

 

I lied. Barfer? wasn’t last. The honor went to Tiltwheel, who I missed while on a beer run. Oh, the humanity. I’m sure I’ll have ample opportunity to see them again.

Friday night in the city…

So, after spending the week with my family in Connecticut, I got to spend last evening with some good friends in New York City. Oddly enough, a band called Ra Ra Riot was playing at the South Street Seaport. TNA played with Ra Ra Riot in Nashville last year, and their sound check was so shockingly good that I immediately called our label, publicist and booking agent to tell them about them. Ra Ra Riot are from Syracuse, on their way up (in a big, big way–with no management and no label, they nevertheless got a booking deal with the Agency Group), and just experienced one of the most awful things a band can experience. While on tour, their drummer, John Pike, was found dead on June 4. The band are quite young, as well, and enduring something that I, as a musician, found almost to be too much to take. I got to offer my condolensces to a couple of them and wish them well. They certainly deserve it.

Watching them last night, I noticed that the majors were out in force. Apparently Universal is trying to sign them, and I saw A&R from a couple other labels passing out afterparty wristbands for the wine-and-dine portion of the evening. But why, I’m asking myself, would an indie pop band like Ra Ra Riot sign with a major? What can the major do for them that a smaller label can’t do these days, and won’t the major ask for more (look out for the term “360 deal,” music industry wags)?

My thoughts on the subject were somewhat confirmed later at the bar. An acquaintance of mine is a product manager for a major label, and his view of the current situation is even more pessimistic than mine. To say that the majors are unsure as to how to proceed would imply that they had several courses of action in hand and were simply trying to choose between them. There’s nothing on the dry erase board. They are dead reckoning.

Going to see Barfer?, Cabron, and Git Some tonight at the Zombie Lounge. You should, too.