Homeward Sound: Why house shows can often trump playing clubs for some touring musicians

Categories: Features


Road-weary and cash-poor, Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell just needed a comfortable place to play ― and stay ― in St. Louis in July of 2005. Or at least that's how Cary remembers it. "I'm pretty sure something either got canceled or we were really broke and didn't want to have a day off," says Cary, a velvet-voiced North Carolinian whose closest brush with widespread fame came when she formed one half of Whiskeytown alongside Ryan Adams. "It's a little hazy." Cockrell, who was touring with Cary and a trio of supporting players behind the duo's Begonias album, remembers things a bit differently. "Rick reached out and asked if we'd be willing to do a concert there."

See also: The Highlands House Concert Series makes its mark

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Total Ghost on what snorting astroid dust is like

Categories: Features


Every band is, to some degree, essentially a mask of theatrics in which you play a character that is not really yourself. But for Denver's Euro-trash, synth-dance duo, Total Ghost, the act is one hundred percent comedic lies. Chön and Biktor, a pair of rude, vain, indulgent citizens of Berlin (or sometimes the moon), make up the hilarious team of Total Ghost. If you took the German kidnappers from The Big Lebowski, wrapped them inside the aesthetic of Tim and Eric and smothered with the supernatural arrogance of Metalocalypse, you'd have Total Ghost.

See also: Behold the awesome absurdity of Total Ghost

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Troll and Scum, two of the biggest horrorcore acts, have built a thriving scene in Denver

Sitting upstairs in what once was the projector room of the Roxy Theatre, Troll is in front of two desks piled with paperwork. With his feet up, relaxing and laughing on a phone call, Troll, born Travis Ragan, just finished booking a tour with Manchild of Swollen Members and Twiztid, a Juggalo heavyweight on one genre-blending bill. "Madchild is like hip-hop all the way," says Troll, who, in addition to being the Roxy's booking agent, heads up Strong Survive promotions and is the head MC of Slo Pain. "And Twiztid is one of the biggest Juggalo acts in the world."

See also: Juggalos band together at Primos

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Before I outgrew him, Dave Matthews was a big part of my life -- looking back, I guess he still is

Categories: Features

Brian Landis Folkins

When I think back on the first time I heard Dave Matthews (no, I mean, really heard Dave Matthews), I think of a collection of balmy summer nights in my hometown of Boston -- bare feet in wet grass, a Natural Ice buzz, the beautiful, frightening uncertainty of youth. Me and my friends loaded up our parents' cars with cheap beer and headed towards the small suburban Massachusetts town of Mansfield -- that's where the Tweeter Center was located.

See also: The ten best shows in Denver this weekend

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The 50 worst rock/pop lyrics of all time: 50-41

Categories: Features, Lists


Sometimes we love a song because it's stupid. When the Flaming Lips immortalized a girl for not using jelly, for instance, we treasured the witty idiocy of it all. These are not those songs. These are the radio hits that tortured us with their inane babbling, with lyrics that sound epic and sentimental at first but are ultimately as shallow as a kiddie pool. There are a few stinkers here by some legendary artists, and there is also the rare unicorn of a mostly decent song being unfairly matched with some cringe-worthy lyrics. Keep reading for the first ten of the fifty worst rock/pop lyrics of all time.

See also:
- The 50 worst rap lyrics of all time: 50-41
- The 50 worst rap lyrics of all time: 40-31
- The 50 worst rap lyrics of all time: 30-21

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The ten traits of the perfect frontperson


The best frontmen and -women all have something in common. Whether it's their ability to connect with a crowd or the swagger with which they carry themselves, their fashion sense, the intrigue that surrounds them or their reckless disregard for their own well-being, they all have that ineffable "it" factor. We recently conducted a highly scientific examination of a host of individual performances, and we took the data we gleaned from that analysis and combined it with our own anecdotal observations over the years and came up with the ten traits of the perfect frontperson. Keep reading to see what they are.

See also:
- The five best local musical missed connections on Craigslist
- Five more biggest concert buzzkills
- The original ten biggest concert buzzkills

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Morrissey's quiet desperation and romantic worldview continues to connect and inspire fans

Categories: Features


Celebrity fandom is almost always based on inaccessibility. Whether it's a rock star, an actor or a politician, desire is created when you reach out for the object of passion and come up a few inches short. So what happens when you have a fanbase that is made up of people who long to find themselves, and transfer that longing onto a man who is famous for having the most enigmatic identity in recent memory? You get Morrissey fans. While they cried for Sinatra, screamed for the Beatles and do God-knows-what for Insane Clown Posse, there are few non-religious icons who have inspired the level of personal devotion in their followers as this celibate Brit, who romanticizes getting hit by a bus and equates eating meat with child abuse.

See also:
- The Smiths '80s radio station takeover: What happened per the police report
- The story of Smiths fan who held a station here hostage in the '80s? It's true...sort of
- SmithsBusters: Did a Smiths fan really hold a Denver radio station hostage in 1987?

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Fugazi is a benchmark, a signpost and an example of how it could and should be done

Gateway Acts is a new ongoing series on Backbeat in which we examine the music that served as an entry point for our burgeoning musical obsessions, a gateway drug that tuned us in and turned us on. Today, guest columnist and Flattery Festival founder Ian O'Dougherty (Uphollow, Ian Cooke, TaunTaun, Eolian) asserts that if there were just one band, that band would be Fugazi.


By Ian O'Dougherty

I started playing guitar at the age of eight after seeing La Bamba in 1987. Brian Setzer's cover of Eddie Cochran's song "Summertime Blues" on the soundtrack got me excited about guitar and led me to discover Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. I heard Nirvana on the radio in 1991 and then started playing guitar loudly. In junior high, I met a kid named Whit Sibley, who also played guitar loudly. He put the Descendents "Silly Girl" and Fugazi's "Long Division" on a mixtape for me, and in return, I gave him a Godflesh cassette to check out. We eventually decided to start a band together called Uphollow. We ended up playing hundreds of shows and did more tours than I remember.

See also:
- Saturday: Flattery Festival at 3 Kings Tavern, 2/2/13
- Q&A with Minor Threat, Fugazi and Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye
- How Beck opened up a whole new world to an evangelical boy from the Midwest

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Gateway Acts: How a Rush to judgment ultimately led to more affecting music

Gateway Acts is a new ongoing series on Backbeat in which we examine the music that served as an entry point for our burgeoning musical obsessions, a gateway drug that tuned us in and turned us on. Today, Noah Hubbell gives us the goods on a Rush to judgment that he made early on.

rush live cropped.jpg
Aaron Thackeray
Okay, hands up: Who here loves Rush? (Spoiler alert: It's this guy.)
I grew up in a house of somewhat traditional music, where I was exposed to everything from jazz to classic rock to soul. It provided a great background for me, but for the most part, the impetus was on the importance of instrumental or vocal talent. My father was, and still is, a fanatical guitar player. I cannot remember an extended period where he wasn't practicing. In fact, he practices more at playing guitar than I've ever seen anybody practice anything. Wanting to someday be able to play an instrument like my father, I began drumming when I was twelve, and it was then that I realized how much work it takes to be a great player.

See also:
- Gateway Acts: How Beck opened up a whole new world to an evangelical boy
- Ten essential gangsta-rap albums
- Review: Rush levels Red Rocks with three hours of power and precision

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The Walkmen at Ogden Theatre, 01/21/13

Categories: Features

Tom Murphy
The Walkmen on stage last night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver.


Like a punk band scoring a gothic Western, the Walkmen delivered a set at the Ogden last night that came off as a unique chemistry of contrasts. Blending all the feverish energy of rockabilly inside a tightly controlled package of casual style, the band turned a crowd of hard-drinking, high-energy maniacs into perfectly still lapdogs, staring wide-eyed and perplexed at a group executing the impossible by achieving grand, explosive sentiments at a fast tempo without losing their delicate, hypnotic intimacy.

See also:
- Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen on his early experiences with DC punk
- The Walkmen's Peter Bauer on how Skrillex, Bassnectar and dubstep seem so foreign
- The 25 best concerts of winter/spring 2013

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