American Gladiator Bandstand Will Determine the Hotel-Trashing King of Denver's Bands

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Flickr user ♫Ali
Event #3: "Hotel Trash and Smash"
In 2012, Thadeaous Mighell, Mitchell Pond and David Moke came up with the idea for an interactive arts festival after meeting at the now-defunct DIY space Unit E.

Soon after, Moke -- who organizes events for the Denver Theater District non-profit -- helped get the ball rolling and Blacktop was born. Although Blacktop is no more, the trio recently created something even more unique: American Gladiator Bandstand.

See also: Best New Music Festival 2013 -- Blacktop

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Shatterproof's Mostly Disastrous First Tour: "It Was Probably the Best Time of My Life"

Categories: Features

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Courtesy of Shatterproof
Shatterproof, ready to play their alma mater's prom. The band did not look like this on tour.
Shatterproof's Up In Smoke tour could be a sequel to National Lampoon's Vacation. The rock band, based out of Fort Collins, started planning its first tour in March. By mid-July, Shatterproof was ready. Its bus, named "ShatterBus," was not.

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R.I.P., Dick Orleans: Artist, wanderer and Estes Park leader

Categories: Features

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Courtesy of the Orleans family.
On May 12, Dick Orleans went into the mountains near Estes Park and didn't come home. At 11 p.m., Dave Orleans, Dick's older brother, got the call that he was missing. Soon after, police found Dick up in the foothills, a few yards from Fall River Road, dead after suffering a massive heart attack. The first thing Dave thought was, "Foxes."

Dave had visited his brother in Estes Park just a couple weeks earlier, and together they had gone to that same place. Dick, a musician and avid nature photographer, had once captured photos of the elusive black fox there. He told his brother that he wanted to see the animal again, but foxes are unpredictable. It would take time and dedication. Dave knew that it must have been the foxes that brought Dick back to the mountains that day.

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Trout Steak Revival is Colorado's next great bluegrass band

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Emerald O'Brien
Trout Steak Revival plays the free stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival during the band competition semi-finals. They competed against nine other bands from around the country to win the title of Best Band.
There is no trout at Trout Steak Revival's band practice, but there are five musicians and a manager full of bratwurst and salad in a back yard in east Denver.

"You can only eat so much trout," banjo player Travis McNamara jokes.

Fiddle player Bevin Foley hosts her bandmates on Thursdays for food and practice when they each make the trek into Denver from their Front Range homes. On this particular Thursday, they sit around the table in her small back yard. A faded wooden sign proclaiming "Trout Steak Revival" leans against the fence in the corner. Except for gigs and the occasional Sunday practice, Thursday band practice is one of the only chances they have to all get together while juggling their own day jobs and living in different towns.

See also: Eleven things that make the Telluride Bluegrass Festival magical


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High school teacher and record label founder Terry Cole is traveling the country delivering 45s

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Terry Cole
Terry Cole is the founder and owner of Colemine Records, an independent label headquartered in Ohio, began after he and a band mate wanted to release an album under a legitimate looking label, and has now left a wake of 30 different 45s and a twenty-track compilation CD of Motown and Funk artists. Earlier this week, he stopped by Twist and Shout Records as part of a nation-wide tour to tell record stores about his label. "It's just overwhelming, the number of shops in the states," he says. "It was kind of frustrating trying to get our records into all these different shops via e-mail or phone or something. That's just a clusterfuck. These places get hit like that all the time."

See also: Here's why YouTube shouldn't screw over indie labels

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First responders braved the drizzle at the debut of the renovated Fiddler's Green

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Brandon Marshall. Slideshow

A group of firefighters with yellow walkie talkies swaying at their chests were examining the new on-site structures at the first show at a renovated Fiddler's Green Ampitheatre. They wanted to ensure that they were familiar with the new facilities in case they were called to the scene in the future. And there's plenty to get aquatinted with, including some substantial changes to the walkways and entrances, several infrastructure improvements new buildings, including multiple concession stands, restrooms and ticket booths. The firefighters were satisfied, if understated. "It was safe before; it's safe now," one said.

90% of the audience was US Veterans, active National Guard, firefighters, police officers and other first responders who got their tickets for free to an event dubbed Volunteer Jam, headlined by country legend Charlie Daniels. Overall, the feel inside the venue was like a late-afternoon picnic on a cloudy Saturday. Families scattered out on the lawn, which was specked with cowboy hats and waving American flags (the latter were handed out at the entrance in honor of the holiday).


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

Categories: Features

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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

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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

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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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