Calling Denver Rappers of All Stripes to the Third Rap-A-Thon

Categories: Interviews

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Welcome to the D.O.P.E. Game
Creators Lizzy Brodie and Ru Johnson are ready to see all the MCs rock.
Tonight, the Savoy Events Center will once again be filled wall-to-wall with people from all walks of life who came for one reason: Rocking the mic. MCs from across Colorado will come together for the second Rap-A-Thon, which will feature art, fashion and hours of rhyming.

See also: The "Controversy" 32-Bar Challenge Is Igniting Denver's Hip-Hop Scene

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Mark Turner: "The World Is Magical and There's No Reason to Ever Be Bored"

Categories: Interviews

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Paolo Soriani
Mark Turner is a dynamic and lucid jazz tenor saxophonist who's been part of Billy Hart's Quartet for a decade. He's also been a member of Fly, the collaborative trio with the skilled bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. But Turner, who will be at Dazzle on Saturday, September 27, also considers himself a fairly avid science fiction reader, with Ursula K. Le Guin being one of his favorite authors, and Turner's brand new ECM album, Lathe of Heaven, borrows its name from her 1971 novel.

See also: The Ten Best Jazz Drummers

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DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist Bring Afrika Bambaataa's Record Collection to Denver

Categories: Interviews

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Westword photo.
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist
While the current connotation of the term DJ involves neon-clad teens, lasers and confetti cannons, artists like DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist rely on the hip-hop tradition of the genre. On past tours, Shadow and Cut toured with only a collection of hand-picked 45s (the Hard Sell Tour, from 2007 to 2009), and this time around, the DJs are touring with Afrika Bambaataa's personal collection of records.

The duo is currently midway through that Renegades of Rhythm tour, and we spoke with each of them about Bambaataa's influence, the task of building a 90-minute set from thousands of hours of music and what advice they got from Bamabaataa himself on how to chronicle his influence.

See also: The Queen of the Ravers

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Mike Watt on Touring: "I Guess You Pick Where You Want to Gruel"

Categories: Interviews

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Hiyori Minato
Mike Watt, Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi are Il Sogno del Marinaio.
The night before Minutemen played in Denver for the first time in 1984, at the now-defunct Rainbow Music Hall with Black Flag, the punk progenitors made up of singer and guitarist D. Boon, bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley endured what Watt called a "seventeen-hour hell ride" right after a gig in Minneapolis. Watt says ten of them crammed into a van, and he was on the top shelf with drummer Bill Stevenson, who played with Black Flag at the time, and roadie Steve "Mugger" Corbin.

"You couldn't lift your arms up to read the books so you're just laying there, awake," Watt says.

See also: On Mike Watt & the Missingmen's 2011 Show at Larimer Lounge

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Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler on Fighting the Profit Motive

Categories: Interviews

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Patrick O'Brien
Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces
Shabazz Palaces is the adventurous hip-hop outlet of former Digable Planets MC Ishmael Butler and multi-instrumentalist Tendai Mariare.

Based in Seattle, the group is signed to the historically rock-centric Sub Pop label. We talked to Butler before Shabazz Palaces' show tonight at the Fox Theatre about consumerism, the innate power of music and the goals he has for the newly released Lese Majesty.

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Failure's Ken Andrews on the Absurdity of Hair Metal

Categories: Interviews

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Failure
Failure is slated to perform at Riot Fest this Friday, September 19th. Though the band enjoyed a great deal of popularity during its first run before splitting in 1997, its influence has loomed large on a good deal of guitar rock that has come along since. If someone writes a book like Our Band Could Be Your Life about the '90s, Failure would certain deserve a chapter as a band whose impact continues to be felt and whose records have aged very well. The group got back together to perform for the first time in close to seventeen years in February 2014 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, its home town. We had the chance to speak with the group's affable vocalist, Ken Andrews, about how a noisy alternative rock band with space rock tendencies functioned in the glam rock era of Los Angeles, his role in contributing to Blink-182's 2004 self-titled album and how becoming fathers was the catalyst for Failure getting back together.

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Radke May Be the Best Band at Riot Fest Not Playing the Main Stage

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Shawn Brackbill
Radkey
While a lot of the focus during Riot Fest this weekend will be on the headliners playing the May Farms stage and the Byers General Store, the festival includes up and coming bands, local and otherwise, worthy of attention. These are generally not the bands riding in large tour buses or flying in for the show and who most often load their own gear and sell their own merch on tour. With the recent announcement of the robbing of its tour van, clearly legendary emo band Mineral qualifies as one of these bands. One of the most promising of these up and coming bands of recent years is the brother trio Radkey from Kansas City who have made quite a buzz for its heavy rock and roll sound and wildly energetic performances.

See also: Allout Helter on the Value of Riot Fest to the Local Scene

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Marisa Demarco of Gatas y Vatas on the Importance of Spotlighting Female Musicians

Categories: Interviews

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Vincent Comparetto via the Titwrench Facebook page.
Marisa Demarco performing as Bigawatt at Titwrench 2012.
Now in its fifth and final year, Albuquerque's Gatas y Vatas experimental music festival is preparing for a grand finale this weekend. Founding performer and festival organizer Marisa Demarco says that it was her experience as a performer and audience member at Denver's Titwrench music festival inspired her to create Gatas, which focuses on spotlighting female solo musicians -- performers she sees as being underrepresented or not acknowledged at all.

As a co-founding member of the first edition of Titwrench in 2009, I first met Demarco back when she came to Denver with her performance collective, Milch de la Maquina, to be a part of the multi-day, DIY music and art gathering. Since then, Demarco has been back and forth between Colorado and New Mexico performing at each year's Titwrench, as well as coming through on tour multiple times over the last six years. As she prepares to put the finishing touches on what will be the fifth and final installment of Gatas y Vatas, I caught up with Demarco and we talked about what makes her unique festival tick and why she's deciding to end it all after half a decade of success.

See also: 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

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Les Claypool of Primus on the Benefits of Folk Music

Categories: Interviews

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Jay Blakesberg
Les Claypool
Les Claypool and Larry Lalonde will be signing copies of Primus: Over the Electric Grapevine, an oral history of the band, at Tattered Cover on Thursday, September 18, at 7 p.m.. Primus is also slated to perform at Riot Fest on Friday, September 19. Formed in 1984 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Primus combined funk, humor and the avant-garde. It is the rare band that has successfully transcended what might have been something gimmicky with its supreme musicianship and imagination. Its popularity rose with the advent of the alternative rock era, and its 1991 album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese yielded left field hits like "Tommy the Cat," "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" and "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers." Throughout the '90s Primus enjoyed mainstream popularity with The Brown Album and Tales From The Punch Bowl but by the end of the decade it was still releasing quality music even as it became something of a cult band.

See also: The Five Best Reunited Bands Playing Riot Fest

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Allout Helter on the Value of Riot Fest to the Local Scene

Categories: Interviews

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Jesus Verduzco
Allout Helter began in 2008 as a melodic hardcore band with some metal chops. In 2010, the group put an ad on Craigslist for a lead vocalist and attracted the attention of Ross Hostage. Hostage had spent the previous decade playing in Action Friend and Suburban Hostage. He brought a confrontational energy to the band, and his often incisive political lyrics are substantive and thought-provoking as well as topical. The group's 2013 full-length, Sinking We Regress, is a bracing example of the guys in high form. Helter is one of a few local acts slated to perform at Riot Fest this weekend.

See also: The Five Best Reunited Bands Playing Riot Fest

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