EDM Fan Petition to Remove Red Rocks Restrictions Has 14,500 Signatures

Categories: Music News

Eric Gruneisen
Bassnectar fans enjoy an early summer concert at Red Rocks last season.
The City of Denver is imposingnew restrictions for concerts at Red Rocks this year, and some members of the the electronic music community argue that those limits (which include decibel ceilings throughout performances) unfairly affect EDM. A petition called Respect The Rocks has racked up almost 14,500 signatures in support of removing the restrictions since it was started on January 9.

See also: Red Rocks: Could loud EDM music cause rocks to fall?

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Instant Empire is Previewing a New Album Recorded With Jon Low and John Vanderslice

Categories: Concerts

Katy DeJong
Instant Empire
On Saturday, January 17 at Larimer Lounge, Instant Empire will be performing some of the unreleased material from its forthcoming debut full-length, Lamplight Lost, due for release this Spring. Sharing the stage with the Royal and Montoneros, the "aggressive indie rock" outfit will end the night on unique interpretation of a song. "There might be some David Byrne involved," says bassist Aaron Stone. Is it some Talking Heads, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Byrne solo or St. Vincent or something even more obscure? You'll have to go and find out, but in Instant Empire's able hands it'll certainly be worth checking out.

See also: Why DIY Venues Are Vital Are Vital to the Health of the Entire Music Scene

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Former Hi-Dive Doorman Aaron Mersmann Returns as the Bassist for Varma Cross

Photo courtesy Varma Cross
Varma Cross
Varma Cross from Lawrence, Kansas is playing Friday, January 16th, at Carioca Café with Joy Subtraction and Hooper and on Saturday, January 17 at The Oriental Theatre with Photo Atlas and Holy Fear. Though the guys in Varma Cross are Kansas natives, the shows will be a homecoming for bass player Aaron Mersmann, who spent five and a half years in Denver immersed in the local music and art scene even though he never actually played in a band while living in Denver. He had been a member of legendary Lawrence bands like Jumbo's Killcrane and Panel Donor and had done tour managing with Appleseed Cast and the Anniversary. While in Denver, the affable Mersmann made strong connections, in part thanks to a job manning the door at the hi-dive.

See also: Denver's Ten Best Small Venues

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Cervantes' Celebrates Twelve Years With a Weekend of Big Shows and Familiar Names

Ken Hamblin
Cerventes' held a massive block party to celebrate 4/20 last year.
A lot has changed in the area surrounding 26th and Welton in the last twelve years. The neighborhood went from somewhere you didn't want to venture into to somewhere you would happily go to for a drink or meal or to even find your next apartment. The name even changed -- from Five Points to River North, or RiNo. But throughout the decade plus ebb and flow has stood Cervantes', and this weekend they're celebrating those twelve years with a massive show.

See also: Photos: The Evolution of Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom

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Governor Hickenlooper On Stage With Some of Colorado's Most Famous Musicians: Photos

Categories: Photos

Scott Lentz
The Lumineers brought a few guests on stage during their set Tuesday night, including governor John Hickenlooper and his son, Teddy. Full slideshow here.
Governor John Hickenlooper celebrated his re-election earlier this week with a formal inauguration ceremony followed by a dinner at the Fillmore Auditorium and a concert at the Ogden Theatre.

We'll have much more on the latter in next week's issue of Westword. It was an improbable arrangement of some of the state's most well-known musicians playing a relatively small venue, and it was a testament to the sincerity of Hickenlooper's enthusiasm for music. For now, relive some of the night's highlights through the lens of photographer Scott Lentz (you can view the full slideshow here).

See also: Governor Hickenlooper on Why (and How) He Wants to Support Colorado Music

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The Seventeen Best Concerts in Colorado This Weekend

Categories: Previews

Jason Stoff for the Riverfront Times.
Fishbone plays in Denver this weekend.
The holiday weekend should be a good one for music in Denver. Some of the highlights include Del McCoury, who will play new songs inspired by Woody Guthrie and Fishbone, which inspired D'Angelo to write the song "1000 Deaths." Many more of our picks await you below.

See also: The Six Best Music Venues for Beer Drinkers in Denver

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Social Media is Ruining Music Festivals

Categories: Commentary

Timothy Norris for LA Weekly. More here.
So many cell phones. Too many, even.
I had been waiting more than twenty years to see Pearl Jam live, and last fall, the time had finally come: I was going to see Seattle's finest at the final weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

It was worth the wait. Eddie Vedder drank a bottle of wine onstage and sang his heart out. Mike McCreedy played the guitar solo for "Even Flow" behind his head. The crowd sang "Alive" in perfect unison.

It was an amazing experience -- right up until the moment a short middle-aged woman in front of me stuck her hands up to record the band's rendition of "Jeremy" for her Instagram account. Every fifteen seconds she'd hold up her phone, not only blocking my view but ensuring that she experienced what was obviously a favorite song, one she'd presumably paid a lot of money to see live, through the screen of her phone.

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It's the Last Day to Buy Artopia Tickets for $25

Categories: Previews

Eric Gruneisen. More here.
A scene from last year's Artopia. We promise more insanity by orders of magnitude this year.
We've got a brief in-house update for you: Tickets for Artopia, which is Westword's annual event celebrating the city's art, culture and fashion, get a little more expensive starting tomorrow. Right now, you can get them for $25.

What you're getting, specifically, is admission to City Hall, where we'll have four rooms (including one new gallery space) filled with artists, performers and general insanity as curated by the expert hand of Jolt from Guerrilla Garden. The evening will also feature our Whiteout fashion show, and of particular interest to you, the readers of Backbeat, there will also be plenty of music.

See also: The 2015 Artopia Lineup Features the Reminders, Wheelchair Sports Camp and More

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Zola Jesus Gave a Short, Physical and Powerful Performance in Denver

Categories: Concerts

Bree Davies
Zola Jesus played just long enough in Denver.
The show was exactly an hour in length -- it may not have been intentional, but Nika Rosa Danilova snuck onto the stage at the Bluebird Theater last night at 9:15 p.m. sharp and tumbled her way off at exactly 10:15 p.m. It felt short, but it was enough -- Danilova's Zola Jesus project is the perfect exercise in operatic darkness-meets-R&B, but one too many songs began to sound the same. The sameness wasn't a detriment at all; Danilova's voice is a wonder, and being able to watch it come out of her as she exercised ritualistic movements with her arms was plenty engaging.

See also: Lorde Is Not A Goth, But She Proved Her Pop-Star Staying Power in Denver

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Bill Frisell Returns to East High School, Site of His First Jazz Guitar Performance

Categories: Longform

Monica Frisell
Bill Frisell explores the music of his Denver childhood on his latest album.
The first time Bill Frisell played a jazz tune on guitar in public was at a talent show during his junior year at East High School, in 1967. He wasn't even the featured performer; the school's band director, Vincent Tagliavore, asked him to learn Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' on Sunset" to accompany some girls who were doing a dance routine to the song. Tagliavore thought it would be a lot cooler if they played live rather than having the girls dance to the record. And so began the career of one of the planet's most well-regarded jazz guitarists. Frisell hadn't even listened to much jazz before that performance. He grew up listening to surf music, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, "and then blues -- and by the time I got there, it was James Brown and the Temptations, all mixed together," he says. "This was before Jimi Hendrix and all that. So ['Bumpin' on Sunset'] was like an atomic explosion in my brain that led me, really, into the world of jazz."

See also: Denver-Bred Ron Miles and Bill Frisell Are Among the Greatest Collaborators in Jazz

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