The Blend Parties Moved From LA to Denver And Only Got Better

Lonely Boy (aka Joshua Heath, one of the founders of the Blend)
When Lonely Boy (also known as Joshua Heath) launched the Blend in Los Angeles about ten years ago, he envisioned the night as a combination -- a blend -- of electronic and live music. "At the time, I had a live band, and we wanted to do a night where we could feature the band in a live setting and also feature DJs, because the group was a mixture of people into both electronic and live music, and so we figured, 'Why not feature both things?'"

It's come a long way from those origins; a Denver tradition since 2011, the Blend returns to Beauty Bar this Saturday, September 27 -- and Lonely Boy is the special guest DJ.

See also: Privé Social Club, Featuring DJs and Dance Music, Opening Soon Near Larimer Square

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Was The Inaugural Cloak & Dagger Music Festival The Start Of Something Big?

Mary Willson
Cashmere Cat playing at City Hall.
Brennan Bryarly, founder of the Hundred, put on his first festival this weekend, Cloak and Dagger, which was held in the Golden Triangle at City Hall and Vinyl and featured almost thirty electronic producers and DJs. The festival was in the works for two years. But when Bryarly first tried to put on a large event, he didn't have enough backing. This year, though, thanks to a strong track record of shows and some help from (among others) the SoCo Nightlife District, he brought in a lineup including Cashmere Cat from Norway and Holy Ghost! from New York.

See also: Our conversation with Bryarly when the Hundred started

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Musicians Are Often Exploited in Denver: Here's What We Can Do About It

Categories: Commentary

Aaron Thackeray
Denver music is much more than sold-out shows at Red Rocks. Let's make sure we're paying everyone fairly.
Many musicians are accustomed to playing for free, especially those who don't have a large following. The joy of it, as well as the promise of exposure, often suffice as a reward. But this can cause consternation for serious or professional artists who spend hours upon hours honing their craft. In the economy of live music, when is it appropriate to not pay someone for her creative labor?

My own experience suggests there is no clear answer. Overall, musicians enter into business relationships at a disadvantage, and not paying musicians treads a fine line with their outright exploitation. But I've also come to learn that there are many instances when playing for free seems acceptable. So, how do we tease out the difference? It can be hard to codify exploitative behavior. I'd suggest as a starting point that when other people profit from the presence of live music but the musicians themselves don't receive compensation, they are being exploited by definition: their labor generates value that disproportionately goes to other people.

See also: 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

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Six Reasons You Need To Flyer Your Shows

Categories: Nitpick Six

Philip Kromer/Flickr
So easy, even a monkey can do it.
Social media takes the heat for a lot of things. Some people insist that it's responsible for diluting activism and killing personal interaction. Others may recall the recent viral Craigslist post about the restaurant that blamed their slowing service on social media and smartphones, while some scientists have even drawn a connection between Facebook use and depression.

See also: The Six Best Reasons to Go on Tour

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Denver's DJCHAP Joins Forces With the Influential Teklife Crew

Categories: Tip Sheet

DJCHAP is off to a good start. So far, he's earned the respect of one of his biggest musical influences, grown an online following from around the world, and just dropped an EP of fresh footwork tunes that has earned praise from influencers like XLR8R and Potholes in My Blog, among others. But he remains relatively unknown in his hometown. "I feel like my reach globally is much greater than it is in Denver," he says. Sometimes it's easier to get thousands of Soundcloud followers than steady local bookings.

See also: The Aztlan Theater Once Hosted Slayer, Run-D.M.C. and More, but Now It Needs Your Help

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Take Car2Go to Red Rocks, But Not The Way I Did

Categories: Music & Tech

No one looks cool driving this.
Driving to Red Rocks is a little ridiculous. It's a huge, unspoken part of the experience that goes directly against why the amphitheater is so great in the first place: It's a natural venue in a picturesque part of the state, a space where you can see an amazing show while admiring how fucking awesome nature is. But then we drive thousands of cars to and from the spot dozens of times over the course of a concert season, often idling cumulatively for hours to get in and out of the park. That's no way to honor Colorado's natural beauty.

Sure, there are party buses and carpooling situations happening, and that's wonderful. But as a concert-goer, I usually find that it is me, alone in my car, driving up to meet friends for a show because our modern lives are so packed full of scheduled crap that we can't rendezvous ahead of time. Enter Car2Go, a new-ish car-sharing program that has recently expanded its coverage to include Red Rocks. I used it to travel to the Drake vs. Lil Wayne show earlier this month.

See also: Colorado Family Has a Budding Business with Earplug Necklaces Called Noiselace

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

Categories: Interviews

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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Premiere: Tommy Brown's "Intro Music" Video

Categories: VIDEO

From the "Intro Music" video.
Denver rapper Tommy Brown's latest release, Covered in Gold 24k, has caught ears in the city and outside it since its release this summer. The first video from it premiered on The Source, and we're happy to debut the latest visual today on Backbeat. Watch below.

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The Return of Colorado's Bluegrass Kings

Courtesy of Hot Rize
If there's one band that put Colorado bluegrass on the map, it's Hot Rize.

Longtime members Pete Wernick, Nick Forster, Tim O'Brien and Charles Sawtelle met at the Denver Folklore Center in the late 1970s. They worked there in various capacities -- as music instructors, instrument repairmen or at the store. Wernick and Sawtelle had a band called the Rambling Drifters that played the Folklore Center's venue every Tuesday, and Forster and O'Brien often joined them as sidemen. The collaborations gradually got more formal; Wernick, O'Brien and Sawtelle contributed to each other's solo records, and the three decided to form a band called Hot Rize. They recruited Mike Scap, who lasted only a few months before quitting, and on May 1, 1978, Forster came on board as the band's bass player. O'Brien played mandolin and fiddle, Wernick played banjo, and Sawtelle played guitar.

See also: Telluride Bluegrass Festival's Longtime MC Reflects on Colorado's Most Storied Music Fest

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The Queen of the Ravers

Stian Roenning
Lady Casa.

Lady Casa is perhaps the country's most famous raver, and something of a cult leader to her tens of thousands of fans. When the Miami native makes a pilgrimage to LA and hosts an event on Venice Beach the day after seeing DJ Armin van Buuren, it quickly turns into a mob scene.

Not far from the guy who walks on glass and an Italian tour group, hundreds of ravers wait for hours in a snaking line to get Lady Casa's autograph, hear her wisdom and, most importantly, hug her. The event is billed as her 26th birthday party, as well as a benefit for local animal shelters.

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