Meet Michael Amott, Slash and the Rest of the Denver Zoo's Rock and Roll Flamingos

Categories: Photos

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Polaroid photo by Taylor Boylston
Brittney Weaver with Michael Amott (of Arch Enemy)
It's not every day you get to brush feathers with rock and roll legends like Ace Frehley and Slash, but in Denver, all it takes is a visit to the zoo.

Brittney Weaver started working at the Denver Zoo about six years ago. She also happens to be a big music fan, regularly attending heavy metal and rock shows with her husband. In 2008, the zoo received nineteen flamingo eggs from a wild Caribbean herd in Miami. Weaver named them after rock guitarists, and she's been doing it ever since. Now, there are nearly 74 flamingos with rock icon names in the zoo.

See also: A Flamingo Named T-Boz? Denver Zoo Holds Contest to Name New Chicks

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Polaroid: Guy Blakeslee Puts Denver in a Trance

Categories: Photos

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Photo by Taylor Boylston
Growing up in a digital age, I learned very young that photography could be something used quite carelessly with the hopes that maybe one click out of several hundred would turn out half decent.

In high school I began messing around with disposable and old 35mm cameras I would find at thrift stores and garage sales. My mother gave me an old Polaroid she had, and instantly I was in love. Polaroids have a strange way of igniting a feeling of nostalgia that's difficult to achieve with any of medium. People, much like Polaroids, are flawed, and the two work together to create an image that is both familiar and relateable. In order to present a different view of Denver's music world, we'll publish a series of profiles accompanied by Polaroids here on Backbeat.

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Photos: Free Blunts, the Happiest Snoop Dogg and All the Weed at the Gypsy Jane Carnival

Categories: Photos

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Eric Gruneisen
This is real life, Snoop. Welcome (back) to Colorado.
The Gypsy Jane Cannabis Carnival brought two remarkably solid days of music to the Denver Mart over the weekend. Saturday was particularly good for fans of classic hip-hop, with sets from E-40, Too Short, Warren G and your headliner, Snoop Dogg.

Snoop has spent plenty of time in Colorado since marijuana became legal for recreational use on January 1. It's still a safe assessment that he hasn't seen anything like Gypsy Jane before, because of the pervasiveness of scenes like the one that leads this post. We truly are the new frontier, people. Photographer Eric Gruneisen was there to bring you several more photos that would have seemed impossible two years ago.

See also: Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa at Red Rocks on Colorado's First Legal 4/20

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Photos: Itchy-O 's Bonkers Album Release Show at 3 Kings

Categories: Photos

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Eric Gruneisen
Itchy-O is a band that defies explanation: It's a massive, noise-making horde of masked weirdos, an ecstatic jumble of influence and culture and myth. The Denver-based mobile unit is celebrating the release of its first full-length album, Burn the Navigator, on Alternative Tentacles. It headlined a show over the weekend at 3 Kings Tavern, selling out the place way ahead of time. Our photographer, Eric Gruneisen, did his best to capture the madness -- a few of his best shots are below.

See also: Itchy-O Plots World Domination With Jello Biafra

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Photos: AFI Played the Best Opening Set of the Summer

Categories: Photos

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Aaron Thackeray
Yesterday, Linkin Park headlined Fiddler's Green Amphitheater. That band has aged surprisingly well, as rap-rock goes, but it brought a mighty opener in AFI. No one's following that band and coming out looking good.

Photographer Aaron Thackeray, however, was able to capture some incredible shots of AFI, particularly front man Davey Havok. Here are a few highlights.

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Photos: Fans at the First Phish Show With Legal Weed

Categories: Photos

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Eric Gruneisen
Hey, weed is legal in Colorado for all fun-loving adults! Phish is a band best understood while the listener is in a state of mind unlike the one required to do things like pay taxes and wear slacks. This year's three-night stand by the Vermont band at Dick's Sporting Goods Park represents the confluence of those two facts, and the crowds were in a celebratory mood. Photographer Eric Gruneisen was on hand to capture a few people who had a better weekend than we did, whether they were high on our state's newest recreational activity or just thanks to the music. Here are some of the people we admire most.

See also: The Ten Best Light Shows in Rock and Roll

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Photos: Meet Denver's Friendly Metalheads

Categories: Photos

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Aaron Thackeray
Denver Black Sky II brought a true believer's lineup of hardcore and metal to the Gothic Theater over the weekend.

The crowd found the proceedings deeply satisfying -- on Saturday night, Englewood was home to more broadly grinning people in pointy-font t-shirts than anywhere else on the planet. Photographer Aaron Thackeray was there to capture the horns, the birds and the kindly folks of Denver's serious metal scene.

See also: Culture Shock's Geoff Diederich on Straight-Edge and Why Denver Can Be Boring

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Photos: The disappearing shirt crisis deepens at HARD Red Rocks (NSFW)

Categories: Photos

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Aaron Thackeray
HARD is an organization that brings skyrocketing DJs in sunglasses and aggressively patterned shirts to venues and boats around the country. Last night, the Red Rocks installment (HARD: Red Rocks, duh) brought headliners Nero and Dillion Francis along with a few more artists and several thousand people who are, in fact, hard to our favorite quiet little park along the front range. Remember a couple weeks ago, when we brought you dire news from said park about an attack on the shirts of America's helpless youth? GUESS WHAT? IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

It is our solemn duty to bring you documentation in the form of more photos from the steady lens of Aaron Thackeray, along with increasingly hysterical reports from the scene. I'm deeply sorry.

See also: The great disappearing shirt crisis of Global Dance Festival 2014

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Photos: The great disappearing shirt crisis of Global Dance Festival 2014

Categories: Photos

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Aaron Thackeray
Global Dance Festival -- by some metrics the largest EDM festival in the region -- brought a typically powerhouse lineup of bass purveyors to Red Rocks over the weekend. Over three days, thousands of fans flocked to the park for sets by the likes of Adventure Club, Zedd and Waka Flocka Flame (GDF has recently been experimenting with new genres). By all accounts, it was a solid progression for a music festival a decade-plus in existence.

But we regret to inform you that tragedy dampened the otherwise-upbeat mood on the event's first night. Suddenly, without warning, huge numbers of attendees found their shirts shrinking and even disappearing. Some tried to make do with makeshift replacements -- the effect seemed lessened for costumes and reflective materials. Veteran photographer Aaron Thackeary did not flinch, and we are able to bring you this report from Backbeat's reporters, supplemented by his photographs. A word of caution: This account contains images that may be upsetting to some of our readers, particularly the parents of teenage girls and office managers seeing this over the shoulders of their employees.

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Photos: The world's largest marijuana pipe, at the Umphrey's McGee tailgate at Red Rocks

Categories: Photos

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Eric Gruneisen
OK, so there has been somewhat more weed smoked in the vicinity of Red Rocks this season. Not inside, mind you. That would still be illegal and no one's breaking that law -- never have.

But the parking lot is a different story. And we have seen some impressive displays of plant life this season. All that was amateur hour, which we learned over the weekend when Umphrey's McGee came to town. Let it be known that fans of that band take their pot very seriously. The pièce de résistance (sorry, sorry) was certainly this here pipe, which seems like it would be a challenge to even hold up, especially after taking a hit of the massive fistful of drugs within. Here's another view:

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