I've never been sober at a concert before this summer. Here's how it's going.

Categories: Reviews

Eric Gruneisen
Ed. We got a dispatch from this weekend's Bassnectar show by a young writer and music lover who is just over three months sober. We've chosen to leave her name off of it because the Internet never forgets anything. She is experiencing her first summer in the concert playground of Colorado without booze. Note that none of the people in the photos is the author. Enjoy her perspective!

For the last four years, my weekends have been filled with electronic shows everywhere from small Fort Collins venues to 1STBANK Center ragers and out-of-state festivals. And my only memories are pictures on my phone.

This past weekend, 10,000 scandalous rave outfits, hippie skirts and "basshead" T-shirts filed into the rows at Red Rocks for Bassnectar's annual party. I'd been here before. But this show was different. I didn't puke in the parking lot.

My love for music is rooted in childhood piano lessons and dance classes. But when drinking became my favorite pasttime in my late teens, going to concerts turned into a dangerous binge.

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tUnE-yArDs has lost its novelty, but Merrill Garbus still had her moments in Denver


The first time I saw tUnE-yArDs, the avant-pop project of Merrill Garbus, was in 2011 at Fun Fun Fun Fest. She was dressed as if she had fallen in a trunk of costumes with a painted face and was pounding on a taped-up ukulele while creating intricate loops on top of her now-signature yelp and flow. Behind her were two shirtless guys, one on bass, one on sax, rocking neon green body paint and dancing like it was the last time they ever would. After two days and dozens of bands, it was safe to say I was hard to impress, but as the crowd jumped and screamed to "Gangsta" I knew I was witnessing a wholly new moment in pop music. An oasis of novel expression in the desert of borrowed guitar riffs and overplayed drum beats that filled the festival's stages.

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A reminder of why you should go to local shows, courtesy of You, Me and Apollo

Categories: Photos, Reviews

Isa Jones
It's close to midnight on Friday night, and the crowd at the Bluebird is enraptured by the singer on stage. There's something of Buddy Holly in him, and he's tearing through a cover of "Valerie" that would make Amy Winehouse proud. The singer is Brent Cowles, here for the CD-release party for the band he fronts, You, Me and Apollo.

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I broke up with Chris Carrabba last night while he smiled and led singalongs

We've had some good times, Chris Carrabba. It wasn't pretty, but I fell pretty hard for Dashboard Confessional. But that was a long time ago. This is where I say I've had enough, Chris. It's over. I hoped it wouldn't be. But after that show last night at the Bluebird, I know we have to go our separate ways. A breakup with you should be dramatic, full of screaming infidelities and sobbing dramatics. But that's not what this is. This is an adult breakup, where we see each other and mutually decide we have nothing in common anymore.

You used to be about the drama. I miss the drama.

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Gogol Bordello uses its Ukrainian roots to put on a near-perfect live show

Mary Bell for Phoenix New Times. Full slideshow.

Eastern Europe has a long tradition of communal music. It's about the culture, history, experience bringing people together in a moment through music. By contrast, much of American music is about the spectacle. It's Gene Simmons with his tongue out next to a a jet of flames. A Gogol Bordello show is both, which makes sense -- the band is fronted by Eugene Hütz, who was born in Ukraine who helped form the group while they were living in New York. He and his bandmates showed that mixture and the brilliant result at their Ogden show last night.

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According to the Summit Music Conference, Denver is ready for a hip-hop breakthrough


Over the weekend, the Summit Music Conference and Showcase took over Casselman's for a day. A panel consisting of people with ties to Sirius/XM Radio, Warner Music, Atlantic Records and more discussed ways artists in Denver can help the hip-hop scene ascend to new heights. There are those in Denver who see the path to success leading them out of the Mile High, but the panel at the Summit Music Conference Saturday had a very different perception. Panelist Amber Ravenel put in place the following theme for the day: "It starts at home."More »

The Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo is a music fan's paradise

Ken Hamblin
Hidden down in a convention hall of a nondescript hotel off the highway north of Denver was a record lover's paradise this weekend: the Denver Record Collectors Spring Expo.

At the convention hall all day Sunday were dozens of vendors, each selling thousands of records, CDs and more. This wasn't just a place to stop by and grab another copy of Sgt. Peppers you lost in that last move -- there were 45s from the 1950s, a sealed Lenny Bruce record, the Ben Hur soundtrack on CD, a VHS copy of High Fidelity next to an old book on the Clash, racks of Paul McCartney and Velvet Underground shirts, posters from Modest Mouse's last show in Broomfield, and more from enthusiastic vendors ready to sell to equally enthusiastic buyers.

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Why California's Snow Tha Product thinks of Denver as a second home

Categories: Reviews

Snow signs a hat. Photo by Antonio Valenzuela
A full crowd, mostly comprising young women, pilled into Cervantes' last night to support their new idol: Snow tha Product. The buzz the rapper has generated in a short time was evident: The energy at the sold-out show was vibrant. Many people have identified with the rising star, who raps from a perspective of defiance for those who have doubted her, and with a warming embrace for those who support her.

Originally scheduled to be at the smaller Roxy Theater a block away, Snow filled Cervantes' with people and energy unlike any hip-hop show in recent memory. The crowd was packed with hundreds of young Latinas doing their best impression of the hot young star. And she returned the love, saying, "Denver is the first city I ever sold out a show -- it has just gone so far beyond that now."

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Review: Black Joe Lewis at Bluebird, 11/25/13

Categories: Reviews

Leslie Simon

Last night's Black Joe Lewis show at Bluebird showed that the garage heavy sound all over the band's latest release, Electric Slave, sounds incredible live and has really rejuvenated old hits. Now that the group has dropped "and the Honeybears" from its moniker, there is a little more focus on Joe Lewis himself, namely his Hendrix-like guitar skills and antics, and that insanely gorgeous distorted tone that he obtains sound checking his own guitar before the crowd.

See also: Black Joe Lewis: "I always just figured I'd play the type of music I enjoy listening to."

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Live Review: Talib Kweli at Cervantes' Masterpiece, with Big K.R.I.T., 10/27/13

Categories: Reviews

Antonio Valenzuela

Last night, Cervantes' hosted one of the more interesting pairings in recent memory. The bill featured Talib Kweli, a New York native often lumped in the conscious rap category, and Big K.R.I.T. a Southern Rapper with a huge underground following and more street appeal. Oddly, as much as Big K.R.I.T.'s pronounced drawl recalls Pimp C, it was Kweli who took the time out to dedicate a track to the fallen UGK member. The show was a wonderful contrast of styles and blending of crowds with both acts delivering commanding sets.

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