Last Saturday, with an incredible amount of anticipation, I made my way to City Hall to see a show I felt incredibly lucky to have in my town. It was a show that boasted a legendary lineup; a veteran DJ and two national names that have been highly influential to the underground hip-hop scene. It started off like I expected, and as the show went on the crowd grew hungrier and my excitement continued to build, but somewhere along the way expectations and reality did not meet. In fact, they veered off in opposite directions like two magnets of the same polarity. I'm not exactly sure why it happened or if it was an anomaly, but I will recount what I saw happen.

DJ Mu$a

The show began with an opening set from veteran local DJ Mu$a. When he took the stage, he immediately found a groove and began stringing together a crowd pleasing mix that drew the audience to the dance floor. DJ Mu$a is very versatile, and on this night he chose to keep a steady mix of experimental/atmospheric beats and hip-hop to ready the crowd as they filtered into the venue. There was a long line of people waiting to get inside the show that night, so the relaxed demeanor of DJ Mu$a's early set kept the peace and readied everyone's ears until the majority of the crowd made it inside.

DJ Mu$a

Once the line to get inside died down and the majority of concertgoers were on the dance floor, DJ Mu$a began to pick up the intensity. DJ Mu$a took the crowd from having a few hands in the air and a bit gentle head-nodding to complete body movement but mixing in harder hip-hop beats. Towards the end of his set, he went on a J Dilla rampage, mixing together beats from the late renowned hip-hop producer to the crowd's satisfaction. It definitely got the crowd thinking of what was to come, as they were there to witness another producer likely drop his beats in a similar fashion. I liked DJ Mu$a's mixing style, on this particular night he chose a more straightforward approach than the intricacies I heard on some of his mixtapes, but it was exactly what the crowd was looking for and needed.

J. Rocc

The next set came from J. Rocc, a veteran turntabilist and DJ that has been at his craft for about two decades.  J. Rocc took a different approach than the set before him, J. Rocc's set was high-energy from the get go and never really let up until his time was done - and it really amped up the crowd. J. Rocc demonstrated the skill set of an expert DJ and turntabilist. He kept the intensity high by dropping classic break after classic break quickly, and diligently. He combined old reggae, funk, jazz and soul - many old songs that have been sampled into hip-hop songs - with hip-hop essentials, pretty much taking the entire venue to school with a comprehensive mix.

He put together his mix seamlessly, doing beat mixing, cutting, scratching, and beat juggling do give his own personal touch to the set. The crowd was absolutely hooked to what J. Rocc was doing, as he was skillfully putting together a best of hip-hop mixtape, including classics from Biz Markie, Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas and many, many more live in front of the audience's eyes. His set went for quite some time, nearly ninety minutes, and although he was mixing hot fire, people started to hunger even more for the headlining set and began to grow a little impatient.

J. Rocc

J. Rocc was doing well, but for some reason it seemed like he was playing longer than he should - stalling if you will - and the audience began to pick up on that and grow antsy. It didn't help that for the latter half of J. Rocc's set, Madlib stood by on stage teasingly as if he could go on at any moment. J. Rocc's set, especially in retrospect, was amazing and probably exactly what concertgoers expected to hear at the show. J. Rocc definitely lived up to his reputation as a skilled tunrtabilist DJ, but people wanted a set from the legend they came to see.


Suddenly and strangely, J. Rocc's set abruptly ended as if his equipment malfunctioned, and he announced to the crowd, "That's my cue. Are you ready for Madlib?". The crowd was more than ready, as evidenced by the eruption of cheers from the audience as Madlib approached the decks. At first, everything seemed to be going smoothly. Madlib dropped one of his characteristically styled beats with a rap track over it for about a minute, but then, instead of a transition to something else, there was an abrupt stop and some confusion on stage. A City Hall staff member was quickly up on stage tinkering with the mixer to make sure Madlib's fader was set to reverse like he wanted.

Another song began to play as they figured out the problem, and then it seemed like everything was ready to go. Madlib dropped another beat but just let it ride as he mumbled something incomprehensible over the microphone. After about a minute of that, the music would stutter in and out as Madlib randomly toggled the volume up and down by flipping the fader on his mixer - but it wasn't really rhythmically or in any fashion that sounded good or made any sense. Then, instead of mixing into another song or beat, the music would just stop, hands would shuffle on stage, and someone in Madlib's crew would break the silence by trying to hype up the crowd.


Now don't get me wrong, I have incredible respect for Madlib. The music he's produced over the past two decades has been groundbreaking. His unique style of production has inspired and supported a staggering list of underground hip-hop artists over the years. His constant search for new sound has lead him to continually push the boundaries of what hip-hop is and what it can be. His albums, beat tapes and mixtapes are always solid, no matter how exploratory he can get with his influences of sound. But what Madlib was doing on stage this particular night was not at all what I expected and nothing that was really representative of the Madlib sound.


Madlib's hype men would break the period silence with random ramblings to try to incite excitement from the now confused crowd. The problem was, the crowd needed more than songs that were not mixed together. The crowd needed more than random volume fader flipping. The crowd needed more than incomprehensible ramblings. The crowd needed more than nonsensical loops and stop-starts. The crowd needed Madlib to do more than come out on stage, randomly insert CDs, and string together the absolute opposite of a mixed set. It was like trying to read a newspaper that was run through a confetti cut paper shredder - I'm sure there was good content in there, but you could only get small pieces and snippets at a time, and never enough to put anything cohesive together.

The crowd tried to bear the set as much as they could, but as it lingered on and never improved, there was a steady flow of people to the exit doors. Within about a half hour into his set, Madlib had already cleared a substantial portion of the room, and by the end of the night, there were probably fewer than fifty people there in a place that at one point could have had close to a thousand. I stayed hoping that eventually what was happening would change into something more along the lines of what I expected, but it never happened.


I was expecting at the very least a fluid DJ set mixing together Madlib's beats, originals and remixes. Before the show, I had hoped Madlib would work on an MPC/sample controller or perhaps keyboards while J. Rocc laid down cuts and scratches on the turntables. He didn't exhibit any of the multi-instrumentalism he is known for with projects like Yesterday's New Quintet. He didn't exhibit any of his sample mastery that he shows through his work as Beat Konducta. He didn't really exhibit anything beyond what a complete novice behind turntables and a mixer could do. In fact, at one point there was an iPhone plugged into the mixer while J. Rocc scrolled through beats. Beats would play off seemingly at random while Madlib just turn the volume on and off.


I've heard about Madlib shows before, but I never heard anything described like what I saw. Was this a one time deal? I don't know. Is this what the Medicine Show Live is all about? I hope not. Was there something preventing Madlib from being himself that night? Maybe. Was it some sort of experimental approach I just don't understand? That could be it, but then everybody that left probably didn't understand it either. Maybe it was the altitude. Maybe it was the copious amounts of wine.

Whatever the excuses were, the fact that it was so haphazard leads me to believe the show just wasn't taken seriously. By the end, I couldn't help but feel I took part in some twisted social experiment - like some variation of the Emperor's New Clothes, as if Emperor Madlib was naked on stage and he wanted to see how many people would pretend to see otherwise based on the legend. I hope that wasn't the case, but that thought did cross my mind as the night dragged on. If what I described sounds appealing to you, you may want to check out a Madlib show, although I can't say that it is what he always does. I still have a lot of respect for Madlib - as a producer. Beyond that, I can't say for certain, but based on the head-scratching performance I saw with the rare chance I got to see him live, I think I'll just stick to his records.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.
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It's another landmark night for the Denver dance music scene, as another brand new party is making its debut. Beauty Bar will be hosting TheHundred Denver's inaugural show, a brand new monthly dance party with a very unique driving concept. TheHundred Denver is unique, as it is a monthly dance party that books artists based on input from its attendees. A select group of one hundred people that share a common interest and love for music will join heads to decide who to bring to town, with the ultimate goal of bringing large acts to intimate venues with affordable ticket prices so music lovers can enjoy a party with their friends that they in part have created. Tonight, Denver gets a taste of what the party is about, an as an introductory offer, entrance to tonight's event is completely free.

TheHundred shows will always rotate local support, but for the first show, there will be three pretty well known local names opening up the night. TheHundred creator and Lipgloss resident DJ option4 will lay down a set, joined by DJs Mike Dee(z) Nuts and Peter Black. The theme tonight is house music, so expect to hear smooth house characteristic of option4's style. Usually, I see Mike Dee(z) throwing down electro but he's shown some versatility as well and I expect him to mix a good house set. Peter Black prefers more experimental and obscure dance music styles, but tonight he'll be in rare form dropping house tracks to fit the theme.

The three local DJs will be setting the stage for the very first TheHundred show headliner, Damon Allen. Damon Allen is a DJ and producer from Houston. Damon Allen takes the feel of house and injects heavy bass music, UK funky, dubstep, tropical, drum and bass and 2-step into his mixes that sets him apart. He should keep the dance floor moving with his eclectic mixing style. Check out "Stratus".
STRATUS by damonallen

The Beauty Bar doors open at 9:00PM and the music starts at 10:00PM. The show is 21+ and for the very first night only, this TheHundred party is completely free. Come check out what this new party is all about.
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I've mentioned before that I like checking out shows at Cervantes' because the venue is always hosting a wide variety of music styles. Tonight, I find myself heading back to the Other Side to view music from genres not often featured elsewhere. Cervantes' Other Side will host three bands - one national and two local - that perform ska and funk; high-energy musical entertainment. Tonight is unique, because the headlining band will also screen their new documentary and will host a question and answer session as well. If you are a fan of Fishbone, this will be a rare opportunity to get to know the band better than just in a concert setting alone.

Fishbone was formed in Los Angeles in 1979. Over the past three decades, they have established themselves as a very unique and eclectic musical force that fuses together ska, punk, funk, hard rock and soul. Over the years they have had many lineup changes but presently perform as a seven-piece band. Two of the original members, John Norwood Fisher and Angelo Moore are still with the band, and the current iteration also includes past Suicidal Tendencies lead guitarist Rocky George. Fishbone is known to deliver high-energy shows laced with both humor and social commentary, and they will be performing selections from their new album Crazy Glue. Check out "Party With Saddam" from Live In Bordeaux.
Party With Saddam by FishboneMusic

The Dendrites is a local ska band that brings back the excitement, energy and sound of vintage instrumental ska. Most of their songs are upbeat and uptempo ska songs that get people skankin' like crazy, but they also mix in a little reggae and dub as well. They create their authentic sound using a large band, with nearly a dozen band members on stage playing a mix of instruments; guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, trumpet, trombone, and saxophones. Check out the music on their BandCamp page.

Bop Skizzum is a local funk-rock band also known for very high-energy live performances. They combine elements of funk, pop and punk rock to make music that is incredibly infectious and fun to listen to. Tonight they will be debuting a new lead singer, Julie Almeria. I'll be able to see how the new lineup compares to before - hopefully the new singer can meet or exceed the presence and quality of past singer Erin Jo Harris. I do know the rest of the band is very solid, so I expect it to be a great show. Check out "Punk", it'll give you an idea of their sound but this recording features the old singer.
PUSH by Bop Skizzum

The doors open at 7:00PM at Cervantes' Other Side. The documentary begins at 7:30PM, followed by a Q&A session, then the night of music begins. The show is all ages, and tickets are $20.
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I've been to Lipgloss many times before but I've never blogged about it and I haven't been there on a night where they had a special guest DJ. Every time I'd go there I was always treated to a major dance party - a good mix of both music and people to create the perfect party atmosphere. Friday night, that's exactly what I found, a party that continued to grow in energy and intensity and an ever-so-packed dance floor all the way up to closing time. For a fan of dance, that is the recipe for perfection.


As the night began, resident DJs boyhollow and option4 rotated sets on the decks. Each DJ played about a half hour long 'shift' leading up to the guest DJ spot, which meant each DJ played about three sets each. It was a rotation format I don't often see, but it was a very good concept that allowed both resident DJs to build up the crowd energy throughout the night rather than each DJ just being one-and-done. Also, it helped keep a good mix of music throughout the night.


The Lipgloss DJs boyhollow and option4 had different musical personalities; boyhollow tended to prefer mixing hard electro, dubstep, and rock while option4 tended to prefer smoother house and disco. Their contrasting styles did well to keep people continuously on the dance floor, as the constant variety meant the music never got redundant or tiresome. It also meant nobody missed out on a particular style of music, meaning fans of a particular style could get multiple doses of it throughout the night. It truly was the best way to run the DJ booth, and by the time the guest DJ was behind the decks, the floor was packed full of dancers ready to get down.

Le Castle Vania

Le Castle Vania was the special guest DJ Friday night, a DJ and producer from Atlanta. Using two turntables and a mixer, Le Castle Vania played out a set of his original songs and remixes. Le Castle Vania is all about bass heavy and distorted-synth electro - the kind of uptempo dance fare that gets crowds into a sweaty rage, which is exactly what ensued on the Lipgloss dance floor. All throughout his set people on the dance floor had their feet shuffling, arms swinging, and heads banging in controlled chaos to the beat of Le Castle Vania's music.

Le Castle Vania

For some of his set, Le Castle Vania dropped his hard and heavy original tunes, but for this night, Le Castle Vania's remix work was king. He added the extra hard electro kick to a number of songs across many genres, somehow getting them all to flow together in a melt-your-face-off flowing dance set. He played standout remixes of songs like Daft Punk's "Robot Rock", Muse's "Knights of Cydonia", Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You", The Prodigy's "Invaders Must Die", La Roux's "In For The Kill", and Kaskade's "Turn It Down". Even Smashing Pumpkins got a little love with Le Castle Vania's "Zero Machine". Fans of hard electro should check out Le Castle Vania's style - he spins electro like a rock star.


After Le Castle Vania's set, boyhollow went back to the DJ booth to do his closing duties. For the last set of the night, boyhollow dropped his hardest bangers but also mixed in rock favorites. Once the crowd had nearly danced themselves out, boyhollow started mix in songs like Nirvana's "Lithium", The Cure's "Lovesong", Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight" and The Ramone's "Beat On The Brat", getting the crowd to wear out their vocal chords as much as they'd been wearing out their legs. It was the sort of party you wouldn't want to end, and boyhollow took it all the way up to closing time. An any given Friday night, you can expect a wild dance party at Lipgloss. The resident DJs know how to hold it down, and if there is a special guest DJ, watch out - the party will go to a whole new level.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.
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Last Wednesday, I went to see a show featuring psychedelic rock known for its ability to set the scene. Cervantes' Other Side hosted four bands with music so atmospheric at times I felt like I was on the set a movie rather than the heart of Five Points. The venue itself was a good setting on its own, but coupled with these bands' western rock style it gave the place a new aura entirely. For those in the know, it was a night of rock that inspired the imagination by taking the audience on a journey through psychedelic sound.

Dark Seas

The journey began when Salt Lake City band Dark Seas took the stage. Dark Seas performed as a five-piece band; Kyle Wilcox on vocals, Diego Mijares on guitar, Rhett Hansen on drums, Irvin Martinez on bass, and a fifth touring member who also played guitar. They got the night started with their blend of western/surf rock injected with psychedelia, as if the band too much time soaking in the mystique of the Utah badlands. Dressed in a trench coat and hat, lead singer Kyle Wilcox delivered dark-tinged vocals in a scruffy, low register over the mid-tempo cymbal heavy rhythms and twangy guitars that made-up the band's instrumental footprint, almost giving the band the feel of twisted psychedelic blues. They did well to start the show and introduce the crowd to the psych-rock sound. They are worth checking out and will have an EP released soon.

Max Pain & The Groovies

Next up was fellow Salt Lake City psych-rockers Max Pain & The Groovies. Max Pain & The Groovies also used a five member setup; David on vocals, Jake on bass, Dallin on guitar, Shane on guitar, and Tcoy on drums. This experimental group took the spirit of rock 'n' roll and put it in the oven, regularly basting that sound with juices of near sludge-like psychedelic rock. The vocals were delivered with a careful balance of force and dark mood that gave the music a garage rock feel with a more trippy and spaced out attitude. The end product was psychedelia with a kick - music that will daze you as much as it will get you dancing. Their live set craftily increased its intensity until it peaked with full rock force at the end. This band is indeed groovy, but with an added layer of punkish awesome.

Colfax Speed Queen

Local heroes Colfax Speed Queen went up on stage next. This four-piece band had Rob Halgren on keyboard, Matt Loui on vocals/guitar, Reed McKinny on drums and Gabriel Tafoya on bass. Together, this band created good ol' fashioned garage rock 'n' roll with impeccable authenticity. The bass, guitar and drum combo have the vintage feel of sixties punk garage while the addition of keyboard adds an extra layer to the sound. The organ tone of the keyboard adds the element of quirky psychedelia to the sound, setting the overall sound apart from just straight garage rock.

Colfax Speed Queen

Colfax Speed Queen's stage presence is centered around lead singer Matt Loui. He doesn't just stand up on stage and spit out vocals as he plays guitar - the music exudes from his pores as he moves about the stage like a true rock star. That energy transfers to the rest of the band and in turn, to the crowd, enhancing the live experience. "In Your Blood" and "My Nemesis Me" stood out, as those songs' uptempo pace and psychedelic keyboard created a very poignant yet atmospheric sound. "Fiends In The Night" was my favorite song of the set - short but intense with a catchy riff that grabs a hold of the listener and never lets go. Fans of rock 'n' roll should not hesitate to check out a Colfax Speed Queen show - they will bring it.


Finally it was time for the main attraction on this psychedelic musical ride - Spindrift. Spindrift also performed as a five-piece; Kirpatrick Thomas on guitar/vocals, Henry Evans on bass/baritone guitar, James Acton on drums/autoharp, Sasha Vallely on keyboards/vocals/flute, and Lucas Dawson on pedal steel/guitar. Those were the musical ingredients they needed to produce their psychedelic spaghetti western sound.


Kirkpatrick Thomas guitar had that familiar western twang, and he was no slouch on the fret board when it came to faster paced songs. He also sang in an impressive falsetto voice at times. Henry Evans had a double-necked guitar, switching from baritone guitar or bass depending on the situation. James Acton mostly held down a steady rhythm with the drum set, but added atmosphere on occasion with the autoharp. Sasha Valley's keyboard work added a deeper psychedelic layer to the sound, her vocals added a seductive element to the music, and her flute work definitely seemed surreal every time it emerged. Lucas Dawson was great on guitar, but was most impressive on the pedal steel, making some of the most psychedelic sounds I've ever heard created in a live environment.


Spindrift played an exhilarating set that transformed the Cervantes' Other Side venue into a place in the wild west. Their whole set was wrapped around the psychedelic aspect of their music, and they used that mood to drive both fast and slow paced western style songs. From the very first song that included the "Japexico" flute intro, they had grasped a hold of the crowd. They played on a dimly lit stage with a projection screen behind them. The projection screen added more out-of-this world ambiance to the performance with its vivid trance-inducing colors, and the stage production was enhanced by green slow moving laser lights that speckled the band like stars.


Songs like "Hellbound" and "Theme From Ghost Patrol" instantly evoked the feeling of the wild west. As the songs were performed I half expected cowboys to burst into the room with six-shooters out of their holsters. As much as I loved the fast paced country-western style songs, my favorite had to be when they performed the succession of songs; "Speak To The Wind", "Space Vixens" and the epic "Theme From Drifter's Pass". For these songs, the psychedelia was turned to the absolute maximum - slow and entrancing but captivating with an immense forceful feeling. "Theme From Drifter's Pass" was ten minutes of sheer psych-rock bliss. "Indian Run" was incredible with the added instrumental breakdown, including a blistering guitar solo from Kirkpatrick Thomas. "Showdown" was the perfect way to end the set, sending off the crowd to music as if there had just been a standoff between a hero and villain - without a glittery happy ending of course.


Spindrift was an amazing experience. It may not be music that frequents my rotation, and it may not be music that typically gets a lot of attention, especially since it usually finds its place in the background of films, but seeing it performed live was a wondrous experience in itself. It turned out there is a lot of talent involved in creating this particular sound, and once you see it live, its hard not to get caught up in the moment. If you are a fan of psych-rock, Spindrift is the real deal.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.
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The way Tuesday night's show at the Ogden Theater was covered was definitely a first for this blog. It's not typical do selective coverage on a show, but I really only went to check out a particular band who happened to not be the opener this time around. Of course, that meant I had limited press credentials, so if your wondering why the headliner is absent from this review, it is because I wasn't able to cover them. So although I wasn't able to cover The Dirty Heads, I was still able to cover the first two bands and that two-thirds of the show went very well.

Apex Vibe

I went into the show expecting to cover two bands and I still left the show covering two bands; one just happened to be unexpected. As a last minute addition, local reggae rock band Apex Vibe was called in to open up the show. Apex Vibe is Tim Sanchez on lead vocals/guitar, Derek Barnard on lead guitar, Sam Caudill on keyboards/vocals, Tim Davis on bass/vocals and Dubs on Drums. With the steady foundation of reggae and dub, Apex Vibe fused elements of rock and funk into a laid back yet lively sound that could easily come from the west coast.

Apex Vibe

Apex Vibe exhibited their songwriting craft with songs off their album Elevate like "Rockaway" and "In The Moment" - songs that crafted smooth 311-like vocals with crisp instrumentation reminiscent of Sublime. They quickly got the crowd into a groove, setting the mood right for what was to come later. Being a last minute addition, they were mostly unknown to the crowd, so they cleverly performed some cover songs to endear them to the audience. Their spot-on covers of Pepper's "Stone Love" and The Expendables' "Bowl For Two" got the crowd engaged and singing along. They had good presence and energy and transitioned smooth from song to song. If you are a fan of reggae rock, Apex Vibe definitely represents that sound.


Next up was the band I was waiting to see, Wallpaper. Wallpaper. performed as a four-piece band; frontman Ricky Reed handled the vocals and occasional guitar, with backup singer Novena and not one, but two live drummers. Together they performed a satirical form of party pop music, complete with loud and heavy beats, catchy hooks and plenty of swagger but paired with tongue-in-cheek lyricism. It was one of the most multi-leveled performances I've ever witnessed, as the whole crowd was enjoying the show, but for conflicting yet unified reasons.


I'll admit, if I didn't know about Wallpaper. beforehand, I'm not sure if I would have been able to catch all that they were about right away. That's because the lyrics to Wallpaper.'s songs are so key, but especially in the live setting, lyrics aren't usually what I immediately focus on. Instead I usually try to evaluate the overall sound, with much focus on the instrumentation. I found pop to be a good vessel for Wallpaper's message. The simple song structures and catchy choruses helped bring the lyrics to the forefront. Although I knew to listen for the words, those who normally would miss them would have a hard time not catching them based just on the way Wallpaper.'s songs are structured.


With that in mind, Wallpaper. began their set with the song "Shotgun", a pool party song with a catchy auto-tune melody and club beat with an open-ended message about drinking about alcohol. It can be interpreted different ways, but I look at it as poking fun at day-party culture. That continued to be the theme - multi-leveled hilarious songs with deep meanings wrapped around production that would be instantly pleasing to the habitual top 40 listener. That meant the crowd was having fun because they enjoyed the deeper meanings, the way the music sounded, or both.


Not only was it enjoyable to hear Wallpaper.'s well-written parodical songs, the band was an absolute joy to watch as well. The two drummers served a purpose greater than just adding the layered drum sound heard in a lot of modern pop music, they added an extra visual dynamic. When they weren't pounding kicks and snares in perfect sequence they flailing their sticks in the are or jumping around with enthusiasm with contagious wide smiles. Ricky Reed and Novena would do synchronized dance routines with a playful whimsical quality to them - well executed but not the serious over-choreographed fare that seems to be all the rage.


Wallpaper. did a good job of performing mostly in character, as in they portrayed their satirized image and absurd song content very well live. But they did it in such a way you could almost imagine their tongues protruding out the sides of their faces because in reality that isn't what they are about. Still, there is a careful balance that Wallpaper. has, as they realize that despite the absurdity of their message, there is indeed a thick layer of truth behind their songs of excess, so despite the deep levels they are trying to expose, I would think they are happy if people enjoy their music on any level. In fact, Ricky Reed of wallpaper pretty much said that in the interview I conducted before the show.


I think on any level, Wallpaper. is an amazing live experience. If you are a fan of pop music, Wallpaper.'s cunning production skill is magnetizing. Whether or not you will see or appreciate any of the deeper levels of Wallpaper.'s music, the overall sound itself is very palatable. If you are not a fan of pop music, you just may enjoy Wallpaper. because it is anti-pop in disguise. Watching some of the irony go down at the Wallpaper. show was some of the most fun my cynical side has had in a while. Give some Wallpaper. songs a good listen, because I'm sure one way or the other, it'll put a smile on your face.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo gallery. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.

Wallpaper. Set List
Ogden Theater 11/08/11
Change The World
Gettin' Drip
2 Pair A Shades
T Rex
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It's time for another night of indie pop - that broad term that gets listeners in the right direction but can really lead to a number of different sounds. The Bluebird Theater will be hosting a couple national and one local indie pop act, making for a night of music that should be energetic, fun and appealing while maintaining a balance between a familiar sound and something that's hard to really place a finger on. Offering a mix of a long established band, an up and coming band and new local band, tonight's show should be a great indie pop showcase.

Mates of State is a husband-and-wife indie pop duo originating from Lawrence, KS. The two had been members of a four-piece band in the late nineties, but decided to become a duo in the early 2000s. Kori Gardner handles the lead vocals and keyboards while Jason Hammel handles the drums and backing vocals. Somehow, they create a full band sound with just the two main instruments, crafting catchy indie pop songs that sound as if they could be made from a band of four or five people. They make a modern pop sound with a slight touch of 80s pop-rock sensibilities that has kept the band going for several albums, including their newly released Mountaintops. Check out "Unless I'm Led" and "Maracas".
Mates Of State Unless I'm Led by Fishy Tunes dot net
Mates of State "Maracas" by Barsuk Records

Generationals is an indie pop/rock duo from New Orleans, LA. Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer share the svocal and guitar duties of the band. Their recordings feature a drum machine, but they may have an accompanying live drummer for their shows - it'll be interesting to see and hear. With these modest tools, they create indie pop songs that sound like a refreshed version of pop from the '50s or '60s - it has a vintage feel but is definitely vastly different from anything from that time. Check out "When They Fight, They Fight" and "Ten-Twenty-Ten".
When They Fight, They Fight - Generationals by christiandaniel
Generationals - "Ten-Twenty-Ten" by indiemusicfilter

Shaky Molars is a local six-piece indie pop group formed earlier this year. I haven't had a chance to check these guys out yet though they've been steadily been building buzz over the past few months. They have a pop  sound with a slight folk influences that seems to set them apart. For the longest time, they had a 'no recorded songs' stance, but that recently changed so now check out "Daniele Marie Miller".
Shaky Molars - Daniele Marie Miller by Concerted Effort

The Bluebird doors open at 7:00PM and showtime is at 8:00PM. The show is all ages and tickets are $18.
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If you've been a fan of underground hip-hop anytime in the last 18 years or so, tonight is a very special night. City Hall will be hosting a rare opportunity to catch extremely influential long time veterans of the indie hip-hop scene. As DJs, producers and emcees, these artists have been shaping the sound of indie hip-hop for nearly the last two decades through a staggering amount of solo and collaborative projects. One of Denver's most experienced DJs will also be lending his services tonight. How lucky is Denver to have this show? There will only be three shows on the whole tour. Three. And two of them are in California. If you can go, count your lucky stars.

Madlib has been a DJ, producer and emcee since 1993 and since then has become a staple for Stones Throw Records. He has been behind a ridiculous amount of projects, not only under the name Madlib but also Beat Konducta, Jazzistics, The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble, Quasimoto, Sound Directions, Yesterdays New Quintet, and twenty-two other names/groups. His abstract form of beat creation stems from his insatiable desire to dig up rare samples from very obscure vinyl, especially vinyl from around the world. He has produced albums for Dudley Perkins, Guilty Simpson, Lootpack, Percee P and more. He has even collaborated with the late J Dilla with Jaylib and MF Doom as Madvillain.

J. Rocc is a turntabilist style DJ who has been at his craft since 1992. He became a prominent figure in the underground hip-hop scene as part of the Beat Junkies. Since then J. Rocc has released a slew of mixtapes and lent his production skills to a heap of Stones Throw Records releases. He's also been the DJ for Madlib's live shows since the early 2000s, and that will be his role tonight.

The main event is the Madlib Medicine Show Live, a live presentation of the epic twelve volume collection of beat tapes and mixes that span Madlib's eclectic range of styles. The twelve volume series has a ridiculous amount of Madlib's original beats, hip-hop and jazz productions as well as his remixes and mixes of funk, soul, Brazilian, psych, jazz and other uncategorizable sounds from Madlib's work as Beat Konducta. The Madlib Medicine Show is twelve hours long, so it'll be very interesting to see how Madlib and J. Rocc will perform the music and which parts of the massive collection they will bring to life. Check out a couple selections from the Madlib Medicine Show below.
Madlib - Medicine Show #2 Flight to Brazil - Track 2 by M.Becerra
02 - Madlib - Ornette by zibalba1
Madlib Remix: AZ - Never Change by Rappcats

Denver's own DJ Mu$a will be opening up the show. Although originally from New Jersey, DJ Mu$a spent the formative years of his career in Denver, rising through the ranks through DJ battles and mixtape creation. His style is hip-hop based but influenced by a number of styles like funk and techno. His versatility has given him the opportunity to share the stage with artists from all over the spectrum, from Slick Rick, Pete Rock, Slum village and Talib Kweli to Afrika Bambaataa, Diplo and Glitch Mob. He should bring a very fresh yet diverse mix to the show tonight. Check out an excerpt from his mix My Robot Girlfriend.
02 Track 02 12 by DJMUSAWORLDWIDE

The City Hall doors open at 9:00PM. The show is 18+ and tickets are $20 (add $5 if you are under 21).
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I had the chance to meet the mastermind of the wild satirical party-pop group Wallpaper. - frontman Ricky Reed. Ricky Reed and his band members were lounging backstage waiting for their opening performance before The Dirty Heads at the Ogden Theater. Sitting coolly on a comfortable leather seat, he leaned back on his chair as he polished off a fresh banana, ensuring he'd be potassium-enriched enough to answer a slew of questions. After a brief, friendly introduction, it was time to get down to business.

Ricky Reed of Wallpaper.

Concerted Effort: The First time I heard your music I didn't get the satirical aspect of it I just heard what it sounded like and just thought, "oh great, more party music." It took me another listen before I realized what you were doing and now I think it's really awesome. Do you think most people understand your message right away while you are on tour or does it take a little bit for people to catch on?

Ricky Reed: I think when we're on the road people gravitate towards the immediately pleasing aspects of our records, and they will slowly dig into those deeper, darker, more special places. But satire or not, art or not, the main goal is to make people feel good and however way that they do feel good is fine with me.

CE: Pop music used to mean something but now it seems a little more diluted - a little more in the background...

RR: wallpaper...

CE: ...yeah like wallpaper. [That's the reasoning behind the band's name. They feel modern pop is meaningless and in the background, much like wallpaper in a room.] What do you think happened?

RR: Wow. I could do like a ten minute diatribe... It always comes in waves. Some of the worst bubble gum, light weight, meaningless, awful records were made in the late '50s and early '60s. So much terrible bubble gum doo-wop garbage from that era. In the late '70s it was Captain & Tennille, you know, that Lawrence Welk type shit. In the '80s some of those hair bands were terrible. And here we are now with our own version of this awful shit. There's always been great pop records and there's always been awful pop records. Right now we have our own brand of awful, but the problem is we don't have any superheros, and that's what we need.

CE: What are you doing to give your brand of pop music a little more substance?

RR: I don't know how to not imbue my music with substance. I would have to actively remove things from it. To do that I just spend time with it. I don't release the first thing I write. I don't write a lot of songs. I write just a few and the few that I do are special.

CE: If you could have a superpower what would it be?

RR: This is one I always had since I was little. When I was young I wanted to be a basketball player. If I had any superpower it would be to be able to make a basket from anywhere without looking or whatever. Because I thought that if I could do that then all of the money, the riches and the fame would be mine anyway and I'd be the illest basketball player of all time.

CE: What was your favorite subject in school?

RR: Probably P.E. - physical education, gym. Because I liked running around playing kickball and shit and talking to girls and just fucking digging life.

CE: "Safety Dance" or "Humpty Dance"?

RR: The "Humpty Dance". "Humpty Dance" is the fucking dance, dude. The "Humpty Dance" is like - I mean, you asked me what my favorite subject in school was, if you asked me what my second favorite subject was it would be the "Humpty Dance". That's something that's real...well...the "Humpty Hump", Shock G, Digital Underground was very instrumental to me. Like the kind of music I was raised listening to, you know? We heard the "Humpty Dance" on the radio just last night and it's still so funky.

CE: What do you listen to while traveling on the road?

RR: It varies, you know? I won't say anything specific but I'll say the way we listen to music on the road is usually one of two ways. You listen to albums - those great, big, rich, raw records. We have those and then we have our series of like kinda inside joke jams. Last tour's was "Pretty Boy Swag". So it's like real records and a couple wacky songs spliced in there.

CE: So you've got some musical guilty pleasures?

RR: Oh yeah, but I'm not guilty. I was found innocent on all charges.

CE: How was your last experience in Denver at the Summit Music Hall?

RR: It was good, man. That show was tight. We had a really good time. We were with Awolnation - I think they're playing in Fort Collins tonight - but yeah that was great. The fans were in to it and I believe it was our last show of that tour. We flew out of Denver International Airport the next day, which is covered in freemason art, signs of the occult and shit. Pale horse of death out front.

CE: Yeah, there are a lot of conspiracy theories about that place. Did you see the mural in there?

RR: Is that the one with the little kids dying? Yeah dude. W-T-F.

CE: Who's your favorite comedian?

RR: Probably Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryror...Chris Brown.

Check out the live review of Wallpaper.'s performance. Wallpaper will continue touring with The Dirty Heads through November 19.
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Once I moved to downtown Denver about a year ago, I quickly learned about one of the city's longest running and best weekly dance parties, Lipgloss. Founded in 2001 as a once-a-month dance party Lipgloss has since bloomed to be the city's premier Friday night indie dance party, winning multiple "Best Club Night" awards since its inception. Current Lipgloss resident DJs boyhollow and option4 keep a good mix of electro, house, 80's, rock, indie and dubstep that keeps the dance floor flooded every week, but every so often, Lipgloss will bring in a national or international act to sweeten the deal.

Tonight is one of those nights, as Lipgloss is hosting a notorious name in the electro dance scene, Le Castle Vania. Le Castle Vania is from Atlanta, and has been on the scene since 2006. Since his modest beginnings as a young teenage warehouse rave DJ, he has become one of the hottest producers and DJs of electro house. Le Castle Vania combines hard electro and nu-disco mixed with elements from indie and punk rock to create a unique hard-hitting dance floor experience. Known for both his ability to create delicious original tracks and remixes, he uses the traditional DJ setup of two turntables and a mixer to command the dance floor. Check out "Awake".
Le Castle Vania - Awake (Preview) **Out Now!** by Le Castle Vania

Both boyhollow and option4 have been covered on this blog before, but this will be the first time I've covered the two at their home roost. option4 leans towards smoother and groovier yet extremely danceable house mixes while boyhollow is a little more eclectic with his song selection, going from house to hard electro to dubstep to just straight up rock that'll all keep the energy level high and the crowd on their toes. Both resident DJs should do well to keep the dance floor packed, and when Le Castle Vania hits the stage, expect the crowd to be completely slayed.

The party starts at Lipgloss, located at La Rumba (99 W. 9th Avenue). The doors open at 9:00PM and entry for this 21+ show is $9. If you have a Savoy or Lykke Li ticket stub, you get discounted entry so come after-party!
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Friday nights are for dancing, but especially here in Denver, there are many different ways you can do it. Last Friday night's show at the Walnut Room showcased three local bands that provided three different ways to get busy on the dance floor featuring a soundtrack one might not normally expect. Each band provided quality music from underrepresented genres to rile up the crowd, making a concert that was just as much a wild party as it was a spectacular show.

The Legendary River Drifters

The night began with The Legendary River Drifters, a local seven-piece folk band. From what I could find before the show, I expected a more traditional folk ensemble generating a turn-of-the-century type folk sound. But with the combination of Olivia Quintana on guitar/harmonica, Curtis Wallach on banjo, Matthew Lilly on bass, Suzanne Magnuson on vocals/musical-saw, Darrick Jones on drums, Joe Burkins on mandolin/vocals, and Cyrus Green on guitar, they created music that had that old folk feel set ablaze with the attitude and intensity of heavy metal with their high energy folk-country-bluegrass presentation. The myriad of instruments on stage worked in perfect synthesis, allowing lead singer Suzanne Magnuson to propel each boot stompin' song with her powerfully soulful voice.

The Legendary River Drifters

The Legendary River Drifters wasted no time introducing the audience to their intensified folk sound by beginning their set with "The Metal Song", a piece with an unassuming mandolin intro that suddenly explodes into a stompin' and screamin' bluegrass epic. Even when the tempo slowed down for songs like the ghostly musical-saw driven "Long Before", The Legendary River Drifters still performed with such a confident ferocity that they were much more soulful and engaging than they were ever solemn or grave. They even augmented Mel Tillis' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" (popularized by Kenny Rogers), with their uptempo heavy folk flare. If you are a fan of folk but are looking for a high energy live experience, The Legendary River Drifters are a musical stick of dynamite.

A. Tom Collins

Next up was A. Tom Collins, an indie group with a throwback sound but modern attitude not easily pinned down or categorized. A. Tom Collins was on keyboard/lead vocals, Franco Valentino played electric bass, Alex Hebert played drums, and Robert Cole Sackett played trumpet. With A. Tom Collins' usual saxophonist unavailable for the night, Pink Hawks members Yuzo Nieto and Nick Krier lent their services on the alto and baritone saxophones respectively. With this combination of instruments, A. Tom Collins created a very unique jazz-blues-rock hybrid that sounded like a modern rock version of '40s swing and jazz complete with dashes of punk attitude.

A. Tom Collins

A. Tom Collins performed eight pieces that really showcased their unique blend of sounds. They started with a piece in 3/4 time that had a bluesy jazz ensemble sound before playing the slow swing song "Oh No!" from the A. Tom Collin's EP of the same name. The live performance had a slightly different feel from the album, since the live performance featured electric piano and bass, yet that didn't change the songs' identity at all. The uptempo swing-like song they played next sounded much more modern with the electric piano, making the band sound very fresh.

A. Tom Collins

Trousers literally hit the ground when the band performed the next piece, "Pants Off Dance Off", another uptempo song this time featuring a gypsy-jazz influence. At this point, the crowd energy was at full boil, and it stayed that way through the next uptempo swing song. Next came a lounge piano type piece, which cleverly juxtaposed a slower tempo with humorous sing-a-long type lyrics. After a more blues-rock type song, the band finished with one more EP song, "Pretty People". The live version was about twice the length of the recorded version, starting out uptempo blues-funk and winding down to a more lounge style. A. Tom Collins brand of music is all about inciting a good time, and the unique sound they use to create that atmosphere is nothing short of amazing. Their blend of jazz-rock is like nothing else I've heard and I'd highly recommend hearing their songs and seeing this band perform.

Pink Hawks

Pink Hawks came out as headliners to close out the night, bringing their original afrobeat and other world music influenced songs to the eager Walnut Room crowd. The last time I saw this band, I was blown away by their energy and presence, and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into more. For this night, they had ten members of the band on stage; Yuzo Nieto on acoustic guitar/alto saxophone/vocals, Zay Rios on percussion, Trevor Morris on electric guitar, Jim Angel on bass, Lannie Shelton on violin, Joe Tabano on trumpet, Koffi Toudji on percussion, Nick Krier on baritone saxophone, Laura Gibson on keyboard/vocals, and John Olsson on drums. They all worked together beautifully to deliver their intricate sounds and polyrhythms to deliver an incredible live music experience.

Pink Hawks

The night began with a performance of a brand new Pink Hawks song, a song called "Ven Aqui". This Latin inspired song was written after some members of the band spent time in Peru, and was definitely a sexy hip-shaker of a song that evoked a South American feel. Afterwards, both the crowd and audience paid tribute to Yuzo Nieto, celebrating his birthday with a quick rendition of the birthday song, before launching into one of my favorites, "Everything Is Poetry". This song incited about fifteen minutes of dance floor madness, as its uptempo rhythms and hypnotic bass line got the crowd to go absolutely wild.

Pink Hawks

Just like the last time I saw them, what lasted nearly fifteen minutes in real time seemed more like five minutes at most, and although the temperature had risen in the room from all the feverish dancing that just went on, the crowd was ready for another dose. The Pink Hawks decided to bring out a little more sexy, this time with the song "Misery Comes In Threes". Its slower winding tempo and rhythm stemming from a seemingly Middle Eastern influence with its belly dance-like sound created a sultry sound that entranced the dance floor into more steamy dancing.

Pink Hawks

Afterwards, Yuzo Nieto gave the audience a choice for the next song, either a faced paced afrobeat song or a slower tradional Mexican style song. The crowd emphatically voted for afrobeat, and the Pink Hawks went right into "Addicted To Pain". The jazzy polyrhythmic afrobeat piece got the crowd to pick up right where they left off a couple songs ago, forcing the crowd into another lengthy sweaty dance fest. The intensity was already very high, yet the Pink Hawks reached into their bag of tricks and brought out a song for their finale that pushed the intensity to a whole new level. "Separate the Corporation & State" was just the medicine the crowd needed to draw out the last bit of energy from the crazy crowd.

Pink Hawks

Pink Hawks knows how to turn a performance into a party. To help bring even more energy to the stage, A. Tom Collins' trumpeter Robert Cole Sackett, The Dendrites' trumpeter Squidds Madden, and The Legendary River Drifters' vocalist Suzanne Magnuson joined Pink Hawks on stage to lend their respective talents and add to the already huge sound. Koffi Toudji pulled up a member of the audience onto the stage to play percussion on the bongos. What did Koffi do? He took her place in the crowd as he showed the members of the audience how to truly wile out to the music. The whole performance was absolutely crazy, and some of the most fun I've had at a show.

Pink Hawks

The Pink Hawks were going to end it there, but after cries from the crowd, the band stuck around to perform one more song, the aforementioned traditional Mexican piece. They wrapped up the night with the slower huapango song. It was a good way to get everyone to simmer down a bit while still maintaining a degree of sauciness, because the songs before it had the crowd completely on fire. The Pink Hawks threw an incredible live show with music so good it seeps to the bone and causes the body to move in ways not previously thought possible. If you enjoy high-energy music and/or world music of any form, see the Pink Hawks whenever you can.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date!
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