Not only was it beautiful spring-like weather on Saturday, it also happened to be St. Patrick's Day, so the city of Denver was bustling with activity at every corner. There was a seemingly endless supply of activities to partake in - options overflowing like pint glasses of green beer. The Hi-Dive was one of those options, offering a folk based show that would cover a range of moods and styles. The palette of sounds offered by the three bands that night was able to paint a satisfying show.

Story & Clark

The night began with a performance from local band Story & Clark. Story & Clark had five members with a multitude of instruments at their disposal; guitar, drums, keyboards, cello, ukulele and euphonium (yeah I had to look it up). Together, the quintet created a chamber-pop sound, blending subtle orchestral influences with piano-rock, vocal pop and beat-heavy drums.

Story & Clark

They performed a handful of pieces that opened up the night in a lively mood. Their blend of folk-chamber-pop was a unique combination - catchy melodies floating on top of a sea of instrumentals, propelled by heavy, almost hip-hop inspired beats at times. They even played a couple pieces appropriate to the occasion - a cover of "Danny Boy" and a tribute to redheads called "Bricks".

You Me & Apollo

Next up was You Me & Apollo, a five piece folk-rock band from Fort Collins. The band consists of Brent Cowles (vocals, guitar), Morgan Travis (lead guitar), Jonathan Alonzo (rhythm guitar), Shawn Keefer (bass), and Tyler Kellogg (drums). Together, the quintet injects the fury of rock 'n' roll and the heartfelt spirit of blues into a folk/Americana sound that really comes alive in their live performances.

You Me & Apollo

I've seen You Me & Apollo in a couple different iterations before - first as Brent Cowles solo and then as a full band. Singer Brent Cowles has amazing energy on his own, and having a full band behind him just augments his intensity. Their performance began like a firework with a long fuse with "Opener", a song that starts slowly and beautifully but explodes into an intense display of colorful sound. The following songs continue to explode in succession - a sequence of powerful beauty. It is a power that truly comes through best in the live setting - vivid presence in concert with beautiful sound that needs to be seen with the naked eye and heard through your own ears - a display so amazing you can feel it. They performed mostly songs of the album Cards With Cheats, but also treated the audience to a couple as yet unreleased songs that were incredibly amazing. This is easily one of the best bands in the state right now, and I highly recommend you see this band live.


Next, Alameda came out to perform their headlining set. Alameda is a Portland based band, although lead singer/acoustic guitarist Stirling Myles has Colorado ties. He was joined by four other band members Jessie Dettwiler (cello/vocals), Jennifer Woodall (bass clarinet), Kate O'Brien-Clarke (violin/vocals) and Tim Grimes (electric guitar). Together, the band creates a hybrid orchestral-folk sound that combines heartfelt/emotive singer-songwriter style with the majesty of chamber music.


Alameda's performance was another powerful one, but one that transmitted its power in a more subtle, and crafty way. Their sound didn't explode straight into the audience's ears, but instead worked its way in patiently through strong songwriting, transmitted emotion, and instrumental grandeur. The symbiosis of Alameda's guitar/vocal backbone and the symphonic addition of strings and woodwinds set the band apart, giving a presence to contemporary folk not found in other examples. They performed selections off of the album Seasons/Spectres, taking the audience an a sweeping aural journey. Whether you appreciate folk or chamber music, Alameda's sound creates the perfect bridge between both worlds.

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

St. Patrick's Day weekend is coming up and there are a plethora of activities to participate in. On Saturday, March 17, the opportunities will be overflowing with parades, parties, club nights, bar crawls and of course, live music. Even the live music options are overflowing, with everything from Irish music, to rock, electronica, funk, hip-hop, and more. The Hi-Dive will be hosting a night of live music, and it'll be the place to be for fans of indie folk and chamber pop music, as the venues hosts a visiting band and a pair of talented local groups.

The headliner is Portland, OR band Alameda. This three-piece band merges folk/Americana with a chamber/orchestral sound, blending the styles together seamlessly to create a new contemporary sound. The blend of folk styled acoustic guitar and emotive indie rock vocals with orchestral cello and clarinet create a mixture that leans towards baroque pop with its own unique modern touch. Check out "Ozarks".

You Me & Apollo is an indie folk band from Fort Collins. This band injects a staggering amount of bluesy soul into their well-written folk sounds - something that is unforgettably powerful when seen in a live setting. Whether they are performing fast paced or slower tempo songs, their music has listeners hanging on to every word and moving along to every note. This band has been featured on this blog before and I highly recommend seeing them. Check out "A Pearl".

Story & Clark is a four-piece indie chamber-pop group from Denver. The band uses an interesting combination of instruments; cello, french horn, guitar, ukulele, keyboard, drums and more, creating a unique sound that is sometimes dreamy and atmospheric, sometimes baroque and orchestral, sometimes folk, sometimes experimental pop, or any combination of them all - but no matter which way a particular song leans, they all seem to fit the band's distinctive character. Check out "We Sat There".

The Hi-Dive doors open at 8:00PM and the music starts at 9:00PM. The show is 18+ and tickets are $8 at the door. More information and tickets are available online here.
Read More …

What better way to celebrate the completion of your first music video than to put on a kick ass show? That had to be what crossed Le Divorce's mind when they put together their video release party at the Hi-Dive, and I couldn't agree more with the thought. Not only would Le Divorce unveil their brand new video and play a set afterwards, they brought in two other Denver bands to turn the night into a full blown event. Anyone with a craving for indie rock got a taste of it Neapolitan ice cream style that night - in three distinct flavors.


The night began with a short set from Rowboat. Rowboat usually performs as a four-piece band, but on this night the audience got to see a pared down version sans the rhythm section. Sam McNitt was on vocals and acoustic guitar joined by Daniel White on electric guitar. As a duo, they managed to effectively convey the Rowboat sound - a testament to the strength of Rowboat's songwriting. Through their six-song opening set, they created a moody sound, both sparse and spaced out, that carefully balanced solemnity, darkness, and heart crafted from folk-like acoustic guitar, atmospheric electric guitar, and a gruff, barrel-aged bourbon voice. It was a good set that stood out on its own, but now I want to see the band again in it's full configuration. If you're into the mellow indie-folk kind of sound, definitely give this band a listen.


Up next was an indie rock band with a quite different complexion, Varlet. Varlet performed as a five piece band featuring Lilly Scott (vocals, guitar), Will Duncan (drums), David Scott (bass), Cole Rudy (guitar, lap steel), and Vaughn McPherson (piano, organ). Together the band created a whiskey fueled concoction of psychedelic western rock 'n' roll - the kind that would ring out of the seediest of saloons or perhaps wouldfit the soundtrack of Tarantino's From Dusk 'Til Dawn. The instrumentation filled the room like a desert dust storm, covering the audience with a layer of rustic grit. Lilly Scott's dainty voice is paired with a stage presence that is anything but, hinting that she could pull a derringer out at any moment and pull the trigger without so much as a thought should she so please.


Varlet's set began with "Drifter", establishing the western motif right away. The slide guitar came in slowly like a tumbleweed, but then as all the instruments rang in, an infectious energy permeated from their sound. Lilly Scott's vocals came in next, grappling the attention of the crowd. Whether Varlet performed fast paced folk-tinged western pieces, or slow ballads like "Lady Lie", the strength of this band was undeniable. Their songs are well written enough to garner multiple listens through recordings, but they really shine in live performance. The band was so cohesive, they were a joy to watch together - be sure to catch this band live.

Next up was the main event, Le Divorce. Before the band took the stage and delivered a set of their own, they treated the audience to a screening of their brand new music video for "Under The Boxcars". If you haven't had the chance to check it out yet, check out the video above.

Le Divorce

The video ended and the projector screen was set aside to reveal Le Divorce ready to rock out on stage. They performed in their current four-piece configuration featuring Kitty Vincent (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Grobelny (guitar, backing vocals), Michael King (guitar) and Kim Baxter (drums). Together they performed their modern indie post-punk/alt-rock with the raw spirit and grunge that was characteristic of bands of the early to mid nineties. Uptempo, pounding rhythms layered under loud, lo-fi, strum-heavy guitars, creating a driving force of sound full of energy and attitude. Kitty Vincent's voice propelled the sound forward, delivered with a careful balance between restraint and emotion - a powerful tension.

Le Divorce

Their set began with a couple selections from their newly released EP, The Sting And The Light - "Splinter Song" and "Shout". "Splinter Song" crept the band's post-punk aesthetic in, building up the energy and coming full bore in the performance of "Shout". Le Divorce showed a more reserved, emotive side not usually seen in live performances with "Make Up Your Mind" - a post-punk ballad with an enthralling melody that ended up being a stand-out, powerful piece in their set that night.

Le Divorce

Le Divorce played one song from their Pull Yourself Together EP, "In The Waves", my favorite off of that record because of the juxtaposition of the fluidity in that songs instrumentation against a constant lo-fi aesthetic. Then came "6 Feet Under", the opening song on their new EP that features great use of loud-soft and call-and-response vocals. Their regular set ended with a performance of "Under The Boxcars", bringing the evening full circle with a live reprise of the video. Before the night ended, Le Divorce treated the audience to an encore piece, a post-punked version of Talking Head's "Psycho Killer" that got the crowd to fa-fa-fa until the end. Le Divorce's performance showed that their energetic sound is alive and well, and that they continue to be this city's premier representatives of the post-punk/alt-rock genre. Look for a Le Divorce show if you need to satisfy your rock appetite.

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

Friday night's show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder was a great showcase of extreme talent and versatility, featuring a visiting performer and a slew of Colorado's own very capable musicians. People lined up early to catch this show, with a steadily growing crowd that became comfortably packed before the touted headlining band took the stage. With a lineup and setting ideal for a quality evening of folk based music, it was little wonder why people seemed to flock to this Boulder show.

Nick Jaina

The night began with a performance from singer/songwriter Nick Jaina from Portland. Nick Jaina has performed his songs with up to about a dozen backing band members, but on this night he was accompanied by a bassist, drummer, and for a couple of songs, a female duet singer. Together, they performed Nick Jaina's lyrically profound songs with melodies and instrumentation just as profound. Although Nick Jaina's sound has a noticeable contemporary folk influence, his performance was in between modern indie rock and Americana, driven by Nick Jaina's electrified acoustic guitar.

Nick Jaina

Nick Jaina performed a collection of his original material, cooing the crowd with his earnest, delicate, yet strong voice that delivered his well crafted melodies in a calming low tone or soothing falsetto. His electrified acoustic guitar almost made it seem as if there were two guitarists on stage, as one could hear a faint acoustic steel-string guitar shadowing every amplified strum. The deliberately paced bass and drums gave his music presence. My favorite songs were duet pieces, "Sebastopol" and "Cincinnati" - Nick Jaina and his guest vocals had a strong dynamic and the songs themselves were incredibly beautiful. After seeing his set, it was hard for me to believe I hadn't heard of Nick Jaina before, as his songs were incredible and they lingered with me long after the show. If you like indie folk-rock/Americana, I highly recommend seeking out Nick Jaina's music.

Patrick Dethlefs with Eye & The Arrow

Up next was Eye & The Arrow with Patrick Dethlefs. Before the show, I imagined this portion would be a collaborative performance between those artists, but it ended up being closer to two separate performances. Eye & The Arrow performed first in their three-piece band configuration featuring Paul DeHaven on vocals/guitar, Mark Anderson on drums, and Jason Haas-Hecker on bass. Then, Patrick Dethlefs came out to perform his original songs while Eye & The Arrow acted as his backing band along with two female vocalists adding harmonies to the mix. It was a pleasant surprise to get more than I was bargaining for.

Eye & The Arrow

The first few songs by Eye & The Arrow were their characteristic blend of folk and classic country with a contemporary twist that I've become very fond of. Their seemingly old west influenced style conjures up images of tumbleweeds, dust, the scorching desert sun and horses parked outside of saloons, but at the same time it doesn't sound out of place in the present time - a good representative of vintage-modern. They performed a handful of their original songs including standouts like "Sheep And Goats" and "Stutter Beat" to the delight of the crowd.

Patrick Dethlefs

Then Patrick Dethlefs and his accompanying singers came out on stage, and although half the people on stage were from the previous band, a new songwriter and lead vocalist definitely transformed the sound. Patrick Dethlefs' songs had a sort of vintage folk feel to them as well, but more in a reminiscent way - the songs seemed to cause people to peer back at the past as opposed to being completely transported there - an impressive achievement for such a young songwriter. Patrick Dethlefs calls the small town of Kittredge, CO home, and a sort of rustic way of life permeates through his songwriting. Patrick Dethlefs performed pieces of his collaboration album with Eye & The Arrow and also songs off his upcoming album Fall & Rise. Patrick Dethlefs seems to epitomize what it means to be a Colorado folk singer-songwriter, and he is definitely worth checking out.

Paper Bird

Lastly, Paper Bird came out on stage to perform their anticipated headlining set. There were seven  band members on stage for this performance; Sarah Anderson (vocals, trumpet), Genevieve Patterson (vocals), Esmé Patterson (vocals), Caleb Summeril (banjo, harmonica), Paul DeHaven (guitar), Macon Terry (bass), and Mark Anderson (drums). They performed a comprehensive set of their catalog that showed off their impressive range of skill. The band's music is rooted in contemporary folk, but a variety of influences will appear in their sound throughout their music, setting this band apart from most others out there.

Paper Bird

The one element that truly seems to define the Paper Bird sound became immediately evident as the band opened up with "Dear Friend" - the intricate vocal harmonies of the band's three lead singers. Singing close harmonies with the grace and beauty of synchronized swimmers coupled with the skill and precision of fighter jet pilots in tight formation, their voices brought depth and a lively quality to the band's already powerful sound. At any moment one of the three could take lead vocals with their commanding voice, but when all three sang together it was truly artful.

Paper Bird

Paper Bird performed a sweeping set of about twenty-five pieces that spanned their repertoire. They performed songs like the roots/Americana/bluegrass influenced "Lost Boys" and "Boxcars And Thistles". They blended folk with a hint of jazz with songs like "Band of Angels". Even the men showed of their lungs with "Witch of the Waves". They really showed off their versatility with some of the selections they performed from Carry On, an album they composed for a ballet. Before they performed the epic world influenced piece "Drekovsky", they spoke of a quote Paul DeHaven said to the Westword, "The ballet changed everything. There's nothing we can't do." Judging by the intricacy, complexity and sheer beauty of the aforementioned piece, I'd have to agree with that assessment.

Paper Bird

Paper Bird did a great job of taking the audience along with them on their musical journey, sharing not only their music but pieces of their individual personalities along the way. From their version of the birthday song arranged in Paper Bird fashion dedicated to singer Genevieve Patterson, to pop culture tidbits, interesting personal anecdotes, and other entertaining asides, Paper Bird kept the audience engaged both during and between their songs. Whether the audience was singing along to songs like "By The Wind, Sailor" or dancing up a storm to "Colorado", there was never a dull moment. Not only is Paper Bird very capable of incredible songwriting, they did not disappoint when it came to live performance. If you are a fan of folk and haven't seen Paper Bird yet, you're missing out on some of the best Colorado has to offer.

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

The best way to defrost after a weekend up in the cold mountain air for me was seeing Wednesday night's show at the Hi-Dive. Three bands came to town that could really bring the heat, thanks to their high energy delivery of multifaceted indie rock. All three bands kept the audience smiling not only with their music but with their vivid personalities, making this night one of the best start-to-finish shows I've seen so far this year.

Finn Riggins

Finn Riggins, an indie rock trio from Idaho, kicked off the night's festivities. Drummer Cameron Bouiss was set up in the middle of the stage, with guitarist Lisa Simpson on one side of the stage and keyboardist Eric Gilbert on the other. Lisa Simpson handled most of the vocal duties, but sometimes Eric Gilbert would take the lead and Cameron Bouiss would also add backing vocals. Finn Riggins created a blend of experimental rock that had psychedelic, krautrock, progressive, post-rock, and math-rock influences, yet maintained an almost pop-like accessibility despite the band's many forays into musical complexity.

Finn Riggins

One would wonder how much energy this band would have to perform when they divulged that they left Idaho at 3:00AM to make this night's show, but when Finn Riggins opened up with "Box Elder", an uptempo post/math-rock instrumental piece, that was no longer a concern. The song's irregular time signature, uptempo drumming and spaced out synth/guitar lines kept things interesting, but a steady, powerful, catchy bass line kept the song rooted. They further showed that they can make intricate songs that have instant but lasting appeal with the performance of "Benchwarmers". The piece combined post-rock with dance punk, weaving steady rhythmic bass and kick drum with intricate synth and cymbals, creating a powerful canvas that held together colorful guitar and vocal work.

Finn Riggins

Finn Riggins continued to keep their intricate sound magnetic throughout their set by injecting tantalizing energy into their music that poured over onto the crowd. As experimental as some of their pieces were, Finn Riggins were like expert tour guides, helping the audience navigate their way through their sound without ever leaving them lost. Songs like "Wake" and "Dali" had immediate catchy appeal on the surface, but the complex layers underneath those pieces kept listeners on their toes. Finn Riggins proved to be a great indie rock band that did a fantastic job balancing the many influences in their sound. They are a band I'd strongly recommend to see live.

Quiet Hooves

Up next was Quiet Hooves, an indie band from Athens, GA. Quiet Hooves performs in a variety of configurations, but on this night they were a nine-piece band. This kooky ensemble crammed a drummer, fiddler, bassist, two keyboardists, two horn players, a guitarist and lead singer/keyboardist onto the cozy Hi-Dive stage. Together, this band created an off-the-wall fusion of math-rock, synth-pop, psychedelia, and something along the line of classic country. The combination sounded like the soundtrack to a whimsical space western, and the peculiar marriage of sounds made for a concert experience that was out-of-this-world fun.

Quiet Hooves

I'm going to stress it right now - you haven't truly experienced this band until you have seen them live. There wasn't much out there that I could find as far as recordings go anyway, and after seeing this band perform, I can understand why. A recording can only do so much, and although one can get the idea of what this band's sound is about from hearing one, the things this band does live during their performance just can't be captured - it has to be experienced. For instance, this band is just as much a collection of talented musicians as it is an assembly of wildly entertaining and engaging personalities.

Quiet Hooves

There was the horn section - a male/female duo initially unassuming but capable of a boisterous sound when called upon. There was the drummer in the back, the lanky fellow who also drums for Reptar that can barely ever be seen behind his massive symbols but can certainly be heard. There was the spectacled fiddler who seemed out of place until of course the music started and his role was made certain. There was the keyboardist with the DIY keytar, taking a small keyboard and strapping it around his torso with a makeshift strap. There was the bassist, who contrasted his calm and collected demeanor during silence with an incredibly animated attitude when he performed. There was the guitar player whose hint of exuberance shone brightly from his fluorescent orange patterned shirt. There was the other keyboardist, an all business sort of fellow who seemed to be the antithesis to the one remaining member of the band, the lead singer/keyboardist. That singer was definitely the craziest character of the group, a living embodiment of a hilarious Saturday morning cartoon.

Quiet Hooves

The combination of Quiet Hooves' genre bending sound and vivid personalities was like a controlled chaotic assault on the senses of the audience. Even before they started playing any music lead singer and keyboardist Julian Bozeman kept the crowd entertained with stand-up quality awkward comedy. Then, when the band began to play their jambalaya of unconventionally mixed sounds, the union of what seemed to be a hodge-podge of mismatched persons came together magically like a well-trained circus symphony. The resulting visual and audio display tickled both the audience's ear drums and funny bones, and the only way the crowd could react was to dance and laugh throughout the entire set. I honestly don't think it matters what type of music you enjoy, unless you are devoid of a sense of humor, seeing this band live is a guaranteed good time.


Finally, it was time for Reptar to close out the night. Reptar performed as a six-piece band. The usual suspects, lead singer/guitarist Graham Ulicny, drummer Andrew McFarland, keyboardist William Kennedy, and bassist Ryan Engelberger were on stage, joined by a couple new faces - an additional percussionist and second guitar player. They performed their unique energetic style of music - psychedelic space disco-funk with a healthy helping of modern indie rock, plus a hint of influences that came from around the world. Loud, melodic guitars and synths intertwined with crazy rhythms and infectiously catchy vocals to form the Reptar sound.


The performance began with Reptar taking the audience straight to the launchpad, making sure all systems were go, and propelling the audience on the ride of their lives by starting with "Blastoff!". The addition of a second guitar added another dimension to the piece, building up even more energy in the introduction of the song with a distorted wall of sound before the piece broke into a total dance party inducer. The next piece combined an Asian inspired melody with a disco beat that kept the now sweaty dance party going full steam. The experimentation with world influenced sounds continued with the next song called "Please Don't Kill Me", an afrobeat meets disco-rock extravaganza.


Reptar revealed a lot of material that will be released on their forthcoming album, Body Faucet, and by the sound of things, they taken their energetic disco-funk influenced modern rock sound and applied it to a host of danceable styles from across the world. They played a piece that was uptempo dance rock with a hint of psychedelia, then they turned around and wooed the crowd with a tribal rhythm and an extra strength dose of cowbell that led into the jungle funk piece "RainBounce".

Reptar had command of the crowd

The members of Reptar have some strong personalities as well, and it was no more apparent than when Graham Ulicny got the entire audience to get right up to the stage and have everyone join hands - even with band members. Everyone held the hand of their neighbor and put their arms up toward the Hi-Dive ceiling, as Reptar led into their new single "Sebastian", essentially blowing the lid off the venue in the process. The crowd was already going crazy during the song, but Graham Ulicny took it to a whole new level when he came off the stage and sang right within the crowd. The energy spilling from everyone in the venue at that point was unreal - an indescribable feeling that can only happen in the most perfect of circumstances.


Reptar continued to carry that energy throughout the rest of their set, unveiling a few more forthcoming songs that showed off the band's stylistic versatility all the while maintaining a dance party atmosphere. The energy continued to soar with each subsequent song, completely exploding when Reptar performed "Stuck In My ID". Just when the audience thought there could be nothing done to top that moment, Reptar ended their set by calling members of Quiet Hooves onto the stage. With over a dozen performers on stage at that point, the musical energy washed over the crowd like a cleansing wave to end the night - a perfect close to a fantastic evening. If you aren't wise to Reptar's sound yet, I strongly suggest you check it out. If you are wise to their sound, I hope you were in that crowd Wednesday night, because it was certainly something else. If you weren't, you better ensure you'll be front and center the next time Reptar comes along, because they'll give you a night to remember.

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

Before checking out Gosteffects' sweat inducing set in the Heat Hut at SnowBall Music Festival, I had the chance to sit down with this talented producer and DJ and ask him a few short questions the day before his performance. He had just got into town, still get acclimated to the frigid mountain air. I hadn't yet seen Gosteffects perform before sitting down with him, so it was interesting getting a glimpse of the person beforehand.

Gosteffects produces and DJs hard elecrto music, but has also been called a forerunner on the 'witch house' music scene. Witch house is electronic house music with a dark/industrial sound and feel, stemming from artists who used the term to described house music that was occult based, but the term now applies to gothic electronic music.

Concerted Effort: How do you fit in the witch house movement?

Gosteffects: Stylistically I guess what I do is similar to it - visually it's kind of similar. Musically it's not very similar. It's actually what I'm listening to a lot right now - a lot of that stuff. I haven't really been to a lot of witch house events or anything. It seems like it's more of an internet phenomenon. There are a few things I've heard in New York City going on but I haven't really caught them yet. I think witch house is headed somewhere but it'll took some artists to really do it right for it to breakout into the mainstream. It'll probably be the thing in two years - just like how dubstep was kind of underground but then came Skrillex.

CE: How do you feel about dubstep?

G: I like dubstep. I can't hate on it. I used to listen to drum and bass and it's kind of a similar thing. I play a little dubstep and make a little bit of it.

CE: What was your favorite subject in school?

G: I have some business degrees, so I did that. I never did formal music training or anything like that. I don't know - I was really good at math, but there wasn't anything I really disliked. I just like knowledge and learning.

CE: What are you listening to when you're traveling on the road?

G: Nothing. It's funny, most of the people I know that DJ or are musicians they listen to no music. DJs look for the stuff that they want to play but a lot of times it's like you are already thinking about it so much - quiet time is good every once in a while.

CE: Have you been to Colorado before?

G: I've played under a different name as Trash Yourself at Beta Night Club in Denver. I've played with a few local rave production companies - Big Johnson and Funky Elements - I've done some parties for them. But I haven't been up to the Vail Valley or anything.

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

G: Flying. I would love to fly.

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

G: "Humpty Dance" because of the bass line man. It's just too good.

Be sure to check out Gosteffects' new single, "Slave To The Sweat", out now on AFTERLIFE.
Read More …

It's always been my belief that concerts are unique experienced affected by an endless number of variables - who you're with, who you may meet, how things compare to what you know, what you may discover, etc. Because of that, no two concerts can ever really be alike, and when it comes to festivals, that rings even more true. The SnowBall Music Festival, for instance, had up to four bands playing simultaneously during festival hours over three days, and that meant choices had to be made - one could see bits and pieces of everything, focus on what they like, stay in a particular area, or just go with the flow. For me, I went into the weekend with a specific plan of action, but when the festival finally came, I went where my heart told me and ended up with a weekend I'll always remember.


Since I live in Denver, Friday started early, as I piled into my good friend Dylan Le Disko's car and headed westward. Concerts are always best when experienced with other people, so I got the buddy system going right away. Although I had planned on getting to the festival right as it began, after reaching Avon, checking into the hotel, and meeting the rest of my group, it didn't quite work out that way. It was no worry though, I still managed to catch most of Dubskin's set on the Main Stage, getting the weekend started with some laid back reggae to help counter the frigid Friday temperatures. The reggae grooves they had going had the early crowd in a good mood - nobody seemed to mind the below freezing temperatures or the light snowfall as people warmed up to the good vibes.

Helicopter Showdown

From there I made my way over to the Groove Tent to catch Helicopter Showdown. I wasn't very familiar with them, but I had some friends to meet over there and went to check them out. Stepping into the groove tent after watching Dubskin was like slamming an energy drink - going from smooth reggae to glitched out dubstep. Helicopter Showdown had complete command of the Groove Tent crowd, shaking the cold out of everyone's bones with earth shattering bass as the crowd convulsed like they were in a dance scene of a slow motion snowboard movie. I wanted to keep going, but there was no way I'd make the rest of the night without some food and drink, so I stepped away from the festival for about an hour.


I returned just in time to check out one of my favorite local Denver bands, Flashlights. Despite the continuously dipping temperatures, Flashlights delivered a set that was on fire. They began with a few favorites from their Hidden Behind Trees EP before unleashing some of their more recent So Close To Midnight material, delivering a late-night worthy electro-pop dance party in the mid-afternoon. As their set ended, I didn't even have to look at my schedule to know what to check out next.

Major Lazer

I didn't have to check my schedule because I turned around and saw what looked like a massive party happening at the Main Stage, so that's where I went next. There was a massive crowd gathered, looking like they were having the time of their lives as Major Lazer was on stage. Although Major Lazer is the duo of Diplo and Switch, it was just Diplo for this performance, but Diplo brought along a crew of two hype men and two dancers that really helped create a party atmosphere. As Major Lazer's music blared through the speakers and flashing lights dominated the background, the people on stage put on a dynamic show that even involved a few lucky audience members.

Bag Raiders

As Major Lazer's set ended, so did the sunlight, and Friday's temperatures plummeted even further. I figured the best remedy for the cold air would be the sunny indie-electronic sounds of Bag Raiders. There were so many people packed into the Groove Tent to see this Australian band that body temperatures made the area a somewhat comfortable environment. The duo of Chris Stracey and Jack Glass performed songs off of their self-titled album to a crowd that was singing and dancing along, hanging onto every frigid movement the dynamic pair made on stage. Bag Raider's music plus crowd energy definitely made their set first day standout for me.

Wolf + Lamb vs. Soul Clap

From there I wandered around a bit, waiting to see the set from Wolf + Lamb vs. Soul Clap. I caught a glimpse of what was going on at other stages, but it wasn't until this set began at the Heat Hut that I stayed put. As a huge fan of house music, I couldn't wait to see what these DJs would throw down, and the for working together did not at all disappoint, taking turns throwing down groovy house and exotic beats that kept the vibes high throughout the set. Each DJ took turns adding a song to the mix, and the four worked in perfect sync...just like the matching custom floral hats they were rocking. When their set ended my day felt complete, and although Rusko's set was in full swing behind me, I was ready to call it a day.


One thing about festivals is the parties continue over the course of the whole weekend - not just when the festival artists are on stage. So come Saturday, I wasn't quite ready to head back through the festival gates until the early afternoon. I started the second day of the festival checking out the Ball Room, where locals Sauna were rocking the stage. Although the band is young, they have a retro throwback sound that would make one think they are from a different era. Despite playing an earlier set, they engaged the early crowd with plenty of enthusiasm and energy - the perfect way to start the second round of SnowBall.

boyhollow & option4

I cut across to the Heat Hut next to catch a couple of my favorite local Denver DJs, the resident pair from Lipgloss, boyhollow and option4. The duo brought their weekly indie dance party sound to the heart of the mountains. To get things started, option4 unleashed a steady stream of house grooves, kicking things off with positive vibes. He laid down a set of house favorites and even dropped his forthcoming single, "Ride On", from his upcoming EP. boyhollow followed up, playing a groovy house mix that included a bit of disco, funk and soul. boyhollow usually keeps things eclectic, so I liked when he dropped a bit of The Rolling Stones into his mix.

The Head and The Heart

Once again I had to take a short food and drink break, and I returned in time to catch The Head and The Heart. The great thing about SnowBall is that the festival prides itself in offering a diverse musical lineup, so festival goers can experience a variety of music from different genres suitable for a number of tastes. The Head and The Heart's indie-folk performance was a good venture into musical diversity, offering the crowd a superb performance that made the second day of the festival all the more cozy.


I headed to the Heat Hut next to catch a local Denver fixture that had somehow alluded me until this festival, Pictureplane. I've been a fan of Pictureplane's somewhat darkwave indie-electronic style for a while, but I'd somehow missed a few opportunities to seem him live. He was holding down the Heat Hut to a very receptive crowd, performing many of my favorites from his album Thee Physical. After seeing the presence he had on stage, I know I won't make the mistake of missing out on future opportunities to seem him in the near future - he is very good.

Small Black

I then made my way back to the Ball Room to catch the chillwave group Small Black. I'd been listening to their album New Chain for a while, so it was great to get the opportunity to see them live. I was pretty surprised to see how they performed their music with live instruments, because their album sounds as if it may be done otherwise. Their performance brought about an incredible energy to what is inherently a laid back sound - a pleasant surprise and a joy to watch.

Gauntlet Hair

I stuck around in the Ball Room to see another local Denver favorite of mine, Gauntlet Hair. This indie rock band brought their experimental and noise heavy sound with the amount of fervor I've come to expect, delivering a steady supply of favorites from their self-titled debut album. The past times I've seen them they played as a three-piece, but on this night it was back to their original two-piece guitar and drums configuration - it was cool to see them that way and the sound was still superb.

Snoop Dogg

Afterwards, I had to a bit of running around, so I didn't really get to focus on another set until it was time for the headliner - Snoop Dogg. After listening to Snoop Dogg for many years, it was almost a surreal experience to see him come out onto the SnowBall stage. He came out with the presence and swagger one would expect from an artist as accomplished and experienced as he is, and he took absolute control of at attending SnowBall crowd. Not only did he perform some of hits both new and old, but he laid down raps over beats and songs from other artists as well, delivering an encompassing rap and hip-hop experience. It was definitely the best way to end Saturday night.


For reasons similar to what ended up happening Saturday morning, coupled with the scramble to check out of my hotel room and pack all my belongings away, Sunday's festival experience did not begin until the mid-afternoon with a set from another local Denver favorite of mine, ManCub. ManCub's electro noise-pop sound was like a stiff cup of coffee, snapping me out of any lull and getting me into the dancing mood. ManCub performed a handful of old favorites, but what impressed me the most were songs off the upcoming EP, especially the song "Science". The fusion of disco, indie and electro that ManCub has going on is undeniably good.


I cut over from the Ball Room to the Heat Hut to catch electro and witch house DJ and producer Gosteffects. If ManCub was a stiff cup of coffee, Gosteffects was a shot of espresso. It may have been the afternoon, but Gosteffects laid down a heavy electro set that had the crowd jumping and dancing like the Heat Hut was a late night club. Everytime a song would reach a drop, Gosteffect's hair banged to the beat and the crowd would flail along to follow suit. Even though it was still pretty cold outside, Gosteffects worked the crowd into a sweat.

Gardens & Villa

From there I went back to the ballroom to catch one of my favorite indie bands of late, Gardens & Villa. This California band creates a sound that is a definite nod to west coast living, all the while carefully balancing catchy songs with a feeling that just plain rocks. They performed all the songs I love from their self-titled album, and they did it in impressive style. Their songs include many intricacies, but Gardens & Villa performs everything live - from bass, guitar, drums and synth down to the pan flute - I highly recommend seeing this band.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I stayed put in the Ball Room, because another of my favorite indie rock bands would take the stage next. Portland based Unknown Mortal Orchestra was the next band to perform, and they provided a stellar performance that balanced catchy indie-pop with high energy rock in a style that really stands out on its own. Unknown Mortal Orchestra had the crowd singing along to their songs, but also rocking out whenever lead singer and guitarist Reuban Nielson shredded out a solo. It really showed how Unknown Mortal Orchestra's music is deceptively simple - the songs may be catchy but are steeped in complexity.

Plastic Plates

As I mentioned before, I am a fan of house music, so I had to make my way back to the Heat Hut to catch Plastic Plates. Sunday's afternoon temperatures were a bit milder, and it caused a lot of the snow on the ground to melt. This DJ and producer was laying down a steady mix of sun drenched house, getting the Heat Hut crowd to groove all across the now muddy dance floor without any cares. He kept the positive vibes going, as smiles were fixed on everyone's faces throughout his set.


I stuck around for one more set before I felt that my festival appetite was completely filled - the set from young DJ and producer DallasK. DallasK laid down a mix that leaned toward a more progressive electro house style, but his ability to stream together songs both old and new into remixes, edits and mash-ups made the Heat Hut crowd continue their dancing frenzy. During his set, the Heat Hut was definitely the place to be to get the dance club feel.

My festival experience may have ended there, but for me, I was completely satisfied. Ideally, I would have been able to see every act, and there were certainly a few bands and artists I planned on seeing that I happened to miss. The good news is, the only reason I missed anything was because I was too busy having fun being at a different part of the festival. As long as you're having fun, there really isn't any wrong way to do SnowBall. There are enough great acts to see and so many good people to meet, that as long as you are somewhere doing something within the festival gates, you are doing it right. I really have no regrets from this year's festival, and I already can't wait for SnowBall to return next year.

See more pictures from the festival on Facebook. There is an album for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay updated on other local Colorado concerts.
Read More …

Categories: ,