Music On The Goe
David Goe on music
Follow David's weekly Out & About column ON THE GOE
By David Goe
Monday, June 30, 2014
Paper Bird have a number of good things going for them. That's probably why they once again stole the show at the Westword Music Showcase, winning the award for Best Folk Group, further cementing themselves as one of the very best Colorado groups. Thanks to the Cavalcade, we get to experience first-hand the excellence of this group.
On Wednesday, July 2 Paper Bird finally return to the western slope playing a small show at the Cavalcade in Fruita. It's been nearly a year since the band made their debut in Grand Junction, playing the Palisade Bluegrass Festival. After a stand out performance at the Palisade Bluegrass Festival it is safe to say the anticipation for Paper Bird to play again in the area is palpable.
To get you pumped for their show on Wednesday, here is a past review I wrote about the group. Keep in mind, this show will most likely sell out, so get your tickets early if you'd like to see Paper BIrd.
Excerpt originally published June 14, 2013
I first heard Paper Bird at last year’s Underground Music Showcase in Denver and have been a fan since. Listening to the live stream over Colorado Public Radio’s Open Air 1340, Paper Bird’s blend of indie folk rock Americana easily cut through 243 miles of spruce, pine, and aspen and into my little living room stereo. Even on two five-inch Panasonic speakers, the strength of the seven-piece Denver outfit was obvious.
Paper Bird sounds a bit like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or the Head and the Heart. Because the band is so large, it is able to do things harmonically and dynamically that other bands simple can’t pull off.
Seven members, seven songwriters, each bringing their own flavor to the group. Sometimes they sound like a gospel jazz band, other times they are a rock band jamming on African rhythms.
The band is so musical, they are an absolute joy to listen to. I love hearing new music from groups that are fearless and free. Paper Bird is such a band. It is not caged in by a particular genre or sound. It is a band of explorers, discovering new sounds without limitation. Paper Bird ascends to levels of creativity rarely seen by other roots-based musicians.
“As I Am,” the opening track off Paper Bird’s 2013 album “Rooms,” is a perfect example of what Paper Bird is capable of.
“As I Am” starts off with an atmospheric and chordal guitar riff that wouldn’t be out of place on Jeff Buckley’s mid-‘90s rock standard “Grace.” A foot-stomping bass line leads the way to a bevy of beautiful birds — Sarah Anderson, Esme Patterson, and Genevieve Patterson, to be specific — collectively singing “these arms of mine/ were made for lifting up/ and when I set things down again/ I hope they are better than they were.”
A sweet acoustic guitar riff joins in, and, at this point, Paper Bird is soaring.
“These eyes of mine/ like what they see when they’re looking at you/ If ever I can’t see you anymore, I hope you’re more beautiful than before.”
As a listener and fan of what this band is doing, I humbly suggest my own lyrics: “These ears of mine/ like what they are hearing when they are listening to you.” That’s how I feel listening to the new album, anyhow.
Including “Rooms,” Paper Bird has produced three excellent studio albums and one live album collaboration with the Ballet Nouveau Colorado. They’ve been named one of the Top 10 Best Underground Bands in Denver three consecutive years and named the Top Local Band by 5280 Magazine in 2009.
It’s an impressive list of accomplishments for a band formed out of boredom on a vacation to Breckenridge.
Writing songs to pass the time, Paper Bird tested out its early material on street corners busking for cash. Apparently, they made enough money to keep this whole thing going, and I sure am grateful.
Paper Bird is such a nice addition to the Colorado music scene and my music collection.
By David Goe
Friday, June 27, 2014
Grand Junction, get ready to meet your new favorite band. It is called Tight Thump and it is one funky ball of teats. (See: “The Mighty Boosh,” funk.)
Only having played a handful of live shows, Tight Thump are relatively new on the local music scene but don’t let the band members’ youth fool you. This band is, as the name implies, tight, and its live performances are can’t-miss events.
I’ve been on board since the beginning, and as it broke into the opening groove of its first song at Barons’ grand opening party I remember thinking that this band is hands down going to be the most popular group performing in Grand Junction.
Packing dance floors left and right since and supplying more funk than is humanly safe to consume, Tight Thump is an entertaining crew winning fans over one show at a time.
“The name Tight Thump comes from staying ‘tight’ or musicians slang for being precise and staying perfectly ‘in the pocket’,” Tight Thump’s bassist Allen Bradley said. “‘Thump’ is something I picked up from old Parliament albums, which is a big influence on our sound.”
Bradley, who you may recognize from his work with the Williams Brothers Band, slaps the bass fast and loose like a delirious funky priest. His low-end work and the percussion rhythms of Mike Van Middendorp give Tight Thump its steady groove, allowing Tim D’Andrea and Casey Dry to engage in a funky free-for-all jam on guitar.
What initially started as a basement jam-and-beer session among friends has turned into one of the most enjoyable live shows in the area. The best thing about them is they write their own material.
“When someone brings a song or a riff to the table, the first thing we look for is something we call ‘groove-ability’,” Bradley said. “Our main goal is to keep people dancing. We love seeing people have a good time, and in turn that makes us have the best time (on stage).”
Tight Thump already has a number of crowd-pleasers worked into its sets. From the totally catchy jams “Salty Bacon” and “Serpent’s Spinach” to the group’s title song and my personal favorite “Tight Thump,” the band can keep a show moving deep into the night.
For good measure, the band also sprinkles in a couple covers, notably an excellent rendition of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.”
It’s booty shaking music to the max and if you haven’t seen Tight Thump play, now is the perfect time. Loosen those knees, drop those hips and drink in that pure tasty funk.
Lucky for you, Tight Thump is serving up another milky funk-shake Friday night, June 27, at Barons, playing with a brother from another funky mother, Selector Trev.
“It’s like, one song (Selector Trev) plays will be great, and then he follows it up with another perfect song for dancing, and then after that, somehow he will play your favorite song of all time,” Bradley said. “I find it fitting to have him do the music for before and after the show, and during the breaks.”
Speaking of Selector Trev, he isn’t your typical DJ. He doesn’t over-complicate things by mixing or manipulating music through effects. His grove-ability factor is on point, kicking out hit after hit, and keeping the dance floor rocking all night long.
As a fan noted on the Facebook event page for Friday’s show, “Nothing in the world will stop me from being there! Nothing!!” There’s a funkadelic fervor spreading across western Colorado, and it’s all because of Tight Thump.
If you ain’t caught the funk yet, still standing there all rigid like a bread stick reading this column, then get down to Barons. Tight Thump will get you sorted right out.
By David Goe
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Selector Trev is Trevor Adams, drummer for Dreamboat and former band member of the Jones Adams Duo. Selector Trev, Adams DJ alter ego has played a number of live shows including Big Kid Prom, Radio Soul Train, and he is the resident opening DJ for funk band Tight Thump. Here are his thoughts on DJing and the Grand Junction music scene. Also, at the end of the article check out Selector Trev's Big Kid Prom "Guilty Pleasures" playlist.
1) How long have you been DJing for? When did you first know this is something you wanted to do? What DJs do you look up too?
Well, over the years I've occasionally thrown on music for people to dance to at parties. And I used to DJ at KMSA in the 90s and 00s and then KAFM in the mid-00s. But it's only very recently that I've started DJing at bars and taking it more seriously. I'd been thinking about trying it for a while and then Dusty Thunders asked me to join him DJing at Sabrosa on Valentine's Day, and that started it off.
2) You approach DJing differently than a lot of other DJs do. Talk about your DJ philosophy.
I just play songs that I think will pack the dance floor full of happy people. I don't manipulate the music at all. I don't mix. I just try to pay attention to the dancers and figure out what will make them happy and keep them dancing. All while playing music that I love, too, of course. Also, when I'm dancing, I want to sing along with the music, so 99% of the songs I play have vocals. With a few exceptions, the instrumental electronic thing just isn't my cup of tea.
3) What's your personal philosophy when putting together a set? You play a lot of different genres, how do you mix it all together in a cohesive way?
Well, I do come up with a playlist beforehand, but I'm always ready to totally switch gears, depending on how people respond to the music. Honestly, I don't worry that much about cohesion. I'm not trying to be an electronic musician. I'm just trying to give people great songs to dance to. I try to make the transitions from song to song make sense, but I'm not beat-matching or doing any technical stuff to blend the songs together. And, as a dancer, I actually like the beat to change from song to song. I like the vibe to change a lot throughout the night, while staying fun and dance-able.
4) Whats the biggest misnomer and pet peeve about the Grand Junction music scene?
As far as DJs go, I would like to see more DJs get out of the EDM box. I don't want to hear instrumental electronic music all night long. That's really why I wanted to start DJing. I would go out dancing and not hear a whole lot of music I liked. Of course, I'm a grumpy old man and I'm sure lots of people do want to hear that.
5) What sound are you obsessed with right now? Where do you see music heading in the next couple years?
There isn't any one sound that I'm obsessed with. Musical trends come and go, but I'm always looking for great songs that are fun to dance to and sing along with. Whether rock or pop or rap or R&B.
6) Anything you'd like to add?
I've been having a lot of fun DJing and have been really happy with the positive reception I've been getting. It's great to see that there are so many people who like to dance to the same kind of music that I do. And thanks!
By David Goe
Thursday, June 26, 2014
photo by Ryan Hennessey
Allen Bradley is the bass player for both The Williams Brothers Band and Tight Thump. Taking a couple minutes out of his busy schedule, here is Bradlley's thoughts about forming Tight Thump, playing live shows, and what the Grand Junction music scene is really like.
1. Where did the idea for Tight Thump originate? How did the band come together?
The band started when Tim D'Andrea and Casey Dry approached me one night at Sabrosa and said, and I quote; "We know you aren't in a band right now, so how's about you start a funk band with us?" and with an offer like that who could refuse? We jammed together each week for awhile, but could never find a drummer that wasn't flaky...go figure. One day, a mutual friend of ours said that his neighbor played drums and was interested in playing with us sometime. Enter Mike Van Middendorp, who has proven to be precisely what we needed. The name Tight Thump comes from staying "Tight" or musicians slang for being precise and staying perfectly "in the pocket", and "Thump" is something I picked up from old Parliament albums which is a big influence on our sound.
2. Tight Thump’s music definitely has a fun attitude. Songs like “Salty Bacon” are just fun jams that are primed to set off an audience. How much of the band’s own personality comes through on your songs?
When someone brings a song or a riff to the table, the first thing we look for is something we call "Groove-ability". Our main goal is to keep people dancing. We love seeing people have a good time, and in turn that makes us have the BEST time. Although, we understand that its not an easy task to dance the entire night, so we sprinkle in a few slower floaty songs like "Stay" and "Chains" to give a break for the crowd, as well as us.
3. You guys jam a lot on stage. How do you strike that right balance between jamming out on a song vs staying with a riff for too long? How much of the music is strictly composed vs open ended for jamming?
It's all about the eye contact. Our songs have structures that we stick to, but we keep an eye on each other, and give the nod if its time to move to the next part, or shake your head "no" if say Tim wants to extend a guitar solo. It can be problematic at times, and has resulted in flubs before, but as they say, practice makes perfect.
4. It’s pretty obvious you put a lot of effort in to the live shows and have a lot of fun performing together. Did you start the band with the goal to be a killer live group?
The band came together from our mutual love of live music, and music in general. It started as us just getting together in my old basement and jamming while having a few beers, and over time more and more of our friends would start coming over during our practices and hanging out in the living room. Eventually, it turned into full on dance parties each week on Monday nights, and that's when we decided it was time to start booking shows.
5. You play a lot with Selector Trev. What is it about his style and approach to DJing that you like?
As I've said before in a Facebook post I tagged Trevor in, "I want Trevor Adams to DJ my life." A good DJ can string songs together to kind of "force" you to keep dancing. It's like, one song he plays will be great, and then he follows it up with another perfect song for dancing, and then after that, somehow he will play YOUR FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME, and just keep rolling along in a pattern as such, so I find it fitting to have him do the music for before and after the show and during the breaks. I am also an avid fan of hip-hop, and Trevor happens to be quite well versed on the subject.
6. What’s been the biggest challenge so far with Tight Thump?
The biggest challenge we've had so far is finding the most time to get together and keep the songs fresh in our minds. We've all got our own lives, and our own things going on, and sometimes that has to take priority over practice, but we work together on it and find ways around the obstacles when need be.
7. What do you make of the local music scene here (both musicians and audiences)? Where do you see it going in the future? Where do you see Tight Thump fitting in?
My favorite thing about the GJ music scene, is we're all friends, and very good friends at that. It's not competitive like bigger cities and we all work together and don't let ego's get in the way. That provides a big window of opportunity for the scene as a whole. Audience wise, Grand Junction knows how to throw down quite well, and Ive heard that much from bands that come play here from out of town such as The Blind Pets, who love coming here strictly for the fact that they know the crowd will be there, be friendly, and be as wild as possible. I've got high hopes for all of us musicians in the valley, and I think the coming months and years will bring lots of expansion, such as new bands, and bands going on tour together. We'll just have to see how big we can roll this snow ball.
8. What’s the biggest misnomer and pet peeve you have about the Grand Junction music scene?
My biggest pet peeve is the people who claim that we don't have a scene around here. There is some fantastic talent here, and anyone who says other wise obviously hasn't made it out to any shows. There is a little bit for any style of music you are looking for, from folk, to death metal, to reggae, punk, bluegrass, hip-hop, you name it. Also, you really don't have to look TOO hard to find it.
9. Anything you'd like to add?
My only closing comments is, we are in the process of recording our first E.P entitled "Shaken Booty Syndrome" and it will be released sometime this summer. We used Taylor Riley over at Fusion Audio Solutions, and he does some masterful work. He was the sound engineer for the Zolopht album, which sounds absolutely stellar, and if you haven't gotten it, you more than likely should.
By David Goe
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Denver Westword recently published an article about the 100 (ish) best bands in Denver. They asked Pizza Time, a band who just happens to be playing this Saturday (June 25) at Barons, what's one thing you wish a prospective new fan knew about your band or project? "We don't sing about pizza," Pizza Time's David Castillo said. Beyond that answer, here are the top five things you should know about Pizza Time:
Pizza Time is signed to Burger Records label, "a rock n roll philanthropic quasi-religious borderline-cultish propaganda spreading group of suburban perma-teen mutants!!!"
Pizza Time's album "Quiero Mas" is entirely in Spanish and available as a free download through the band's Bandcamp site.
Pizza Time is a lo-fi punk group with skate and surf influences.
Pizza Time is actually one person, David Castillo, but they sometimes play as a band.
Pizza Time's logo is a cartoon greasy slice of pizza who sometimes cannibalizes other slices of pizza.
Catch Pizza Time Saturday at Barons with support from local bands Wavebaby and Dreamboat. It is an all-ages show.