By David Goe
Friday, May 30, 2014
Heading into June, the talk of the music scene is understandably centered around Major Mortgage Country Jam USA. With that said, there are a number of strong shows leading up to the festival not to be overlooked, many featuring the area’s best bands.
Starting Friday night, May 30, with the double bill of Shotgun Hodown and Dead Orchids at Sabrosa, there is a little bit of something for everyone coming up in the next couple of weeks.
Let’s begin with Friday night’s lineup. Have you seen or heard Dead Orchids play?
Hailing from Denver, Dead Orchids are a mixed bag of rock ‘n’ roll influences. Think Black Angels with a pipe organ or Depeche Mode with heavier bass lines, and you’ll begin to understand what the band sounds like.
As the name suggests, they prefer the darker side of rock, playing a heavy blues, psych and soul rock mix that pairs well with the music of Shotgun Hodown.
Speaking of Shotgun Hodown, Rob “Zombie” Hodown and his crew of necromancers continue to solidify their spot as one of Grand Junction’s best and favorite bands. If you haven’t seen them play, now is the time.
Their show is a cirque du freak performance washed in 1950’s nuclear radiation. It’s entertaining to say the least.
If psyche out rock-a-billy isn’t your thing, then check out Ground Score Saturday night, May 31, at Palisade Brewery’s fourth anniversary party. Aside from fuelling bands with beer since 2010, the Palisade Brewery has been a good friend to the local music scene, hosting a number of live shows and sponsoring numerous events over the years.
Ground Score, a nice Colorado bluegrass four-piece outfit, is a band tailor-made for the anniversary event. Hanging out on the brewery patio at the foot of Grand Mesa, with fruit orchards on the horizon while Ground Source picks away sounds is a perfect encapsulated slice of Americana.
If that is your favorite style of music, then you must see SHEL, a folk group of four sisters from Fort Collins.
Playing at the Cavalcade on Wednesday, June 4, SHEL is an extremely close-knit group of talented musicians poised beyond their years. The group’s vocal harmonies immediately jump out at you when listening to their music. Polished, strong and technically impressive, SHEL will sound absolutely amazing in Cavalcade’s intimate setting.
Looking further into June, these shows should also be on your calendar:
On Saturday, June 7, Deerpeople returns to Grand Junction, playing a much needed indie rock show at Barons. You may remember the Stillwater, Oklahoma, crew from its show nearly a year ago at the KAFM Radio Room.
Since that show, Deerpeople has continued to gain a steady following and even managed to snag an opening slot for Vampire Weekend.
Just a couple days later on Monday, June 9, Marriage & Cancer makes a stop for Gutter Surfer Monday at Sabrosa with support from local duo Wavebaby.
Marriage & Cancer has a strong West Coast, indie punk vibe and rolls into town touring for its fifth album, “Demonstrations Tour Tape.” The seven-song album will sound great to all the skate-kids who grew up listening to everything from Black Sabbath to the Minute Men and Husker Du.
Finally, don’t miss Flashbulb Fires, Rossonian and the return of local favorites Dreamboat at the Radio Room on Thursday, June 12.
Flashbulb Fires is another major coup for KAFM. This up-and-coming Denver band has supported Imagine Dragons, has been invited to perform at both South By Southwest and the CMJ Music Marathon, and headlined a Film on the Rocks night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
June is looking like a great month for music, so get out there and catch a show.
By David Goe
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Zolopht and the Destroyers are set to release their first full length album "pH Balanced," this Saturday at the Ale House. The band has been working on the album for the last four months and now have 16 original tracks ready for public release.
With "pH Balanced" Zolopht combines a heavy blend of reggae, blues, rock & bluegrass with three-piece harmonies to create a sound that is diverse and very much their own. Listen to a preview below and make sure to check out the album release party on Saturday. It will be your last chance to see the band perform before they head off on a northwestern album release tour.
By David Goe
Friday, May 23, 2014
There's an article floating around the Internet today about how much individual bands charge to play a show. These supposedly "leaked documents" from a well know booking agent show just how much a band asks for per show. Have an extra $500K and want Bon Jovi to play your BBQ? Well your half way there.
Check out the full article here and let me know what you think. Is Creed still worth $100K? Is 311 a bargain at $150K? Who knows how accurate these figures actually are but it is still fun to think about them in this context.
By David Goe
Friday, May 16, 2014
Due out this Monday, May 19, is one of 2014’s most hotly anticipated albums from one of music’s more reliable outfits, Coldplay.
“Ghost Stories,” the band’s sixth studio album, marks somewhat of a transition period for the Brit band. While it has remained one of music’s most popular bands, this album moves away from big arena anthems and into a much more subdued and introspective space.
At first listen it’s hard to know what to think about the new album. The lead single “Magic” is a very Coldplay-ish style track: airy guitars, understated percussion and ringing piano chords. Chris Martin’s falsetto is again the highlight, delivering lines with an air of romanticism and wit, in a way only he can.
As with most Coldplay songs, Martin’s voice cuts right to the heart and the overall impression of “Magic” is one familiar with fans of the band, melancholy.
Tempting as its been to compare Coldplay to the gold standard for rock bands, Radiohead, Coldplay has never quite reached that level of creativity nor taken the necessary risks to make that comparison apt until possibly now.
“Midnight,” the standout track for me on “Ghost Stories,” is a hypnotic tune and comes very close to achieving the underground atmospheric tones of Radiohead’s “Kid A.”
Coldplay always has been able to emotionally connect through its music and “Midnight” highlights that strength perfectly. The mood created for the listener in the nearly five-minute track is simply astonishing and worth multiple listens.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is “A Sky Full of Stars” that is, how do you say, disappointing. For a band that cut its teeth on moody piano-based Brit rock to release a house tune just feels wrong and out of place.
Coldplay does not need to reduce itself to making generic house music, which leads me to think “A Sky Full of Stars” was strongly influenced by Coldplay’s record company Parlophone Records (owned by the evil empire Warner Music Group), and is earmarked as the second, more radio-friendly single.
Leading up to “Ghost Stories,” Coldplay has been one of those exceptional bands, making music that was increasingly ambitious and trend-setting for the industry. It was and is a band equally liked by critics, hipsters and cool dads.
From 2000’s “Parachutes” to 2011’s “Mylo Xyloto,” the band has released a decade’s worth of respectable music. In fact, Coldplay has produced music good enough to overlook the insufferable moments of Martin’s personal life, mainly dooming a child to years of ridicule by naming her Apple and coming up with the phrase “conscious uncoupling.”
Where the band goes from here, though, is a bit of a mystery. From Martin’s guest appearance on the singing competition show “The Voice” to the band’s NBC primetime TV special on Sunday, May 18, (which I can’t wait to see), its exposure is at an all time high.
It begs the question though, is the band primed for the next level of superstardom?
Rolling Stone Magazine penned a news article implying that “Ghost Stories” is the only album that can save bottom lines this year. It has already fared well. Presales already have made it the No. 3 album on the iTunes charts, but based on what I’ve heard, “Ghost Stories” is not going to be the smash hit that saves the industry from declining record sales — they are already down 16 percent this year.
Ultimately, “Ghost Stories” is a nice album that will play well with the band’s base, but it will not be the emphatic statement the music industry is hoping for, leaving it, I’m sure, shaking in its boots.