2016 has been a weird year all around, but there are still many things to celebrate. A great example is Slow Caves. This band from Fort Collins (who have been all but adopted by Denver) made some major waves this year. They released a new video and were nominated for a 2016 Westword Music Award. The guys (comprised and two brothers and four friends) have played all over the state all year long. Just last month, the band landed a deal with Old Flame Records. I got to see them at Denver's Lost Lake recently - an intimate room in the Bluebird District that is bringing in great acts after shaking off its dive bar roots. Slow Caves is a great rock n' roll show; the band is young, talented, and sincerely nice people. They embark on a quick West Coast tour in January and then return to Lost Lake in March. Guess who will be there???
I counted up how many concerts I will have attended in 2016 by the December 31st: 97. Ninety-seven. That included several multi-day festivals, so more than 25% of my year was spent at shows. OMG. Which band did I go see the most? AMZY.
About 13 years ago, this guy came into my company for an interview. He was a programmer, and clearly very talented. At the time, I thought he was all-business and all about the code. Totally perfect for the job, so we hired him. James just happened to have muscular dystrophy and be in a wheelchair. Turned out we hired one of the funniest people I have ever met and someone who has become our friend for life. We now know his whole family and we still see him regularly even though I left the company I co-founded over five years ago. When the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked me if I knew anyone who lives their life limitlessly that I could honor with a post, of course, I thought of James.
I really had such a fun night recently. Denver bands AMZY and SF1 played together at the Gothic, my son came with us, I was photographing, Bryan was there too, along with a ton of friends. What more can you ask for? We have known SF1 and his crew for a long time and I swear, every time I see them, I am more impressed. There was no tap dancing at this show, just some good old fashioned hip-hop, rock, R&B and pop music. Is there an old fashioned version of that? Because SF1 merges all those styles together with a fantastic undertone of drums, all while leaping around the stage. SF1 will be at Larimer Lounge tomorrow night with Jen Korte and SIR. Go see them! Our headliner was AMZY, who - did you know - was named after their guitarist's mother? Just like I stole Greeble from Dex (it was his nickname as a baby), the band has appropriated their name from a family member. I certainly acted like their mother that night when Brennan sang from the rafters of the Gothic, meaning I yelled at him to GET DOWN RIGHT NOW YOUNG MAN IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU. Heart attacks aside, AMZY sounded great and I loved hearing their new songs. The band is celebrating a successful Pledge Music campaign for the next album, which should be released in a few months. In the meantime, "Words" is available on iTunes and I look forward to seeing these guys again real soon. AMZY's shows are always a treat and this one was no different.
Rob Drabkin was one of the first Denver musicians I ever met, way before I started photographing them, so I never miss his January Birthday Bash at the Bluebird Theater. This year was extra special because Keaton Simons came in from LA to celebrate Rob's special day. I was able to look up the first time I photographed Keaton: 2011, with Megan Burtt - another Denver musician I know well and photographed separately just last week. The venn diagram of all this makes my head spin. Denver band Chimney Choir opened for these guys, and it was my first time photographing them (but not my last). Rob has been making a lot of beautiful videos lately, the lastest, "Down To Fate" and "Stay (Till The Morning Light Fades)," are featured on his Vevo page. As for Keaton? He is playing with Chris Cornell right now. You know, that dude from Soundgarden.
Thanks to all these great musicians for an awesome concert!
If you have been around the Denver music scene for any length of time, you have probably seen one of Dan Aid's bands. I have photographed his most recent group, Wiredogs, on many occasions and was excited to hear his solo EP, The Quiet Place. It's different from his punk rock roots. Moody. Mellow. Dare I say... pretty? Very cool to see a different side of someone you would think, from a Wiredogs show, is a aggressive person. But he's not. He's very approachable. Humble. Dare I say... nice? We met up last week during Rachael Yamagata's show at Larimer Lounge to chat.