A LOVE LETTER TO ILLEGAL PETE'S | Locals Only | November 5, 2014

I would like to qualify this little editorial with the simple fact that I am the only Colorado native working for Ultra5280. I've spent a majority of my life taking pride in the things that you can truly "only do in Colorado", and rubbing it in for friends who live elsewhere. I've watched just as many films at Red Rocks as I have concerts (well, maybe...), spent summers hiking through Chataqua and Rocky Mountain National Park, driven for hours up I-70 in the winter just to get one run in on the weekends between homework assignments, and I promise you that *no* day spent in Colorado could be completed in a better fashion than by eating dinner at Illegal Pete's. Pete's food has been a staple in my diet for as long as I can remember. While I was working my way through college, I took the bus to and from work through LoDo every day from my dorm on CU's Denver campus. On Tuesdays I worked until 12am, and would often not get back to the dorms until 2-3am depending on what bus I managed to catch - far too late to get any food from my dining hall. I had few food options that late in the evening, and Illegal Pete's became my surefire choice for dinner each week. Slowly but surely, the staff at Illegal Pete's on the 16th Street Mall began to recognize my face, and would even sometimes delay their close just so I could run through the door and beg them to make one last Queso Burrito before their register closed for the evening. 

The amazingness that is Illegal Pete's does not start or stop with starving, college-aged Maddie. But grown up, post-collegiate Maddie is heartbroken by the negative words being shared regarding the monicker of my favorite burrito haunt, and i've come to take a stand. The older I've gotten, the more involved I've become in both Denver and the world around me. This deeper understanding has shed light on just how deeply rooted this restaurant is in it's community, and how important it is for us to celebrate. From serving local meat in all of their dishes, to the Greater Than Collective record label they run, Illegal Pete's is a community-based company full of like-minded thinkers who strive to make the world a better place. Their efforts to focus their time and financial resources here in Colorado benefits both their staff members and patrons in ways the average joe could never imagine. Unlike their globally franchised counterparts (who are also Colorado based, mind you), Pete's has stayed local, working to help make our Mile High state the best it can be. The fact that so many people are hung up on their choice of name opposed to the good this company brings to our community is absolutely tragic, and weighs heavily on my heart. Illegal Pete's has been a happily functioning restaurant in Colorado since 1995...that's nearly twenty years of happy people eating happy burritos without caring what the word "illegal" could accidentally ensue. Why must we now, in 2014, find the tiniest thing to nit-pick when Illegal Pete's is merely trying to expand their positive reach to another Colorado community?

CU Denver students rocking out at Illegal Pete's during the 2014 Underground Music Showcase.

No one seems to care that the restaurant's name is an homage to owner Pete Turner's beloved father who carried the same given name as he. It also seems that no one cares to educate themselves on all of the community-focused programs Illegal Pete's has to offer to the great city of Fort Collins. Instead, they've chose to focus on the sad, miscommunicated understanding of one measly little word. Illegal Pete's is more than just a name. Illegal Pete's is more than just a restaurant. Illegal Pete's is one of the few remaining local treasures that we as Coloradans are blessed to have all to ourselves, and they give back to this community in immense ways. Owner Pete Turner took his simple dream to open a place with a "fun and energetic atmosphere with music playing (and) employees having fun" and has turned it into a successful, well known food chain spread across the front range. He's created a hugely successful record label that supports some of Denver's most talented musical artists, and has expanded that support to artists worldwide through the Starving Artist Program, which feeds out-of-town bands at no cost while they travel through Colorado. Pete's also supports charities like the American Cancer Society, the Hatian Earthquake Relief efforts by the Red Cross, stepped in to help the Aurora Police Department after the movie theater shootings, the Colorado Springs Red Cross after the fires, the Boulder Flood Relief efforts and many more. 

How can the people of Fort Collins look past these incredible actions of a business, and get so hung up on one adjective that has taken on a sadly negative connotation in this new era of over sensitivity? Times like these make it clear why the world's good people are growing harder to find, as their actions are overlooked to focus on petty battles instead. I urge the citizens of Colorado to lay their negative thoughts to rest, as they will do no one an ounce of good. Rather, I encourage all of you to become more informed, and choose your battles not based on new-age stigmas, but rather based on facts. I hope that this will make all of you choose to research the companies you support just a bit more, and celebrate local heroes like Illegal Pete's, who've asked for no praise for their goodness other than the simple ability to open a new location. Ultra5280 are proud Pete's lovers, and owe them a great debt for late night business meetings, hangover breakfasts, and stopping the dreaded post-UMS "hanger" episodes. We hope Pete's stays "illegal" forever, and hope that Fort Collins can come to love them just as much as we do. 



If you'd like to learn more about Illegal Pete's, please read these articles on their namesake, as well as "Seven Facts You Didn't Know" right here: 

New Music Tuesday | Kid Astronaut & Bad Rabbits | November 4, 2014

We’re going to try to get in the swing of making Tuesdays “New Music Tuesdays” over here at Ultra5280, and what a better way to kick it off than with one of our favorite local artists, and one of the bands that has stolen our heart time and time again. This week we’re going a little on the soul side, and focusing on Jon Shockness’ new solo project Kid Astronaut, as well as Boston’s soul sons Bad Rabbits. 


You are (hopefully) by now familiar with Air Dubai, Denver’s six piece electro-pop hip-hop group. A band who’s been making waves in the Mile High city since before the release of their first full-length Wonder Age was in 2010, lead vocalist Jon Shockness has been working double time recently to begin experimenting with his own material under the name Kid Astronaut. Jon’s efforts working towards a solo career have existed just as long as Air Dubai, but the first track dropped under this monicker came this past July with the song “This Day”. His solo stuff is a sure departure from the upbeat radio hits of Air Dubai, but brings out the same lyrical strength we’ve come to expect. Tracks like “This Day” and “Phone Home” let us hear Jon rap more than we’ve heard on any of his previous releases, and I truly hope this change sticks, as it’s obviously a strong talent that suits him well. With great cadence, and wonderfully smart lines like “I’m feeling happier than Pharrell ever been/ walking on clouds baby this day is on ten” we’re excited to keep hearing more from this solo project. My favorite release so far has been the song “Finally it’s You” simply because of how starkly different it is from anything else I’ve ever heard Jon release. The track features no rapping, very different lyrical content, and to top it off, a beautiful violin humming through the background. The song is beautiful through and through, and you can check out the newly released music video for the track below. We love watching artists grow and change, and this new era for Jon Shockness is one I’m curious to continue to follow. If you’d like to see his work live, he’s playing a show this coming Friday night at 7pm at The Atlas Theatre. You can find more info on the Kid Astronaut Facebook page


Boston natives Bad Rabbits have been around for quite some time, and their EP Stick Up Kids has been on my iPhone since the day I first heard it in 2010. The band has toured with Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, done the Vans Warped Tour twice (in 2011 and 2014), and just came through town this past month opening for singer/songwriter Allen Stone. If you think the list of acts they’ve played with is eclectic, try listening to their music. With hints of soul, gospel, hip hop, and 80’s pop all wrapped into one neat little package, the only thing one can do to adequately process their music is dance about it. The band released their first full length American Love in 2013, and have been touring nearly the entire year in support of the album. Songs like “Booties”, “Stick Up Kids”, “We Can Roll”, and “Doin’ It” are my personal favorite tracks, but nothing in this world compares to this band’s live show. Full of choreographed dance routines, jumps off of bass drums, an insanely impressive vocal performance and more clapping than you could expect (both to keep rhythm, and for applause), I have said it time and time and time again, this band cannot be topped; they are one of my favorite live bands without question. They may have a fascination with booties, but don’t let it deter you, their music is just as fun and beautiful as the butts they showcase on their album artwork. The band only has two shows scheduled through the end of the year, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted the next time they roll through Denver. In the mean time, get your dancing shoes on and put your headphones in - it’s time to study up so you’re fully prepared to have your mind blown when you see them live. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about this band’s addictiveness, and let me be the first to welcome you into the Bad Rabbits fan community by teaching you our motto: BR ALL DAY, BAD RABBITS!

LOCALS ONLY: Ginny & The Bridge Burners | The Aggie Theatre | October 17, 2014

Ginny and The Bridge Burners, photo credit: Matt Smith

Ginny and The Bridge Burners, photo credit: Matt Smith

If you follow Ultra5280 in any sense, you know that local, Colorado music is one of our biggest focus'. We're so proud of this beautiful state that we call home, and all of the amazing talent that it produces, it's only right to take some time to highlight up and coming acts every now and again. 

This past Friday night, photographer Matt Smith headed north to the great lands of Fort Collins to watch local bands Ginny & The Bridge Burners and Hog Magundy. A great southern-style rock group, Ginny & The Bridge Burners were an excellent mix of classic rock with gospel and jazz influences. Lead singer Justine Kurtz's raspy yet pronounced voice made for an excellent vessel for the bands lyrics. Throughout the show, both guitarists took turns performing talent-laden guitar solos that changed from jazz stylings to a more alt rock type sound. Their second to last song, "Ripcord" had the crowd jamming cheering along.

Hog Magundy, photo credit: Matt Smith

Hog Magundy, photo credit: Matt Smith

Hog Magundy took to stage second, and were a bit more traditional bluegrass. With the fiddle player, banjo player, and lead guitarist all taking turns singing lead vocals, it was a unique change of scenery from the traditional "lead vocalist" setting. Although most songs sounded great, there were a few points throughout the show where many of the instruments seemed to be competing for space, making the song feel a bit too busy for our personal liking. The crowd enjoyed the set, dancing along beginning to end. 

Check out photos from the night below! 

-Matt and Maddie 

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE | The Watson Project: Air Dubai at The Vans Warped Tour

Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, so yes, fall is officially upon us. Colorado's warm days and long nights are taking their final bows for 2014, so it feels like its the perfect time to begin looking back on all the fun we had this summer. Local creative team The Watson Project came to visit the very last day of the Vans Warped Tour at Mile High Stadium, and paired up with one of our favorite local talents, Air Dubai, to capture the moment. Today we present to you the exclusive premiere of the live video/interview with Air Dubai, featuring their tracks "Soul & Body", and "Coasts". Both of these songs top our list of summer jams, and this video captures the mood and scene at Warped perfectly. Hopefully this video will tide us over through the impending winter until we can once again frolic through the night in short shorts and paisley colored tops.

Check out more from The Watson Project on their site here: www.thewatsonproject.com

Ultra5280 Artist of The Week: Inner Oceans

Monday's are usually filled with us looking through hundreds of emails and scouring the inter-webs for new music. This gem just happened to fall into our laps today, Denver based Inner Oceans have just signed to Holy Underground Management and soon will be a household name amongst the thriving Denver music scene. You can also download their 3 song EP at Bandcamp


Fronted by Griff Snyder (previously of Dovekins) and supported by a veteran cast of Denver multi-instrumentalists, this pop group has immediately displayed a knack for their forward-thinking pop songwriting that’s been catching the ears of the international blog community right off the bat.

Their first 3 song EP is available for free download through Bandcamp, and does well to showcase the depth of a project that at times blurs the lines between dream pop and shoegaze. Genre’s aside, we know you’ll enjoy.