Neck Deep Stirs Up A Frenzy At The Ogden

The night started off nice and easy with some smooth tunes brought to us by Speak Low If You Speak Love. I thoroughly enjoyed these guys a lot, it was like listening to State Champs (SPOILER ALERT: The bass player of state champs is the vocals for this band).  

After their set it was a whole new vibe to take the stage, a more energetic vibe. Creeper comes on and just starts a pit going right away then I notice the guitar player Ian comes out with a plastic bag on his head like Jason before he got his hockey mask in Friday the 13th! I think they were a good opener to start a crowd going and jumping. 

Then Seaway comes up, which I was thrilled for personally. I caught these guys once opening up two years ago and it’s pretty much what got me into their music afterwards. The thing I noticed from this set was all the crowd surfing. I mean for The Ogden and it’s layout it makes it weird to crowd surf because it goes in layers and sections so you have to be in the very bottom to do so.

Finally as Neck Deep walked on we all screamed as the opening to Judgment Day blew out our ears. As the third song came in (Gold Steps) about half way through we got kicked out of the photo pit because “there was too much crowd surfing” which I mean I get for liability but we could manage it easily. Either way, I noticed the lighting wasn’t being used fully so I was confused but as soon as Indiana Jones snippet faded in we all knew Kali Ma was about to go down. Then all the lights came into play and looked fantastic. Near the end of the set was unique because Ben came out with an acoustic guitar and started going into playing December with just a spot light on him while the crowd lit him up with phones and chanted along to the chorus.

Words and photos: Austin Voldseth

Rostam: Air Max 95s, Counting Persians, and What Makes a Great Show

What makes a great show? Is there a rubric? 

Written & photographed by Meesh Deyden

Something special must be happening when a concert photographer wants to put down her camera and be fully present at a show. About 4 songs in to Vampire Weekend alum, producer extraordinaire, Discovery co-vocalist Rostam's set at Globe Hall, I found myself retiring my shutterbug perspective for a bask-in-the-glory-of-all-that-is-holy mode of showgoing. 

Rostam & his string quartet (photographed by Meesh Deyden)

Rostam & his string quartet (photographed by Meesh Deyden)

You can tell when a show is gonna be dope even before it starts-- there are indicators. Fans shout and cheer before the performer even takes stage. Greetings amongst attendees range from blissful silent nods to full on sparks of nascent friendship. The house is packed, and no one's too drunk or too sober. It's good vibes all around. Globe Hall had all that goin Friday night, and then came the string quartet. 

Rostam's touring band is composed of a bongoes-focused percussionist and a MF string quartet. So here we are post-opener Joy Again, and here comes a MF string quartet. Now, if you know Globe Hall, you know the venue feels an awful lot like a high school auditorium with its linoleum floor and collapsed faux-wood tables lined somewhere out of the way. Take that image, add four men with their violins ready, music stands positioned just so, and you've got what looks to be the start of the most handsome high school recital ever.

This, all before any music begins. 

Rostam backstage (photographed by Meesh Deyden)

Rostam backstage (photographed by Meesh Deyden)

Rostam first played the last song off his Half-Light album, a reprise of his hit "Don't Let It Get to You," followed directly by the album's first track, "Sumer," creating an extended crescendo reflective of his conductor-like approach to structuring his live performances. This approach was also evident when he expertly guided the audience in singing the beat for "Rudy." We weren't on time, so, being the producer/conductor he is, kindly advised us to start over and he'd "lead [us] back in."

Belting along seamlessly now, and almost as sweetly as Rostam's electro-modified vocals, fans bobbed and jived to the singer who seemed to smile with every lyric. 

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Mid way through the set, Rostam, who is of Iranian heritage, posed a query for the snugly packed crowd, "How many Persians in the audience?" Denver, though white af, still boasted 1, with the dude exclaiming, "I'm the only one!" to a now giggling audience. Rostam, touring much of the mid-west recently, responded that "in Minneapolis there was one, but she was my cousin." And while this interaction may seem insignificant, lighthearted engagement between performer and audience about race & ethnicity in America in 2018 is pretty damn spectacular. 

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Now if all this isn't already the makings of a good show, Rostam has to go and play his harmonica, repeatedly caress his mic stand, call for the lights to dim for a song that heralds "everyone of us has felt the lights go down," and bring an encore that showed us B side material (a cover of Nick Drake's 1971 Pink Moon) and a "brand fucking new song" that'll surely grace the charts with its lusty lyric "we are sweating with no clothes on."

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So yea, I put down my camera. I noted his slick Air Max 95s, dutifully appreciated them like my editor in chief taught me, and I enjoyed the show. 

You can stay updated with Rostam's latest here

Denver's Best Kept Secret: Adiel Mitchell Is Just Getting Started

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Adiel Lee Mitchell is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, music producer, and actor based out of Aurora, CO. He drops his second solo project, About Last Night  on February 15th, 2018. 

The release comes almost two years after the singer/songwriter's departure from the bubblegum pop internet phenomenon, Two Worlds (which currently has over 81K subscribers, 5.5M views on YouTube, and over 22M streams on Spotify). In 2017 he released the experimental, chill-wave "Two:Thirty EP" where he explored the smoother sounds of R&B. This year, he raises the stakes on  the "About Last Night" EP, enlisting the production genius of DMD the Producer and Davey Remix to develop a sound that manages to exist in both a contemporary Pop and nostalgic 90s Hip Hop/ R&B musical space. 
 
As a band, Two Worlds released countless covers and originals on YouTube as well as video collaborations with other major YouTubers (like Tyler Ward, Eppic, Lindsay Sterling, etc.) to create a hefty internet following. Their debut EP, Playtime, peaked at number 11 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts.  

Shortly after, as a band, Two Worlds was selected to appear on  VH1 and Universal Music Group's Republic Records’ unprecedented 24-hour livestream event “Make A Band Famous” where they were personally coached by Gym Class Heroes frontman, Travie McCoy, into the competition’s final rounds.  The event revamped Two Worlds’ love for original music and their success lit a fire under Adiel’s intention to pursue a career in the industry as an artist. Playtime was over.

After parting ways with his bandmate in 2016, Adiel began his pursuit of a solo music career.  In 2017 he released the self-produced Two:Thirty EP where he explored his songwriting skills and the sultry sounds of Pop/R&B. In 2018, the much anticipated About Last Night EP, features the hit songs, “Black Dress” and “2nd Chances”.

Adiel Lee Mitchell is a supernova and he’s winning the music industry over with his irresistible charm and raw, uncorrupted talent.  In the same musical vein as pop music superstars like Bruno Mars and Miguel, his music is infectious as it is introspective. Once you've taken a sip of his musical wit, you won't easily forget it..

Black Star Performed One For The Ages This Past Weekend In Denver

The history of rap will go down with the mention of certain individuals, eras, but most importantly albums that defined what the genre was all about. Released in 1998 Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star defined a movement for one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time. The album played heavy on the political and conscious stigmas that were present in the late 90's. Unfortunately it was the only album the duo would ever come out with. Both Mos Def and Talib Kweli went on to enjoy commercial success as individuals spanning an array of solo projects and leaving the door open for another album (which coincidentally was announced by Yasiin Bey/Mos Def later on that evening at a Madlib show across town). For many in attendance it was an opportunity to listen to two of the greatest lyrical emcees go back and forth playing out the tracklist from one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. We will ever get to see Black Star come through town again, I would think so especially if a new album is on the way. The 8th Light was definitely shining bright on Saturday night, we hope it never dims.