Jon Shockness of Air Dubai serenades the crowd (photo credit Maddie Casey)
Hometown heroes Air Dubai know how to throw a party, and that’s exactly what they did as their Chicago friends Kids These Days came to play in Denver this past weekend for four days of shows. Air Dubai recently stopped in to do an interview with Ultra5280 about their recent successes, and told us a little bit about the “show swap” they were about to embark on with the Chicago-based band. As lead singer Jon Shockness told us, “Basically, they’ll come here and play four shows with us, and then we’ll go to their hometown”. This idea of trading dates is a great option for bands like these two, who have huge draws in their local area, but are still working on making that next step to establishing a more national following. The four days spent here in the Colorado Market went off without a hitch, and I was lucky enough to catch their last show together up in Fort Collins at The Aggie Theater on Sunday night.
Bop Skizzum delivers the funk to the Ft. Collins crowd (photo credit Maddie Casey)
Local support Bop Skizzum opened the show and definitely got the crowd moving. This was the first time the band has played in Fort Collins since the addition of new front-woman Julie Almeria, and the crowd seemed pleased with the lineup change. Playing new songs like “Promiseland”, “Heavy Petting”, as well as old favorites like “Brass in Pocket”, “I’m So Much Cooler”, and “Push”, this 7-piece funk outfit from Denver got the crowd moving and ready for the night. Your Ultra5280 staff will be covering their next big show here in Denver at the Gothic for the First Annual Nerd Prom, so be sure to come say hi and enjoy a night of nerd-rock with us!
Chicago's own Kids These Days wraps up their Colorado tour at The Aggie in Fort Collins (photo credit Maddie Casey)
This was my first time seeing or really listening to Kids These Days, and I was certainly impressed. The seven-piece group based out of Chicago is eerily similar to Air Dubai in a few ways. With the exception of Miss Macie Stewart, the band’s female vocalist and keyboard player, the group has nearly the same line-up of characters as Air Dubai, with the addition of a trombone player, which I LOVED! Their unique flavor of rap meets soul blended into a sweet, undefined genre all their own. Playing a slew of songs off of their newest EP entitled “Hard Times”, as well as their new single “Clear Eyes”, the band stole the crowd with this style unseen in Denver before. Their track “Darling” was stuck in my head the rest of the night, and was so easy to sing along to that the whole crowd seemed to be singing along. The group has played Lollapalooza, been profiled by the New York Times, and has over 16,000 “likes on Facebook”. I have a strong feeling that this group will have no trouble holding onto all of the new fans they reached over their four nights in front of over 1,500 Coloradoans. Their tour with Air Dubai started on Thursday night at The Black Sheep in Colorado, and continued on to A.F. Ray’s in Greeley, The Gothic Theater in Denver, and ended at The Aggie. With their “rock-meets-soul-meets-rap” vibe, I would love to see this band again, and hope that this newly-forged relationship with Air Dubai and Denver’s music scene brings them back soon.
Closing out the night was the one and only Air Dubai. The band hasn’t headlined a show in Denver since October’s Halloween tour where countless other big name Denver bands opened each of their five stops. The band’s massive following were hungry for more, and came out in droves to each of the shows this past weekend. Playing a perfectly balanced mix of songs from the band’s debut full-length album entitled “Wonder Age”, as well as songs off the “Day Escape” EP, fans were into the set from beginning to end. I’ve seen Air Dubai play countless shows over the past few years, and I have to say that the retro, relaxed vibes of the songs on “Day Escape” adds another level to their live performance. My personal favorite is the new song “Summer Solstice”, which guitarist Lawrence Grivich gives a summery vibe through unique guitar licks and warm tones. Vocalists Jon and Julian were on their game, and the crowd felt their energy. As Vic Mensa and other members of Kids These Days joined the group on stage for the song “Lasers”, it was clear to see how much the two groups had bonded in the past four days playing together. These two group’s musical styles could not compliment one another any better. While Air Dubai provided the pumped up, rock side of the equation, Kids These Days compliment Jon’s soulful voice with a slightly more mellow, and almost jazzy feel during some songs. I think there couldn’t have been a more perfect combination or set of bands to be sharing a bill. Time will tell how the Chicago crowd takes to our group of Denver all-stars, but if Kids These Day’s fans take to Air Dubai the same way Denver took to them, we might have to start fighting other markets to keep a consistent flow of Air Dubai shows in Denver, which isn’t really a bad thing... :)
Be sure to check out both bands on Spotify, iTunes, Facebook, whatever tickles your fancy, and let us know what you think! Hopefully we’ll be seeing them again soon.