The 2012 Underground Music Showcase displayed Denver’s greatest local bands in those bars that we’ve become so familiar with. Four days, 300 bands, and 90 plus degree weather made for a memorable weekend. Similar to the setup of SXSW in Austin, Denver’s own UMS spanned several blocks and included more than fifteen different establishments from a bar to a church; it was a weekend that paid serious homage to an incedible music scene.
The first night of the mini festival gave people a glimpse of what was in store with it's outstanding lineup that jumpstarted the weekend. Thursday brought popular bands such as Fairchildren, The Oak Creek Band, Petals of Spain, Brandon Reid, Bop Skizzum, among others.
Friday’s highlights included Sarah Slaton with guest appearances by Josh Lee of Eldren followed by The Raven and the Writing Desk, both at South Broadway Christian Church. What an interesting environment; there was an eerie peacefulness to the space that I enjoyed even though I had to watch my mouth. We made a dash from the church to the Main Stage at Goodwill just in time to catch the last 25 minutes of Big Freedia & The Divas. Holy. Ass. Everywhere. I had no idea that a couple hundred hipsters would retire their skinny jeans for booty shorts (guys not excluded) but Big Freedia brought serious ass shakin' on Friday night.
One of my favorite sets from Saturday were the guys of In The Whale, Nate Valdez and Eric Riley. Beginning their set with a sincere apology they rocked the hell out in a backyard giving it that house party feel. Churchill was pretty fantastic as well, playing some of their popular songs such as "Change" and then wow'ing the crowd with their covers of Fleetwood Mac with favorites like "Go Your Own Way" again, in a backyard. Those present were pretty fortunate to catch that show; I can't wait to see what's in store for them in the coming days. Denver welcomed Texans Michael Donner and the Southern Renaissance at the Irish Rover and following shortly after, Air Dubai had the walls shaking at the Hi-Dive as one of Denver's more well-known local bands played to a packed house starting after midnight. Even Total Ghost got into the action with a 1:00 a.m. set time that had the late party-goers spilled out onto the streets of Delite. Some big names at the main stage were A Place To Bury Strangers, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, and Shabazz Palaces.
Sunday was not the day to skip the UMS; Rachel and The Kings rocked the main stage with their first official performance as a band. Paperbird was pretty fantastic as well as Ian Cooke, and Nathaniel Rateliff who was backed by his band Fairchildren. Fans made the trek to Moe's to see Carl Carell and the Consequence as well as the handsome guys of Mr. Right. The list goes on with Atlas Sound, Reviving Cecelia, Kyle James Hauser, Attic Attack, and again the guys of In The Whale dressed to the nines ready to deliver their sermon.
I can't say it enough, we have an incredibly talented music scene in Denver. There's a flavor for everyone and with such a tight community everyone truly supports each other. I am anxious to see the growing success of these incredible musicians as well as the Underground Music Showcase. Special thanks to the sponsors of this years event, Illegal Pete's, Breckenridge Brewery, Open Air CPR, and all the volunteers who put in the long hours.
Photo Credits: Justin Schoenborn and Robert Castro