Our 2017 UMS Highlights

Friday at Dirty Few. Photo by Alyson McClaran.

When the last weekend of July rolls around, restaurants start rearranging their tables, bars gleefully claim the phrase “You A Mess” and local music fans start loading up on the PBR. This is a familiar sight for those along South Broadway--when the Underground Music Showcase hits town, there is no holding back. Ultra5280 was able to attend the most recent rendition of the festival, taking place along along South Broadway and now, in the Kmart parking lot. July 28-31 was truly a whirlwind, but don’t worry--we’ve got the recap for you. 

DOWN TIME

Since Ultra5280 featured Down Time in one of our UMS spotlights, it was a no-brainer that we had to catch this crew, and we are sure glad we did. Alyssa Maunders has the perfect amount of sweet and sour, puncturing sugary vocals by fondly telling members of the crowd to shut up between songs. We’re looking to see more sets from this Denver band soon.

Best moment: Davey shredding those drums, oh boy.

SLOW CAVES

We are no strangers to Slow Caves here at Ultra5280--but that’s because no matter how often we see them, they kill it, every damn time. There is no other band that can compare to the energy of these four guys--singer, Jakob Mueller, is one of the most enigmatic performers coming out of Denver. It could be a Sunday at 11 AM at a nursing home, and they could still get the crowd going.

Best moment: Seeing so many other local bands come to this set. Who doesn’t love Slow Caves?

LORETTA KILL

Loretta Kill was an incredible stand out from the weekend--the band is comprised of three teenage boys who, despite their age, know how to captivate an audience, These boys are ones to watch--they’re only going to get better, and they’re already at a fantastic place to start. Loretta Kill had a strong showing at this year’s festival, but we know we’re going to be seeing them pop up everywhere now.

Best moment: A long-haired guy in the audience dancing the entire time and going...Nuts. Seriously, the entire time.

Photo by Kelly O'Keefe.

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

Not only are these guys a freaking delight off stage, their live sets are always not one to miss! The college, garage band rock vibe has us reminiscing our days of beer bong tourneys and passing out with our shoes on. Right away we were hit with the classic "Good Timers Theme" that got everyone fired up. Bassist Luke and lead guitar/lead singer Brian are always sure to go at it duel style with their guitars. They finished their set Friday at The Three Kings with their own rendition of "Teenage Wasteland." Everyone sang along as UMS is our adult wasteland. Well done guys. 

Best moment: The whole damn set was the best moment, grow up!

The most photogenic! Photo by Robert Castro.

Sur Ellz

It's hard to determine if Sur Ellz stole the entire UMS festival with his set on Friday night at Hi-Dive. We're saying, fuck yes. Usually we see Sur Ellz on stage solo with his experimental vibe. Friday night he had the homies from Air Dubai backing him. It allowed Khalil to be more animated, it really felt like a production and we lived for it!

Best moment: His Chester Bennington/Lincoln Park tribute. 

Darling Esme. Photo by Alyson McClaran.

ESME PATTERSON

If you missed this set by hometown hero, Esme Patterson, then you are out of luck. Donning a bright pink wig and a vibrant, sequined dress, Patterson is an equally vibrant performer.  This singer-songwriter that Denver can certainly be proud of. She ended her set with a touching tribute to her friend, Tyler Despres, who passed away last year. Inviting Jessica DeNicola and Maria Kohler on stage, the group sang “Beautiful Beam,” a song originally written by Tyler. 

Best moment: Esme ripping off her wig in the most dramatic fashion to reveal those iconic short locks.

 

UMS just keeps getting better and better. Despite the longer walk to the mainstage at Kmart this year, the new location allowed for more booths and moving room. There was also a shuttle offered (courtesy of Meow Wolf,) though this writer did not take advantage of this. Dozens of local favorites, as well as national acts such as Benjamin Booker, led the bill--to put it easily, it’s like Christmas in July, and us locals got a lot of presents this year. We already know that next year will somehow be even better.

Check out more of our favorite UMS photos from Ultra5280 staff Alyson McClaran and Editor in Chief Robert Castro!