Q & A With The Talent Team Behind The Underground Music Showcase

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The 2018 edition of The Underground Music Showcase is mere days away and set forth to take over the streets of South Broadway once again. Under new leadership by Two Parts the festival is one of the ever-growing music events in our country. The talent team behind the event has been hard at work booking bands, creating daunting schedules and working on making it one of the most exciting years for the fest itself. Introducing new elements while maintaining the core of the music festival will be one of the highlights this year. An array of new stages are set to debut and provide for a true music festival experience. We had a chance to chat with the amazing team behind bringing and coordinating the amazing talent we will get to see. Tickets are still available and we also have a discount code for your three day pass. Use code: ULTRA5280 for $25 off a three day weekend pass.


TOBIAS KRAUSE / UMS EVENT DIRECTOR

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U5280: Who are you excited to see this year? 1 local and 1 national.

TK: National - I am over the moon excited about seeing Parallelephants and Deezie Brown. Both from Texas, they are two of the most unique acts on the bill. Locally, Motion Trap, RUMTUM, Nasty Nachos, wait... you said one? 

U5280:  Moving from a 4 day fest to a 3 day fest, did that make it easier for
booking?

TK: Not necessarily. With shortening the festival a day, we also decided to grow and expand within the three-day period. The allowed us to focus our efforts on packing in programming within those three days!

U5280: What new elements is UMS bringing this year as opposed to years past?

TK: Stay tuned... there will be a ton of new features, activations, pop-ups and more. But, we have a dream partner in Oskar Blues -- they are an ideal partner for the UMS, and have been incredibly helpful and supportive throughout this process.

U5280: Is there plans to feature music panels, guest speakers, workshops in the future?

TK: Yes. Hell yes.

U5280: In the past it seems like crowds wouldn’t venture farther north than say The Hornet, what do you haven place that will make them want to go further out this year?

TK: Multiple venues, and two outdoor stages. There’s a ton of stuff to do up North, and I encourage EVERYONE to check out what we’ve got in store. (See map layout info here)

U5280: How has the Baker community response been to this years festival and what are some of the more common issues you face with putting a festival of this nature in the neighborhood?

TK: They’ve been great, and super supportive.

U5280: With Two Parts taking over now, what does the future of The UMS look like going forward?

TK: Stay tuned...


JAMES IRVINE / HEAD TALENT BUYER / THE UMS

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U5280: Who are you excited to see this year? 1 local and 1 national.

JI: Tough call choosing one band out of this meaty lineup…but…I’m excited to see Alvvays headline our main stage on Sunday. They were the first act we confirmed this year.  Personally I’ve been following the band for a few years now.  Their trajectory is astonishing; selling out 1,000 cap rooms across the country.  I think their vibe and aesthetic fit UMS to a T.  Also, they’re Canadian.  I love hockey. 

Hands down the local band that I’m dying to see is Tarmints.  I was very excited when Kurt Ottaway reached out for a reunion performance at UMS; anything Ottaway touches is gold.  This band blew me away when they played Larimer Lounge.  I expect nothing less.  I hope I have the legs to make their performance at Hi-Dive on Sunday night.

U5280: What challenges do you face when booking the national acts?

JI: Our biggest challenge this year was simply the shortened timeline that was given to book the nationals.  Previous years we start the booking process in October/November, but with the transition over to Two Parts, we had only 3 months to pull it off.  Even with those time constraints, we all feel extremely proud with the work we have done.

Another challenge worth pointing out is we are throwing a summer festival not on a coast.  99% of bands/agents aren’t routing thru Denver in July. They typically hold off on summer touring, to focus on soft ticketed and/or festival plays. Meaning we are booking one-offs, which can really raise the price tag to make it worth their while. However, bands/agents WANT to play the festival, so that can also even things out.  Denver in late July is an attractive destination for a band. 

U5280: What new elements is UMS bringing this year as opposed to years past?

JI: Two Parts added three additional stages this year, “Imagination Stage”, “Sesh Stage” and, “Comedy Stage”.  These stages are loaded with both national and local talent including White Denim, Night Beats, Kadhja Bonet, Holy Wave, Brothertiger, Slow Caves, Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels, Duckwrth, Oka Tygra , The Builders and the Butchers and many more.  I’m excited to see the footprint of this festival grow, and see how it’s received.  

U5280: In the past  it seems like crowds wouldn’t venture farther north than say The Hornet, what do you have in place that will make them want to go further out this year?

JI: See question #6. 

U5280: With Two Parts taking over now, what does the future of The UMS look like going forward?

JI: Very, very bright.  The entire Two Parts team is dedicated, ambitious, incredibly intuitive, and responsible.  It’s been a pleasure working with them this year.  I truly see this becoming a national destination festival on a larger level very soon.  If we keep doing things the correct way, the press will catch up.  UMS is unique; I don’t know of any other festivals that combine a hard ticketed main stage, with a street fest.  I see it as a mashup of Northside Festival or CMJ (RIP), and a traditional fest such as Hopscotch or Osheaga.  It’s really ‘the best weekend of the year’.  I’m honored to be part of it. 


KENZI EVERITT / TALENT BUYER / THE UMS

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U5280: Who are you excited to see this year? 1 local and 1 national.

KE: Locally, I can’t wait for Wheelchair Sports Camp. It’s their first time playing the festival in quite a few years, and they are such a Denver staple. Rapping over electronic beats, a trumpet run through countless FX pedals, and live drums makes for an incredible show. Catch them playing at 12am on Saturday night (technically Sunday) at Gary Lee’s!

Nationally, PPL MVR is going to be wild. If you’ve ever wanted to see three people in the Denver heat wearing yeti suits, shredding, and head banging, then you’ll want to be at the Main Stage at 4:20pm (yes) on Sunday. 

U5280: What challenges do you face when booking the national acts?

KE: We work to provide them with some extra resources especially since this isn’t a typical show on a tour – What does lodging look like? How can we get them a burrito at Illegal Pete’s? How can we help with backlining gear so they don’t have to lug everything they have with them to the venue? And what can we do to make this experience special so they come back to Denver? 

U5280: What challenges do you face when booking the local acts?

KE: There are SO MANY incredible bands in this state. I am always blown away by how much talent there is, and how many bands/musicians I discover on a consistent basis. I wish we could put everyone into UMS, but I think it would literally be two weeks long. On that note, scheduling is a whole beast because of how active all these musicians are. I’m calling you out, Carl Sorenson. We have a whole google doc just with bands Carl is in. 

U5280: How many bands are playing this year?

KE: Somewhere between 300 – 350 bands/artists. We’ve still got some surprises coming your way!

U5280: Is there plans to feature music panels, guest speakers, workshops in the future?

KE: The intersection of music with other art forms is always incredible, and it’s going to be a focus this year. Stay tuned for more schedule details!

U5280: How has the Baker community response been to this year’s festival and what are some of the more common issues you face with putting a festival of this nature in the neighborhood?

KE: One of the main goals of UMS across all parties that have directed it has been to work with the neighborhood. We couldn’t do this without the support of the Baker neighborhood, and I think everyone involved has worked hard to make it something that is kind and welcoming to its neighbors through everything from neighborhood discounted tickets to cleanup crews leaving the grounds better than we found them. 

U5280: With Two Parts taking over now, what does the future of The UMS look like going forward?

KE: UMS has always been such a unique opportunity for music discovery, and I think Two Parts has fully embraced that idea while adding in food, beer and spirits, even more visual arts, comedy, with even more to come. The festival feels like it has an incredible energy backing it up, and the future looks pretty swell. 


KYLE HARTMAN / TALENT BUYER / THE UMS

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U5280: Who are you excited to see this year? 1 local and 1 national.

KH: Local- The House of Aura. Losing Trish Keenan was a huge loss for music culture, and the shadow of Broadcast still looms large over modern indie rock. Everyone from Melody’s Echo Chamber to Toro Y Moi was influenced by her. Deerhunter’s own Bradford Cox (headlining this year’s UMS) considered her his mentor. On a personal level, I’m constantly looking for artists who capture her spirit and continue building on the path she started. After hearing The House of Aura’s debut album that’s due in the fall, I think I’ve found an artist who is interested in going deeper into some of the realms she visited. The new project from wunderkinds Derrick Bozich (Sound of Ceres), Anna Smith, and Julia Mendiolea is an ethereal beam of light straight to the brain that will send you floating off into a crystalline dream. Do not miss their debut performance at UMS. 

National- Kainalu. Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, is the recording project of Trent Prall, a former research geneticist who started Kainalu as a way to regain control of his own identity. His unique blend of tropidelic space funk crafted around masterful songwriting makes the pleasure center in your brain explode and creates a headrush that captures what it might feel like to walk into the ocean and suddenly find yourself not in the water, but flying through space. He’s assembled a four piece act to bring these songs to life on stage and the results are spellbinding. His first ever performance in Colorado is going to be something you won’t be able to get out of your head. 

U5280: What challenges do you face when booking the national acts?

KH: Booking national acts usually adds some additional hurdles as you have to figure out a lot of logistics that are not as big of a deal with local acts. For example, transporting tons of gear across the country can be tricky and requires working with our production team to figure out what gear we can provide to make it easier for artists everywhere to come out for the festival.

U5280: What challenges do you face when booking the local acts?

KH: Always and forever scheduling. We are so lucky to have an abundance of talented musicians in our Colorado community. The biggest double-edged sword is that many of them play in multiple bands. When we are scheduling performances we always have to take this into account. We want to ensure that musicians in multiple acts have enough buffer in between sets to relax and not have to worry about rushing their gear from one venue to the next. 

U5280: How many bands are playing this year?

KH: The number is in flux as we are still adding a few more acts, but we’ll have around 330+ artists this year. 

U5280: In the past it seems like crowds wouldn’t venture farther north than say The Hornet, what do you haven place that will make them want to go further out this year?

KH: This year we have two additional outdoor stages, the Imagination Stage on 2nd ave at Import Warehouse, and the Sesh Stage on 4th ave at Fentress Architects. This is going to create a very cohesive festival footprint for UMS this year. On every block from Alameda to 6th there will be something exciting happening. People are going to want to check out the beer festival happening inside the Sesh Stage, while others will be entranced by the art installations that will be springing up all around the Imagination Stage. Around the Sesh stage we have Moe’s BBQ, Banded Oak Brewing, and Baere Brewing, all fantastic venues that are going to see a lot more foot traffic

U5280: With Two Parts taking over now, what does the future of The UMS look like going forward? 

KH: It looks unbelievably bright, Two Parts creates experiences that are so intertwined with the identity Colorado is cultivating. UMS has always been a celebration of Colorado’s music and a DIY festival created by fans and artists who are truly passionate about music. These guys are master craftsmen at making DIY style events with character and that fill you with a sense of discovery. This was such a perfect fit for what UMS is about.  They can make people say, “I’ve never seen this before and it’s wonderful.” With Two Parts helming UMS, the possibilities are limitless. 

Robert Castro / Editor in Chief

Velorama Festival Set To Invade Denver Next Month

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In a little less than a month the Velorama Festival will be taking over RiNo with their finalized lineup. Modest Mouse will close out the first evening of Velorama on Friday, August 17 after performances by Slow Caves, Hop Along, and The Kills! Modest Mouse replaces Glass Animals, Glass Animals had to cancel their performance at the festival due to a serious accident their drummer was in. The seriousness of his injuries and long road of recovery ahead caused them to cancel all shows through the end of the year including ours. 

The final lineup will have Modest Mouse, The Kills, Hop Along, and Slow Caves on Friday night. Saturday will have headliner The Growlers, Cold War Kids, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Lo Moon and Brent Cowles. Rounding out the weekend will be Sunday headliner Matt and Kim, Cults, Wildermiss, Tracksuit Wedding and The Shacks.

As a loyal reader we are offering you a special discount code: 

Ultra5 for the single day Friday & Saturday passes

Ultra10 for 3 day & premium passes.

Sunday is only $10 so we aren't offing discounts on that day.

CLICK HERE

Modern Leisure's New Full Length Album Proves That Love Isn't Always Perfect

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Modern Leisure has just released their debut full length album Super Sad Rom-Com. The project is headed by Casey Banker formally of Shady Elder and The Don't and Be Carefuls.

Super Sad Rom-Com presents itself as the ultimate pop album with nods to bands such as The Shins and Death Cab For Cutie. The 12 song album takes us on a journey as Banker plays the role of story-teller for a complex look at the ups and downs of the modern day relationship. Not to shy away from his feelings Banker expresses true vulnerability in pouring his heart out as he dissects the subtle intricacies of past relationships all played out to an amazing and well produced album that has us celebrating more than hanging our heads.

The album has a handful of stand out tracks such as "Girls In Black", "Super Sad Rom-Com", and "The Lucky Ones". A true testament to well crafted lyrics and capturing the listener, Banker takes us to an all too familiar place in which we all have felt the same way at one point or another. Sit back light a few candles and make no hesitation on sending that risky two in the morning text message, after all whats the worst that can happen.

-Castro

GRiZ Electrified With His Multi-Dimensioned Live Band At Red Rocks

Grant Kwiecinski AKA GRiZ blew us away with his Live Band Performance at Red Rocks on Friday!   He assembled about a 15 person band including himself on the saxophone, his partner in crime Muzzy Bear on the guitar, surprise guest performances, back up singers, drummers of all kinds, multiple brass instruments and even a flute player! We had the pleasure of seeing them at their rehearsal the night before, but nothing prepared us for the production they put on at Red Rocks. The cohesion that all of these instruments had blended GRiZ's mostly electronic style of music with a more instrumental funk that had people dancing all night long! 

Although GRiZ has been mostly absent on social media in the past few months, we could tell the second he stepped on stage that he loved seeing all of his devoted fans. We saw so many people wearing his merchandise that says things like, "Ain't bad, Always rad", "All we need is more love" and "Good will continue." These little reminders of spreading positivity and love were seen and heard all through out his live band performance as well! 

Look out! GRiZ has a few shows coming up that you should know about

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Come one, come all! You better get excited for next weekend because it's going to be a weekend filled with amazing music! GRiZ is putting on a live band performance before his two sold out shows at Red Rocks! Get more details here. GRiZ has also decided to bless us all with two after parties following his Red Rocks shows! Get tickets to the night one after party here and night two after party tickets here. Along with all of these amazing shows, GRiZ has also done a collaboration with Great Divide Brewing Co. and will be selling his 'Chasing The Golden Hour' beer at both nights of his Red Rocks shows. Be sure to grab a cold one and get your dancing shoes on! 

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