Music | Halsey live at The Gothic Theatre | November 9, 2015

We first laid eyes on Ashley Frangipane at SXSW back in March. At the time, the artist more commonly known at Halsey was slowly beginning to build her brand based around her debut release Room 93. Her performance was quick, and although we saw the potential in her music, her live show was typical of SXSW: too quick to get a good feel for the artist we were seeing for the very first time, unsure of what to expect in the upcoming months.

Halsey at SXSW 2015 in Austin, TX (photo credit: Maddie Casey/Ultra5280)

Here we are, nearly nine months later, and Halsey has become the queen of the scene. With over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, Halsey's full-length debut Badlands landed in the #2 position on the Billboard charts during it's debut just a few weeks ago, but that sits at the bottom of an already impressive resumé. After being signed based on the success of one single, Halsey secured a coveted position opening for Imagine Dragons during their summer 2015 arena tour. Her feature on Justin Bieber's upcoming record, not to mention selling out her first headlining US tour without issue, are only continuing to move her forward. A whirlwind six months to say the least, this young pop artist has been making major waves, and we don't see it stopping anytime soon.

Her show here in Denver this past Friday was edgy, dynamic, beautiful, and perfect for her fan base. Fans arrived as early as 10:30am to sit and wait in the parking lot of The Gothic, and by our judgement? They were not let down. Her dark lyrics were complimented beautifully by the stage's dark, enticing lighting. LED panels surrounding her on stage played a variety of images, slideshows, and patterns, bringing the music to live. Moving from side to side of the stage, you could watch the audience mirror her movements as she went. Her genre of grungy, glittery, sugar-coated sadness is unique, different, but fills a void we didn't even knew existed in the music world. She may be young, but Halsey's grasp on her artistic vision is defined. Her lyrics are uniquely poetic, bringing to life the dark, and sometimes heartbreaking stories she chooses to tell. Taking a moment before breaking into the song "Roman Holiday", Halsey shared a moment with her fans to remind both them and herself that "damn Ashley, it's not that serious", bringing a new light to the show. 

Halsey performing at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, CO on 11/9 (photo credit: Maddie Casey)

Nine months certainly seemed to be enough time for Halsey's live show to grow as strong as her lyrics. Her vocal control and command of the stage was that of a tenured performer, not a 21-year old who released her first EP barely a year ago. So much has changed for this young star in 2015, and it seems that her hair color isn't the only thing continually getting brighter. Halsey will close out 2015 with the end of her Badlands tour, and continue on to Australia and Japan at the beginning of 2015. We don't know when we expect to see her back in Denver, but we can promise it will not be a performance you want to miss. 

Check out more photos here

Music | Denver Weekend Roundup: July 10 - 12, 2015.

It’s a busy weekend for music here in Denver, so let us be the first to tell you that it’s completely unacceptable for you to not go see at least one show! To try and help make the decision process easier, we’ve compiled a list of shows of varying shapes and sizes: from Red Rocks to radio festivals, down to the little “need to see” acts who are just about to blow up and the locals who always deserve your time and attention. Check this over, and see if you can’t squeak in a little live music to liven up your weekend festivities. 

If you want something BIG: KTCL 93.3 FM’s Big Gig

When: Saturday, July 11th.
Doors: 2:30pm

If you’ve been jamming to any songs currently in rotation on Denver’s top Alternative station, 93.3 FM, love a good outdoor concert, or like to blend your big names with a little local love, you couldn’t ask for a better show than the annual Big Gig. Presented by KTCL with some help from AEG, this radio station annually gathers local rockstars, national bands on the up-and-up, and pairs them up with some of the biggest names in Alternative for one massive day of shows. This year’s concert features the likes of a locals stage (featuring many of the bands from Hometown For The Holidays), Nate Ruess of fun., Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness, New Politics, Banks, Atlas Genius, and headlining is AWOLNATION. Sit back, grab a $20 beer and enjoy this eclectic lineup from the comfortable grass of Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater.
for tickets: http://www.fiddlersgreenamp.com/events/detail/274698

If you want some RED ROCKS: The Avett Brothers

When: Friday - Sunday night, July 10th - 12th.
Show start: 7:30pm on Friday/Saturday, 5:30pm Sunday. 

photo credit: Matt Smith (Ultra5280)

I must (sadly) premise this part of our list by saying that yes, all three nights of this residency from Indie/Folk/Americana superstars The Avett Brothers is already sold out. But tickets are still available via Craigslist and StubHub! if you’re interested. This band of brothers has been selling out one weekend at Red Rocks each summer for the past few years - and with good reason. The group’s harmonies are top notch, and their music varies from heartfelt, violin-riddled lullabies to leg-slappin’, Banjo filled shoe-stompers. The Avett Brothers are some of our favorite artists, and it’s a stern Ultra5280 belief that you must see them at least once, or you’re certainly missing out.
for more info: http://redrocksonline.com/concerts-events/detail/the-avett-br-7-11-2015 

If you want to say “I SAW THEM FIRST”: K.Flay

When: Saturday, July 12.
Doors: 8:00pm

I say this honestly, and from the heart: go.see.K. Flay.right.now. Well - at least on Saturday night. This brilliantly unique artist has been blowing up the internet for a few years now, while slowing growing her live presence.

Mixing brutally honest lyrics, entrancing beats, and a unique voice, K.Flay’s music is irresistible - perfect for jamming out, dancing, and my personal favorite - totally throwing down in the car while cruising on the highway, catching stares from all the people I pass. She was out on the entire Vans Warped Tour last year, and has toured with Denver darlings Air Dubai in the past - how many more reasons do I need to give you to make you? If you want a preview, check out “Can’t Sleep”, “Wishing It Was You”, or my favorite, “The Cops”. 
tickets: http://www.larimerlounge.com/event_details.cfm?blogid=1901

If you have a thing for LOCALS ONLY: The Bluebird Disctrict Music Festival

When: July 10 - 12th.
When: All Day Err Day

In it’s inaugural year, The Bluebird District Music Festival already seems to be a promising new festival rising out of the East Colfax chunk of Denver. Featuring some of our favorite locals acts like Reno Divorce, Synthetic Elements, Dirty Few, and A. Tom Collins, this festival is a great, small scale festival truly celebrating some of Denver’s best. With show happening at The Bluebird Theatre, Goosetown Tavern, Southside Bar & Kitchen, Lost Lake Lounge and Park House, easy shows with great food and drinks are available all weekend long.
For more information: http://lost-lake.com/bdmf.cfm

X-Games | Aspen | January 22-25

We recently added Lifestyle as a new section to the blog, where we will be covering things like SIA, beer festivals, Colorado Restaurant Week and whatever else sounds enticing and falls under that umbrella. So we decided that X-Games was as great of place as any to test the waters. There were famous people, frost bite, Gucci stores and absolutely no cabs. With that kind of combination, how was there any way we could not have ourselves a good time?

The highlights of the weekend consisted of: stumbling upon a pregame in Scotty Lago's apartment, watching Bobby Brown shatter his helmet, get back up and go at it again,  going to Snoop Dogg's after, after party at 5am (Sadly, Snoop was nowhere to be found but I did see his pimp mobile from a distance) and watching a 14-year old kick everybody's ass at basically anything snow related.

This year's Games had the largest turnout to date with over 45,000 people attending on Saturday night alone. This just so happened to be the night Skrillex was playing...coincidence? Methinks not. The buses were brimming with over eager tweens chugging 40s before we reached Buttermilk Mountain; it was like going to a teen dance on steroids. Skrillex was on point that night, with his entire set being televised for the masses. He was jumping around, pushing his buttons and faders and engaging the crowd. It was difficult to walk away from the show without chanting "my name is Skrillex" for the next 5 hours. Along with Skrillex we were able to watch Snoop Dogg, Chromeo and Wiz Khalifa all perform over the weekend as well, dressed in their Aspen attire and ready to appease the X-Games faithful.

Sidenote: Anyone in attendance to this year's X-Games must have seen the man with a foot-long spiked Mohawk dashing across Main Street. Either he lived right by Main, or he was just a very busy human that had to run headfirst into traffic, but we must have seen him least 6 times darting hap-haphazardly through the night.

THE RESULTS:
- Men's & Women's Ski SuperPipe Final: Simon d'Artois & Maddie Bowman
- Men's & Women's Snowboarder X Qtrs/Semis/Finals: Kevin Hill & Lindsey Jacobellis
- Snowboard Big Air: Mark McMorris
- Snowmobile Long Jump: Heath Frisby
- Men's & Women's Ski Slopestyle: Nick Goepper & Emma Dahlstrom
- Go Pro Ski Big Air: Vincent Gagnier
- Men's & women's Snowboard Slopestyle: Danny Davis, Silje Norendal

It is important to note that this was the first year that Shaun White did not place in any event. Could this X-Games mark the end of the Shaun White era? Or maybe he has been too busy focusing on his band, Bad Things, the last couple of years. Maybe after a long summer's rest he will come back rejuvenated and ready to kick ass again... Regardless, it was definitely exciting to see new people earn medals and begin to make a name for themselves in the snowsport world. Until next time X-Games, until next time.

Locals Only | Breach & Bellow Timelapse Music Video, "The Sun Will Rise"

This weeks Local's Only feature is not only a beautiful visual tribute to the state, but also a awesome showcase of our state's musical talent. Jesse Spencer is a drummer who's performed in many different groups throughout Denver's music scene over the years: The Wild After, Leash of Foxes, Ivory Circle, but recently he's released his first full-length solo record the moniker Breach & Bellow. Mr. Spencer hopped in his Jeep this past November for twelve days to explore the landscape of Colorado and all the magic it has to offer. The result of Jesse's adventure has culminated in a beautiful time-lapse video for the album's second single, "The Sun Will Rise". Featuring backing vocals from Ivory Circle front-woman Connie Hong, this video is not only a dynamic visual of the Rocky Mountains one does not usually see, but also is super cool introduction to one of Denver's newest groups. There are no dates booked to see Breach & Bellow live as of now, but check out the stunning video below and let us know what you think! 

Hometown For The Holidays, Episode 2

Tomorrow is it. They day local bands have been waiting and waiting for. At some point during tomorrow night's Not So Silent Night, the staff of KTCL will announce this year's Top Eleven contestants for 2014's Hometown For the Holidays (HTFTH) competition. We've been trying to help you all get acquainted a little early with some potential contenders for this year's show, and today our final installment before the real games begin features Denver based group Wiredogs. 

Originally hitting the scene with the daring name The Hate, Wiredogs changed their name quickly and quietly after their inception in the summer of 2013. They first submitted for Hometown For The Holidays last year, and made it into the Top Eleven with their track "Suicide Queen". Sadly, the band didn't make it into last year's Top Three, but they're back at it again this year, hoping that the glory of being crowned champions might finally be theirs. I chatted briefly with lead singer Dan Aid about what it's like being involved in this competition, the bands progress in the last year, and their brand new record, Kill The Artist Hype The Trash which will be released early next year. 
(In the following interview, questions from Ultra5280 will be marked with "MC" indicating Maddie Casey, and answers from Wiredogs will be marked with "DA" indicating Dan Aid)

MC: Hey Dan! Today we're talking a bit about Hometown For The Holidays. How many years have the Wiredogs participated in Hometown? What Keeps you coming back? 
DA: Last year was Wiredogs' first time participating in Hometown For the Holidays. We submitted again this year because it's an amazing opportunity to have your music heard by some of the biggest musical proponents in this state, and it has the potential to give you airtime on one of the biggest radio stations in the world, AND it gives you the opportunity to (possibly) play one of the largest venues in Colorado. 

MC: HTFTH sees hundreds of submissions from across the state, and has a proven track record with helping break local artists on a national scene. What benefits do you feel like a band gains from participating in an event like this? 
DA: You gain exposure. Getting anyone to listen to what you're doing these days when every fucking kid with a laptop is flooding the internet with their "creative" whatever-the-fuck is really difficult. Hometown gives you a chance to get heard and get feedback on what you're doing musically. Also, If you make top 10, KTCL plays your song for a week during prime air time, and if I'm remembering correctly, they have something like 200,000 listeners at any one time... Then if you win the whole contest, you get to play the next Not So Silent night, which is always a sold out show at 1st Bank Center. 

MC: Last year your band placed in the Top Eleven, what did you learn from that experience? Did you take any of that to heart thinking about this years submission? 
DA: I think we just submitted what we were most proud of and what resonated with us. We don't play a style of music that is very popular on radio right now, but we do play music and record songs that are honest, and thoughtful, and created with purpose. Hopefully that comes through to the listeners and the judges, regardless of perceived genre.

MC: You guys are getting ready to release a new record early next year - what can fans expect from Kill The Artist Hype The Trash?
DA: Kill The Artist Hype The Trash is agressive and honest. The whole record, from writing, to demoing, to recording, happened at a time in this band when there was a ton of transition going on. Stefan moved to Chicago, I ended a relationship and moved, Mark started a relationship, and we struggled as a band to find our relationship with each other and with the music. I think that struggle comes through on the album in some pretty weird, but profound ways. This wasn't an easy record to make. It was really personal. But I think the vulnerability of that time was captured, and I think it will resonate with listeners.

MC: We cannot wait to hear it! Finally, our locals only question - what is your bands favorite pre or post-show snack?
DA: Marquis Pizza! Mosh With It!

MC: Amen! My sentiments exactly.

Check out the bands last EP, Resistance, available on Spotify just below, and be sure to watch for our upcoming feature on their new album next month.