Music | Shredded Beats Music Playlist 2

With the Shredded Beats Street Festival fast approaching today we debut part two of the music playlist curated by So Gnar. Tickets are still available and going fast so be sure to cop yourself a pair. 

TWO nights of the best hip-hop & electronic dance music Denver has to offer at 5 venues?! Mark your calendars now. Tickets are now on sale! $20 starting price and two-day passes will be available. Grab your all access passes while you still can. 

Two Day Passes $40!: http://bit.ly/1E2y8ve

Music | Shredded Beats Street Festival: Artist Spotlight Goldlink

With the Shredded Beats Street Festival only a few weeks away we wanted to introduce some of the artist playing this years fest. For of those of you unfamiliar with Goldlink, he recently played a Red Bull Sound Select  performance here in Denver a few months ago. Today he is gracing the cover of XXL as part of their "2015 XXL Freshman Class". GoldLink made it off the strength of his amazing debut mixtape God Complex, which drew the attention of Rick Rubin and garnered critical acclaim. You can check him out live starting next week on his first headlining tour (dates and mixtape below). The mixtape is a musical journey that has hints of soul mixed with house. He brings the music alive with carefully orchestrated lyrics that attract the listener and delivers a unique growing element of sound. Be sure to check out Goldlink at this years Shredded Beats Street Festival taking place June 26-27. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Music | An Evening with Night Riots | Interview & Review

Spring is a great time of year to be living in Denver when music is your thing. As bands slowly make their way west towards Austin, TX for the music week of South By Southwest (SXSW), Denver tends to be one of the last stops for many groups before they plunge into the festival’s insanity. While some might think it’s a little overkill to watch the same band multiple time in the course of a few short weeks, I love getting the chance to watch artists play a proper concert before seeing what can often be disjointed, quick sets in rooms packed to the gills with festival goers. Last week I sat down with California-based Night Riots to talk about SXSW, touring, and all things Oregon Trail (yes, the crappy 90’s computer video game) before the band heads to Texas to battle the beast that is SXSW. 

photo credit: Maddie Casey

The room was moderately packed for a chilly Friday night at the Marquis Theatre when I arrived after a tedious battle with the pothole-filled streets to get downtown. It had been snowing all week, but you couldn’t tell from the warm buzz of the crowd once you got inside. “We always pick the coldest time of the year to come to Denver” guitarist Mikel joked, wrapped in a peacoat and boots as he met me at the door and walked us downstairs to meet the rest of the band. Playing that night with locals The Epilogues, the Denver music scene has become a welcome friend to Night Riots. They’ve played this city a slew of times over the past few years and were paired with The Epilogues as local support so often its lead them to ask the group to now accompany them on some tour dates through California and along the west coast. Although the band has continued to grow and change, Denver’s familiar crowd is refreshing amidst their newest endeavor: their first full national headlining tour. Kicking off on January 19th, the band will be out until the end of March, a lofty endeavor for any group regardless of size or tenure. “It’s been surprising how awesome the shows have been so far” lead singer Travis Hawley admitted to me on their green room couch. “It’s been nerve-wracking to be the headliner for the first time, but it’s going well so far”. “We think our drummer has dysentery, but he’ll pull through” guitarist Matt joked. 

The past year has seemingly been one long, eclectic experiment for the band as they played with a crazy variety of different artists throughout the year. Touring with experimental rapper K Flay, playing festivals with The Mowglis and Cage The Elephant, and even a few Saosin reunion shows in the fall, the group has certainly stretched the limits of their dynamic sound, one which I’ve been known to describe as “brooding disco meets alt-pop”. When asked about their unique sound, Hawley said “We don’t wanna write the same song every time. All these pieces, each song, should be a different story, but they’re all from the same life. We’re always trying to relate pieces that are an adventure through (coherent) lifetime.” From the simple, poppy bass lines and piano of “Young Lore” to the emotive, 80’s style lyrics of “Back to Your Love”, into the dark and mysterious tracks of their newest release, 2014’s Howl, Night Riots might not seem to “fit” any of the bills they’ve been booked on, but it’s been made clear that they are the square that can become the rectangle, not the rectangle that cannot be the square. “It’s been really interesting to watch how fans react to us in each situation” Mikel concedes to me while we chat, “It hasn’t been planned for us to play such diverse shows, but it’s certainly been surprising to see how each show goes. Not all the fans at every show connect, but there’s been a good portion of fans that have been interested in what we do. I think that K Flay’s fans were the most surprising because she’s so different from us, but then again, she has a really varied fan base to begin with.” 

photo credit: Maddie Casey

Another experiment the band tried in 2014 was their month-long residency at Hemingways, a smaller, “hipster” venue in Los Angeles. Artist residencies have for the most part become a thing of the past with the exception of legacy acts at Madison Square Garden and shows in Vegas, so for such a young band to try it out seemed curious. “It’s something that’s kinda weird to think about, but it turned out rad for us” the group says. Playing four nights throughout the month of August, the band actually toured other states in between their shows each week instead of hunkering down in the city. “We regretted building the schedule like that in the end since we were traveling and touring so much (during that time period too), but we got it to work for us. It really hyped up the (fans in) LA, and was cool to see certain fans returning for each show week to week”. 

As 2015 begins, Night Riots seem more focused on carving out new futures than they are on continuing to experiment. The group is headed south in a few weeks to Austin, TX for their second duel with the monster that is SXSW. “It’s interesting…wild…something that you just have to fully accept to make the most of” the group says when asked about the festival. “We went last year, and it was cool because there are just so many people there. Some you know, some you don’t, but you do have to have good shows to really make it worthwhile.” While the band is prepping to make solid first impressions on many down south, Denver’s familiarity with the band can be seen as one of the small pressures to keep them focusing on growth. During their set that at the Marquis, fans were singing and dancing along to each song, fully immersed in all the show had to offer. Vocalist Hawley was moving around the stage, climbing on speakers and twirling his mic stand through one of the better light displays I’ve ever seen in the tiny venue. After the group’s dynamic 45-minute set, fans called for encores despite the group already playing their current single “Contagious”. The crowd left happy at the end of the evening, although I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in attendance itching to hear new material from this group of avant-garde musicians.

Night Riots will be back in Colorado this summer during their stint on the Vans Warped Tour, but I hope that will be the last time we see them until they return with a full-length album in tow (they say they’ll record as soon as they have the chance). It’s certainly going to be a crazy week down in Austin for both the Ultra5280 team and the bands performing, but one thing i’m looking forward to is seeing Night Riots in a different setting, getting to watch new fans react to this eclectic sound that Denver has come to love like one of our own.

Celebrate Colorado's Opening Day of Winter Sports Season with Never Summer Industries and Breck Brew

As leaves turn and begin to fall, and the inevitable arrival of snow commences, excitement and anticipation for Opening Day of the winter sports season emerges across Colorado.  For the second year, Breckenridge Brewery and Never Summer Industries have teamed up for the month of November to celebrate this special time of year.  The two Colorado companies have collaborated to create another limited edition, Artist Series snowboard, which will be distributed to bars throughout the United States and given away at unique Opening Day parties.

Last year was the inaugural partnership between the original mountain town brewery and the well-established, independent snowboard company.  The program gained attention from craft beer and snowboard enthusiasts across the country.  Because of its success, Breckenridge Brewery is expanding the footprint of the program significantly, throwing several Opening Day parties in 17 of the states they distribute beer to.  It’s safe to say that this premier Colorado collaboration will be an annual tradition.

“We’re the original mountain town brewery of Colorado,” explains Todd Usry, Breckenridge Brewery Brewmaster and Director of Brewery Operations.  “This program and the relationship we’ve built with Never Summer couldn’t be more fitting.  It allows us to maintain our ski and snowboard culture that stems back to our roots at the original brewpub in Breckenridge, CO.”

The art for the 2014 collaboration snowboard was chosen amongst six different designs that were submitted by Colorado artists.  Live showcases and online voting exhibitions were held, at which point the artwork of collaborators, Josh Viola and Aaron Lovett, was chosen as this year’s Artist Series snowboard.  Inspiration for the design originated from Breckenridge Brewery’s very popular Agave Wheat, which has a Dia de los Muertos themed skull chewing on wheat for the beer label.

On November 7th, Breckenridge Brewery and Never Summer Industries will debut the snowboard at their second annual Opening Day kick-off party at Punch Bowl Social in Denver, CO.  This free parking lot party will feature the premier of Never Summer’s movie, “Dang Bud,” free ski and snowboard edgings and waxings from 7Twenty Boardshop, snowboard giveaways, and much more.

Over 300 Opening Day parties and snowboard giveaways will take place during the month of November.  Dates and locations for all of these parties can be found at BreckBrew.com/OpeningDay.

About Breckenridge Brewery
Breckenridge Brewery was founded in 1990 in Breckenridge, Colorado. In the past two decades Breckenridge Brewery has grown from a small 3,000-barrels-a-year brewpub to one of the most successful craft beer and restaurant companies in the nation. It now handcrafts more than 62,000 barrels of fresh beer annually and owns and operates six brewpubs and ale houses in the state of Colorado. For more information visit www.breckbrew.com.