Phantogram Gives Us A Glimpse Of New Material

What better way to kick off opening month of the Mission Ballroom than new music from one of our favorite bands Phantogram. The duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter have been busy in the studio making new music including a few singles which are out now including Mister Impossible and Into Happiness. Relying on a surplus of heavy synths and jangling guitar play the duo has kept to the formula with making only a few minor tweaks to the sound we have all come to love. Their Mission Ballroom performance was one of three stops in our fair state as they also played The Stanley Hotel and Mishawaka Amphitheatre. They also managed to fit in a DJ set after their performance at Mission at Larimer Lounge. The band production has grown as well as a drop down curtain similar to one they had a few years ago on another tour flanked the stage. The New York duo had always had a penchant for making us dance and Sunday night was no different as they ripped through their set and complimented Colorado on the new venue as Barthel mentioned the shiny new digs.

Words and Image-Robert Castro

Gods of Summer Tour ft. Ra Ra Riot, Jimmy Eat World and Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

On a cold rainy Saturday, Denver witnessed the Gods of Summer Tour featuring Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World. Anybody growing up in the mid to late nineties got to witness two of music post grunge pioneers. The tour stopped at Levitt Pavilion this past Saturday, with rain forecasted throughout the night concert fans got lucky as the stormed only played havoc for about 20 minutes before the skies cleared and the bands belted out all the classics we have come to love. Ra Ra Riot opened up the festivities to get things started. Followed shortly by the band from Tempe, Arizona. Jim Adkins and company rallied in the rain to give us a dose of nostalgia from albums such as Bleed America, Static Prevails and Futures. Fan favorites included “The Middle”, “Sweetness” and “Pain”. The band has maintained its cult following for years now and luckily for us we have had the chance to follow them throughout their fabled careers.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World slaying in front of a packed Levitt house. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

As the rain stopped it was time for bay area rockers Third Eye Blind to hit the stage. Adorned in a bright yellow hoodie with matching sneakers frontman Stephan Jenkins and company opened with “Screamer”, which happens to be the name of their forthcoming album set to drop in July. Playing out like the soundtrack to any 90’s teen movie the band ripped through classics such as “Never Let You Go”, “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper”. The band managed to show its relevance with Jenkins commanding the stage, some brief audience banter about the show feeling like a basement show due to its intimate setting and lack of production lighting (weather uncertainties caused them to stay in their trailers). For some it was a show that featured two bands that had a major impact in their teenage adolescent years, while others basked in the comfort knowing that good music still exists even if they achieved popularity in the 90’s.

Ra Ra Riot (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

J. Lo Dazzles In Denver With Her It's My Party Tour

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Jennifer Lopez is currently in the midst of her current tour rightfully named the It’s My Party Tour. The party invaded Denver’s Pepsi Center this past Wednesday night as the atmosphere came to life via an amazing glamorous production. For me personally I was sharing my own birthday so the whole night seemed surreal and a perfect way to celebrate. Now we’ve all know Lopez from her television/film/dance background, seeing her live proved to be worthy as she proved to be one of the industry’s most charismatic artist. With a production featuring lights, balloons, smoke, pyro, and a hanging dazzling chandelier that dropped to the center of the stage, there wasn’t a single vantage point in the whole arena that didn’t warrant the price of admission. That as well as the numerous costumes and outfits she graced the crowd with. Jaw dropping ensembles paired perfectly with the production giving each song even more meaning.

Lopez has recently shined with her collaborations with fellow latino artist such as Pitbull, Bad Bunny, and Cardi B. In fact the mostly dominant latino crowd ate up the celebration as they sang word for word from her vast catalog. Spanish hits such as “Dinero”, “Te Guste”, “Te Bote” and “El Anillo”, all set off impromptu dance parties across the floor and up and down the aisles.

She did manage to reach back into the archives with fan favorites we have come to love such as “Get Right”, “I’m Real”, and “Jenny From the Block”. It was those songs that introduced the world to Jennifer Lopez and seeing them come to life with amazing pageantry reminded us how far J. Lo has come. Much of the credit to her live performances has to go to the amazing dancers she has brought on this tour, a former fly-girl herself, Lopez meshed amazingly well with each choreographed routine.

J. Lo dazzles in Denver. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

J. Lo dazzles in Denver. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

One of the most touching parts of the show was when she brought out her daughter Emme for their version of “Limitless/Titanium”. It’s heartfelt moments such as that which enables Lopez to control the show from an all out dance party to a more sincere moment at the drop of a dime.

The consensus amongst the crowd as they exited the aisles was a shared admiration for what they had just witnessed. For me it felt more personal as I mentioned it was my birthday and I felt like the whole show was dedicated to me, an amazing way to celebrate my day.

Anderson .Paak Delivers the Show Of The Year (so far...)

Anderson .Paak looks up in awe off the Red Rocks crowd. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

We have reached the almost mid-way part of the year, and usually about this time we get to witness a show that is deemed as an early front-runner for show of the year. Friday night Anderson . Paak may have easily won that honor. The Best Teef In The Game Tour as it is aptly titled stormed into Red Rocks on Friday night. Getting the evening started was Colorado favorite Thundercat who ripped through baselines like a bat out of hell. Next up was Earl Sweatshirt who’s lyrical prowess was appreciated by all.

The stage was set for .Paak as a silhouette emerged behind a LED box with only him and a drum set barely visible as the flames that adorned the stage lit up as he slowly rose up and appeared above above the stage. Flanked by his amazing band The Free Nationals the California native ripped through his extensive catalog of hits from all four of his albums (aptly named for California cities). Crowd favorites included “Come Down”, “Glowed Up” (Kaytranada Cover), “Bubblin”, “Come Home”. Yielding his biggest production to date, .Paak showed all 9,000 plus in attendance why he sone of the most versatile performers in the business. He showcased his drumming skills on a few of the songs and left a lasting impression with a tasteful tribute to the late Mac Miller to end his set. All in all the buzz after the show was felt with a positive vibe knowing that we had just witnessed a show for the ages.

SETLIST: Heart Don’t stand A Chance | Saviers Road | Come Down | Tints | King James | 6 Summers | Glowed Up (Kaytranada Cover ) | Smile | Reachin’ 2 Much | Time | Make It Better | Put Me Thru | Anywhere | Might Be | Trippy | The Waters | Jet Black | Suede | Bubblin’ | Milk n’ Honey | Come Home | ENCORE: Am I Wrong | Lite Weight | Dang (Mac Miller Cover)

Images and Words: Robert Castro


The Kali and Jorja Tour Arrives In Denver

Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis perform in Denver on Saturday night. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

As the weather starts to heat up in Denver, the temperature inside the Fillmore Auditorium was already Summer-like this past Saturday night. The co-headlining tour of Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith made a stop to a packed house. The Kali and Jorja Tour kicked off with Kali Uchis going first. The Colombian-American sultry singer has made a name for herself the last few years with her work as a solo artist and frequent collaborations with the likes of Tyler the Creator, Gorillaz, Daniel Caesar and more. Last year she released her full length debut album Isolation to much acclaim. She played a few songs off Isolation as well as a couple note-worthy covers of Beautiful by Pharrell Williams and Creep by Radiohead. Kali was born to be an entertainer and she showcased that as she won over the crowd with her sultry dance moves as she owned every inch of the stage.

Kali Uchis gave the crowd what they deserved. (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)

After a quick change over Jorja Smith came out to a raucous ovation as she got right into her opening song Teenage Fantasy. The English R&B singer who cites Amy Winehouse as one of her biggest influences ripped through her set with an almost hypnotic appeal that resonated with her jazz laced production and heartfelt lyrics. Smith dazzled with Lost and Found setting the whole venue into a trance like vibe as she showed her vulnerability in capturing the essence and feel of the emotional song. As an encore Smith brought out Uchis as they performed a few medleys including their song Tyrant. They playfully fed off each others energy to end the night in grand fashion as they both exited hand in hand to a loud applause.

Jorja Smith captivated during her set. (Photo credit: Robert Castro)

Words and images: Robert Castro