Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Berstler's UMS Wrap-Up

There are very few things better than tromping around South Broadway for four days, beer in hand, listening to new bands, and seeing some Denver regulars.  With SO MANY performances to see, it was nearly impossible to not find a time or place to dig on great music.  The 2011 UMS was a total win that, dare I say, could have been longer.  I had such a blast that I can't help, but want more UMS!  However, I can be grateful for what we got this year and just look forward to next year.  In the meantime, here are my simply put performance praises.
Thursday 7/21:
Gauntlet Hair at Hi-Dive – These guys were pretty damn fun.  They had a bit of a time getting their groove, but pulled it together long enough to make a danceable set.
Wire Faces at Hi-Dive - I chanced upon this show coming back from Club 404, where Kitten was supposed to be.  I was pleasantly surprised at how put together and talented these chaps are.  It was a great, energetic set, and I recommend checking this band out.
Royal Bangs at Hi-Dive – It took these guys a while to get warmed up, but the last three songs of their set were pretty good.
Hujje at Delite – These two guys put together a great dirty electro set that was worthy of a bigger dance floor.  It was good ole bangin' club music.
Friday 7/22:
Epilogues at Goodwill – This band is blowing up recently for a reason.  They have catchy, alt rock songs and a lot of energy on stage. 
Chimney Choir at Irish Rover – This cute bluegrass three-piece put on a great performance that was perfect to kick back a pint with. Lively fiddle playing with strong wailing vocals.
Band Bajha Brass at Skylark– HOLY WOW! This group was amazing!!! Bollywood-inspired music with a small horn section, including a tuba, a bass, two drummers, a keyboardist and some outstanding vocals! This group had the whole of Skylark moving.  Easily one of my favorite performances of the UMS!
Kingdom of Magic at 3 Kings – These guys put on an awesome, trippy set of psych-metal.  Considering the tempo of their style, I was excited to see the energy these guys performed with. 
Gardens & Villa at Hi-Dive – Another reason the UMS was amazing!  They successfully used a recorder in their indie rock set. Win.
Cat Naps (formally When I Was 12) at Irish Rover – I think this band put on my favorite performance of the UMS.  They are an adorable four-piece of indie pop-rockers from Philadelphia.   The music was light-hearted with a bite, dual female vocals and a lot of playing with accent instruments like the xylophone among others.  It was just damn fun!  And now I have a new band to obsess about. Check out their new EP here: http://thekey.xpn.org/2011/06/the-key-studio-sessions-catnaps-formally-known-as-when-i-was-12/  
ManCub at Delite – Smooth electronic dance.  ManCub put on a great set that drew an excited crowd.
Saturday 7/23:
Tulip Wars at 3 Kings – Cute Canadian band that played bluegrass-influenced rock.  They were talented and the lead singer, despite the lack of a crowd, seemed to have fun just talking to who was there. 
King Mob at Illiterate – They were fun and dancey.  I like that the lead singer owns his unique sound.
I Sank Molly Brown at Hi-Dive – drum-heavy rock with great vocals.  These guys are talented!
Photo Atlas at Hi-Dive – Definitely one of the better rock performances I saw at the UMS.  These guys professionally laid down a rockin' set that had everyone in the place moving.  
Night Sweats at Club 404 – This Salt Lake group was the best thing I saw at 404. They played out this New Wave and indie sound that was hard not to fall in love with.  I can't wait to see these guys again!
Patrick Brown at Sputnik – Oh PB, I love ya!  Thanks for spinning an amazing set of dancable world music. It made my night! 
Dendrites at TS Boards – AWESOME! Considering this HUGE band was half-crammed into a nearly toppling over truck and the other half was in the crowd, these guys put on quite the show!  Denver Ska at its finest. The whole crowd was shakin’ their asses.
Chavez y Chavez at Delite – fun electro!
Mr. Pacman at Club 404 – Crowded - from what I could hear, was pretty damn fun.
Magic Cyclops at Skylark – From what I could tell while being intoxicated outside of the Skylark, these guys were putting on a really loud, energetic set.  
Sunday 7/24:
Oliver Vanity at TS Boards – Considering the oppressive heat and the lack of a crowd, these guys tried to make the best of it.  Their fans got them popsicles.  Cute.
Khaira Arby and Her Band at Goodwill – AMAZING! Easily one of my favorite performances of the UMS.  All the way from Timbuktu, this world-renowned group kicked out the best afro-beat set that I have ever had the pleasure to watch and hear.  PLUS, she danced with a bowl, yay!
False Colours at Skylark – These guys were VERY energetic, and had some great catchy emo-like rock to throw at us.  They reminded me of early Finch albums.  Great performance.  
Ideal Fathers at Indy Ink – Loud, talented Screamo/Punk band.  They were consistently loud and hard, despite the afternoon heat turning Indy Ink into a sauna.
Galaxies at Delite – Despite the name, this is just one guy with A LOT of instruments and a great presence.  This guy had a lot of fun, dancey, experimental music to share and an amazing ability to interact with his audience.
Wheelchair Sports Camp at TS Boards – HOLY CRAP! I didn't initially intend to see these guys, assuming the name was just some ironic indy titling.  Luckily, I had a friend there.  This group was phenomenal! Comprised of a badass turntablist, a sax player, a drummer and an MC of approximately three and a half feet in a wheelchair.  Yes, that's correct.  Despite the initial novelty of the line-up and name, this group was amazingly talented. The lead's unique vocals with a sax and some great scratching made this band stand out on talent alone.  
Flashlights at Club 404 – This duo was a nice indie electro come down for my UMS experience. 
I can't stress how much fun the UMS was this year!  The crowds were enthusiastic, even in temperatures over 100 degrees, the venues were great and easily accessible, and the whole vibe was just festive. Thanks to everyone at the Denver Post who makes it happen.  I can't wait til next year! 

1 comment:

Sukh--Band Bajha Brass said...

Thanks for the kind words about Band Bajha Brass! I'm glad you came and checked us out at the Skylark, what a great night that was!