Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 UMS wrap-ups, pt. 3

Boot buddies
Patrick Brown’s take on this year’s UMS:
Once again, the best music festival in town has come to a close; an exhausting four days in sweltering July, loaded with more music than you can possibly see even if you caught only one song of each band, and once again I am left with the same impressions as in previous years: Denver’s music scene is an embarrassment of riches and it’s a real service to the music community at large that this festival exists, has continued at the level it is at, and that it caters so much to local musicians. And the food! Did I mention the food? So many restaurants, vendors, and food trucks put on their best faces for the four days, even if I kept getting drawn back magnetically to Socorro's Street Tacos. While there were, of course, several national acts who turned in great performances – highlighted for me by experimental hip-hoppers Shabazz Palaces, New Orleans Bounce performers Big Freedia & the Divas, and indie rockers Imperial Teen (whose drummer lives here, so we can count them as local too) – the focus of the festival is a thriving music scene and the social and musical community that the festival represents.
Esme Patterson
GoStar with Abi Miller of Wheelchair Sports Camp 
And this year, similar to previous years, I left the four days of festival already planning strategies for how to hit more music at next year’s UMS, without even knowing anything about future lineups. Of course I’m hoping that next year I’m not in a boot to heal my foot, which makes getting around quickly and nimbly a hell of a lot easier. But moving more slowly and sitting down more gave me extra time to take in individual acts – caught at least one song of 22 acts this year, down a handful from last year’s tally – and more time to soak in the ambiance, the atmosphere, and the social angle of the festival. Again, even more than getting to see Wymond Miles, Wheelchair Sports Camp, ManCub, GoStar, and the Montbello Drum Line on some of the same stages in the space of a few days, it was about who I got to hang out with at those shows, about all the businesses along that strip of Broadway coming together to help support a great bit of communal fun, about so much of Denver’s diverse music scene coming out to support each other and have that fun together. That’s something I can’t recommend strongly enough, and as Natasha noted in her blog on the UMS, it was a balm after the tragic events Thursday night, which were just starting to unspool on my cabbie’s screen on the way home, without the full consequences yet being known.

Imperial Teen
These are a few pics showcasing the diversity of music that I saw. You can see my full log of what I saw here if you’d like, though I warn that it's strictly documentary snapshot style, not done for photographic integrity:

Montbello Drumline


Adam's take on this year's UMS:
I only made it down to the UMS on Friday night and caught great sets from Black Moth Super Rainbow, Imperial Teen, Bad Luck City, and A Shoreline Dream.  But what I really want to talk about is a an artist whose set I just missed.  I got to the Skylark just as Ross Etherton and His Chariots of Judah were packing up.  Formerly of Red Cloud West, Ross has been a fixture on the Denver music scene for a long time now, but he also spent a few years back in my hometown of Cleveland, OH.  That's where I met Ross as we worked in the same bookstore together for a few months before I, coincidentally, moved out here to Denver.  Then a few years later Ross moved back.  We've been trying to reconnect for a while now and finally made it on Friday night.  So instead of running around trying to catch more bands, I hung out with Ross on the Skylark patio.  We caught each other up on the last decade of our lives as well as going over the host of mutual acquaintances we have in both Denver and Cleveland.  So why am I writing about all this when I'm supposed to be telling you about music?  Because it dawned on me later that this is what a great local music scene is all about.  More than the music itself, it's all the people you get to know and the true community that develops.  Music is where it starts and everything else flows from it.  We've got a great music scene here in Denver with a lot of great people both making the music and supporting it.  We've also got UMS, a great annual fest to show it all off.

Shabazz Palaces

Jack Brown's take on this year's UMS:

Well Thursday started out with only being able to see a hand full of acts for scant periods of time. Bad Weather California was a pleasant surprise for the evening. Kudos to the fellas for an energetic performance and a packed house. Patrick and I also caught a "retro" style set by Ginger Perry down at the Compound, I tip my hat to anyone who plays Yes, LFO, and Sheila E b2b! Thanks for the trip down memory lane Ginger!

Friday started with the sludge of Il Cattivo blasting their way through tough shards of punk inspired metal. I can see why these dudes are quickly bubbling from the underground! Next up was the sounds of Le Divorce who took us all back a bit with their 90's inspired sound. That is by all means a compliment. Over on the main stage Black Moth Super Rainbow quelled the Friday evening heat with ethereal, vocodered
rock. Just a hop back over to 3 Kings for Imperial Teen, with its upbeat sound and one of the best performances on Friday in my own opinion. 0O0OO played at midnight Friday at the Compound bringing the "witch house" sound to Denver - kinda interesting in a live setting but to be fair I got distracted so I didn't give it my full attention.

Patrick Brown, DJing at Sputnik to cap off the weekend
Saturday started with the destruction of A Place To Bury Strangers. These guys were awesome, but the set was plagued by sound problems. Native Daughters brought the doom sounds to 3 Kings and made the crowd pay – And pay they did sir! Shabazz Palaces brought this interesting psychedelic hip hop to the main stage and put on an electrifying performance. Now over to the Hi-Dive for Theesatisifaction’s set of sweaty laidback soul/hip-hop. Today's youngsters could learn a thing or two by seeing these ladies.

Sunday afternoon was punctuated by the soothing indie sounds of Esme Patterson (of Paper Bird) - good job Esme! Hot Apostles kicked out the jams at 3 Kings with 70's influenced riffs and glam style rocking. Our own Patrick Brown pumped up the indigenous African jams at Sputnik, which swung into 80's r&b jams and hip-hop. Next door Morning Clouds treated the crowd to a shoegaze style set against the heat of the afternoon. Glass Hits cranked it up to 11 with a white hot set of punk loudness with Jesus Lizard style intensity! A fine way to end a sweltering weekend.

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