Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2013 UMS Wrap Ups, pt. 2

Patrick's take on the UMS.
Essential UMS tools
Ahhh, another UMS in the bag and only now a week later am I feeling fully recovered. As always, it’s four nights in a row of great music, great camaraderie, and a celebration of a great music scene here in a great city. And it’s four nights of staying out later than I planned, which only catches up with me once it’s all over. If you’ve been there, you know how it goes – there’s never just one highlight, it’s a series of small shows that create a sampler platter of bands both local and national that you need to check out at full length next time they’re playing. Even when you attend a full 40-45 minute set, as I did a few times, especially on the opening Thursday festivities, it feels all too short. So a list of highlights of the 27 acts I managed to catch this year – Go Star, Kitty Crimes, Mudhoney, Residual Kid, Wheelchair Sports Camp and more – is only a fraction of what the whole event held. Beyond the music, there’s the social stuff – hanging for beers at Trve Brewery a couple times was as fun as any band I caught, going to a backyard or VIP after-party and just drinking in the sights (and sounds) on the streets all added up to a total experience that no simple concert review could encapsulate. And as always, I have a longer list of bands I intended to see that I didn’t get to see than the ones I got to see. But there’s always next year! And if you haven’t been – well, why the hell not? You don’t even need to know anything about the scene or what bands are cool, just check it out and go with the flow. It’s a guarantee that if you’re a music lover in this city, you’re going to run into people you know and they’ll be on their way to the next show that could be the best thing you’ve seen all year – or maybe it won’t and you’ll all decide to skip on over to the next venue where your new favorite Denver band awaits. Trust me on this one.
DJ Alf featuring guys from Epilogues

So, some impressions – Thursday seems to be turning into the connoisseur’s night. Many of the headlining weekend bands are down there hanging out and partying and listening to everybody else, so it’s very scene-heavy. And just by chance, my two favorite shows I saw all weekend were the first two things I heard this night – Joshua Trinidad’s electric jazz band Go Star, and hip-hop MC Kitty Crimes. Friday I hung with my friend Chris and bumped around all night, with the high point being main stage headliners Mudhoney, who I last saw somewhere back in about 1994 and who are better musicians and performers now than they were then. How much improved musicianship works in favor of a music style that prides itself on being loose and sloppy is of course up for debate. Saturday was an odd mix of styles, from DJ sets to folk to indie rock to hip-hop to avant-garde drones, but that’s just how diverse Denver’s scene is and I’m happy to celebrate it. Cut out for a bit because the Film Center had actress Mink Stole appearing and I couldn’t miss an opportunity to meet her (she was charming). I rolled back afterward and ended up staying out until after 3. That’s just how it goes! Sunday wrapped things up with a great batch of music from Elin Palmer, Residual Kid (amazing!), DirtY Femmes, Joshua Novak, Born in the Flood, and a house party where Ark Life was playing in a backyard. As always, it was another remarkable event and I’m eager to see how next year plays out!
Ark Life has 'em dancing at an after-party

Beth's take on the UMS.
This year was my first time attending the Underground Music Festival and it practically took place in my backyard. I had my booklet handy so that I could follow the times that my favorite bands were playing and to also know when is my 'downtime' to check out other bands that I didn't know yet. This entire plan pretty much went out the window within the first few hours on Friday. Since it was so close to me, I live one block from the main stage at Goodwill, I told all my friends that they could stop over anytime and also that we should get a few 6 packs for my fridge to save a couple bucks when not needing to be at a performance. All in all this plan worked out pretty darn well, as you may imagine. Later on Sunday, I met up with a coworker who had a written out list of the shows he wanted to see and in the time order that they occurred. This is the way that I will be doing it next year, as flipping back and forth between the pages proved to be somehow difficult. The frequent stops at my apt. for potty, water and beer breaks really gave me a sense that it was a great community get together and that my neighborhood was being blessed with so many exciting things (like all the food trucks!) and people that were excited to be out on a great weekend festival.
Joshua Trinidad's Go Star

The top acts that I saw over the weekend were: Dirty Few, Bleached, A. Tom Collins, Dirty Femmes, Residual Kid, Ian Cooke, Cults and Mudhoney. There were many others that I caught a few songs from as I visited the different venues at a leisure pace and I can't wait to do it all again next year, but even better!

Kitty Crimes crowd surfing at Blue Ice

Residual Kid rocked the Hi-Dive

This guy was on the street all weekend, but didn't always have a band to back him

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