Denver's Largest Music Festival
Coors Light Presents Westword Music Showcase
Dillon Francis, Matt and Kim, Cold War Kids, New Politics, Brick + Mortar, Black Pistol Fire, Chef'Special, Grizfolk
1100 Acoma Street
Doors 11:30 AM / Show 12:00 PM (event ends at 10:00 PM)
This event is all ages
Coors Light Presents Westword Music Showcase
The Westword Music Showcase returns Saturday, June 25! Our 22nd annual festival will be bigger and better than ever, with national headliners Dillon Francis, Matt and Kim, Cold War Kids, New Politics, HEALTH, Brick + Mortar, Black Pistol Fire, Grizfolk, Chef'Special, 888 and 100+ local bands performing at more than a dozen venues throughout the Golden Triangle, including two main stages.
On sale now!
I'm Dillon Francis, I'm from Los Angeles and I'm 25 years old. If you want to know more about me you can follow me @DILLONFRANCIS or go to Facebook or my Tumblr 666fuckingdie.tumblr.com. I probably won't do an interview or photo shoot but here is an amazing picture of a cat. http://instagr.am/p/ZIgPg/ I love the Internet and pissing off your Mom and Dad (especially if they're hippies).
Cold War Kids
Ten years have come and gone since Cold War Kids first took to the stage in their homegrown Southern California scene. Time is typically unkind to indie rock bands. So how is that Cold War Kids are still here in 2014, selling out tours and releasing their fifth album in a decade amidst these 40 seasons of torrential fate winds, while so many of their peers have vanished?
"We worked really fucking hard, that's the answer," says Nathan Willett. "We worked really hard and we were successful, which is freakishly impossible, and we should embrace it. That's our story."
From his post at the front, Willett—along with the band's bassist and visual director Matt Maust—has led Cold War Kids through the tricky 21st century rock and roll landscape, soaring over the peaks and facing the valleys head-on while carving out a place of the band's own. Reaping sky-high praise from a mid-2000s blogosphere then growing wings as a live show juggernaut, they stand now with their fifth studio album Hold My Home as both a different animal and an unaltered beast all at once.
The band wrote and recorded the album in their own San Pedro studio, with guitarist Dann Gallucci and Dear Miss Lonelyhearts collaborator Lars Stalfors at the production helm. It is at the same time a more pure and also more bombastic album than anything they have ever made, utilizing their environment, experience, energy and cohesion while still driving home the familiar Cold War Kids sound that has been honed and perfected over this past decade. "This record is a testament to some of my strengths—loving words and stories—but also getting out the other side and creating a fun song that is in the spirit of the band," says Willett. "This fifth record is probably the most simple, in a way, since the first one."
Cold War Kids began as a four-piece of college friends but has undergone a couple of lineup changes in the past few years, from the fulltime addition of guitarist/producer Gallucci (Modest Mouse, Murder City Devils) to the departure of two original members, including most recently drummer Matt Aveiro. Replacing Aveiro on the album and on tour is seasoned veteran Joe Plummer (The Shins, Modest Mouse, Mister Heavenly), and also onboard is touring keyboardist/vocalist Matthew Schwartz. Willett admits the alterations, while not easy, have been for the best. "For a band getting past that several-year hump, everyone figures out their role or contributions and are either content or not. The idea of what we're doing evolved. It was the right kind of work for Maust and for me. We're on the same tip that way; we want to live this artistic life."
By now, it's clear that Cold War Kids starts and ends with Willett, Maust and Gallucci, the creative yin and yang and three-chambered heart of the band. Willett stars as reluctant leader, like Moses in the wilderness, the cerebral center and refined song-crafter, shouldering responsibility; Maust is the spontaneous punk rock locomotive, constantly pushing the group forward as the conducting engine of their artistic spirit; Gallucci, who worked for Cold War Kids doing live sound for three years before officially joining, has the wide experience, taste and encyclopedic knowledge of music to make it all click. ("No one knows the sound of this band better than Dann," says Willett. "He's opened many doors for us.") Together, they are the perfect complement; to wit, when Willett and Maust formed the side-project French Style Furs last year, that experiment only brought more energy and ideas to Cold War Kids.
"French Style Furs showed us how fun it needs to be making a record," says Willett. "And that sometimes you have to tear something off to create a new energy."
The rounding out of their main project's lineup has created a dream team of sorts, hitting on all cylinders. As Willett says, "We have everything we need: hunger, energy, guys that come from bigger bands who know how things should work… There's a lot of space for these guys as musicians to be creative, but we have our musical common ground in that we're serving the song. As Maust understands about art, you elevate it to a place where it's bigger than you and you serve it."
The one-two elevated punch that launches Hold My Home is undoubtedly the band's strongest leadoff since Robbers & Cowards. "All This Could Be Yours," the first single, packs influences from Patti Smith and Them with its chugging piano chords and sing-along refrain, while the second song, "First," is perhaps their biggest sound yet. One of the final songs to be completed and originally intended as a B-side, Willett calls "First" a "morning-after song with the usual Cold War Kids self-doubt: 'Who am I, what am I doing, who are these people, do they love me, do I love myself?' The songs that strike a nerve emotionally are the vulnerable ones. But it got an immediate reaction. I want to still learn what roads I can go down that are working."
"Hotel Anywhere" is an escape from expectations and responsibility, a song inspired by an energetic experience listening to Oasis in the van after a gig. "There was this sense of abandon," says Willett, "and I realized that's what we feed off of as a band, that kind of energy that's not cerebral. I feed off of Leonard Cohen but I feed off a good rocker, too. 'Hotel Anywhere' has a space and time and it's poetic, but it has some Oasis drunken pub fun."
"Harold Bloom" is an introspective number named after one of literature's foremost critics and inspired in part by a confrontational moment in a John Lennon documentary. A torch song of sorts, it toes the line of the artist's obligation to let go, regardless of who may be watching closely, while cautioning to not "lift your heroes up so high/that you can't touch." "You cannot let the potential for criticism come before your own creative release," says Willett. "You have to make mistakes, and run forward knowing you may trip. Powerful art often happens accidentally and I have to work to make myself that way. I understand the dynamic of needing criticism or self-awareness but I am reminding myself to be childlike about it."
In that sense, Willett and Cold War Kids have circled back to the beginning, as self-sufficient artists creating for the sheer love and joy of creation, surviving and thriving as they go, running off of the same steam they started on. Picking up some essentials along the way, they remain, ultimately, themselves—exemplified by the title track. "It's about battening down the hatches when trouble comes and seeking control in a chaotic world," says Willett. "To 'hold my home/where the seasons never change.'
"We come from that time of bands that either don't exist anymore or do in some smaller form. We're somewhere in this middle ground, which is really great because we still get to do exactly what we want. In that way it does come back to Maust and me. We've existed 10 years and five records, we're still making art that is very vulnerable and singular but we are ambitious and honest with ourselves, knowing that we want success and to reach people and have them understand our art. There's something great that comes from having to knock on doors, and some of that hunger is back in this record. That's where depth comes from, when you can tap into that place that has you digging deep and trying to find something true. I think Hold My Home is about all those things."
Rambunctious, Danish indie rockers New Politics formed in the late 2000s around the talents of vocalist David Boyd, guitarist/vocalist/keyboard player Søren H, and drummer Poul Amaliel. The band's high-energy, guitar-driven blend of punk, pop, and electronically induced dance rock (Boyd specializes in wildly unpredictable stage posturing) eventually caught the ears (and eyes) of RCA, who signed the group in 2009. Fearing American anonymity, the band relocated to New York City, or more specifically, the indie rock center of the universe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their self-titled debut full-length was released in July of 2010.
Brick + Mortar
Brick + Mortar is a two-piece indie pop outfit from Asbury Park, NJ. The duo consists of Brandon Asraf (guitars/vocals/programming) and John Tacon(drums/programming). Best described as controlled chaos, the band combines choppy rhythms, smooth bass lines, tempestuous drumming and honest lyrics, all of which culminates in something that is just as likely to show up on an indie up-and-comers list as it is to show up on a DJ's playlist – something that is evidenced in the band's role as a remix magnet for artists such as Baauer. Brick + Mortar is one of the few bands who can conjure up images of both carousels and cocaine, combining dancy with dark and pop with despair.
Coming off of the release of their EP, "BANGS," Brick + Mortar is touring relentlessly, opening for Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop, and Jimmy Eat World, as well as performing in the summer festival circuit at mainstays including Made in America, Loufest, and Lollapalooza.
Black Pistol Fire
"Sleep on these guys at your own risk, because what they did to BMI on Friday afternoon was unholy... leaving a trail of scorched earth and melted minds."
Consequence of Sound, Lollapalooza 2015
Black Pistol Fire is a high octane rock duo based out of Austin, Texas by way of Toronto, Canada; composed of Kevin McKeown on guitar/lead vocals and Eric Owen on drums. Drawing inspiration from blues, R&B and rock greats such as Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, Buddy Holly and Muddy Waters, BPF's gritty and dynamic performances are fueled by undeniable musicianship.
Dubbed the "next big thing" by Huffington Post after SXSW 2013, BPF has developed a reputation for their untamed live performances. Described as "Pure fire on stage"(Degenrefy), they are quickly becoming festival veterans, including performances at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch Music Festival, Shaky Knees and Governor's Ball, among others.
After Lollapalooza 2015, Yahoo Music described Black Pistol Fire as "a power duo that can almost match the power and intensity of the massive rock sounds of the likes of Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac... in a breakout set."
Black Pistol Fire has shared the stage with acts like Gary Clark Jr, Weezer, Heart, Wolfmother, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Band of Skulls. Their signature sound has been featured throughout television and entertainment. Their single, "Show Pony" was featured in the Ted 2 official trailer and they performed their song "Blue Eye Commotion" in a national T Mobile TV ad. Their music can also be heard in Madden '15 and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 video games and in numerous TV shows including Sons of Anarchy, Castle and About a Boy.
"Black Pistol Fire... were, by far, the best band that played LouFest... This was the craziest I've seen any of the crowds at the festival... Drummer Eric Owen, shirtless and wrists wrapped, pounded the skins like he was summoning a devil. McKeown stomps so hard during his rough and intricate dirty blues, you thought he would make a hole in the stage... A must see." KDHX (St Louis), Loufest 2014
Chef'Special, that's one tasty cocktail of bouncing Hiphop, pounding Rock, catchy Pop and laidback Reggae. We're talking about a five-piece band from Haarlem the Netherlands that is renowned for its incredibly energetic and dynamic live show.
After the release of their debut album 'One For The Mrs.' in March 2011 the band became 3FM Serious Talent and played an extensive amount of festival shows in the Netherlands including Lowlands and Noorderslag. With their singles 'Birds', 'Scribblin' and 'My Night Off' the band managed to interest the Netherlands more and more. A completely sold-out clubtour and Deluxe shows featuring renowned Dutch artists followed. More recently Chef'Special became house band for Holland's most popular tv show De Wereld Draait Door and was nominated for three 3FM awards: Serious Talent, Best Newcomer and Best Live Act.
Now, more major and international festivals such as Pinkpop and Sziget are lining up for another busy summer. In between shows the band is currently finishing up their second album, the next step in Chef'Special's masterplan 'to conquer the world!'
Grizfolk, an alternative rock quintet, has been catapulted into the spotlight by a distinctive sound that forges sharp, raw vocals with edgy electronic textures and heavy guitar and drums. KCRW's Jason Bentley championed Grizfolk as one of his favorite new bands inviting them to appear on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic", Spotify put them on its list of Artists to Watch for 2014, and alt-rock chart-topper Bastille handpicked Grizfolk to open on its fall 2014 arena tour. "The Struggle," from Grizfolk's 2014 EP From The Spark (Virgin Records), introduced the band at radio stations across the country early in 2014, and is followed by the driving pulse of the band's first modern rock single "Hymnals." Remix veteran RAC also released his version of "The Struggle,"which quickly climbed to #1 on Hype Machine.
Formed in Los Angeles, the members of Grizfolk come from two different continents and vastly disparate musical backgrounds. Indie rock singer Adam Roth left the small Florida town he grew up in and headed west about the same time that Swedish producers Fredrik Eriksson and Sebastian Fritze decided to trade the snowdrifts of Stockholm for the palm trees of Southern California. After marrying the effortless range of Adam's heartfelt vocals with Fredrik's piercing guitar and the harmonizing keys of Sebastian, Grizfolk expanded to include the similarly alt-rock-minded Bill Delia and Brendan James.
The band has been winning acclaim for its electrifying performances and striking songs ever since. The LA Weekly praised Grizfolk's "lyrically vivid stories" and "hook heavy power," and The Burning Ear described "Hymnals" as 'riding an unstoppable wave of percussion, keys, guitar, and singer Adam Roth's epic vocals." Grizfolk wrote and recorded "Way Back When," a rocking celebration for the end title sequence of DreamWorks' Mr. Peabody & Sherman and performed at the "Film on the Rocks" series at Colorado's legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The band's music has already been licensed by MTV's "Generation Cryo," The CW, and the Hard Rock Hotel's "Sound of Your Stay" program. In addition to touring with Bastille, Grizfolk has opened for many other artists on the alternative circuit, including Haim and Wild Cub.