Anthony Ruptak, Mike Mangione
3131 Walnut St.
Denver, CO, 80205
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
"I've invested everything I have into the music," says Brandon Decker. "Energetically, emotionally, financially, everything has gone back into my art and growing as an artist."
It's with a wry wink at his bank account, then, that Decker named his new career-spanning album Into The Red. Primarily comprising tracks from the six studio records he's released under the name decker. since 2009, Into The Red offers a bird's eye view of Decker's remarkable journey as a fearless songwriter and relentless performer. The collection reveals him to be a craftsman of the highest caliber, one who's carved a bittersweet catalog of heartrending gems out of the unforgiving stone that is a lifetime spent pursuing dreams. He writes what The Dallas Morning News has described as "dramatic, emotionally enveloping songs," which is to say that his music transports you, grabs you by the collar and takes you on a journey.
"Everything about what we do as artists needs to be about an experience, about making people feel and think," he explains. "The reason to perform is to inspire."
For Decker, inspiration most often comes from the natural beauty that surrounds him in his adopted hometown of Sedona, Arizona. Into The Red's title also serves as a not-so-subtle tip of the cap to his fascination with the area's distinctive geology.
"Sedona is this red rock land that looks like Mars," says Decker. "I grew up in the Midwest and I've been all over the place, but Sedona is the first place that really felt like home. I don't think I've ever really written a song outside of Sedona. It's this fertile little embryo for creation."
When Decker first moved to the small desert town roughly eight years ago, he had little more than ambition to his name. Working by himself in a makeshift bedroom studio, he recorded his 2009 debut, Long Days, on a shoestring budget. He followed it up with critically acclaimed album after critically acclaimed album, writing and recording at the extraordinary clip of nearly a record-per-year. As Decker's songwriting progressed, so did decker.'s lineup, and the project grew to encompass additional musicians, bolder arrangements, and more sophisticated recording techniques as it garnered love from press and radio around the country.
Magnet raved that Decker's music "bursts with emotion at every edge," while Seattle NPR affiliate KEXP said his brand of "fevered guitar licks, crashing drums, and bluesy storytelling…gives Jack White a run for his money," and The Phoenix New Times fell for his "fiery passion," adding that decker. has "a vision unlike any other band these days." Critics were quick to pick up on the influence of the desert in the music, with No Depression hailing Decker's ability to blend "dark mystic lyrics and off-kilter attitude with taut musicianship and psychedelic romanticism," and The San Francisco Bay Guardian dubbing his songs "dusty, moody, lonely, and super atmospheric."
There's nothing particularly mysterious about Into The Red album opener "Matchstick Man," though. It's a brand new, driving rocker with a searing message about the troubled times we find ourselves living in today. In the best tradition of 70's Neil Young (who famously traveled "out of the blue and into the black"), "Matchstick Man" is a protest song that holds nothing back. It also serves as a declaration of artistic intent for Into The Red, announcing from the outset that this isn't simply a Best-Of collection, but rather a vital, timely album populated by a cast of distinctly modern, relevant characters.
On the fingerpicked, darkly orchestrated "Patsy" (from the 2015 album of the same title), Decker crafts a portrait of the down-and-out everyman, while 2013's psychedelic "Shadow Days" grapples with the darkness of addiction and the dissolution of a relationship, and the biting doo-wop of "O.D.B." faces off against the naysayers who whisper behind backs. The production on the collection varies wildly—from the hip-hop drum loops of the minimalist "In The Same Boat" to the ornate, horn and string-band grandeur of "Sun, Shine In"—but Decker's indelible voice and singular perspective tie it all together. His uniquely crooked vision colors everything he touches, and it enables him to put his own unique stamp on a cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which is mashed up here with The Doors' "5 To 1" in a brand new recording.
"I was a big Doors fan as a kid, but I spent twenty years away from them," says Decker. "Now I've come back with a different appreciation. I feel like everything those guys were about during their time was their own kind of resistance, and that felt like a pertinent thing for us to tap into right now in the Trump era."
Into The Red also includes a pair of tracks from decker.'s most recent studio release, 2016's Snake River Blues, which Blurt called "borderline brilliant" in a five-star review. The two tracks demonstrate both sides of Decker's songwriting instincts, with "The Phantom" stretching out into a sweeping, six-minute, multi-part epic, and the pulse-pounding "Holy Ghost" clocking in at a taught, punchy, three minutes as it revels in the kind of frantic desperation that can only come from a lifetime spent in transit.
Snake River Blues is also the title of the new decker. documentary directed by Matty Steinkamp and due out later this year. Capturing everything from the making of the album to a whirlwind tour of the West to a month-long residency in NYC to mark the record's release, the film chronicles a year in the life of decker. and offers an unvarnished look at the setbacks and triumphs of life as an independent musician.
"Matty came to me and said I want to make a film about what you're doing because I believe in you," remembers Decker. "He just embedded with us for the better part of that year. It was strange because, you know, it's one thing when you make a music video and you're playing in front of the camera, but to have the cameras around you all the time was a new experience."
The result is a raw, honest film that, in conjunction with Into The Red, provides a deeper understanding not only of Brandon Decker the artist, but also Brandon Decker the man, the dreamer who took a job digging trenches in the Arizona summer with a pickaxe and a shovel in order to finance his studio time, the single father who pushes himself to the brink in order to balance the responsibilities of family and career, the inexorable touring machine who managed to perform a staggering twenty shows in twenty-three days in New York city alone.
"There's been a million opportunities to surrender," reflects Decker. "The biggest takeaway I have looking back on the past near-decade is that I'm just proud and honored that I'm still in the game. I always liked that line in Leonard Cohen's 'Chelsea Hotel #2' where he's talking about the workers in song. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I've continued to do the work and develop as a person and an artist and a songwriter."
By those measures, Brandon Decker is a very rich man indeed.
Anthony Ruptak has never been content with doing things the way they should be done. Or rather, the way people expected him to do them.
Leaving his home at age seventeen with few possessions and a zealous drive, Ruptak began his journey into professional musicianship. He started by busking on the streets of Denver for enough cash to make it through the night, and soon migrated to the open-mic scene -- where he played six to seven nights per week, often doubling down on local mics in a single evening, for over a year. Once he began booking his own shows, Ruptak found himself at the point of no return and committed to persevering on his musical path.
Since then, Anthony's brother, Matt, enlisted himself into the group as an atypical percussionist in 2014 and joined in following the invisible glow that only the brothers could see.
Raised in the high mountains of Bailey, Colorado, Anthony Ruptak evolved from a junior high youth group singer to a studded-belt-wearing hardcore screamer, and then to a finger-picking folk artist and eventually an interpreter and manipulator of emotive sound. The songs he fashions are unique in their own right, but have been compared to the colors of Connor Oberst, Modest Mouse and Fionn Regan.
Ruptak performs with an ever-shifting cast of characters ranging from a stark and gripping solo performance to an ensemble of 10 or more musicians. At the root, there is Anthony and his brother. From playing the stickiest bar-corner gigs imaginable to some of the country's great concert halls and amphitheaters like Red Rocks, Ruptak's momentum harbors no hesitation. And he intends to take that train as far as it goes -- in continuing to run his songwriter open mic, in cultivating a welcoming, progressive musical spirit in Denver, and in his growing connection to the world and the people around him.
With a new EP due in July titled "Don't Let It Kill You", Anthony is more eager than ever to share his work with as many as will listen. His goal is to affect the hearts and minds of his audience and to bring them something they'll remember for years to come.
“Returned at last to nowhere
With moss and roots and my beard
I will shuffle off to home there
And meet you somewhere good”
*excerpt from the upcoming release: song-Eulogy ii*
Tenebrae is the latest work from singer-songwriter, Mike Mangione and his band. Since its release the band has received favorable press form all corners of the country, including the honor of being selected as New York Magazine's pick of the week in September 2007. Indie Launchpad defines Tenebrae as "a phenomenally great album," while Indiemusicstop has labeled it "a definite must have for any fan of folk and Indie music genres." Aside from its life in the press, for the band the album marks a dénouement of sorts, the culmination of a process that began as a search for a subtle, organic, yet dynamic and expressive sound.
Born in a northern suburb of Chicago and now residing in Milwaukee, Mangione is no stranger to movement and change. Following the 2005 release of There and Back, which charted CMJ at number 16, Mangione has logged approximately one hundred and fifty shows per year throughout the country including such notable performances as SXSW, Midwest Music Summit, Chicago's Mobfest, and Milwaukee's Summerfest. He has opened for performers like Jamie Cullum, The Samples, Will Hoge, Jacks Mannequin, Lifehouse, Brian Vander Ark, and Michael McDermott.
Through his travels Mike met with producer Duane Lundy (The Apparitions, Scourge of the Sea, The Parlour Boys, Vandaveer, Martha Berner) and the two quickly developed a relationship. "Duane and I had a lot in common in terms of musical influences. We had the same vision for the album and decided to record as much as we could live, with very little overdubbing, so that the performances could breathe and bleed together – literally bleed together into the microphones."
The two began recruiting for the sessions, pulling from their catalog of contacts. Mangione co-wrote and arranged most of the music with his brother, Tom, and called on him to do all the lead guitar work. Over the years, furthermore, Mangione had developed a relationship with the band, The Samples, and recruited Samples keyboardist, Karl Dietel. Lundy brought in Robby Cosenza (The Apparitions, Scourge of the Sea) to play drums. John Collins, a Chicago-scene veteran who had recently begun playing upright bass for Mangione on the road, was an appropriate fit for the album, rounding out the rhythm section.
Just as the band started to come together, Mangione had an auspicious experience. "I was sitting at mass in Milwaukee and heard this young guy playing cello; it blew my mind. It was such a compelling and moving instrument, I knew I had to add it to the band." Mangione promptly recruited Patrick Hoctor, a student in Milwaukee, to become the band's cellist. Soon thereafter, Kristina Priceman, a violin student, was asked to join the band to complete the group.
For two weeks Mangione and Co. recorded in a converted warehouse in Lexington, Kentucky. "That was probably the longest length of time I have spent in one place in quite some time," Mangione quipped. Immediately following the completion of the album the band resumed its extensive touring.