Official Westword Music Showcase Pre-Party: Rachel and the Kings

Rachel & The Kings

You’d think a band yet to celebrate its first birthday would be bickering over whose basement is best for practice sessions. At least that’s the visual a stereotypical inauguration tends to suggest. But there’s nothing conventional about Rachel & The Kings, and the dynamo-style start the band boasts is no exception. Consider: with less than two months of official togetherdom, Rachel & The Kings won Ford’s national “Gimme the Gig II” competition, earning huge accolades from legendary producer (and head judge) Don Was. Not to mention becoming the de facto stars of “Gimme the Gig II,” set to air on KTLA in late July, 2012.

What explains such immediate and extraordinary success is a confluence of talent culled from piles of musical endowment accumulating around Denver these days. Rachel James, already an established singer / songwriter, initially teamed up with friend and producer Joey Barba (lead guitarist of former band Tickle Me Pink). As production on her first full-length album progressed, the need for formidable players to complement the music’s intense construction became clear, and Barba called upon Stefan Runstrom, also of Tickle Me Pink fame, to track drums. With the eventual addition of two other notable Colorado players – Ian Short, violin player and long-time collaborator alongside Rachel, with former status playing violin for Hello Kavita and Noah Matthews, former bass player on the Alan Baird Project – the proverbial circle was complete.

And as often occurs in these charmed circumstances, the group chemistry was simply something too potent for anyone to ignore. James, Barba, Runstrom, Short and Matthews all agreed that they had to take their talents outside the studio and due justice to the dynamic sound already found behind its walls. And thus began Rachel & The Kings, a young person’s super-group who proves worthy of that superlative moniker. Their live shows make fun feel justified, a sort of mature approach to having a rather rockin’ good time. Their songwriting finesse and musical artistry set the band on a playing field that’s really all their own. But what separates Rachel & The Kings the most from other bands is the real joy onstage they seem to experience themselves. It’s a relief to see the band is in on what you already know: that this is great stuff.

Rachel & The Kings’ debut album is set for release late 2012/early 2013, with nationwide performances to follow.

Sometimes the moment of clarity becomes something continual, rather than an instant. For Denver rock reggae/ska outfit, P-Nuckle, that evolution is about to be more apparent than ever. A matured sense of lucidity, coupled with the experience of a musical career spanning over a decade, has the group poised and ready for national ascent. Known for a dedicated passion for delivering messages of hope and triumph over adversity has allowed the band to cultivate an extremely loyal fanbase affectionately known as “Nuckleheads”. With eclectic musical influences ranging from Dancehall Reggae to straight ahead punk rock, P-Nuckle has always created a memorable live experience. There are some bands that are a part of the times, and then there are some bands that create the times. If you get the chance to see this band live, expect to dance and have a great time but be sure to have a sober ride home.

The Photo Atlas

The Photo Atlas are one of those bands that have name recognition. Even if you don’t know exactly what they sound like, you’ve definitely heard of them…. and with good reason. They’ve been hard at work these past few years touring the country, playing the large festivals, romancing the record industry, and really making a name for the Coloradomusic scene. The group’s music blends the angularity and drive of Fugazi, the gut-punch of At The Drive-In and the infectiousness of The Faint all into one explosive little package.

The dance punk outfit got their start in Denver, Colorado working with Morning After Records. They put their first EP out with a bang before quickly being snatched up by Stolen Transmission Records. This partnership led to the release of the group’s full length album No, Not Me, Never and life in the fast lane. Chocked full of hits such as Handshake Heart Attack and Red, Orange, Yellow the quartet found themselves in high demand across the country.

Just in case you’re not sure what qualifies as life in the fast lane or being in high demand, let me fill you in. The Photo Atlas was the featured artist for Airwalk Snowboarding boots with ads placed in all major skate/snowboarding magazines and shops, they had performances at the X Games in LA and Aspen, they were a featured artist at SXSW in 2007 on the “Best 100 Bands to Watch” compilation, they were the band of the day on Spin.com, they were featured in AP Magazine as “22 Best Underground Bands That Won’t Stay Underground For Long”, they performed at CMJ, Mile High Music Festival, Monolith, and Van’s Warped Tour, they were chosen as 100 “Feed the Beat” bands by Taco Bell, and Red, Orange, Yellow was featured in the video games Burnout Paradise, Burnout Dominator, and MLB 07: The Show. Wow. Talk about an impressive resume. Did I mention that they did all of this while touring almost nonstop?

The Photo Atlas's dynamic indie dance rock tracks are coated with vital melodies, explosive guitar riffs and demanding drum beats, which bring a sense of movement to each song. The group went back to the studio for the 2009 release of To Silently Provoke the Ghost with INgrooves Records. The album led to another write up in AP Magazine with a 4 star rating and feature. The first single, Jealous Teeth, has been racking up play at radio stations across the country.

Vices I Admire is an alternative/indie rock band dedicated to writing honest and passionate music. Dave Curtis, Mickey Dollar and Mark Towne met in 2002 while studying at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. During that time they balanced college-life with rehearsals, performances, a few DIY regional tours and the release of their first album, Plan B. (recorded at The Blasting Room, 2005).

In 2007 Vices I Admire relocated to Denver and parted ways with original bassist, Robert Marston. The band continued to write new material and develop as musicians while they searched for Rob's replacement.

8 months and 21 candidates later, Vices I Admire welcomed Daniel Battenhouse onto the team. The addition of Battenhouse revitalized the group and together they worked around the clock to produce the material that would engender their new album, The Politics of Apathy.

The Politics of Apathy was recorded at Colorado Sound Studios in May/June of 2009. JP Manza (engineer) and Ian Pinder (producer) provided the direction and perspective necessary to capture the varied moods and styles of each song. From the dance-pop inspired, "Sweetest Girl", to the anthemic head-banger, "Kiss Kiss", The Politics of Apathy showcases the musical maturation and diverse talent of Vices I Admire.

Thief River

Thief River is a western chuck wagon of raw energy with a punk rock heart, country soul and a ten gallon rock n roll attitude featuring members of other reigning Colorado bands Rexway, King Rat and Cure for Pain.

$10.00 - $15.00

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Official Westword Music Showcase Pre-Party: Rachel and the Kings with P-Nuckle, The Photo Atlas, Vices I Admire, Thief River

Friday, June 21 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Gothic Theatre