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Reviews

Our Top 3 Favorite Venues In Denver

All across the world live music lovers can agree on the same thing. If you’re seeing your favorite artist, it will be a good show – but the venue is almost as important as the show itself. 

Most people have different tastes in big venues, seating, sound quality, ambiance, refreshments, the merch table and many more different aspects of a venue because all of these small aspects add together and help shape the entire experience you’ll have throughout the night. 

We’ve compiled a list of our top 3 venues in Denver where the music scene is only growing, and so are the venues! Take a look at our favorites, and don’t forget to tell us about your favorites as well!

Red Rocks 

We aren’t including this in the list, since it is a given. It’s won so many awards that Pollstar named their “best venue” award “Red Rocks Award”. We don’t need to go into detail since we have a different article written just about the venue and the shows we’re excited about this summer! Check out that article here

Mission Ballroom

Tame Impala at Mission Ballroom.
Photo taken by Megan Dirksen (@megandirksen)

Just opening in 2019 with a killer show from The Lumineers, Mission Ballroom has made big waves in the Denver music scene. With Red Rocks style seating, a GA floor, as well as seating upstairs, there’s plenty of room in however you’d like to enjoy your concert! The aesthetic of the ballroom is on point, from the artwork all over the walls to the sleek, modern look of the building – not to mention the giant disco ball inside. The size of the venue is perfect, as it’s big enough to hold some big names, but still has a smaller venue feel. Outside, there’s food trucks and drinks to enjoy before a night of dancing. Mission Ballroom has brought in so many great acts, sold out shows, and incredible memories – not even being open for a full year, it’s already a favorite for the concert goers of Denver.

The Ogden Theater

An all-time Denver favorite is the Ogden Theater. This venue has an intimate setting, yet still brings in some great acts! The sound system is incredible and there’s plenty of areas to jam out to your favorite bands. Although it can get crowded near the end of the night, if you show up early and see the openers (always worth it!) you’ll have a great spot. It’s in downtown Denver and is in an area of town where you can go grab some food and drinks before the show, then enjoy the night out! Parking can be a little more difficult to find, but there are paid lots next to the venue if you don’t want to drive around for a bit.

The Black Box

Khiva at The Black Box.
Photo taken by JV Productions (@_johnverwey)

We think this is one of the best venues to catch some great local sets or some more underground music! The sound is incredible, but don’t forget your earbuds when you attend shows here! The atmosphere is unbeatable, and the talent they bring in is always top notch. There are two sides at The Black Box; most nights they even have two shows playing at the same time, so you can go with a group of friends and choose who you’d like to see that night! Between the two rooms, there’s almost no sound bleed, leaving for an incredible sound experience no matter what artist you’re seeing there. This is definitely the smallest venue of the three, but leaves for a great, intimate experience with some insanely talented artists.

If you’re in the Denver area we’d love to hear your feedback on your favorite venues or your favorite shows at the venues above!

Categories
Music News

Artist Interview: Keep In Touch

We’re big fans of funky throwback pop records and up-and-coming NYC-based musicians, and Keep in Touch is a trio that fits the bill. With their uber-catchy beats and contemporary flare, they’re hoping to be next big thing in music. We caught up with the boys in Ray’s Harlem apartment for some behind-the-scenes shots of their jam session, and asked them a few questions.

How did you guys first meet?

“We met at through the rock climbing community that we’re a part of, we both new of each others musical endeavors and wanted to collab, kinda right away.” -Ray

 “After we jammed a couple of times we really realized our overall vibe and tastes in music were very aligned.” -Nate

How’d you come up with your name?

“I had a song called “Keep in Touch,”  with the last band I was in All Types of Kinds,  and someone from BMG heard the song and thought it was a better band name than the current one the band had, so I’m taking their advice.” -Ray

What would you say is the genre/vibe of the band?

“When we first started making music together, we learned we both share a love for 70’s disco/funk music, as well as what’s happening with modern synth-based pop and R&B. So our goal throughout this whole project has been pretty simple, to make music that people can either dance to or make love to. As long as people are dancing, we know we’re doing something right.” -Nate

Talk about the recording process, what’s it been like?

“We’ve never recorded music at this caliber, we commute up to Connecticut currently from the city to work with this producer Mike Rogers, who’s really developing us into true studio musicians. We now spend hours working on the smallest details on any given track, which has helped us fully realize the concepts of these songs. His studio is in this little restored barn a 30 second walk from the Appalachian trail, which is a stark contrast from NYC and with both of us loving the outdoors its pretty rad. ” -Ray

Challenges getting the band up and running?

“Overall, making this music has been an incredibly seamless process. When it comes to lyrics/arrangement Ray and I have tons of ideas to work with. One major challenge though has been figuring out how to play these songs in a live setting. Because we’ve been working so much in the studio, most of our songs have more parts to play than we can accomplish with a few of us! Luckily we’ve met some fantastic musicians who want to support our sound in a live setting.” -Nate

Favorite song you’ve written/recorded?

“The one we’re currently working on in the studio now, actually! It’s one that has felt special since the first day we started working on it. It’s a bop.” -Nate

When can we expect to hear your first single?

“Sometime in spring 2020.” -Ray

We can confirm their first song is a bop, and we can’t wait to share it with you when it drops. Definitely put these guys on your radar if you haven’t yet! Go check them out on Instagram at @keptintouch. And for more pictures of the boys and tons of other musicians, check out the Crowdsurfer Instagram @crowdsurfermag.

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Uncategorized

An Evening I Will Not Forget With Dermot Kennedy

I spent my last two nights with Dermot Kennedy and let me tell you.. I feel as if I’ve gone through 5 years of therapy in a matter of 48 hours. I’ve never come across a musician quite as talented or lyrically creative. The depth of the lyrics combined with his passion set him worlds apart from other artists. His shows are the type you get lost in. Last night, I heard (and felt) every lyric like it was the first time. I’ve seen Dermot several times now, but regardless of seeing the same songs performed multiple times, each show has been its own, unique, experience. The songs have the power to shape-shift into whatever I need them to be, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing about them. I was standing in a sold out venue; shoulder to shoulder with countless strangers and I couldn’t stop wondering how everyone around me was interpreting the words.

For Island Fires and Family is a particularly emotional song for me. It’s a song he sings solo, which means there are lulls in the music and moments of silence. Last night (and the night before), the silence was filled with sniffles — mine and all of the strangers standing around me. Everyone took that song and applied it to their own lives. How beautiful it must be to create something that touches thousands of people so deeply and intimately. It’s not lost on me how special that is and how lucky I am to have experienced it.

Every time I see Dermot perform, I seem to be dealing with some emotionally heavy things. I walked out of the venue last night feeling 1,000 pounds lighter than I did walking in. I wish I could tell him thank you for that. To all my friends (iykyk): if @dermotkennedy is coming to your city, I urge you to buy a ticket asap. Trust me on this one.

The last lyric of For Island Fires and Family is, “even though this life, this love, is brief, I’ve got some people who carry me.” We’ve all got those people who help us get through the day-to-day. Hug your friends. Hug your family. Tell the people who carry you that you appreciate them a little bit more often. 🖤

Categories
Concert Photography

Baynk at El Rey Theatre

Our staff photographer Nicole Gagne covered the Baynk concert at the El Rey Theatre on January 31, 2020. Austin Millz and Nolie also performed at the show. Check out the photos below!

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Concert Photography Uncategorized

Photographer Interview: MsMoonlightArts

She’s taking the EDM photography scene by storm. Based in New York City, Dumarys Espaillat, under her brand name MsMoonlightArts, travels all over the country to shoot shows and music festivals. I had a lot of questions I wanted to dive into, so without further ado, here’s the interview we did with the incredible concert and festival photographer, MsMoonlightArts.

Tell us how long you’ve been shooting and why you started shooting concerts. I have been shooting for around six years. The way I started shooting was maybe a little bit different than most people. I was living in Puerto Rico and I used to work as a Production Assistant Manager for a company that produced events, mostly EDM events. So after a while (since I had no need to worry about getting a press pass) I started bringing my camera into shows, just for fun. As time went by, I got better at it, until one day the band Capital Cities played a show in Puerto Rico. I managed to capture a nice photo of their trumpeter at the time, Spencer Ludwig.

After the show, a friend encouraged me to show him the photo, which I did, and he loved it and posted it on all his socials and that was the moment when it clicked. The thought of “if he liked my photo maybe others will and I can get hired for it and maybe also travel” came to my mind. So from that moment and on I created my brand, Ms Moonlight Arts (after a high school nickname) and started focusing in improving my photos, setting up goals and finding my style.

Photo: elrow NYC at Avant Gardner, February 2019

What are some of your favorite shots you’ve taken at shows and why?

This shot taken at elrow last year opened a lot of doors for me. This photo was featured in Billboard.com in an article of elrow but it also contributed to me getting my current job. While I freelance in photography, I do have a full-time job where we do marketing for festivals and nightlife events. Besides that, I love how colorful it is, the composition and all the confetti. I think it captures what elrow is, something fun, colorful and crazy.

Photo: Galantis at The Brooklyn Mirage, July 2019

Ever since I started taking photos, I always wanted to have a photo of a moment like this, when people light up their cellphones from the crowd. I think it is such a magical moment for the performers, usually a slow song plays, everybody sings, it is just beautiful!

Fireworks! Who doesn’t love them! I am always looking forward to any pyro shots because they impact so much the way a stage and performers are displayed in a photo.

What’s the hardest part about concert photography?

I would say the times you have to work, while festivals mostly end around midnight, a lot of events I have shoot at end around 4am or so, in certain occasions even later and you have to sometimes go home and edit or edit on site. I have worked some crazy hours, overnights, staying up until like 7am editing after a show. When you do this but you also have a full-time job, sometimes it is not so fun the next day. It does requires a lot of energy to be running around with a heavy backpack sometimes 12+ hours and still edit after or during a show.

What do you love about shooting shows?

The energy, the people and the music. There is no way to describe how awesome it feels walking into a stage or a photo pit full of fans screaming and singing their hearts out! There is a magic to it. Also since I’ve worked in the production side, I know how much hard work it takes to put on a good show. This is why I always love when festivals and/or concerts bring onboard new things to amaze the crowd from lasers, Pyro, Drones, different stages, sound quality, new experiences, performers. It’s just awesome when it is all mixed together.

What advice do you have for concert photographers just starting out?

Always follow your dreams even if you don’t feel you made it yet! There is always improvement, re-evaluate your work, plan your next moves, learn from others and improvise. Doesn’t matter what field you are in. I never thought I would be where I am now, even though I still feel like I have tons of things to learn. Photography has taken me to places I never thought I would visit, it sparked even more of my passion for traveling and besides shooting shows, I have had the chance to work with people and brands that I never thought I would work for. From corporate gigs to fashion, food, with brands such as HBO, J.C. Crew and Dunkin’ Donuts among others.

Check out MsMoonlight Arts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and have a look at her portfolio here.

Categories
Music News

New Artist Alert: Molly Lovette

Molly Lovette is an up-and-coming country pop artist. She’s making big moves this year and so enlisted the help of our own Lauren Hayes to make a video to kick off 2020!

Shot in her hometown in Missouri, Molly showcases her voice, guitar skills, and a wardrobe with just enough sparkle (which we love). We’ll be keeping our eyes on this lady as she’s sure to be releasing new music soon.

Categories
Music News

Where Are The Women Photographers?

Here are our thoughts on iHeartRadio Music Award’s Favorite Tour Photographer Category and the lack of (any) women nominated in the category.

First of all, it is absolutely incredible that an award show is recognizing the photographers who not only put in hard work every day on tour but are a huge promotional asset to artists and providing constant content for the fans to see. We love when any sort of behind-the-camera role gets recognized for their work, and this is no exception. This category premiered during the 2019 awards, so I’m glad it returned for this year.

The 2019 nominees for iHeart Radio Music Awards – Favorite Tour Photographer

Except, what. Excuse me, not one woman?? Literally not one?!

Ok, now that we’ve taken a moment to be hyped about the significance of this category existing, let’s complain. Women were nominated last year, so who let this happen? It seems pretty hard to have 11 nominees and each and every single one of them be a man. There’s truly no explanation, and all of Twitter came out in force to give suggestions of incredible female photographers who were on tour this year:

These photographers and their work speak for themselves, yet we still can’t help but wonder why, amidst an award season that will get torn apart for not representing minority groups, a female photographer would fail to get nominated. That’s a recipe for bad press, and the lack of ladies was immediately noticed. Here’s to hoping that 2020 progresses us toward a world in which women the recognition they deserve, especially in the music industry.