Calling all: Denver indie music fans. This is the party of the summer. Denver’s 13th Underground Music Showcase (UMS) kicks off this Thursday, featuring 375 local and national artists, with an expected crowd of 12,000. Mix and mingle on South Broadway, and take in the wealth of talent that will inundate the best of Baker’s watering holes. Discover new artists or hear some amazing national acts play in incredibly intimate settings. Here’s a quick guide to the first couple days:
9:00 pm @Hi-Dive: Speedy Ortiz
90’s style rockers from Brooklyn, busy generating a helluva lotta buzz. Lead vocalist Sophie Dupuis has pipes and wordsmith floetry ala Liz Phair. If you like: Veruca Salt, Pavement, Empire Records soundtrack.
10:00 pm @Skylark Lounge: Phox
This seven-man ensemble hails from Baraboo, WI. Former headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus. You know there are stories to tell. Enchanting melodies. If you like: Andrew Bird, The Lumineers, Tracy Chapman.
11:00 PM@Hornet: Vikesh Kapoor
Raw, beautiful folk tunes with an album produced by Adam Selzer (M. Ward) that was touched on by some pretty fine friends (The Decemberists, Langhorne Slim). Kapoor’s work is largely influenced by the life of Howard Zinn. Brainy, beautiful harmonies? Check, check.
If You Like: The Tallest Man on Earth, Civil Wars, Bob Dylan.
11:59 PM@Blue Ice: Fat Tony
Voted “Best Of” Houston’s underground hip-hop scene. Think witty, politically conscious lyrics and catchy-as-hell hooks. This hip-hop head will turn things up. Great way to end the first night.
If you like: Hieroglyphics, Childish Gambino, RZA.
7:00 PM@Three Kings Tavern: Esme Patterson
Having embarked on her first solo album, Patterson is also a founding member of Denver favorite, Paper Bird. This folk songstress has been making a splash on the national level, via public radio and late night talk shows.
If you like: Feist, June Carter Cash, Mazzy Star.
9:00 PM@Main Stage at Goodwill: Mudhoney
Sub Pop Records legends. These dudes helped form the grunge-rock Seattle movement and have been keepin’ on with their bad selves for 25 years, an almost impossible musical feat from the land of break-ups and rehab.
If you like: Porno for Pyros, Nirvana, Sonic Youth.
11:00 PM@Irish Rover: Ark Life
Word on the street is these guys are a buzzworthy, well-oiled machine. This 5-piece Denver-based ensemble croons about the wandering gypsy musician lifestyle and the highs and lows of the life boheme.
If you like: The Head and the Heart, Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Avett Brothers.
11:59 PM@3 Kings Tavern: A. Tom Collins
Yes, that Tom Collins. This dude is of relation to the libation originator. But what’s even cooler is this foot-stompin’ music is dark and dusty, prohibition-style sexy with the right amount infusion of blues and jazz-punk.
If you like: Jack White, Devotchka, Tom Waits.
11:59 PM@Gary Lee’s Motor Club and Grub: Princess Music
Decisions, decisions. Princess Music plays at the same time as A. Tom Collins, with a completely different vibe. Think stunning, intricate and smart tunes, heavy on the strings. The 5-piece band’s upcoming album came together with a little help from a local children’s choir.
If you like: Beirut, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake.