If the festival’s attendance figures are correct, The Post’s Underground Music Showcase is indeed on pace to become Denver’s version of South by Southwest–an event it eagerly compares itself to. SXSW, gearing up for its twenty-fifth year, pulls approximately 15,000 heads to Austin, Texas. The UMS, which just closed the books on its first full decade, is already approaching 5,000. Not exactly baby potatoes. The scene on South Broadway yesterday especially last night–definitely reminded me a little of SXSW’s main artery in Austin–Sixth Street. Bands blared from every other doorway or window and some, including Itchy-O, took to the streets or at least rocked the sidewalk, as in the case of Non, an Oklahoma group who set up shop in front of a dispensary called Burnzwell. Past 303 subjects The Swayback, Achille Lauro, Gregory Alan Isakov, Speakeasy Tiger, Joshua Novak, Natural Selection and The Pirate Signal, along with the focus of this blog last Monday, Ginger Perry, and Music Features Editor Peter Black were among acts on the massive UMS bill this go round (Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s Hayley Helmericks deserves mention too for interviewing The Pirate Signal’s Yonnas–while he was under the tattoo needlehere), while other notables included Ukulele Loki, Varlet (featuring American Idol castoff Lilly Scott), Lipgloss kingpin Boyhollow, Nathaniel Ratliff, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Jonathan and Bpro (on deck for coverage in an upcoming issue) and Colorado music ambassadors Flobots, who were introduced by Mayor Hickenlooper in the flesh. Not to mention burlesque, comedy and even Mexican wrestling.
Panel discussions, an inevitable addition to the growing sonic orgy, made their UMS debut this year in the basement of The South Broadway Christian Church. Apparently, South Broadway Christians don’t consider rock the devil’s music (or even panel discussions about rock); Savior Breath, the DJ handle of UMS employee Eryc Eyl, must not be offensive either. BlogBlogBlog with Kathleen Tarrant (Reverb), Heather Browne (FuelFriendsBlog.com), Quibian Salazar Moreno (ColoradoHipHopBlog.com), Erin Barnes (GoDonnybrook.com) and moderator Eyl seemed like relevant education for a recently christened Blog Editor. Ever the multi-tasker, I went dressed as Hunter S. Thompson invention Raoul Duke, of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas fame. Whoever said you couldn’t entertain others and better yourself at the same time?
Isakov, a South African-born indie-folkster whot’d been on our radar for some time, was Saturday night’s melodic highlight for photographer Jonathan Shoup and I, although neither Flobots nor Itchy-O disappointed in the slightest (unless you count Shoup’s frustration with an Itchy-O member’s refusal to remove his mask, or at least verbally reveal his identity). Magic Cyclops’ ruthless decimation of hecklers was certainly good for a few laughs as well.