Underground Music Showcase is back in Denver – and this time with the main stage at a new location. Now located outside of the Big K Mart, the four day showcase is taking over even more of South Broadway. With three headliners, four days and over 300 total bands on the lineup, we understand planning your schedule can be a bit, well, overwhelming. To make it easier for you, we mapped out our staff picks. From local favorites like church fire and Brent Cowles, to national acts like Benjamin Booker and Brothertiger, there’s a lot to see. Mark your calendars and get ready with our staff picks and playlist.

Thursday, July 27

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Christopher the Conquered

When: 7 – 7:40 p.m.

Where: Illegal Pete’s (inside) – 270 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Stripped down soul and an amalgam of gospel and blues sums up Christopher the Conquered’s 2016 album I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll. The heartfelt piano chords are reminiscent of artists like Freddie Mercury and Elton John in delivery and intent. A hallmark of Christopher the Conquered’s musical style is the lyrical honesty and openness of spirit you’ll find in each track, which is no surprise given that he credits John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats as an influence. A veteran performer who has toured with musical acts such as Andrew Bird, Sturgill Simpson, The Mountain Goats and Kimya Dawson, Christopher the Conquered is an act to catch. – Erika Gill

Boyhollow

When: 9 – 9:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Indie-music veteran Boyhollow will be kicking off the first night of UMS with an early DJ set. This Denver DJ has been putting on the Lipgloss indie-dance parties for 16 years, currently with a residency at the underground “Clockwork Orange” themed Milk Bar on Friday nights. Expect to hear artists mixed through the evening like Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Blondie and more. Did I mention he’s opened for all of the bands I just listed? – Tyler Harvey

 

Dead Latin

When: 10 – 10:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: This one comes purely from a recommendation because this will be the first show for the new group. Rumored to be a reincarnation of another Denver band, Rose Quartz, half of the appeal of this show is the mystery. No music (that we can find) is even on the internet. But, according to those who have heard the demos, it’s worth including in your first-day itinerary. – Brittany Werges

CRL CRRLL

When: 12 – 12:40 a.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: This Denver DJ and producer has been on our map for quite some time now. And not just ours, he’s done some work with Red Bull Sound Select and a plethora of local artists. Expect to see him jamming out on the synth-pad with a drummer to back him up for one of the first late-night sets of UMS. Earlier this year the artist released St. Peterson – an EP that’s hard to not fall in love with. Be sure to take this opportunity to lose yourself in CRL CRRLL’s synthy dance tunes at Irish Rover. – Tyler Harvey

Bad Licks

When: 1 – 1:50 a.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: The Bad Licks have the sound of a seasoned psychedelic-rock band infused with just the right amount of garage-rock to make it feel like home. The recent lyrics are the perfect soundtrack to 2017 – a year that has been beautifully aligned to serve as amazing fuel for political punk bands everywhere. If this sounds like something you’ve been pining for, “Set Them On Fire” just came out in January and perfectly showcases those exact emotions. With members branching out into other Denver bands (Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and The Blue Rider) these guys clearly know how to rock a crowd. – Denby Gardiner

Friday, July 28

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Wolf van Elfmand

When: 4 – 4:40 p.m.

Where: South Broadway Christian Church – 23 Lincoln St. 

The Lowdown: Formerly of the band Von Stomper, Wolf van Elfmand has made a name for himself in the Denver folk scene. Having begun his career in New York, the musician has released three albums and most recently, a music video to a new song “The New Folk.” Quoting Randy Newman and Mississippi John Hurt as his inspirations, Wolf is sure to satisfy the country-blues itch we all keep down inside our hearts. – Denby Gardiner 

Low Hanging Fruit

When: 8 – 8:40 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Low Hanging Fruit is a talented up-and-coming hip-hop collective from the Boulder area. Consisting of five members, Dirty Harry, Soup, Trip, Lander and Lucy, the group combines upbeat production and instrumentation with whimsical verses and graceful transitions and flows. They have just recently had the opportunity to open up for 2017 XXL Freshman class artist A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and have been making the most of every show they can get their hands on. Consistent new material is constantly being uploaded to their SoundCloud and their presence is ever growing in the hip-hop community. If you are at all interested in lyricism or rap, you definitely won’t want to miss Low Hanging Fruit at this year’s UMS. – Josh Cowden

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers

When: 8 – 8:40 p.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern – 60 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: As expressed in our review from last year, Bud Bronson is your quintessential UMS experience. The garage rock band is known for their Coors-fueled, high school-style ragers that go down at almost every show they play. Expect to hear lots of “F*ck yeah, Denver!” while being indiscriminately shoved and kicked when someone eats it during a poorly executed crowd surf. But it’ll be awesome and you’ll love it (probably). Oh and the band is supposed to have new music too, making it extra worthwhile. – Brittany Werges

church fire

When: 9 – 9:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: When an artist’s most recent album is titled Pussy Blood, you know you’re in for something different. This Denver duo has been making waves in the Mile High for quite some time now with their originality and unforgettable live performances – they were even one of the few lucky locals to take the main stage at Westword Music Showcase this year. Grab your headdresses and gear up to dance to something so captivatingly experimental you almost feel like you shouldn’t be dancing to it. – Tyler Harvey

Note: church fire is playing an additional show at UMS  Sunday, 1 – 1:40 p.m. @ The Irish Rover. 

Motion Trap

When: 10 – 10:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Motion Trap’s 2017 single “Molecule” could easily become your upbeat summer jam, especially if you’re a fan of the distorted disco synths of groups like Cherub. “Molecule” is a departure from previous release “PALEBLUEDOT,” and it’s easy to hear the 18 months of composition, recording and production between the two releases. Have no fear, you’ll find more than enough to dance to, and with Motion Trap’s recent reincarnation into a duo, and a marked uptick in their production, their Friday set at Irish Rover is sure to be one of the highlights of the evening. – Erika Gill

Sur Ellz & Members of Air Dubai

When: 11 – 11:40 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Khalil Arcady, or Sur Ellz as you might already know him, is eccentric – from his looks to his musical style. The young multi-hyphenate (singer, songwriter, dancer and producer) brings to the table an eclectic background of inspirations and a desire to tell stories and express the raw emotions of life through his art. Hailing from Denver, this is one underground artist you will not want to miss at the showcase, especially since he will be joined by members of Denver favorite, Air Dubai. – Denby Gardiner

Dirty Few

When: 12 – 12:40 a.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern – 60 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Make no mistake, the party’s at 3 Kings on Friday. The proclaimed leaders of  Denver’s “dive bar diehards” will play the same venue as Bud Bronson that night. And while they will be a few sets behind The Good Timers, the garage rock ‘n roll band will ensure you can keep your beer fueled bender going all the way until last call. — Brittany Werges

The Velveteers

When: 12 – 12:40 a.m.

Where: Gary Lees Motor Club & Grub – 176 S. Broadway

The Lowdown:  Even though the Boulder-based duo is led by a fresh faced 19-year-old, The Velveteers are far from juvenile. Pulling influences from heavy metal bands of the ’60s and ’70s, the band is known for their distorted riffs and thunderous beats that echo into the past. But with lead singer’s Demi Demitro powerful voice and their understanding of a solid hook, the band brings a whole new excitement to their retro sound. — Brittany Werges

Saturday, July 29

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Slow Caves

When: 6:30 – 7:10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage  363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If you blended together all the different indie bands at UMS, you’d have something that sounded a bit like Slow Caves. From the chill vibes of surf rock, to the uncontrived cool of grunge and the catchy sensibility of an indie pop band, Slow Caves has their multi-genre tunes dialed in. Recently landing a spot on an Ohio based label, Old Flame Records, Slow Caves is heading into UMS at full speed. – Brittany Werges

READ: Local Band Slow Caves is Speeding Up the Mile High

Larry Nix

When: 9 – 9:40 p.m.

Where: Syntax: Physic Opera – 554 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: The always fashionable Larry Nix creates music he dubs “Western R&B.” The handsome heartbreaker manages to breakaway from today’s bastardized country music finding himself strumming from honest and soulful places of times past. His performance at UMS will without a doubt be an endearing testament to his dedication to fully embodying the sounds and lives that fill the western US. If there is one artist next up to join the leagues of the Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price, Larry Nix is it. – Kori Hazel

Parallelephants

When: 10-10:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: In addition to having a super fun portmanteau name, Parallelephants makes the kind of hauntingly melodic, funky, chill, multi-genre inspired club dance music that lays a smooth layer of bass line chill over a hot July Denver afternoon. Thom Sykes started Parallelephants by himself in 2013, and later it grew to include other students Sykes met in college in San Antonio, Texas. The project began as a mixed multimedia endeavor, and the visual and musical aesthetic is something that needs to be both seen and heard to complete the experience. In the meantime, sit back with a chilled beverage and a view of the sky and give 2017’s single “Reason Don’t Define” a chance to become your summer jam. Their upcoming second studio album is entitled Supply. – Erika Gill

Modern Leisure

When: 10-10:40 p.m.

Where: Illegal Pete’s (inside) – 270 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If the slow, sad-pop, beach rock of bands like Metronomy and Beach House lights your fire, be sure to catch Modern Leisure’s set on Saturday, July 29, at Illegal Pete’s (inside). Casey Banker’s melodies layer over ponderous guitar riffs and simple but driving drumbeats that will make you reminisce about the summer memories you haven’t yet finished making. Modern Leisure’s songs are mellow, but listen to the lyrics and you’ll find an undercurrent of the millennial cultural zeitgeist that makes their music poignant and must-see. – Erika Gill 

Nasty Nachos

When: 11 – 11:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If the name was any indication of what to expect, then expect the unexpected. Nasty Nachos is the low-fi pop-dance project from Denver’s own Alex Anderson. Sounding like a cross between TR/ST, MGMT and Cut Copy, Nasty Nacho’s punchy synth lines and reverbed vocals make for an undeniably funky combination that recalls a time when hipsters weren’t too cool to dance. You know, way back when “getting weird” was a lifestyle and not a euphemism for taking entirely too many drugs. – Kori Hazel

Brothertiger

When: 12 – 12:40 a.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Brothertiger will offer the electronic music scene at UMS a nice break from the typical bass-heavy womp-a-thon and soothe its soul with entrancing vocals over catchy beats. With tunes that feel straight out of a John Hughes montage of teen love, John Jagos has become known in his live performances for exuding sincere happiness. A journey that began in his freshman dorm room, Brothertiger has been shelling out bangers ever since and is bound to be your new favorite chillwave artist. – Denby Gardiner

RUMTUM

When: 1 – 1:40 a.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If RUMTUM sounds like something you’d hear in an ASMR exercise, you probably wouldn’t be far off. The electronic producer crafts music so satisfyingly sweet it could be considered ear candy. Mashing up vocal samples with complicated rhythmic sections and orchestral movements, the music Rumtum creates pops out of the speakers and flourishes in any space it fills. Seeing him live only adds to the effect, as a one-man show, he moves like a mad scientist amidst his complicated system of wires and instruments with meticulous precision, never missing a beat. – Kori Hazel

Sunday, July 30

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Wildermiss

When: 3:30 – 4:10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ 363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown:  Wildermiss is a must see, if not for their music, for the fact they’re destined for big things. The group is made up of four band members – three of which came from old local band Red Fox Run. Their style could be best described as pop-rock but you’ll find influences of dance and alt-rock in the mix. You can catch them on the main stage at this year’s UMS. – Tyler Harvey

Dragondeer

When: 5:30 – 6:10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage – 363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Dragondeer might be the closest the Denver scene gets to seemingly-authentic old school blues. Having recently recorded with producer Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and more) the band has fans anxiously awaiting new music this year. The band has performed all over and with the likes of Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers and fellow Denver native, Nathaniel Rateliff. – Denby Gardiner

Cheap Perfume

When: 6 – 6:40 p.m.

Where: Skylark Lounge – 140 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If you happened to miss the Riot Grrrl movement in the early ’90s, have no fear, Cheap Perfume is here to serve up Kathleen Hanna’s still-living ghost in guitar riffs and unbridled, crass, neo-political joy. “Slut Game Strong” is a fun, driven track that perfectly encapsulates the double standard of being a woman and a sexual being: damned if you do, so you may as well do it well. Both Jane No and Stephanie Byrne’s voices entwine in a glorious clash of Sleater-Kinney inspired contrasts –simultaneously singing and shouting. Check out their first full-length album, 2016’s Nailed It, and prime your ears for the dismantling of the patriarchy. – Erika Gill

Milky.WAV

When: 6 – 6:40 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If you’re looking for some feel good vibes, Milky.WAV is your dude. The Denver-grown producer/DJ blends hip-hop, house and R&B in creative ways to form beautiful beats. His collaborations with and remixes of other Denver artists (such as YaSi) will make you proud to be from the same city as this guy. Milky.Wav will have the grooves at UMS that you won’t want to miss. – Jonina Diele

 Brent Cowles

When: 6:30 – 7:10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage – 363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: When I first saw Brent Cowles at UMS last year I was instantly convinced this was the guy to watch in Denver. Short in stature but tall in talent, the mighty power of Cowles rests in his soulful voice that’s delivered with a twinge of country twang. This year, Cowles proved I wasn’t the only one listening. With a new EP and a hit single of the same name Cold Times, he’s already graduated to the main stage after performing at 3 Kings in 2016. The Denver musician is definitely on the up and up, so don’t miss him before he’s up and out. – Brittany Werges

Joseph Lamar

When: 7 – 7:40 p.m.

Where: Syntax: Physic Opera – 554 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Joseph Lamar is an authentically eccentric entertainer in a world where eccentricity has been exploited ad nauseam. Where many musicians change the way they dress, throwing on costumes to sell a fabricated version of themselves – Lamar is more than the real deal. If being a singer, songwriter, producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist wasn’t enough, Lamar’s captivating and extremely unique persona makes him a knock out performer. Not to put his music on the back-burner, Lamar’s pop-funk leaning yet still genre defying style is the icing on the cake of one of Denver’s brightest stars. – Kori Hazel

READ: Denver’s Joseph Lamar Pushes Past Genres to Blend Music and Art

Cocordion

When: 7 – 7:40 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover – 54 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Cocordion is an experimental rock band from Colorado Springs. Their 2016 COS(home=Audio) is a pleasant surprise, something you might have heard on late night MTV 20 years ago – simple, refreshing and melodic. According to their website, band members Mitchell and Mason Macura and Thom Spano are currently at work on a full-length release. Fans of Radiohead and Modest Mouse looking for something a bit more relaxed would do well to catch their Sunday night set at Irish Rover. – Erika Gill

Esmé Patterson

When: 7:30 – 8:10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ 363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Denver darling, Esmé Patterson, is back to charm the pants off her native home with a Sunday headliner set. Initially known for starting Denver’s much-loved indie-folk band Paper Bird, Patterson has ventured off with her solo project to much acclaim. Her most recent, We Were Wild, has even garnered nods from Rolling Stone and landed her a coveted spot on NPR‘s Tiny Desk. It is with this album Patterson has solidified her claim as a national indie talent on the rise. Make sure to catch her set and cheer home girl on. — Brittany Werges

Paul DeHaven

When: 8 – 8:40 p.m.

Where: South Broadway Christian Church – 23 Lincoln St. 

The Lowdown: Catching Paul DeHaven is going to be your typical UMS mad dash. The crooner’s set is sandwiched perfectly between headliners and just within running distance of the Main Stage. Sure you may have to actually run to make it there and back but missing it shouldn’t be an option. The longtime staple of the Denver music scene finally has his own EP after spending years crafting tunes for other popular Denver bands (did we mention he’s also a founding member of Paper Bird?) Located at the South Broadway church, expect to find DeHaven playing a guitar heavy set with the ease and expertise of a Denver music vet in his element.— Brittany Werges

Benjamin Booker

When: 8:30 – 10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage – 363 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Benjamin Booker’s voice sounds like what it feels like to rub your face on a five o’clock shadow and drink whiskey in a dive bar on a weekday afternoon. Gospel, soul, folk, rock, blues and several packs of cigarettes flavor the vocals of “Witness,” the name of both the song and the album released June 2 on ATO records. What sets Booker’s album apart is the intensely personal experience infused into his music  this isn’t your average reminiscence of rural America. As a black artist, Booker asks hard-hitting questions of both himself and society. Witness boasts an impressively well read set of influential literature, from Don DeLilo’s White Noise, to Patti Smith’s Just Kids and James Baldwin’s essays on culture and literature. Booker himself experienced a Baldwin-esque expatriate journey of self-discovery, which he details in the essay “Witness,” pair to the similarly titled album, which you absolutely should be listening to. – Erika Gill

YaSi

When: 9 – 9:40 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: After catching YaSi’s set at Westword Music Showcase, her performance at UMS couldn’t come fast enough. The R&B queen has the sort of groovy intimacy that makes you want to move and love at the same time. Her electricity comes to life on stage and seeing her live is always a treat. She encompasses the beauty of the Denver underground in many ways, therefore she’s one you don’t want to miss at the showcase. – Jonina Diele

Povi

When: 10 – 10:40 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive – 7 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: If not for her music, be sure to catch P0vi for the fact that she’s one of Denver’s most promising artists. This solo artist blurs the lines of hip-hop, pop and R&B in the best ways possible to accentuate her range of vocals. She’s worked with Red Bull Sound Select and ILoveMakonnen, as well as a range of local artists with production. Her new single dropped just last week – “Only One” – which features fellow Colorado artist A Meazy.  – Tyler Harvey

READ: Local Artist Spotlight – Povi Is Exactly What Denver Needs

Gun Street Ghost

When: 11 – 11:40 p.m.

Where: Gary Lees Motor Club and Grub – 176 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: The first thing you’ll notice about Gun Street Ghost is that lead singer Mike Perfetti’s deep voice spears you right through the soul. The second thing you’ll notice is that each song’s lyrics tell a bare, truthful tale of Americana. Storytelling, where the focus is less on the speaker than the subject, is a rare bird among a generation of inward-looking songwriters. Gun Street Ghost serves up sometimes haunting, melodic, and steel guitar-heavy tracks in their eponymous 2014 album. Fans of Johnny Cash with a craving for twang will enjoy this band. – Erika Gill

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