Spotlighting indie music, the Underground Music Showcase is the perfect opportunity for any music-lover to discover the next big thing or even their personal next favorite thing. With over 300 performances taking place over the course of only three days, there’s a plethora of talent to sort through. And though there are more incredible performances on the lineup than we can even count, here are some that we’re really looking forward to. In addition, we recommend you go here for the UMS Spotify integration where Spotify makes your very own UMS playlist based on your musical tastes.

Go here for tickets to The Underground Music Showcase. Go here to join The Underground — Denver’s new exclusive music club by 303 Magazine and UMS, launching at this year’s showcase. 

Note — Times and venues current as of publishing and as stated by UMS, are subject to change.

Friday

Overcoats

When: 5:20-6 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ Goodwill — 21 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: I’ll be honest, I have not seen Overcoats perform live yet. Last month when UMS released their Spotify integration (which links to your Spotify and curates a UMS playlist catered to your tastes) I took advantage of the platform. About 20 minutes into my playlist, Overcoats came on and — quite frankly — I was floored. The Brooklyn duo has a modern sound that merges a variety of influences — from pop to jazz — into a catchy, modern take on indie-electronic music. But it’s the dreamlike harmonies that propel their music into something so much more than what’s read at face value. Give them a listen if you enjoy the likes of tune-yards, Sylvan Esso and Marian Hill.  – Tyler Harvey

VICODA

When: 6-7 p.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: VICODA hasn’t existed for long, but they’ve made quite the impression in a short amount of time. Having come from all over, and settling in Denver together, the band has become a rising tour de force of pop, funk and soul-baring rock. A couple fantastic singles led to the infatuation with this band, but their disarmingly heavy live show is what sealed the deal. Odds are, when UMS concludes, talk of this band will continue for long after. – Kori Hazel

Escort

When: 6:20-7 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ Goodwill — 21 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: This year the Underground Music Showcase didn’t shy away from the disco. This New York ensemble is fueled by modern post-disco-funk and fronted by a charismatic and fashion-forward vocalist, Adeline Michele. We highly recommend you make your way to Escort at this year’s UMS — but only come if you’re wearing your dancing shoes. Escort fans — the band is also opening the show for The Motet at The Ogden Theatre in November. – Tyler Harvey

Chloe Tang

When: 7-8 p.m. 

Where: Illegal Petes —270 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Chloe Tang is returning to UMS after quite a successful year. The singer/songwriter released a new EP, reached new milestones of success and even dropped a collab feature with local electronic artist Covex. Her vocals are sure to standout at this year’s UMS with her excellent blend of pop, soul and even indie-rock. Tang isn’t just a musician to look out for at UMS this year, she’s a musician to look out for — period. Get a head start before it’s too late to see Tang at an intimate venue during an indie music festival and before she moves to LA. The musician just announced her departure from Denver, making her UMS performance one of her final shows. – Tyler Harvey

Frankie Cosmos

When: 7:20-8 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ Goodwill — 21 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: After the release of her new album, Vessels, this spring — Greta Kline has been in the spotlight for her searingly sweet persona as Frankie Cosmos. Garnering a profile from the New York Times, and glowing reviews from NPR and Pitchfork, the 24-year-old has cemented a sound that lies somewhere between the nostalgia of the early years of indie pop and uncharted territory. Fans of Margaret Glaspy, Jenny Lewis and Esmé Patterson will recognize that her cooing vocals and simple chords only temporarily mask her biting lyrics, macabre topics and understated musical talents. Dig deeper and you’ll be rewarded with a complexity resembling her stage name. – Brittany Werges

Dayton Stone & The Undertones

When: 10-11 p.m.

Where: Banded Oak Brewing — 470 N. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Dayton Stone, a described ‘twice exorcised son of a preacher’ brings gritty rock ‘n’ roll to life alongside his band The Undertones. The band recently released their top-notch self-titled debut — a project that will certainly net the band a deserved following — with snarling guitar solos and anthemic songwriting just begging to be sung along to. When it comes to rock music, these gentlemen come to play ball. – Kori Hazel

Decatur

When: 8-9 p.m.

Where: Moe’s Original BBQ — 530 N. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Decatur and their alternative rock style music made them the “2018 Band of Watch” in _303 Magazine_. Their instrumentals are fantastic, and the lead singer, Sean DeCrescenzo, has a good voice. Their style varies and their soft melodic, slower songs like, “Hide Me Away,” showcase how well DeCrescenzo can sing. Many will be anticipating seeing Decatur, along with many more great bands at UMS. – Morgan Bia

One Flew West

When: 8-9 p.m.

Where: Illegal Petes —270 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: What better way to help get in the mood for a weekend full of underground music than to start with a rock band that got their start in an actual garage? One Flew West will remind you of what it was like to lock your bedroom door and throw your lamp against the wall for whatever reason. Their most recent EP Trial and Error is straightforward and full of energy, just like the band. – Caleb Aerenson

 

Digable Planets

When: 8:30-10 p.m. 

Where: Main Stage @ Goodwill — 21 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Digable Planets is going to master a bone-shaking performance at UMS this year. There is nothing groovier than the hip rhythms and patterned words this mellow trio produces. Their feel-good music combined with a classic underground music scene will create an old-school neighborhood sensation that everyone should experience. The only way to prepare for an experience like this is to bring your shades and noggin, because everyone’s heads are going to be bobbing. Although Digable Planets have not produced anything new in quite some time, it doesn’t stop them from continuously impressing at current live performances. They illustrate a representation of jazzy wonder and the group’s ability to conceptualize time and space in an unparalleled manner is certainly going to be one for the books. – Zena Ballas

Cocordion

When: 10-11 p.m.

Where: Irish Rover — 54 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Cocordion is one of the more intriguing Denver bands in the scene today, and we mean that in the best way possible. Brothers Mitchell and Mason Macura along with Thom Spano make up this indie band and are the ones responsible for their soft-rock indie sound. For being a three-piece ensemble, their sound is full and dynamic. Their name keeps coming up more and more in the Denver music scene as they continue to gain momentum, and they’re definitely worth checking out this year. – Michael Tritsch

The Other Black

When: 11-11:59 p.m. 

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: The Other Black, led by Wes Watkins, is a multi-genre explosion of epic proportions. As many witnessed in their show-stopping SuperJam at 303 Music Fest, The Other Black comes guns-blazing with a community focused mentality looping in funk, R&B, rock and much more. The band is composed of a number of extremely talented individuals, many of whom belong to other bands in Denver, but come together at the direction of Watkins to make magic happen. UMS should be no different. – Kori Hazel

Dead Latin

UMS, Underground Music Showcase, 303 Music, 303 Magazine, Tyler Harvey, Amanda Piele, UMS 2017

Photo by Amanda Piela

When: 11-11:59 p.m. 

Where: Skylark Lounge — 140 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Who the fuck is Dead Latin? We were wondering the same thing last year when we saw the group on the UMS lineup scheduled for what was their debut performance. That first performance made our list of best shows we saw at UMS 2017. Having laid low since they’re now back at the annual showcase for the second year. Dead Latin is somewhat of a Denver “supergroup” including members of other local acts — new and old. For anyone who is a fan of an unforgettable dance party, this is the one show you absolutely can’t miss at UMS. Don’t expect any vocals, but get ready for synthesizers, samples, cowbells and heavy percussions. – Tyler Harvey

Porlolo

When: 11-11:59 p.m.

Where: Illegal Pete’s — 270 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Having been around for over a decade and a half, Porlolo has a thing or two to teach the Denver music scene about stamina. Such stamina trapezes into their music. They are steady, rocking to an alternative beat that tests tried-and-true waters. They sample folk as well as Radiohead-like rock. Somehow, their melancholic lyrics do the opposite of bringing one down. Instead, they comfort — like an easy listen on a sunny day at a great festival. In fact, they might be just that at UMS. – Alex Kramer

Wildermiss

When: 12-1 a.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Wildermiss is a “can’t miss” for the Underground Music Showcase. With catchy lyrics such as “we were beautiful, now we’re just ourselves” sung by the angelic Emma Cole, it’s no surprise this Denver foursome quickly rose to fame within the past year. The indie-pop group is a bit of a sure bet for the showcase — you can trust they’ll put on an incredible show that is sure to please anyone in attendance. They have a way about them that makes them impossible to dislike. Cole’s girl-next-door draw meets the boys not-trying-too-hard hipster personas for an addictive sound and stage presence that will have you belting out “Carry Your Heart” along with the other fans in attendance. – Ellie Herring

Saturday

in/PLANES

When: 12 – 1 p.m. (Skylark Lounge) and 9 – 10 p.m. (Illegal Pete’s)

Where: Skylark Lounge — 140 S Broadway + Illegal Pete’s 270 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Although in/PLANES played an unofficial UMS on the last go-round, the duo is on the 2018 schedule with not one but two performances this year. We 100 percent agree with this decision, given the vintage-pop lovebirds made our list for best UMS performances of 2017. Admittedly, it may be hard to beat — considering the band played in an ideal setting complete with romantic string lights and an adoring crowd. But either way, we know In/PLANES, with their doo-wop vibes mixed with catchy melodies which have us falling in love with them no matter where we are. — Brittany Werges

Los Mocochetes

When: 1:20-2 p.m. 

Where: Sesh Stage @ Fentress Architects — 421 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Los Mocochetes is a politically charged and effortless funky group. Whether rapping, singing or simply pumping the crowd up, these guys are constantly firing on all cylinders. In being the change they hope to be in the world, these funky Chicanos bare their heart and soul, believing the world can, in fact, be a better place, and if music can make a difference they sure as hell are in it to win it. Having had the standout performance earlier this year at NPR’s Tiny Desk Showcase, Denver doesn’t know what’s about to hit them — but they soon will.  – Kori Hazel

The Velveteers

When: 2:20-3 p.m.

Where: Sesh Stage @Fentress Architects — 421 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Coming in hot after their debut EP release, this Boulder rock duo has quickly become known for putting on an impressively addicting live show. The brother-sister rock group has it all — hard guitar riffs, a down-packed persona and a bad-ass lead singer. These UMS veterans are a can’t-miss at this year’s showcase. – Tyler Harvey

REYNA

When: 2:20-3 p.m. 

Where: Imagination Stage @ Import Mechanics — 235 Broadway, Denver 

The Lowdown: Hailing from Milwaukee, REYNA is a party-pop duo to make you forget about the foreboding Monday morning. Two sisters playing guitars and writing songs — the love is tangible. And so is the vitality of spirit. Their songs combine youthful vocals with an older, knowing guitar. It is almost like they were pulled from a time machine and found asylum for their sound in the present.  Their alluring bubbliness, combined with serious musical chops, should have the audience completely enamored by — if not before — the end of their set. – Alex Kramer

CITRA

When: 4-5 p.m.

Where: Hi-Dive — 7 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: This local rock band took home not one, but two 303 Awards this year — Best Local Rock Artist/Band and Best Local Album (Fan Favorite). Celebrating a successful new album, Mr. Copacetic, CITRA has been making their rounds from 303 Music Fest to Westword Music Showcase and now, to UMS. Be sure to add this energizing live rock set to your festival schedule to see what the hype is all about. – Tyler Harvey

The Dollhouse Thieves

When: 5-6 p.m.

Where: South Broadway Christian Church — 23 Lincoln St., Denver

The Lowdown: The Dollhouse Thieves are everything we love about indie-folk music. They take risks in their songs that pay off, adding an edge to the typically tame folk music genre. Niki’s sweet vocals instantly make you feel at home while the complimenting instrumentals add their own excitement in a way that makes you want to get up and dance, which is rare for a genre that typically accompanies lounging and relaxation. The Dollhouse Thieves make feel-good music, perfect for a reset during the showcase. Don’t miss this local favorite — they are sure to put on a memorable performance. – Ellie Herring

Hot 8 Brass Band

When: 5:20-6 p.m.

Where: Sesh Stage @ Fentress Architects — 421 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band is parading their way into UMS this year. From New Orleans to Denver, their sound is a taste of Southern soul so sweet and tangy to the ear, you’d think you’d entered the French Quarter. They bring flavor, energy and, most importantly, brass to the stage. Their work blends jazz, blues and hip-hop in a such a way to make the listener swoon and move. Hot 8 will be sure to get down, along with the audience, in true New Orleans fashion. – Alex Kramer

Ray Reed

When: 6-7 p.m.

Where: Blue Ice Lounge — 22 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: A native grown in the Denver streets, rapper Ray Reed layers his truthful lyrics over somewhat somber beats to create a dream-like sound. Due to this, Reed lends a classic hip-hop feel to his work. His voice is like butter over a track — perfectly smooth. His live shows are full of energy, keeping the crowd as involved as himself. – Alex Kramer

Duckwrth

When: 6:20-7 p.m.

Where: Imagination Stage @ Import Mechanics — 235 Broadway, Denver 

The Lowdown: With a penchant for spelling things wrong, Duckwrth gets his beats so right. The LA rapper combines elements of R&B, soft-boi rap and funk to create a soundscape to jump to one moment — and slow grind the next. He gives SoundCloud rappers a good name. Miguel meets Tyler, the Creator, meets a beach bonfire — who can claim the originality in an age where everybody is famous? Duckwrth. Though he hasn’t been around for too long — only since 2015 — he’s hit the ground running. And music aficionados are going to want to watch his slow-and-steady race. – Alex Kramer

Eldren

When: 7:20-8 p.m. 

Where: Sesh Stage @ Fentress Architects — 421 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: This psychedelic alt-rock group with distinct pop and psychedelic twists packs a punch with captivating chord progressions and a wide variety of instruments. An enigmatic falsetto and flair for the dramatic have gained them a spot in Denver music’s elite. Even with a Lord of the Rings-themed music video, their Weezer-reminiscent beats don’t mess around. Their live show is sure to be uniquely playful, rounding out UMS. – Alex Kramer

Its Just Bugs

When: 8-9 p.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver 

The Lowdown: Its Just Bugs is a disorienting trip down a rabbit hole of jazz, hip-hop and punk influences. Their unique style draws comparisons to Death Grips and BADBADNOTGOOD, but despite the comparisons, the group is uncompromisingly unique in their execution. Angsty and volatile, Its Just Bugs crafts tunes like carnival rides — complete with the anxious upswings of manic lyricism and stomach-turning beats. By and large one of Denver’s most unique hip-hop groups, their performance at UMS will not be one to miss. – Kori Hazel

Deerhunter

When: 8:30-10 p.m.

Where: Main Stage @ Goodwill — 21 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: If anyone desires to be tranquilized by the sensations of soothing chill-waves, then Deerhunter will provide just that. They’re one of the most ideal bands that are going to perform at Underground Music Festival due to their independent essence. The group’s charm, washed-out experimental-rock and cleverly designed lyrics will instill a bit of calm introspection for everyone to enjoy. They will manifest a grateful hypnosis with their repetitive transcendental flare. A performance like this will truly allow oneself to be fully immersed in the blatant meaning behind the secrets of life. Their unique style exudes a raw quality that is painted with abstraction. Make sure to bring your heart and thinking hats because Deerhunter will carry them far away into a mysterious void where time is limitless – Zena Ballas

High Ghostly

When: 9-10 p.m.

WhereThe Hornet — 76 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Equally woozy and dreamlike, High Ghostly is a musical toke to a guitar-driven nirvana. Though a solo project, High Ghostly will be teleporting UMS to a cloud in the sky with a full band in tow. The meshing of guitars and electronic bliss is bound to conjure similarities of Washed Out and Mac DeMarco, High Ghostly is sure to reinforce the contact high that UMS probably already has. – Kori Hazel

Kainalu

When: 10-11 p.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: One of the great things about UMS is that it celebrates local music. Something even greater about the showcase — it spotlights underground music from all over the nation like Parallelephants and Brothertiger to name a couple (both returning to UMS  for their second year). Kainalu is one of those musicians, hailing from Wisconsin and holding down less than 1,000 likes on Facebook. It’s exciting to see national musicians getting the opportunity to play their own show in Denver. Kainalu, in particular, combines synth-electro-pop with R&B in a sensually addicting psychedelic blend. Be sure to catch this artist at UMS, before they launch from the underground into the national spotlight. – Tyler Harvey

The Burroughs

When: 11 p.m.-12 a.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Hailing from Greeley, Colorado, The Burroughs is one of the most energetic and captivating bands in Colorado. Armed with a full horn section, a killer lead vocalist and a rock-solid rhythm section – The Burroughs know how to entertain. One of the best features about this band is that you can put them in any room, and they will have everyone’s attention within seconds. If you get the chance to see them at UMS this year, you will not be disappointed. – Michael Tritsch

Parallelephants

When: 12-1 a.m.

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: This San Antonio group is making the trip to Denver for The Underground Music Showcase for the second year in a row. The psychedelic-synth-funk group is one of the most original up-and-coming bands out there right now. Though entirely unique, the group finds inspiration in Childish Gambino, David Bowie, Prince and more, in a strange but damn sexy mashup of genres and influences. Be sure to check them out and see for yourself why Parallelephants made our list for best shows at UMS last year. – Tyler Harvey 

Wheelchair Sports Camp

When: 12-1 a.m.

Where: Gary Lee’s Motor Club — 176 S. Broadway

The Lowdown: Wheelchair Sports Camp may be one of the most dynamic hip-hop groups to attend UMS this year. Fronted by MC, beat-maker and activist Kalyn Heffernan, the group combines jazz, blues, hip-hop and humor to create an energetic stage presence that is larger than the group themselves. – Caleb Aerenson

Kyle Emerson

When: 12-1 a.m.

Where: Illegal Pete’s — 270 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Kyle Emerson is no stranger to the Denver music scene. Gradually defining himself as a local staple over the years, the musician finally released his first full-length solo project last year — an album that made waves throughout Colorado. Titled Dorothy Alice, the folk-rock production has put Emerson on the map as one of Denver’s next big musicians, meaning he’s not-to-be-missed at the 2018 Underground Music Showcase. – Tyler Harvey

The Corner Girls

When: 1-2 a.m. 

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: The Corner Girls ditch traditional violence and masculinity of punk music, opting instead for a modern pop-punk they describe as “pastel.” Within and without the Bikini Kill category, the three-piece plays more upbeat yet still pounding rock anthems. Their lyrics are catchy but so are the guitar riffs. These songs are simple and headbangable — as punk should be. – Alex Kramer

RUMTUM

When: 1-2 a.m. 

Where: Irish Rover — 54 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Part musician, part artist, John Hastings — also known as RUMTUM — is making waves in Denver, soon to be tsunamis. Artwork aside, RUMTUM’s music is filled with experimental sounds, jungle beats, synthesizers and other elements that can trance anyone into getting the fuck down. Not only does the musician strive for electronic greatness, he’s an instrumentalist who’s skilled in bass and guitar. – Tyler Harvey

Sunday

White Denim

When: 4:20 – 5 p.m. 

Where: Sesh Stage @ Fentress Architects — 421 Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Austin based four-piece White Denim transcends traditional genre descriptions. Playing with notes of multiple rock genres, blues, jazz, looping and many jams, it is impossible to guess as to what sort of sound they will play next but White Denim always brings loads of energy. Playing in the middle of the day Sunday, White Denim will help reenergize you for that final push of music you might need after the concert filled weekend. – Caleb Aerenson

Kdubbs

When: 7-8 p.m. 

Where: Moe’s Original BBQ — 530 N. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: If you plan on sticking around UMS until the very last show, your wait will be rewarded. Local artist Kaitlyn ‘KDubbs’ Williams will be among the last to play on the three-day weekend and it can be argued they’re saving the best for last. The classically-trained turned jazz-style singer will be making her UMS debut. KDubbs has been known to turn heads when she sings, making everyone stop and pay attention. So stay and listen to an artist you soon won’t forget. – Kaite Boudreau

The Milk Blossoms 

When: 7:20-8 p.m.

Where: Imagination Stage @ Import Mechanics — 235 Broadway, Denver 

The Lowdown: Easy listening isn’t hard to achieve. But deceptively easy listening that takes the listener’s ear captive is a whole different feat. The Milk Blossom’s achieve this, making their audience think deeply about each element of the song. The three-piece makes things simple — every sound is perfect by design. Theirs is experimental indie-pop that has seen results. Should beat-boxing and alternative stylings work in harmony? Probably not. However, these girls have blended together disparate genres, willing them to work. One can see the seam in their seamless work and that is part of the charm. They are a can’t-miss at UMS. – Alex Kramer

The Raven and the Writing Desk

When: 10-11 p.m. 

Where: 3 Kings Tavern — 60 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: All at once dark and chill, but not chilling, The Raven and the Writing Desk bring an active ambiance to the table. Julia Libassi’s cool vocals stand sturdy yet airy through the bands many moltings. However, stripped down and real, one element sticks to their instrumentation — the art. Whether it be marimba or baroque, the now-four-piece works it. Their sundry catalog is sure to amaze as UMS. – Alex Kramer

Nightlove

When: 10-11 p.m. 

Where: Hi-Dive — 7 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Retro-pop band Nightlove will transport you back to the golden age of the dancefloor over sparkling synths and passionate vocals. Awash in pink and purple light and more often than not, donning your father’s favorite sports coat, the band effortlessly brings 1983 to 2018. Considering the band only began playing shows in November, UMS will undoubtedly be a launching ground for the bigger things in Nightlove’s future. If the music is any indication, the band’s throwback sound will only propel them to future fame. – Kori Hazel

Nasty Nachos

When: 12-1 a.m.

Where: Irish Rover — 54 S. Broadway, Denver

The Lowdown: Nasty Nachos is the brain-child of Alex Anderson’s total devotion and development of synthesizers. He plays that thing like… well, an instrument. He makes the most of one instrument, creating hundreds of intricacies. Anderson is ever-pulsating between a predictable note and a complete turnaround, catching the listener off guard. Such risk-taking comes from experience. He has self-described this project as rising “from the ashes of many musical endeavors.” The live show just keeps getting better, with fellow modular synthesist and drummer Matt Tanner joining Anderson on stage. Welcome to the world of Nasty Nachos. – Alex Kramer

Go here for tickets to The Underground Music Showcase. Go here to join The Underground — Denver’s new exclusive music club launching at this year’s UMS. 

One Response

  1. rusty Staff

    Hello…Very interesting concept…Thanks of putting it on…It seems as though this is a once a year event? And, I assume that this year’s schedule is set. I Saw that several of the shows are at an architectural firm and some also at goodwill. I have a potential venue at 1787 s. Broadway that I would consider renting (or not) for an act that would bring the right crowd….Anyway, long story. My Name is Rusty. You can call me at 303-619-5938.

    Thanks..

    Reply

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