Denver continued to push itself in 2018. From the introduction of Grandoozy to the acquirement and revamp of the Underground Music Showcase, Denver upped the ante of its music scene in almost every conceivable way. New players continued to change the game, while veterans maintained and made larger strides in their respective careers and in the music scene at large. As we’ve done the past couple of years, we connected with several of Denver’s music area professionals to talk their favorite and at times their least favorite aspects of 2018 in the music scene.

READ: Denver’s Music Scene Grew Larger and Smaller in 2018 – Here’s How

Tobias Krause — Event Director at UMS

Music Industry Pros

Photo courtesy of Tobias Krause

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018? 

Tobias Krause: Oxeye Daisy – Oxeye Daisy

303: Favorite Colorado festival in 2018?

TK: Underground Music Showcase (UMS). I’m sure there’s no surprise there.

303: Local Artist of the Year?

TK: Oxeye Daisy.

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

TK: Deezie Brown – Judith

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

TK: National, was DUCKWRTH at the Underground Music Showcase, and local was Dragondeer covering David Bowie at Globe Hall on Halloween

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018?

TK: Kenzi Everitt. I’m going to be working for this woman someday. Not only does she have a full-time job at a nonprofit, but she also helps run Girls Rock Denver, worked as a talent buyer on this year’s Underground Music Showcase, plays in the band Kinesics, runs a singer/songwriter monthly gig at Stem Ciders, toured with Gregory Alan Isakov and got engaged. She’s the real MVP of Denver’s music scene.

303: What are you listening to right now?

TK: The last five artists I searched for on Spotify were: DUCKWRTH, Toro Y Moi, D’Angelo, SiR and Little Dragon.

303: Who, locally, should we look out for in 2019?

TK: Oxeye Daisy once again.  Apologies for the trend on this, but I think 2019 is going to be a breakout year for the band. Their ability to blend genres at the drop of a note sets them apart from most, and Lela Roy’s vocal range is undeniably one of the best out there — keep a close watch on this band.

READ: Denver’s Music Industry Pros Talk Best of 2017

Joel Rekiel — Marketing Manager at Levitt Pavilion and Owner/Founder of BLDGBLKS Music

Photo courtesy of Joel Rekiel

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018?

Joel Rekiel: CITRA – Mr. Copacetic. 

303: Favorite Colorado festival in 2018?

JR: The Underground Music Showcase

303: Local Artist of the Year?

JR: CITRA

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

JR: Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

JR: Rainbow Kitten Surprise at Velorama Music Festival.

303: The good, bad and ugly of Denver in 2018?

JR: Good: Grandoozy, Bad: Velorama, Ugly:  Trump supporters.

303: Best Red Rocks show of 2018?

JR: David Byrne

303: The biggest change in Denver music in 2018?

JR: The Underground Music Showcase

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018? 

JR: Wildermiss

303: What are you listening to right now?

JR: slenderbodies and Rainbow Kitten Surprise are on repeat.

Tyler Harvey — Former Music Editor at 303 Magazine

Photo by Kyle Cooper

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018? 

Tyler Harvey: It’s a toss-up between The Velveteers’ self-titled album and Rowan Kerrick’s Foolish.

303: Favorite Colorado festival in 2018?

TH: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS). 

303: Local Artist of the Year?

TH: Spencer Townshend Hughes of The Hollow. I think what he’s doing for the local music scene with musician mental wellness meetups (and beyond) is incredibly admirable — plus The Hollow is killing it.

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

TH: Loner by Caroline Rose.

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

TH: David Byrne at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. 

303: The good, bad and ugly of Denver in 2018? 

TH: The Good: UMS was easily the highlight of the year. I love what Two Parts did with it and the whole thing felt like an epic (and drunken) celebration of local music.

The Bad: This past Red Rocks season. Last year, I went to 15 Red Rocks shows and this year I only went to four. 2019 is already looking better than 2018.

The Ugly: The Denver Post’s layoffs. As a result, the paper lost some great writers and has noticeably slowed their coverage on the local music scene amongst other topics. They still have some dedicated contributors and great music writers, but as the city’s primary newspaper and media outlet, it’s unfortunate to see a now nearly stand-still music desk.

303: Best Red Rocks show of 2018?

TH: David Byrne

303: Biggest change in Denver music in 2018?

TH: We saw a lot more presence from AEG and Live Nation and a (continued) transition away from independent promoters.

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018?

TH: The UMS team, hands down. It still blows me away that they not only pulled it off — but made it better — in such a short amount of time.

303: What are you listening to right now?

TH: I just discovered Caroline Rose and I’m hooked on her new album. Also, Mura Masa’s new singles and features — can he drop a new album already?

Rikki Aston — Talent Buyer at Live Nation (Denver offices)

Photo courtesy of Rikki Aston

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018? 

Rikki Aston: Khemmis – Desolation.

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

RA: Nombe – They Might’ve Even Loved Me.

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

RA: Pearl Jam’s Seattle hometown shows. 

303: Best Red Rocks show of 2018?

RA: David Byrne

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018?

RA: Tobias Krause, for making the UMS better than ever and being the biggest advocate of local music.

303: What are you listening to right now?

RA: Lizzo

 

Paul DeHaven — Folk/Rock Musician, Formerly of Paper Bird

Photo courtesy of Paul Dehaven’s Facebook page

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018? 

Paul DeHaven: Stelth Ulvang – American Boredom.

303: Favorite Colorado festival in 2018?

PD: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS). 

303: Local Artist of the Year?

PD: In/Planes

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

PD: Low – Double Negative.

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

PD: David Byrne at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. 

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018?

PD: Probably Nathaniel Rateliff and Company.  They’re still just killing it.

303: What are you listening to right now?

PD: Mungo Jerry

Stephanie Kroll — Marketing Director at SoCo Nightlife

Photo Steph Kroll’s Facebook Page

303 Magazine: Best local album of 2018? 

Stephanie Kroll: 888 – Everybody Can’t Complain. Also, I loved all the singles they released this year. 

303: Favorite Colorado festival in 2018?

SK: The Underground Music Showcase (UMS). 

303: Local Artist of the Year?

SK: Slow Caves.

303: Favorite national album of 2018?

SK: Jungle – For Ever

303: Best performance you saw in 2018 (local and/or national)?

SK: Talos at South by Southwest. 

303: The good, bad and ugly of Denver in 2018? 

SK: The Good: More well known and diverse artists are coming here.

The Bad: It’s less about going to shows for the music, it’s more about spending money and being seen out a lot at the “hype” shows, which is lame. The industry side has become pretty money hungry and more competitive this year too (if that was even possible).

The Ugly: The #metoo movement hit the music industry hard, both locally and nationally. So glad it finally started happening but it was crazy to watch it go down.

303: Best Red Rocks show of 2018?

SK: Paramore. I’ve been waiting years for a nostalgic birthday booking and I finally got it with them. Honorable mention goes to Blackbear, Phantogram, HAIM, Vance Joy and X Ambassadors.

303: Biggest change in Denver music in 2018?

SK: Hyper segmentation. Crews of people aren’t just going to their same favorite local venue over and over again like they used to, they’re bopping all around the city as bookings across multiple venues become more competitive. 

303: Who in your opinion was the MVP of Denver’s music scene in 2018?

SK: Maddy O’Neal — this girl slays. 

303: What are you listening to right now?

SK: Rafferty and grandson.

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