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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Icelantic Winter on the Rocks – featuring Half Color, Big Grams and ADVENTURE CLUB

Icelantic Winter on the Rocks – featuring Half Color, Big Grams and ADVENTURE CLUB

By: Rebecca LaPole
Photos By: Soren McCarty
January 29, 2016 – Denver, Colo.

On a beautiful Friday evening at the end of January, Red Rocks put on its 5th Annual Winter on the Rocks concert, a testimony to all that is Colorado. We came to worship the beats in the snow, or in this case, the balmy 40 degree temperatures, at the best outdoor venue in our state. You never know what you're going to get when you purchase tickets to an outdoor concert, in the winter, and with the impending doom or another huge snow storm, we praised the clear skies and the rising moon behind the brightly lit stage while bouncing to booming beats.

Half Color, the brainchild of Michel Menert and Paul Basic, opened the show with some local love and plenty of Broncos fans fueled the air full of pride that we once again made it to the Super Bowl.

DJ Matt Cassidy kept us entertained in the middle of the venue, between the openers and the headliner, with heavy beats and smooth transitions. A winter-time fashion show from Icelantic, skis homemade in Colorado, also took place on stage between sets featuring lovely ladies and gentlemen with snow boots and gloves and no shirts.

Big Grams, Phantogram+Big Boi of Outkast, took the middle position playing some remixed hits like “Miss Jackson” and “The Way You Move.”

Although Adventure Club is from Canada, and doesn't seem to be all that well-known to a lot of folks I've talked to, I am an avid fan and will continue to be so after they put on a bass-heavy, beautifully choreographed laser and digital graphics visual and audio feast, complete with Leighton jumping on the decks and Christian throwing up his hands triumphantly. The vibe in the crowd was nothing but love and everyone danced the night away, which sadly ended at 11:30 PM. Guess the rumors were true about Red Rocks turning down the decibels and ending EDM shows early. Bummer!! That was the only bad thing about their performance. Winter on the Rocks could have just had Adventure Club rocking the house for a solid three hours, and there would be no complaints. With little tidbits of their well-known songs like “Gold” and “Crash” mixed in to new and crazy drops, the crowd ate it up and left wanting more.
After seeing other big name EDM artists on the Rocks like Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, I've decided to religiously follow Adventure Club wherever they go. I never get bored, not even for a second, at an Adventure Club show. I've seen them at the Aggie in Fort Collins and Red Rocks twice and I'm waiting for them to come back to Colorado already. Their drops are unpredictable and amazing, their stage presence is unmatched and their commitment to melting faces every show is unparalleled.

Thank you, Adventure Club, for braving the “cold” and making this a most memorable night.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Welcome Back! February Scene Magazine Cover Story & CD Review!


By: Rebecca LaPole
On February 13th, The Patti Fiasco is musically “marrying” Mama Lenny and the Remedy at Hodi's Half Note in Old Town Fort Collins. “Our bands have been in love with one another for some time, so in the Valentine’s spirit, we’re hosting a very romantic and collaborative performance between our two bands at Hodi’s,” lead singer Alysia Kraft says.

Kraft knows about the love and support available in Fort Collins and the Front Range music scene. “I spent the last year going back and forth between Austin, TX (live music capital of the world), and Fort Collins. The experience made me infinitely grateful to have rooted my music career here. The fan support in Fort Collins is unique. There are so many people enthusiastic about the scene here, so many folks who appreciate live shows and seek them out. Austin is completely inundated by talent. You can go to mind blowing shows every night of the week. But, it might be you and the bartender watching the best singer/songwriter in Texas play for a pitcher of PBR. Fort Collins musicians have it good and it’s thanks largely to local support.”

Peter Knudson, a Northern Colorado staple who offers incredible support on the drums, is the latest addition to the talented band that backs Kraft as The Patti Fiasco. Lead guitarist, Dee Tyler, and Kraft found each other at an open mic in Laramie and conceived the band in 2008. A couple years later they added bassist, Niles Mischke, and Dee's high school buddy, Ansel Foxley, who was the winner of the 2007 RockyGrass dobro competition and according to Kraft, “frankensteined an electric dobro ... I’m pretty sure they all fell straight from heaven,” Kraft says. “These guys are beyond family to me. I feel so fortunate to make music with such a talented, sweet-hearted crew.”
With all those nice, romantic words, one would think that Kraft is enjoying the fruits of the labor of love in every area of her life. But when asked about her love life, she admits it's “difficult. Don’t fall in love with someone from Texas if you have a band you love in Colorado.”

When Kraft isn't traveling between the two states that hold the things she loves, she says, “I cook and paint and spend time outdoors. But mostly, I play and write music and hustle to make it work financially.” She can be self-deprecating when talking about her early life in music. “I picked up a pawn shop guitar when I was 21 and started writing really bad songs immediately.” But then the bold, fiery, enigmatic side comes out; “I played my first open mic night several months after teaching myself a few chords on the guitar. It was scary and exhilarating. Prior to music, I sort of felt like I was watching my life from a distance—but performing put me solidly in my own skin. I used to get nervous in the open mic days… but not with The Patti Fiasco.”

She might take some of that boldness from the musical influences she has that she says are “all over the place,” and include: “The Riot grrrl movement. Beautiful, empty, weird, radical Wyoming. Neil Young doing whatever he wants whenever he wants. Beck doing everything he does. Annie Lennox, Tina Tuner, Joan Jett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alynda Lee Seguerra (Hurray for the Riff Raff), and Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels and Rope) to name a few badass ladies. Collaborating with Staci Foster (Texas singer/songwriter) has been hugely influential. She has such a wild and beautiful and transcendental sound. Being around that has fundamentally changed the way I write songs.”
These influences also keep her highly interested in the integrity of the music she's making. “I don’t want anything to get in the way of the energy behind the songs and the playing. I want everybody in the crowd to feel free for an hour, and I want to feel free too. It’s inevitable that you’ll make mistakes, it’s inevitable that some people won’t like it, but I’ll never let that concern me.”

The Patti Fiasco is currently about halfway done with their third full-length album. “We’re set to finish tracking during our next session at Denver’s ‘Mighty Fine Productions,’ February 6th- 9th.” Kraft says, “It’s easily our most rock and roll release to date and we’re looking forward to releasing it with a bang and a full summer of touring. In late 2014, we joined Denver’s Vinefield Agency (Shel, The Yawpers), and thanks to help from new manager, Jen Korte, we’ve been exposed to bigger and bigger national audiences and bigger and bigger stages. There’s a momentum behind the band now unlike anytime before. I’ve never been more excited about the music we were making or prospects on the horizon.”

Check out The Patti Fiasco & Mama Lenny and the Remedy Love Fest at Hodi’s Half Note on Friday, February 13 at 8:00pm, and catch up with them on their website or on Facebook.

CD Review - published in February 2015 - Scene Magazine

Ben Gallagher has been making art rock, playing mountain country, accompanying ballets and avant garde art performance as well as playing Abraham Lynch, the pianist from the dark, zombie-death-polka band, The Widow's Bane. Recently, he has branched out on his own and created a solo masterpiece called Heart Shaped Rocks. Released in January 2015, Ben Gallagher's album is brooding, poetic genius. It's a perfect album to lose yourself in and the intriguing, thought-provoking lyrics and unique sounds pull you back to a different era; a simpler time. Dogs howling in the background, songs fading into the ice cream man's tune, a Green Bullet microphone, and several other talented musicians including drummer, Jon Mouser, and trumpeter, Tung Pham, (of the Widow's Bane) add to the complexity and depth of this album. “Beleaguered” has a simple, repetitive lyric that is driven home with a building crescendo of instruments. “What My Father Told Me” has been performed by Ben with the Widow's Bane, and has an up-beat break similar to some of their other songs. “Missing Pieces” is a great look at a relationship, and “College” is an ironic tale about what it takes to get a degree. All in all, this album is an incredible journey to take with a talented, old soul.
- By Rebecca LaPole

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Focus on myself
Spontaneous adventures
Help my own heart grow

Be less critical
Of myself and others now
Sparks my heart's desire

Breeds happiness and sweetness
To help everyone

Monday, December 13, 2010

Flobots Tear Up the Aggie in Fort Collins

Check out my review of the Flobots show at the Aggie from 12.10.10. here.
And more video here.

(Here's a version of my story with links to videos and websites embedded):

With a sound that crosses several genres – rock, hip-hop, alternative, hardcore, classical – one may inaccurately assume the Flobots aren’t cohesive or that they don’t have their own style. This is not the case, as anyone attending a Flobots show can attest. The group melds together like the perfect cake recipe and flows in and out of different musical varieties like the Poudre in the summer.

As a 5-year-old band, Flobots continue to change and grow, but they stay true to their message: one of love, connection, and the truth. 

Friday, December 10, brought Flobots to the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins, CO, just up the road from where Brer Rabbit went to school at Colorado State University. The Denver-based hip-hop alternative group has recently made it a tradition to stick close to home around the holidays, and the fans in Fort Collins benefitted greatly. 

The crowd at the Aggie was more than just a college scene, and had tons of energy for the Denver openers, Air Dubai, and the legendary Digable Planets, who set the tone with their funky mellow vibe. 

Flobots began their show with “One Love,” a favorite from their EP “Flobots Present… Platypus,” after Brer Rabbit hyped the crowd to the level he remembered from his college days in Fort Collins. “Same Thing” from “Fight With Tools” was performed with fantastic energy before they dove into another “Platypus” favorite, “Jetpack,” which featured Brer Rabbit’s gravity-defying pop and locking moves.

“Stand Up” from “Fight With Tools” was next, moving everyone in the venue to put their hands in the air. Mackenzie Gault performed a beautiful viola solo/interlude before the whole band joined her for “Defend Atlantis,” off their most recent release, “Survival Story.”

Jonny5's expressive face and staccato rhyming blends perfectly with Mackenzie’s smooth viola, Andy Rok’s wailing guitar, Jesse Walker’s thumping bass, Kenny O.’s phenomenal drumming and Brer Rabbit’s infectious smile, stage presence, and deep, soulful melodies. The childhood friendship is obvious between the two MC’s of the group as they complement each other often and share many bro-worthy moments onstage.

“The Moon” from “Platypus” had a very jazzy feel, and Doodlebug of Digable Planets joined in with a sweet freestyle. “The Rhythm Method (Move!)” encouraged everyone to “move like an ampersand,” and spell F-l-o-b-o-t-s in sign language along with Jonny 5. 

Next was an extra special “Colorado Flo-down” (not on any album) complete with Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 jumping into the crowd and dancing doe-see-doe style with the audience. Flobots called Jon Shockness from Air Dubai up to sing on “Infatuation,” which is performed by another Denverite, Matt Morris, on “Survival Story.” Dancers from the crowd were pulled onstage convincing Brer Rabbit once again that Fort Collins is live!

Another “old school” jam, “No W,” from “Platypus” led to a remix of “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Jesse Walker's bass thumped out a hard beat to start “Combat,” and Kenny O. ended it with a ravenous drum solo. “Mayday!!!” another rocking jam from “Fight With Tools” showed how cohesive the band is and the immense amount of energy that they feed off of each other and the crowd.  

Kenny O. started a pulsating drum and bass style remix of “Handlebars,” and Mackenzie’s viola solo replaced the recorded trumpet from the album beautifully.  “Rise” got everybody jumping and chanting along with Brer Rabbit. The crowd kept their hands waving to “The Effect” before they were instructed by Jonny 5 to “do the Helen Keller and confront male arrogance.” Brer Rabbit and Jonny 5 stood back to back for a sweet rhyme swap and they left the stage.

During the short break, the crowd started chanting “Flobots!” until they came back onstage with Mackenzie slicing her viola intro into “Airplane Mode.” Andy made some crazy electro spaceship noise on his guitar before switching over to instructing the crowd on “White Flag Warrior” lyrics. White flags waved and Tim McIlrath of Rise Against suddenly ran out onstage to sing the chorus. Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit’s encore verses mixed in with Europe’s “Final Countdown” with Tim belting out that chorus as well. Two confetti cannons shot off and the crowd left with a fresh perspective and very happy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lessons Learned from NBC's "30 Rock"