Any set of four charming sisters can be a force to reckon with, but Fort Collins-based SHEL knocks it up a notch (Bam!) by also being instrument-wielding fashionistas. Or fashionable instrumentalists. Bespoke musicators. Virtuoso videographers.
Really, they do everything and they do it quite well.
So, in what promises to be a wildly interesting exhibition, Tuesday they’ll perform with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra at Chautaqua Auditorium (900 Baseline Rd., Boulder). The sisters will play their own set before joining the orchestra where they’ll perform a mash-up composition, featuring elements of composer Aaron Copland and music and lyrics of Bon Iver. Woah. Should be dense, layered, delicate and above all, unique.
SHEL will also open up Film on the Rocks on July 31 (showing “Pretty Woman”) at the lovely Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison).
Thor listens to Thundercat on his Bluetooth hammer
I reached the pinnacle of profound live music experiences last year with Flying Lotus’ Red Rocks set on June 19. Everyone remembers Schoolboy Q’s crew getting shot up in a parking lot drive-by that night at the venue, but the real news — no, the truth — was Flylo and his recognizable sound.
If you’re a fan, you know an element of that sound — the bass melody and counter melody lines with the distinctive fretwork overtones — comes from the direction of his longtime collaborator we know as Thundercat. His and Flylo’s recent work includes collaboration with Herbie Hancock and Kendrick Lamar, to name just two.
Furiously hammering the bass guitar and sporting a look that is one part Firefly and one part Barf from “Spaceballs,” Thundercat is a cat like no other.
His just-released The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam EP is quickly becoming a new favorite of mine, and a regular play on Spotify. It’s one I can really hear all the way through from beginning to end.
And it’s no wonder. With friends and collaborators like Flylo, Herbie, Mono/Poly and sax player Kamasi Washington (whose three-disc album The Epic was produced by Flylo and who also played on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly) there is no isolated noodling here — instead, beautiful compositions and undulating movement between tight ensemble playing and spatial ambient scenery.
Thundercat plays Denver’s Larimer Lounge on September 20.
Plain White T’s wore black shirts
One of my gigs at the Colorado Daily is producer and sound engineer of our live music video studio, Second Story Garage. We’ve been busy recording for several years, so if you haven’t heard of SSG by now, and you like music, let’s just say you’ve got some catching up to do.
Somewhere around the 150th recording session was a visit last week by Chicago-based alt-pop rockers Plain White T’s. Made famous by that one acoustic song (Ohhh it’s what you do to meeeee…) and other subsequent mainstream hits, they only had about an hour and a half, including load-in and out. It was a whirlwind session.
I had hoped to get them in full electric guitar and drum kit glory, but singer Tom Higgenson drove straight from DIA to meet us, so the band ended up bringing a tricked-out acoustic set.
They were everything a Top-40 well-supported pop-rock act should be — tight, rehearsed and easygoing all at once. We got a really energetic performance out of them before they raced back to Denver to support Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 at the Paramount (although Rob was forced to cancel his set because of an allergy issue).
Look up our channel on YouTube, or visit www.secondstorygarage.com to watch Plain White T’s and many other live performances from our newsroom studio.
Whoever is doing the booking at 1-Up Colfax (717 E Colfax Ave., Denver) has me paying attention. In the last year, there have been plenty of high-energy collaboration mash-up “jams” in the funk and soul departments. If EDM is your style, this is a venue to watch. Wednesday saw Cut Copy DJs bring their dance party to town. Interesting recent bookings that come to mind include Giraffage, iowno, MILKY.WAV and Marcelo Moxy. So keep an eye out online for promising local spinners and rising stars coming to bump it at Denver’s coolest arcade.