A Conversation with Levitation Jones

After finishing up two nights at The Black Box and having an EP on the way, Levitation Jones has been making some serious moves. Responsible and socially distance that is. Selling out four shows at Black Box Denver, Levitation Jones has started off 2021 with getting to show what he can do. We recently had the chance to sit down with him to have a quick conversation. As we get into this interview we learn a ton about the new EP, how he spent his days of 2020, a standup act that may be in the works, and much more. Read everything that was talked about in the full interview below.


Party or No?

The conversation starts off like any other would, with some “Hey, what’s up?” and “How have you been”. As hellos have been exchanged we dive deep into the questions. We ask if his shows at The Black Box were some of the first that he is doing with Covid restrictions.

Levitation Jones responds with, “I’ve been taking opportunities. I find that with the concept of prohibition dosent work, people are going to party whether you tell them to or not. Why not go be a good influence, ya know? I played a show and the promoter pulled me to the back and asked if there was anything they could do differently? I told him, to be honest they didn’t push the mask recruitment thing hard enough but the distancing was fine. We played a show the day before and masks were super enforced. For that exact reason people were more comfortable dancing near each other, while giving space, which made for a way more energetic crowd.”

“The promoter said thank you and he would enforce mandatory masks. I felt that was a good influence, i’m not a hero for doing this but I feel it’s in my heart that I gotta do. I’m also trying not to get evicted, it’s not like I can make a million dollars right now to pay rent. I don’t have that option, I am kinda back against the wall. There is a lot weighing against me but I don’t blame people for being mad at me in a way. I’m still not going to listen to it. I’m not a Covid denier, I just feel there’s something weird going on here that we aren’t seeing. I am kinda trying to stay out of everyones way.” Brian tells.


Day Job

We continue on the chat asking Brian if he has a day job. “You know when Okeechobee came around I quit my day job. I sometimes have a day job I sometimes don’t. Since I have lived here I started working at this place that was walking distance away. It was great at first because I was having the hours to allow me time to work on music while also being able to get hours in at the job. They started to ask for more hours and I was definitely trying to get less hours. Then I played Okeechobee and I thought, I am going to try to do music full time again. So I have forever been here, trying to survive.”

“Do music full time during a pandemic, real genius move, right?” Brian jokes.


Livestreams and Live Sets

“You have been doing quite a bit of livestreams during this all haven’t you?” Patrik asks.

“At first they were okay. If you caught somebody on payday you’d probably be alright, or if you had some sort of established following. I can’t get more than 20 people to get on my stream at a time now and it’s not like any of them are really donating. But that’s fine! I like practicing and playing for people. Sometimes you’ll get a nice day where you’ll make $20-$40 which is always cool. As the governments been less generous and everyone has been struggling, I know I haven’t been the only one out here struggling. It’s been pretty obvious in donations and what’s available as an artist.”

Our conversations begins to lead into the direction of live sets, as Levitation Jones recently sold out two nights at The Black Box. “How did it feel from playing these livestreams to playing sold out shows in front of a live audience?”

Levitation Jones responds, “It was really cool, ya know? I definitely enjoy the fact that people get it enough to buy tickets to a show of mine during an experience like this. I am the right guy to play a seated table show. It feels like I got the right tunes for that attitude and I think everyone had a pretty good time with the experience. There are some other people out here selling out shows also which makes it feel good to know that you aren’t alone here.”


Standup Act

Activities that one may do in their free time can range from a number of things. For Brian it is working on a standup bit, “I was thinking about starting to do open mic nights. I have been writing some standup bits, unrelated from bass music. I have like eight minutes, I haven’t even practiced it at all. It’s very interactive and physical with the crowd, it dosent really work unless you can watch me up on stage being a dingus.” Brian jokes.

“We are going to see if it’s alright first. I am going to be super humble about it. If it’s alright like people laugh, we’ll run it. If it bombs we can say that we tried and it’s not for me.” Brian tells us.

We then ask Brian about what he has done with his time during quarantine. “I felt very comfortable executing on creating listening music instead of club music. That is something that I always wanted to do, I say always all the time, it is something that has been in almost every release. I put in some sort of chill song or laid back song that is not meant for the club. For this upcoming EP called Morality is Subjective, it has four songs that are all very chill and downtempo-ish. It’s all very different influences of stuff that you might not normally hear at a dubstep and/or weird bass event. I am excited to introduce a lot of that, my fans may not know a lot of these wave sounds so we will see how that goes.”


EP Coming Soon

Now, about the upcoming EP. We are insanely curious as to more details about it. We question Brian with, “Touching on the EP a bit more, when is it supposed to come out.”

“We’re making sure that it is perfect, which is always a conundrum and oxymoron. I have a certain vision of how I want the master to sound on each track. Two of them are done and we are waiting on two, one I am very back and forth on. We want to make sure it’s good. It’s all very awesome already and I am confident in the music as far as what I want to listen to. I tried to make music that I wanted to listen to or music that you could hangout with. It’s nice thinking tunes.” Brian says.

“Would you say that you are starting to develop your own sound if you haven’t already?” Patrik questions.

“Yeah! Some random kid at one of my shows told me he heard my new EP. I had played a few of the tunes at the club that night. The kid tells me, I don’t mean this in a weird personal way, this is kinda you starting at square one again. I was like I get it. Yeah, it was a bit weird to hear that right after a set but I was like okay I do get that.” Brian tells us.

“This is the first time I have released music after cutting my hair, it’s kinda a reset on who I was trying to be and how I was trying to approach the music industry. I don’t have an agent now and it’s a lot of changing points. I think i’m a lot more confident in my music production now than I was before. At this point I believe I can be taken serious as a music producer with this release.” Brian shares.


Behind the Scenes

Touching a bit more on the two nights at Black Box with Levitation Jones, we asked about how he chose the artists to open up for him. We also asked if he booked all his own gigs since he doesn’t have an agent.

“I came up with all the themes, I did do a lot of the communication, and handpicked all of the openers. No I didn’t do all the work.” Brian laughs.

“Yes, I wanted to go with people that I have been a fan of for awhile. I am a huge fan of a lot of artists from the Denver local scene. There is so many artists from Denver who go under the radar who nobody really cares about. If these guys moved to Connecticut where I am or Rhode Island where I was coming up, they would be doing great! There is not a lot of music producers out here doing okay. There is a handful that are and are very talented but it’s not very competitive in a way. You can stand out very quickly if you’re making really good music. Tons of these people are.”

MYXED UP and QILIN were very awesome openers. I have known them for a long time and have been supporting them for a long time. Putting them in my mixes and all that good stuff, we slowly started talking more and more and to be honest they were some of the first people that I thought of. They played great!”


Music Scene of Connecticut

Finally we ask, how the EDM or bass music scene is out where he lives.

“It’s interesting you know, there is a real EDM blanket scene everywhere. The underground bass scene is very Tipper oriented, that’s a good baseline. There is a lot of Truth’s Deep Dark and Dangerous energy up here, there’s a lot of roots connected with their business in this area. You see a lot of your standard deep dubstep and squishy bass and psychedelic stuff. It’s cool because there is a bit more of a crowd for the downtempo community.”

Brian shares with us a story of before Covid when he was able to play his music. “I would be playing house parties, pre Covid of course, where it was big cuddle puddles and mattresses on the floor where I would be playing three hour sets into the sunrise with these nice big windows. Everyone is hanging out listening to music. Very beautiful. It is a much smaller community up here.” Brian tells us.

“The people don’t really like me up here honestly” Brian laughs. “They don’t understand my jokes really. They like me everywhere else in the country a lot more than here. Which it’s weird why I am from here!”


Conclusion

Growing up listening to artists such as Deftones and The Prodigy, Brian says these were a few of his influences. He also watched Jackass and Viva La Bam heavily growing up, which he says could be some of the reasons for his shenanigans. This four track EP is to be on the lookout for, you will not want to miss this.

Levitation Jones was on the radio at the age of 18 putting on a radio shows, he started creating music around that age as well. “These parties are sick, they’ve made me feel at home. You know, I’ve never really felt too comfortable around anyone before.”

“I have been making music for over 10 years.” Brian shares with us as we begin to finish up this interview. “I give my music out for free, I don’t believe in my music being exclusive to a vinyl or to rich people. If you are homeless and have an MP3 player, bump my tunes homies!”

Something to go and check out after this is Levitation Jone’s podcast! You can find that linked here. Jerseys are on the way and much much more music. On behalf of myself and everyone at Party Guru Productions i’d like to thank you for the time to allow us to do this. If you’re still reading this Brian, i’d still like to be one of the first to know about that standup.

Photos From Levitation Jones

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Duper’s Creepy, But Awesome New Track: ‘Welcome To The Dungeon’

While we don’t think this is one of Duper’s holiday tracks, the Denver music producer is bringing his newest track to the front range. Manager Beau Carter states, “‘Welcome to the Dungeon’ aim[s] to create a horror themed soundscape combined with heavy experimental sound design. The track starts with a minimalistic intro filled with dark, eerie impacts that build into intense cinematic drums and a heavy drop with a unique sound.”

Jared Dupre (Duper) has been experimenting heavily during quarantine in a variety of genres. He aims to create a diverse portfolio of music as he continues to stay innovative in the Denver EDM scene. In this new track, Duper provides several uptempo, bass-heavy drop sections that make the listener want to get out of their seat and jam.

‘Welcome to the Dungeon’ begins with an ethereal feel. The ambience is set with subtle screaming, chains clinking, metal doors slamming, and echoing footsteps walking on stone. Suddenly, the beat picks up. For the next thirty seconds, listeners are kept on edge as the layers build up for the first drop where they are welcomed into “the dungeon” and all hell breaks loose.

The drops in this track make it seem like the real dungeon is in quarantine. Every high-end section makes the listener imagine flying glow sticks and crazy visuals while attending a rowdy EDM set at his or her favorite festival. You can almost feel the water being thrown on the front row by security guards. Quarantine–the dungeon–feels unsure and somewhat uneventful, just like the breakdowns in between the grandiose sections.

Footsteps, screaming, and other creepy sounds–including what sounds like a waterphone–make the listeners continue to feel uneasy as they make their way through the dungeon. At least they have some awesome bass to accompany them along the journey. As the fadeout occurs, listeners feel a sense of relief to escape the dungeon, but also a sense of longing for more. Due to COVID restrictions, one can only imagine the lights, the crowd, the sense of family that would occur seeing this song at a live set with best friends.

That being said, we do not have to imagine the visuals! Hopefully, listeners can find solace in checking out the video below for some epic visual work which emphasizes the creepy vibes. Typically, skulls, demons, and triangles are powerful symbols when dealing with the occult. These symbols only bring more party vibes when listening to Duper’s ‘Welcome to the Dungeon’ as we are led on a journey through this “wubby” dungeon with different skeletons and beings around every turn. This will no doubt be a great addition for your heavy hitting playlists.

Click Here for the Full Video

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City Roots TV: The Heartbeat of the City

Recently, we got the chance to sit down (virtually) with Fabe of City Roots TV. As the owner and founder of “Denver’s #1 news source for urban news,” Fabe has many stories and plans for growing the already booming business. The CRTV team has had the chance to work with some amazing talent both on set and behind the scenes. Recently, the team has been busy working with hit acts like Kayla Rae and Sean Love, as well as upcoming acts like Ahren Emily. They have had special guests behind the scenes such as Thomas Adams, of Uno Media and Patrik Essy of Party Guru Productions and X3P. City Roots TV is rapidly expanding to feature more genres and also working on new non-musical content like a video series. One of our members at Party Guru Press had a chance to sit down with Fabe to ask him a few questions. Down below all bolded questions were asked by PGP member Thomas Adams and all responses are from Fabe of City Roots TV.

Tell me a bit about yourself

Fabe: I was born in London, UK and moved to the US when I was nine years old for a better life with my mother and brother. In my early years I fell in love with basketball. I went on to play in the NCAA in Southern California. I enjoy morning meditation and long walks and everything dealing with nature.

How did City Roots get its start?

City Roots TV was inspired by my father after he passed away from lung and brain cancer. After he was diagnosed, I was forced to leave school and come home. His last words to me were, “Create something that will last forever, even after you’re gone.” Shortly after, I created City Roots TV-For the city, by the city.

What is the process for choosing new acts?

I get a lot of submissions from local and global artists, but I’m always on YouTube and Instagram searching hashtags that can lock me in on new talent. One of my recent photographers at City Roots TV connected with me through LinkedIn–which is actually a great tool for connecting with people. Perrie, our Creative Director and Head of Musical A & R, had this to say about searching for new acts. “I look for vintage looks. I’ve always been intrigued by vintage shots. One of my favorite ways to shoot is through Kodak in motion shots. I love when the eyes are looking directly into my camera, but I love shots that are avant garde, capturing the vibrant moment in real time.”

What is one of your favorite or most memorable shoots?

One of my favorite shoots was with Kayla Rae. She’s a global artist that has some big things lined up for 2021. She came down to City Roots and laid down a fire live session. Another shoot that was a lot of fun for me was with Sean Love. He is also a global artist that is becoming very recognizable on a broad scale.

What are your plans for City Roots in the future?

My plans for City Roots TV in the near future are to branch out to Los Angeles. I have recently connected with a theatre called Tiger Lab Studios. It is similar to the one we have here in Denver. Ideally, we will be going global in the near future. Ultimately, I want to see everyone on the City Roots TV team aspire to and achieve their own personal goals as well as contribute to the well being of CRTV.

Photos and Interview By Thomas Adams

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The Roaring 2020s: Speakeasy 303’s Prohibition-style Party

Speakeasy 303 is a “curated music, dining, and cocktail experience” that takes place at The Alley, a restaurant in downtown Littleton. The monthly event provides a Gatsby-esque atmosphere with themed cocktails and encourages attendees to dress up and party as if it were the roaring 20s–2020s that is. If one is a big Float Like A Buffalo fan, he or she would be thrilled to know that this event was founded by none other than the band’s manager Sarah Sheul and its frontman Cory Pearman. Often, attendees can catch special guest performances by other members of the high energy funk-rock band.

Much like the 1920s, nowadays people are told not to meet in large groups or gather for events. Unlike the 1920s, it doesn’t really have to be a secret to grab a drink with a friend. The small, prohibition-era vibe is a perfect setting for the craziness everyone is going through right now. Originally, Shuel’s vision was for attendees to have a secretive, word-of-mouth experience. “We want the experience from beginning to end to be secret and word-of-mouth-oriented,” said Shuel. “We created the Instagram, and that’s probably the only social media we’ll ever do. We put posters all over Main Street that just say ‘Shhh.’” Now that the event has gained some traction, more people are spreading the word about Speakeasy 303. At first the event was created to bring income to The Alley, but also to create some excitement in these trying times. “In times like this, you look for things like, ‘Ooh, I’m getting away with something,'” said Shuel. Following all CDC guidelines, the event features amazing local talent such as drummer Alejandro Castaño, pianist Tom Amend, and none other than Lettuce’s trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom. With the most recent event on November 2, the trio expanded to feature three more amazing musicians: Hazel Miller, Dave Randon, and Dana Marsh.

Pearman, a bartender for 22 years, is jazzed up about the event’s cocktails. The drink menu is constantly evolving, but consistently includes a spicy Old Fashioned made with reposado tequila. Recently the menu has grown to include cocktails made with Breckenridge Brewery’s new Velvet line. Additionally, attendees can add a szechuan button to their cocktails. The flower buds create a pleasant tingling sensation, much like Pop Rocks. Some may know them as buzz buttons or electric daisies as they give an effervescent, champagne-like zing.

Photos by Thomas Adams

The first events have been a smashing success. “We posted the reservation link and it was sold out within 24 hours,” said Shuel. Tickets often sell out quickly and then hopeful attendees join a waitlist in the event of cancellations. Next month’s Speakeasy 303 experience has yet to be scheduled, but make sure to follow Speakeasy 303 for further updates including food and drink menus, musical lineup, and dates.

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“From Rags to Reggae” with Andrew Ricci of Luna Shade

We got the chance to sit down with Andrew Ricci of Luna Shade. As the founder and frontman, his stories and experiences shaped the group’s message. The reggae-funk fusion of the group is a great vibe for any occasion including private events like weddings and backyard parties as well as bigger events like headlining Mishawaka Amphitheatre and Ironton Distillery. Andrew had this to say about his life, how Luna Shade formed, and what they’re up to now. A huge thank you for taking the time to hang out with us and speak about life.

Thomas: How did you end up here, musically and just in general?

Andrew: All of my life reggae has been part of my lifestyle. I spent most of my younger days playing in a punk hardcore group built with off-aggression and teen angst. It took me until I was about 16 years old to really embrace reggae music as part of my lifestyle. Some might say it was for the love of weed, but I chose this as a future goal, in that I was very inspired by a healthier lifestyle than just drinking and partying.

I decided to move to Colorado when I was 20 years old. I felt I needed to live in a place that was more progressive; a place that had more of a music scene than Wisconsin. I spent most of my 20s going to shows– a lot of them were reggae shows—sort of like my church. I met a man in Boulder. He had dreads and laid on the ground as he read his paper and smoked his joint. I sat next to him at a coffee shop and began talking to him. He said he used to party and used to do drugs but as one grows older, you find yourself striving for the simpler things in life, rather than a 24-hour high. He said one day I would understand. From that day, I remembered that man what he said to me–bringing it to the islands. That was the mindset that I wanted to live. That’s where I wanted to be and the reason why I decided to move away to an island in the middle of the ocean.

I always dreamt about living on an island and over the course of the next 7 years. I took an opportunity to move to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin islands in the beginning of 2017. I was at my highest point in my mid-20s and was running from a lifestyle of partying. I moved out to the Virgin Islands to embrace the reggae and Caribbean culture and to clean my mind of useless and negative actions brought on by years of partying. I spent most of my time in the Caribbean trying to clean my mind and find a better light within my day. I strived for that simple, fresh-fruit coconut water life. A healthy diet, not drinking too much and a place I could feel peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the United States and modern day life.

Thomas: What challenges did you face?

Andrew: In early September of 2017, we were hit by two hurricanes and one tropical storm. Hurricane Irma came first and shook the island. Tropical storm Jose came next and loosened it a little bit more. After tropical storm Jose came through, we still had just enough electricity downtown to go out and have a beer. We were warned that in the next 7 days Hurricane Maria would hit us. We scrambled. We bought all of the food supplies that we thought we needed; all the water we could fit and all the other essentials. The week leading up to Maria, we spent our time preparing and closing up windows to keep ourselves safe as Hurricane Maria was growing bigger and bigger everyday. The day that Maria came it was a Category-5 hurricane. The morning before the storm we all went out to have some last drinks as we weren’t sure when we would have electricity again. Everything was already running on generators. In one of the bars that overlooked the ocean, I sat with a beer in hand and I looked out at the horizon. The man next to me, a sailor from St. Thomas who had lost his boat and everything he owned in Hurricane Irma, had just arrived on St. Croix as a refugee. He turned towards me and looked me dead in the eyes. He said, “Nightmares are dreams too, living by the ocean.” This is a lyric that is now featured in our tune “Maria.” The song is completely about that storm. I highly recommend reading through the lyrics, as it will tell you my story. Maria came and it knocked down everything overnight. There were many emotions and stories that live inside of that storm that I can share to any interested parties.

The next morning we woke up and we looked outside with tears in our eyes. Trees had fallen. The leaves were gone. There was no color to be seen besides gray and brown. As the days went on, the hummingbirds flew around searching for nectar from the flowers. They would literally attack our shirts if we were wearing anything bright because they were so hungry. We all were hungry. Things got a little bit hairy and about a month went on without any electricity. There were food and water shortages. We decided it was best to figure out how to get back stateside so we could get out of this mess. When we came to get MREs for food, the people from Red Cross said, “You should try and leave the island because you have no blood on this island.” They essentially meant we weren’t locals and were taking up too much space and resources.

I went to the airport where I begged FEMA to take me home along with my dog. They snuck me onto a cargo plane with 15 other passengers that were quietly put aboard as well. They didn’t want to make any commotion, as there were lots of people trying to leave the island. We were headed to Georgia Air Force Base and we would have to figure out how to get home from there. I cried for days after we left. I felt depleted. I just kept listening to reggae music and holding my dog, as it was the last thing that I had to give me hope. I eventually found a way from the Georgia Air Force Base to the Atlanta Airport. We spent our last dollars on a plane ticket to Denver. I had no cell phone service and no money to pay for my bill so I relied on hope. I wrote song after song. Playing this music and writing was the only thing keeping my head up until I arrived in Denver where I was greeted by one of my good friends, Felicia. She brought me back to her house and housed me so that I could get my things back in order and figure out what was going to be the next step. I moved in with some good friends a month later who got me a great job at Rare Italian in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Thomas: How did you get started with Luna Shade? 

Andrew: After beginning to build my life back up again, I started to see the world a little differently. I began to give respect to life—to be thankful for the people I surrounded myself with and for those that held me up in the times that I thought I would drown. I’ll never be able to repay that debt. I was truly blessed.

I kept writing music in the times that were toughest. I then met my beautiful girlfriend, Amanda, while I was working at Rare Italian. She persuaded me to follow my dreams and reach out to find some people with whom I could play music. She supported my dream and understood that I had a story that needed to be told. I went on Craigslist and after a few days connected with Jason Johnson. I told him my whole story and he became a mentor and a collaborator within my music period—which now turned to our music.

I came up with the name Luna Shade. Luna Shade stems from a time in 2015 when I went to meet my father for the first time in my life who lived in Uruguay. He always loved the moon and we would drink scotch together and he would mention the luna shade—shade of the moon. So I started my band with Jason and found members to join us. In the name of my father Eddie Ricci, my strife changed and I began giving this band as much attention as I possibly could. It helped me stay away from old unhealthy habits and lifestyles. I begin this group to give thanks and to tell my story and maybe give hope to people who might not have any at that moment.

Over the past 3 years we have grown so much. We have lost members and we have gained members. We have been through our own trials and tribulations as a band and I feel we’re stronger than ever. I play this music to give peace—to tell my story and to give hope. It also gives me the peace that I need to get through all the dark moments we have to get through as humans—especially in today’s age.

Luna Shade has seen over 75 plus shows in 2019 alone and has played out of state a few times. We’re growing traction more than we could have ever imagined. Dreams do come true! Sometimes it takes a hurricane to see the clearness of the day. Sometimes it takes a hurricane to remind you of the good things you have. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind you of your own strength. With that story and with this band I will forever always be changed, and I will always seek to be the best person I can be and so forth.We wrote our album, Flock Together, which released in 2019 on Thanksgiving Day. That album was about people coming together and helping each other out for the most part. As the quote says, birds of a feather flock together. After member change up and covered started we begin to rearrange and some members decided to go separate ways due to difference in musical taste. These guys still remain my brothers to this day. We found new members and key reggae players that joined us. So, we rearranged our sound accordingly and came up with this new EP that will be releasing in December 2020 or January 2021. The EP is called Phases of the Moon EP. The album depicts change while giving thanks for the things that got us here. That vibe is noted and our single, “Sound to Sound” releasing on November 20th before the EP. Another tune coming out on that EP is called “Pon Di Rock.” It was written this year when I finally got to make my journey back to St. Croix for the first time in 3 years. I got to show Amanda what I had become and where I had lived. The line that hits most in “Pon Di Rock” says, “Some say, hey man everything safe. A phrase I missed most living for today.” To reply to someone when they ask you how you’re doing and saying, “safe” as your reply essentially means, “I could be good, I could be bad, but what I know right now is that I’m safe.” That phrase always stuck out and resonated with me. Sometimes we have our worst days, but most of the time we can say that we are safe even on those worst days. We are all coming back stronger physically and mentally and I want to thank you so much for taking your time to sit down with me and learn about our story.

Photos By Thomas Adams

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Em Possible Does What Seems Like The Impossible

Live music is making its way back into our lives. Even a sold out show during a global pandemic was done with the help of Denver’s Globe Hall, Party Guru Productions and Em Possible. From six feet away everybody sat at their tables while enjoying either an early solo acoustic set or a late night special guest featured show. Em showed her excitement to be back in the limelight on stage. She shared stories with the audience of how songs came to be while creating an atmosphere that felt like sitting in a living room. As friends, family and fans socially distantly gathered around to listen you could tell this was going to be a special night.

Em Possible being the Denver local she is, this made for an even more special time. Both sets were very unique. The second one was truly special as it was Em Possible’s first sold out headlining show. She told the crowd how she has performed with others on sold out shows before but not yet her own. As the first set began, Em Possible played us some of her own written songs along with some classics we’ve all come to love. Songs that she has written about her mother to stories about their favorite songs to all sing together such as Can’t Feel My Face, we got a bit of it all. Moving forward into the night the room became more intimate as Em shared more stories along with the songs to back them up.

After an outfit change and sanitation of the venue it was time for the second show. Joined by friends Dylan Gleit on the guitar and Jake on the conga drums, they pumped up the nights energy. While great tunes played food and drinks were also available for purchase. To better practice social distancing food was brought to each table. Sandwiches, vegan options, alcoholic beverages and other BBQ items were available for purchase. Masks were to be worn at all times unless eating or drinking. Even Em had to wear a mask!

Photos By Patrik Essy

With the help of Party Guru Productions and Globe Hall this was a very special night. Finding a way to put live music back into the ears of Denver’s people all while doing it safely. Em will be a special guest this Saturday at the Larimer Lounge with Flomoji! If you are looking for a safe, socially distanced event to hear that live music this is your chance, limited tickets remain. Go check out more about Em Possible down below, maybe you’ll discover a few new tracks for your playlist!

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Photography During A Pandemic

Let’s be honest this year has been tough on us all, including photographers and other members inside of the community. Of course we all really don’t think of photographers being ones that are truly impacted since they probably have other jobs but some have been hit harder than you may think. Something that turned into a hobby for some turned into a living for others. Photographers could go back to finding a job but even during a pandemic that is very tough. We all need to remember that with darkness there is light. Party Guru Press reached out to some photographers on Instagram for a little insight on how they are doing during these times.

First we asked our fellow photo friends, “How has Covid-19 affected your plans for this year”. Underground.exposure_ responded “Lots of canceled gigs, yup” and sethviews commented “Ruined everything music related for me. That seems a bit how we are all feeling about the industry shutdown. You may be reading this thinking, yeah it’s just concerts no big deal there is people getting sick and not being able to travel to see family. Yeah you would be right. One of our fellow followers responded, ” I could not go to my country for my daughters birthday because this sh*t quarantine”. This has been tough on us all, we all need to remember we are in this together.

Deadmau5 at Red Rocks Amphitheater night one

Photo shown above was taken by David Cohn of Deadmau5 at Red Rocks in 2019. “Is photography/ videography your main source of income?” David responds “Yes”. Sethviews again responds “Yes it has been for the last 5-6 months”. As time continues to move forward we must all adapt to the new ways. Cohnography (David Cohn) has told us he’s moved towards product and corporate photo shoots for money. Sethviews told us he’s began picking up weddings to cover bills and living but he still enjoys it. For somebody to have a passion for somebody even when the times seem a bit against them is a beautiful thing to see.

With all this time being inside quarantining it’s given everyone time to learn something new. Cohnography responds telling us he is getting into artistic abstract photography as well as film photography. Sethviews tells us about how he is taking courses for video editing as he feels his photos are decent for now. Learning new things is something that will help us all continue to grow and strengthen ourselves. Below is a photo shot by sethviews from Backwoods 2019.

Photos By David Cohn and sethviews

In conclusion this will all get better. Our final question was “Do you have any big plans for once ‘Covid is over’? The answers were pretty clear, “TOUR”, “Grind out Youtube heavy for the car scene and music” and “Create more short films” were a few of the answers. For artists to stay creative in such dark times can be tough, but these photographers aren’t letting the hustle stop.

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A Throwback to Gem and Jam Festival

Hosting headlining acts such as Tipper, Big Gigantic, The Floozies, Twiddle, Billy Strings and more. Featuring artists such as Aaron Brooks as well as many others, there were all forms of art, which was absolutely beautiful. Taking place January 31st- February 2nd in Tucson Arizona during their gem conventions the weather was absolutely beautiful. In the city of Tucson during these couple months the city gathers crystal lovers from all around to sell, trade and buy crystals. During all the conventions they host a music festival for all, yes it was family friendly! From three different stages to choose from the variety of music was refreshing and new.

Beginning night one with Tipper as the headliner, he showed us a blackout set. All the lights were turned off besides the LED behind him. This made for a unique first night headliner. Opened up by Manic Focus and Dirtwire then followed by Mersiv, Mystic Grizzly, Tenth Mountain Division and many others this first night was stacked. Moving into the second day we had even more great artists to follow. Big Gigantic showed us a few new songs of their new album, Free Your Mind, which at the time was not yet released, as they headlined the night. Opened up also by The Floozies, Desert Heart TAKEOVER, Buku, SoDown and many others night two was insane. All three nights had a few late night sets letting the music go all through the night. Finally we have night three, which was featured by Twiddle. Billy Strings, Micheal Menert and more. All in all this was a great festival. A good start to the year before everything was put on pause.

Photos By: Patrik Essy

This festival was truly one in its own. Every performance was completely original. Every artist had such a unique sound. The staff were great, the venue was beautiful, the food was delicious and the music was even banging. Balkan Bump, photo above, even showed us all an absolutely insane time. Later in the night going on to be a special guest with Big Gigantic he showed non stop performance all day. Above is a photo gallery from all nights at the festival from this year. This truly is a festival for all. If you love gems, music, and a good time this is the place for you.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd Brings Farewell Tour To Red Rocks This Fall

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, MARCH 13 AT 10AM AT AXS.COM

If you said that you’ve never heard one of these classics by this beloved rock band you’d not only be lying to us but yourself. Gimme three steps, Tuesday’s Gone, Simple man and of course Sweet Home Alabama. Lynyrd Skynyrd has been around blessing the world with original rock & roll since their first tour in 1973. Original band members Ronnie Van Zant (lead singer), Allen Collins (Guitar), Gary Rossington (guitar), Ed King (Guitar), Billy Powell (Keyboard), Leon Wilkeson (Bass) and Bob Burns (Drums) began touring around the United States and a little of Canada in the early 70’s. Beginning their journey in 1964, that’s when the band was started. Down in Jacksonville Florida where they formed, the band began to tour around under different names for a few years until finally discovering the name, Lynyrd Skynyrd. They have recently announced a final farewell tour which has already started and will end late 2020. It may or may not be coming to Colorado’s Red Rocks this fall.

The Early Days About the Band

Most bands go through a number of different names, lineup changes and sometimes problems until they find perfection. That’s exactly what this band did. Being known as the “The Nobel Five”, “My Backyard” and “One Percent” in the mid 60’s early 70’s was what they went by. It’s actually a very interesting story, back in school two members of the band were disciplined by their gym teacher for having too long of hair. That gym teacher’s name, Leonard Skinner. They shouted out the new name at a gig one night, saw the incredible amazing reaction and was then known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. They did, of course, alter the name a slight bit to make it their own original name. Recording hits right off out of the gate their first album was a hit. Songs such as Simple Man, Tuesday’s Gone, Free Bird and much more could be found on that album. The Florida boys continued the tour life as they eventually opened up for The Who in 1973. After that incredible experience and the positive response from the first album, the team got back into the studio for their second album, Second Helping.

A Loss in Rock and Roll History

1977 rolls around and the band is on a plane returning home from a gig in South Carolina. The airplane ended up running short on gas which caused it to crash into Mississippi woods. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines and road manager Dean Kilpatrick along with both pilots lost their lives that day. As the rest of the band began to recover from the injuries of the crash, they decided to take a break. After about 10 years the band returns with a new lead singer, Johnny Van Zant. Later on, in 2007, Hughie Thomasson passed away from a heart attack, he was currently one of the guitarists. A couple of years later keyboardist Billy Powell passed away from heart problems. Allen Collins and Leon Wilkeson are also no longer with the band today. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues on the legacy with original member Gary Rossington joined by Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Mark Matejka, Carol Chase, Johnny Colt, Peter Keys, Dale Rossington and Michael Cartellone.

Becoming Hall of Fame Worthy

With a new lead singer, the band decides to go on a full-scale new tour, you could say they launched Skynyrd 2.0. Recording a live album from this tour it was an absolute hit! Making the move from Florida to Atlanta in the early ’70s, this seemed to be a very productive move. Sweet Home Alabama was shown to the world, and the response was incredible. Landing themselves on the top 100 charts in three separate countries was huge. The band was also starting to be recognized as one of the top touring acts in the country. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame by a close friend, Kid Rock, it must’ve made for a very special event for the band. Later going on tour with Kid Rock as an opener, this 2006 inducted band deserved to have a spot in the hall.

Where Are They Today?

Continuing to tour the world even to this day is incredible, the legacy Lynyrd Skynyrd is actually on tour right now. With a show on March 7th in Georgia to a show in Pennsylvania on April 17th, this band will be touring the United States. Playing classics and new studio hits are something the band does during their performances to make it one of a kind. Touring around with Jamey Johnson, The Marshall Tucker Band, Kid Rock, Bad Company and more have made for a great past couple decades.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Lynyrd Skynyrd has recently announced their farewell tour, which they are on right now. This tour will conclude at the end of 2020 with some very special dates that are yet to be announced. One including Red Rocks Amphitheater on Monday, September 28th, 2020. Yes they will be at Red Rocks Amphitheater this fall on for one night only! Tickets will be available for purchase on Monday, March 13th, 2020. Tickets can be found for purchase on AXS. For being the huge name rock & roll legacy that Lynyrd Skynyrd is, this is one tour that is not to be missed, this will 100% sell out. It’s the last one of them all, a true farewell. They will be missed dearly but will continue to be lived through their music. Down below will be a link to some shows that they are performing as you’re reading this. With over 60 albums, sales going beyond 30 million worldwide, being in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and even having over 2 million downloads as a ringtone for their song Sweet Home Alabama, this is not a band to miss. Fo

See Lynyrd Skynyrd on Tour

The Funk Hunters and Westwood Records Takeover the Ogden

The Funk Hunters, an innovative Canadian based producer-duo, took the Ogden Theater by storm on Friday night. Which, included Defunk and Moontricks, all artists on Westwood Recordings. Westwood, founded by Nick Middleton of The Funk Hunters is a label that curates the freshest and hottest new talent. Their movement has been making a statement globally and their artists are a staple in the festival scene. No doubt, the show offered funky and heavy grooves that made for an irresistible dance party. And don’t forget, Denver based Ryan Maher kicked off the show with his blissful bass fusion. There wasn’t a single dull moment. The show definitely proved to be an immersive and dynamic experience that explored the boundaries of bass, glitch-hop, funk, and blues.

The Experience

The Funk Hunters, Defunk, & Moontricks showcased an international fusion of roots sentiments, funky grooves, and modern production. The flow of the show was thoughtfully designed and it seemed like all three artists were performing one big setlist. However, each act had its own distinctive performance and style. Starting off, Ryan Maher brought the party to life with heavy bass and impressive guitar chops. Following him, Moontricks engaged the audience with their addicting backwoods blues and bass. Despite still being early in the night, the whole crowd was stomping their feet and singing along with huge smiles on their faces. Moontricks have figured out how to delicately combine the raw and the refined sides of the musical realm. Overall, their performance offered a journey through the heavy emotions of roots music and the stimulation of modern EDM. 

Next up, Defunk stepped up to the plate. His performance really glued the whole show together. Clearly, Defunk is very versatile. Not only does he have heavy drops to please the rowdiest headbangers but he also has tasteful electronic that melts with funky grooves. He was able to maintain the euphoric vibe that Moontricks set had while building the energy before The Funk Hunters unleashed the climatic performance of the night.

The Funk Climax

By the time The Funk Hunters went on, the crowd was warmed up and ready to get the funk down. Production kicked in full force. Their set was full of surprises and included a drop in from Dominic Lailli of Big Gigantic on their new collab “Higher”. In fact, there is no doubt that The Funk Hunters have an incredible ability to work a crowd and the extensive repertoire to back it up. Plus, they are able to wrangle in a wide variety of fans from drum & bass heads to mainstream listeners.

Conclusion

All in all, the show was a memorable experience and introduced more people to the Westwood Recordings movement. It’s not often you attend a show that is so cohesive yet, offers such a depth of talented production, musicianship, and crowd interaction.

Photos by Patrik Essy / Written by Justin Long

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