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Exclusive Q and A: DeVotchKa Talk Symphonic Stylings

Not many bands can say they got their start playing at burlesque shows. Of course, not many bands are like Denver, Colorado’s DeVotchKa. The band’s unique blend of Gypsy folk, indie rock, and punk served them well on the burlesque stage, but soon led to even bigger opportunities. In 2006, they scored acclaimed indie flick Little Miss Sunshine and were nominated for the Best Compilation Soundtrack Grammy. Several years and albums later, DeVotchKa have expanded their sonic palette once again, recording a live album with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. We chatted with frontman Nick Urata about the unique challenges of writing for, and rehearsing with an orchestra.

OS: How did the opportunity to work with the Colorado Symphony come up?

Nick Urata: It was a long time in the works. We have close ties with principle violinist Claude Sim. He and several other CSO players appeared on our last two albums and have done many concerts with us. The CSO was looking to expand into this area and we said why not us?

OS: How did you choose which songs you were going to perform with the orchestra?  Were there some that worked better with an orchestral arrangement?

NU: I wish we could have done more, but these were the most interesting of the bunch we had complete by showtime.

OS: What kind of challenges did you encounter when rehearsing for the show with the orchestra?  Was it harder than rehearsing just as a band?

NU: Yes and no. Sometimes, things that look good on paper don’t work when you put them in front of muscians, but that is obvious. Luckily, we had a very talented group and a great conductor to keep things moving along. Also, with a band, you can take as much time as you want, but with a symphony, we were up against union overtime fees, so we had to be very disciplined to get it ready by performnce time.

OS: Did you tailor the dramatic flair of your regular stage performance to fit this particular show at all?

NU: Well, we had to tone it down a little. There was already so much going on up on the stage, so it was very visual and the music is pretty melodramatic to begin with [laughs].

OS: Was there a kind of symbolic importance of doing a show this big with the CSO in DeVotchKa’s musical hometown?

NU: For us it was very meaningful to play with the best muscians in town at a classic theatre considering we used to have to beg to play at complete shit holes. It was a beautiful thing. The Governor  John Hickenlooper, who is a big music fan and supporter of the band, came out and gave a beautiful intro. I am constantly defending Denver’s cultural relevance in the press; this felt like the perfect example of what is possible and what already exists in what I think is a great and very unique city.

OS: If an up-and-coming band were considering moving to a big hub like L.A./New York or putting in more time in a smaller scene like Denver, which would you suggest they do?

NU: I can only offer my experience and those of my friends. I have done both, and they both can totally suck for an unknown band, but these are great days we live in and geography is not as important as it used to be. I always tell people who ask my advice that the best thing you can do is surround yourself with people you love to be with and put all your energy into getting your songs on tape; if you make a great record, they will find you!

Pick up DeVotchKa Live with the Colorado Symphony now!

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Mumford & Sons Premier Music Video For “I Will Wait” Live At Red Rocks

On August 28th and 29th, folk rock sensations Mumford & Sons performed at the famous and awe-inspiring Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado. From this experience, the band plans to release a documentary called Road To Red Rocks, including footage of the live performance, life on the road, and, in an interesting twist, fan submitted home-videos of their experiences before, during, and after the show. Now, after a three part series of promo trailers, the band have released their official music video for new single “I Will Wait” off their upcoming album Babel, which will be out September 24th. Click here for preorders, and check out the video below:

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Motley Crue and KISS Donate $100,000 To Aurora, CO Theater Shooting Victims

KISS and Motley Crüe have both decided to collectively donate $100,000 to the victims, families, and others affected by the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting that occurred last month.

The two bands made their announcement together at their show in Denver on Wednesday, saying the money would go towards the Aurora Victim Relief Fund. According to Billboard, “Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and Paul Stanley of Kiss said in a written statement that they hope their gesture will encourage others to give.” The legendary rock bands will be on tour together for the next month.

 

 

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Levi Hart To Join Kid Rock On Stage In Denver

Kid Rock is on a one-of-a-kind tour, playing in intimate clubs all across the country. Not only is the country superstar playing smaller venues, but he’s also bringing along donations to local charities at each stop on the tour. And, because he was feeling extra generous, Kid Rock decided to partner with OurStage to help select an opening act for his SOLD OUT show in Denver on December 1st.

You’ve been judging and ranking the artists you think deserve this opportunity all month long, and now we finally have a winner. Please join us in congratulating Levi Hart. His soulful, twangy melodies struck a chord with the OurStage fans and helped propel his winning song, “Set It Free,” to the top of the channel. Check out the playlist below to hear the winning song as well as more songs by Levi Hart.

Open Up And Party Down With Kid Rock

Get ready to crack the corks on the bottles of bub’ and bawitdaba with the rock ‘n’ roll Jesus himself because Kid Rock is searching for an opening act, and it could be you. He’s hitting the road this fall on an unprecedented club tour, bringing with him bags of cash from Detroit to give to local charities in need at each stop. Enter the “Kid Rock Opening Act” Competition on OurStage by November 3rd, and you could open for him on December 1st at a SOLD OUT gig in Denver, Colorado. But be sure to bring your acoustic along, ‘cause this is a mellow affair, catch my drift?

Miss your chance to buy tickets?  Don’t forget, fans can cash in by judging and ranking the best artists in the competition by November 7. One lucky winner will get hooked up with two tickets to the show! You can up jump the boogy with Kid Rock all night long. Hit up the playlist below for a taste of what’s to come.

Get In The Pit With Kid Rock

Wow, you actually know what “diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy” means? We’ve got to hand it to ya’, you’re a legit Kid Rock fan. For these reasons and more, we need you to help pick the perfect opening act for his upcoming performance in Denver, CO. The show is part of the Kid’s fall tour, where he’ll be bringing bags of cash from Detroit to local charities in need at each of twelve stops around the country. Get in the pit and help rank the hottest acts competing in the “Kid Rock Opening Act” Competition by November 7, 2011 and you could grab two tickets to the Mile High City concert. To sample some of the choice acts currently competing, check out the below playlist.

 

It’s Time To Bawitdaba With Kid Rock

Kid Rock is opening his arms to the purveyors of rock ‘n’ roll, seeking the most worthy of performers to help him bring all that rocks back to the masses. If you’re a country, alternative country or rock acoustic solo or duo act with a track that blows them away, a jam the likes of which would throw back the blonde mane of the Kid himself, then enter it in the Kid Rock Opening Act” Competition by November 3, 2011.

Please the ears of the OurStage fans and competition judges and you’ll be on your way to open for Kid Rock in Denver, Colorado on December 1, 2001. But perhaps best of all, Kid Rock will be bringing bags of money from Detroit to give back to local charities . Get ready for your dose of rock ‘n’ roll—enter now.

 

Lyrical Midas

Black Prez

Some MCs put a lot of space around their punchlines, building up the anticipation before delivering their best lyrical blow. You won’t find that with Black Prez, mainly because every line is gold. The Colorado rapper casually delivers witty and oblique references without all the pomp and circumstance. On “They Know” he spits lines like “I ain’t ever been seen as a clown but I’m It” and “Been around here for a minute like dodo” back to back without pause. If you’re not a Stephen King fan or a connoisseur of extinct birds, you may not get the joke. But that’s a risk Black Prez is willing to take. Digital zaps and a lumbering beat make your heart race while the lyrics do the same for your mind. “She On Fire” is spacey and bassy, bouncing along with epic synths. “Party like it’s 2012 and it’s the grand finale,” Black Prez commands. Whether you buy into the Mayan calendar or not, you’ve got no choice but to obey.

“They Know” – Black Prez



Alt-Country Songstress Snags Free Strings From Ernie Ball

Strings are the oil that keeps the alternative country engine running. Whether in the studio, on the road or on stage, shiny new strings keep the music blasting well into the night. In February, Ernie Ball lent a helping hand to artists in the Alternative Country Channel, offering one Grand Prize Winner a chance to earn a year’s supply of free strings and accessories.

Coles Whalen, a songstress hailing from Denver, Colorado took home the cake with her song “Go Child.” One look through Whalen’s OurStage profile is all you need to know that she has alternative country in her blood. Whalen spent her early days touring the country in her pick up and camper, spreading her voice and music across the country. In 2007, she parked the camper permanently in Denver, and has been cranking out the tunes ever since, opening for artists the likes of Rufus Wainwright, The John Butler Trio and Paula Cole. Join us in congratulating Coles Whalen on her win, and stay tuned to the OurStage Magazine for our upcoming interview with her.

Artists in the Hard Rock Channel are currently competing for this month’s Ernie Ball prize. Head over to the channel now and show those artists some love!

 


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