culture

Live music brings connections

Performers, listeners gain from variety around Denver

Posted 8/24/15

It’s all about the experience — the spontaneity, the transfer of energy, the cohesive feeling.

“Music is, and always will be, a viable art form,” said Alexei Hammerle, a concert promoter and booker with local company Swinging Noose …

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culture

Live music brings connections

Performers, listeners gain from variety around Denver

Posted

It’s all about the experience — the spontaneity, the transfer of energy, the cohesive feeling.

“Music is, and always will be, a viable art form,” said Alexei Hammerle, a concert promoter and booker with local company Swinging Noose Productions. “Live music is about making somebody happy or reaching them on another level.”

Across musical genres, and no matter whether the performance is at a small neighborhood venue or large concert setting, people love to experience a live show.

“Live music is an exchange between the artist and the fan,” said country music artist Kristian Bush, who performed at the Buffalo Rose in Golden on July 25. “We all go through the event together. You want the whole audience to be as invested in the show as you are.”

Performing live is exciting, Bush said. His favorite part of a live show is the unpredictability of it.

“There’s always one moment in the show that something unexpected happens,” he said.

A musician has to have fun while performing, said Littleton’s Bill George, who has been performing live for about 35 years.

“Having a good time,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

George, a multi-instrumentalist, has been playing at the Buffalo Rose as a solo act for five years, and the crowds he attracts on his Wednesday afternoon performances fill up the patio of the venue.

“I like the patio gigs,” he said. “They’re so much fun. It’s just a cool vibe playing outside.”

It’s not only Colorado residents who know how special a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is, said Jordan Bishop, assistant director of marketing and communications for Denver Arts and Venues. “The venue is world renowned.”

Major artists pay homage to performing there. For example, Bishop said, during an Aug. 2 concert, Hozier mentioned to the audience that he checked off a bucket list item by performing live at Red Rocks. And Hozier, of Ireland, has “international stardom,” Bishop said.

It’s not the typical venue, Bishop said. It “is a naturally occurring, acoustically perfect” amphitheater that lends itself to any genre of music. “There’s not a bad seat in that place.”

Concerts at Red Rocks become a bonding experience, no matter that the venue can host 9,500 people.

“It gives the artist the opportunity to have intimacy with the crowd,” Bishop said.

Being enclosed by Creation Rock and Ship Rock, along with the stadium-style seating and the Denver skyline in the backdrop, ensures each concert-goer doesn’t get the feeling of being “lost in a sea of people,” Bishop said.

Live music performances provide an opportunity for everybody to feel welcome, Hammerle said.

With the expanded popularity of social media, and the luxury of being able to download music at home, it’s important for people to experience the bonding that happens at live shows, Hammerle said.

“People like the community,” he said. “They like coming out and connecting with other fans and like-minded people. Plus, they like to interact with the bands.”

And the performers like to interact with their fans, Hammerle said.

George agrees.

“Some people come no matter who’s playing,” he said. “Then there’s those who come week after week to hang out with me.”

George has about 500-600 cover tunes that he can play live, he said, and he will talk with the audience members he sees regularly at his shows, and write down their recurring requests.

“Playing it live can take people back to a different time in their life,” George said. “I prefer to play what the audience wants to hear. It’s important that I leave them with a good feeling.”

That feeling comes from being involved and going to live shows, Hammerle said.

Swinging Noose Productions has been booking shows at the Trailside Saloon in Thornton for about four years. Trailside is a great place for shows because there are not a lot of venues up north that host live shows and bring a variety of music, Hammerle said.

“Every Saturday night, (Trailside) has live music, and it’s transformed into a fun and exciting venue,” he said.

The Healz, a new ska-punk band from Denver, travels a lot to perform, drummer Bee Vaz said.

“It’s nice to travel to different places,” she said.

The Healz play shows at venues in central and south Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, so a Sept. 5 show at Trailside will be the band’s first performance at a venue up north.

“We’re hoping it brings out a new crowd,” Vaz said. “We’re excited to see new faces.”

Hammerle is proud of the local music scene, which covers all genres of music, but it is sometimes difficult to get people excited about a band they have never heard of, he said.

Especially in the local scene, “people are less likely to take a chance on them,” Hammerle said. But “local bands have just as much to offer as anything you hear on the radio.”

Most local musicians have full-time jobs and/or families to support, Hammerle said, but they make time to perform live because it’s something they love to do. And dedicated musicians tend to have dedicated fans, he added.

But the performance is only half of the draw, Hammerle said.

It’s getting a positive reaction from a crowd. It’s getting bands more exposure so they can play bigger shows, or are booked more often. It’s about creating a fun atmosphere.

And it’s the concert-goers, with their enthusiasm, who make all of that possible.

“They are the ones who make it so exciting,” Hammerle said. “Whether musician, promoter or venue, without the fans, we’d all be nothing.”

live music, Colorado music, Christy Steadman, Swinging Noose Productions, Red Rocks, Buffalo Rose

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