Best Shows of 2017
I was very fortunate in 2017 to continue to see a heavy dose of live music on a regular basis. Looking back at the dates and the shear number of shows it is hard to believe I only saw one show in January and just two shows in May. Especially when one considers that I ended up seeing 7 shows in 9 days during an intense period in July and 5 shows over the course of 3 consecutive nights in June!
Before I get into the best of list, a couple of pieces of important business.
First and foremost, we lost one of the most dedicated live music fans I’ve ever known at the beginning of December. Dennis Dahl will forever be remembered as a fans fan, the guy who you could always rely on to make a plan and get it done. As some one who is frequently called upon to be the responsible one it was always a treat to be able to lean into the Team Dahl comfort zone and know that we would be flying under the radar but above the drama. I could always count on Dennis and I hope he felt the same about me, because there was truly nothing I would not do for him.
He had been trying to get me to come out to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass for years and I would always tell him that once we didn’t have to follow the school district calendar we would do it. Well, we never got the chance and that is one of the biggest regrets of my life.
I feel very fortunate to have known this gem of a man and will deeply miss his influence in my life.
Without further ado, here are some overall ‘Best of’ lists.
Best Up and Coming Act of 2017 — Avenhart.
This folk unit out of Denver has one of the most talented female vocalists currently working and an ability to write songs that feel fresh and familiar at the same time. Make sure to carve some time out in 2018 to check this band out!
Best Emerging Musician of 2017 — Jackson Rockwell.
Jack’s band Toy Dinosaur played their first show in December of 2016, but 2017 was where the band really started to hit their stride. Their originals are solid compositions of prog rock inspiration and Jack’s bass lines have an easy lyrical quality verging on being a lead instrument. Jack continues to develop his sound and has even started playing a little lead guitar.
Toy Dinosaur has a show coming up in January 2018 at Illegal Pete’s on the Hill in Boulder and Jack has even designed the poster for the event — I suggest you don’t miss it.
MVP Musician of 2017 — Eric Martinez.
This wasn’t even close — Eric Martinez. He has been the secret ingredient in so many Denver musical events this year it may be difficult to summarize without making this entire post about him so here is a short list of projects he was involved in this past year… He brought Eric Carter of Bloodkin out to Colorado to play a slew of gigs with him while Carter’s musical partner, Danny Hutchens, was recovering from a medical emergency. He was the glue for the Interstellar Boys when they made their inaugural run of shows in Colorado in July. He has been supporting Jerry Joseph in a lead guitar role in the Jackmormons for the past few months, arguably helping propel that band toward some interesting new ground. This list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention that he is also one of the primary musicians in multiple local bands including Dyrty Byrds and Alpha King Knight.
Finally, he was also one of the main forces behind the Team Dahl Benefit at the Source/Acorn in December. This important event helped a large group of people who were touched by Dennis’ life start the healing process. Having live music at the event was a foregone conclusion and Mr. Martinez leaned into the task with his usual casual approach and as a result the event was a wonderful celebration of life.
Eric, you are a real treasure of the Denver live music scene. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and craftsmanship.
By the numbers I saw 88 shows over the course of 61 nights (an average of just over one night out per week) and saw 78 different bands over that time period.
Here is a short list of the bands I saw most in 2017;
Toy Dinosaur — 7 shows
Jerry Joseph — 6 shows
Flash Mountain Flood — 6 shows
Jeff Crosby — 4 shows
Kind Hearted Strangers — 4 shows
5k — 3 shows
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead — 3 shows
Widespread Panic — 3 shows
Best Live Shows of 2017
#15 — July 13 — Flash Mountain Flood + Kind Hearted Strangers at the Fox, Boulder
#14 — November 15 — Hard Working Americans + Jerry Joseph solo at the Fox, Boulder
#13 — March 21–40,000 Headmen at Martyrs’, Chicago
#12 — June 9 — Marcus King + American Babies at the Fox, Boulder
#11 — February 11 — Foundation of Funk at Ophelia’s, Denver
#10 — December 8 — Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons (with Eric Martinez) at Cervante’s Other Side, Denver
#9 — August 5 — Jerry Garcia Birthday Celebration at Red Rocks
#8 — September 23 — Greensky Bluegrass + Fruition at Red Rocks
#7 — December 30 — My Morning Jacket + Tuneyards at First Bank Center, Broomfield
#6 — June 20 — Ryan Adams at the Fox, Boulder
#5 — June 25 — Widespread Panic at Red Rocks
#4 — August 12 Toy Dinosaur at Illegal Pete’s on the Hill, Boulder
#3 — October 14 — War on Drugs at the Ogden, Denver
#2 — July 8 — Breckenridge Brewing Hootenanny featuring Phoff/Beck Quartet, Jeff Austin, John Stickley Trio at Breckenridge Brewing, Littleton
#1 — September 1 — Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at Red Rocks
Complete list of shows seen in 2017
12/31 Flash Mountain Flood + Amoramora
12/30 My Morning Jacket + tune yards
12/29 My Morning Jacket + the Revolution
12/22 Future cats @ Bohemian Biergarten
12/17 Kind Hearted Strangers + Galvarino @ Bohemian Biergarten
12/17 M3 at License #1
12/17 John Craigie @ eTown
12/16 Steve Kimock and Friends @ Cervantes
12/13 Martinez/Pater @ Local 46
12/13 Flash Mtn Flood at Cosmic Collective (Interview)
12/10 JJ and the Jack mormons + 5000 @ Black Box
12/8 JJ and Jackmormons @ Cervantes
12/5 Dennis Benefit (Eric Martinez, Tori Pater, Micah Monroe, Chris Sheldon, Lionel Lucchesi, Mark Levy, Jack Rockwell, Ted Rockwell (and others!!!)
12/3 ?? Blues band at License #1
11/25 Spanky McCluer going away at Wash Park Grille
11/21 Alpha King Knight @ Wash Park Grille
11/18 Last Waltz @ Boulder Theater
11/18 ?? Blues band at License #1
11/15 Hard working americans + Jerry Joseph solo @ Fox Theater
10/19 Flash Mtn Flood + Kind Hearted Strangers + Banshee Tree @ Fox Theater
10/14 War on Drugs + the Building @ the Ogden
10/5 King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard + Tropical Fuck Storm @ Fox Theatre
9/29 Jerry Joseph solo + Blake Brown @ Bluebird
9/29 Kind Hearted Strangers @ Fjallraven
9/23 Greensky Bluegrass + Fruition @ Red Rocks
9/22 Greensky Bluegrass @ Boulder Theater
9/10 Invisible Whip + Ozone Noise @ Fox Theatre
9/1 JRAD @ Red Rocks
8/27 Grant Farm @ Grapes and Grass
8/27 Flash Mtn Flood + Mali Llama @ NedFest
8/19 Cosmic Twang (with Dave Schools and Holly Bowling) @ Terrapin Crossroads
8/12 Toy Dinosaur @ Illegal Pete’s on the Hill
8/9 Toy Dinosaur @ Moe’s BBQ
8/5 Jerry Garcia Birthday Concert @ Red Rocks
8/3 5000 @ Dunbar Kitchen
8/1 Jeff Crosby @ Southern Sun
7/30 Flash Mtn Flood @ Owsleys
7/27 Play Dead @ Owsleys
7/19 Toy Dinosaur @ Moe’s BBQ
7/17 Matt Flaherty Band (Kirwan Brown and Neal Evans) @ Southern Sun
7/16 Interstellar Boys @ Fox
7/16 Toy Dinosaur @ Illegal Pete’s on the Hill
7/15 Interstellar Boys @ the Oriental
7/13 Flash Mtn Flood + Kind Hearted Strangers @ Fox
7/12 Toy Dinosaur @ Moe’s BBQ
7/8 Breckenridge Brewing Hootenanny (PHoff, Jeff austin, Gipsy Moon, John Stickley Trio)
6/25 WSP @ Red Rocks
6/24 WSP @ Red Rocks
6/23 WSP @ Red Rocks
6/21 Toy Dinosaur @ Moe’s BBQ
6/20 Ryan Adams @ Fox
6/15 open jam @ Prohibition SanDiego
6/11 Dead and Co @ Folsom
6/10 White Denim @ Fox
6/10 Circles Around the Sun @ Boulder Theater
6/10 Jerry Joseph + 5000 @ Black Box
6/9 Marcus King + American Babies @ Fox Theatre
6/9 Interview with Jerry Joseph
6/4 Alpha King Knight @ Cactus Jacks
6/3 Timber Bluegrass @ Stanley Marketplace
5/27 Congress @ South Gaylord Street fest
5/26 Avenhart @ Laughing Goat
4/29 JRAD @ 1st Bank Center
4/28 JRAD @ Ogden Theatre
4/23 Steal Your Peach @ Owsleys
4/15 Kung Fu @ Boudler Theater
4/4 Chris Morel Jr @ Adobe Bar, Taos, NM
4/4 Andreas Kapsalis @Taos Brewing Co.
4/4 Jackson Price @ Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership
3/29 Dirty Byrds @ Local 46
3/24 Kung Fu + Magic Carpet @ Martyrs
3/22 Cornmeal + Growler @ Martyrs
3/21 40,000 Headmen @ Martyrs
3/19 Jeff Crosby @ Lola’s
3/18 Matt Flaherty @ Under the Sun
3/11 Hops and Handrails (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Grant Farm, Jeff Austin Band)
3/10 Jeff Crosby @ Star Bar
3/6 Leftover Salmon @ Fox Theater
3/3 Flash Mtn Flood @ Owsleys
2/17 Dyrty Byrds w/ Eric Carter @ Oriental
2/17 Jeff Crosby @ Star Bar
2/17 Andrew Wynne and Chris Field @ Upslope Brewing Company
2/16 Erix (Martinez and Carter) @ wash Park Grill
2/11 Polytoxic @ Be on Key Acoustic Ripple
2/11 Foundation of Funk @ Ophelias
2/10 Foundation of Funk + Analog Son @ Boulder Theater
1/6 Ignacious Riley (songs for Mikey) @ Be on Key Acoustic Ripple