The Boulder Theater Has Reopened And We Talked To The Bands Getting Things Going -

The Boulder Theater Has Reopened And We Talked To The Bands Getting Things Going

The Boulder Theater has reopened with a series of socially-distant shows in a casual dinner-style format, with attendees getting drinks, tacos, chips and salsa, along with an intimate show, with their ticket purchase. While these show sold out almost immediately, the venue’s approach to bringing live music back safely may serve as a template moving forward for indoor concert halls. 

Most important of all, bands are able to get back on stage again. We sent the first-announced performers the same series of questions to get a feel for Colorado music right now, the importance of live music, and more.

It was great to hear from them and learn that music has kept them vibrant all these months into the pandemic.

For those interested, Boulder Theater’s reopening guidelines can be found here

October 3: Tenth Mountain Division
Tenth Mountain Division brings their diverse Americana and rock sound to the stage first

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Andrew Cooney (bass, vocals): Honestly, I feel pretty good right now. We’re really trying to keep a positive outlook and make the best of the hand we as performers have been dealt. When everything got canceled, we started working on some new ways to keep in touch with our fans and our own creative sides, so it feels like we’re still holding on to some of the momentum we built up leading into March. Make sure to keep an eye out for some exciting announcements in the near future. 

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

MJ Ouimette (guitar, vocals): A relieving flavor of excitement. Although playing gigs is always exciting for me, it wasn’t until deep into the quarantine that I realized that playing live physically calms and grounds me. The preparative focus, the unity in piecing songs together, and finally the release of putting those efforts on a tight-rope live have become integral to my life. It feels good to be flexing that muscle again and humbling to do it in Boulder, where the band formed; no less at the storied Boulder Theater.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

Winston Heuga (mandolin, vocals): We have been very fortunate to play some of the best venues in Colorado this summer. Between two nights at the Mishawaka, Vilar Center, Ford Amphitheatre, and now Boulder Theater we feel very fortunate to be considered among all the talented acts in Colorado. On top of that, we’ve recorded two albums this summer. One of Tenth Mountain Division originals produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth. On the other, we had the honor of backing our good friend Mark Pietrovito’s album. 

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

Tyler Gwynn (drums): The pandemic was a real shock to the system for the band and us as individuals. We went from having a headlining Bluebird Theater show and a six-week tour around to the US, seeing a different city every night, to not being able to leave the house. It put a lot of things on pause for us. That being said, it wasn’t all negative. It gave us a chance to catch our breaths and look at our creative enterprise from simply the musical standpoint. With no shows at first. we could really dive into the new tunes we have been working on the last year or so. When we were able to actually record them at Silo Studios a few months ago it was clear we had evolved and grown as a band in a short time. 

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

Andrew Cooney: The best way to experience music, both by yourself and with friends. 

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

Winston Heuga (mandolin, vocals): As I said before, we have been very fortunate to play some of Colorado’s greatest venues. We were sort of the guinea pig for Mishawaka as we played the first show of the summer there and now we will be the first show for Boulder Theater’s newly revived socially distant music series. Mishawaka did an excellent job of following state guidelines and making sure everyone in attendance felt safe. It will be really interesting to see what these indoor shows are like and hopefully it will become a good role model for how shows can go on in the winter months to come. I will say that every show is that much more special when you don’t have them in abundance, and the crowd seems to really be feeling that as well. 

October 7, 8, 9: Magic Beans
The Denver soul-funk-rock outfit plays three nights, all sold out

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Scott Hachey (guitar, vocals): We’re holding up alright. Summer was rough, and we had lots of great gigs and festivals canceled. We found other jobs and hobbies to stay busy, and honestly enjoyed a little time off the road. Now as gigs start to trickle back in, things are looking better and feeling more normal for us.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

The band was ecstatic. It’s easily one of our favorite venues and it was so heartwarming to hear that Z2 (the production company that manages The Boulder Theater) was opening back up to shows. Then to be included on top of that was just a great feeling. We knew we had to confirm the date! We’ve done a lot of out-of-the-box stuff since the quarantine started and to be able to do an indoor show at a theatre was just unbelievable.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

We’ve been doing all sorts of weird stuff. Our festival, Beanstalk, helped pioneer the Drive-In concert experience. Hosting the first Drive-In festival in the country landed us on Good Morning America, NPR, Channel 9 News, and more, was so great. It sold out instantly, so we had another one, which was equally as great. We’ve done some socially distanced shows outdoors and stuff. Beyond that, we’ve been getting together and recording a new album. It’s almost entirely finished, just needs the mastering process and should be ready to release early next year.

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

I’ve personally learned two things. First off, that I love to create music and it really doesn’t stop for me, regardless of the situation in the industry. When our 30-date tour was pulled I immediately sought refuge in my basement studio creating new music for no reason other than therapy and fun. It was good to know that even without a marketable end game for the material, I still felt compelled to make it and play my guitar. Sometimes you wonder when you’re on the treadmill whether or not you’re doing it because you love it or because it’s your job now. So it was nice to confirm that I still just love music for no reason at all. Secondly, I had that same reminder seeing live music. I get to see so much of it in our travels and festival plays that it kind of becomes monotonous. When we got back together after two months and did the Drive-In gigs, I was blown away at the cathartic release from just enjoying the support bands. I love live music, and it was a good reminder of why I chose this industry.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

An innate human experience as important as food, water, shelter, and human connection. It facilitates an understanding of the infinite within you and without you. Dancing is a spontaneous and uncontrollable celebration of the body that it exists in this time and place. Without this celebration and release, there is not much point to the everyday toiling of our existence.

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

It’s going to be an amazing release. Especially with it being three sold-out dates now at the Boulder Theater. We’re going to get comfortable in there and play almost our entire catalog between the 6 sets. It’ll be an amazing vibe, as the lower capacity usually brings in our loyal fans. So everyone knows what to expect and we can create a special and unique experience for people. Should be some amazing Beans shows and a great celebration of the ice thawing off of the music business.

October 23: The Good Kind 
Boulder’s The Good Kind is a jam band inspired by Phish, The Allman Brothers Band, Talking Heads, and more

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Drew Michael (guitar, vocals): We’re doing pretty well considering the COVID situation. As musicians, we’ve had some opportunities to play both public and private shows in the last few months. with social distancing of course, and the response has been great. People need live music, especially at a time like this. As live music fans, we’ve been so sad to miss out on the great shows we see every summer at Red Rocks and all year long at the Boulder Theater and the Fox Theatre.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

We felt extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the re-opening of the Boulder Theater. Any chance to play on the same stage as some of your favorite musicians is both humbling and gratifying, and the sound system and lights which we’ve missed from indoor shows for so long will also add to the excitement.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

We’ve been able to play a handful of shows to socially distanced crowds. We did a show in early May where we played four different sets at four different houses in one day. We tried to adapt to the situation early on and even pushed some venues in town to attempt outdoor shows so we’d have venues to play.

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

The pandemic has made it much more challenging to get together in small spaces to rehearse. As a jam band, being in the same place listening to each other is central to what we do. The last few months have reinforced the importance of the friendships in the band and the importance and value of getting together to jam!

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

Live music is the answer.

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

It’s going to be amazing to be up on the Boulder Theater stage playing for our friends and fans. We love playing live music and it’s going to sound great in there. You can see our favorite place to hang out from the stage, and we’re looking forward to getting to see some great shows at the Boulder Theater from that side again soon.

November 6: Wood Belly
Wood Belly is a traditional acoustic outfit, winning a 2018 Telluride award

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Aaron McCloskey (banjo): Doing well! I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time fishing and hiking this summer and the outdoor time has been good for the soul.

Taylor Shuck (bass): So far so good, I’ve been using this time off to work on new avenues of music and find some new hobbies such as fishing and golfing.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

Aaron: I was thrilled. It’s wonderful that they’ve found a way to open up for some show and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.

Taylor: I was very excited to not only play a show but to play such a great room. It’s one of our favorite places to play, and tacos being involved really upped the ante.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

Aaron: I’ve had a chance to do some deep dives into longer and more complex banjo music, including pieces by Bach, Bela Fleck, and Mike Munford. I’ve also had lots of time to work on my own techniques and improvisation. Wood Belly has also been writing a lot of new material and rehearsing frequently. We recently sat down for a session with Benny Galloway, who’s written songs for tons of amazing singers and bands including The Infamous Stringdusters, Del McCoury, and many more. We’ll be playing some of his songs very soon!

Taylor: I’ve been working on some new techniques that aren’t really played by a lot of folks on double bass. Lots of chopping and things you would normally hear a cellist play. Bringing it to the bass has proved to be quite the challenge, and with so little resources for it, it’s been exciting and challenging spending so much time in uncharted waters. Watching influences like Renaud Garcia Fons and Jacob Warren take the instrument to a new place is very inspiring for me. I also have been writing and playing lots of guitar, which makes for a well rounded musical diet.

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

Aaron: The energy of our fans and audiences is a huge motivator for me. For me, the creative process is stronger when it runs on the fuel of a crowd.

Taylor: To not take anything for granted and there are no fences that can’t be knocked down if you put your mind to it.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

Aaron: Life, passion, and healing.

Taylor: Necessary.

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

Aaron: There’s nothing better.

Taylor: Like coming home! It’s such a great feeling to have people vibing off our music.

November 7: Jane and Matthews
Jane & Matthews specialize in Americana, country, rock, jazz, and buegrass, plus prog and their sometimes-metal

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Jordan Matts (Jane, vocals):.We’re doing good given the circumstances. I mean we are going to play the Boulder Theatre on November 7th which is absolutely incredible so that was great news. Regarding COVID, we both have had to make sacrifices and have had losses. Jarrod unfortunately lost his job because of COVID, we had to cancel quite a few shows, as many others did. However, we are all in this together as a society and I appreciate how understanding people are.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

Ecstatic, surprised, grateful, and honestly probably a little disbelief sprinkled in there, it’s been a long time dream of mine to play that stage. Our lead guitarist, Jarrod Guaderrama, has graced the stage with his presence before, however, it will be the first Boulder Theatre show for Matt, Joey, and myself. This is especially fortuitous for Matt Banno, and Joey Magno as they have worked at these venues countless times, but this is their first time spending the evening stateside.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

Well, fortunately, I did not lose my job, so I have remained a full-time nanny. Jarrod, due to unfortunate circumstances, had to leave his job. However, he has been nonstop working in the studio since this all started. When I get home from work most days he has me sit down and record whatever he needs to finish our tracks. Additionally, we have been in the process of recording and editing a few music videos, so keep your eyes out. Essentially we’ve been creating content nonstop in whatever creative form we can think of and really making sure our sets as tight as they can be. It’s been a really interesting creative opportunity to have so much time.

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

Music takes time, obviously. COVID in no way was a positive occurrence in this world. However, when Jarrod lost his job and with all of us being in quarantine, we have had the time to really fine-tune everything, from our EP to our upcoming videos to our sets to our content to our songwriting. It really has just given us this window of time to give our music everything it really deserves.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

Finally back and we are so thankful!

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

Honestly, probably very emotional, Joey, Jarrod, Matt, and my life were endowed in music, it’s all we did. It was Matt and Joey’s full-time job, Jarrod and I worked day in and day out for Jane & Matthews, we had Fox gigs lined up canceled, ep releases postponed. So coming back to music after all this time… well it’s a gift that we won’t take it for granted and honestly, it feels like being able to breathe again.

11/13 Acoustic Ambush
Acoustic Ambush specializes in funky jam music, with rock influences

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Dave Haynes (guitar): We’re doing well, all things considered. This has been a much worse year for many people than it has been for us, so we are grateful to have the luxury of performing a little music in this era of great uncertainty.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

One hundred percent stoked!

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

We have been writing a ton. Sometimes boatloads of uncertainty and anxiety can lead to productive creativity

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

There is no controlling it. If you write a song every night for four nights in a row, don’t question it, just follow the thread and capture it.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

The heartbeat of the community.

What song would you like to share with new fans of your music that best summarizes your sound?

Light.

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

Like entering into a Bob Ross painting.

November 14: Mountain Rose
Mountain Rose’s funk fusion fills any room at any time

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

Samantha Nimerov (vocals): All things considered, I’d say we are doing great! It’s pretty incredible to see the creative solutions people are coming up with despite such awful circumstances. Socially distanced shows have been lifting our community’s spirits and we are very excited to throw our own. We have also been staying busy in the past few months. We released our first EP, have done a couple of live streams, and have been writing non-stop, just trying to keep the momentum going.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

Talk about a silver lining! We were totally floored when we found out. I think it really helped us all feel like the work we have been putting in was well worth it. The Boulder Theater is absolutely iconic and we have so many amazing memories of seeing our favorite bands there. It’s just such an honor to have the opportunity to play one of the most beautiful and renowned theaters in Colorado, let alone our hometown.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

We took some time off when the pandemic first hit to be safe and see how things played out. After a couple of months, we came back to practice slowly and cautiously and full of inspiration for new material. Before the pandemic, there was always another gig to prepare for, so getting new songs worked out took the back burner so we could prioritize getting our sets tight. Having months with nothing on the books, we were able to dedicate all of that time to writing new songs. It has been a really fun and rewarding process!

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

I am a goal-oriented person and love being able to work towards something. Showing up to practice without knowing when we would perform again had me feeling a little lost, but the first time we played together after months apart it felt so healing and exciting that I was able to appreciate being in the moment more. I had a real ‘Field of Dreams’ revelation and now understand that “if you build it, they will come.” We just did what felt right and had fun jamming and writing new songs, and now here we are with what I consider to be a pretty impressive amount of original music for such a young band. It feels great to have all of that in our arsenal, ready for shows like this!

Thom Holum (guitar): I have continued to learn the extent to which self-care and putting yourself first is really necessary to fully realize any endeavor, creative or otherwise. Having the time to take a pause on everything and fine-tune healthy habits has really allowed me to kick the creativity up a notch. Definitely a silver lining to these strange times.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

A profound way to experience a connection to your community, to yourself, and to and the collective energy of life.

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

We’ve spent so long dreaming and holding hope that we’d get to be on stage again within a year’s time. I can only imagine it feeling totally euphoric and empowering to be up there.

Boulder’s funk champions The Pamlico Sound play December 11
December 11: The Pamlico Sound

Most importantly, how are you doing right now?

William Baumgartner (horns, vocals): Pretty good, thanks! We’ve got the best lineup we’ve ever had, just added backup singers to the already large PamFam, making us now 11 members who love each other and laugh at even our worst jokes, cuz that’s what good families do. We’re looking at some great management options, just recorded a new single, and shopping record labels. Plus right at this very moment, I’m answering some very good questions from one of my two favorite radio stations.

When you got the call for the Boulder Theater show, what were your emotions?

I think the word is elation? Yeah, that’s the word. This will be our second headliner at that wonderful venue, and we’ve had a great long relationship with Z2, headlining the Fox Theatre more than a dozen times. To have them reach out to us for their first wave of shows since everything shut down last spring was like seeing a good friend walking toward you in the desert with a glass of water and a smile. Or something like that.

How have you been staying busy during the pandemic musically?

As a band, we’ve done what a lot of our friends have: playing live streams, writing new songs, recording, and networking. Since most of us are involved in several different projects, we’ve also taken a lot of inspiration and joy from seeing what individual members have been doing outside the group. Sarah Mount has stayed exceptionally busy with the band she leads, Sarah Mount & The Rushmores; her duo with Sam Goodman called (surprise) Sam & Sarah; the all-female band Femistry; and… well, do you have a free hour to hear about her other activities?

Keyboardist Wil Snyder just recorded a new album with Tula, just one of the several bands he’s in, and he’s also been running a weekly jazz live stream with bassist Ross Sandlin. Trumpeter Matt Wilkolak has been playing a lot with the Latin Ska band Roka Hueka and the outrageously great jazz fusion band Space Orphan, among probably a half dozen other projects. Guitarist Jimmy Giachetti has done some stuff with his other long-term bands Master Ferocious and TNT and The Detonators.

Me, I’ve been mostly focused on The Pamlico Sound and songwriting: getting pretty close to an album’s worth of material for a beach-themed thing with the working title “Shake It On The Soundside”, which plays heavily on life at the barrier island I’m from in North Carolina, which, by the way, is also the source of our band name. I’ve been telling people it’s going to be our “Motor Booty Affair”, and then laughing because the idea of doing something half as great as that Parliament album would be… well, I could die happy after that if I pulled it off. I’ve also got a few specifically pandemic-related songs that may end up expanding enough for another EP or even a whole separate album.

In the past several months, what’s one big takeaway you’ve learned about yourself, your music, and the creative process?

Adversity is as big a gift as anything else: I just need to tip my head and squint at it a bit to remember that.

Finish this sentence: Live music is…

Live music is Love Music!

What’s it going to be like to get on stage after all these months away?

Like Oxygen + Magnesium: OMg!