Denver’s diverse music scene blossomed in 2011. Both new and established local bands drew crowds to Denver’s numerous live music venues. While many Denver bands are certainly worthy of mention, here are a few who stood out from the pack in 2011.
A consistent frontrunner in the Denver scene for the past several years, The Epilogues continued to make waves this year with their emotionally tinged alt-rock sound. They landed a headlining slot in this year’s Westword Music Showcase event, and won the Westword voter’s poll in their category for the third straight year. Staunch supporters of the Denver scene itself, the band also spearheaded the formation of the Inca House Collective in 2011, which provides an opportunity for local indie acts to connect for mutual support. Watch for some new material from The Epilogues in the upcoming year.
First forming in 2008, Air Dubai began taking off in earnest last year, gaining a solid reputation for their high-energy live shows and their unique blend of hip-hop, rock and jazz. Since winning the popular vote in the KTCL Hometown for the Holidays band competition in 2010, Air Dubai has continued to maintain a high profile in 2011 with regular live performances and the release of a new record, Day Escape, in October. They have also garnered opening slots for some larger touring acts, including OneRepublic, Flobots and The Game.
My Body Sings Electric
A newer act in the Denver scene, pop-punk band My Body Sings Electric first started gaining attention in 2010, easily placing in the top three in last December’s Hometown for the Holidays. Since then, they have surged forward, releasing their highly anticipated full-length album Changing Color last April, and playing a sold-out show celebrating its release. The band recently released a new single, “Doctor,” and began touring out of state.
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light
A couple of years ago, veteran rocker John Common took a risky left turn, forming an acoustic-based act which he called Blinding Flashes of Light. While the band’s debut release Beautiful Empty is nearly two years old now, JC&BFoL continued to build on the record’s momentum in 2011, retooling it for national release last April. Since then, the band has been touring heavily while continuing to make regular Denver appearances. If you get the chance to see them live, listen for their signature cover of Tom Waits’ “Clap Hands.”
This five-piece act that makes up Churchill has been attracting a lot of attention over the past couple of years with their distinct acoustic folk/rock sound. They have regularly placed at or near the top of voter’s polls and won in their category in the 2011 Westword Music Showcase. Their debut full-length album Happy/Sad, released in February, drew high praise from reviewers and bloggers for its honest and thoughtful lyricism. The band also received a personal invitation from DeVotchKa in 2011 to open for their annual Denver Halloween show. Recently, Churchill has been spending time in the recording studio tracking demos for a new project. Watch for a brand-new single from Churchill.
Jeff McQuilkin is a singer/songwriter, freelance writer and music blogger covering the music scene in Denver, Colorado. His work can be found here