John Hendrickson’s “Life on Delay” (Boulder Weekly 1/20/23)

Words of Comfort
John Hendrickson Discusses His New Book
by Adam Perry for Boulder Weekly 1/20/23

John Hendrickson lives in New York City, but the Front Range is where his life first began to take shape. Currently a senior editor at the Atlantic, the 34-year-old journalist cut his teeth as a cub music reporter at the Denver Post, spending his fresh-out-of-college days living in the vibrant Baker neighborhood, making “great friends at the paper and great friends in the music scene.”

One of Hendrickson’s first big moments at the Atlantic came in 2019, when he interviewed then-presidential-candidate Joe Biden about his experience with stuttering. The resulting article expressed some disappointment, or at least confusion, over Biden’s refusal to admit he still stutters, despite what experts say are coping mechanisms easily seen in Biden’s public appearances. “What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say,” as the powerful piece was titled, also represented a life-changing moment for Hendrickson, who discussed his own stutter in the article.

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Lucero Makes Its Stanley Hotel Debut (Boulder Weekly 1/19/23)

Westerns, Whiskey and Little Silver Hearts
by Adam Perry for Boulder Weekly 1/19/23

Similar to the rule that says you have to kiss under mistletoe, legend has long had it that if you go to a Lucero show and buy frontman Ben Nichols a shot, he has to do it.

“I’m sure I’ve declined shots at some point in the past,” Nichols jokes. “But not as many as I’ve taken.”

Lucero — a celebrated alt-country outfit with a rock edge — is entering its 25th year since forming as a rowdy bar band in Memphis, Tennessee, and Nichols has mellowed a little since the early days. He even showed up early for a 9 a.m. interview with Boulder Weekly, in which he opened up about his early songwriting, like “Little Silver Heart,” the first track from Lucero’s first album.

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Shine On: Murder By Death (Boulder Weekly 1/5/23)

Shine On
by Adam Perry for Boulder Weekly 1/5/23

It’s been more than two decades since Murder by Death formed in the idyllic college town of Bloomington, Indiana — and the years since have found the haunted-Americana outfit pushing the limits of what fans should expect from a live show. This includes the band’s annual two-weekend residency at the purportedly haunted Stanley Hotel, the Estes Park landmark that served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s 1977 horror touchstone The Shining

Singer and guitarist Adam Turla says he gets a kick out of treating fans to Murder By Death concerts that are experiences, like the Stanley Hotel shows and the gigs the band plays 500 feet deep in the Caverns Pelham in Tennessee.

“I just try to think, ‘What do I think is cool?’ I have a vehicle to make cool things, so I’m gonna make them and hope other people think they’re cool, too,” he says from his home in Louisville, Kentucky, where he’s busy shipping merchandise, including vinyl copies of the new Murder By Death album Spell / Bound, to fans during the holiday rush. “That’s what you’re doing when you’re starting a band. You’re saying, ‘This is what I’m into. I’m making the art I believe in.’”

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Higher Power: Slim Cessna (Boulder Weekly 12/22/22)

Higher Power
by Adam Perrry for Boulder Weekly 12/22/22

When Colorado country-punk icon Slim Cessna drove from his home in South Park recently to be interviewed in Boulder, where he grew up, he tried to remember the last time he’d been here — and he couldn’t. There just isn’t a place for a band like Slim Cessna’s Auto Club (SCAC) to play in the city anymore. 

But the lanky, passionate singer has fond memories of his hometown. From participating in Christian youth events to putting on punk shows with friends in the ’80s — not to mention meeting his longtime bandmate Munly Munly, who was working at the now-defunct Trade a Tape record shop — Cessna found a community in Boulder as a young man.


“Space Cowboy” – Ted Thacker aka The Red Tack (Boulder Weekly 12/15/22)

Space Cowboy
by Adam Perry for Boulder Weekly 12/15/22

Ted Thacker grew up in Boulder, so he’s seen the town change from its weird punk-rock past to its idyllic-yet-complicated present. The 56-year-old singer-songwriter’s upbringing was very different from the progressive way he’s raising his own daughter, and yet one of his favorite childhood memories is of seeing Kiss at McNichols Arena when he was 12.

“My dad begrudgingly got us the tickets and took us to the show. He couldn’t stand it. He put stuff in his ears and stood down in the aisle, down below. The air was just filled with weed smoke, and it was mostly smelly dudes in leather jackets, and then me and my friend Eric,” he says. “My dad made us leave before the encore, and that, for Kiss, is the core of their show. That’s when the risers come up and the panther comes out of the drum set. I was pissed at my dad for the next five years.”

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“This Magic Moment” – Photographer Lisa Siciliano (Boulder Weekly 12/15/22)

This Magic Moment
by Adam Perry for Boulder Weekly 12/15/22

Lisa Siciliano has certainly grown up from the days when she first fell in love with music as a kid in Ohio — having since developed a remarkable career as a celebrated Boulder rock-concert photographer — but it’s a hoot to listen to her geek out on the musical heroes of her youth. Van Halen’s 1978 party-on-wax debut album, she says, “brings me right back to high school and everything I love about rock ‘n’ roll.”

Over the last 25 years shooting concerts — always on film, almost always in black-and-white — Siciliano has been smelling-distance away from many of the artists she grew up admiring, from the Van Halen brothers themselves to Pete Townshend and B.B. King. She’s also forged many relationships with local bands before they became stars, establishing herself as a vital part of the Colorado music scene in the process. She’s a fixture in the photo pit at Red Rocks, the Pepsi Center and really any renowned venue you can name.

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SHOW REVIEW: The Smile at Mission Ballroom, Denver

The Smile at Mission Ballroom, Denver 12/10/22
Words by Adam Perry
Photos by Mikayla Sanford

Radiohead stars Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood are 54 and 51, respectively, but when the pair took the big Mission Ballroom stage in Denver side by side on Saturday night as The Smile with avant-garde drummer Tom Skinner they seemed like kids in a candy store, excitedly playing their first gig in someone’s parents’ garage.

Skinner, 42, also intermittently dabbled in the synthesizers set up next to his kit. He forged a musical relationship with Greenwood while working on the soundtrack to the 2012 Oscar-winning movie The Master, and started The Smile with Greenwood and Yorke last year – releasing a debut album this year.

At the Mission – following a brave instrumental set by talented saxophonist Robert Stillman, who vowed to “open the space, open our hearts” – Yorke and Greenwood traded off playing bass and guitar on progressive, but enticing and sometimes danceable, Smile tunes that seem like an extension of Radiohead workouts like “Bodysnatchers” and “Burn the Witch.” Skinner’s brilliant polyrhythms and flowing jazz-meets-techno feel clearly energized Yorke, in particular, so much at the 3,900-capacity Mission Ballroom that I wondered what heights post-OK Computer Radiohead might’ve reached with such a creative, visionary drummer essentially playing quarterback.

Yorke – white beard, long reddish brown hair and black sport coat – shook around like David Byrne circa Stop Making Sense and made eccentric, pained faces as the trio’s hypnotic alt-rock pulsed. At times, the English rock legend wandered the edge of the Mission stage egging the adoring Denver crowd on with oddball histrionics – like Gollum cheering on a rock audience – that recalled Kurt Cobain’s iconic MTV Live and Loud antics but somehow seemed altogether joyous, connected and endearing rather than sarcastic or insulting.

Though “Good evening, Denver – we’re the Smile” was the bulk of what Yorke said to the crowd, along with a dad joke about fish during a synthesizer malfunction, his joy was tangible and at times overflowing. The Smile’s music, like Radiohead’s, can range from gorgeously weird, pin-drop quiet hymns to frenzied, even clubby indie-rock bangers – if the club were out of a scene from Naked Lunch.

Greenwood, for his part, initially took the stage in a comically oversized sweater and ridiculously baggy black pants, giving off serious Schroeder (or even Linus vibes) that made him look more 15 than 50. Radiohead’s resident wunderkind – the little brother who quickly became second only to Yorke in Radiohead dynamism and importance – played everything from guitar to bass to piano, synthesizer and even harp, tackling it all like his life depended on it, especially when The Smile hit peaks on songs that featured Greenwood’s lawnmower-sounding guitar straight out of Rust Never Sleeps.

From the set opener “The Same,” Yorke’s lyrics were at least a touch more positive and direct than a lot of Radiohead material. “We don’t need to fight,” he sang, “Look towards the light.” The lyrics fit Yorke’s hopeful, ecstatic feel as he danced around, but by the time he sang “I’m gonna count to three / keep this shit away from me” (“Read the Room”) during the four-song encore it was good ‘ol dystopian-nightmare (in a very English way) time.

When Stillman walked on stage to add saxophone to The Smile’s alt-rock hypnosis, David Bowie’s Outside and Blackstar albums came to mind, with the kind of poignant, beautiful darkness Jon Hassell famously added to the Talking Heads’ Remain In Light.

“We’re doing another record, you know?” Yorked blurted out at one moment, to cheers, and as the crowd throbbed while he sang “Don’t bore us / get to the chorus / and open the floodgates” it seemed obvious that both band and audience hope The Smile is around for a very long time.

iZCALLi’s Road to the Gothic Theatre (Westword 12/8/22)

by Adam Perry for Denver Westword 12/8/2022

The Denver alternative/hard-rock band iZCALLi has come a long way since forming in 2005, and its path to headlining the Gothic Theatre on Saturday, December 10, traces a triumphant full circle. “Oddly enough, one of our first gigs was at the Gothic,” says frontman Miguel Aviña. “We opened for a band called BEBE. There was a local promoting company at the time called Nobody in Particular Presents, and they were kinda the first ones, independently, that were risking to bring Latin artists.

“It was such a cool experience, starting out as a band and getting to play such a cool venue,” he continues, “and immediately be immersed in what it’s like to be a level up.”

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SHOW REVIEW: The Cure In Amsterdam (Live For Live Music 11/27/22)

The Cure In Amsterdam

by Adam Perry for Live For Live Music, 11/27/2022

“Sorry I’m not talking much, but it’s for the best,” Robert Smith— sporting a black outfit, black guitar, customary goth-fro hair—quipped near the end of The Cure’s nearly three-hour show at the 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on Friday.

“I’m trying to be mysterious,” he said.

Perhaps never in popular music has there been a band as simultaneously dark and romantic as The Cure—like if Leonard Cohen had written songs for David Bowie during the latter’s most radio-friendly days—and Amsterdam is a wonderful fit for that harmonic dreamscape. Instead of entrance music or even a mix of tunes for the sellout audience to talk over as they waited, The Cure simply played the sound of rain, which hits the Dutch capital virtually every day in the fall and winter.

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SHOW REVIEW: Bob Weir & Wolf Bros (Live For Live Music 11/7/22)

SHOW REVIEW: Bob Weir with Wolf Bros at Mission Ballroom, Denver
by Adam Perry for Live For Live Music, 11/7/2022

Although neither of them are Centennial State natives, there’s not a much more Colorado moment than seeing Nathaniel Rateliff – the most famous musician to burst out of Denver in decades – sing the line “I’m as honest as a Denver man can be” on stage with Bob Weir in the Mile High City.

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