Daily Archives: August 17, 2017

Review: At the Pepsi Center, Ed Sheeran became Denver’s guy with a guitar at the party

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Yes, as with the guy playing guitar at the party, Sheeran is an easy target for the misanthropic. But for the boyfriends and moms dragged to a $100-a-seat concert, it felt like buying a ticket to “Dunkirk” and getting Christopher Nolan, solo, acting out the screenplay. Sheeran started performing in front of people waiting for the train, then found less captive audiences, who began to not only give this guy with a guitar their attention unsolicited, but also their money, too. A guitar and some keenly written tunes about ne’er-do-wells in love can stop hearts at your high school reunion. Like any resonant pop, they’re not only fun sing-a-longs, but they bridge our differences from one another with our incorrigible similarities, dumb as they might be. He is, though, the presiding entertainer at a party that epitomizes happiness for so many, where the same simple paeans are essential rally cries that can bring a house full of strangers together in exuberant chorus. He is Ed Sheeran, who grew up in small-town England, where he built a career off of his tidy songwriting, plucking out tunes that were unabashedly cliché and subtly complex on his parlor guitar. Mesmerized, his fans swayed recursively, like a grip of frat boys after a flip-cup marathon. He’s standing alone on stage at the 18,000-capacity Pepsi Center in Denver, surrounded by blue-jeaned couples, thousands of teenagers and their parents, because this party — unlike the ones in his songs — isn’t exclusively about hooking up or getting drunk. Now, he’s an RIAA multi-platinum-certified artist. It was a display that most of his set sorely lacked. He asked the crowd to move their arms up and down for one song, not because they necessarily wanted to, but because, as he joked, “It looks awesome from up here, and you’re doing it for me.” He did bring guitars — so many guitars — and a giant screen showed his face from several angles and in myriad settings, all of which seemed to be inspired by the art you’d find on folders in Trapper Keepers. Elsewhere, he relied on his enraptured public to pick up the slack, as they did for “Dive,” the night’s easy highlight. — the guy with the guitar had plenty of familiar songs to huddle around. Sure, they were covers of his own songs — although he does have the tabs to “Wonderwall” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” somewhere in his guitar case — but they felt just as hollowed out. Before long, his weedy acoustic quad poetics spilled from one song to another. (After Sheeran intimated two fans would “get lucky” later that night in response to a marriage proposal during “Perfect,” a girl nearby shrieked wide-eyed to a friend, as if sex was a sports team she supported.)

Without the aid of the booming bass, fiddle or drums that prop up his dynamic pop pastiche of a catalog, Sheeran was, essentially, in the great tradition of guys with guitars at parties, playing cut-rate covers. Part of it was the song — it’s a modern R&B ballad in the vein of the Backstreet Boys — and part was the spectacle, as Sheeran commanded his thousands of fans to raise their cellphones to light up the arena. It’s about, as all guys who’ve brought a guitar to a party have dreamed of at some point, the guy himself. At one point, a whale swam past a crystal in outer space. He ceded the spotlight just once, midway through, to bring out the guy playing piano at the party, for “How Would You Feel (Paen).” It was a sorely needed variation. Sipping from a titanium mug, Sheeran kept his tenor in range right up until the falsetto’d chorus of “Sing,” an encore, where he backed off, coyly kicking it down an octave. But for Denverites looking for a reason to party — who isn’t, these days? He stood defiantly alone in a simple T-shirt and jeans, a mothership of lights overhead outlining the wispy copper hair and beard around his head like a dandelion at sunset. Sheeran tried to replicate the breadth of his catalog — from club banger “Shape of You” to “Galway Girl,” a pop anthem with a nip of Irish folk — with only the aid of a looper, which recorded and replayed snippets of his vocals and guitar around him, but it was never quite enough. At the party, we’re endlessly in love or desperate to be, prone to poor choices, drinking more than we should be and, if all goes accordingly, waking up “on the right side of the wrong bed.” These aren’t revelations, and Sheeran isn’t a revelatory songwriter. But there’s a reason Sheeran’s party is on a massive arena tour: Because songs he’s written, like “Thinking Out Loud” and “Photograph,” are minor “Wonderwalls,” in regular rotation for fellow guitar guys world ’round. Others, mostly teenage girls, screamed, a reflex response that signaled the start or end of any song, or any remotely unexpected moment. But like that whale, it wasn’t enough to keep his set from floating away. Sheeran couldn’t manage that alone on Tuesday. Like any guy with a guitar at a party, Sheeran’s downfall was hubris. He didn’t seem to notice, demystifying the art of performance with self-effacing jokes and the odd water bottle he chugged and chucked over his shoulder between songs. On Tuesday, after an opening set from James Blunt, Sheeran strove to claim the audience’s undivided attention over his 1 1/2 hour set as part of his 187-show ÷ Tour (“Divide Tour”). He had a bit of a cold, he said, but the one-man show must go on. His last parlor trick was a semi-impromptu ditty that looped the word “Colorado” for its chorus. James Blunt performs at the Pepsi Center on August 15, 2017. (Tina Hagerling, The Know)

The guy playing guitar at the party has played a couple of gigs in Colorado before — the Bluebird Theater in 2012 and Red Rocks in 2015 — but none this big.

Velorama Colorado festival face-plants on first ride in RiNo

11 to 13, was not clearly marked, leaving some to wander the length of its perimeter. After 45 minutes, she found her answer. Ensler-Rivel also noted the curious placement of the Denver Flea, the chic market for artisanal wares that housed its latest event inside Velorama Coloardo. Drink RiNo bought the liquor contract for Velorama Colorado, he noted, a boon to the area’s participating breweries, wineries and cideries. That was just the beginning of a list of administrative snafus at Velorama Colorado, the crossover culture-and-bicycle festival that proved a rocky road for patrons, vendors and organizers alike in its inaugural outing. The RiNo Arts District, which welcomed the event into its neighborhood, viewed the event as a success. Inside the festival, a combination of malfunctioning credit card readers and a lack of supply caused long lines at beer tents near the music stage — and subsequently, the porta-potties — for the estimated 30,000 that attended the event. Celina Baldwin, co-founder of Denver Flea vendor Shabby Alpaca, said the live music stage was supposed to be close to the Flea, but was moved on Sunday without warning. By the time he reached the front of the line, the festival had sold out of his favorite beer. “We’ve done 13 Denver Flea events. Denver’s Andrew Fogel, who attended the event on Friday night, reported waiting “a full 45-minutes” in line for a drink. “The thing I really noticed was, it seemed to me like the Denver Flea crowd and the cycling crowd are two different folks,” she said. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)
In an email, Denver Flea founder Blake Adams issued a statement about Velorama Colorado expressing gratitude for “RPM and Velorama’s goal to bring together and celebrate bike culture, music fans, and local businesses, both big and small.”
Denver Flea vendors were less effusive, noting a deluge of issues, including two weather-related evacuations and a disconnect between the cycling audience and vendor wares. “From a grand perspective, anytime you can get a new audience to your artwork the better.”

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Davis acknowledged that Denver Flea could have been more fully integrated into the festival, stating that Velorama Colorado will make “significant changes” to its footprint in its next iteration to amend that issue. I think they screwed everyone they partnered with, including the Denver Flea.”
Barb McReynolds, who sells jewelry as Storytelling Strands at the Denver Flea, was more forgiving. “I run events for a living and I thought it was one of the most poorly planned events I’ve been to,” Ensler-Rivel, who is 27, said, citing broken ticket scanners, confusing rules for 21-plus wristbands and, for an event set in a parking lot on a hot summer day, a lack of shade. By booking large bands like Wilco and Death Cab For Cutie and gathering hundreds of vendors together behind a ticketed gate, the race offered fans something worth paying for, and a chance for the organizers to battle back operating costs. “Some folks were devastated by it,” she said, “but this doesn’t go down in the top 100 worst things that have happened to me.” Then, attendees were held up by ticket takers at the gate, hindered by slow-working or non-functioning ticket scanners. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)
Ben Davis, a spokesman for RPM Events Group, acknowledged the “unnecessary challenges” Velorama Colorado ticketholders experienced at the door and in beer and bathroom lines thereafter. “Any first year event is going to learn about its own weaknesses while it’s moving,” Davis said. The first ever Velorama Colorado kicked off on Friday night with a performance by Wilco and the New Pornographers. We really do love them,” Baldwin said. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

Well before pro cyclist Manuel Senni claimed a victory in the first Colorado Classic on Sunday, some attendees of the race’s surrounding festival had already gone through a gauntlet of their own. Velorama Colorado capped its second day with performances by Tennis, St. He hopes to see the event return to the neighborhood next year with the Denver Flea as a partner, suggesting the latter be offered at a separate, lower price point. Due to the nature of pro-cycling race courses, which stretch for miles through cities and countrysides, it’s difficult to justify charging admission to spectators who only see the race when the peloton briefly buzzes past them. Hannah Ensler-Rivel, a Denver event coordinator who attended the festival on Sunday, came to the festival curious to see how it would marry its many disparate concepts. McReynolds agreed, while offering some perspective to those crying foul about the festival’s inaugural weekend. Motel and Death Cab For Cutie. Co-founder and creative director Tracy Weil said he noted some issues, but he said the long-term benefits outweighed any first-year wrinkles. “As we look toward year two, we’re going to knock down those challenges and focus on our success, including a great four-day bike race and an exciting music scene.”
The first event put on by organizer RPM Events Group, Velorama Colorado was intended to help solve the sport’s financial struggles by combining a pro-cycling race with a cultural event, setting the start and finish line of the Colorado Classic in a ticketed festival. It was at the far end of the festival, effectively out of earshot of the live music. Printmaker John Vogl, who operates in the Denver Flea as The Bungaloo, said the attendance was “nowhere near” what the event had projected to its vendors and that its staff “seemed clueless.”
“From a vendor perspective, it really couldn’t have gone much worse,” Vogl said. The event also bought a national commercial for the event on NBC, Weil said, bringing shots of RiNo to television sets in millions of living rooms across the country. Ike Warner, 16 months, tries to remove his ear muffs as he dances with his mom, Lizzie Schoon, as The New Pornographers perform during Velorama Colorado on August 11, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. “Velorama, on the other hand, was awful. The first ever Velorama Colorado kicked off on Friday night with a performance by Wilco and the New Pornographers. 11, 2017, in Denver. Koya and Bill Mattis try on shoes at the Espiritu booth during Velorama Colorado on Aug. The entrance of Velorama Colorado, which spanned seven blocks along Walnut Street in RiNo from Aug. 12, 2017, in Denver. Davis said festival organizers worked to amend these issues on Saturday, setting up an additional beer tent in the concert area and fixing a WiFi connection they’d spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on, which had slowed down its ticket and credit card scanners. Andrew Haas and his son Jake Haas listen as La Santa Cecilia performs during Velorama Colorado on Aug. “As my wife said later, she’s been to children’s birthday parties with better beer service,” Fogel, 47, said.

Shania Twain announces 2018 tour, Denver concert

 

If Shania Twain’s last and supposedly final 2015 tour didn’t impress you much, the singer has good news. Tickets are $69.95-$149.95 and go on sale Aug. Twain’s Now Tour kicks off on May 3, 2018 in Tacoma, Wash. Related Articles

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A look at Levitt Pavilion, Denver’s new one-of-a-kind music venue, ahead of first show Watch that below. A pre-sale for American Express cardholders will go live on Aug. In 2018, Twain will break her three-year absence from the tour circuit for another run around North America, including a date in Denver. This one’s in support of her new album, “Now,” which comes out on Sept. Twain performed “Now” single “Swingin’ with My Eyes Closed” on Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night. 29. 25 on livenation.com. local time. and comes to Denver’s Pepsi Center on July 27, 2018. 22 at 10 a.m.