festival

High Desert Hit: Monolith on the Mesa Scores with Inaugural Fest

The first annual Monolith on the Mesa was a smash success. I can’t speak to specific details or success in a financial sense, but in terms of brand building, of overall impression left with attendees and bands, the team behind the festival crushed it. Some thoughts below lifted from my fest notes:

Most importantly, in my opinion, in an ever-broadening sea of festivals and various sorts of “live music events,” Monolith on the Mesa offered a unique experience. It’s a loose comparison, but with the camping, the desert setting, the psychedelics and the towering art installations, it had a slight “heavy-metal-burning-man” vibe, a remark I heard numerous people make. For sure, the architecture, the landscape, the arid earth, all felt distinctly Southwest.

(There was a “Bedouin tent” behind us in the band camp built half into the ground that turned into a bar at night, and a brightly outfitted “party bus” next to it, as well as a Geodome. Though these spaces didn’t get all that much use this year - some of that likely due to the colder temps that set in at night - I could see these gaining traction in subsequent years. The atmosphere was right.) 

More exactly, Monolith brought together heavy music fans and festival enthusiasts of all varieties. And there were a lot of people there, certainly a lot for a first year fest. It was an interesting crowd. As Taos is pretty isolated, a majority of attendees had traveled in from the greater region. It was an unpretentious bunch - a bit trippy, a bit crusty, but definitely predominantly metal-oriented.

*It was a unique sight when Black Magic Flower Power brought in the funk to close out the Thursday night pre-party and many of these same metal heads were grooving right up front. And man, people were getting down. The mushrooms may have played a role. Gyrating, grinding, twisting as the band sung “lips, and hips and fingertips”… There were probably about 50 people up front for this, but the energy was through the hangar roof. Out in the middle of the desert, it felt like an sub-city disco. 

The lineup was well-curated and offered up a diverse variety of heavy music. OM, paired with a Mad Alchemy liquid light show on a high desert backdrop was about as transcendental of a live music experience as one could hope to find. The event staff was helpful, friendly and patient - a notable exception at clubs and bars. A ramp was brought in, host to many stage-side skate sessions in the afternoons and early evenings.

For many bands, getting out of the city and into the desert expanse seemed to be a welcome reprieve. The artist hospitality was next level. Crucially, the sound in both venues was incredible, an often thorny point at all-day festivals. In short, it felt like a festival run by artists, who understood what sort of details make bands and attendees comfortable and did all they could to accommodate those desires.

Though the wind whipped during the days, it calmed in the nights, which were beautiful, albeit cold. Such was expected in the high desert. I suppose I’d take those conditions gain over blistering heat. Especially when in a tent for three days. Many attendees opted for a more domestic arrangement, renting rooms in town or shacking up in a trailer in the adjacent Hotel Luna Mystica.

I’d recommend this fest to curious bands and fans alike. No doubt about that. If you’re planning on camping for the entirety of the fest, make sure to come prepared. Our crew camped out for three days in the band camp and it was a blast, but towels, some wipes for the ever-present dirt and other outdoor supplies are a must.

I’d like to extend warm, heartfelt thank you to Dano, Roman, the Taos Brewing staff and the entire festival team. You extended an incredible welcome, and it hit home with so many of us. Here’s to round two. Below is a gallery of shots from the pre-party and both days of the fest. I’ve yet to have a chance to develop the film I shot, but I will get those up here once I get to it. Cheers. - mg

Electric Funeral III hits Denver this weekend

Seems impossible that we've reached the end of June already, but indeed we are mere days away from the third edition of Electric Funeral Fest, and the buzz about Denver is becoming palpable. As the crowds roll into the Mile High City for what's become one of the most anticipated parties of the summer - this year expanded to include a third (all-ages!) stage across from the Hi Dive in the Mutiny Information Cafe - we thought we'd take a quick minute to spin through a few blurs from the previous two years.

This year's festival - featuring the anxiously-awaited return of Denver's own Speedwolf and so much more - looks to outdo them both. It's been an honor covering the event as media partner since its inception and we hope to see a whole bunch of ya this weekend at round 3. More coverage and images can be found in our Issue III, available for purchase through the "magazine" tab.

There are still a very limited (about 20 as of this posting) tickets left for Saturday through the link below! If you are in Denver, there are also a handful of 2-day passes available behind the bar at Trve Brewing. More info can be found on the Dust Presents Facebook and Instagram pages.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/electric-funeral-fest-iii-tickets-42502774944

Photos and notes - mg

Sourvein 2016. This photo gets at the ethos of the festival. Face to face. Headbanging. Pooled sweat and spilt beer. T-Roy is just the guy to put the intensity directly into high gear. Sourvein played both year 1 and 2 - here they are headlining the inaugural event.

Sourvein 2016. This photo gets at the ethos of the festival. Face to face. Headbanging. Pooled sweat and spilt beer. T-Roy is just the guy to put the intensity directly into high gear. Sourvein played both year 1 and 2 - here they are headlining the inaugural event.

Goya, 2016. Love Goya, love Jeff, and LOVE the ghost titties on his forearm. This is rock and roll kids, stay loose.

Goya, 2016. Love Goya, love Jeff, and LOVE the ghost titties on his forearm. This is rock and roll kids, stay loose.

Mothership and the bachelor party, 2016. Seemingly out of nowhere, a bachelor party (bottom right in the custom tees) came rip-roaring into the front row during Mothership's set, stealing the spotlight for just a second.

Mothership and the bachelor party, 2016. Seemingly out of nowhere, a bachelor party (bottom right in the custom tees) came rip-roaring into the front row during Mothership's set, stealing the spotlight for just a second.

Malahierba, 2016. The band has made quite the name for themselves over the past few years, a highlight of every bill the join. Their 2016 festival performance served as a launching point of sorts, helping them gain greater notoriety beyond Juarez, where they began, and Denver, their current home.

Malahierba, 2016. The band has made quite the name for themselves over the past few years, a highlight of every bill the join. Their 2016 festival performance served as a launching point of sorts, helping them gain greater notoriety beyond Juarez, where they began, and Denver, their current home.

Radio/Monti after hours jam, 2016. Though the festival is held in clubs, it's always had a bit of a show-meets-house party feel. This was helped along in the formative years by the actual house party on Colfax that followed each night of the festival, the celebration always running into the following day's sunrise. Here is one of those moments, with Dylan (Sacrimonti) and Paul (Radio Moscow) keeping the jam alive, their brothren checked out behind them.

Radio/Monti after hours jam, 2016. Though the festival is held in clubs, it's always had a bit of a show-meets-house party feel. This was helped along in the formative years by the actual house party on Colfax that followed each night of the festival, the celebration always running into the following day's sunrise. Here is one of those moments, with Dylan (Sacrimonti) and Paul (Radio Moscow) keeping the jam alive, their brothren checked out behind them.

Toke + T-Roy, 2016. I shot this photo of Toke and T-Roy in a Colfax alley late one night. Sourvein and Toke come from the same region and as fate would have it, crossed paths at a festival in Denver. A year or so later, T-Roy took up a guest vocal spot on their track "Weak Life".

Toke + T-Roy, 2016. I shot this photo of Toke and T-Roy in a Colfax alley late one night. Sourvein and Toke come from the same region and as fate would have it, crossed paths at a festival in Denver. A year or so later, T-Roy took up a guest vocal spot on their track "Weak Life".

Electric Citizen, 2017. Always down for a good time, always bringing a show. An exhilarating performer, Laura may be one of my favorite people to shoot. 

Electric Citizen, 2017. Always down for a good time, always bringing a show. An exhilarating performer, Laura may be one of my favorite people to shoot. 

R.I.P., 2017. Frontman Fuzz recently dubbed R.I.P. the "heaviest, hairiest, horniest and most horrifying band playing right now, period." We are inclined to agree. Plus, his use of the adjective "horny" really got us psyched, as it's been in the Denver lexicon for years now (Thanks, Laina) and we strive to make the world a hornier place. R.I.P. is returning this year - we hope to see you dirty freaks up front.

R.I.P., 2017. Frontman Fuzz recently dubbed R.I.P. the "heaviest, hairiest, horniest and most horrifying band playing right now, period." We are inclined to agree. Plus, his use of the adjective "horny" really got us psyched, as it's been in the Denver lexicon for years now (Thanks, Laina) and we strive to make the world a hornier place. R.I.P. is returning this year - we hope to see you dirty freaks up front.

Corky Laing's Mountain, 2017. What a moment this was! You could feel the reverence in the air - fans and bands alike awestruck to be in Corky's presence. Corky loosened up as the set progressed, cracking jokes and rehashing the backstories to some of Mountain's most famous tunes. You get a sense of the wonder in this photo, with a younger generation of musicians, many who have just played and consider Corky, and Mountain, to be a monumental inspiration, filling in behind the cabinets to take in the show.  *It must also be mentioned, that Chris Shutters, who took up guitar duties on this Corky Laing tour did a phenomenal job standing in Leslie West's place. Truly an excellent guitar player in his own right.

Corky Laing's Mountain, 2017. What a moment this was! You could feel the reverence in the air - fans and bands alike awestruck to be in Corky's presence. Corky loosened up as the set progressed, cracking jokes and rehashing the backstories to some of Mountain's most famous tunes. You get a sense of the wonder in this photo, with a younger generation of musicians, many who have just played and consider Corky, and Mountain, to be a monumental inspiration, filling in behind the cabinets to take in the show.

*It must also be mentioned, that Chris Shutters, who took up guitar duties on this Corky Laing tour did a phenomenal job standing in Leslie West's place. Truly an excellent guitar player in his own right.

While we are on it, we will stick with a couple more images of insanely talented and captivating drummers. Cam of Crypt Trip, 2017.

While we are on it, we will stick with a couple more images of insanely talented and captivating drummers. Cam of Crypt Trip, 2017.

Josh with Smokey Mirror. (Now plays with Texas' group, Fogg)

Josh with Smokey Mirror. (Now plays with Texas' group, Fogg)

Malahierba opened up the Juarez-Denver connection and Dizz Brew has followed up massively. Martin of Dizz Brew, 2017. (They are touring the Southwest this summer, keep an eye out).

Malahierba opened up the Juarez-Denver connection and Dizz Brew has followed up massively. Martin of Dizz Brew, 2017. (They are touring the Southwest this summer, keep an eye out).

Glitter Wizard and Mercho Man. By the time Glitter Wizard's after-party set at the Hi Dive rolled around, tops were being popped, the crowd sufficiently lubed. When the band charged into their Turbo Lover cover, the joint went absolutely wild. It was a horny scene, you might say.

Glitter Wizard and Mercho Man. By the time Glitter Wizard's after-party set at the Hi Dive rolled around, tops were being popped, the crowd sufficiently lubed. When the band charged into their Turbo Lover cover, the joint went absolutely wild. It was a horny scene, you might say.

Lori. Acid King, 2017. One of the most humble and excellent people doing it. A lifer and matriarch of the heavy scene. Acid King always delivers, and their festival closing set last year was no exception.

Lori. Acid King, 2017. One of the most humble and excellent people doing it. A lifer and matriarch of the heavy scene. Acid King always delivers, and their festival closing set last year was no exception.

See ya at the party! 

See ya at the party! 

Austin Terror Fest // Sunday Gallery

A sample of Sunday's ATF action, just for y'all. Friday and Saturday galleries below. 

*Apologies in advance to any bands who do not appear in the galleries. It's certainly nothing personal - these are simply a few selects from what we were able to shoot. Thank you to Dusty, Dorian and the whole Austin Terror Fest crew, everyone at Worshipper, the Lost Well and the Barracuda. Well fuckin' played.

Photos: Michael Goodwin // @boilingdenim

 

 

Austin Terror Fest // Friday gallery

The second edition of Austin Terror Fest went off this weekend, with metal fans from Austin and far beyond turning out in droves in the face of a swampish heat. Changing tack a bit from last year, this year's three-day fest was split between the Lost Well (Friday and Sunday) and the Barracuda (Saturday), a change of pace that brought a variety to the event many seemed please to see. In addition, the moving of the festival off of SXSW week, as it was last year, and into June helped the festival establish a presence much more its own. These factors and an incredible lineup helped ensure both venues remained packed throughout the fest. It was one hell of a weekend to say the least, and a great step forward for Austin Terror Fest.

The bands all rose to the occasion, with a number of groups delivering sets that may have been the best I've ever seen from them. At least the most striking, given the intimate nature of the venues. Yob's Friday night finale was certainly one of those performances. 

Though we left Denver at an ungodly hour Friday morning, the U.S. west is still fucking huge and by the time we reached the Lost Well Of Feather and Bone was hammering out the final 30 seconds of their set. Thus, the smaller gallery for this opening set of photographs. We will roll out shots from Saturday and Sunday over the next two days. - mg

*Apologies in advance to any bands who do not appear in the galleries. It's certainly nothing personal - these are simply a few selects from what we were able to shoot. Thank you to Dusty, Dorian and the whole Austin Terror Fest crew, everyone at Worshipper, the Lost Well and the Barracuda. Well fuckin' played.

photos: Michael Goodwin // @boilingdenim