The Mile High Makeout: Peter Black bewitches Denver with the Voodoo Ball (exclusive first listen)By Eryc Eyl | October 22nd, 2010 | 2 comments
If you just found yourself listening to the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack for the millionth time while you rode the light rail to work this morning, you know that staying current with music is hard. It takes dedication. It takes energy. It takes time. This goes doubly for local music, which doesn’t get pumped out at you through relentless mass media in the way that, say, Katy Perry does.
To stay up on the ever-changing, evolving, fickle world of Colorado music, you have to care. Fortunately, Peter Black cares, and it shows. The Voodoo Ball — the Halloween party he’s throwing this Saturday at the Meadowlark — and its companion compilation CD, “Denver Afterdark,” (available for free download here on Reverb before anywhere else!) could only be created by someone with the freakishly boundless energy and limitless passion of Peter Black.
“Every Halloween, we debut different bands,” says the 41-year-old DJ, promoter and mentor to countless Denver musicians. “We keep trying to see who’s next — who’s gonna be significant in the next year.”
Black — whose birth name is Peter Gurule — has a fairly impressive track record for doing exactly that. For many years, he hosted a party at the Hi-Dive called Rockstars Are Dead, which teamed DJs, local bands and national acts together for an unusual experience. Bands that played a Rockstars Are Dead party — such as the Knew, the Swayback and the Photo Atlas, to name just a few — often went on to achieve both local and national notoriety. Since that time, the Denver music scene has changed, but Black’s drive to improve and promote it haven’t.
“Denver has changed a lot,” he observes. “Today, we rely on everyone else to get things done. In the old days, everybody wanted to be the champion band in town, and they’d go around beating their chests. Today, if you don’t work with people and collaborate, they’re gonna turn their backs on you. The way to be cool now is to be easy to work with and always down for whatever.”
With the lineup of this year’s Voodoo Ball and the track listing of “Denver Afterdark,” Black proves not only that he is “down for whatever,” but also that he has his finger on the pulse of new sounds coming out of Denver. The compilation includes experimental electronic music arising out of Travis Egedy‘s Rhinoceropolis scene — such as Hideous Men, Brittany Gould, Hollagramz, Cory Brown and Modern Witch — but also includes edgy, messy neo-psychedelia from artists like Woodsman, Gauntlet Hair and St. Elias. Though it might seem, at first, to be all over the map, Black insists there’s a unifying theme.
“All these bands seem to have optimism, but with a dark quality,” he notes. “There are these dark tones that are shimmering with happiness.”
To accommodate this hefty, eclectic lineup, Black and the Analog Space collective putting together the event will take over both the main room of the Meadowlark Bar and the infrequently used large room upstairs. Attendees — who will pay a mere $7 for access — will be able to move from guitar-driven rock to knob-twiddling electronic experiments as freely as they’ll be able to shift from track to track on the compilation.
Speaking of the compilation, through Analog Space’s generosity, we’re proud to debut “Denver Afterdark” here on Reverb. It will also be available later today on two fantastic Colorado music blogs, Speaker Snacks and Tome to the Weather Machine (the latter run by Reverb’s own Crawford Philleo). Check out the tracks below, download the ones that please you most, or grab them all for the full effect. That’s 45 minutes’ worth of Colorado music, absolutely free! Now you have no excuse not to come up with the 7 bucks you’ll need for the Voodoo Ball.
Eryc Eyl is a veteran music journalist, critic and Colorado native who has been neck-deep in local music for many years. Check out Steal This Track every Tuesday for local music you can HEAR, and the Mile High Makeout every Friday. Against his mother’s advice, Eryc has also been known to tweet. You can also follow Steal This Track on Twitter. Sorry, Mom.