May 1, 2009

Who's Making Noise: Runnin’ Wild Band

(Reprinted from

How long do you think it takes to leave a lasting impression? If you’re performing in a band, the most you can hope for is to have gained some fans by the end of your set. That could be anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. However, at this year’s Ultimate Music Experience (UMX), bands were given the opportunity to play for about 10 minutes, each. Two songs to show what you’ve been practicing, to convince a bar full of judges and judgers alike that you are capable of wowing the masses at the 2009 People’s Fair. Man, that’s a tough gig.

However, one band didn’t need the full ten minutes or even a full minute to impress the room. As my friend (a music promoter and one of those aforementioned judgers) and I walked into the room to see Runnin’ Wild Band setting up, we exchanged looks, noted the prominent black Xs on the band members’ hands, muttered something about “another high school band,” then sat down at the bar. The room was noisy and slightly rowdy.

When RWB began playing, I (and the rest of the bar) immediately took notice of the superb guitar playing, the funky bass line, and clean drumming. The trio of young men seemed perfectly comfortable on stage. Aside from the professional sound, another thing struck me right away: these kids were playing some pure Blues. In an age of Indie, Emo, Punk, and many other occasionally interchangeable genres, how refreshing to hear the mellow, drawling sounds of a solid jam band!

Now, keep in mind, the band had just started playing and I was floored. When Tony Pacello opened his mouth and belted out a song with a voice so powerful, I might have thought it was Zeus himself rocking out onstage. Instead, it was just a skinny young guy, with a voice akin to Steve Winwood or Robert Plant, wailing on his guitar with his buddies.

They finished their two songs with raucous cheering from the audience and for the rest of the day, I saw each member of the band being accosted repeatedly with appreciative slaps to the back. What else can be said of a band that captivated so many people in under a minute? I can’t wait to see what these boys could do given the chance to play three or four (and hopefully more) songs.

Style: Blues, Jam

Band Members: Tony Pacello (vocals), Hunter Roberts (bass), Jeff Jani (drums)

Live: May 8th / Piper’s Inn (Aurora)

Colfax Cowboys: The Faces of Cowboy Punk

(Reprinted from

It’s a fact that 75% of the American population hears the term “Country music” and cringes, at least a little bit. Where did I get that statistic? Well, that is not important. What is important is that there is a small faction of Country music that is not quite as cringe-worthy as some of the recent hits making their way up the charts. Let’s just get it out there: some of this Country music is actually pretty dang good.

Colfax Cowboys is a Denver-based band with the presence and energy of a Hard Rock band, while keeping with the frivolity and twanging sounds of Country. Cowboy Punk, if there is such a genre, seems to be a fitting term. They play good ol’ Western music – the older, harsher stuff reminiscent of Johnny Cash – and they do it with an edge sharp enough to give you tetanus. It is this edge that will draw fans to them; even those who tend to avoid this genre. And it is their stage presence (and the catchy music itself) that will keep these fans coming back to every show.
The Cowboys are led by Chad, a pierced, tattooed, in-your-face singer with a guttural voice and a style akin to Hank Williams, III. The band is rounded out by Brian (lead guitar), Javier (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Danny (bass and backing vocals), and Jim (drums). Throw in a harmonica, because, well, it just wouldn’t be Country without a harmonica! When paired with the prominent sound of the bass, the effect sounds at times a little like Surf-Rock.

Though the band is fairly new (just formed in 2007) and unknown to the greater Denver music scene, their sound is tight and their performance, strong. Their lively act at Ultimate Music Experience in April may have sealed them as an up-and-coming band to watch.

LIVE: June 6th / People’s Fair, Capitol Hill (Yes! They made it!).