Show Review: K.Flay’s “Crush Me” Tour Crushes in Colorado

Show Review: K.Flay’s “Crush Me” Tour Crushes in Colorado

I caught Flay and some of her friends - new and old - dancing together at The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs, CO. Since my first encounter with her one early morning on Warped Tour 2014, what immediately stood out was her lyrics: brutally honest, uniquely witty, and above all else, so personal and introspective it’s as if she’s speaking to your own life experiences.

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A Season of Change

Howdy, blog! 

It's been awhile since I last checked in. While in Australia I mentioned that I didn't want that big adventure to be my last major "leap of faith" to happen in 2016. Where here I am, eight months later, and things are happening. Since we last talked I've changed jobs, lost my last two grandparents, stood by her side as my best friend since kindergarten said "I Do," and had a few minor freakouts that led to my favorite band's lead singer's handwriting being permanently outlined on my skin. It's a season of change, people, and in the last month, there's been a few more additions to that list. 

After six years, countless concerts, thousands of photographs, and a whole lot of fun, another major change has been deciding it’s time to say goodbye to Ultra5280. As someone who’s first passion was writing and later assumed I’d go to school for photography, Ultra5280 became my treasured creative outlet when I chose to academically focus on music instead. Even while watching Blink-182 recently, I found myself analyzing the show, taking mental notes like I was going to go home and write – it’s pretty clear my love for celebrating music through words and photographs will never die. The Ultra team has been family to me, and I’m excited to watch them continue to grow from the sidelines. I'm so thankful that Robert Castro took a chance on a wily college freshmann, giving me a platform to grow my skills and share my passion while having adventures I could have only dreamed of. Saying I’m thankful is an understatement.

I couldn’t stay away from music journalism if I tried, (insert Arnold’s “I’ll be baaackk” quote) so this isn’t my finale, but it’s time I re-learn how to prioritize “me” while exploring what I want my next chapter of life to look like.

Speaking of next chapters…I’m heading back out on the road. I’m thrilled to get back to tour life, and honored to get to do so with a spectacularly talented group of Brits. I really hope this time out will be clarifying, mind opening, and answer some offers I've been looking for.

For the better part of the last year and a half, I've struggled internally trying to understand if my passion for tour is something I needed to chase more intently, or if that season of life had passed. I needed to be home for the last year. For me, for family, for that wedding, to truly work through some major life moments. But now the dust has settled, and the things that were holding me in Denver have slowly dissipated – it's time for me to get back to my quest of working to find my next path. Do I stay on the road? Do I move to LA? Do I stay in Denver and work to find new ways to pursue my passions in this city? No more wondering "if", it's time for me to explore these questions, make a decision, and just go. 

In the past I’ve blogged while on tour and will try to keep up this round as well. Regardless, this website will host any writing or photos I create while on my editorial sabbatical, so hopefully you'll see more updates more often on this here little page. 

To celebrate my time at Ultra5280, I've compiled a few of my favorite things I've written for the blog, and photographs I've taken. 

- FIRST SHOW COVERED FOR ULTRA5280: Yeah, Great, Fine with Mr. Right and Popcult at Moe's BBQ. "What's a Popcult?" This is the first time my byline appeared on the Ultra5280 site. 

FAVORITE "ULTRA5280 SESSIONS": I Fight Dragons. Once upon a time we did a video interview series called "Ultra5280 Sessions," hosted by yours truly. This is one of my favorites because it was my first time seeing the boys live, and I went on to then tour the country with them - twice! 

FAVORITE SXSW INTERVIEW: Kris Orlowski sitting on a street corner after playing phone tag all day. We laughed. We joked. It was the most fun I've ever had interviewing someone. 

WHAT I CONSIDER MY FIRST "LEGIT" REVIEW: I may have loved writing, but it definitely took me awhile to figure out how to do more than just re-tell what happened at a show. Mat Kearney at The Black Sheep still does a lot of that, but goes deeper into his story as an artists as well. 

FAVORITE "I SAW THEM BACK WHEN..." STORY: Seeing AWOLNATION play two sold out shows at The Summit Music Hall felt like a big deal back then, but what hadn't been totally realized yet was that their little opener, Imagine Dragons, would go on to become one of the biggest pop acts in the world over the next two years. 

FAVORITE CRAZY MOMENT AT A SHOW: I've seen Atlas Genius quite a few times at this point, but nothing will top their show at the Bluebird in 2013 because of the on-stage proposal I caught on camera. 

FAVORITE SHOW REVIEW: I've reviewed a lot of shows, but I always come back to this piece about Lorde at the 1stBank Center. I just love it, and really did love that show. Much yes.

- FAVORITE FEATURE: It's neat to see this band continuing to work their way into alternative relevance, but even as they grow, I don't think I'll ever write a better piece about Night Riots. This combined a show review, album review, and interview all in one. 

THAT TIME I GOT TO COVER MY FAVORITE BAND: Technically I've photographed or reviewed Jimmy Eat World four times now, but you know your life has come full-circle when you're able to review the show where your favorite band of all time plays your favorite album of all time front to back. It's even better when you're professional enough to eloquently fangirl through you're writing so you still seem legit.

- FAVORITE BAND TO SEE GROW: In 2013 an opening act asked me to come review them at the Bluebird, opening for some band I'd kind of heard of called Twenty One Pilots. That show was the start of it all. Since then, I've watched them grow into headlining Red Rocks three times, and become arguably the most popular band in the world in 2016. That show at the Bluebird is still my favorite. This review is about my second favorite show, their first performance at Red Rocks, and their first tour supporting the now Platinum-selling record Blurryface

FAVORITE PHOTOS

Maddie's Top of 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR CYBER-PALS!!!! I can't believe it it 2015. To be honest, odd numbers aren't my favorite, but I always find that odd-numbered years bring me good times, and good adventures, so i'm very curious to see what the next 365 days hold in store for me. Before we get too focused on the future though, I'd like to take a minute to look back on all the fun I had in 2014. SXSW, Graduation, Warped Tour, Red Rocks and Riot Fest. It's been an amazing 12 months that led to new discoveries, new challenges, and plenty of funny stories. I've been lucky to share those with you all here, but thought we should re-cap just for good measure. Below you'll find my top 5 shows, top 5 albums, and top 6 (cause I can't decide) photographs of 2014. 

TOP FIVE SHOWS

1) Jimmy Eat World's Futures 10yr Anniversary Tour, The Ogden Theatre, October 7, 2014.
This should be pretty obvious why it's my number one. My favorite band touring and playing my favorite album in it's entirety? I literally cried through the entire thing. Not kidding. It also was the first time i'd ever seen them live with one of my closest friends, who is also a super huge mega fan of theirs. It was such a special night for so many reasons. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. This is a show that will never be topped for me. I waited a decade of my life for one night, and it was certainly worth it. (Check out my review of the show for Ultra5280 here.)

2) twenty|one|pilots at The Ogden Theatre, May 16th 2014.
This was the first time Laurel and I had been able to see our clique leaders live since our obsession began. We first saw the band at The Bluebird back in November of 2013, but had never even heard their music before that night. That show is what sparked our addiction, and so finally seeing them live, and being a part of the fan base that inspired my original curiousity? That was amazing. (here's my review for Ultra5280)

3) Riot Fest Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, September 19-21st, 2014 
In one weekend, I saw The Cure, Weezer play their "Blue Album" in its entirety, In The Whale take their pants off on stage for the Broncos (in front of Mile High Stadium), and Wu Tang Clan. I don't think there need be more explanation. (Ultra5280's weekend recap)

4) Phantogram's rooftop set at SXSW, March 12, 2014
This one is a little different because it wasn't even a proper concert, but this set was definitely my highlight of SXSW 2014. We were on a rooftop in the middle of downtown Austin, watching a band who I'd never really given the proper time of day before, and I fell in love with their music then and there. It's one of those moments that's hard to believe is real.

5) Lorde, The FirstBank Center, September 28, 2014
This show was probably the one that surprised me the most the entire year. I like Lorde's music plenty, but I usually really hate big pop production shows. When I was approved to cover this show for Ultra5280, I went in not fully prepared for what I would see, and found myself impressed with the young performer's poise in ways I couldn't have imagined. (read my Ultra5280 review for it here).

TOP FIVE ALBUMS

1) Hozier, Hozier
I told you all in my New Music Tuesday post about this album that i'd picked it as my top record of the year, and I've come through as promised. Check out my post about how much I love this record, and then give it a listen. I doubt you'll find yourself able to disagree. 

2) Alt-J, This Is All Yours
My undying love for Alt-J has only been progressed by the release of their new album. Weird, quirkly, melodically unique, and musically daring, this quartet is the front of new music. I might not be able to understand 75% of their lyrics (and the other 25% don't make sense), but I don't care. I love it. 

3) Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
This record speaks for itself. One of the most well-respected punk rock groups of the modern era releasing an album that their lead singer ends up using as her coming out letter as transgendered? How much more punk can you get? The album is catchy, endearing, and a real statement of the times. I love it.

4) Broods, Evergreen
I got to spend an afternoon interviewing Broods' lead vocalist Georgia Knott, and after speaking with her, I felt like I could connect to this album on an ever deeper level. This young band is making promising music for being brand spanking new. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are honest, and the radio play it got this year is ridiculous. No way i couldn't pick it.

5) Manchester Orhestra, COPE. 
Although I haven't been a Manchester Orchestra fan for very long, seeing them perform live this past April was like finally eating a food I had no idea i'd been craving for months. A wondrous mix of alternative rock, melodic chorus', and heartfelt lyrics, the album COPE really feels like the bands most progressive album yet. 

TOP SIX PHOTOS

I genuinely couldn't decide which one of these six to knock out for submission for Ultra5280's end of year recap, so I submitted them all, and I'm sticking to that for my own post here. I really didn't photograph as much in 2014 as i did in 2013, but I still really love this top six. I feel like they perfectly capture my year in music. Here they are in order of when they were taken throughout the year. 

Cee Lo Green at Rachel Ray's Backyard BBQ | SXSW | Austin, TX, March 2014

Tyler Joseph of twenty|one|pilots, The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO,  May 2014

Dua Boakye of Bad Rabbits at the Vans Warped Tour, Montréal, QC, July 2014.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. October 2014.

David Boyd, lead singer of New Politics. The Gothic Theatre, Denver, CO. November 2014.

Dan Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons. The Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO. December 2014.

 

please note that ALL photos are copyrighted by Maddie Casey, and cannot be used without her permission.

#SXSW14

It's officially been seven days since we got home from this year's South By Southwest (SXSW) festival, and man oh man, that came and went in a hurry. Laurel, Tyler Rima (bassist of Churchill) and I all drove down together and had what was potentially the most fun road trip of my life. I fed a Donkey an apple, Tyler hopefully got a sweet new work gig out of it, Laurel rocked some sweet new Colorado swag and was properly educated on Austin Food culture. We survived 14hrs of driving with only 5 CDs in the disc changer and did not kill one another...I feel like that's a success right there.

Last year was my very first time in Austin for SXSW, and it was more or less an accident. I had bought a plane ticket with the intentions of just going to see what I could see. I wasn't yet 21, so I knew that there'd be some potential challenges since almost every venue is 21+, but I was sick of sitting around every year wishing I was there. A last minute phone call from my boys in Air Dubai guaranteed me an exciting week when they asked me to TM (tour manage) for them, and from there everything was set. SXSW 2013 was easily one of the most fun weeks of my life. The schedule was grueling, the work even more so, but it was incredible. I was in a city filled with people who did what I did. All the big wigs I'd studied, the people I admired, they were all within a 4 mile radius. And there was me: caught smack in the middle of it all. I met some incredible people who offered me great insight and great opportunities. I made connections, shook hands, and handed out every last little "Maddie-sized" business card I could in between loading the van and herding boys cross-city to their next interview. It was fantastic, so when March rolled around this year, I couldn't focus on anything else. I was ready to go.

me, Tyler and Laurel in front of the infamous "Austin" sign. 

This year was different, but not in a bad way. I wasn't out there working for a band, I was there simply as "Maddie". With my impending graduation just around the corner, I wanted to focus on networking as much as possible. I have a terrible paranoia that I've spent so long unfortunately turning down jobs due to school that my opportunities will have run dry once I finally have the chance to take them on! My goal for this year was to shake some hands, take some names, and let the industry know I'm ready and coming for them. I tried split my time in Texas in half: one part networking, one part covering shows for Ultra5280. I got to photograph and interview a lot of amazing artists for the blog, which was a blast! (Here's a link to my Interviews) But not being on a schedule as tight as a band is on down there (7+ shows in 4 days, PLUS interviews? Can you say hectic??!?!) gave me the ability to stay and chat with interesting folks when I met them. I had the chance to watch new artists, which i loved! And much to my surprise, this year was just as productive networking as it was last year. Admittedly I was worried I wouldn't be in the right spots at the right times since I wasn't with a band, but I feel like I did pretty alright for being all aloney on my owney.

SXSW hasn't let me down yet, it's been two years full of fun and absolute shenanigans. Whether that's meeting the man who runs my friend's "OKCupid" account, physically bumping into Denver's King of Radio (93.3's Nerf) on a street corner at 2am, accidentally talking myself into backstage VIP at a potential Stroke's reunion show, or just sitting back and watching my musical friends do what they love most, SXSW never fails to surprise me. I'm only seven days out, but I'm ready and waiting for round three next year.

Click here to see my photos on Ultra5280's website!