The Denver Film Festival 39, which began last week, hosted an interesting panel session along with Comcast, “New Avenues of Distribution,” which focused on what the growing number of streaming TV services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, means for content creators, the film industry, and film-watchers alike.

Denver Film Festival - New Avenues of Distribution

On the panel was Comcast’s director of programming, Brett Hatch; the senior director of product management at Level 3, Jon Alexander; Stephan Shelanski, the former Starz executive vice president of programming acquisitions who is now on the other side as a film producer; and film critic and moderator of the panel (and long-time Denver Film Festival participant), Bob Denerstein.

At first listen, Gringo Star’s latest album The Sides and In Between is a cacophonous yet delightful mixture of sounds. The band themselves summed up this sound perfectly as “echo-slathered, doo-wop indebted indie gems; psychedelic garage bangers, gritty R&B shuffles and spaghetti-western weirdness.”
Gringo Star - The Sides and in Between

They are hard to put a finger on, but are without a doubt an eclectic yet captivating quartet who really shine in their fourth studio album.

Right now is a time of contemplation for the “we’ve always done it this way” business models. In every industry, the old ways are crumbling as new ideas mesh with technology, filling demand gaps in industries and redistributing market share. Aside from the commonly referenced transportation and hospitality markets, it is the making of entertainment content that will see a tidal wave of change in the coming years.

The company causing this butterfly effect: Netflix.

“Entertainment and technology are continuing to transform each other as they have been doing for over 100 years,” said Reed Hastings this past January during his CES keynote.

19 May 2016


“I don’t particularly want to pick up an instrument,” said Alex Paterson, founder of the ambient house pioneering entity, the Orb, “I want to pick all these sounds and make musical notes of these sounds.”

"This is the worst complaints have been for 15 years, as a rate,” Dean Headley, a researcher at Wichita State University's business school, said to CNN earlier this week in regards to the 26th annual national Airline Quality Rating report he co-authored. For those of us that travel on a regular basis, we don’t need a report to tell us what we already know first hand: for the most part and most often, flying sucks.

Tapping films included in this year's Oscar nominations, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg and Leslie Jones poked fun at the lack of diversity that brought back the #OscarSoWhite social storm in full force for the second year in a row.

For a Monday night, the Echoplex in Los Angeles was quite packed out. SWIMM, Florida-to-Los Angeles transplants as of 2015, followed Andy Clockwise, aptly thanking him for the blast-happy performance. It was SWIMM's last night of their residency at the Echoplex, and the two-piece, now expanded to five performers, wrapped it in pure rock and roll style. Even some of the family were in attendance, including the proud mom of lead singer and guitarist, Chris Hess.

The conversation on the bias and inequality in the entertainment industry has been going on for some time now. In 2015, the movement behind raising the bar for women in film and entertainment has thankfully stretched beyond idol mentions and has consistently boiled up into action beyond words. Tonight’s Moonfaze Feminist Film festival at LA Mother aims to “disrupt the status quo” of homogeneity and patriarchy by dedicating a night solely to outstanding talent in feminist film.

The last day of Culture Collide is packed to the max with a full day of shows featuring both domestic and local acts along with a bevy of international bands. Time to get a hearty brunch, and a bit of hair of the dog with tons of hydration, since it's another hot one today. For all your vinyl freaks, the day kicks off with a free outdoor party where many of our favorite labels - Anti, Anticon, Last Gang Records, Burger Records, Ninja Tune, Epitaph, Saddle Creek, Eenie Meanie, Delicious Vinyl - have their wares for sale.

Visiting the CBS Mix 94.1 and X107.5 Downtown Soundhouse today at Life is Beautiful, Mike Kerr, bassist and singer for Royal Blood, and drummer Ben Thatcher chatted a bit with radio hosts MJ and Pauly. It was a lively ten minutes, touching on topics from their early wedding singer days to strip clubs and losing one’s concert-going virginity to Goldfrapp, along with numerous shots of sarcascim and dry wit to complement the free Dos Equis and Kettle One.

Pauly: So this is your first time in Vegas…

Mike: This is actually my third.

Ben: This is my first.

Pauly: Well, first time as Royal Blood in Las Vegas.

Mike: There’s a third time for everything, right?

MJ: Are you going to swing [Ben] around to strip clubs or something? I mean, he needs to be broken in.

Mike: I’ll want to do that. Haven’t had a formal band meeting about that yet, but yeah.

Pauly: We can have a meeting right now. All in favor of the strip club say aye…

Crowd: Aye!!

MJ: So you guys started out as wedding singers?

Mike: Yes, that’s correct.

Pauly: No kidding!

Mike: We did do that once upon a time.

Pauly: Lots of crazy cover songs?

Mike: Not crazy, just the standard ones…

Pauly: “You Are So Beautiful”…

Mike: Thank you.

MJ: What is one you did…

Mike: “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” or things like, “Mama Mia.”

MJ: So the classics. You guys have gotten the attention of some huge names: Tom Morrello, Jimmy Page. The Arctic Monkeys. Everybody loves you when they see you. Like, ’These guys are going to be dominating soon.’

Pauly: My first job in radio was for X107.5 pushing buttons for the Howard Stern Show about a year ago. You were the first new band that he has spoken about in almost two decades. That had to have felt great inside.

Mike: If I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t have that much awareness of Howard until he asked us. Then I started Googling him and realized how sheltered my life had been.

Pauly: I’d been listening to the guy for years upon years, so as soon as he mentioned you and gave his stamp of approval, to me, you guys blew up after that. Foo Fighters had you on tour for the east coast. What was that all about?

Mike: Yeah, it was amazing. I don’t really know what else to stay about it really. That was our dream support slot. If you look back, have some spare time with pretty much nothing else to do, look back and watch interviews with us in the early days, and all we talk about is going on tour with the Foo Fighters. If the dream was to come true, that would be a good one. And it did.

MJ: You guys are just incredible. Dropped your self-titled debut in March. (To the crowd.) Make sure you get it if you haven’t yet. What bands are you looking forward to seeing. I know you’re going to be here tomorrow too, just chilling, hanging out.

Mike: Duran Duran. That’s why I’m here, if I’m honest. We’re just here to see Duran Duran.

Ben: And Snoop Dog.

Pauly: There’s just two of you. And such a full rock sound. I mean, you’re keeping rock alive in a day that’s so digital and electric. How does it feel to pull the weight on your shoulders right now?

Mike: Terrifying.

Pauly: Okay, great. (To the crowd) Have you seen Royal Blood live and on stage? (See our review of the Royal Blood’s Bonnaroo performance). It’s going to be one of the most rocking parts of the Life is Beautiful Festival. How did two guys do all of that?

Mike: Well, I can answer that question because we are those two guys. So it’s very convenient. The answer is very long and very boring, so, get comfy.

(Ben decides the theatre seats down below are actually more comfy than the barstool on the stage, and promptly drops down and settles himself into one, but still has the microphone to chime in when needed.)

Mike: We decided to start a band like every other band member would. When me and Ben met, which was around the age of 15, 16, we loved playing music together, and that’s what got us talking, isn’t it Ben.

Ben: Correct. He’s not lying.

Mike: Years passed. We’d done many weddings. We saw divorces. We even played at those parties. We played in restaurants. And this is all different bands, playing lots of different instruments. At one point Ben was even singing, and I was playing the keyboards. Eventually we found a combination, which is what we are now, which is the bass and the drum set. Does that answer your question?

Pauly: It’s a thick line of kick ass. Everybody has a first show, that live experience when you see a band for the first time. Unfortunately, my first ban was Whitney Houston. A great talent, but it wasn’t rock and roll. What was your first experience and what lit that spark for you?

Mike: It was a Goldfrapp concert. Not sure if anyone has heard of Goldfrapp. It’s brilliant. I went with a friend, and was possibly the only straight person in the room, because, she attracts a lot of gays, basically, which is great. But I wasn’t, so my first concert experience was, that I thought only gay people went to concerts. So I was very confused. There was lots of same sex people making out. And I thought, “Is this something that only gay people do?” A beautiful, naive position to have. But I did feel slightly awkward.

Ben: It’s ‘cause he likes vaginas.

Mike: Yeah.

MJ: What about you Ben, what was your first show?

Ben: Mine was, I think it was Linkin Park.

(Cheers from the crowd again.)

Mike: Similar story then?

Ben: Yeah. That was weird.

Royal Blood play the Downtown main stage at Life is Beautiful today at 4:45pm. Bring your lip balm so your smacker is fully ready for a making out session.

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