A taste of a Bozeman gem reinvented: Minnesota band, Hippo Campus opens up The Rialto Theater

Following the extensive tour of the newly adorned and renovated Rialto Theater in Bozeman, MT, my excitement for the evening’s show could not have been any more real. Not only is The Rialto a space for bringing music, theater and dance to an audience, it is a space for fine cocktails, delicious food, incredible art and so on! The excitement about what The Rialto has to offer to Bozeman was tangible at the media tour the afternoon of the debut show. They took us into each space of the multi-level theater: the cocktail lounge upstairs (The Burnbox), the gallery space across the way lit with a giant skylight (The Lightbox) and the theater space below which includes a mezzanine and floor level, each with their own bar.  Keep in mind that though I have given each of these spaces a standard name/purpose, they can each be individualized for your use whether it is a dinner party, reception, art show or DJ dance party. If you can dream up a use for the space, they can provide.

 

 

From left to right (bar in The Burnbox, gallery spaced called The Lightbox, standing area for guests, view from the mezzanine and a sample of the light show, view from The Burnbox).

With a taste of all that the space had to offer, I was itching to see a band on the stage and hear more than the recording of Hippo Campus’ single, “Way it Goes”, that they played during the tour to let us sample the state-of-the-art sound system. The sound at The Rialto is more than just a “sound system.” It took an entire team of architects, sound engineers and others to create the most ideal space for sound to be captured and shared with each individual in every corner of the theater.

 

 

And finally the night I was waiting for arrived. Eager young Hippo Campus fans lined up in the freezing cold, without jackets (crazy high schoolers!), waiting for the doors to open at 7pm. In the line among the younger folks was a smattering of under 18 year olds and some representatives of each decade from 20-60 years old. It was a true ‘all ages’ show and it was a blast. The majority of the concert-goers (from my view point) were between the ages of 16 and 19, and they knew every word to every Hippo Campus song. Although all of us in the crowd could not sing along, every BODY was dancing, every FACE was smiling and everyone was having a good time. Furthermore, the lighting was above and beyond, giving everyone there the ultimate concert experience.  I had been “studying” (defined as listening to as much of a musicians music as I can before a show so I know and recognize as many songs as possible) Hippo Campus a bit preceding the show but was not prepared to have my mind blown by the lead singer’s velvet voice and incredible range, the band’s tight vocal harmonies, the exuberant trumpet player and their overall energy as a band. They sound great recorded but phenomenal live. And, they were clearly having a blast, too.

 

 

 

 

I haven’t been to a show of this caliber since Alt J back in 2012 at The Neptune in Seattle, or Strand of Oaks at The Bartlett in Spokane in 2017 and now more recently, shows in Missoula at The Top Hat and The Wilma. The Rialto is giving those venues a run for their money and a fabulous reason for bands of all kinds to stop and play in Bozeman. Now we have a cultural hub for everyone in Bozeman to enjoy. My ears and my heart could not be any happier and I know I’m not alone.

To learn more about The Rialto  and guarantee you won’t miss any of your favorite acts or events, you can follow them on all the usual social media platforms. You can find all the social media links for Hippo Campus on their official website.

Best Tracks of 2017 According to MFL and Friends

It’s that time where I go to two of my favorite music aficionados, Mark Levy and Brian Haviland for the tunes they can’t live without. If you’ve been following MFL for the last few years, you’ll recognize these names. We each picked 6 or 7 songs that we couldn’t stop listening to in 2017 but I’m not going to tell you who picked what. It’s more fun that way. ENJOY!

 

New single from creative duo, LACEI

LACEI has been a long time favorite of MFL, and with a new year, they’ve brought us some new music. Their newest single, “Wanderer”, is a track about finding your purpose in the world through the chaos that is constantly unfolding, every day, every minute. In the words of LACEI:

“Wanderer is about breaking through the confines of society and following your dreams, making your own truth. There are so many crazy things going on in the world right now, if we can find light in the darkness we can begin to wander on this earth with a purpose. Each and every person has one. What is yours?”

 

 

 

Follow LACEI on Spotify, Soundcloud and Facebook.

Interview: Lilah of Wellington, New Zealand

Back in March, this little gem appeared in my inbox:

 

 

Months later, Louis Reeve of Lilah and I finally pulled it together and completed the interview we’d been meaning to accomplish. Despite the 7,540 miles and 20 hour time difference between Bozeman, MT and Wellington, New Zealand, we got to the bottom of what Lilah is about. This three-piece has a sound that is both unexpected and ingenious. I hear a mash-up of dream, indie and garage rock, rolled into a neat little package. As I mention in the first question, there isn’t much out there about these guys so this interview is a very special peek into the beating heart of Lilah.

 

MFL: I did a light dig through the internet and couldn’t find much about you guys! Who makes up Lilah and how did you come together?

The band is a collaboration between Jo Cain, Christian Williams and myself.

Jo and I had been playing together on and off since going to high school together.

We eventually formed the band through long jams/experiments at his old Warehouse space in the suburb of Miramar in Wellington. Christian became involved when we decided that we needed a mother fucker on the drums to complete the picture.

We have consciously avoided a proper web presence!

 

MFL: Since we’re approaching the holiday, can you explain why your second album is called Christmas?

There is no real reason for the album title Christmas. For some reason it seemed to suit the set – I always thought that the material sounded quite upbeat. Although this is counter-balanced with lyrical themes of existential concern. The title is also just an immature joke.

MFL: If you were to brag about yourselves and say you lovingly sounded like some of your favorite bands, what bands would they be?

We half-jokingly referred to the band as Surf – Drone music however our musical tastes between us are far-reaching. Some of our shared inspirations that feed into the band are Spacemen 3, The Chills, David Bowie and I particularly love guitarist Dick Dale.  

 

MFL: I love the long intros to all of your tracks. At first listen, I thought it might be an instrumental record but then the vocals kick in. Do these long intros say anything about how you all like to write music or maybe what you think makes an excellent song? That said, I do love the instrumental tracks on the album.

 I like to use long introductions to “set the scene”. To build a sense of engagement and mystery without jumping straight in (to vocal sections).

I also wasn’t so confident singing and would rather just play guitar. Although on this set I was also aiming for a punk approach to singing.

The instrumentals are more conceptual soundtrack work – something I would like to try at some point.

MFL: Who are you listening to these days? If you feel up to it, give me your top 3 albums of 2017.

I have been listening to George Harrison’s solo albums and Roy Orbison – also earlier Dub music from Jamaica’s Trojan Records. One of my favourites this year has been Laura Marling’s Semper Femina and I am just getting in to Protomartyr’s Relatives in Descent. Kody Nielson just re-released his e.p. DEVILS which I recommend.

I am thinking back on sweet shows I saw this year. PJ Harvey, Pixies, AURA, Unsanitary Napkin, Wizz Kids, So Laid Back Country China, Draghound, Pam, Ayn Randy, Finn Johansson, Salad Boys.

I finally saw The Chills live which was great. Although I did get kicked out of the show for a short period after the bouncer accused me of smoking a joint in the bathroom. Shamed out to say the least. Heavenly Bong Hit!

MFL: How has Lilah changed since the release of your debut self-titled album and what are the biggest differences between it and Christmas?

The first album is grounded in sample based material and conceptual soundtrack work – but in the form of songs. We had a perfectionist approach, working with our friend and producer Thomas Lambert – it was more of a production than a live set recorded. For the second album we were more interested in a “band” sound – live drums and rough n’ ready takes of songs we had been playing as a three-piece. This was the focus over perfectionism and Jo recorded us on to cassette tape. Capturing the energy of the band was more important than any shortcomings in the sound.

The differences in album approach/method/intention parallels how the band itself grew – incorporating a drummer and focusing more on “songs” as a live band.

 

MFL: We’ll quickly be coming up on 2 years since your latest release. Anything new coming down the pipe?

We haven’t worked together for a while due to the tyranny of distance. Jo is living in New York and Christian I believe is living in Ireland. I am not so hot on the idea of collaborating through our computers but I am open to ideas.

I have been working on a project called By A Damn Sight and playing bass in Doledrums.

Both projects are about to release recordings.

Jo is playing bass in a local N.Y. band and I think is getting his own e.p. together.

 

Big thanks to Louis and the guys for taking the time to do this with MFL ❤

Follow Lilah and get all their latest tracks on their Bandcamp page.

NEW PLAYLIST: Winter Vol I

My inbox has been bursting at the seams with tunes that have been dying to reach your ears. Get cozy, because this is a long one! If you prefer a more visual experience, feast your eyes on some select music videos.

Something I wanted to note about the following playlists is that there is a music video in there for a song called “Anxiety (In the Depths of Northwestern Ontario)” by a band called 1971. In February of this year, they lost the founding member, bassist, brother and friend, Cameron Glen Cranston. They will no longer be a band but have decided to release the last recordings they did with him.

Happy holidays to all you music-loving folks. I hope you all enjoy this time of year doing whatever it is you do.

 

 

PLAYLISTS GALORE

Below find a fresh YouTube AND Soundcloud playlist! Each holds some insanely delightful tracks that have been released over the past two months. Please enjoy not in moderation:

 

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1213478564/playlist/5rU0sv9BLSQPEffXKym1Bw

News from Howlie: “Golden Hour”

Remember Evan White, the man behind Howlie? MFL interviewed him some time ago and he’s at it again! At the beginning of October he released a new track which is in all truths, three tracks that together are “Golden Hour.” About the track, Howlie says:

“This song is pretty cool. I had three fragments that I had written, from 2015, 2016, and this year. I loved each mini-song that I had written, but for the life of me couldn’t add anything else to them that was as strong as what I had already. I shelved them and stopped worrying about it (there’s a lot of pieces I do this with). In July, Already Dead and I had been chatting, and they invited me to release a new recording for the compilation. After writing a few duds, I looked to my back-catalog and remembered some of these pieces. I strung them together in the order that they were written, and they were magically in different keys that complimented each other and seemed to fit quite well. I looked at it like it was a stream-of-consciousness song. My mind is constantly racing and remembering all things melancholy of my past. I feel that “Golden Hour” conveys the way my brain remembers things very well, abrupt shifts and all.”

Check it out: