Concerts seem to have two different kinds of people who attend: People who show up just to see the specific band they paid for and miss the acts beforehand, and then those who show up early to learn about new bands. Of course there is a third kind. The people who just don’t care.
Red Bull Sound Select aims to get each of these kinds of people to take interest in the openers. Sound Select sells tickets on a first come-first serve basis at the door to make people show up at the beginning and stay for the headliner. No advance purchasing is available. This creates recognition for the lesser known bands and generates support for the headliner.
“The whole idea is built on helping bands move to the next level as well as providing a platform for music
discovery for the fans,” said Kendal Smith, event director of the Underground Music Showcase in Denver.
On March 9, Red Bull Sound Select hosted Dan Deacon as the headline with the Oyster Kids and local band Flaural as the openers. Flaural was recognized by Smith as a hard working band in the local music scene and was asked to do their second Red Bull Sound Select.
“Running the UMS, we are pretty tuned in to a lot of stuff going on in the local music scene. Those guys are working really hard, doing a lot of shows and getting out on the road and touring. They are trying to go to the next level as artists,” Smith said.
Flaural is made up of four members: singer and bassist Collin Johnson, guitarist Noah Pfaff, drummer Nick Berlin and multi-instrumentalist Connor Birch.
Almost all the members are Denver natives beside Berlin, who has lived in Denver for a while, but was born in San Francisco. They mention how touring from Denver is somewhat of a struggle because Denver is kind of an island from the other major cities.
“It’s really important actually taking that first terrible drive to get out and then the rest is just city to city,” Birch said.
The band talked about how touring is the hardest, yet, one of the most fun aspects of being in the band.
The van they travel in is a 1994 Chevy G20 named Chevroleny von Falcon or Chevromini von Falcon and
they love her like a lady.
“She’s our lover,” Birch said. Johnson and Pfaff joke about how she got a “Nicki Minaj,” or rear suspension lift.
For a short time Pfaff did attend MSU Denver, but was unable to continue due to lack of money or free time. Birch studied music at CU, but felt he learned more from real experience as a musician rather than study.
“The most valuable learning moments of my life have been since leaving school and just trying to do it. There’s definitely valuable information there but I think there’s kind of just the school of the hard knocks. When it comes to things likes this, you kind of just have to fail and learn from it and fail again,” Birch said.
Red Bull Sound Select offers that real life experience Birch looks for, while also giving the musicians a chance to succeed in a larger scale venue with bigger names.
“Ultimately my expectation for tonight is for people who came here for Dan Deacon to walk out thinking, ‘oh my god, Flaural and the Oyster kids, those are two great bands that I want to check out,” Smith said.
Smith has been working with UMS for seven years, starting as a volunteer and now the director of the
program. A job he used to think was easy, has definitely become an equation he hopes to solve.
“Art is a subjective thing yet there’s also metrics that can be used in judging whether you’re investing in
something big or not. I think my biggest challenge or the biggest thing I have learned is that that’s a hard problem to solve,” Smith said.