Beanstalk Music Festival 2018 was one for the books, everyone! Where to begin… Imagine a festival with one of the best lineups the Colorado jam music scene has to offer in a beautiful location on the river, deep in the mountains. There was rafting, hiking, tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding, camping with friends, fantastic food, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and a full moon lighting your way at night. Those are all just the extra activities available at Beanstalk every year, but this particular line up was very special.
The top of the list for me this year was The Magic Beans. The Magic Beans played three nights, and I will tell you what, it is hard to pick a favorite night. I am going to have to say Saturday, even though everyone seems to have a different favorite for the weekend. That’s always a good sign though, right? So, on Thursday night, they played my favorite, “Mr. Scientist,” and a brand-new song called “Feed the Beast” that was a total banger. On Friday night, they had an interesting song transition from “What in the World” into “5 Points” and ended the night with Matt Jalbert, from TAUK, jamming with them until their set was over. Let’s not forget the rager of the weekend, “Believe” by Cher that had the entire crowd singing and dancing wildly. “Believe” transitioned back into “Lost & Found” and they ended the set with “Elusive.” Ah, Saturday though, they ended the festival with song choices that truly brought everyone together such as a deeply chill version of “Inventor” and a higher energy cover of “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. The Beanstalk Super Jam band performed the song “Flashlight” which led to vocalist Kimberly Dawson proudly taking her new crowd-given title as “The Soul Queen of Denver.” She shined brighter than any other vocalist of the weekend for sure.
Next up, we have Aqueous, who played before The Magic Beans on Friday night. Aqueous has been doing very well for themselves this past year with all of their successful touring and what not, so I was not surprised to see such a loyal fan base headbanging front row and yelling out song names the whole time. Aqueous played “Weight of the World,” an amazing“Benny and the Jets” by Elton John, and my personal favorite that I was hoping for, a nice long “Kitty Chaser.”
Mungion was another favorite band for the weekend as well. Mungion could be described as contemporary rock, funk, with a little bit of jazz mixed into their sound. Mungion’s Joe Re easily became one my new favorite keyboardists this weekend. They played a set of mostly original tunes starting with “Chatterbox” that transitioned into a spicy “Quemaste Tu Cabello.” They finished very strong with “Hung Daddy” and “Beneath the Shadows.”
Octave Cat, a band well known for their first original members, Jesse Miller, the bassist for Lotus, and Eli Winderman, the keyboardist for Dopapod, added their third member, Charlie Patierno who is the drummer for Brazilian Girls. All together, they have created a vintage sounding synthesized and heavy funk with a bit of an electronic influence. They definitely put the crowd into a very enjoyable musical trance.
Cycles played a set on both Thursday and on Saturday. They performed another one of my favorite sets of the weekend with songs such as “Martyr,” “Tucker’s Pet Weed,” & “Clyde.”
Lespecial also played two sets although their first set was “Lespecial does Primus” and they did a great job. Their drummer, Rory Dolan, did the vocals for the Primus set and absolutely nailed it. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades played an amazing set featuring their song “Millennial Girl”, and it was beautiful and relaxing right before diving into the rest of their set.
I know a lot of jazz loving Beanstalk Attendees were excited about Cory Wong’s performance. The show was quite educational. You could tell Wong has been greatly influenced by the band he belongs to, Vulfpeck, with the large amounts of crowd participation. They all played wonderfully while taking a lot of breaks to explain some amazing hacks about making jazz music. It was the most educational set I think I have ever seen actually.
Yak Attack, Malai Llama, Flash Mountain Flood, Mantaray, and Brad Parsons all killed it on the smaller stage and did a great job of keeping the party going for everyone. Flash Mountain Floods organist, Paul Copoulos, even had a c.100-year-old Leslie amplifier as well. Just to name a few other amazing artists from the weekend that played earlier sets during the day, there was, Eminence Ensemble, the Jauntee, Part N Parcel, and Amoramora. Lastly, I’d like to give Kali Durga some recognition for her amazing noon yoga sessions on Friday and Saturday as well.
There you have it, Grateful Webbers! The Beanstalk of summer 2018 was one for the books. As the Beanstalk family grows closer each year, I can’t wait to see new faces to come and share all the fun with us next year. It’s an experience that gets better and better every year and I am very proud of all of the hard work and dedication of the production team put into the event for the sake of the music. Congratulations Beanstalk! I give you a 10 out 10!