Eminence Enemble play annual Christmas show in Frisco
if you go
What: Eminence Ensemble
When: Saturday, Dec. 26; doors open at 9 p.m.
Where: The Barkley Ballroom, 610 Main St., Frisco
Cost: Free show
The musicians of Eminence Ensemble may be based in Boulder, but they all grew up in Summit County. Several of them were in what they call “rival bands” in their teens, as well as played together in the band program at the high school, but after moving to Boulder for college, they reconvened to form the progressive rock group.
This Saturday the band will head up the hill to their hometown to play a holiday show at The Barkley Ballroom on Dec. 26. The band has played a Christmas show in Summit County for the last six years, previously at 320 South in Breckenridge before it closed, and once in Keystone, before moving to the Frisco venue as of last year.
Eminence Ensemble consists of Zac Flynn on electric bass; Nick Baum on percussion and vocals; Tanner Bardin on drum kit and vocals; Justin Neely on guitar and vocals; and their newest member, Johnny Bosbyshell, on piano and keyboards.
Bardin claims their music is like Michael Jackson meets Led Zeppelin. Baum added they are influenced by a lot of older bands such as Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Rush — but also R&B and jazz.
“I think we touch on many genres, just with everyone’s different background in music,” Bardin said. “Some people played jazz in their early years, some people played classical in college and jazz early, so there’s all these different backgrounds being thrown into this live show. It’s not necessarily that we are playing jazz or classical, but there is so much of that theory built into their brain that works into funk tunes and rock tunes. It’s just a very … eclectic experience, and we try to make an experience in the live show that you can’t get anywhere but seeing that live show.”
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Some of the newer groups that the band looks up to are Snarky Puppy and Umphrey’s McGee. Members of the band are good friends with the players in Umphrey’s, and Eminence will be playing the official Umphrey’s after-party on Jan. 1 at Quixote’s True Blue in Denver. Baum said they are also incredibly stoked to be at the Fox Theatre — their favorite place to play — in Boulder on Friday, Feb. 12. Although they’ve played the venue before, this will be their first time headlining a weekend show.
THE NEW INDUSTRY
The members of Eminence Ensemble are looking at their sixth year together. After a couple years spent touring all around Colorado, the band began hitting the road to out-of-state gigs. Now, they’ve played almost every state in the country except a few, and said playing live is one of the only ways to make it as a band anymore.
“In order for a band — any music act, any genre — you can’t get big just staying in one spot, you can’t reach people,” Bardin said. “Nowadays with the Internet and all the streaming and Spotify, the new techonology — no one buys albums anymore like they did in the ’70s and ’80s when those types of band were getting huge selling millions of albums. Nowadays, everyone can somehow, someway get it for free if they want it, so really the new industry is selling tickets. … The key to that is to go out and play in all these states and hopefully you put on a good enough show that the crowd keeps growing each time.”
Whether technology has changed the industry for better or for worse, Eminence Ensemble is dedicated to gaining more exposure.
“It’s just the way it is,” Bardin said. “I wasn’t even alive back when people were selling millions of albums. Some people still can pull that off … but for the most part, the largest part for any musician right now is ticket sales, I feel like. And you can’t sell tickets unless you go out and play. And no one will believe you are good until they see you or hear you.”
PLAYING FOR TONY
The members of the band created the PardeePalooza festival held in State Bridge in memory a good friend. Tony Pardee Seibert was killed in an avalanche in January 2014, and the musicians have held the festival in his honor for the last two summers. Bardin said doing that event has had a great impact on them positively.
After throwing these two festivals, Bardin said he hopes to continue to hold more events in the future.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s good work, it’s fun work,” he said.
Bardin is currently working on another festival in Colorado, although the details haven’t quite come together yet.
“I cannot disclose the location, but it will be awesome,” he said.
The guys pride themselves on being professionals in the music industry — taking each gig seriously. Baum said people sometimes tend not to take a bunch of dudes in their mid-to-late 20s serious, but they work hard to change that stereotype. They care about what their music says and how it is portrayed.
“We’re labeled as a jam band and that’s totally fine, … but I don’t think we are one,” Baum said. “We care so much more about not just the music alone, but we are very … serious about the music. But we also care about what it’s saying — about the message that it conveys, not only lyrically but musically as well.”
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