Jamtronica band Greener Grounds plays The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco with The Magic Beans
IF YOU GO
What: Greener Grounds with The Magic Beans
When: Thursday, Oct. 29; show starts at 9 p.m.
Where: The Barkley Ballroom, 610 Main St., Frisco
Cost: $7; tickets can be purchased at barkleyballroom.ticketfly.com
For the most recent news and a full list of Greener Grounds’ tour dates, visit GreenerGroundsMusic.com. Download the free EP at soundcloud.com/greenergroundsmusic/sets/photosynthesis-ep
Popularized by bands such as Lotus, Disco Biscuits and Sound Tribe Sector 9, the jamtronica scene has been gaining new fans since its inception in the ’90s. A genre that blends the long, improvised jam sounds with the danceable beats of electronic music, the scene has continued to pick up steam and evolve.
Denver-based Greener Grounds is a recently formed jamtronica group that after just over a year together has already seen early successes from fusing multiple genres. Fans have voiced their approval of the band by voting them onto the main stage at Sonic Bloom, an annual electronic dance music festival held over the summer in Colorado, and were picked up by the Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado. Greener Grounds will play The Barkley Ballroom Thursday, Oct. 29 with The Magic Beans. The show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets are $7.
“It’s a hot thing right now to see bands playing dance music,” said AJ Gillman, drummer and percussionist. “I see at these shows all the fun people are having and the nonstop dance parties these full bands can throw down, playing sounds that you didn’t even think these instruments could make.”
Rather than just a DJ spinning techno or pushing dubstep beats, jamtronica encompasses a full realm of instruments taking elements from a variety of genres. Fans have come to expect a high-energy dance party at these shows, and the members of Greener Grounds are itching to give it to them.
“We like to explore that realm and it’s really important to us to have a dance party every show we play because the people that come see us — they’re expecting it now,” Gillman said. “It’s becoming a challenge to find new ways and better and harder ways to do it. It’s definitely become a lot of fun, that’s what might set us aside from other bands out there — we are constantly trying to push the envelope with our music and our sound.”
FINDING THEIR OWN BEAT
The five-piece group consists of Gillman, Joe Shur on lead guitar, Mathew Buelt on rhythm guitar, Roland Hansen on keyboards and synth and Danny Littler on bass and synth. Combining elements of funk, rock and psychedelic rock as well, their output of jamtronica music is relatable to STS9, Disco Biscuits and Umphrey’s McGee, but Hansen said they work to create a sound that’s uniquely their own.
“We still have a unique sound apart from those bands,” he said. “We all have a slightly different taste in music, and we all love different bands. I think the diversity in what we all listen to and enjoy personally comes through in our music. We all have different influences and it comes together really nicely.”
Littler agreed that they complement each other with their individual tastes in different bands and acts.
“We all listen to different music, but the idea is to take little elements of what we like about that music and combine them with the little elements that we like about other music,” he said. “But to create our unique sound we don’t do entirely what, say, the Disco Biscuits do — we take certain parts of that, and take certain parts of what we like about String Cheese, let’s say, or like funk music, and we combine those all together and that’s how we create our unique sound.”
Greener Grounds just released their first studio EP this summer — “Photosynthesis” is available to download for free on their website. Although Summit County is new territory for the band, their fall tour includes two stops at The Barkley — Oct. 29 and Dec. 17. Gillman said they are hoping to fill out the winter with more shows in the county.
“We’ve got some awesome stuff planned for when ski bums are in town and people want to go ski the next day after seeing us,” he said.
The group just finished an out-of-state tour through Ohio, playing the Resonance Festival and the college scene in Columbus. On their return trip, the group decided to pull over at a rest stop to cook up the remaining food on a propane grill. Not too long after they started it up, the propane caught on fire and immediately made an exploding noise.
“We thought the whole thing was going to explode,” Gillman said. “It was under a gazebo — I was ready to call the fire department. I thought the whole thing was going to burn down. It was low on gas, so it died down quickly, which was lucky for us, or we would have been in big trouble — but we didn’t get to eat any dinner.”
FULL TOUR SCHEDULE
The band’s fall tour includes performance dates with Kung Fu, the Magic Beans, the Main Squeeze, Vine Street Vibes and more. They attribute their recent success and stacked tour dates to the support of people who come out to see live music and their sponsors.
“All we are doing is making the best music we can possibly make, and everyone else is helping us get to the next level, which we couldn’t do without them,” Gillman said.
After obtaining dates at the Bluebird Theater and the Gothic Theatre in Denver, the group hopes to continue to expand their presence in the jamtronica scene and make it to the Ogden Theatre next — and ultimately Red Rocks.
“Being a band from Colorado during the summertime, Red Rocks is an ultimate goal and a lifetime achievement,” Gillman said. “It’s a real goal, and it’s within our reach, and we are going to push as hard as we can to get there.”
The No. 1 thing the band wants to see at their shows? Sweaty bodies.
“We want people to be sweaty and tired and want to just go home and fall asleep because they’ve spent every ounce of energy at the show,” Littler said.
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