Downtown Denver was the place to be for indie music lovers on September 8th. With headliners The Backseat Lovers, Peach Pit, and Briston Maroney playing alongside some incredible local acts, the new Endless Sunshine Festival was an absolute hit that I hope will be making a reappearance next year. The single day festival managed to bring in quite the crowd to Denver’s Civic Center Park and was no doubt deemed a success by both attendees and performers alike. If you know me, you know that I can’t get enough of these bands, so this festival absolutely ranks at the top of my list for favorite shows ever.
Not only was the festival a dream to attend, but it also represented an amazing cause. A portion of the ticket proceeds went to an incredible organization called The Gathering Place which works to combat poverty and its contributing factors for marginalized groups of women, children, and non binary individuals. The Backseat Lovers also aided in organizing a drive for necessities such as underwear, deodorant, and other hard to come by items. It was truly wonderful to watch Denver come together to support such an important cause.
The first act of the day was Denver locals, Blankslate. With rich vocals and wonderful energy, they powered their way through their half hour set and effectively warmed up the park for what was to come. I was so impressed by both their sound and their stage presence. Blankslate just finished up an extensive tour of North America, however, the next time they are near me I will definitely be stopping by.
Next up was Briston Maroney on the main stage. I have been a massive fan of his for nearly four years now, so I was super excited to finally catch his set. I had actually had the chance to catch his wonderfully intimate solo set at a brewery in Minneapolis two days prior, so my expectations were high going into the festival and he did not disappoint. From his intricate and emotion-filled lyrics to his ripping guitar solos, Briston and his band soared through their set. I also cannot fail to mention his lovely and personable stage presence. He spent his entire set looking out for the wellbeing of the crowd watching from under the 90 degree Denver sun. His set featured a combination of old, well-loved classics like “Freaking out on the Interstate” and tracks off of his new album, Ultrapure, which is set to come out on September 22nd. Rumor has it he will be touring this spring following the release. I cannot say enough about how much I loved his set. Go listen to Ultrapure and catch him at a show near you, you absolutely will not regret it!
After Briston Maroney, I managed to catch a bit of Co-Stanza’s set on the Sunflower Stage. I was pleasantly surprised by their sound which was a blend of indie rock and midwest emo, two of my favorite genres. Though I wasn’t able to see their full set, I will definitely be giving them a more in-depth listen!
I next found myself in the photo pit for Peach Pit, another band I have been dying to see for quite some time. Alongside headliners The Backseat Lovers, Peach Pit soundtracked all of 2019 and 2020 for me so it was great to finally see them live. The band has been what I would deem a “cornerstone” indie band since their first album in 2018 gave the genre hits like “Alrighty Aphrodite” and “Tommy’s Party”. Their sound has defined “indie music” unlike any other band I have ever seen and after catching them live, it’s not hard to understand why. Peach Pit delivered a set full of immaculately high energy and their classic indie sound. Though they’re not touring right now, they are still featured on a few festival lineups before the year’s end if you want to catch them live. I look forward to seeing them again at Ocean’s Calling Festival at the end of this month.
I spent a little too much time in the Peach (photo) Pit, excuse my pun, and had to sprint to the Sunflower Stage to make it in time for one of my favorites, The Moss. This was my second time this summer catching their set and like always, their energy and loyal fans made for a delightful set. They seem to be one of the fastest growing bands of the year and we will no doubt be seeing them headlining stages in the near future. If you ever have the chance to catch one of their sets, don’t pass it up, it is always a great time.
The last set of the night was the much-anticipated The Backseat Lovers. If we are talking about fast growing bands, this is another one at the top of the list. Just two years ago, the band was going on their first expansive North American tour playing 250-cap rooms. Now, they are attracting crowds in the thousands and headlining festival stages. Their growth has been one of my favorites to watch and as such, this was my ninth time catching the band. The evolution of their sound and stage presence has made each show an experience unlike any other. Endless Sunshine was no different. With a collection of devoted fans screaming back lyrics from the barricade, The Backseat Lovers provided one of the best sets of the evening. They managed to utilize a combination of their classic, crowd-pleasing sound with what seems to be the sound of their next chapter. Though they are closing out an incredibly packed two years of touring at Ohana Festival in California at the end of this month with no new dates on the horizon, I will, as many others, be waiting patiently for whatever is next to come from the incredibly talented indie rockers.
The Backseat Lovers
Endless Sunshine was truly a highlight among a very full festival schedule this summer. It provided a genre-specific lineup unlike any other I’ve seen and it was absolutely amazing to watch. I hope it returns next year, and if it does, I’ll see you in the park!