Denver/Fort Collins host BandSwap Homecoming

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By Brian F. Johnson

“It’s strikes and gutters. We’re lucky we have had some successful tours, but even on those, it’s inevitable that you’re going to play a crappy gig somewhere on tour for basically gas money to get to the next place,” said bassist/vocalist Sean Badders from the Portland, Ore.-based group The Quick and Easy Boys. “But with this, it’s not all on us.”

Badders and his Portland quartet are one of more than two-dozen bands that are playing in Colorado this week during the Band Swap homecoming. BandSwap, born out of the Fort Collins non-profit artist development organization SpokesBUZZ, is exactly what it sounds like — an exchange program for bands, that partnered seven relevant bands from Fort Collins and Denver with bands from any of the eight sister cities in the program. But far beyond setting up gigs to play together, BandSwap focuses on building a network and sharing the resources of home bands with visiting groups. “Exactly. It’s all about creating that network,” said SpokesBUZZ founder, Dani Grant. “It’s about deconstructing the traditional linear touring models. It’s about innovative economic development partnerships among like-minded cities and the promotion of our cities as progressive cultural destinations.”

BandSwap groups who are lucky enough to be involved don’t just get a gig in a new city, but they are given some to-do lists, and while the musicians are focusing on those to-dos, Grant and her team are working with the cities and venues to expand their reach and further spread that network.

“A lot of the list were things that we already do, things that we’ve picked up on over the years,” said Badders. “But some things were different too. Like, they really stress cross-promotion and just reaching out to the other bands. You know, when we’re on tour we’ll maybe send a brief “hello” to another band we’re playing with. But sometimes we don’t even talk to them until we get there. BandSwap made us really re-think that, and reach out ahead of time to interact with them. And that’s what’s cool, BandSwap is pushing us along, it’s not just us figuring things out on our own.”

The Quick and Easy Boys hosted Fort Collins’ Musketeer Gripweed in Portland at the Alberta Rose in mid-September, and lead singer Jason Downing said that the experience helped his group to reach further into a new market then they have had before. Musketeer Gripweed has management and booking in place, and so Downing said that for them it was a matter of having a brace while doing what they’re already doing. “Having BandSwap help us with all of the details made what would have been a stressful trip back into this market a much less stressful journey,” Downing said. “We had just been to Portland this year and it’s a market we’re focusing on, so to go back there with help to solidify that is great. As every band knows the reality of breaking into a new market often means that you come back from that effort in debt, and we didn’t have to do that, so it’s a tremendous success.”

This summer, Musketeer Gripweed traveled to Los Angeles to record their new album in a 100-year old candle factory in a shady part of town that was once home to Stone Temple Pilot’s practice space. And the group is gearing up to release that album sometime in early 2014. Downing mentioned the dichotomy of being in a group and doing your own thing for a competitive edge, while also working collaboratively to help opportunities like BandSwap to grow. “What it comes down to is that we can only help them out here and they can only help us out there. So in the spirit of collaboration you better come out realizing that this is a good trade. It’s like a good lot trade. It all combines to make this a valuable thing.”

:: BAND SWAP HOMECOMING SHOWS ::

:: Oct. 3 ::

:: Walnut Room ::

:: Swallow Hill Music presents: The Patti Fiasco, Feufollet, Grant Farm ::

 

:: Oct. 4 ::

:: hi-dive ::

:: Musketeer Gripweed, The Quick & Easy Boys, Birch Street ::

 

:: The CSU Lory Student Center Theatre ::

:: The Yawpers, The Englighted Rogues, Post Paradise ::

 

:: Oct. 5 ::

:: Old Town Square Stage ::

:: Constitution, The Cumberland Collective, Deadwood Saints ::

 

:: Hodi’s Half Note ::

:: The Epilogues, The Echo Chamber, Sexy Ester and Common Anomaly ::

 

:: October 6 ::

:: Avogadro’s Number ::

:: Lindsay O’Brien Band, Big Mo and the Full Moon Band ::

 

 

 

 

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