Zach Roif, a music entrepreneur and junior film studies major from New York, said he felt Boulder was lacking the thriving “DIY,” or “do-it-yourself” arts and music culture that he left behind in New York. Roif said that is why he invested in Astroland.
Astroland is the new venue for Roif’s band and other bands, which he called a collaborative effort in response to their growing audience. After four shows at their house, Roif said that they could no longer sustain without a larger venue.
Sunday night kicked off the venue’s first show, featuring emerging bands, “Light Travels Faster” (LTF) and “Portamento” and headlined by “Fellow Citizens.” Roif’s band, which he categorized as a “math-rock” band, did not play Sunday night.
“Light Travels Faster” played first and was well received. They made quite a statement with their clothes alone—Christopher Rigel, the singer and guitarist, wore a white tux and bassist Todd Spriggs donned pink cowboy boots, a floral blouse and a zebra scarf.
LTF came together after Rigel auditioned for Spriggs’s band. Rigel made it but didn’t take the position, and Spriggs left the band he was with to play with Rigel. The two of them convinced Kyle Fuller, a drummer Rigel had played with in Texas, to move up to Boulder and join them.
Rigel said that “The Sex Pistols” inspired him musically, and that he wants to be more like them.
“They get to do it; [make music], dress cool, and be dip shits…and that looks like fun,” Rigel said. “I have delusions of greatness.”
LTF employed the use of resolving dissonant harmonies and interludes where most parts drop out, leaving the drums or the singer and then picking up again. This was really effective and the band was, if not always perfectly together, far from uninteresting.
In their last song, Rigel played guitar with a drumstick.
Phil Ortiz, a 19-year-old sophomore English and philosophy major, said he really enjoyed the music and the show.
“I loved the Iggy Pop [cover],” Ortiz said. “The drumstick was a nice touch. I think it really captured the feel of the piece.”
Next came “Portamento.” Although they had no singer/vocals, the crowd didn’t seem to notice until after a whole song because the music was that good. The song almost told the story better without any lyrics.
With Aleks on drums, Forrest on guitar, Dan on bass and some space-noise/microphone feedback manipulation, “Portamento” came together in a truly satisfying way. It felt easy, like listening to softer rock, but in reality was just hard-enough, alternative rock done well.
David Zigman, a 21-year-old sophomore electrical engineering major, said the show was really energetic.
“It’s like workout music, man,” Zigman said. “Too much, too much.”
Finally came “Fellow Citizens,” a nine-piece band including a violin, a guitar played with a violin bow, and both male and female vocalists. “Fellow Citizens” were reminiscent of an indie-folk love child, as if Sufjan Stevens married Shania Twain.
While the slower, simpler riffs “Fellow Citizens” performed were quite beautiful, their long sounds seemed to muddy together at times. A better sound system would have benefited the multi-piece band a hundredfold.
Audience members swayed along, some even breaking into interpretive dance.
Roif said he wants Astroland to remain known as “a DIY [do-it-yourself] art venue in industrial Boulder” until they work through some kinks with budget and press.
“[In the long-run] I want to establish a creative, collaborative, community scene,” Roif said.
CU Independent Staff Writer Anna McIntosh at Anna.firstname.lastname@example.org.