The Local 303: Colorado artists we’re featuring for July 2023

This month we're highlighting some of the 150+ Colorado artists performing at the Underground Music Showcase. The UMS is a three-day long music festival along South Broadway in Denver. The festival is in it's 23rd year and is a favorite for local music discovery peppered with amazing performers from all over the world.

Indie 102.3 is an official media partner again this year and we hope you come say hello to us at the festival. We will have a booth set up near the main stage as well as we will be hosting again from the storefront window at Goodwill.

Returning to the Local 303 and the festival this month is Rootbeer Richie & the Reveille, Bunny Blake, and Bryce Menchaca.

Discover emerging artists like NOT A TOY and Meta Sarmiento who will be playing the festival for the first time. Other artists we are featuring this month that have performed once at the festival include Lane-O, +Ultra, w/out, and Alana Mars. Mars has performed at the fest with her previous group Sister Neapolitan who we have previously highlighted in the Local 303. Wave Decay and Ipecac will be playing at the festival for the third time this year; the latter group will also perform at our Local 303 Meetup later this month too!

We hope to see you out at the festival and our Local 303 Meetup!

The Local 303 Meetup gives space to celebrate Colorado musicians and music fans from our community as we host a Music Meeting that let's you vote on new local music, we offer ticket giveaways, and each meetup has a performance from one of this month's featured artists and we are excited to have Ipecac as this month's guests.

The Local 303 Meetup is at Skylark Lounge upstairs in the new Bobcat Club, on Monday July 24th from 6:30-9 p.m. and is open to the public, 21+ and no tickets required. The venue is located at 140 S Broadway in Denver.

When you come to the meetup pick up a poster designed by Stuart Alden of Ink Lounge screen prints 50 posters for the meetup and you can get your hands on one!

Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music.

Meet July's picks:

Alana Mars

Photo: John Mazzetta

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2021

Latest Release: My latest song “17” was released November 11th, 2022 and is self-released!

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

About: Hi!! My name is Alana Mars and I am an alt-pop musician based in Denver, CO. I have been performing and writing for over a decade, starting in the folk scene here in Denver with a band called Sister Neapolitan. I'm heavily inspired by the music of the 60s & 70s and my 2012 tumblr playlist, and try to create a sound that blends both acoustic and electronic instruments that compliment my confessional-style songwriting. The holy trinity to my songwriting (mother, daughter & unholy spirit respectively) consists of Stevie Nicks, Lana Del Rey & Phoebe Bridgers. I play with a band filled with hotties consisting of drummer: Nick Lyon, guitarist: Stevenson Sakalian, bassist: True Morse and prior bandmate/supporting vocalist: Katie Thurston. Since the universe cosmically brought us together we've played countless shows, toured nationally, & recorded exclusive vinyl in NYC! Very happy to be sharing parts of my soul with y’all, stay as long as you want <3

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: I played in 2018 with Sister Neapolitan, but this is my first time solo!

UMS Memory: My first UMS experience was in 2018 with my best friends Katie and Megan, and my friend Emily flew into town from Wisconsin to see us perform. I think my favorite part of that entire weekend (aside from the incredible music!) was every time I turned my head I saw a familiar smiling face of a friend just so excited to be part of the moment and immediately feel the sense of community in any place I went. Running around S. Broadway is one of my favorite pastimes since moving to Denver 7 years ago (I work and live right around the corner) and to be able to participate in the debauchery of it all makes my heart so happy!

Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube

Bryce Menchaca

Photo: Glenn Ross

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: I started around the age of 3... so around 2001

Latest Release: Cleaning Up - Released in April, 2023 - self released

Pronouns: He / His

About: Texan native / Denver-based songwriter Bryce Menchaca is an amalgam of influences. His early and formative influences came in the form of classic artists and Texas sounds, but his own experiences in life, and contemporary indie acts have joined in to create his wide-ranging sound.

Bryce has released 2 full length albums, 2 EP’s, and 4 singles culminating in a deal with BMG Music Publishing. “I’m honored to be a part of the BMG family. Still, I am most excited to focus on touring and playing live. Being so deeply rooted in Texas, I can’t help but find inspiration in old- school country, blues, folk, and all the rest. However, my first musical awakening was far from my roots, when I heard The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen for the first time as a child. I also love indie-rock and I’m always on a mission to meld all of those sounds into something that is truly me. Chasing various sonic possibilities and always seeking my unique alchemy of those influences is what drives me forward.” 

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: This is My second time playing UMS, I did the mainstage last year with an amazing all-star band, but this year we're going into a club. I don't think I can say where, but I think its safe to say I'll be doing 2 shows, one with a band and one solo. I can't wait.


Get Social: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Bunny Blake

Photo: Aiden Sean McCarthy of Hidden Woods Film Co.

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: Hell Fire / Holy Water, June 2nd 2023, Self Released

Pronouns: she/her

About: Bunny Blake is a public figure. Most people know her as a singer, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. One article published by 303 Magazine stated, "[Bunny] wanted to be a singer after listening to Destiny’s Child, to be a guitar player after listening to James Taylor and to be a rocker after listening to Tool". This eclectic taste in music shaped the unique style synonymous with Bunny Blake.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: 1, going to play again this year!

UMS Memory: 2022 UMS was the first time I've gotten to play my songs live the way I originally imaged to play them live. At stoneys, with my best friends in the world playing along side me, the biggest most beautiful crowd I've ever played for!


Get Social: Instagram, TikTok


Photo: Jason Reschka

Colorado Home: Broomfield

Formed: 2017

Latest Release: Everyone Deserves Love (Latest Single), Release Date is 7/7/2023, Record Label is Sailor Records

Pronouns: Ariadnee Ziady (She/Her), Kanyon Dickerson (He/Him), Tayte Eubanks (He/Him), Isabella Osborne (She/Her)

About: Formed in the fall of 2017, Ipecac is a melodic alternative rock band comprised of four best friends. With a throbbing, heavy rhythm section, searing guitar solos and soaring vocals, each member combines their parts to create a sound reminiscent of 70’s and 80’s British metal such as Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden overlaid with the emotion of more modern rock such as Muse and My Chemical Romance. Lyrically, introspective themes such as relationships, social alienation and mental distress are exposed and explored. Together, this recipe enthralls the audience with its honest passion and ferocious energy!

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS:
2 times. We are on the lineup for 2023, our 3rd time.

UMS Memory: We were lucky enough to play UMS 2021, the first year back after the pandemic. We played HQ and the crowd was so wild! The energy was palpable. You could tell there was a huge pent up demand for live music and everyone just had such an incredible time and went crazy. As a band, we felt so fortunate to be able to scratch that itch for people. It was one of the most fun, energetic shows we've ever played. And it was so unbelievably hot in the club!! 


Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Spotify


Photo: Lane-O

Colorado Home: Aurora, Colorado

Formed: 2019

Latest Release: "Gave It All" Produced by WicJones Ft. Wayne Watts & Cleopatra. Released February 12 2023  Label: The Langs

Pronouns: Him/He

About: Lane-O makes it clear that he knows how to craft a song. With excellent production, solid flows, and strong lyrics Lane-O describes his music as timeless pieces. The Louisiana-born, Denver-living emcee's music is authentic and vibrant, painting pictures of life as a family man who is pursuing his passions while maintaining balance and inspiring others.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: Once

UMS Memory: Last year's UMS was amazing! It was my first time and the feedback from the crowd was awesome when I performed at "The L". Best part was the interview I did with Youth On Record at Mutiny Cafe!


Get Social: Instagram, Facebook

Meta Sarmiento

Photo: Olivia Jones

Colorado Home: Aurora

Formed: 2010

Latest Release: Jungle Rules, June 16th 2023, MetaMob

Pronouns: He/Him/His

About: Meta Sarmiento is a Guam-born Filipino living in Aurora, CO. A rapper, poet, speaker, and educator with over a decade of experience. He has worked with, taught, and performed for a culturally and socio-economically diverse set of students & audiences, both locally and globally.

His work explores themes of cultural & political identity, climate change, masculinity, and love. He and his work have been featured by Rocky Mountain PBSDenver WestwordVoyage DenverTEDxMileHigh, NBC NEWSTFC's Adobo Nation, Asian Avenue MagazineColorado Public RadioAspen WordsGuam Daily PostButton PoetryRap Direct, and Word is Bond.

Meta has performed in a variety of venues: from intimate basement shows, to sold-out theaters. Meta has touched stages in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, France, and has facilitated workshops for more than 20,000 students.

He was a featured performer and moderator for the United Arab Emirates #RoadtoCOP28 launch in 2023, and Dignified Storytelling's feature at World Expo 2020. He is also a recipient of the 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award from Denver Asian American Pacific Islander Commission; Finalist for the 2019 North Street Book Prize; Winner of multiple cyphers and rap battles; Top Finisher at 2018 WRLD UNDERGROUND MC TOURNAMENT; and a Winner of 2015 Spoken Word for the World, where he was flown to Paris, France to perform at COP21 during  the United Nations Climate Negotiations. He is the author of the poetry book Tie Your Shoes Kid, and has released several hip-hop EPs: METAMOB, Nobody Knew, and This Road.

When Meta isn’t writing, performing, or teaching, he is boxing, bowling, or lounging around watching some anime.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: 0

What Are You Looking Forward To At UMS: I look forward to sharing space with other emerging local acts. I'm also excited to play in front of new listeners and form relationships with folks who want to build. Can't wait to grow the #METAMOB


Get Social: Instagram, YouTube


Photo: NOT A TOY

Colorado Home: Denver/Fort Collins

Formed: 2020

Latest Release: “Nervous” was NOT A TOY’s viral single released on May 12th via Fearless Records “say so” is their latest single which released June 16th via Fearless Records

Pronouns: He/Him

About: A diverse assemblage of four creative artists whose ambitious music cross-pollinates Alt-Pop, emotional melodies, aggressive rock, and hip-hop/r&b, NOT A TOY is both band and collective. Branson Hoog, Benji Spoliansky, Jeremy Marmor, and TJ Wessel each bring something unique to the group both musically and creatively, working together on everything from the lyrics, production, and visuals. Art shows, tattoo culture, and streetwear are all part of their creative identity. These four high-school friends cut their teeth skateboarding, breakdancing, and playing punk and emo gigs in Colorado.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: First Time


Get Social: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify


Photo: Jordan Altergott

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2022

Latest Release: Wastelands feat. Ishka Pheonix, Dana Rael, Absenz, & Sean Dandurand, 5/30/23, Self Released

Pronouns: Ryan - He/Him, Bharat - He/Him

About: What do you imagine hip-hop, anime, & video games fused together sound like? +Ultra likes to call it couch co-op hip-hop. The band/production duo is composed of Bharat Bhargava (Keyboardist/MD) & Ryan Bannigan (Drummer/Producer). The group teams up with some incredible artists such as Ishka Phoenix, Kid Astronaut, Absenz, & Dana Rael. Elevated by their collaborations, +Ultra's music is dynamic and intriguing, ranging from hip-hop, rnb, & jazz. Sprinkled with tinges of house, and drum & bass. 

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: Only once as band, individually many times backing up other artists (it’s one of our favorite festivals)

UMS Memory: Playing with Kid Astronaut & Venus Cruz, and seeing all of our friends. UMS is like a huge celebration/hang for Denver musicians. Getting the chance to watch each other's performances is such a treat because so many of us are working musicians who are constantly gigging. We're very stoked to be performing at UMS again this year.

Website: loading.... ;)

Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music

Rootbeer Richie & the Reveille

Photo: Keena

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2021

Latest Release: Self-titled EP released in 2022 and releasing new singles this summer!

Pronouns: He/Him/His

About: Swamp boys gonna do swamp things, even when you take ‘em to a city one thousand miles from home and a mile in the sky. So it goes with Rootbeer Richie, born in the bayou then uprooted to the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Backed by the Reveille, seven of the hardest hitters in Denver’s diamond-in-the-rough music scene, they form the most soulful rhythm & blues band this side of the Mississippi.

Inspired by but never derivative of legends like Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke, Rootbeer Richie & the Reveille pull from a variety of influences to create their long, tall drink of soul-infused swamp pop. On stage, the band has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most life-affirming live acts in Denver. “The point of the music is to help you feel whatever it is you need to feel,” says Rootbeer. Those who’ve been converted, though, know he’s being modest.

After just one spiritual awakening at a Reveille live show, it’s damn near impossible to feel anything other than the unbridled joy of being alive.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: 2

UMS Memory: We’ve played UMS twice so far and it’s always our favorite Denver show of the year! Our first Denver show was UMS 2021!

Get Social: Linktree, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify


Photo: Zzyzyx Media

Colorado Home: Westminster

Formed: I began the w/out project in 2018.

Latest Release: My last release was my EP On Ephemeral Wings.

Pronouns: She/they

About: Denver-based electronic producer Dani Oprea, also known as w/out, finds beauty in unexpected places. Their eclectic balance of delicate production with bass-laden tones and gritty breaks is a product of their lifelong discovery of music. w/out composes songs that hit in the club yet can be enjoyed at home, through tracks that are full of raw emotion, moving melodies, and distorted rhythms.

Raised on artists like Enya and Vangelis, w/out was exposed to emotionally complex music at a young age. From there, they gravitated to guitar, playing in metalcore bands as a teen. They then discovered EDM at the end of high school and began DJing and producing after attending their first EDM festival in 2012.

With such an eclectic musical background, it’s no surprise that the instrumentalist doesn’t abide by electronic music’s normally formulaic principles. This can be heard in w/out’s 2021 debut EP The Infinite Room, which is an amalgamation of their many years of experience and evolution, showcasing their identity as a producer.

Their music has garnered the attention and praise of artists like Hex Cougar and Eastghost, and their influence in the growing wave community cannot be understated. w/out has shared stages with Deadcrow, Skeler, and Ravenscoon, and performed at Soul Food Music Collective’s Homecoming, Electric Hawk’s Harmony Festival, and High Ground Music and Arts Experience. Currently, you can find w/out performing across national stages, with a bright global future.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: This is my first time!

UMS Memory: I would say my favorite story is dancing to Taking Back Monday DJs at UMS last year! I'm an emo kid at heart so hearing my favorite emo tunes and dancing and singing with others in the crowd was so fun. Also, just in general the exploration and discovery aspect of UMS is something I love so much and look forward to every year. The last two years I've been I've found so many amazing artists I hadn't heard of before and now I'm a big fan. 


Get Social:  Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Wave Decay

Photo: Matthew Novak

Colorado Home: Denver

Formed: 2020

Latest release: Visions/ May 1, 2023/ self released

Pronouns: Members: Jeff Deakyne he/him, lead Guitar/lead vocals  Payton Funk he/him, rhythm guitar/Keys Marisa Dal Santo she/her, Bass guitarMason Peters he/him Drums

About: Multi instrumentalist four piece consisting of Jeff Deakyne on vocals/lead guitar, Payton Funk on keys/guitar, Marisa Dal Santo on bass and Mason Peters on drums. They combine motorik drums with lush drones and sweeping fuzzed layers that rise to ethereal peaks.

How Many Times Have You Played The UMS: We have played UMS 2 twice but played an Unofficial UMS backyard party near by that had about 150 people at it with some of Denver’s finest :)

UMS Memory: In 2020 during the pandemic UMS prevailed and did an at home live broadcast concert for fans viewing pleasure. We were asked to play one song of our choice at The HiDive with just the UMS tech team and a camera and production crew there to play live to. It was pretty surreal because it was a full on production with lights, smoke and sweat, it was July so it was very hot in Hidive which made the performance feel like a real packed out Hidive show on a regular night which it was weirdly comforting during the feels of the pandemic. We felt lucky to be apart of some normalcy for viewers during those scary/weird times. 

Get Social: Instagram