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Tour Journals: Jimkata frontman Evan Friedell gives his account from the road

by Caitlin Carter   Apr 25, 2014 17:49 PM EDT

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Welcome to Tour Journals, a Music Times segment where we ask some of our favorite up-and-coming bands to send us a dispatch from the road. This time around, we've asked Jimkata frontman Evan Friedell to keep a journal on tour with him.

In case you are unfamiliar with Jimkata, here's quick biography to get you up to speed (NOTE: A full profile and interview with the band will be coming shortly):

Jimkata is a four-piece electro-rock outfit originally based out of Ithaca, New York. Friedell handles guitar and lead vocals, Packy Lunn plays drums, David Rossi plays bass and Aaron Gorsch plays guitar and keys.

The band blends electric guitars, bass and drums with synth and electronic beats for a sound rooted in rock and experimental in spirit. They describe it as "more indie rock than jam, and more electro-pop than EDM."

With a dedicated live following, the band has shared bills with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Umphrey's McGee, Bob Weir and Ratdog, The Wailers and The Disco Biscuits, among others. They're regulars on the festival circuit and have a busy tour schedule ahead of them this year.

Jimkata released its debut studio album, Burn My Money, in 2009 and has since followed up with three more full lengths as well as the 2014 EP, Feel in Light.

On the most recent leg of their spring tour, they played a string of shows in Colorado with a stop at Denver's SnowBall festival.

In his first Tour Journals post, Friedell talks about his experience at the festival and looks forward to the journey ahead. Make sure to check back periodically for a behind-the-scenes look at the band's life on the road.

Friday April 4, 2014:

At around 4:30pm, I'm wandering around the concrete tunnels in the bowels of Mile High Stadium looking for a spot to get water, maybe a beer, and hopefully something to snack on before our 5 p.m. set.

We're at SnowBall Music Festival, which recently moved down from the spring mud of Vail to the vast pavement just outside the Broncos' stadium in Denver. The highway overpass is buzzing with cars, while the festival staff is rushing to put the finishing touches on some giant inflatable lighting fixtures that in the daytime look like those air-filled waving Gumby's outside car dealerships.

I follow some makeshift arrows into the Broncos' locker room that's been made into a green room with separate little dividers for artists like Busta Rhymes, Earl Sweatshirt and Pretty Lights. That's the thing (to borrow a hashtagged phrase from my brother Russ) about music festivals: they seem so permanent while you're there, but really they're just all made up. Temporary music cities put together by a hard-working crew, funded by who knows what, and divided into little sections.

I nibble on some cheese and stare at the official NFL signs on the wall warning players and staff against "accepting a bribe or agreeing to throw a game or to illegally influence its outcome."

SnowBall is both our first festival of the year and one of the biggest. The nice thing about playing first at a festival is that you get to have a comparatively longer soundcheck. Festivals are notorious to musicians and sound engineers for their throw-and-go style of sound check, which can lead to an edge-of-your-seat adventure of a set from onstage.

Today we find all kinds of strange radio noises coming from Aaron's amp and luckily have enough time to diagnose it before we actually hit the stage.

It seems every musical outlet in the world has been covering the reign of EDM in today's live music scene. Granted, SnowBall is designed as a primarily EDM festival, but it is still stunning to see this moth-to-the flame-like effect in person. As we take the main stage at 5 p.m., a DJ has already been blasting his playlist for a half hour at one of the side stages. I can see from the stage that although there aren't many people here yet, there's a group of fans over in that area bumping fists, shaking hips and throwing glow sticks.

We play our set to a few hundred people spread out along the grass, gazing at us, feeling it out as they first arrive to the festival. By the end of the set, we gain some new fans who approach the stage to say, "Hi," and shake hands.

As I turn to leave the stage I notice our name in bright lights on the LED screen behind us. For being so temporary, it's pretty damn cool. Time to pack up and head to Vail for another show.

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