The climactic performance at the festival, presented by Live For Live Music and AEG Rocky Mountains, will serve as the latest milestone in multiple ongoing Lettuce storylines, from the continuation of the band’s long-running involvement with the Comes Alive festival series to its local ties to the vibrant Denver live music scene.
“Live For Live Music continues to have their finger on the pulse of the live music scene, especially here in Denver,” said guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff in the lead-up to Denver Comes Alive 2023. “They have, once again, put together an amazing lineup of incredible musicians and bands that we are proud to be a part of. This will truly be a celebration of music and will most definitely… Come Alive!”
Shmeeans and his bandmates are quite familiar with the magic that arises at Comes Alive events. Lettuce made its official Comes Alive debut in September of 2022 with an immersive headlining performance at the festival series’ flagship event, Brooklyn Comes Alive, but band members Smirnoff, Adam Deitch (drums), Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophones), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), and Nigel Hall (keys/vocals) have all been pivotal parts of the series’ family since its earliest days.
Back in 2016, six different Brooklyn Comes Alive sets featured members of Lettuce on their respective lineups. From The Coomes Brothers (featuring Jesus and his brother, Tycoon, alongside Zoidis, Bloom, and Smirnoff) to [Br]eaking [Bi]scuits (a Break Science/The Disco Biscuits combo featuring Deitch, Borahm Lee, Marc Brownstein, and Aron Magner) to a J Dilla tribute (featuring Deitch, Smirnoff, Nate Edgar, and more), the second-annual Brooklyn Comes Alive was packed with creative new ideas from the minds behind Lettuce. Members of the band also lent their abilities to previously established projects like Earth Wind & Power (The Nth Power‘s guest-filled Earth Wind & Fire tribute) and Manic Focus & Friends in addition to reviving a rare project, DRKWAV, which features Deitch, John Medeski, and Skerik.
The only Lettuce member who did not appear at the 2016 event was keyboardist/vocalist Nigel Hall. He made sure to sign on for Brooklyn Comes Alive 2017, where he joined longtime Chapter 2 cohorts Eric Krasno, Louis Cato, and Chris Loftlin for a show-stealing Eric Krasno & Friends set. In 2018, Lettuce became the first touring band to field its entire lineup at Brooklyn Comes Alive. Nigel Hall linked up with Wil Blades, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Nate Werth as Switch Hitters, Shmeeans played alongside a stacked band as part of a tribute to the late Col. Bruce Hampton, Coomes led his Baby Jesus Peasant Party with help from Zoidis and more, Bloom teamed up with percussionist Johnny Vidacovich and organist Robert Walter for a thrilling jazz trio set, and Deitch gathered Bloom, Zoidis, and Wil Blades for a set by his eponymous quartet.
Much as the members of Lettuce helped elevate Brooklyn Comes Alive to where it is today, they have been integral in the continued growth of the collaborative Denver live music community. Deitch, Smirnoff, and Bloom all lay their heads in the Mile High City and regularly gig around town with a slew of projects when Lettuce is not on the road. Of particular note, they are all longtime contributors to Live For Live Music’s The Funk Sessions, a running series of collaborative funk concerts at Denver’s Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom dating back to 2018. The most recent edition of the series, which took place over Labor Day weekend 2022, featured all three of Lettuce’s Denver locals alongside heavy-hitters like George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Isaiah Sharkey (D’Angelo, John Mayer), and Drew Sayers (The Motet).
“Denver continues to grow musically and that is large in part due to Live For Live Music,” Bloom said of the coming festivities at Mission Ballroom. “Not only are they rabid music fans themselves, they also know how to put the right bands together to make for an amazing night of music. Due to the fact that I live in Denver, this year’s DCA is special for me because Lettuce gets to throwdown for so many fans and close friends.”
“As a member of the Denver music scene for over a decade, I take great pride in how deep it is and how it continues to grow,” added Adam Deitch. “L4LM has become a part of this scene as not just promoters but true music fans. … Along with Lettuce, I am honored to be a part of this celebration of the Denver/Colorado burgeoning live music scene as it culminates in this spectacular event, Denver Comes Alive.”
Long-term narrative threads aside, Lettuce has been on a notable hot streak since its last show in the Denver area, a multi-disciplinary Red Rocks Amphitheatre blowout last summer alongside legendary funk act Tower of Power and the Colorado Symphony. The band headed overseas for a lengthy European tour following the lauded Brooklyn Comes Alive performance in September, then returned to the States for some of its most creative and cohesive performances to date in the Southeast to close out 2022.
Below, check out videos of the full second set and encore from November 17th, 2022 in Atlanta for a taste of the recent action. The video, filmed and edited by Funk It Blog with video shot by Jake Funkmayor, features audio recorded by both Jake Funkmayor and Z-Man and mixed by Funk It Blog. For more live Lettuce, watch a pro-shot video of the band’s headlining set at North Beach Music Festival in December 2022 here.
Lettuce – 11/17/22 – Atlanta, GA – Set Two
Lettuce – 11/17/22 – Atlanta, GA – Encore
The third edition of Denver Comes Alive kicks off with a bluegrass-focused night on Friday, January 13th, 2023 featuring Yonder Mountain String Band, Kitchen Dwellers, Maggie Rose, and all-woman supergroup WinterWonderWomen in addition to artists-at-large Jason Carter, Billy Failing (Billy Strings), and Tyree Woods. On Saturday, January 14th, Lettuce leads a funk-focused lineup alongside The Word (featuring Robert Randolph, John Medeski, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Kevin Lloyd), The Main Squeeze with Pulp Friction (featuring Will Phillips, Adryon de León, Shira Elias, Tiffany Johns, and Nick Gerlach), and Nikki Glaspie-led, all-woman supergroup Super Sonic Shorties. See below for the full Denver Comes Alive 2023 lineup and the complete set of Denver Comes Alive 2023 Artist Baseball Cards. Two-day and single-day tickets are now on sale here.
Denver Comes Alive 2023 | Artist Baseball Cards | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 1/13/23–1/14/23
The third edition of Denver Comes Alive kicks off with a bluegrass-focused night on Friday, January 13th, 2023 featuring Yonder Mountain String Band, Kitchen Dwellers, Maggie Rose, and all-woman supergroup WinterWonderWomen in addition to artists-at-large Jason Carter, Billy Failing (Billy Strings), and Tyree Woods.
On Saturday, January 14th, Lettuce leads a funk-focused lineup alongside The Word (featuring Robert Randolph, John Medeski, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Kevin Lloyd), The Main Squeeze with Pulp Friction (featuring Will Phillips, Adryon de León, Shira Elias, Tiffany Johns, and Nick Gerlach), and Nikki Glaspie-led, all-woman supergroup Super Sonic Shorties.
See below for the full Denver Comes Alive 2023 lineup and the complete set of Denver Comes Alive 2023 Artist Baseball Cards. Two-day and single-day tickets are now on sale here.