BLVD: A 10-Year Retrospective
BLVD has been has shared the stage and recorded with many accomplished performers and producers over the years, with the core trio remaining unchanged from inception. As far back as 1998, drummer Dylan McIntosh and guitarist Curtis Sloane could be found in the depths of San Francisco's dank rehearsal studios as they carved out what would be a long-lasting personal and musical partnership. In those days, Sloane and McIntosh were primarily inspired by the improvisational styles of live acts such as Galactic, MMW, and The New Deal, but the outposts of electronic dance music were close at hand. Sloane was introduced to bass player Tripp Bains, a Duke-trained music major who had played with a number of Bay Area bands, at a house party in 2003. Although they were both guitarists, their mutual penchant for electronic music was quickly unearthed. A band was born.
The three-piecethen known as Boulevardwas playing at underground parties throughout the Bay Area in 2004. A happy circumstance, i.e. not enough space on the party handbills, led to the moniker being shortened to BLVD. By 2005, the band had recorded their debut album, and played the first of many performances in nearby Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Mt. Shasta, as well as annual events like the How Weird Street Faire, Decompression, Love Parade, and Burning Man. That fall, they began a residency at San Francisco's famed Boom Boom Room, where they developed material for their second release, ''Before We See the Sun,'' which featured vocal contributions by McIntosh's elder brother Josh and Latrice Barnett, as well as percussion by Ryan Cheshire.
With their eyes on making longer national tours more feasible, BLVD relocated to Boulder, Colorado in the spring of 2007. They honed their production skill during this time, releasing the more purely electronic '''Digital Disorder.'' A slew of performances ensued during the next few years, where the band could be seen at festivals throughout the United States and Canada, including: SXSW, Coachella, Shambhala, High Sierra, Joshua Tree, Gem and Jam, Sea of Dreams, Symbiosis, Stilldream, Earthdance, Camp Bisco, Harmony Festival's Techno Tribal, Summer Meltdown, and Lightning in a Bottle. Itinerant vocalist Mario ''Souleye'' Treadway also joined the band during this era, adding his freestyle lyrics to their already high-energy live performances. Their collaborative songwriting efforts were captured on ''Music for People'' in 2008, with many of its tracks licensed to mainstream media such as MTV and CBS. The partnership with Souleye culminated with a 2009 New Year's Eve performance in Fiji and a tour of Australia.
San Francisco has seen BLVD perform at a number of its hallmark venues throughout their history, including Mighty, DNA Lounge, Slim's, Great American Music Hall, and the Concourse Pavilion. In 2010, they began playingin what has become an annual traditionThe INdependent. Their fifth studio effort, the instrumental ''Return to Center,'' was released in 2011, a distillation of their sessions in Berkeley, CA with producer Jeff Saltzman (Killers, Black Keys).
Now a decade removed from their first show in San Francisco's SoMa district, 2013 marks BLVD's 10-Year Anniversary!