I’ve always been kind of obsessed with the idea of outlaws,” says Will Buck, guitarist for West Water Outlaws, and the man who came up with the band’s name. “Back in the day the outlaws were these guys who were famous for being criminals, and people kind of loved them for it, even though they did bad things. So they could just kind of roam free.”
And the Boulder-based band has been doing the musical version of roaming free, touring hard and performing more than 150 live shows since 2013, breaking necks nationwide with its hardhitting rock ‘n’ roll show.
“For the last three, years it’s been pretty much non-stop, all over the place,” says Andrew Oakley, the band’s drummer.
Though the band members have been making a name for themselves around the country, they haven’t forgotten their roots. In order to express their gratitude for the locals who have come out to head-bang from the beginning in basements and bars, West Water Outlaws are playing a free show at the Boulder Theater on Saturday, Sept. 6. Want to go? Don’t bother with tickets or lines or “rules.” The event is going to be a firstcome, first-served frenzy.
Unless something goes dreadfully wrong, the front door melee won’t quite be the crime spree of Buck’s Western bandit fantasies, but there will still be plenty of room for mayhem.
“I’m hoping for riots and chaos,” says lead singer Blake Rooker.
On the bill is another local favorite, Cold River City, who have called their sound “the lovechild of funky soul and dirty blues.” Cold River City are also good friends of the the Outlaws.
“We love their music,” says Oakley. “It’s different [from ours], but it makes sense.”
The blurring of lines and fracturing into endless sub-genres that makes up the modern musical landscape can make it seem like a true rock band is a thing relegated to the history books, but the Outlaws say they are rock ‘n’ roll to the core.
“We’re a rock band. That’s it. Through and through,” explains Buck. “That’s actually made us more unique, by just being what we are.”
And its something the band’s travels have revealed the country is hungry for.
“All over the country, people come up to us and say, ‘It’s so refreshing just to rock out,’” says Buck.
And rock out they will. This highenergy group knows how to get the crowd going. Buck describes their sound as “a soul band, that’s just turned up, with some elements of southern rock and blues.”
Rooker tells BW that he has been listening to a lot of Drive By Truckers and Lynyrd Skynyrd lately.
“I’ve been working on just honest lyrics, some cheeky stuff in there too,” he says. “But we’re working on a lot of new material.”
The band, which is currently writing a new album, says that this will be the most new material they have ever debuted at a show before.
“A lot of our new stuff is definitely branching out from the stuff we’ve done before,” says Oakley. “It’s going to be different from shows we’ve done in the past.”
The Outlaws have sold out The Fox Theatre, playing there several times a year since 2012, and have played the Boulder Theater twice before. The Boulder Theater is around twice the size of the Fox, but the boys are pretty confident that they are going to fill up the place.
“We want to create The Fox [Theatre] environment in the Boulder Theater, with it being packed and everyone sweating and going crazy,” says Buck. “And I think — actually I know — it’s going to happen this time.”
Just in case a free rock ‘n’ roll show doesn’t entice you enough, the Outlaws have partnered up with Oskar Blues Brewery to offer a free Dale’s Pale Ale to the first 50 people in the doors.
There have also been rumors of a guest appearance by an elusive Boulder band called Laser Wolf, an under-theradar group who describes themselves as “unhindered — your deepest inner-rock star fantasy played out on stage.”
In reality, they might just be the alterego invention of the West Water Outlaws. But we can never know for sure.
Buck mentions to BW that they hope to play Red Rocks one day.
“Sky’s the limit for this band,” he says. “And beyond,” adds Rooker.
“‘Moonison Square Garden’ is the first venue on the moon.”
“That’s the ultimate goal,” agrees Oakley. “First band on the moon.”
Just think, once West Water Outlaws is playing the moon, you’ll be able to say that you got to see them play for free in Boulder back in the 2000s.