Category Archives: In Denver Live

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UMS – Day Three is the Juggernaut. You Should See These Bands!

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The UMS isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon, and Day Three is the middle 15. Long, hot, stretched out and relentless, and the most fun you’ve ever had. Time to settle in and really get a taste of the festival, and we’ve got the band list for you.

Here’s the list for Day 3: Saturday, July 29, 2017

12:00 p.m.

Edison

Illegal Pete’s (Inside)

Brooklyn-esque folk rock born of bands like The Lumineers (one of ’em was in that one, actually), based in Denver. Easy to love, impossible to forget.

1:00 p.m.

Porlolo

Irish Rover

A Denver local scene mainstay, Erin Roberts has been Porlolo forever. And Porlolo has been ever-changing, moving, growing and supporting the scene with a rock-folk blend no-one else can claim.

2:00 p.m.

Gasoline Lollipops

Irish Rover

A little bit country, a little bit punk, a little bit, and a whiskey-trickle of Denver BumCore! heroes Slakjaw, the Lollipops set the stage for a square-dance mosh.

3:30 p.m.

The Corner Girls

Main Stage at
363 S. Broadway

Glitter–drenched, funky, feminist, pastel punk is what you’ll get from this relatively new trio, pplus some high-energy inspiration to wear unicorn horns, fart rainbows, and throw shoes at the TV when your dad’s screaming at Fox News.

4:30 p.m.

The Savage Blush

Main Stage at
363 S. Broadway

Surf-drenche 60s-esque psychedelic garage rock, by a brother-sister duo from Denver. Need to know more? Go and see!

5:00 p.m.

Kitty Crimes

Syntax: Physic Opera

If you’re not aware of Denver scene heavyweight Kitty Crimes – AKA Maria Kohler,
musician, producer, all-around powerful, unforgettable presence, and member of/contributor to a seemingly unending number of local bands (M and the Gems, Harpoontang, Houses, Science Partner, Mike Marchant) – you can’t really say you’re a Denverite. Fix that, today – see her unique show, now with a full band. One you definitely don’t want to miss.

6:00 p.m.

Quantum Creep

H-Dive

Obviously fans of early Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, and a garagey-er Big Star would love these creeps. We do, too. Just go see ’em.

7:00 p.m.

Pretty Mouth

South Broadway Christian Church

Pretty Mouth start off a little smooth for us, sometimes. But – before you know it – sultry, throaty singer/songwriter Marie Litton assaults you with said voice, and leaves you in a somnambulent stupor, to be awakened by the sweet, loud licks from guitarist/cellist Lief Sjostrom. Good luck with getting back to sleep any time soon after.

8:00 p.m.

The Omens

The Hi-Dive

In the tradition of bands like Alien Sex Fiend, Tarmints, and (now) Oh Sees, The Omens will rock you with a psychedelic garage sound that’l make you feel dirty, greasy, sweaty, and elated.

9:00 p.m.

Codename: Carter

The Hornet

We’d tell you what’s so damned good, smooth, exciting, intriguing, and fun about Codename: Carter – but then we’d have to kill you. And, besides, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a band of spies such as this. That is all.

10:00 p.m.

Parallelephants

The Irish Rover

San Antonio-based Parallelephants send out onto their audience a smokey R&B that’s perfect for chillin’ and catchin’ your breath as the final few miles loom ahead.

11:00 p.m.

Nasty Nachos

the Irish Rover

Imagine filling the large tray at 7-11 with the most chips and nacho yellow cheese liquid as you can possibly fit, paying for it, walking home and eating most of it, running into your recording bedroom, and spilling the gallon of leftover cheese and corn chip crumbs directly onto the keyboard of your synth. This is where Nasty Nachos comes from.

12:00 a.m.

The Baltic

Gary Lees Motor Club and Grub

Finally, we get to the shoegaze. If you like Ride, or MBV, or dancing with your eyes closed to bauhaus as you hum what you think are the lyrics, so no-one around you will notice that you don’t know them, The Baltic is for you.

1:00 a.m.

Rumtum

The Irish Rover

Found noises, sounds, animals, people – squashed up and forced through capacitors, wires, knobs and buttons, and out rhough b ombastic speakers, and into your ears. Just be ready.


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KOLARS Shines, Surprises at Larimer Lounge

Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff go down onstage at the Larimer Lounge, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something on any rock stage that is truly surprising. Friday night with KOLARS changed that.

Musically, the band is a tight two-piece that alternately evokes The Kills and Bruce Springsteen. But KOLARS has a legit shtick: rather than sitting behind a kit, drummer Lauren Brown stands. On top of a bass drum. And tap dances. “She’s a badass!” crowed the North Carolinian truck driver next to me who had randomly chosen the Larimer as his music fix for the evening.

On top of the mesmerizing tap dancing drummer, KOLARS sparkles- visually and sonically. Singer Rob Kolars has a smoky-eyed sexiness that nicely suits his front man persona. And his powerfully kinetic, gorgeous drummer Lauren- is also his wife, bedecked in a mirror covered dress and equally dazzling smile.

KOLARS set featured infectious, driving rock songs that veered between a post-Goth Echo & The Bunnymen vibe of “Turn out the Lights” to the infectious disco groove of “Dizzy.” And just when I thought I had them figured out, KOLARS surprised again with the chugging train of “One More Thrill,” reminiscent of Springsteen’s “Working on the Highway.”

It’s hard not to cheer for a sexy, married creative partnership like Rob and Lauren’s- especially when the music is as inventive and fun as what KOLARS is making.


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Japan’s Guitar Wolf turns Denver’s Moon Room into Den of Fun

Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Molly McGrath

There’s no better way to transition out of the strange patriotism and embarrassment  Fourth of July entails than immersing yourself in a wild punk show, and when Seiji of the Japanese rock band Guitar Wolf came out on stage in a Godzilla mask and immediately wrapped both hands around my neck in a mock choking, I knew this wasn’t going to be your typical wild punk show.

Guitar Wolf played the 5th of July to a rowdy crowd at the Moon Room inside the Summit Music Hall. Japan’s greatest “Jet” rock band took the stage wearing dinosaur masks, as they are on the “T-Rex From A Tiny Space Yojouhan” tour. Frontman Seiji immediately chugged a PBR through the mask (hard to say how much actually went into his mouth) as the crowd went wild. They played a set filled with upbeat, fast tempo punk songs as the audience danced and moshed. Guitar Wolf engages the crowd in countless ways including pulling an unsuspecting audience member named Bill onstage to play guitar in the place of Seiji, while he crowd surfed. The Guitar Wolf set ended with an entire band and audience drenched in sweat, everyone having the time of their life.

Guitar Wolf plays the Moon Room Denver, 7/5/17. Photo by Michael McGrath, denverthread.com

Before Guitar Wolf blew the audience away with their chaotic punk set, a polarly different band took the stage. Four piece band Isaac Rother & the Phantoms have the look of the Munster Family, but play a balanced mix of psychobilly, blues and surf- kind of like if the Cramps had a baby with Dr. John. The Phantoms setlist featured lots of old-school horror themed songs, complemented by the mystical, spooky and surfy dance moves of back up singer Tatiana Sandate. Isaac Rother & the Phantoms are one of the most perfectly danceable bands I have ever seen live, and served as a great juxtaposition to the blast of punk noise that followed in Guitar Wolf’s set.

But before either touring bands hit the stage, locals Poison Rites warmed the Moon Room with big sound and enthusiasm]. “Were from down the street”, explained frontman Reed Wolf , ahead of a set of heavy punk songs and hype for the Guitar Wolf set that would follow. The band played a quick but impressive set, and even shared stories about all the work they did to get on the bill for that show. Overall, Guitar Wolf at the Moon Room was a high energy show, filled with jarring and joyous surprises.


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Local Post-Goth Band Married A Dead Man Takes Over Littleton’s Toad Tavern

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Photos by DenverThread

Perched behind her Roland keyboards, clad only in black , save for a shock of platinum-blond hair, Megan Kelley belted out an impressive litany of lyrics about nightmares, abandonment, death, fear–all the standard goth fare–albeit with a beautifully trained voice and an imposing poise at Littleton’s Toad Tavern last Friday night. Kelley has multiple degrees in music, teaches vocals privately, and teaches music classes around Denver, when not composing – or de-composing – for her young band Married A Dead Man. Including Gwyneth Rose on guitar, Travis Rosen on bass, and Anamatria Anatra on drums, Married a Dead Man has been a band for a little more than a year now, and is currently recording original songs for release later this year.

Could there be a new goth scene crawling into Denver? At least, maybe, in the suburbs?

To create their loud, gushing, post-punk shoegaze sound, talented guitarist Gwyneth Rose built tapestries of sound with her Telecaster, forcing chords and squeals masterfully through a modest selection of pedals. Meanwhile, Anatra and Rosen laid a rocky, treacherous road of hard, droning bass and pounding drums to pull the whole sound together. Overall, though there are definite winks back to bands like Bauhaus or The Teardrop Explodes, they owe more of their sound to local legends like 40th Day and Twice Wilted, if we’re honest. Kelley’s powerful, trained voice sometimes comes across as a tad overwrought, atop the instrumental beauty – but it makes for a great juxtaposition. With titles of songs like “Valkyrie,” “Abduction,” and “Shadows Falling,” I’d say they’re in the right genre, and doing well. Maybe a real goth renaissance is starting in Denver – who knew?


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Le Butcherettes light up Fillmore ahead of At the Drive-In

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

I’m supposed to write a review of last week’s At The Drive-In show at the Fillmore, but I’m not going to do that, because, Le Butcherettes.

Because the raw, dramatic power of Le Butcherettes woke me up like a sparkplug to the brain. Because the minute that Teri Gender Bender, daughter of Denver and Mexico, hit the stage- I was entirely transfixed by the howling, growling and hair flinging. Because Le Butcherettes channel a raw rock and roll rage a la Iggy and the Stooges- tinged with the feminist art edginess of warrior women like Yoko Ono, PJ Harvey, and Nina Hagen. 

Le Butcherettes opens for At the Drive-In, the Fillmore, Denver, 6/15/17. Photo by Michael McGrath, denverthread.com

Le Butcherettes surprised me and made me pay attention. Musically- Gender Bender, on vocals, guitars and keys, and her bandmates, drummer Alejandra Robles Luna and bassist Riko Rodríguez-López- venture across a wide and challenging territory ranging from punk to pop, with a dash of indie/art rock sensibility.

As her chosen name suggests, Teri Gender Bender is actively challenging norms: her performance is suffused with both a howling feminist power and a frank, in-your-face sexiness. She tears away her military jumpsuit to reveal a clingy red dress and heels. She dares you to find her sexy and then tears at her hair and red-streaked face, howling like a banshee.

Le Butcherettes’ brief, challenging, and intense opening set was a revelation to me- and a fascinating feminist counterpoint to the hyper-masculine, slightly unhinged, aggressively physical post-hardcore roar of At the Drive-In. Can’t wait to see Le Butcherettes back in Denver, owning their own stage.


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Brian Setzer keeps his Rockabilly cool at Arvada Center

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Photo by Michael McGrath, story by Amy McGrath

To listen to “Stray Cat Strut” is to climb into a personal time machine. There I am, an early 1980’s middle school version of myself, laying on my bed, chewing gum and gazing at a centerfold poster ripped from the pages of Tiger Beat magazine. The cuffed t-shirt, the tattoos, the sneer, that perfect pompadour…. Brian Setzer was my first in a long line of bad boy crushes. It was an enduring pubescent fantasy of mine that Brian would roll up to the front of my middle school, Triumph engine roaring, sweep me onto the back of his bike and rescue me from the many indignities and down-right uncoolness of middle school.

Here I am, the arguably wiser middle-aged mom version of myself, enjoying a lovely early summer evening in Arvada, gazing again at this more refined, and yes- older version of the very same man. Brian has transitioned nicely from bad boy heart-throb to elegant statesman of rockabilly. At the core of this transition, as much as his enduring cool, is his undeniable showmanship and hard-won guitar prowess.

Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot rolled into the Arvada Center Monday with all the trimmings: classic guitars and warm sounding vintage amps, archetypal tattoo imagery, well-coiffed women in their best pin-up finery. The show marked a down-sized but cranked-up return to rockabilly for Setzer, whose career over the last few decades has been connected with a swing/big-band revival in front of the The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Setzer’s set featured both the greatest hits of the Stray Cats along with a smattering of other rockabilly standards. Fan favorites “Rumble in Brighton” and “Rock this Town” had the Arvada Center crowd on its feet singing every word. Setzer’s capable backing band also shined during more subtle moments, like the gorgeous instrumental “Blue Moon” interlude, showcasing his outstanding, Les Paul-influenced guitar work.

Setzer’s 40+ years in the music business is a testament to the his ability to successfully navigate the transition from teen idol to rock icon. And even though his tattoos were hidden under a tailored pin-striped suit, and his punk rock sneer has faded into a more savvy showmanship, “Stray Cat Strut” still gave me the same flutters in my belly that I first experienced as a rebel boy obsessed pre-teen.

Editor’s note: Michael took lots of great photos of Brian Setzer at the Arvada Center. The one you see here was the only one approved for publication by his management. We’re not sure why…. we thought he looked great!!


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Photos by Declan Geise

Thriving Local Band AMZY Rocks the Gothic

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Photos by Declan Giese

Ahh, to be young, fresh-faced, optimistic, and in a kick-ass rock band again…. How many of us wouldn’t sell everything we had to get into that spotlight? Well, local up-and-coming band AMZY hasn’t had to sell anything to land themselves in the great graces of rock ‘n’ roll – and pretty quickly. The seemingly cut-for-video four piece played a packed Gothic Theatre last Friday night, proving that – while young – they’ve got what it takes to stay there.

Fronted by Australian native Brennan Johnson – who belts out vocals like he was born to do it – they started with a heart-wrenching version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” that stopped the audience in awe. Johnson did Simone justice, while the rest of the band backed him up impressively, and if anyone in the Gothic had any doubts before then, they were sold by the time the opener ended. They followed that emotional setting with a little more than an hour of upbeat, electronic power pop that was almost impossible not to dance to. Centered around Johnson’s strong vocals, Nick Billings’ bass work and Wes Barton’s near-flawless drumming gave their set a solid, skilled foundational rhythm, while Sean Grant’s guitar work defined the addictive, explosive sound. Who knew such a wall of sound could come from a simple Telecaster, anyway?

Their infectious grooves showed influences like The Killers and locals Churchill, and occasionally added a smidgen of Alt-J (especially in parts of “Feet on the Ground”) – but wrapped pretty deeply in a hard rocking maelstrom of vocal harmonies, power chords, keys and rhythm. Their new single “Sorry Not Sorry” was a wrangling anthem to walking away from a relationship that had the whole room jumping, while the smooth “We Don’t Walk We Dance” settled the crowd into a swaying dance. “5 to Midnight,” with it’s catchy singalong chanting and impossibly sticky hooks, had the crowd howling in unison. At one point, Johnson boarded a giant inflatable unicorn boat and navigated deep into the crowd on willing fan’s heads, hands, and shoulders – nearly abandoning ship more than once.

AMZY plays a solid, super-catchy power pop, but with more substance that the average young group. Their latest single “Sorry Not Sorry” is available now, and they plan to release a new EP later this year. Keep your ears open for them – they’re coming to take over Denver, and coming fast.


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Decatur Releases Smooth, Pensive Alt-Rock at the Walnut Room

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Local up-and-coming 5-piece Decatur hosted an EP release party last Friday night in front of a Walnut Room filled with happy & adoring fans, leaving no one disappointed. Fronted by a suave looking Sean Decrescenzo, the band played a little more than an hour of smooth, well-constructed rock that mostly recalled the sounds of Alt-J or The Fray, occasionally adding a soupcon of Dave Matthews‘ pop brilliance.

Decrescenzo was joined by Quinn Cox (guitar, keys, vocals), Chris Howard (drums, vocals), Sam Oatts (bass, vocals), and Tay Hamilton (guitar, vocals) in delivering a well-practiced and well-produced sound filled with full vocal harmonies floating through dynamic guitar and keyboard constructions and anchored by a rock-solid rhythm section. “Don’t Talk” – the opener on their debut eponymous EP – was a moody heartbreaker, and “Shadows” played out an almost film noir atmosphere.

While these musicians are fantastically talented and played a nearly flawless set, it’s a little too evident that they’re still reaching for a consistent style all their own. Well-constructed songs like “Hide Me Away” and “Every Little Step” Came across with just a shade too much of The Fray in the overall sound, although in most of the other songs Decatur easily portrayed their own unique, smooth and pensive sound.

The venue was either swaying or bouncing to the set, pumped up and excited as the band played ou its set. Many of the fans were familiar enough with the band to sing along, but almost nobody was standing still. Decatur is on its way up in the Denver scene, and with their talent and commitment should be among the upper echelon before you know it – keep your eye on them. You can stream their debut EP on SoundCloud, to get a good taste of them.


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Black Marble moody and magical at Lost Lake

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Black Marble plays Lost Lake on 5/27/17. Photo by Molly McGrath, denverthread.com

Story and Photos by Molly McGrath

Moody electronica band Black Marble packed the sold-out Lost Lake on Saturday, May 27th. The synth and bass duo from New York had Denver followers waiting long and hard, as it was their first time playing in Denver. Touring in support of their new album It’s Immaterial, the band attracted goths and hipsters alike, as the melancholy yet danceable songs provided an deeply pleasant listening experience.

Voight plays Lost Lake on 5/27/17. Photo by Molly McGrath, denverthread.com

Denver’s two piece darkwave/ noise band Voight kicked off the night. They filled the room with a thick smoke, complete with fluorescent back lighting. Their music contained elements of Psych Rock, Electronica, and Darkwave and was reminiscent of A Place to Bury Strangers. Voight’s set was extremely eerie, and gave the audience a sense of total mystery about what the rest of the show had to offer. However, Draa, four young men from Phoenix (on tour with Black Marble) differed greatly from this, providing a perfect transition to the headliner. Draa’s sound had lots of Psych Rock influences, and was for the most part, extremely joyous. Imagine you are the star in a Sundance film, driving in a yellow convertible down the coast of Oregon, everything is green and there are little flowers in the tall grass. It makes sense that Draa is playing on the radio, because it is such happy and tranquil music.

Draa plays Lost Lake on 5/27/17. Photo by Molly McGrath, denverthread.com

Finally the long awaited Black Marble appeared and played songs from both of their studio albums. The band’s synthy nature had the full crowd dancing throughout the night. The man next to me even cried several times. They encored with Iron Lung, a single from their recent release, It’s Immaterial. Overall, Black Marble brought a juxtaposing (extremely melancholy, yet soothing) energy to the Lost Lake.


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Beer beats weed at Denver’s Project Pabst

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Photos by Michael McGrath, story by Amy McGrath

What happens when a big music festival is sponsored by a major beer manufacturer in a city that’s become one of the international hubs of legal marijuana? In the case of Denver’s Project Pabst, beer culture wins.

The security screening for this festival was the most stringent of any in recent memory. If security is on the hunt for guns and weapons to protect festival-goers, that’s certainly appreciated. But I stood near the entrance on Saturday and watched countless patrons be turned back at the gates for having marijuana in their bags. Later, during Twin Peaks stoney and super-fun set, the band encouraged the audience to light up in their honor…. but few seemed to have weed to light, and if they did light up, security pounced quickly, even deep into the crowd. At least when Project Pabst is in town, it appears that beer culture still beats weed culture.

Ice Cube plays at Project Pabst Denver, 2017. Photo by Michael McGrath, denverthread.com.

Project Pabst brought a strong lineup to its Larimer Street/RiNo street party for the second year in a row, including festival headliner Ice-Cube. Twin Peaks, Phantogram, Danny Brown and Kurt Vile all contributed strong sets to the diverse lineup. We were looking forward to catching a mid-afternoon main stage set from Chicago hip-hop poet No Name but were disappointed to find out she had pulled out of the lineup shortly before the festival, replaced by Denver math-rock outfit Montoneros.

Though the main stage lineup was strong (especially Vile’s dreamy sunset vibes), our favorite sets of the day were found in more intimate environs, on the lovely, sun and art drenched Meadowlark patio, and inside the dark, beer drenched Larimer Lounge. Young Denver trumpet/funk master Wesley Watkins led his project Other Black through a beaming, effervescent set of funked up soul to a joyous crowd at the mid-afternoon Meadowlark.

Kurt Ottaway, longtime powerhouse on the Denver music scene (Overcasters, Tarmints, Twice Wilted) prowled the tiny Larimer Lounge stage out front the excellent Emerald Siam in their pumped-up set of darkly sonic pysch-rock. And providing an interesting sonic counterpoint to the Ice Cube mainstage festival set happening just outside, Denver’s Flaural lit up the Larimer with their substantial but sunny psychedelia.

Other Black plays at Project Pabst Denver, 2017. Photo by Michael McGrath, denverthread.com.

The diverse lineup and inside/outside offerings meant even older Denver music fans, aghast at how the once gritty side of Larimer street has become a highly decorated, homogenous hipster playground, could find something to love at Denver’s Project Pabst- even if they still couldn’t find the weed.

Emerald Siam plays at Project Pabst Denver, 2017. Photo by Michael McGrath, denverthread.com.


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Son Volt Relevant and Real at Gothic Theatre

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Story by Amy McGrath, Photos by Michael McGrath

“You’re with me now, will be again…” Drown, Jay Farrar, Son Volt

The music of Son Volt serves as a significant musical place-holder in my memory. Rising from the ashes of early 90’s college radio gods Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt’s first album, 1995’s Trace, was one of the first really important albums of my adulthood. I was newly graduated from college, negotiating the “real world” of career, credit cards, and post collegiate relationships. Trace was brand new but also perfectly embodied the musical influences of my childhood- Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Bob Dylan- and the album was a deep source of comfort, a security blanket for me in an uncertain time.

Fast forward twenty-two years to spring 2017. I have learned there is no “certain” time. I am constantly negotiating and re-negotiating my relationship to the “real world” and searching to find some meaning in this experience we call adulthood. Jay Farrar and Son Volt continue to make relevant, roots-bound rock music that illustrates the stark realities of “Trump’s America”- economic depression, environmental degradation and general hopelessness. Musically, it’s rootsy, country blues/rock remains grounded in familiarity, but lyrically, the work feels especially relevant in its themes of life struggle and the quest for redemption.

Son Volt plays The Gothic Theatre, May 12, 2017. Photo by Michael McGrath for denverthread.com

Friday night at the Gothic Theatre, Son Volt sounded both comforting and fresh as they rolled out the electric blues of their latest release, Notes of Blue. The album is cranked up a notch from Son Volt’s more mellow recent releases, and the energy of the Friday night show followed suit. Opening with the rocker “Lost Souls,” Farrar’s signature nasal cry was well mated to the noisy guitar rock strongly reminiscent of his Uncle Tupelo origins.

Son Volt’s set offered up lots of strong work from their new album, especially the driving, voodoo grit of “Midnight.” But Farrar and company also offered up plenty for those who have been following them from the beginning by featuring several of the standout tracks from the debut album Trace. The mournful slide guitar whine of “Ten Second News” is Son Volt at its sad and beautiful best.

Keeping it balanced in the encore, the band offered  “Windfall,” likely the happiest ever Son Volt tune and contender for best road trip song of all time, and left the entire Gothic crowd in full sing along mode: “Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel, May the wind take your troubles away.” In a final blast of indie rock joy, the band returned for a 2nd encore with a spirited cover of the Velvet Underground classic “What Goes On.” Thanks, Son Volt- for something so direct and real. You’re with me now, and will be again.


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Photo: Isobel Thieme/DenverThread

Substance Flows from Peter Hook and The Light

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Photos by Isobel Thieme/DenverThread

The Summit Music Hall was filled with history last Saturday night, as Peter Hook and the Light played both the New Order and Joy Division Substance albums in their entirety. Hook played his signature, unforgettable bass constructions alongside his son Jack Bates, who also played bass throughout the show, and keyboardist Andy Poole, drummer Paul Kehoe, and guitarist David Potts. The band did a masterful job replicating both New Order and Joy Division for nearly three hours, only stopping for a short break between the two records.

They started the first set with a few bonus cuts–“Dreams Never End,” “Procession,” and “Cries and Whispers”–before starting on the New Order album in order. The older songs stood out clearly from most of the rest of the New Order portion, which came from the band’s more accessible, dance-hit remix period. This part included highlights like the ubiquitous ‘80s hit “Blue Monday,” “Confusion,” “State of the Nation,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and the rest. While the band performed all the songs remaining true to their roots – Hooky’s bass was a bit overpowering at times – after five or six dancefloor legends they began to get somewhat tiresome. The crowd loved it early on but seemed to settle towards the latter half.

Hook didn’t address the audience much, although he did dedicate their version of “The Perfect Kiss” to the recently passed director Jonathan Demme, and later stopped the band to admonish some sort of skirmishing fans near the front. Otherwise, he was Hooky the smug professional for the entire set.

After a brief intermission -no doubt allowing the band to load up on oxygen – they came back out and played Joy Division’s version of Substance – and they looked as if they’d just begun, rather than having already played a full 90-minute set. And the audience was re-energized right along with them, screaming out lyric after lyric to nearly every song, pogoing, or simply swaying in old-school shoegaze form. Hearing such influential and brilliant classics like “No Love Lost,” “Warsaw,” “These Days,” and “Leaders of Men” performed live was a hugely satisfying experience. Hook did a good job of approximating Ian Curtis’s signature vocal style while keeping his own affect pretty evident.

It was the last half of the Joy Division set that brought the place down when the band launched into songs like “Transmission,” “She’s Lost Control,” “Dead Souls,” and “Atmosphere.” Even after nearly three hours of playing, the band never looked or sounded worn down, and did justice to the original post-punk anthems. And then, of course, came time to play the ubiquitous (but still emotionally jarring and brilliant) “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” As you’d expect, nearly the entire audience sang every word along with the band, which stopped playing at one point to showcase the howling that absolutely filled the venue.

While Peter Hook remains in litigation with the other member of New Order–something he often comments is truly heartbreaking–his tours have re-introduced these important albums to so many, and in many cases have introduced them for the first time, with great respect. The records’ longevity is absolutely evident, and the insight and ingenuity of the lyrics and music are, maybe, more relevant now than when Curtis was alive.


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