Category Archives: NewsThreads

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Todd Rundgren says “Hello, It’s Me…” to Denver’s Oriental Theater

Photos by Michael McGrath

Legendary 70′ rock god/producer Todd Rundgren brought his full band, background singers, and several costume changes to the full house at the Oriental Theater on December 19th, 2017.


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Jesus and Mary Chain Dark, Hypnotic at Summit Music Hall

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Molly McGrath

The iconic Scottish post-punk band, The Jesus and Mary Chain, played to a reverent audience last Friday night at the Summit Music Hall. Touring in support of their new album “Damage and Joy,” the band brought out a diverse range of fans, from rockers who have been around since the beginning, to goth teenagers (like myself). They played songs from throughout their discography, including songs from their debut album Psychocandy. The band put on a great show, but their choice to play almost completely in the dark makes it hard to make a strong connection with the audience.

Opening for the Jesus and Mary Chain was the darkwave group  Cold Cave. Active since 2007, the band has become a favorite of the American Goth scene. Their set provided a complex juxtaposition between goth-pop of the 80’s and the goth-pop of today. Singer Wesley Eisold played in almost complete darkness, with the exception of soft strobe lights. His performance conjured that of Ian Curtis; a close caress of the mic stand matched with extremely vexing movements.


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Vintage Trouble Heats Up Colorado Springs’ Black Sheep

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Photos by Michael McGrath

Hollywood’s Vintage Trouble brought their high-energy heat to Colorado Springs on a chilly Tuesday night. Do yourself a favor and see this band whenever you have a chance- you won’t be disappointed!


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Together Pangea Turns Larimer Lounge into Party Garage

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Photos by Michael McGrath, story by Molly McGrath

Instead of doing something scary Friday the Thirteenth, I found myself being pushed up against the stage at the Larimer Lounge, singing along to my favorite surf-pop anthems by Southern California garage rockers Together Pangea. On tour with their new album “Bulls and Roosters,” the band played a variety of songs from their catalogue. Not even ten seconds into the first song, a wild pit had already started. The audience loved it, and everyone danced and moshed till the walls of the Larimer were dripping with sweat.

On tour with Together Pangea was Tall Juan, a VERY TALL Argentinian singer-songwriter. His music: cumbia punk mixed with good ol’ garage rock. In the first few minutes of his set he played solo before inviting an audience member up to drum with him. During the middle of his set, a band joined him on stage where they played louder punk songs. At one point in his set, Juan dropped the microphone onto the stage. When I picked it up for him, he put it directly into his mouth (like the whole mic head, all the damn way into his mouth.) He finished his high energy set with two covers, Territorial Pissings and I Wanna be Your Dog, both crowd favorites.

Also on tour with them was Daddy Issues, an all girl garage rock band. They attracted the attention of many young women on the Denver Scene, some of those who I talked to saying that they just came out to see them. “It’s the future of Riot Grrrl!!” one woman declared.


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Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

Boulder’s Gasoline Lollipops is Ready to Douse Denver

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Gasoline Lollipops in Jamestown, CO (Photo: Laura Folden)

Gasoline Lollipops in Jamestown, CO (Photo: Laura Folden)

Boulder may be too small, too quiet to hold the Gas Pops any longer…

“The Gasoline Lollipops as it stands today – I feel like we’re at the beginning. I mean, we’re starting to pick up steam, and it’s my first experience of that with the Gas Pops,” Clay Rose, frontman of the quickly rising Boulder band told DenverThread.

Rose is a pleasant-looking young man, tall and lanky, and he appears unbeknownst just behind me in line in the front of a Boulder coffee shop as I order, pay, and head back to find a place to talk. He shows up shortly after I find a table, and somehow we know who each other is right away – maybe journalistic clairvoyance, or some communal tie to Naropa (my day job, and Rose’s one-time university).

“I had another band earlier that picked up pretty fast [The Widow’s Bane], but this has been, like, a really epic journey,” he continued. “So many fantastic stories of Gasoline Lollipops, beginning and ending, and the first one starts in, like… 2000… 2004.”

Catch the Gasoline Lollipops at the Lost Lake Lounge on Friday, October 20, and at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park on Saturday, October 21

Gasoline Lollipops is picking up plenty of steam, and has been steadily climbing in notoriety and popularity for the past year or so – and now they’re ready to take on the Denver audience. Their new record – Soul Mine – is slated to drop on December 16, and they’re having a release party at the Fox Theater in Boulder to celebrate. This record might be the catalyst they need to break down the walls into Denver.

Gasoline Pops at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO (Photo: Michael Emanuele)

Gasoline Pops at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO (Photo: Michael Emanuele)

They’re well aware of Denver’s country alt-gothic punk indie imprint – known for some time as “The Denver Sound” and populated by bands like 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly Munly, The Denver Gentlemen, and more. But the Gas Pops feel they have a sound and fury that can overcome any pigeon-holing, and it’s true.

Gasoline Lollipops is more than Merle Haggard country, and so much more than a Slim Cessna knockoff. Their sound beats with a true, red-blooded American heart, melding country punk, folk, and searing rockabilly behind Rose’s often wild, guttural Tom Waits howl. They tell tails of troubled lives, of the ends of lives, of the hearts broken and stamped out of existence just about every day in this life. And they do it with a danceable – and, yes, moshable – folk-punk presence that leaves audiences exhausted and ecstatic every time.

Danceable – and moshable – country-punk folk with grit and heart

But Rose’s musical history didn’t start that way, necessarily. After spending a childhood dividing time with a truck-driving father and a Nashville mother, Rose found himself with a guitar in his hand at a truck stop one day, where a local asked him if he was playing the local open mic. He’d just learned a few chords, and had written out three songs – likely about the adolescent loves he’d pine over as he left one town and fell in love at another – so why not? One thing led to another, and his passion turned into an obsession by the early 2000s.

“I was just a crazy kid, and I had a big, liberty-spiked mohawk, combat boots, and I was living in this rental house in Lafayette,” he explained. “I’d been playing gigs around solo, under the name Clay Rose – like political acoustic folk/punk – kind of like like the young Billy Bragg, but way more edgy, super fast.”

“It was like Rage Against the Machine if it was only an acoustic guitar and a singer – super fast, me almost rapping, and, like, screaming a lot,” he explained. “I wore very bright clothes – checkered pants, and all.”

Young punk fury fell a little flat on Boulder at first

For a while, Rose tried to build a reputation on his own, playing open mics and scheduled gigs as much as he could, outside day jobs. He kept trying to get people to wake up a little, to look a little further than the Flatirons.

“I had just moved back [to Boulder] from Nashville in about 2002, and – I don’t know – I was trying to stir shit up,” he continued. “But, y’know, Boulder is not really the place – like, people don’t want to be stirred up here.”

Rose began to butt up against the unique activist nature of Boulder’s population – one certainly not known for embracing the more unsavory sides of things. But it didn’t phase him, or stop him from building a band around perhaps one of the strangely tastiest band names ever.

“It’s weird, because, from the outside, it looks like it’s populated by a bunch of hippies, and hippies are known for stirring shit up. But not these hippies.”

After battles with substances, Gasoline Lollipops proved to be the salve he needed

After a battle with alcohol and drugs that became almost too much for him, Rose became sober for a time but continued to make music. When his girlfriend – now wife – took a sabbatical out of the country to answer some of her own questions, rather than diving back into a drunken stupor, he formed The Widow’s Bane. Formed around songs that were to be composed and sung by men who’d been killed by the heartbreak from their earthly relationships, The Widow’s Bane became a sea-shanty, dead-looking staple at places like the annual Zombie Crawl in Denver, among other places. They became pretty popular, but just weren’t and aren’t – the band that Rose had his heart wrapped up in.

Now, in Gasoline Lollipops, he feels he’s found the one.

Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

Gasoline Pops at the Soul Mine (Photo: John Spalvins)

“There have been moments in time with the Gasoline Lollipops – quite a few,” he espoused,  “where I was like ‘This is a supergroup!’ There was a time period there where I felt like that – it was a very different band from what it is now. Y’know, we had this guy J.C. Thompson on bass, and he would play an upright, and he was one of the meanest upright players I’ve ever played with until he got deported to Canada.”

“At that point, we were just a four-piece” Rose added. “We had Jeb Bows on the fiddle, and he’s still with us – he’s the last original member other than myself. Things have just changed, and for better.”

As far as how the band reached its current, satisfying state, Rose explained that he’d been following a particular type of strategy – one that got him much of the band he was looking for, without burying him in the responsibility of making any bad decisions.

“I never auditioned anybody for the band, and it was just like, if we needed a player, I just put it in my mind that ‘we need this player,'” he explained, “and then I would casually bring it up in conversation, and someone would say ‘Oh – I know so & so,’ or ‘I play this,’ and that’s how we’d get new players.”

A bad experience with a record exec changed all that and left a record and loads of work on a shelf, unreleased.

“I guess I’ve always had a faith in… destiny? Which I’m starting to rethink a little late in the game,” said Rose.

Taking control of his fate

“I never wanted the responsibility of making my own fate, because what if I choose wrong? So I never chose anything, as far as a musical career goes,” he explained. “I fell into the camp of people who believe so much in destiny that ‘All I gotta do is keep playing, and sooner or later that record executive is gonna walk through the door, and the rest of my life is going to be peaches. Ha!”

“And then the record executive DID walk through the door, and he turned out to be a fuckin’ scumbag! It was bad…,” he added, “yeah…. It was a long time ago. The record I did with the label – we never released it. That’s what I got for letting destiny introduce me to my future, right? But it still took me a long time to learn any kind of a lesson from that, and I’m just now learning it.”

After caring for the wounds of a less-than-helpful executive, Rose persisted, and eventually came to the lineup and energy that is the Gasoline Pops today.

“That’s why I’m saying that we’re kind of at the beginning, because it’s the first time that I’m really kind of ‘taking charge,’ or taking responsibility for my own future, and making decisions – whether or not they’re the right ones, y’know?” he explained. “Just practicing making decisions, and moving forward at all costs, ’cause stagnation is the enemy. I’d rather be moving backward than not at all.”

Their first European tour

One of those decisions came out of the band’s upcoming first tour in Europe.

“We’re doing an upcoming tour in Belgium & The Netherlands November 15 – December 5,” he explained, “and Donny, our guitar player, can’t come, ’cause he’s gotta get hip replacement surgery. So – rather than picking the next person that came along with a guitar, like I normally would, I held open auditions. I auditioned 20 guitar players.”

“I had to say ‘No’ to 19 of them – which I’ve learned is something I’m not at all good at,” he added. “This is mainly why I always wanted destiny to figure it out for me.”

“But this feels good, and now I know that – out of 20 dudes – I’ve got the cream of the crop.”

 


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Ty Segall Rocks the Summit Music Hall, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Watching my 13-year-old Mosh

Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

Ty Segall and his band put on a great show last Saturday at the Summit- brash, cheerful, noisy rock and roll that shook me out of my usual Trump-era funk. I’ve seen Ty before- watching his rise from gangly young indie phenom to the road-tested but still cheeky rocker he is today. I knew that I wanted to be close, but not too close, so I found myself a safe, middle-aged rock mom hideout at the side of the stage. It’s a great place to watch shows at the Summit- you can see everything, you get to share the stage sound but are protected from the intense volume of the mains, and you are immune from the inevitable mosh pit.

As a life-long rock and roller with a penchant for edgy guitar rock- I’ve been avoiding the mosh pit for many decades. I don’t like being pushed around, period. Also, growing up around the Denver punk scene of the late 80’s- mosh pits were often dominated by scary and aggressive skinheads who seemed to be trying to hurt people, or dipshit boys who paid no attention to anyone but themselves. I loved the energy but I’ve never been so in love with a band that I wanted to risk being trampled or ending up with a broken nose.

So Saturday night as I hung in my stage-side safety zone, checking out Ty Segall’s jubilantly noisy set, I had the perfect view of both of my teenaged kids- the girl, a seasoned rock show veteran at 16, pressed up against the stage gate, throwing elbows and pushing back hard against anyone vying for her prime location.

And then, behind her, I caught a fleeting glance of the boy. My baby-faced, curly-haired boy, dressed in tie dye, all hopped up on Coca-Cola and puberty. He was being bounced around forcibly by a throng of drunk people much older and larger than he, and my first reaction was- I had get him out of there, fast. I also wanted to scold anyone involved in pushing my kid around. He would bob in an out of my line of sight- mostly I caught glimpses of his mop of curls, relieved that if I could see the top of his head, he was not being crushed underfoot by the seething mob. I lost focus on the music and became ensnared in the drama of watching my child at the mercy of the wildly undulating horde.

Ty’s classic “Finger” was a high-point of the set, and for just a minute, the mass of mosh parted in just a way that I caught a full view of my son: sweaty, flushed, ecstatic. He was grinning from ear to ear and bobbing around like a pinball. The music and the mosh pit combined to create a perfect moment: a testosterone and adrenaline-fueled obliteration of the wicked adolescent ego. A safe but not too safe outlet for pent up aggression. A powerful collective experience. Joy.


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The Church Offers Sacred and Profane at Gothic Theater

Photos by Michael McGrath

Australian rockers The Church played a deeply satisfying set of their signature brand of jangly psych rock at the Gothic Theater in Denver on Oct. 11th. The band is touring to support their 26th studio album, the well-received “Man Woman Life Death Infinity.”


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The Shins Shine as if They Were Still Brand-New at Red Rocks

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The Shins play at Red Rocks, October 5, 2017. (Photo: DenverThread)

The Shins play at Red Rocks, October 5, 2017. (Photo: DenverThread)

James Mercer belied his twenty years as the frontman of New Mexico’s The Shins last Thursday night in Morrison in front of a packed Red Rocks amphitheater, showing off their unique pop vitality to the packed amphitheater as if they’d just perfected it. In fact, the entire band showed off what seemed like limitless happiness and energy throughout their nearly two-hour set. But for some wrinkles and a subtle stiffness from time to time, you’d never know that Mercer’s been constantly active in rock for more than two decades.

Keeping up with an unofficial tour tie-in to David Hasselhoff (they covered the theme to “Baywatch” in Oregon recently), the band came out onstage backed by the theme to the ’80s hit tv series “Knight Rider,” and dived right into “Caring is Creepy,” followed right on by “Australia” and “Name for You,” before Mercer addressed the ecstatic crowd. His choice of sustenance had to be pure happiness, because he never stopped grinning all night, and kept his energy level – and the band’s – high and strong.

As they launched into the brilliant “Kissing the Lipless,” the crowd was moving with the band in earnest, screaming every word at the top of so many lungs. After “Mine’s Not a High Horse” things settled somewhat, but only slightly, as Mercer and the band flowed through hits and new songs like “Cherry Hearts,” “Mildenhall,” “Saint Simon,” and “Painting A Hole.”

As the set began to peak, they launched into a medley of “Girl on the Wing” and “Turn a Square,” bookended by the pieces of a cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love,” which seriously re-activated the crowd yet again. Almost perfectly mimicking Tony Lewis’s high-pitched voice, Mercer belted out the first few lines of “Your Love,” and then the band led into the medley, creating a veritable “rock block” for nearly 15 minutes. They wrapped up the main set with emotional, yet refreshing versions of “Phantom Limb” and “Simple Song.”

Before the audience really even had a chance to catch a breath, The Shins were back onstage for an encore that started with “The Fear,” and the popular “New Slang” – truly a highlight of the night. They ended the show with a long, jammy version of “Sleeping Lessons,” which featured a satisfying snippet of the recently deceased Tom Petty’s “American Girl” – no doubt bringing out a few runaway tears and deep sighs in the stands.

Austin iconoclasts and Television aficionados Spoon filled a satisfying opening slot for The Shins, playing their minimalist punky rock while the crowd continued to assemble in the stands, and the sun set behind them. Through tunes like “Inside Out,” “I Ain’t the One,” “Hot Thoughts,” and “Can I Sit Next to You,” they ushered in the excitement early on, a foundation for the rest of the night.


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Ride Charms Denver with Their Howling, Unique version of ’90s Shoegaze

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Photos by Michael McGrath

After a mere 20-year absence from our bustling cowtown with its burgeoning music scene, Ride returned to Denver last Wednesday to play at Summit Music Hall, in front of what must have been close to a sellout crowd. Needless to say, everyone in the audience was more than pleased to see the elusive but hugely influential, four-piece.

When Ride hit the airwaves with their seminal, explosive, and critically acclaimed debut, Nowhere in 1990, they added a level of beautiful legitimacy to the already waning shoegaze genre in Britain. Mostly due to their superior songsmithing skills and mastery of harmonies and melodies, the mop-headed four-piece quickly outdid their noisy competition. Sadly, their run didn’t last – from 1988 through 1995, they were first together less than ten years – but they’d already left an indelible mark on music. Due to a lack of commercial success – or critical acclaim – for their last two albums in that run, things got tense within the band and led to guitarist/vocalist Mark Gardener leaving the band, soon to be followed by vocalist/guitarist Andy Bell, and the band announced their ultimate demise.

First Denver appearance in more than two decades

Happily, they re-grouped in 2014, to the accolades of fans and critics worldwide, and the four-piece made their way to Denver in two decades, playing a somewhat short but ultimately hugely satisfying and exciting set, covering much of that history. If there was any residue of animosity between the band members, they showed no sign of it through the set and played as if they’d never skipped a practice.

The set featured a brilliant mix of old & new

Most of the set was made up of cuts from the new record – Weather Diaries (their first together in 21 years) – beginning with “Lannoy Point,” a signature piece featuring a droning wall of sound and huge, perfect harmonies. They followed with the beautifully rugged “Lateral Alice,” before launching the first from the seminal first LP, Nowhere, with “Seagull.” The set peaked first

The set peaked with the back to back “Dreams Burn Down,” and “Twisterella,” and then again with their huge hit “Vapour Trail,” followed by the droning “Drive Blind,” before they left the stage.

They encored with beautiful versions of “Leave Them All Behind” and “Chelsea Girl,” before leaving the stage for good. After a twenty-year absence, lthis Denver crowd couldn’t have asked for a better gift from Ride – except maybe another visit with much less time in between.


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Here’s What Went Down at the PrettyInPink Show

Photography by Sandisz Thieme

 

On September 15th, Filth Clothing, Kurdo and Yung Filth’s up-and-coming clothing line and promotion company, took over The Armory to host an event featuring performances from Dow Wow, Teddy T, Monte Qauiso, and Kyle Slow, as well as ever so rare performances from Squints Mane and PrettyInPink, the rapper/producer duo between Deucefade and yebutnobutye.

 

Be sure to check out our coverage of the event above and look out for more from Filth Clothing and PrettyInPink.


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Do You Remember the Family Dog in Denver?

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“We were all teenagers, working on coming together – and you know what brought us all together? Music.”  This was how Tony Guillory, former cabaret manager and co-founder of The Family Dog in Denver – likely one of the city’s most significant, and most hidden, venues. Guillory and I were talking that night in the backyard of the Wanamaker family home, some of the Dog’s original staffers, where people from all over had gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the short-lived but hugely influential venue.

The Family Dog Denver was the cowtown’s dream and nightmare

The Family Dog, which occupied the building that now holds PT’s Showclub Denver at 1601 West Evans from September of 1967 to July of 1968 – less than a year – hosted such legendary greats as Janis Joplin/Big Brother & the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, and The Doors and more, in short order (to get deeper into the history of The Family Dog, check out Westword‘s article). The Family Dog not only set the tone for Denver’s future music scene, and made an indelible dent in the world of Rock n’ roll (at least for a slow-growing cowtown on the eastern plains), the venue also effectively launched the career and promotional empire of Barry Fey.

“The Tale of the Dog: the Untold Story of Denver’s Greatest Rock Club” is trying to raise the necessary funds to keep production going – editing the film, distribution, promotion, rights & permissions, and more – and if you give, your donation will be 100% tax-deductible. You can find more information and donate online.

The party Guillory and I were in the middle of was almost a family reunion of old band members, promoters, artists, and personalities all associated with – and very much in love with – the Family Dog. Guillory managed the events at the Denver Dog during its short lifetime,  and then went on to a lifelong career in entertainment, but is by his own account truly a painter. In fact, he got his start in show business by painting set backdrops and helping set up events for many entertainers who turned later out to be legendary stars – including Johnny Mathis. He also managed the band Allmen Joy, about whom he said: “We were going to call the band ‘Snickers,’ but it was too close a rhyme with the sadly popular vernacular of the time.”

His incredibly interesting history includes time spent with the Hell’s Angels and the Rolling Stones in the historic Altamont show, chronicled by the 1970 film “Gimme Shelter,” and booking and managing bands and shows all over the world.

Local family members worked late hours for the bands and the venue

Among the guests were Melody Duggan, and Marilyn and Roy Wanamaker, who all worked at The Dog during its short existence. Roy, who started at the Dog when he was “… 15 or 16 – it’s hard to remember a lot of specifics from back then,” as he put it, used to run the psychedelic light shows that covered the bands as they played.

“I used to hang out on the balcony above the dance floor – and that balcony is still there – with an overhead projector, water, oil, and food coloring, splashing trippy colors all over the bands,” remembered Wanamaker, “among other things. I don’t remember all of them, but I have a lot of good feelings about what I do remember.” Wanamaker also regaled us with some stories about now-legendary rock stars that visited the Dog – including Jim Morrison (“My mother – who everyone just called mom, always said Morrison smelled awful!”), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and more throughout the night.

The other reason all of these beautiful ex-hippies gathered at the Big House that night was to help move a very special film project forward – “The Tale of the Dog: the Untold  Story of Denver’s Greatest Rock Club” – which is being made and produced by Dan Obarski and University of Denver Medieval and Renaissance Art professor Scott Montgomery. A labor of love, the film has nearly reached critical mass as far as content, but is falling short of funds to get fully completed, and the pair are using the nostalgia for an era to generate awareness, and to raise some of that necessary money.

Montgomery and Obarski have been collecting verbal histories, memories, snippets of conversation, and just about anything they can find about the “Denver Dog,” which, regrettably, really isn’t much. They both met at a Family Dog concert poster exhibit in early 2015, and have been hot on the trail to unearth the venue’s true history ever since.

There’s not much proof left of the Family Dog Denver – except posters, and memories

“Aside from some pretty bad videos on YouTube, and the posters in the original exhibit and hanging in the parlor here at the house,” said Montgomery, “there really isn’t much proof the Denver Dog existed, outside of memories.” Part of the cool thing about being at the 50th anniversary was the fact that one room of the house was set aside, cleared out, and dedicated to another exhibit of Denver Dog poster art, only the second ever to . Aging hippies spent a lot of time strolling through, looking at the posters, remembering adventures, sharing war stories – and laughing, smiling, and sometimes tearing up, too.

Among the celebrities at the party was Paul Conley, the keyboardist from the seminal psychedelic band Lothar and the Hand People, who brought with him a veritable archive of magazine and newspaper clippings, photos, and artwork from the band’s early days. Among other revelations about the Hand People’s history that Conley revealed was the fact that they were “…the first band to ever tour and perform live with a synthesizer,” given to them by Bob Moog. He also confirmed that The Beach Boys’  Brian Wilson was inspired by his band’s use of Lothar – their theremin – which he eventually used in the hit “Good Vibrations.”

Every story, every memory, every reunion hug, every gut-bucketful of familiar laughter – all of these added up to the undeniable proof that The Family Dog was – and still is – the seed of Denver’s long rock n’ roll history and its constantly growing music and art scene. The fact that the Denver Dog attracted such a number and stature of celebrities in such a short time – in a desolate area of a small cowtown with nothing, really, more than aspirations to be a big city – as well as a pretty strong hippy scene so far away from Haight/Ashbury, speaks volumes of both the vibe of the place, and its loving, tireless staff.

“Growing up – surviving, there was no money – which supposedly runs things,” waxed Guillory, as the night wrapped up. “But that wasn’t true then. It’s friendship that runs things.”


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The Ageless Rock of X on Point at Summit Music Hall

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Photos by Michael McGrath, story by Molly McGrath

Punk is in its forties now, and everyone is celebrating, including LA’s iconic X. On their 40th anniversary tour, X is showing people that age has changed little, as their live performance remains extremely passionate and exhilarating. This tour included all original members of the band: Exene Cervenka, John Doe, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom. X rocked the Summit Music Hall last Saturday for an excited, age-diverse crowd.

Ahead of X’s return to the Summit stage, Oklahoma City’s Skating Polly provided a set that represented the post-millennial voice of the punk movement. Fronted by 17-year-old Kelli Mayo, the band brings together the eclectic aesthetics of 90’s girl grunge and the chaotic energy of contemporary teenagehood- picture Veruca Salt and Hole having a baby with Darby Crash, but now it’s a teenager and very angry.

X kicked off the set with “Beyond and Back”, and played a  20+ song set representing a variety of their albums. As they played the audience began to push and mosh, and frontwoman Exene Cervenka suggested they “push backwards” to protect people (especially girls) in the front.

Guitarist Billy Zoom, who has recently beat bladder cancer, put on a spectacular show, constantly smiling and making eye contact with members of his audience. Frontman John Doe is essentially ageless. Despite being a man in his sixties, he has the power to create and expend more energy than almost any other artist I’ve seen.

As someone who has grown up on X and loved their music for years, it was an extremely impactful experience to see them live. Exene Cervenka has been one of my idols as a female artist for years, and her performance was radiant. Their show at the Summit reminded me why X is one of the most important American punk bands. Their music, an eclectic combination of punk, blues, and rockabilly, expanded and changed the punk genre, and the lives of so many. It was an amazing experience, and in general, just an extremely impressive set of music.

X is on a limited tour for the rest of September. Check them out!

9/17/2017 / BUFFALO, NY / THE TOWN BALLROOM

9/19/2017 / PORTLAND, ME / THE PORT CITY MUSIC HALL

9/20/2017 / BOSTON, MA / BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL

9/21/2017  / NEW YORK, NY / STAGE48

9/22/2017  /  PHILADELPHIA, PA / UNDERGROUND ARTS

9/23/2017  /  FALLS CHURCH, VA / THE STATE THEATRE

9/25/2017  /  PITTSBURGH, PA / REX THEATER

9/26/2017  /  KENT, OH / THE KENT STAGE

9/27/2017  /  COLUMBUS, OH / SKULLY’S MUSIC DINER


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