Not too long ago, we reported on a few local bands on DenverThread that continue to contribute to a rougher, heavier, more noisy sound than most of the local (and sometimes national) press seems to focus on. This part of the Denver scene continues to grow in both band members and fans, and the Hi-Dive hosted an all-local, all noisy and all fun lineup that showcased some of them last Thursday night. Including Solar Bear, Ideal Fathers, St Elias and Colors, it attracted a more than modest crowd, and kept the fans fascinated – often dancing to some metal-dipped prog-rock and post punk.
Solar Bear and St. Elias bookended Ideal Fathers’ set with a somewhat similar vibe based in different sub genres of prog, which actually made the latter band’s style stand out. Not that the two are clones – to the contrary. St Elias played some well- executed instrumental constructions chock full of thick, syrupy chords that often recalled “Hemispheres” era Rush enveloped in some strong hardcore, while Solar Bear assaulted the room with a faster, wilder sound. Where St. Elias laid out jazzy and off-the-beaten fretboard progressions, Solar Bear (or, as their attractively simple t-shirts called them, Solar Mother Fucking Bear) looped stringwork around fuzz and screaming that approximated Mudhoney in an experimental mood, influenced by Glenn Branca as much as Ian MacKaye, and a little by the psychotically perfect meanderings of Greg Ginn.
For my money, it was Ideal Fathers’ set that anchored the night with a hotwired set of quick, smart post punk with just a dusting of metal and grindcore, and plenty of screaming humor to boot. Guitarist Adam Rojo’s performance was typically strong, fast and fun, as he continued the process of solidifying his space in the guitar god pantheon with his Andy Gil meets East Bay Ray style, steeped in reverb and pedal mastery. Bassist Mike King machine-gunned bass lines like clockwork, matching Mike Perfetti’s frenetic drumming perfectly. All the while, frontman Jesse Hunsaker belted out his signature howling yelp – just about unmatched in Denver right now – screaming pop-culture-soaked stream of consciousness, just barely weighing down maniacal laughter. It seeped through a few times, and endeared his audience.
These bands represent a strong, fun, loud future for Denver music, and there are plenty more of them on the same path – or at least similar trails.