Something Like Sound

Tag: Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Young Coyotes at the Hi-Dive

by on Jan.26, 2009, under Concert Reviews

issue14_youngcoyotes2-timweilertWhat happens when you mix one of Denver’s best hipster bars with some of the best up-and-coming local musicians? The answer: last Friday’s Young Coyotes show at the Hi-Dive. I was first introduced to Young Coyotes during winter break, when I saw them open for the Hot IQs. Even then, I knew I wanted to hear more of their fresh style of music. Before I dive headfirst into a review, let’s start with a little background. In mid-2008, Atlanta based band Moros Eros broke up. A few months later Greeley, CO band The Axe That Chopped the Cherry Tree also called it quits. Zach Tipon and Adam Halferty, who had played and toured together in the above-mentioned bands, decided to start something new. Since then, Young Coyotes have been keeping busy touring and recording material for their upcoming release.

Critics, both local and national, have not let Young Coyotes go unnoticed. Most recently, they were featured in the January issue of Marquee magazine, a Denver music-scene guide, and back in December they recorded a session at Daytrotter, a famous recording studio and website that offers free mp3s of exclusively recorded sessions with some of the biggest names in indie. Needless to say, there was a certain air of excitement at the venue last Friday.

issue14_youngcoyotes1-timweilertThe one word I have used to describe the entire night is relaxed. Even from the first local band, The Wheel, the show played out like a bunch of old friends getting together for a party. The Wheel’s singer, Nathaniel Rateliff, played a reverb-drenched classical guitar while belting out deep, reflective lyrics with his unique baritone. He was backed up by Joseph Pope, who provided organ parts which provided the necessary bass and a polished sound.

Next up was another local group, Bad Weather California. Lead singer Chris Adolf’s intense delivery and Adam Baumiester’s pedal steel guitar work gave them a unique sound. Think Beach Boys meets Black Flag meets steel guitar. To be entirely honest, it would be difficult to accurately describe their sound, but there is one thing that is certain, they put on an entertaining performance.

Finally, it was time for Young Coyotes. They came out and began with one of their more popular songs, “Momentary Drowning.” From there, they played through a number of “older” tunes and new material. I use quotes when saying “older” because this is still an incredibly fresh group, they don’t really have any old songs, just ones that are already available via MySpace. They continued to play through their set, occasionally stopping to figure out which song to do next. Friends of the band shouted out for different songs as the set list wandered throughout the night. During the course of the show, Tipon announced that the group would release about 12 tracks sometime toward the end of February. As they tried to finish their set, the crowd asked for another song and the Young Coyotes delivered. Overall it was a great show, it was well mixed and featured what makes the Denver music what it is: real, talented musicians.

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Concert Review: Danielson at the Hi-Dive

by on Nov.10, 2008, under Concert Reviews

Danielson

Music can be one of the truest forms of self-expression. A prolific songwriter has the ability to convey thoughts and emotions through song. Love, compassion, hope and healing were just a few of the driving factors that led Daniel Smith to begin his musical experiment known as Danielson. Smith, whose strong Christian roots and incredible personal story act as the backdrop for his songs, performed a stunning set at the Hi-Dive last Saturday.

The Hi-Dive has really started to grow on me. After seeing Ra Ra Riot there several weeks ago, I’ve begun to appreciate the cozy atmosphere, free water and excellent sound mixing. The entire night felt like a comfortable gathering of old friends. Ian Cooke, a Denver cellist and songwriter, started the evening with an amazing set. Not only was his instrumental performance nearly flawless, but his smooth voice hit every note. Cooke used a variety of looping effects to create multiple harmonies with himself, a real treat for the ears. At the end of his set, the crowd called for more songs and he extended his set, something I have never seen happen with an opening act.

Daniel Smith & Nedelle

Up next was Cryptacize, an indie-pop band from the Asthmatic Kitty record label. Their simple sound and comically small instruments made for a good show. Catchy hooks and flowing guitar riffs kept the music upbeat.

Finally, it was time for Danielson. Taking the stage in matching pilot’s uniforms, the seven members of Danielson filled the tiny stage at the Hi-Dive. “This song is a clap-along,” said Daniel Smith on multiple occasions throughout the show. In fact, there were clap-alongs, snap-alongs and sing-alongs; all of which got the audience involved and made the set enjoyable. Rather than trying to decode Smith’s religious undertones and unique falsetto, I sat back and enjoyed the show. To celebrate the release of the group’s recently released retrospective album, Danielson focused on playing their best material from the last ten years.

Denver's own Ian Cooke

Playing through songs such as “Idiot Boksen” and “Flip Flop Flim Flam,” Smith and company performed with intensity and sincerity. Danielson ended their set with “Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up” before performing two more songs as an encore (including “Did I Step On Your Trumpet,” one of my personal favorite Danielson tunes). For their performance, I give Danielson’s Denver tour stop five stars and two thumbs up.

Edit: Full bootlegs of this concert are avaiable at http://www.theflatresponse.com

Video from the show: Idiot Boksen


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Concert Review: 3OH!3 sold out at the Gothic

by on Nov.03, 2008, under Concert Reviews

concert3oh3-3-timweilertWhat happens when you take several hundred young people, cram them all into a venue, and add some of the best hip-hop and dance music Colorado has to offer? Answer: You get the epic concert that was 3OH!3 at the Gothic Theater last Saturday.

As part of a two-night stay at the Gothic, Boulder based rap-duo 3OH!3 brought their unique brand of electro-pop-dance infused hip hop to Denver. Tickets for the first night, Halloween, sold out quickly, and I was fortunate enough to secure tickets to the second night’s show. A quick word to the wise: 3OH!3 has sold out every Colorado venue for the last several months. If you want to see them, get tickets as soon as they go on sale.

concert3oh3-2-timweilertThe night began with the old-school hip-hop styling of The Pirate Signal, a Denver based MC and DJ team. After spinning some of the hottest new vinyl, including M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” the duo warmed up the growing crowd with a few songs. Up next was another Denver dance-scene musician, The Chain Gang of 1974. The crowd really got moving as heavy beats and catchy lyrics filled the warm, sticky air. Chain Gang’s best song was by far “We At The Disco,” although their entire set was strong, helping to build the anticipation toward the main act of the night.

However, there was still one more band before 3OH!3 took the stage: Innerpartysystem. The Philadelphia based band had one of the most intense light shows I have ever seen. In addition to using fog machines, they used computerized spotlights, lasers, strobes and lightboxes to supplement their brand of dance music. It was entertaining to watch, but unfortunately Innerpartysystem’s set was not as energetic as what Chain Gang of 1974 had brought.

concert3oh3-4-timweilertJust when I thought things were starting to wind down, the main event happened. As 3OH!3 took the stage, everyone in the packed venue flashed the group’s hand sign. From there, it was a non-stop dance-o-thon. The crowd danced and sang along to some of the group’s hits, such as “Punkb*tch,” “Chokechain” and “I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby.” Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte performed numerous dance stunts while singing. As their set came to a close, everyone at the Gothic knew the night wasn’t over. 3OH!3 came back and played four more songs for an encore, including radio hits “Holler Till You Pass Out” and “Don’t Trust Me.”

As someone who usually does not go for hip-hop and dance music, I had initially been skeptical of Colorado’s newest musical phenomenon. However, after seeing their intense live show, I must say that it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I have ever attended. Try to catch the duo next time they play a show here in Colorado, and good luck getting tickets.

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Concert Review: Fear Before at the Marquis

by on Nov.03, 2008, under Concert Reviews

concertfearbefore1-timweilertIn recent years, the music scene in Denver has grown and transformed. As the Mile High City continues to play host to world-famous musicians, the homegrown music scene continues to burst at the seams. Specifically, the hardcore scene in Denver has seen quite a bit of excitement in the last few years. In summer 2007, when longtime Denver hardcore group Vaux decided to call it quits, things were looking fairly grim. However, as I witnessed Friday night, the Denver hardcore scene is alive and kicking (and punching).

Fear Before, formerly known as Fear Before the March of Flames, was in town, playing at the Marquis Theater in LoDo. This show was significant in that it celebrated the release of the group’s new self-titled album.

The atmosphere at the Marquis that night was rather jovial and mischievous. Zombies, pirates and ghouls came out in addition to the hardcore scenesters. The emcee for the night was Maris the Great, a guy who dresses up like a zombie king and makes appearances at Denver area punk shows. The first couple of bands, In Separate Cities and Set Fire To Athens, got the crowd moving and kept things at a reasonable pace.

concertfearbefore4-timweilertUp next was the band High Five. This hardcore group played their set while dressed up like cops (similar to what you’d see on Reno 911 or Super Troopers). Although I did not find their music very enthralling, I was entertained by the large group of hardcore dancers that took over the main floor of the venue. “Tear this place apart!” yelled High Five’s lead singer as they started their set. Flying fists, scissor kicks, flailing arms and various kinds of flips came from the crowd as heavy beats filled the venue.

After High Five came a slight change of genre. The pop-punk band Animo played through their set, which was a nice changeup. Their lyrics were actually discernable and their melodies were catchy. At one point they even threw in a Misfits cover, and later did a sing-a-long.

Finally, it was time for the main act. Fear Before, for as long as I have been following them, has been on a constant journey with their sound. This show celebrated their new material, while paying homage to their older songs. With guitars blaring, lights flashing, and costumes in place, Fear Before played through an hour-long set. The best way to describe the set is to say that it began as a slow burner. The crowd, tired and battered from four previous bands, almost seemed ready to go home.

However, as Fear Before continued through the night, the energy and intensity in the venue rose, and then peaked toward the end of the set. They played through some of my personal favorite Fear Before songs, such as “Mouth,” “High As A Horse” and a new number, “Fear Before Doesn’t Listen To People Who Don’t Like Them.” In all, the concert was an exciting homecoming for one of Denver’s most innovative hardcore bands.

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Concert Review: Green River Ordinance at CSM Homecoming 2008

by on Oct.06, 2008, under Concert Reviews

Friday night, as the sun began to set and the Homecoming field events wrapped up, the M on Mount Zion began slowly

Green River Ordinance, Courtesy Andrew Ferguson, www.andrewferguson.net

Green River Ordinance, Courtesy Andrew Ferguson, www.andrewferguson.net

flickering on, as it had done for decades. However, Friday night was different. After a few quick speeches from members of Blue Key and Golden Mayor Jacob Smith, the dull yellow lights disappeared as the bright white light of energy-efficient LEDs began to shine. According to Blue Key, the old bulbs cost approximately $2300 a year to maintain, while the new LED bulbs will only cost around $180.

Following the ceremony was the Homecoming concert, which featured Ft. Worth, Texas band Green River Ordinance (GRO). After dropping out of college during their senior year, the members of GRO set out to follow their dreams of a becoming successful with music. Jamey Ice, GRO’s guitarist, said “We were going to take a year off and our parents said ‘We’ll give you one year, and if you don’t get a record deal you have to go back to school.’ That year it worked out really well, we sold a bunch of records, toured the country and signed to Capitol Records last October.”

As a band that lists the likes of Jimmy Eat World, U2, Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind as their influences, Green River OrdinanceO lived up to expectations that night. Their set started off slowly, and after playing a mellow opening

The M switches over, Courtesy Andrew Ferguson, www.andrewferguson.net

The M switches over, Courtesy Andrew Ferguson, www.andrewferguson.net

song, the band invited the crowd to gather in and enjoy the show. As the night cooled off, the crowd warmed up. Green River Ordinance played through a number of catchy tunes and even threw in a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” toward the end of the set.

After playing for nearly an hour and a half, the concert was over. “I thought the show was pretty cool,” said Ryan Hild, “It was nice and relaxed; the band played well.” Other CSM students shared Hild’s sentiments. “I thought it was totally awesome,” said Drew Meyer, “I thought they had a really crisp, clean sound and I really liked listening to them.”

Green River Ordinance plans on touring the east coast in the near future, then supporting their record, which comes out in February 2009.

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Concert Review: Ra Ra Riot at the Hi-Dive

by on Sep.22, 2008, under Concert Reviews

Two weeks ago we ran a music review about an up-and-coming music act from Syracuse, New York, named Ra Ra Riot.

Coincidentally, Ra Ra Riot happened to be playing in Denver this last week. Their new album The Rhumb Line, recently released on Barsuk Records, has received excellent reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine and has potential to make this band the next big thing.img_0420

The Hi-Dive, a self-proclaimed “Indie Rock Bar,” is a cozy venue buried in the heart of southern Denver. What the venue lacked in size, it made up for in sound. Not only was the show well mixed, but also comfortably loud.

The first opening act, Pepi Ginsberg, was smooth and original. Her songs told stories about a variety of topics, including tides and escaped convicts. Inventive lyrics, coupled with Ginsberg’s distinct voice, made for an enjoyable opener.

Following Ginsberg was the experimental-electro-pop group Walter Meego. Armed with a plethora of vintage synthesizers, effects pedals, and drum machines, Walter Meego got the entire venue moving and dancing. They played with intensity and did not stop between songs.

Finally it was time for the headliner: Ra Ra Riot. Somehow the entire six-member band fit on the small stage and did not injure each other during the course of the night. As soon as their set started, they jumped right in to some of their most upbeat numbers. After playing through about three songs, they finally stopped to introduce themselves and then continued right on through their set.

Ra Ra Riot is still a fairly new band on the indie-pop music scene, and this was evident in the choice of set list. While most bands could go back years into their repertoire, Ra Ra Riot only has an EP and a newly released album of material. This fact, however, did not hamper the group as they played through almost every song they have released. Some of the highlights included a stunning rendition of “Winter ’05,” “Dying Is Fine,” “Ghost Under Rocks,” and my personal favorite “Too Too Too Fast” (which was performed with a good mix of synthesizer). Their recordings really do not do them justice, because the heavy hitting dance-beat drumming was really more prominent during their live set.

As their set came to a close, the crowd would not stop cheering. “Alright, we’ll save you the trouble of going off stage then coming back on again,” said singer Wes Miles. After a quick encore the night was over.

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Concert Review: Ben Gibbard & Chris Walla’s DNC Concert for a Cool Climate

by on Sep.01, 2008, under Concert Reviews

Of all the things I did in 2008, this was by far my favorite. When the DNC rolled into town some big names came out to support Obama. A long-time Death Cab for Cutie fan I was ecstatic when I scored a VIP/Press pass to the Concert for a Cool Climate. Not only was it an amazing show, but it also lead into one of the craziest bus rides I’ve ever been on (RTD at 1 am is interesting, ask me about it some time)

-Tim

invite

deathcabforcute-chriswalla

Some big names came to town last week as the Democratic National Convention turned the Mile High City into one of the biggest parties of the year. Denver became like Austin during SXSW; almost non-stop live entertainment and music filled downtown until the odd hours of the morning. The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy lobbyist group, hosted an exclusive invite-only shindig with a musical performance by special guests Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie.

Downtown Denver is home to a number of beautiful old buildings that have been renovated into music venues and dance halls. The 102 year old Sherman Center, where this particular concert was held, provided incredible acoustics and an attractive vintage facade.

The concert began with Graham Colton, a singer-songwriter from Oklahoma. “I normally play with a full band,” explained Colton as he transitioned between songs. Even without a backup band, Colton’s smooth vocals and acoustic guitar helped set the mood for the night. As he finished his set, the crowd began to gather in and anticipate the headline act.

However, no DNC party would be complete without a little political preaching. LCV’s president Gene Karpinski took the stage and introduced a number of politicians with environmental agendas. The crowd became excited as Democratic congressmen and senators from across the country voiced their support for renewable energies, and disdain for the current administration. “Obama” was the keyword that night, as it always managed to garner applause and cheering from concertgoers. Finally, Washington state governor Christine Gregorie took the stage to introduce the guests of honor.

Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla took the stage and embarked on a musical exploration of some of Death Cab’s best songs, performed with simple arrangements and acoustic instruments. Even though their newest album Narrow Stairs was released only a few months ago, they did not focus entirely on playing new material.

In fact, one of the first songs was “Photobooth,” which originally appeared on their 2000 EP Forbidden Love. From “Talking Bird” to “Brothers On A Hotel Bed,” every song had a beautiful simplicity. The natural sound, coupled with the warm August air, made the evening play through like a dream.

As the set ended, the crowd cheered loudly and continued until Death Cab For Cutie came back for an encore. The first of their final two songs was a shaky rendition of The Decemberists’ “Engine Driver.” “Colin [Meloy] is going to kill us,” remarked Gibbard as he stumbled over the lyrics. Laughter and cheering filled the auditorium as they finished the song and went right into “The Sound of Settling.” By the time the show was over, every person in the venue was standing, singing along and cheering.

Whether you appreciate their politics or not, Death Cab For Cutie does put on one of the best live shows out there. Even with a stripped down set, they still managed to evoke emotion and excitement from a venue full of politicians, delegates, and other suit-wearing guests.


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Concert Review: CSM Choir and Band Spring 2008 Concert

by on Apr.28, 2008, under Concert Reviews

Mines students have been unjustly stereotyped as “uncreative.” Within the last month CSM has seen the release of the newest issue of High Grade, stellar performances by Mines Little Theater, and most recently, the spring concert for the CSM Choir and Band. The band program, which was started over 50 years ago, has seen a variety of manifestations and performance venues, from football games to concert halls. The choir, which also has a rich history of performance and excellence, opened the night.concert1

As the Melodic Majors and Minors finished their harmonious rendition of “Lollipop,” the main chorus took the stage. As they filled Bunker Auditorium with the sounds of unamplified, a capella voices, a certain sense of wonder came over the audience. Although Latin may be a dead language, the words came alive during the choral rendition of Carl Orf’s “Carmina Burana.” The selected pieces ranged from traditional songs to modern music. The finale, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” was an enjoyable take on a classic rock ballad.

Following the choir, the Flute Choir took center stage. The selections of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” were played with a gentle grace and fluid harmony. Finally, the main Concert Band performed their set. “This piece was written by a trombonist,” said director Robert Klimek. “He wrote it for the opening of a hat shop his wife had opened. Unfortunately the shop closed down after only about a month, I think they must have spent all their money on hiring a band.” Klimek proceeded to conduct two pieces written by David Bobrowitz, followed by a piece by Tschaikovsky. At this point Klimek addressed the audience again. “The composer’s notes for the next piece state that this song is intended to ‘drive percussionists nuts.’” A rousing and energetic rendition of Andrew Boysen Jr.’s “Relentless” followed. The final song of the night was conducted by graduating drum major Chase Ruff. Klimek introduced the final number by saying, “We’ve had a theme song. Whether it’s a patriotic event, Mother’s Day, a salute to heroes, or any occasion, our theme shows up. Pirates!” With those words, Klimek invited Ruff to conduct the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” As the show ended the band played an energizing and spirited version of the CSM fight song.

The spring concert was a bittersweet occasion for the music program at Mines as the LAIS department celebrated their graduating musicians. Andrew Cavendor, a graduate student and French horn player, was involved with the music program for six years. “This is how I was able to stay sane,” said Cavendor. “Not only do you get about 60 new friends, but you have the ability to see different aspects of Mines that you wouldn’t normally get to experience. Playing for alumni has always been enjoyable, because of the school spirit and pride that is involved.” Michael Krizmanic, another graduating member, played trumpet with the band during his entire college experience. “Tonight I really enjoyed the whole performance, because everything came together,” said Krizmanic.

As one of the top artistic events of the spring semester, the choir and band concert showed that Mines students can be successful in areas other than engineering.

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