Tag: Hello Kavita
Oh the subjectivity! Trying to decide on my favorite shows from the last few years is truly a difficult proposition. For this post I’m just going to talk about shows that were not a part of bigger festivals. These shows serve as a sampling of events that had such an impact that I can still remember them today.
Hot IQs – Farewell show at The Bluebird – June 19, 2009: The first Denver band I ever got in to was Hot IQs. I would listen to them on KCSU in Fort Collins when I was in high school. I saw them a few times before their farewell show, and every time was something special. Their at-capacity grand finale at the Bluebird was no exception: burlesque dancers, a Cookie Monster costume, and some of the catchiest pop-rock this city has ever known.
Hot Congress Prevue – Patrick Kelly’s Apartment – October 16, 2009: Pulling up to the ill-kept apartment building on Pearl St. had me second-guessing my choice to go downtown until I got inside and experienced the wild house party thrown by Hot Congress. That night introduced me to a bunch of great acts: Old Radio (now Amazing Twin), Night of Joy, the Jim Jims, and Fissure Mystic.
Everything Absent or Distorted – Farewell show at the Bluebird – October 24, 2009: I cannot remember a more raucous, energetic, and ultimately melancholy show than EAoD’s last big gig. Playing through every song they had ever written (and then some), the 11+ members of EAoD kept going until nearly 3 am.
Brand New – The Fillmore – January 30, 2010: Another throw back to my high school years, Brand New has always had a special place in my music library. As I grew up my tastes changed and Brand New changed along with them. No longer an emo-troupe, they brought their newer style of manic Lonesome Crowded West-inspired music to the Fillmore in a set that celebrated the new while appreciating the old.
Tjutjuna & Fissure Mystic – 7″ Split release at Meadowlark – February 5, 2010: Apart from Dick Dale (king of the surf guitar), the loudest show I have ever been to was Tjutjuna at the Meadowlark. With Woodsman and Fissure Mystic opening, it was certainly a night of intense psych the likes of which I have seldom seen replicated.
Julian Lynch – The Low Key – May 20, 2010: On an unassuming street in north Fort Collins sat a rather normal looking house. This was no ordinary house, it was the residence of Matt Sage who had dubbed it “The Lowkey.” During his time there Matt hosted shows for the underground and experimental alike. I happened to be in Ft. Collins one summer when Julian Lynch came through for a set of experimental tunes. I still remember sitting in that basement taking in the sound and color.
Denver Does Denver 2010 – August 28, 2010: It was fitting that my return from Chicago was marked by a showcase of Denver music and art. Hearing Safe Boating is No Accident take on Pee Pee, Pink Hawks doing Bad Weather California, and the Flobots performing Hot IQs made this an unforgettable event.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount – November 2, 2010: Last fall was undoubtedly the hardest academic semester I ever undertook. This had me feeling down on most things, concerts included. Fortunately I was lifted out of my funk by the prolific Sufjan Stevens. This performance helped me realize how magnificent The Age of Adz really is.
Hello Kavita – Farewell show at the Hi-Dive – December 28, 2010: Of all the times I saw Hello Kavita, this one was my favorite. Not only did Roger, Roll open (it was their farewell show too), but Hello Kavita played one of the fullest sets I can recall. From old and new originals, to Steely Dan covers, and a mash-up of “Colorado” with Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” it was Hello Kavita at their best.
Bad Weather California – Rhinoceropolis – February 18, 2011: I will close with this show, because it stands as a harbinger of things to come. While I only went to the Rhinoceropolis a few times during the life of SLS, I was always impressed by the nature of the place: it is a venue that encourages innovation. Bad Weather California has played the warehouse space more times than most, and as the group prepares for the release of their new full-length I can’t help but wonder where they’ll go and what kind of audience they’ll reach.
I was honestly a little surprised at the crowd that showed up for a show just a week before Christmas. However, when considering that it was the last time anyone would be seeing Hello Kavita and Roger, Roll live, the cozy atmosphere at the Hi-Dive made sense. Both of those groups played stellar sets filled with old and new favorites, songs that helped shape music in Denver for several years. Sarah Slaton opened the night and blew me away with her beautiful rendition of “The First Noel.”
By the time Sunday rolls around chances are you’re going to be on the verge of passing out from exhaustion. Drink some coffee and cram down another slice of cheap pizza, it’s time for the final set of SLS picks for the UMS.
SUNDAY, JULY 25
Hello Kavita (Goodwill parking lot, 4:30pm): 2009′s To A Loved One was one of my favorite records of the year (regardless of the fact that Hello Kavita is a local group). Catch their set if you dig Wilco, Neil Young, or the like. Edit: As pointed out in the comments, Hello Kavita is going on hiatus following this performance, so don’t miss it!
Tjutjuna (Hi-Dive, 6pm): Spacey and loud, Tjutjuna will have you coming back for more. This group recently released a record called Conch Shell for free via their blog.
Old Radio (Club 404, 7pm): If shoegaze is your thing, then don’t miss Old Radio. They’re a bit of a local super group with a veritably stacked lineup. Unfortunately they’re not the only ones to see at 7.
Arliss Nancy (Skylark, 7pm): Another group from Fort Collins making their mark on the scene in Denver, Arliss Nancy has a raw sound that’s just as country as it is rock-and-roll (and perhaps a little punk too).
The Jim Jims (Club 404, 10pm): She’s drunk, you’re horny; why not have some fun and see The Jim Jims? Their set at Patrick Kelly’s apartment party was a highlight of one of the best parties I went to last year.
Woodsman (Hi-Dive, 11:55pm): Sometimes they’re spacey and ambient; sometimes they’ve got a driving tribal beat. Woodsman always manages to keep things fresh, something Pitchfork recently picked up on (but we’ve been talking about for months already). Also, their set is the last one of the entire week’s festivities, so if you haven’t passed out yet, it would be a good idea to go.
This year’s Westword Music Showcase was a balancing act between seeing groups we’d never seen before and old favorites. The day’s schedule put some of our favorite groups on during the same time-periods, as well as pitting groups we’d heard great things about against groups we knew to be spectacular. The solution we decided on was this: with a few exceptions, we’d spend no more than 25 minutes at a particular set, giving us time to rush to other shows going on at the same time and catch the end of their act. While we hated to leave some of our favorite acts early, we also got to see a good portion of Denver’s amazing music scene.
We started the day off at Bar Standard for Mike Marchant’s set. As always, the passionate playing of Marchant and the rest of his band was emotive and powerful. The group ended their set with a medley of songs. As always, Marchant’s much-vaunted songwriting ability and huge stage presence provided a great way to kick off the day.
Every Houses show seems to be exponentially better than their last, and we couldn’t resist sticking around the Bar Standard to catch the beginning of their act. Although the massive band was playing on a stage the size of a small apartment’s living room, their presence filled the whole of the venue. The venue filled up as Houses took the stage, and the group’s unique combination of indie and classic rock didn’t disappoint. Sadly, after we heard some of our favorite songs, we faced our first scheduling conflict of the day and left to see Achille Lauro.
This band has become much better live since last time we saw them. They easily filled up the huge space of the Curious Theatre and the on-stage banter between band members filled a void that was present in the past. Although we only caught the end of the set, we were happy to hear some of our favorite songs – “No Breaks” and “Friend’s War,” included in the mix.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich
Though we’ve seen Danielle countless times, with her being up next in the Curious, we couldn’t help but stay for a few of her songs. Charming as ever, Danielle was joined by her occasional bassist Dennis for what is always a treat. We heard a few delightful and quirky songs from her upcoming album Two Bedroom Apartment before leaving for the next act.
After the soothing and relaxed playing of Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Kinetix’s set at City Hall was auditory whiplash. Kinetix may be, musically, the polar opposite of every band we’d seen so far, but the passion and energy they played with easily allowed us to switch gears. While their style makes it temping to call them a jam band, Kinetix is much more than this – interesting and catchy hooks combined well with a powerful beat that got a packed crowd moving. This was the most exciting act we’d seen all day, and kept us going as the day wore on.
Next was Accordion Crimes at Sutra. An incredibly high-intensity band, Accordion Crime’s music matched the packed, hot, and sweaty atmosphere of Sutra. The group was extremely tight and blew us away with their musicality. Despite a few technical hic-ups, the show was very powerful and passionate.
The Curious Theatre was running a few minutes later than most of the other venues and we were lucky enough to catch the end of Ian Cooke’s set. Having seen Cooke’s solo set a few weeks ago at the D-Note, it was amazing to see how different he was with a full band. The full band provided a much fuller sound to the songs and gave a wholly different character. Songs that are beautiful from their simplicity in his solo act become beautiful from their exceptional orchestration in his full set. The two or three songs we saw from Cooke were enough to remind us of his incredible musical talent.
The 4:15-5:00 slot provided another tough choice – favorites Hello Kavita, Candy Claws and Astrophagus were playing, exceptional national act Neon Indian started at 4:30, and a number of great bands we’d not seen live were playing at the same time slot. While we wanted to get to as many of these bands as possible, we just couldn’t skip the exceptional band Hello Kavita at the Curious. Their set started off a bit disappointingly, their first song or two not being as clean as we’re used to. However, the band seemed to make a few adjustments as their act went on, and the relaxed pop sounds of the band filled the air of the Curious Theatre and made us remember why we like this band so much. Forced to move on to the next act after a few songs, we were very sad to have to miss the end of Hello Kavita’s set.
Candy Claws’ almost indescribable music is a great treat, and we were happy to head to Vinyl to see their ethereal poppy set. The band seems extremely focused and professional when they perform, but the music they play has a tone of unbridled, child-like joy. The huge band barely fit on the stage they were put on, but they were still able to delight the audience. Their less-than-standard approach to pop music was a perfect preface to Neon Indian, playing on the main stage.
Neon Indian’s minimalistic psychedelic pop filled the air as we entered the main stage for the first time. While the large crowd enjoyed the music, Neon Indian isn’t fit for an outdoor stage. Too much of the group’s brilliant music was lost due to crowd noise and a lack of boundaries to contain it. Certain sounds, subtle and masterful in their recorded music, were overpowering in the outdoor stage. As such, we left after a few songs, heading indoors again.
Chain Gang of 1974
City Hall was packed for the super-intense music of Chain Gang of 1974. Both die-hard fans and newcomers filled the venue, dancing and screaming to the up-beat music of Kamtin Mohager and back-up musicians. Mohager is more of a rock star than anyone else in the Denver music scene, strutting around the stage like Keith Richards and filling the stage with an intense presence. More importantly, his intensity backs up his music, which is at times psychedelic, at times punk, and at times pop, but always dancy and powerful. This was quite the switch from the previous few groups we’d seen, but it was a welcome change and a great way to set the mood for the passionate performers we’d end our night with.
John Common and the Blinding Flashes of Light
With the Curious Theatre still running a bit late, we were able to catch the end of John Common and the Blinding Flashes of Light’s set. It was standing room only in the venue and the huge crowd wasn’t disappointed. The group lived up to its name, as their intensity of playing was almost disorienting. Although we only caught the last few songs the group played, we’re already looking forward to seeing them again when the UMS comes in July.
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake
While the Curious was full for John Common, it seemed to overflow when Snake Rattle Rattle Snake took the stage. The group brought the crowd to its feet by halfway through its first song, and the band’s pounding dance rhythms kept the audience dancing the whole way through. While we had originally wanted to see some other groups playing at the 6:15 time slot, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake’s music kept us glue to their set (and had we wanted to leave, the massive crowd seemed un-navigable). Easily the highest-energy group of the day, Snake Rattle Rattle Snake was a great way to end the local portion of the showcase.
After seeing an incredible group of Denver musicians, Superchunk’s indie rock/punk playing seemed a bit lacking in intensity. Perhaps this was due to them being outdoors, but the group’s fabled energy didn’t seem to come across. Still, the music was excellent, and more than made up for their lack of intensity.
Finally, after a surprisingly short wait, the headliners come on the main stage. Ghostland Observatory is famed for their amazing light shows and huge stage presence, and their performance on Saturday showed how deserving of that fame they truly are. While their music was not our favorite style, the performance nevertheless made it a show worth going to. After a long day, only an exceptional show could have kept us interested – and Ghostland Observatory provided exactly what we needed.
“It’s a city holiday today, right?” said a young woman parking her car on S. Broadway Saturday morning. “It’s the Westword Music Showcase – we must be able to park for free!” That sort of passion for music and love for the Denver music scene was the highlight of the day. Each concert we’ve been to since last year’s Westword has seemed to be better than the last, and this year’s showcase was a culmination of the great music scene Denver continues to develop.
Check out The Flat Response for some great recordings from Saturday’s concert, including Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Dirty Projectors, Flashbulb Fires, and Superchunk. http://www.theflatresponse.com/
Last year, when SLS was still in its first stages, we got a big boost from local music journalist Dave Herrera at Westword when he asked me to nominate 20 bands for the 2009 showcase. A year has passed and once again I was asked to nominate 20 local bands that had made an impression on me. In the spirit of transparency, I’m going to list the bands I nominated. I decided to choose acts I had not previously nominated.
Be sure to check out these groups (even if a few didn’t make the final list) and vote for your favorites by clicking here.
In no particular order… Tim’s picks for the 2010 Westword Music Showcase:
Gregory Alan Isakov
John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light
Jim McTurnan & The Kids That Killed The Man
Wednesdays are also kinda boring, but this video is not! If you haven’t heard the new Hello Kavita record, then you must! It’s one of the best albums of 2009 (I’d personally say that it beats any French indie-pop out there). Here are my random thoughts about the beautiful work that is Hello Kavita’s newest music video for “The Last Time.”
- Corey Teruya must have one of the most wrinkle-fee shirts in the entire state.
- Jimmy Stofer has one of the cleanest torque wrenches (or is it a large ratchet? I can’t quite tell) in the entire state.
- Everyone else in the band doesn’t have the cleanest wrench or the most wrinkle-free shirt, but they all take their sweet time being reflective and deep… it’s moving.
I had an interesting time interviewing Hello Kavita right before their CD release party for To A Loved One. It was interesting in that we had a good conversation and there were a few surprises thrown in (if you watch through enough of the video you’ll get to see a cameo appearance by Houses guitarist Mike Marchant).
When classes ended at the Colorado School of Mines in May of 2009 we got a wild idea: let’s curate a compilation of our favorite local acts and give it away for free! Over the span of 6 months we managed to gather a group of songs that reflect the diversity and quality of the Denver music scene. It is my hope that everyone can find a track that they enjoy on this compilation and discover something wonderful and new. Please support the artists who contributed by purchasing their music and attending their concerts.
The Hi-Dive was abuzz with well-wishers and friendly faces on Friday night as Hello Kavita took the stage to celebrate an album 9-months in the making. The night played through with a variety of “feel-good” tunes and stellar performances.
Up first was It’s True!, an Omaha-based group with a strong grasp of dynamics. At certain points there was nothing except soft, beautiful melodies, however, within the same song grand crescendos swept over the stage and out into the crowd. Unlike most bands who shift quickly from quiet to loud, It’s True! managed to do so with a certain grace that was charming.
Hometown heroes Houses took the stage to further warm up the cozy room. Ripping through nearly every one of my favorite songs from their Spring and Summer EPs, they managed to pull off a solid set without a proper sound-check. Perhaps my favorite tune was a new song called “Scone.” As the set closer, this song started out very much like any other Houses tune, then dropped down and built up into an amazing climactic ending.
If you haven’t read my review of To A Loved One, go do that before reading this. As Hello Kavita started played through their set, each of the songs from that record came to life in a new and transcendent way. While the recorded version of To A Loved One maintains a certain warmth, its live counterpart embodied a heartfelt and moving form that cannot be recorded (even on analog tape).
As the set closed out, singer Cory Teruya invited Houses up to the stage for a lively rendition of Neil Young’s “Alabama.” It was probably one of the best things I’ve seen (and heard) in quite some time. Something Like Sound will be giving away one copy of To A Loved One at some point in the near future (once I can think up a non-lame contest)…
I remember the first time I heard Hello Kavita. It was at the 2009 Westword Music Showcase, and I thought someone had kidnapped Jeff Tweedy and forced him to play a small theater in Denver. While Hello Kavita does often draw comparisons to Wilco and Neil Young, they possess a distinct originality and cohesive sound.
I recall first listening to “Sunday” and “To A Loved One” as part of a free-preview (see below), and thinking “If the entire record is this good, then this might just be one of the best Denver-local records of the year.” Now, during what may be my 6th or 7th listening of the entire To A Loved One album, I am convinced.
From the first track, “I’m Not,” singer Cory Terayu’s soothing voice and lyrics couple with the incredible production values to leave the listener excited and eager for more feel-good tunes. Other highlights include the sleepy horn-parts threading their way though “Pillar” and the soft steel guitar parts on “The Last Time.” However, it’s not just the music that is memorable, lyrical hooks and imagery evoke a certain nostalgic response on the part of the listener. I have jokingly said, “Hello Kavita managed to make Wilco (The Album) better than Wilco did.” To prove this point, just listen to “This May Be Over Someday.” However, despite all the comparisons to that Chicago-based group, “Colorado” closes out the album as a song about the resilience of life in the centennial state.
Hello Kavita is offering a small taste of the full record with free downloads of “Sunday” and “To A Loved One” through this website. They have also been gracious enough to put the entire album on their MySpace player (which we’ve embedded here), so you have no reason to not hear these guys. Finally, the release party for To A Loved One is going down this Friday (October 23) at the Hi-Dive (click on the poster for more info).