Tag: The Bluebird
Somewhere along the way I put aside my point-and-click camera and got serious about concert photography. The first event where I used a DSLR was the 2009 Mile High Music Festival because their photo policy prohibited any other kind of camera in the pits. From there on out I fell in love with the art of photography and tried to capture the experiences I had through photos. Looking back on the last couple of years, here are my favorite 10 shots.
The Fray – MHMF 2009: As someone who had very little experience with a more-professional camera, I was surprised at some of the great shots I got that hot weekend in July of 2009. The Fray closed out my experience at Mile High with a real spectacle: U2′s old stage rig, a big crowd, and a sense of completion.
Monotonix – Monolith 2009: While not a particularly great shot, I will always remember this set from the now-defunct Monolith Festival. It’s the kind of picture that would offend most anyone, therefore it has a certain charm and power that your average concert photo can’t achieve.
Paean – Hodi’s Half Note, December 27, 2009: Being from Fort Collins I found myself up there for the holidays without much to do. When I saw that Danielle Ate The Sandwich was playing a show with a few Act So Big Forest bands at Hodi’s (formerly The Starlight, as I knew it), I said, “Why not?” As it turns out Hodi’s has one of the best light rigs in Northern Colorado. This shot matches great lighting, ambient fog, and perspective in a way that I have seldom replicated.
The Knew – Pulperia release party at the Bluebird, March 6, 2010: At a time when people were just starting to figure out what Something Like Sound was, The Knew were preparing to get big. I ended up seeing the Knew 3 times at the Bluebird (and once at Hi-Dive), and they remain as one of my favorite Colorado acts. I recall seeing this particular shot floating around on their websites for quite some time.
Fellow Citizens – Skylark , October 8, 2010: I saw Fellow Citizens and Old Radio (now Amazing Twin) play two shows at the Skylark within one year. This photo of Fellow Citizens singer Eliza Boote was originally done in color and not cropped, however I edited it for print in the Oredigger newspaper. After looking at the two versions I decided that I liked the black-and-white more- it has a certain aesthetic that is reflective of that time and place.
Andrew W.K. – Warped Tour 2010 (Chicago): I had been to several years of Warped Tours before I decided to live in Chicago last summer, however none of that could prepare me for Andrew W.K. Perhaps one of the most energetic and bizzare performances I’ve ever seen, W.K. thrashed about the stage while putting himself into the most intriguing positions.
Safe Boating Is No Accident – Denver Does Denver 2010: The first show I saw after coming back from Chicago was Denver Does Denver (a fitting return, if I can say so myself). Safe Boating did a set of Pee Pee covers in the Flobots.org community space and something about the lighting in that room lent itself to some really dramatic shots.
Night of Joy – Denver Does Denver 2010: Sometime great photos are purely dumb luck. Another shot for DDD2010, I managed to catch the flash from a camera across the room at the often low-lit Meadowlark. The result: A photo that captures the face-melting nature of a Night of Joy set.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount, November 2, 2010: I bought my tickets for Sufjan nearly 4 months before he came to Denver. Fortunately I snagged some primo seats and was able to snap a few shots with my point-and-click. This photo was taken during a reworked rendition of “Seven Swans” which literally took my breath away.
FLASHLIGHTS – Split Cassette release at Larimer Lounge, February 23, 2011: FLASHLIGHTS usually like to party with the house lights down and their special Rande Kamolz-controlled rig in full operation. This, however, makes getting a decent shot of the group a challenge. I decided to experiment with long shutter speeds and zooming out while taking this photo.
While I have been a bit of a hermit for the last month, I did manage to make it out for a show at the Bluebird last weekend. Now that I’m done with finals, I finally found time to sort through the photos today. Politic certainly had the best lighting setup, although Monroe Monroe was definitely my favorite new act of the evening.
Vices I Admire
Initially I thought someone was pulling my leg: Manchester Orchestra would be playing in Denver, tickets and drinks would be free. Turns out it was true, Atlanta’s own Manchester Orchestra found themselves in Denver last Sunday for the first in a new concert series from whiskey-distillery Jack Daniel’s. To add to the evening’s already excellent premise, local rock group The Knew had the opening spot.
Having seen The Knew more than a few times now, it would be difficult to not repeat myself. That said, the quartet played an excellent set steeped in four-on-the-floor dance beats, catchy lyrics, and rock guitar. Also, a group of my friends (after having a couple complimentary cocktails) suggested that singer/guitarist Jacob Hansen may be the splitting image of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant… I concur.
When Manchester Orchestra took the stage, the venue was pretty well packed, although not at an uncomfortable capacity. Kicking off with “Pride,” the group’s raw energy was on full display as Andy Hull’s softly strummed guitar burst into life as the song reached its first break-out. The set played through like a “best of” record (although, to note, Manchester Orchestra only has 2 LPs out right now). Focusing mostly on their heavier material, Manchester played quite a few older fan favorites including “Wolves at Night,” “Now That You’re Home,” “I Can Barely Breathe.” However, a great mix of songs from Mean Everything To Nothing also made appearances (including “The River,” “My Friend Marcus,” and “I’ve Got Friends”).
I was glad to see my personal favorite “100 Dollars” get played, in addition to a new song (from the forthcoming 3rd MO record due out next year). The grand finale came in the form of “Where Have You Been?”- complete with a Puff Daddy-inspired intro. As the song reached its last refrain, the band began to build into an all-out wall-of-sound guitar driven finale. As the last chords rang out, Hull softly strummed out a stripped-down rendition of “The Only One.” With the set over, Manchester Orchestra retired to the green room, not returning for an encore… none was really needed- they had played all-out, holding nothing back.
A memento from their final show that now hangs on my kitchen wall
As an update to a story covered earlier, Vaux has posted the live recording of their final concert from July 2007. I was at the Bluebird that night to see what Westword called the “Best Show to Rip the Still-Beating Heart Right Out of Your Chest.” While the recording may not do that night its proper justice, it is still a must-download.
The Bluebird was cold and quiet on Tuesday night as a dedicated few came out for Young Coyotes and Fiery Furnaces. With a rather unassuming attitude everything played through with a sort of simple, laid-back vibe.
Young Coyotes started the night up by playing what they were calling “Possibly our last show.” Although unclear about whether any other subsequent appearances are in the works, it did not appear that Young Coyotes would be calling it quits for all of eternity. In fact, they played a couple of new songs which I though were better than some of their previous material. “Hammering” showed a certain maturity both musically and lyrically. Overall, the set was drenched in reverb and a superb way to start the evening. Also noteworthy: Zach Tipton’s ‘fro has gone from great to epic.
Fiery Furnaces took the stage and I did not know what to expect. Having only seen a few videos of the group online I was unprepared for the delightfully fuzzy guitars and constant time-shifts. While the near-constant change-ups kept the growing crowd on its toes, they eventually became a little predictable and thus some people started loosing interest in the music. The Fiery Furnaces set as a whole was still quite enjoyable: a rowdy mix of blues, surf, jazz, punk, and rock.
Saturday night I once again found myself at the Bluebird for a farewell concert. To say that the going-away party for Everything Absent or Distorted was not a passionately epic occurance is to undermine the intentions of the entire evening.
Jim McTurnan & The Kids That Killed The Man kicked off the night to a modest (albiet, relatively small) crowd of EAoD fans dressed completely in white. Their set was solid despite being short their usual extra guitarist.
Armed with the tools of rock and roll (i.e. guitars, lots of hair, and mustaches) The Knew continued the show with their brand of music suitable for any party. Perhaps the best parts of The Knew’s set were when drummer Patrick Bowden supplemented his percussion with harmonica parts.
Finally it was time for the band everyone was there to celebrate: Everything Absent or Distorted. During the hour+ set, I am fairly certain that EAoD played every song they’ve ever written (and even a couple of covers). While tuning between songs various members took the time to pay grattitude to those who had supported the group throughout the years.
Highlights of the evening included (but are not limited to) a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Holland, 1945″ which I think may have been better than the original. A stunning and ruckus rendition of “Japanese War Tuba,” complete with a horn section that included Leanor Ortega (of Hearts of Palm / Five Iron Frenzy) and Shawn King (of Devotchka). And last, but not least, the final number: “Gospel of Slight Rust.” I found myself singing along to the haunting words:
“If you come back you can always find us”
We will be here EAoD, and if you decide to come back some day you will find us waiting, dressed in white.
Gregory Alan Isakov has played an interesting role for the past several months. Rather than being the one with his name up on the marquee, or the man with the hot spot on the festival schedule, he’s been the humble opener. Perhaps it was this humility (and the down-to-earth atmosphere) that made his grand headlining show / vinyl release party at the Bluebird all the more enjoyable.What was even more amazing: the entirely Colorado-local lineup sold out the venue.
The first act was singer-songwriter Andy Thomas (who may possibly be the busiest guy in Denver, holding down jobs at Suburban Home Records & Westword while also drumming for Only Thunder). Thomas, armed only with his acoustic guitar, belted through a quick, folksy set that had a slight punk-feel (similar, I suppose, to Chuck Ragan, but more stripped down).
Friend to the blog Danielle Ate The Sandwich was next. What I found more amazing than just the set was the fact that the house was fairly packed by the time Danielle (& her bassist Dennis) took the stage. Not much more can be said about Danielle’s set than has been said in past reviews: it was charming and her music quickly drew in everyone present. As I recall, the sound-quality that night was superb, and Danielle’s set played incredibly well with the crowd.
Changing things up a bit, Eleanor took the stage with a full-band presence that their mellow pop-styling. The experience was moving, especially for singer Ryan Brasher, who apologized for getting choked up during the second song. Among the highlights were the songs “Would I Have Chosen You?” and the set-closer “It Takes One To Know One.”
By the time Gregory Alan Isakov and his band took the stage, the crowd had reached maximum capacity. Kicking off the set with “Big Black Car,” Isakov & Co. played through nearly every song from 2007′s That Sea, The Gambler and 2009′s This Empty Northern Hemisphere. What captured my attention was the sheer beauty, quality, and simplicity of Greg’s work. Isakov was not the only one who played a solid set, his band was spot-on. After over an hour, everyone left the stage only to return twice for encores. I sincerely doubt that anyone in the crowd left that night feeling as though their money wasn’t well spent.
There are a few loose ends to tie up here. First, we got a video interview with Greg, it will be posted when I find the time to edit the footage. Second, our friend Lance from The Flat Response was there, perhaps he’ll post the sets from that night (I know I’d appreciate them). Finally, This Empty Northern Hemisphere is now available on vinyl, go pick up a copy from Suburban Home Records.