Gathering of the Clouds, 10/21/10 - 10/23/10
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Tom Murphy Action Packed Thrill Ride
The final night of The Gathering of the Clouds began with Action Packed Thrill Ride. Instead of the concisely well-written countrified rock for which the outfit is known, the band played more of a straight-ahead pop-rock set, but with no skimping on the energy and charm these guys typically put into every show. Mark Cawthray's friendly demeanor and earnest vocal delivery, coupled with Lucas Johannes and John Evans's manic energy and grounded by Duncan Dotterrer's solid timekeeping, made for music that could be both loose and wild as well as catchy.
Tom Murphy Hearts in Space
The deserty psychedelia of Hearts in Space probably comes across to some as straight-ahead rock music, but a discerning listener will hear shades of tone and rhythm that make the music a little weird. Jordan Huebner and Ezra-David Darnell are still honing their craft as vocalists, but their confidence as performers has grown immensely since their first show a few months back. A bit like the countrified Brian Jonestown Massacre, without the druggy vibe. The band is immediately likable because the people on stage are so humble and personable without the usual self-deprecation you often find among many Denver musicians.
Tom Murphy Anna.Martina.Ross
One of the most anticipated performances of this festival happened when Anna.Martina.Ross took stage. Anyone who ever saw Matson Jones -- a band that broke up a few years just as it was well on its way to popularity well outside of Denver -- kind of knew what was in store. On this night, as a three-piece, this project received a very favorable reaction to its simple pop songs, crafted from drums, two cellos and two voices. The set served as a reminder of what these people had done previously that garnered such a dedicated following and what is in store when the band starts writing new material.
Tom Murphy Overcasters
It's possible that Overcasters played twice as long this night, but you couldn't tell by the momentum it kept up throughout. Between the projections and the thick atmospheres coming off stage, it didn't seem like keeping track of time mattered for a change. The rest of our lives, most of us are on the clock in one way or another, and Overcasters derailed that thought process with another strong performance, again giving us that powerful visual complement to the music to make the mundane world shrink away for as long as the band and the audience wanted.
Personal Bias: I tend to like less-conventional venues over bars.
Random Detail: Ran into Liz Forster and Todd Ayers of Sonnenblume.
By the Way: Light Travels Faster has an excellent new EP out called College, and it's very different from most of the act's other material -- a lot of electronic composition rather than rockist.