Twin Shadow at Bluebird Theater, 9/7/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Tom Murphy


Before ending the set, after a show full of enthusiastic responses from his audience, George Lewis Jr. said, "Denver, you're amazing. Who was here last time we came?" A few people claimed to have been. He complimented the crowd on being honest because he had expected around a hundred to claim to have been there. He also said it was hardly anyone, though it was a good show, and told the crowd that coming back to a place the size of the Bluebird full of people was a nice surprise.

See also: George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow on how he wanted to be in Boyz II Men's gang growing up

Then the band played a bracingly visceral rendition of "Forget" with Lewis dramatically striking chords and leaning forward over his guitar, all but lunging, singing more forcefully than before.

Tom Murphy
Twin Shadow at the Bluebird Theater.
Fog drifted across the stage, and a haze of light from video screens flanked the drumset as the four members of Twin Shadow walked on the darkened stage. With little other fanfare, their set started with "Golden Light." Immediately, this performance was a reminder of a time when R&B bands still used guitar as a prominent, even primary, instrument, well-integrated into the overall songwriting.

The rhythm section augmented and accented the melodies perfectly. For songs in which texture and a sharper tone were necessary, the bassist played a P-Bass, and for other songs where the low end was more fluid and present, he played a synth. The combination of the two gave the set a robust and rich sound in the low end.

Tom Murphy
Twin Shadow at the Bluebird Theater.
At times sonically like a more soulful INXS or the Fixx, Twin Shadow nevertheless didn't seem like a throwback but an update of a classic sound where solid songcraft mattered. The band's guitar shimmer and jangle sometimes recalled an early XTC or The Police, but Lewis' powerfully emotive voice elevated the tone of what was essentially moody, sometimes brooding, music injected with a spirit of defiance against life's down times. It was a truly well-practiced performance -- but it never came off as less than spontaneous.

Tom Murphy
Twin Shadow's rhythm section.
Past the halfway point, Lewis dedicated a song to Alicia Marsicovetere, who he said was basically his sister, and he pointed out into the audience where he was pretty sure she would be. That song was, appropriately enough, "Run My Heart."

The show would have been over after "Forget," and after such a strong showing maybe it should have been. But people were loving Lewis and the band, and he came out to perform "The One" by himself, making the end of the night unexpectedly intimate despite the heat out in the packed crowd. The full band came back on after this, and all four gave a fiery performance of "Shooting Holes." At the usual ending, Lewis went around to the band and gestured for them to continue, but after an even more intense reprise, the show ended. It's a bit facile to make a comparison between George Lewis Jr. and Prince, but this show made you imagine what it might have been like to be there for those early days of the Purple One -- had he been brought up on 80s R&B and punk and synth pop.

Continue reading for a setlist and a Critic's Notebook.

Location Info


Bluebird Theater

3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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