A Place to Bury Strangers at Larimer, 11/11/12
Tom Murphy Force Publique at Larimer Lounge
The show opened with Force Publique. That band has always been good, even though early on, the outfit needed to work on its stage presence a little. But the songs last night were strong, and that's far more difficult to work on than getting comfortable being in front of people. Somewhere between the early part of the band's life and now, it added and then dispensed with a drummer.
But the loss of the drummer doesn't seem to have hurt the trajectory of the band's development much. This time out, Cassie McNeil seemed more confident than ever with her voice and with the way she carried herself on stage. She and James Wayne have fully integrated their sounds together in a powerful way. The guitars (bass guitar and six-string electric) and the vocals work with the electronics, which are now also greatly expanded, in a cohesive way that enhances all aspects of the band's sound.
Instead of the dark post-punk of its earlier days, this version of Force Publique has clearly explored the logical end point of where post-punk often goes into the psychedelic end of shoegaze. Force Publique has found a solid way to make music in its own voice through developing creatively out of where it started. Hopefully the band will finally put out that album some of us have been waiting for.
Tom Murphy Bleeding Rainbow at Larimer Lounge
Philadelphia's Bleeding Rainbow played the second slot. The foursome's songs were reminiscent of Lush's more wiry and energetic compositions. Early on, the guitar interplay also sounded like something J Mascis might do in terms of melodic, distorted, aggressive guitar work.
The band's playful spirals of melody, warping guitar leads and crisp, rambunctious drumming went well with the amount of fun the members of Bleeding Rainbow seemed to be having -- even halfway through the show, when Sarah Everton chuckled and laid down on stage at the end of a song, later explaining, "That's the result of not being able to see the frets of my guitar. It's fucking dark up here, and A Place to Bury Strangers isn't even on yet."
The song that followed this incident? Everton told us it was "Fuck My Life." While this may actually be the name of the song, it also very well could have been Everton's attempt at defusing the situation in her own mind. You have to respect someone having a mini-meltdown, snapping back without throwing a tantrum and putting in a fun, strong performance. This band played rock music with a noisy, dreamy vibe to it, performed with a lot of spirit.
Personal Bias: Been a fan of APTBS since the first album and the band's first appearance in Denver in early 2008. Oliver Ackermann has taken guitar noise, texture and tone to consistently interesting places this whole time.
Random Detail: Ran into Nelson "Lecter" Echeverry of the Haircut at the show, as well as Cerealman.
By the Way: There's probably a shirt or two I can't wear to a pretty lax day job because the word "fuck" is on there somewhere, or "cum" (thanks, Seraphim Shock). I can now add a Place to Bury Strangers shirt to that short list. If someone pays too close of attention, it's kind of racy.