Deep Club's secret parties bring adventure (and excellent sound) to Denver's electronic scene

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Church Fire

Going to a Deep Club event is a bit of an adventure. The label and host of "DIY Parties" hides the addresses of its shows until you RSVP. They're always at a place well off the beaten path, and you never find out the exact location until the day of the show. The sound system is always pretty solid and capable of handling the robust demands of the kind of electronic music, often variations of modern techno, it usually hosts.

We went to the organization's most recent party, featuring Church Fire and several other Denver artists.


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Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are better than ever, especially live

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall

It would be easy to dismiss a show like this as something aging fans of '90s alternative rock take their kids to. But Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden still have plenty of intellect and challenging music. And opener Oneohtrix Point Never, an experimental electronic and ambient artist, likely challenged the sensibilities of more than a handful of people in attendance.

What the show proved is that bands that slightly pre-date the alternative rock era and continued through its eras collapse still have an enthusiastic audience. They can also still produce new work that pushes their existing artistic boundaries.

See also: Ten famous musicians before they were stars


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Why reunited Denver punk legend Planes Mistaken for Stars has aged so well

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall. Full slideshow.
When Planes Mistaken for Stars made its return to Denver over the weekend after a long break, it attracted an assemblage of old fans and new. This included some people you don't much see at shows anymore -- a true testament to the enduring impact of Planes. There wasn't a song during which more than a few people in the audience knew the words and sang heartily along. Perhaps "audience" isn't the right word, though, for Planes, because the band treats those who show up as friends and partners in going through the internal struggle which its songs articulate so powerfully on record and on the stage.

See also: Planes Mistaken for Stars is back

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Sympathy F and the Sleepers brought Denver's alternative rock heyday to life at 3 Kings

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Sympathy F at 3 Kings Tavern
Ask anyone who was around the underground rock scene in Denver in the early '90s and chances are that person at least heard of Sympathy F. Since its 1991 debut at 7 South, a club now known as the hi-dive, Sympathy F became a favorite of peers and fans by virtue of its superb songwriting and the beautiful vocal harmonies of Elizabeth Rose and Tony Morales. Then as now, Sympathy F combined a kind of folk rock compositional sensibility with jazz-like rhythms and Doug Seaman's ability to play within and over the melodies with his knack for switching between inventive soundscaping and playing an electric lead to Morales' own tuneful acoustic strumming.

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Crowd-pleasing Cloud Nothings defy labels at Larimer Lounge

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Courtesy of We Get Press
There's been some discussion as to what to label Cloud Nothings. Punk, noise-rock, garage-rock, grunge and even emo have been tossed around when referring to the Ohio-based trio. But to put it into one of these labels would be a disservice. As the band proved at the Larimer Lounge last night, it is all of those influences and spirits of genres past, thrown together into something new.

Cloud Nothings, as much as it draw from various influences -- and it would be hard to deny that Dylan Baldi's demeanor isn't directly inspired by Kurt Cobain -- works hard to defy any set label. It's the kind of music you blast in headphones while contemplating the lack of meaning in your tormented existence. And in a way that makes perfect sense and no sense at all, is the kind of music you mosh and dance to in the basement-esque Larimer Lounge while sweat and cheap beer fly and hundreds of packed Denverites belt out "I'm not telling you what I'm going through" with big grins.

See also: Why Pujol is the perfect voice for our time

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Taste of Mayhem was a gift for dedicated fans of metal

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall
Emmure at Taste of Mayhem

Rockstar Energy's Taste Of Mayhem Fest gave Denver's metal community the chance to see the bulk of bands on tour at an indoor venue, separate from main stage headliners, which will play tonight at Red Rocks.

The supposed undercard for this year's fest nevertheless sold out as fans clamored to see metal bands just under major mainstream music industry recognition. It was a good night for dedicated fans of the genre.

See also: Behind Mayhem Festival's controversial move to Red Rocks


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Syntax Physic Opera proves its potential on opening weekend

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Pale Sun
Despite the closure of Broadway south of Alameda, it wasn't too difficult to find one's way over to Syntax Physic Opera on opening weekend. Walking through the front door felt like exiting Broadway in Denver on a hot July evening and entering a '50s jazz lounge or after-hours club, with more simplified decor. The debut menu featured a careful selection of solid food and drink options. A case featuring some truly vintage guns splits the bar side from the performance space. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the now sadly defunct Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey, but without a separation between the venue and restaurant/bar. At Syntax Physic Opera, there is an undeniable sense that you're in a place where you might see something special.


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Last night's Royalty Free Haiti benefit proved the venue potential of Dryer Plug Studios

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
The neighborhood surrounding Dryer Plug Studios, along a strip of current and former light industrial buildings on 43rd Avenue, isn't exactly quiet. Freight trains run at semi-regular intervals less than two blocks away. Next door is a church, and across the street are some houses. The entrance is on the side of the building rather than along 43rd proper, and even though there was plenty of activity inside, you couldn't hear much from outside, making it highly suitable for its usual function as a recording studio and as an impromptu venue for a show like last night's Royalty Free Haiti benefit performance. Go to the organization's Indie GoGo page for much more information about its projects, which include working with artists in Haiti to teach kids there and creating an artistic bridge between those artists and their peers in Denver.

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Fitz and the Tantrums prove that theirs is a band for all people

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Fitz and the Tantrums at the Ogden Theatre in 2012.
People in Colorado love live music. That statement can apply anywhere in the country, of course, but in Colorado, the ability to see shows in amazing indoor and outdoor venues year-round seems like just as much of a reason that folks move here as our weed, our mountains and, well, our weed. Last night's Fitz and the Tantrums show at the Ogden Theatre felt like one of those shows that brought out the music fan hobbyists -- the crowd was diverse and head over heels for the Los Angeles band, which, by all accounts, brought it.

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King Rat twentieth-anniversary show brings '90s punk vibe to the present

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
King Rat at 3 Kings Tavern

Few bands that were around in 1994, at least in Denver's punk milieu, are still around. But somehow King Rat has endured and reinvented or reinvigorated itself again and again, despite personal turmoil and the vicissitudes of public tastes in punk and music in general. And it was the reinvigorated King Rat that played this twentieth-anniversary show at 3 Kings Tavern on Friday night. This, in spite of frontman Luke Schmaltz's genuinely clever self-deprecating comments, including a joke about the ability of the band to endure playing a 36- to 40-song set. (The number was dependent upon how you counted the way the set came together.) Who plays a set that long other than the Boss, Leonard Cohen, George Clinton or a jam band?

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