Alt-J Revives the Slow Jam at the Fillmore Auditorium

Categories: Last Night

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Timothy Norris for LA Weekly. Full slideshow here.
Alt-J performs at the Greek Theatre last week.
Alt-J is among rare company as an internationally successful pop act that attracts mostly 20-somethings who danced elegantly on every spare piece of Fillmore floor - and stairway, to security's dismay. Nowhere to be seen were the loud-mouthed bro-downers and screaming teenagers frequently populating the concerts of the band's peers.

It was during the rising English "folktronica" quartet's stunningly original version of the Bill Withers classic "Lovely Day," the entrance to a four-song encore, that it hit me: slow is cool. Slow is powerful. Slow may even be the new fast.

See also: How Fear of Music Convinced Me the Talking Heads Aren't Pretentious Turds

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Pearl Jam Celebrated its 24th Birthday With a Rousing Denver Show and All the Wine

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Pearl Jam's 24th anniversary - which the band celebrated last night with a raucous, rarity-filled, tour-ending barnburner of a concert at the Pepsi Center - closed with lead guitarist Mike McCready playing "the Star Spangled Banner" Hendrix-style while the rest of the Seattle quartet sprayed champagne on the Denver crowd.

It began with Justin Morneau (your 2014 National League batting champ) finding his seat as frontman Eddie Vedder said "Welcome to the last night of our tour" as Pearl Jam settled into the euphorically mellow "Release," which is where the group's 10-million-selling 1991 debut Ten concluded.

See also: The Ryan Adams Comedy Hour Last Night was Awesome


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Why the Hell Do I (Still) Love Metro Station?

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Instagram/CocoDavies
I had to go alone. I mean, it was partially by choice -- I had an extra ticket, but I was too embarrassed to ask anyone if they wanted to go with me. Ultimately, I went to Summit Music Hall last night to see Metro Station by myself because I not-so-secretly love them, but very-secretly am ashamed of how I feel about the band. I'm embarrassed because I preach honesty when it comes to music taste -- you should like what you like. Fuck guilty pleasures. All music that is good to you is good music.

But there I was, alone on the side of the stage in a room less than half-full of screaming teenagers, singing along to every word of "Kelsey." "I'll swim the ocean for you" I sang, (to a girl with a name popular for almost whole generation of people younger than me.) "Whoa, oh, oh, oh, Kelsey." I think it was right then, as I watched a room of Kelseys screaming "oh, Kelsey," that I decided to say fuck it. I love Metro Station, even if the band is kind of the worst.

See also: Miley Cyrus' Bangerz Tour proves she's pop music's greatest role model (seriously)

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Some of Denver's Most Challenging Music Finds a New Audience at DU

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Concrete Mixer at The Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver
This edition of Concrete Mixer found a rare showing and audience at Newman Center for the Performing Arts for the Convocation for the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Past editions of this event featuring live musique concrète have been held at The Walnut Room because of the superb sound quality of that room. The Newman Center, designed for various kinds of performance, measured up as well. The audience was mostly students though the show was free and open to the general public. DU is certainly no stranger to experimental music on campus, but it is certainly rare for this sort of performance to happen at a university in general.

See also: Seven of Denver's Most Underrated Bands

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A Wonderfully Strange Night at Hamsterdam With Gordon Gano and a Fuzzy Hat

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Animal/Object at Hamsterdam
Saturday was a night of firsts at Hamsterdam. It was the first live show from Hippies Wearing Muzzles, the mostly modular synth project from Lee Evans, better known as the bass player in Kissing Party. It was probably the first cross-country performance art, found sound and lattice poem collaboration show at Hamsterdam or in Denver generally for a good long time. It was also the first time Animal/Object played this venue with the usual crew of Kurt Bauer, Steve Gordon, Gordon Pryor and David Mead. But this outing the avant-improv outfit was joined by part-time violin player, Gordon Gano -- a founding member of Violent Femmes.

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Ralph Gean Is Denver's Greatest Unknown Rock Star

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Ralph Gean at Mutiny Information Café
Ralph Gean hasn't played many shows in the last couple of years. So you might think the local rockabilly legend might be a little bit off his game. But that notion was quickly and handily dismissed over the weekend at Mutiny Information Cafe, when Gean got up in front of a small crowd for something like two hours. It's hard to know what Gean is like in his time off stage, but the guy played with his usual high spirits and good humor and engaged with fans. Some musicians who experienced some early success get a little bitter in their later years, but not Gean. If he has, it sure didn't show in the performance. Instead, Gean played covers and originals as though sharing a new song he dearly loved.

See also: A Weekend at Mutiny Information Cafe, Denver's Most Unexpectedly Great Music Venue

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If You're Going to See Vanilla Ice at a Honky Tonk, Bring a Towel

Categories: Last Night

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Ed Steele for the Dallas Observer. Full slideshow here.
Vanilla Ice with his admirers at a recent show.
This weekend's most unlikely show featured Vanilla Ice, who you know from "Ice Ice Baby" and reality TV, played at the Grizzly Rose, which you know for its mechanical bull and line dancing classes.

After the opening band finished a set of country rock, the DJ played early nineties hits: Tag Team's "Whoomp There It is," MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" and House of Pain's "Jump Around." This seemed to please a crowd comprised mostly of children of the '90s.

See also: Ten Reasons Juggalos Are Better Than You

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How Textures at Mutiny Builds New Audiences for Denver's Strangest Music

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Mutiny Now Information Café Outside Wall Mural
Wesley Davis has long been hosting his Textures series, with its focus on live ambient music. A couple of years ago, he used to host Textures in the basement of Gypsy House Café, but at the series's new home, Mutiny Information Cafe, he doesn't have to bring in a P.A., and on Sundays there is plenty of nearby parking. There are also more people who might walk by and take an interest on the unusual sounds coming out of the place -- something that never would have happened in the basement of a coffee shop on 13th and Marion.

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Why Are Bands Like Phantogram So Huge in Colorado?

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Phantogram at The Ogden Theater
There's an Internet meme that tells you what band you're probably into based on state. For Colorado, that band is Naked and Famous. In 2013 that band played at the Fillmore to a large crowd. That sort of mixture of rock and synth pop and R&B finds a different manifestation in Phantogram. That band's show last night at the Ogden, also sold out, is the group's third appearance in an eleven month period at a Denver music venue: last November with Future Islands at the Gothic and this past April with TEEN at Ogden Theater alongside this most recent apperance. And every time the group put on a gloriously dramatic show that brushed off the drudgery of everyday life. But what is it about bands like Naked and Famous and especially Phantogram that command such a large audience in Colorado?

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The Perfect Way to Experience Fall in Colorado Is a Hot Rize Show at Chautauqua

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Tom Murphy
Chautauqua Auditorium Interior
. In recent years, fall has come on with a vengeance: with uncharacteristically heavy rains and early snow, and winter has refused to leave. But this year it has felt more like we've been given a reprieve. That climate, that natural ambiance perfectly suited a place like Chautauqua Auditorium and a band like Hot Rize, which was celebrating the release of its new record, When I'm Free. The music hearkens back to a time when things seemed to exist in a context of fewer extremes.

See also: The Return of Colorado's Bluegrass Kings

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