Why Sarah Jaffe is on the cusp of stardom

Categories: Last Night

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Mike Brooks for the Dallas Observer. More photos here.
Most of the audience at the Soiled Dove was there to see the Polyphonic Spree and didn't know much about opener Sarah Jaffe. Matt Arrington of Fort Collins was one such person. "I never saw Sarah perform before, but I was here for her warm-up and it sounded amazing!"

The show opened with Denver's Magic Cyclops. He started the night off right with a song about teen pregnancy. "He takes you to the local Dairy Queen and now he wants to get in your jeans." He gave a bizarre and amazing tribute to Neil Diamond with his version "Sweet Caroline" and "Heartlight" which he performed with an ET doll.

By Gina Tron

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Holy crap, Great White was incredible at the Buffalo Rose this weekend

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy
Great White at Buffalo Rose
There were no gimmicks over the weekend at the Buffalo Rose, beyond some rock theater, and none were needed. Great White, of all bands, gave us a startlingly strong rock and roll show, the likes of which isn't often seen these days.

When the band came on stage, it looked like what it is: a veteran hard rock band. Before anyone took a step from the back area of the Buffalo Rose stage, a recording of a bit from Jaws played through the P.A. -- the scene when Robert Shaw's character talks about how the only emotion one sees in a great white shark happens when it bites into flesh and the whites of its eyes roll over the pitch black. Going immediately into "Shot in the Dark," it was obvious that these guys were taking the show and the music very seriously. They also looked like they were having the time of their lives. And the crowd reacted in kind.

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I made friends with everyone at the Jason Isbell show

Categories: Last Night

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Ashley Rogers
Jason Isbell shared the billing with Hard Working Americans at the Ogden last night. Isbell took the stage promptly at 8 p.m., and that seemed to throw almost everyone for a loop. At about 8:10, with the club only at three-quarters capacity, Isbell was already into his second song, "Go It Alone," off of 2011's Here We Rest. Worried that I'd missed my favorite song, I spotted a friendly cowboy (complete with a ten-gallon hat) at the bar and asked him if Isbell had opened with "Alabama Pines."

"No, 'Stockholm,'" he said. I breathed a sigh of relief and he clapped me on the back. "Don't worry, you're safe!"

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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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