A shining hope for pop music: Hall & Oates at the 1STBANK Center

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall
Oates, maybe doin' an E.T. thing with Charles DeChant

Hall & Oates @ 1STBANK Center | 3/3/14

With no opening act, Daryl Hall and John Oates took the stage with their six backing musicians. Parts of this band have been together for a long time, including sax player Charles DeChant and veteran studio and touring guitarist Paul Pesco.

It would be difficult to identify any high point in the show -- it was like a greatest-hits record come to life. And they changed many of the songs enough to keep things interesting for the audience and for themselves. Things kicked off with the 1982 hit "Maneater." It was a striking reminder of the way Hall & Oates really synthesized jazz and R&B and rock without subsuming the virtues of any of those musical forms.

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Pentagram at Summit Music Hall, 2/28/14: Review and Photos

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall
Pentagram @ Summit Music Hall |2/28/14

Pentagram took the stage with a spooky soundscape coming through the PA, Bobby Liebling looking like a puppet woken up from a nap and blinking. He was all but twitching to life, pulled along by invisible strings. But when Liebling took the mic, an instantly commanding voice issued forth. He is one of the few rock singers able to combine and synthesize a sense of theater and performance with raw, emotional honesty. He expresses an idiosyncratic poetic sensibility channeled from dark places in his heart and mind. Sure, those wide, wild eyes and waggling tongue and left-handed air guitar all seem odd and almost amusing, but the guy captures your attention from the moment he takes the stage.

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Skinny Puppy at Ogden Theatre, 2/24/14

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy

SKINNY PUPPY at OGDEN THEATRE | 2/24/14
The outrageous outfit Ogre is seen wearing above is just one of many he donned during his band's show last night at the Ogden Theatre. Over the course of the show, the Skinny Puppy vocalist changed costumes at fairly regular intervals, the most dramatic of which came during "The Choke." As the song was winding down, Ogre stepped behind the projection screen for a few moments as cEvin Key and Ken Marshall kept the atmospheres running and Justin Bennett went from a more direct drumming style to minimalist textures. When Ogre reappeared, he had transformed from an alien/mythological reaper creature into what at first looked like a werewolf but turned out to be some kind of berserker shaman that proved especially effective.

See also: Skinny Puppy's Ogre on Weapon and learning about the use of the band's music for torture


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JJ Grey & Mofro at the Fillmore, 2/21/14

Categories: Last Night

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Leslie Simon

JJ GREY & MOFRO at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 2/21/14
This show at the Fillmore offered a full night of funk in various forms, from the cowfunk stomp of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers to the slick and polished Motown meets Shel Silverstein funk of Keller Williams, culminating with JJ Grey and Mofro's downright spiritual everglades sound. Coming from different regions and influences, the varied styles of a similar genre made for a nonstop entertaining show that brought older blues loving guys, lots of pretty ladies, and the occasional dreadlocked twirling folk together for the sake of experiencing music that cuts to the soul.

See also: There is nothing scarier, wilder or more attractive to JJ Grey than a strong woman

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Lord Huron at Ogden Theatre, with Superhumanoids, 2/21/14

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy

LORD HURON at OGDEN THEATRE | 2/21/14
When the members of Lord Huron took the stage, they looked snappy, as though each member had actually taken the time to look like he was in a band but without hitting us over the head with a visual representation. The band's music, mostly folk and rock-oriented, was guided by Ben Schneider's words, which vividly offered a sense of place, particularly on songs like "I Will Be Back One Day" and "The Ghost On The Shore." Bring a poetic imagination to the lyrics, Schneider eloquently took great care with their delivery.

See also: Superhumanoids: "We try pretty hard not to make something that's too nostalgic."


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Deafheaven at Marquis Theater, 2/16/14

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy

DEAFHEAVEN at MARQUIS THEATER | 2/16/14
There was some real emotional heft to Deafheaven's set at the Marquis last night that was more visceral than most mere post-rock. Musically it felt like a fusion of black metal and a late '90s post-hardcore, even treading into emo territory. The heaviness was there aplenty, but there was also an expansive melodicism swimming though the dense distorted sounds. Singer George Clarke, meanwhile, gestured grandly but with a keen sense of playfulness. Even when he pierced the space in front of him with a sharp, intense gaze at the beginnings of songs or as the band built up to its next crescendo, he beckoned everyone to come forward, like we were all in on some secret, shared moment of cleansing catharsis.

See also: Deafheaven's George Clark: "It's hard writing a pop song. People underestimate that term"


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Pixies at Fillmore Auditorium, 2/13/14

Categories: Last Night

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Brandon Marshall

PIXIES at FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 2/13/14
Like the Ramones, the Pixies took stage and had little in the way of breaks between songs. There was no banter, no awkward joking and no meandering dialogue while anyone tuned or tried to read a set list. The only interruptions came when the band teased a bit of "Wave of Mutilation" before dropping off into the ferocious "Something Against You." And then later, when there was a flub in the beginning of "Here Comes Your Man," the outfit had a quick laugh and then quickly figuring out where things broke down and started again.

See also: Joey Santiago of the Pixies: "We're all a bunch of screwballs without leather jackets and spandex"


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Review, photos, setlist: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks at Gothic Theatre, with Tyvek, 2/12/14

Categories: Last Night

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Tom Murphy

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS at GOTHIC THEATRE | 2/12/14
During their time in Denver, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks were apparently staying in a hotel in Cherry Creek. We know this because Malkmus asked if anyone hung out there or skateboarded in Cherry Creek or went rafting in it. Malkmus engaged in this sort of dry humor throughout the show. Before "Jenny and The Ess Dog," for instance, Malkmus asked if anyone had come in from Wyoming. When some people yelled out in acknowledgement, he said, "We like Wyoming because we like black ice. We like the silent and deadly killer. We call it 'the lung cancer of the road.'"

See also: Stephen Malkmus on life being all about making the wrong moves


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Paul Simon and Sting at Pepsi Center, 2/11/14

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen

PAUL SIMON & STING at PEPSI CENTER | 2/11/14
When Paul Simon and Sting took the stage together, they were each accompanied by their full bands, which often appeared on the stage with them at the same time throughout the set, working together to create an even more lush and almost orchestral version of songs they performed together. To introduce us to the concept of them both working together in what seemed like perfectly natural synch, the two opened the show with Sting's song "Brand New Day."

See also: Paul Simon at 1STBANK Center, 10/26/11 and Sting at the Wells Fargo Theatre, 11/20/11


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Wake Up and Live at Cervantes' Other Side, with Quick and Easy Boys and Rastasaurus, 2/6/14

Categories: Last Night

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Leslie Simon

WAKE UP AND LIVE at CERVANTES' OTHER SIDE | 2/6/14
Despite the negative temperature, people flocked to Cervantes' Other Side last night to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday with local tribute band Wake Up and Live and to welcome Portland's Quick and Easy Boys to Denver. While it didn't exactly feel like a night in Jamaica with people dancing in their overcoats, it smelled like it, and there was plenty of heat coming from the players on stage.

See also: Ten jam-bands to watch in 2014


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