Shakey Graves's Sold Out Weekend Was a Celebration of Denver Music

Categories: Reviews

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Brandon Marshall. Full slideshow here.
Shakey Graves sold out the Bluebird three times this weekend.
Halfway through Shakey Graves's final Denver show of the weekend, he decided to bring out "a local badass" by the name of Gregory Alan Isakov. Together, with local fiddler Jeb Bows, they performed a cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Colorado Girl" that left few dry eyes in the sold-out Bluebird Theater. It was the most fitting song Alejandro Rose-Garcia could have played during his three-night run (all three sold out), because like Van Zandt, Rose-Garcia is a Texan whose true love might actually be Colorado.

See also: Spoon Stopped Worrying and Played the Perfect Show Last Night in Boulder

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Spoon Stopped Worrying and Played the Perfect Show Last Night in Boulder

Categories: Reviews

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Micah Usher for the Riverfront Times. More here.
Spoon in St. Louis earlier this fall.
Spoon is a Texas band, meaning it carries with it a certain pride and ambition that never really allows it to settle down. Britt Daniel and his bandmates produce the kind of music in which every pop, squeak, cymbal hit and second of silence matters. Every noise and lack thereof needs the utmost precision for it all to come together right. Which, live, rarely happens, and they never seem to be able to let it go. At a show in 2007, when Daniel smashed his piano, he wasn't doing it as an antic, but because he was frustrated with its sound. In 2010, when he lambasted a hometown crowd for their lack of enthusiasm, he did so less to get them excited and more because he realized he couldn't entertain the way he had hoped.

See also: Jenny Lewis Brought Sex and Regret to Denver Last Night

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Pizza Underground Played in Denver, and Nobody Cared

Categories: Reviews

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This video sums it all up
Halfway through the Pizza Underground's set at the packed Marquis Theater, something strange happened. Most of the band departed the stage and flannel-clad one member stepped up, and started playing straight Nirvana covers. The songs might have contained some wordplay or puns, like all The Pizza Underground songs do (which are just Velvet Underground songs with lyrics about pizza) but it was hard to tell over the loud chatter of the crowd. After plowing through a version of "Come As You Are" that was hardly worthy of a middle school talent show, the rest of the group returned and began singing a pizza-themed version of "Perfect Day" as if whatever had just happened never occurred.

Most of the people there were too absorbed in their drinks or conversations with old friends in town to notice if it had happened at all.

See also: How Respectful Crowds Affect Performances

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How Respectful Crowds Affect Performances

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Kevin Galaba
Strange Americans at Swallow Hill Music Theater.
When bands take to the road to tour in support of a new album, they play a lot of shows in a lot of different venues --some small, some cavernous, all of them unique. The trick is to adapt to the room, so that the songs connect with the audience -- whether that's 12 people or 1200. Strange Americans is one of those bands -- after two tours of the Western half of the country and a steady presence in cities and towns in Colorado, they succeed with an intuitive ability to adjust their strategy to make that connection.

They played the Bluebird Theater in Septempber and nearly sold out the venue. Last weekend they took the same songs to Swallow Hill Music Hall, which only holds 100.

See Also: For Strange Americans, Music Is A Royal Battle

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The Black Keys - Pepsi Center - November 13, 2014

Categories: Reviews

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Jim Louvau for New Times. More here.
The Black Keys play in Phoenix earlier this week.
The Black Keys returned to Denver last night and took over the Pepsi Center for an hour of pop-infused rock and blues. The Black Keys have rocketed from playing small clubs to playing arenas in the past couple of years, mostly driven by the highly deserved success of their 2010 album Brothers. There's a lot to be said about where they fit into the music landscape today and what it means when a band that's been under the radar for so long suddenly sells out arenas, especially in today's fractured industry. The band itself can even serve as a case-study for what is or isn't cool.

But when the duo gets going, when they're really in the groove and playing with the kind of force only possible in those rare moments when music becomes some kind of truth, none of that matters. So instead, here are seven thoughts we had while watching Patrick Carney pound the drums and Dan Auerbach wield the guitar and croon about past and future loves.

See also: The Ten Best Jazz Guitarists

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Thee Oh Sees - Gothic Theatre - November 7, 2014

Categories: Reviews

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Flickr user sebascrub
John Dwyer with his disciples.
John Dwyer is a pioneer. He forged his way through the wilderness of the West so we could drive across it years later with ease. We may not think of him as we careen down I-70, but his footprints are there. We couldn't have done it without him.

That may be a bold title to bestow an aging punk with a see-through Gibson SG, but it's the truth. Without Dwyer, there would be no Ty Segall, no Wavves, no Mikal Cronin. Surf-punk would be entirely different or non-existent.

See also: My Friend Left His Last Ty Segall Show With a Bloody Head And Couldn't Wait to Go Back


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Pujol's Show at Lost Lake Lounge Wasn't Glamorous But it Was Fun

Categories: Reviews

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Jamie Goodselll
Daniel Pujol, who records and performs under his last name, isn't one for spectacle or glamour. His music is fueled by repeated guitar hooks and simple lyrics, like, "But I think I did a good job of convincing myself not to blow my brains out against the wall." Yeah, that's about as far from glamorous as you can get. And his short set at Lost Lake Lounge wasn't glamorous, either, but it sure was fun.

See also: Ambassador Wolf Ignites at CSU's Powerhouse Energy Institute

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The Brilliant Paws Continue a Frustrating Tour in Denver

Categories: Reviews

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Adam Roy
Paws on stage at the Marquis.
The road has been rough on Paws. Last week, a thief broke into the Scottish band's van while they were stopped in Seattle and stole money and equipment, including a laptop and a hard drive containing much of the group's early recordings and work on planned future projects. At last night's gig with Total Slacker at the Marquis Theater, they played to a weeknight crowd that peaked at just 21 people (23, if you counted the bartender and the bouncer watching from the sidelines). At times during their set, the accumulated frustrations seemed to be finally getting to them.

"I am so far from home, and I have lost all patience," singer-guitarist Philip Taylor told the audience during one break between songs. It's this kind of hardship that makes touring bands pack it in.

See also: New Pornographers' A.C. Newman on Making the Band's Best Album

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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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Living the Teenage Dream with Lorde

Categories: Reviews

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Eric Gruneisen
Lorde at the Fillmore earlier this year.
Sixteen-year-old me would've been obsessed with Lorde. Seriously: her number one fan. I would've bought tickets to her 1ST Bank Center show as soon as they went on sale, gotten to the venue early, and would've been the girl randomly cheering from the front long before Lorde appeared on stage.

See also: Lorde Is Not Goth

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