After another long week of work, I was ready for Friday night. It'd been a very busy week and I was ready to spend the night on a dance floor and sweat it all away. I reached the Larimer Lounge just before things got going there - the calm before the storm. The stage and dance floor area were not yet open, guarded by large sliding wooden doors. There was a long line of people outside, anxiously waiting to get in. The anticipation grew stronger when everyone could hear the sound check spill through the closed doors - a tease on what was to come. I settled next to the bar, ordered a drink, and waited patiently for the magic to begin.

Soon the doors slid open like an airlock on a spaceship or a gateway to another dimension. The Larimer Lounge was done up a little extra this night - the lighting seemed more vibrant than usual and the stage had stacks of old cathode ray tube televisions arranged like building blocks. Red velvet hid instruments like wrapping-papered gifts. The centerpiece was a large piece of cutout fabric with the letters MNCB cut out and covered in mesh. The music hadn't even started yet and I knew it was going to be a great night.

Chavez y Chavez spinning on the outdoor stage

When it was time for the music to begin, I made my way through the illuminated back doorway onto the outdoor patio. Framed by ivy, Chavez y Chavez began pumping out some tech house mixes on the elevated rear corner of the patio. Finally people got what they were looking for - music, and everyone seemed to be in the mood to have a good time.

The outdoor patio was a great place to cool off and hangout

The Larimer Lounge was setup very nicely. The back patio area had a little more laid back atmosphere, complete with patio tables and chairs. If you weren't ready to dance quite yet or wanted to cool off, that was the place to be. The music was channeled to the indoor speakers as well, and many took the opportunity to warm up their dance moves and work up a sweat on the dance floor before the final two acts went on stage to perform. Chavez y Chavez did a great job of setting the tone for the night, mixing thumping house music with a hint of womp from time to time. I like my womp in small doses, so it was the perfect balance for me.

After about an hour, Chavez y Chavez faded out their set and all attention was on the indoor stage - it was time for ManCub. The first time I saw ManCub was at the Larimer Lounge, and my only complaint then was that there weren't enough people to really enhance and enjoy the experience. Not this time - there was a sea of people trying to get as close as they could to the duo of Alex Anderson and James Wayne as they got the crowd buzzing with their analog electric sound.

ManCub and their untraditional setup

Watching ManCub perform is unlike any other electronic act I've seen. These aren't just a couple guys that sit behind laptops and nod their head while the computer does all the work - they don't have a laptop anywhere on stage. They also don't setup synths and drum machines the same way most other groups would. These guys are actively manipulating their songs as they perform them using vintage analog synthesizers routed through an impressive collection of guitar pedals arranged on a table like a circuit board science experiment. All four hands of ManCub are constantly busy; turning knobs, spinning dials, hitting buttons and tapping pedals, all while singing into their microphones and banging their heads like rock stars. It's a sight to see, awesome to hear, and they create an incredible energy that is amazing to feel, especially as it weaves its way through the crowd.

Fabric, mesh, lights and ingenuity are all you need to make a killer backdrop

ManCub continued to please the senses with a little extra visual stage production they didn't have the last time I saw them. I'm always there for the music, so visuals or lack there of won't make me fault a performance as long as it sounds good - any stage production is icing on the cake. ManCub brought out lasers to accompany their patchwork centerpiece. The swirling red and green laser light looked great on the dancing crowd. Timed spotlights would flash the letters MNCB through the patchwork piece, making an awesome illuminated backdrop. The setup added another level to their already pounding live performance.

They performed much of their EP 8 Bit Crush. "Post Modern War" and "Mt. Rushmore" were standout tracks - they didn't play "Mt. Rushmore" the last time I saw them but they brought it out and slayed the crowd with it this time. I also enjoyed the performance of "Summer Rain" from the EP The Secret Stache. As a special treat, ManCub unleashed a new yet to be named track that I can not wait to get my hands on. Pretty much the whole set was solid, and it kept everyone dancing. I was glad to see ManCub perform in front of a large and wild crowd. The crowd really into the performance, it made me wonder how much the crowd would have left in their tanks for the finale.

Bag Raiders had a great setup

It turns out the crowd had way more in their fuel reserves. While ManCub tore down and Bag Raiders set up, Chavez y Chavez kept the music pumping through the speakers and more and more people started to pack the main stage area. The red velvet covers were lifted to reveal keyboard synthesizers, drummable sample pads, and a few standalone drum heads. The TVs on stage came to life and a video camera put images of the crowd on the screens. Those images were spliced with all sorts of random visual clips. It was more clever stage production that really set the mood for the the wild ride everyone was about to embark on.

Chris Stracey of Bag Raiders

Chris Stracey and Jack Glass emerged from the green room backstage and wasted no time getting into their set, instantly sweeping the crowd away with them. Nobody in the Larimer Lounge stood still as Bag Raiders played songs off their self-titled album. The crowd sang in chorus when they performed "Sunlight". Stracey's voice cooed everyone on "Way Back Home". There was a lot of funky grinding going on during "So Demanding". Drumsticks flailed during "Not Over". Everyone's bodies slithered wildly when they played "Snake Charmer". Everyone slow grooved to "Golden Wings". They wrapped up their set with their signature song, "Shooting Stars", and everyone in the place had their hands in the air is if they were trying to pluck stars out of the night sky.

Jack Glass of Bag Raiders gets everyone's hands in the air

Nobody wanted to see Bag Raiders go when their set ended, even though many looked tired from endless dancing. The crowd was drenched and glistening with sweat, sparkling like the layer of spilled drinks that coated the vacated dance floor. It was indeed a crazy Friday night dance party, complete with as many beautiful people the walls of the Larimer Lounge would allow. It was awesome seeing an electronic show in a smaller, intimate venue as opposed to a large chaotic warehouse, arena, field or venue - it gave the night a special feeling of exclusivity. Those who were there know it was definitely a night to remember.

See more photos from this concert in the Facebook photo album. Be sure to give the Concerted Effort page a 'like'!

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