I returned to the Larimer Lounge last night for another great concert showcasing up and coming local and national talent. The lineup was a pretty eclectic mix, which is right up my alley. They all shared rock music as a common denominator, but the lineup offered a little bit of psychedelic-sludge-garage rock, some dreamy-indie-pop rock, and some blues-funk-ska rock. There was definitely a little bit of something for everyone.

Claire Connolly of Number Station

The night started off with Number Station, a local Denver band that kicked off the night with a bang. As I mentioned in my preview, compared to the rest of the lineup, these guys had a very dark, sludge-metal-like sound that melted my face and kept my head banging. Claire Connolly's vocals had just the right attitude and her stage presence was remarkable. These guys were enjoyable to watch and I can't wait to see them in a packed venue. They will be performing again on Friday night, headlining Bender's Tavern. I'm supposed to work, but I just might have to find a way to be there!

Maren Parusel

Next up was the headlining band from San Diego, Maren Parusel. It was a bit strange at first going from sludge to something more pop, but before they finished their first song all that was forgotten as this band commanded the stage. During the band's tour, much of their gear was stolen, so the band was forced to continue on with mostly borrowed instruments. Ariel Levine, pictured above on the far left, talked about how hard it was using foreign gear, and amazingly, they were still able to perform without skipping a beat, despite the challenge of trying to replicate a certain sound using slightly different tools.

The band's namesake and lead singer, Maren Parusel, came from Germany to California just a couple years ago with the dream of writing songs and performing in a band. Although she studied English growing up, she admitted that she didn't come to really know it until being immersed in an English speaking environment. I find that remarkable. I have a hard enough time trying to write songs in my native language, so I can't imagine the challenge of trying to do so in a second tongue. Maren and her band had a certain earnestness about them I found very appealing and I came away from their performance truly wanting to see them succeed. They are wrapping up their tour of the US for their new album, Artificial Gardens, heading back west with a few more stops on the way. Give their album a listen, and be sure to check them out the next time they come to Denver!

Mike Keesler of Firemouth

To close the night, Firemouth, more Denver locals, finished with a set that was upbeat but a completely different sound than the prior two bands. These guys had a lot of energy and brought a fun mixture of blues-funk that kept the faithful remaining crowd dancing. Lead singer and guitarist Mike Keesler had a lot of presence and energy that was very easy to feed off of. I especially enjoyed their cover of Warren G's "Regulate" and how somehow in the middle of one of their songs, they managed to splice in some of Sublime's "Garden Grove". I could see these guys easily commanding a large crowd.

The show was great. The only thing lacking was a large and boisterous crowd. I would think it was because it was a Wednesday night, but walking home from the Larimer Lounge to Capitol Hill I must have passed at least a dozen packed bars. I'd have to guess people aren't willing to seek out music they aren't already familiar with and/or they just don't know good live music is happening right under their noses. Instead, it seems they'd rather hang out in the same spaces listening to the same tired songs coming out of the jukebox. Why not seek out the next new thing? Hopefully more people will realize there is a lot to be discovered out there and there is no better feeling than sharing that experience with a crowd of people wiling out in front of that new discovered band.

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