There's going to be another party on the 2700 block of Larimer Street tonight. PBR is presenting an art show and a block party at the Larimer Lounge and Meadowlark, featuring pieces on display from local artists and music from local bands and DJs. If the idea of seeing a variety of local artists and musicians isn't enough incentive to come out, the whole event is free!

The Meadowlark will be hosting three local DJs; Peter Black, Ginger Perry, and A-Ray. Peter Black is a house DJ with a penchant for bass. His mixes incorporate mid-tempo UK style house with dashes of slow bass sections. Ginger Perry is a versatile DJ that can mix smooth downtempo to hard-hitting, floor rattling bass. A-Ray is a resident DJ for So-Gnar, who mixes a variety of house, electro, and synth heavy indie rock and a few other surprises. Check out Peter Black's Denver After Dark Mix, Ginger Perry's Joker and Ani Difranco mash-up, and download some mixtapes by A-Ray.
ANALOG SPACE presents Denver Afterdark #3 PETER BLACK Mix by Peter Black 1
GrafftiOnYoBody (Joker/Ani Difranco) by GingerPerry

The Larimer Lounge will host three bands that play from three very different genres; The Swayback, ManCub, and Total Ghost. I saw The Swayback last weekend, but they were performing in a tribute show so I didn't get a chance to see them perform their own music. The Swayback is an indie rock band whose style is  a blend of post-punk, garage rock-revival, and alt-rock. ManCub is a local electronic band that's been covered on this blog often, known for bringing hard hitting distortion heavy electro synth-pop mixed with airy or metallic vocals. Total Ghost is a parodical German-style synth-pop group, mating drum machine loops with keyboard synths and comedic vocals - definitely music for those with a sense of humor. Check out The Swayback's "Concrete Blocks", ManCub's "8 Bit Crush", and Total Ghost's "Too Fast for the Autobahn".
Concrete Blocks by Swayback
ManCub - 8 Bit Crush - 06 8 Bit Crush by Mancub303
Too Fast for the Autobahn by Total Ghost

The doors open at 8:00PM at both the Larimer Lounge and Meadowlark and is 21+. Come check out some local art and music for free!
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The Fillmore Auditorium hosted two acts Wednesday night that performed a delightful blend of world influenced music. It was all presented in a way that had a certain familiarity - I knew I was hearing music that was fantastically different, though it never sounded shockingly foreign. I suppose that was due to the respective artists' ability to meld international sounds with Western musical sensibilities, delivering a listening experience that was somewhere in between and ultimately refreshing.

The night began with a short opening performance from French singer-songwriter Laetitia Sadier. She is best known for her work as part of the indie post-rock band Stereolab, but has since delved in solo projects since that band went on hiatus two years ago. Laetitia Sadier released a solo album titled The Trip last year, a collection of original songs and a few covers that maintain a connection to the Stereolab sound, especially through the help of her backing band, and I expected her performance to draw mostly from that material. It turned out that wasn't exactly the case.

Laetitia Sadier came out on stage with an electric guitar in hand and no backing band in sight. She came up to the microphone, introduced herself, and began to play intimate versions of songs that spanned her lengthy career. It took me off guard at first, as I thought I'd be recognizing mostly songs off of her new album, but she decided to perform minimalist versions of a variety of songs. Unfortunately, I think it wasn't the most appropriate setting for her minimalist approach; she couldn't quite capture the full attention of the large Fillmore Auditorium crowd the way a full band may have been able to.

I did enjoy the music Laetitia Sadier performed, despite it being not what I was expecting, as it was a good mix of solo material, songs from Stereolab and songs from her side project Monade. The only song she performed that I recognized off of her new album was "Statues Can Bend" - fitting because the studio version of the song is also minimalist (just vocals and guitar). I enjoyed "Where Did I Go", an original song not featured on her album. It was cool hearing stripped down versions of "Wash and Dance" (from Monade's album A Few Steps More) and "International Colouring Contest" (from Stereolab's album Mars Audiac Quintet).

Although I was hoping to hear more material from her new album with a full backing band, I did appreciate the very personal way she presented her performance. I would have loved to hear the full band versions of songs like "One Million Year Trip" and "Un Soir, Un Chien". However, while a full band performance may have been better suited for a venue this size, I don't think it would have had the same intimate charm. Still, I couldn't help but feel her solo performance would best be experienced in a small setting allowing listeners to truly get a personal connection.

As for Beirut's performance, there was not much minimal about it at all. Beirut brought a collection of world influenced folk sounds like audio souvenirs and snapshots gathered from around the globe. To achieve their sound, the six members of Beirut used an incredible collection of various instruments; trumpets, ukulele, trombone, tuba, french horn, xylophone, accordion, upright bass, drums, piano, electric bass. There was a constant shuffling of instruments occurring on stage - a marvel to see what it takes to create the Beirut sound.

Beirut started with a more analog and deliberate version of "Scenic World" (compared to the version on Gulag Orkestar) - there was no bossa nova-like drum loop, the tempo was a little slower, and the accordion/horn melody was much stronger and incredibly powerful, hinting that the band would continue to perform songs that had a more organic feel and not really incorporate some of the digital aspects found in some of their later songs - instead being more traditional folk oriented like early Beirut.

It wasn't after two more earlier Beirut songs, "The Shrew" and "Elephant Gun" before the band played anything off of the new album The Rip Tide. "Vagabond" was the first new song performed, and it inspired the crowd to dance creatively - somewhere between ballroom, club and rock show. I like that Beirut decided to really mix up their set list and incorporate songs from their entire catalog, rather than running straightforwardly through their new material and then placing older songs randomly here and there.

Although Beirut did not play their entire discography, Beirut performed at least a couple songs from every album including EPs in their catalog. There were pieces from the full length albums The Flying Club Cup and Gulag Orkestar as well as inclusions from Lon Gisland, March of the Zapotec & Realpeople - Holland. As I mentioned before, Beirut seemed to strive to keep their performance as organic as possible, so the the songs performed off of Holland did not feature the many of the electronic aspects that are present in the original recordings. That is also what I noticed about songs performed off of The Rip Tide. For Example, there was no drum machine loop in "Santa Fe", and instead of the synth loop that drives the recorded version of the song, an accordion riff took it's place. This organic approach didn't disrupt the feel of the songs, but instead made me appreciate the musicality each member of Beirut possesses. I honestly can't decide which versions of the songs I like better, and I am glad they approached performing their music this way.

Beirut had the entire Fillmore Auditorium crowd engaged in their performance from start to finish, so much so that the crowd refused to let their set end not once, but twice. Beirut played their initial set for a little over an hour, but before they could even fully leave the stage the building was shaking from stomping feet and loud calls from the crowd to bring them back for an encore. Beirut came back, playing "Carousels", an organic version of "My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille", and "The Gulag Orkestar". Yet even that wasn't enough to satiate the crowd, so after more raucous calls from the crowd for another encore, Beirut came back with more.

For the second encore, Zach Condon came out and played a stripped down version of "The Penalty". Zach Condon came out alone with just his ukulele and wowed the crowd with his intimate solo performance. Afterwards, the rest of Beirut came out for one final song, an incredible cover version of A Hawk And A Hacksaw's "Serbian Cocek", sending the crowd into the night after treating them to a feverish dance session.

Seeing Beirut live was even better than I imagined it would be. Their ability to combine music from around the world - Balkan folk, French folk, Mexican folk and more - and combine it all in an accessible way that makes sense, doesn't seem dated, and is not an unorganized or unrelatable sonic mess, was truly incredible. Seeing all the instruments come to life was a feast for the eyes and enhanced the pleasure of the ears. Anyone who has appreciation for folk, traditional and indie music should strive to see Beirut live - as Wednesday's performance truly was a remarkable show.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date!
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Although I'll admit I wasn't the most familiar with the bands playing at the Hi-Dive Monday night, my curiosity coupled with the ever-present urge to see live shows once again drew me out to a concert venue. It was a good opportunity to catch an international band with a lot of buzz and see two more new-to-me local acts live. Now that it's all said and done, it was definitely another worthwhile experience - another testament to the variety and breadth that continues to draw me to the local music scene.


The night began with an exciting new Denver band, Lightlooms. I hadn't heard of them before researching this show, but once I started to look into what they were about, I couldn't believe I hadn't heard about them earlier. Originally Lightlooms was Meaghan Lillis (vocals/keyboard) and Joshua Gunslinger (guitar/effects), and together they released a self-titled demo/EP last summer; a collection of piano driven singer-songwriter meets indie rock music that had a unique and intriguing atmospheric and ambient quality to them. Since then, Lightlooms added bassist Zack Martinson and drummer Chris Durant to the lineup, and the result of the additions to this group have created quite the evolutionary sound.

Zack Martinson of Lightlooms

Lightlooms played a set that had a couple reworked songs from their first EP, two songs they have released as a preview of their upcoming album, and some pieces that have not yet been released but should appear on their new album as well. Their music had the essence of the more moody and atmospheric piano lounge sound from their first release, but was charged with energy and emotion thanks to the smartly layered indie rock sounds produced by the full band. Hearing it all come together in a live setting was like listening to an expressionist painting - the singer-songwriter/piano-rock core was painted with explosive and emotive textures from the guitar, bass and drums, resulting in a magnified listening experience that captivated my ears.

Chris Durant of Lightlooms

Lightlooms' set was solid all the way through, but a few songs really stood out. "Sink or Swim" stuck with me the way it juxtaposed atmospheric piano and vocals with sections of rapid-fire instrumentals from the rest of the band. "Keep The Peace" took the same rapid-fire instrumental idea but blended it in a more complementary fashion, helping augment the expressiveness of the piece. "Signs" was by far my favorite with the way that it built up layer by layer and somehow managed to continually peak. If you are a fan of piano-driven rock, Lightlooms should not be missed. If you find most piano-driven alt-rock music out there either too plain or too cutesy (because I usually do), give this indie rock inspired version a try.

Blake Hinson of Vandelay Industries

Vandelay Industries was the next band up, and they offered a completely different style of rock music. This quartet from Fort Collins offered an expressive alternative rock sound that draws heavily from power pop, and post-grunge. When I previewed this band, I thought they were leaning towards pop punk, but after hearing them live, I'd say they are a pop-friendly rock band that sounds like they'd be home on the west coast. They played a blend of energetic rock with emotive storytelling vocals that reminded me of Everclear's album So Much for the Afterglow.

Colin Golitko of Vandelay Industries

Vandelay Industries did well to create a summery rock sound that I could imagine people singing along to as they are blasting it on the stereos of their top-down convertibles while cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway on their way to a party in Orange County - even the songs with more serious subject matter were delivered with a carefree attitude. Singer Blake Hinson did well to deliver vocals that really stressed the lyrics so that the listener could gather the stories behind each song. I think they represented their genre well, but I think the live vocal performance seemed much more timid than what I heard in their recordings. I think to truly enhance their rock sound, the vocals need to be as assertive and powerful as possible. It's not like the vocals were bad or off-key, they just needed extra oomph.

Joey Costello of Vandelay Industries

Vandelay Industries has the potential to be a great alt-rock/power-pop band, but because they play music in a saturated genre, they could use dynamic stage presence to really set themselves apart. They have a good set of songs like the catchy "Synesthesia", introspective "Riverside", and synth-laden "Golden Anchors & Crystal Sails". I also enjoyed their cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "American Girl". All they need is to really polish their sound and own their roles to avoid being labeled a re-hash of an already existing sound, as the songwriting and musical foundation is there.

An Horse

The final set of the night was from the Australian band An Horse. In my preview, I also threw around the pop-punk label for this duo, but after seeing and hearing them live, that isn't exactly accurate. The duo of Kate Cooper and Damon Cox play a brand of slightly pop-tinged minimalist indie-rock using the small tool set of just vocals, guitar, and a basic drum kit. Kate Cooper will switch between electric and acoustic guitar and Damon Cox will drum with either sticks or mallets depending on the song. Kate handles the main vocals and Damon will provide backing vocals and occasional harmonies. Their characteristic sound is forged from these tools and techniques.

Kate Cooper of An Horse

An Horse had a very amicable stage demeanor, as they were able to round up an initially shy crowd and keep them engaged both with their songs and entertaining anecdotes between the music. They had a decent sized early-in-the-week crowd, many of whom were there exclusively to see An Horse perform. That's one of the things that makes the local scene so great - imported bands can come from far and wide and even on a Monday night likely find a respectable crowd. I enjoyed An Horse's stories and banter, something that would probably be absent from larger venue performances, and a good way to create a sort of personal connection to the audience.

Damon Cox of An Horse

As performers, An Horse played well and recreated the same feel and quality present in their recordings. I was expecting the majority of their concert material to come from their newly released album Walls, but it was a good mixture of material that spanned their catalog, bringing back many songs from their album Rearrange Beds. I enjoyed the performances of "Little Lungs" and "Shoes Watch" from that album. Of course, "Postcards" got the largest response from the crowd, as it is probably one of their best known songs due to it's inclusion in a TV commercial. "Dressed Sharply" was a standout from the new album, and they closed with the uptempo yet moody "Leave Me", a good song made even better when Kate revealed the song was written on a prior visit to Denver.

An Horse

It was nice to witness what musicality An Horse could accomplish with a delibrately limited set of tools, proof that sometimes less can be more. Although I can't particularly say that their brand of minimalist indie pop is something that I would play all the time (for me small doses are OK, but after an extended period I need a little more variety), their stripped down instrumentation has a sort of unpretentious charm and the lyricism in their music begs for multiple listens. Seeing them perform live just amplifies those appealing qualities, so those that are fans of their sound shouldn't hesitate to attend one of their shows.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay updated.
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It seems I've been going to the Hi-Dive a lot lately, and that's the case again tonight. It just so happens that they've had a string of good shows that I've wanted to check out, so I keep finding myself back there. Once again, I'll be starting the week off at the Hi-Dive, this time to check out some international and local indie rock.

The headliner tonight is a duo from Brisbane, Australia called An Horse. Kate Cooper and Damon Cox were coworkers at a record store and discovered they both had an interest in making music, and from there, An Horse was born. Kate Cooper handles vocals and guitar while Damon Cox handles the drumming, and together they create a heavily pop and punk influenced brand of indie rock. They are touring to support their recently released album, Walls. Check out "Trains and Tracks".
An Horse - Trains and Tracks by anhorse

Vandelay Industries is a local indie pop-rock band from Fort Collins. They create catchy pop influenced songs but try keep the feel of their band distinctively modern alternative rock, although the vocals are often reminiscent of pop-punk, almost placing the band in the power pop category. Check out "Synesthesia".
Synesthesia by Vandelay Industries

Lightlooms is a local Denver experimental indie rock trio that is self-described as post-piano-rock. Their sound is driven by Meaghan Lillis' piano/vocals and augmented by the atmospheric/ambient textures that the rest of the band creates. Their original EP is like piano-lounge for the future, while the material from their upcoming album has taken that concept and evolved it to a full rock band sound. Check out "Signs".
Signs by LightLooms

The doors open at the Hi-Dive tonight at 7:00PM and the show starts at about 7:30PM. The show is 18+ and tickets are $10 at the door.
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Lately, most of my time spent with music has been focused on the here and now. I've been hopping from show to show, trying to make sense of the current local music scene while at the same time keeping an eye out for what's coming next. Because of that, I haven't spent much time listening to music from the past, so I was feeling extra nostalgic all day Saturday in anticipation of seeing Come As You Are: A Tribute to the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind presented by Le Divorce. It gave me a reason to break out all the Nirvana albums I used to tirelessly listen to growing up, and as I played them back each song came back to me as if I'd never stopped listening to them at all.

It was truly amazing listening to all those songs again; having all the words come right back to me and reliving all sorts of great past memories. Nirvana was one of the first bands I listened to while I was young and just starting to figure out what music was "my own" - not what my parents or siblings were listening to, or what the top 40 charts said I should listen to (Top 5 radio groups in 1996: Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Everything But The Girl, The Tony Rich Project, Alanis Morisette ). Nirvana wasn't exactly a complete departure from the mainstream, but it was a welcome alternative to what was available to me at the time and it inspired me to seek out much more music and convinced me that I should learn to play the guitar.

In other words, I was reminded of just how influential Nirvana was in making music an important part of my life, and when I walked into the Hi-Dive Saturday night, it became immediately apparent that so many people must have been similarly influenced by this band. Not only were there several local bands ready to pay tribute, but there was a massive crowd of people from a wide range of age groups and several different walks of life there to go back down memory lane. I couldn't wait to see what each band had in store and how each band would interpret the songs that were a big part of my musical foundation.

Tyler Despres of Courtney Did It

There was a short delay to the start of the show due to the last minute absence of the originally slated opening band Pacific Pride, so the show got started with the second band on the list, Courtney Did It. If you are wondering where Courtney Did It was on the original list of bands, they took the place of Science Partner. Tyler Despres was the only musician from Science Partner in this group, so he called the band a different name for this tribute show. Tyler was on vocals/guitar, accompanied by a drummer, saxophonist, and a third member who played harmonica/mandolin/accordion - their bassist didn't show up. Still, these guys did a phenomenal job with what they had and managed to play some awesomely styled Nirvana covers.

Kevin Larkin performing for Courtney Did It (A member of Chimney Choir)

Courtney Did It performed three Nirvana covers. The first was "Heart-Shaped Box", and although they didn't have a bass player, it didn't really matter because I was focused on how the addition of saxophone was such a good idea. They performed an awesome reinterpretation of "Come As You Are", where the combination of harmonica and saxophone gave it an almost jazz-folk feel. They finished with "Sliver", which included Tyler Despres adding a second layer of drumming to give the percussion extra punch while they managed to make the saxophone and accordion really rock hard. I'd have to say that Courtney Did It did the best job of reinventing Nirvana songs while still making them instantly recognizable, and I commend them for their originality.

Il Cattivo

Next, local metal band Il Cattivo took the stage to share their versions of three more Nirvana songs. Of course, being a metal band, I was expecting to hear interpretations of the heaviest songs in Nirvana's catalog, and they did exactly that. Il Cattivo drenched each of their covers with the attitude and intensity of hard, heavy metal, and their whole set definitely raised the pulse rate of everyone in the venue.

Il Cattivo

Il Cattivo started with "Negative Creep", somehow bringing more energy to an already intense Nirvana song. "Tourette's" went similarly, with most eyes focused on the impassioned delivery of screams coming from singer Brian Hagman. Il Cattivo finished with "Territorial Pissings", even including the introductory "Come on people now/Smile on your brother..." before tearing into their meaty, blow-to-the-temple heavy/hardcore version of the song. I'd say Il Cattivo did the best job of performing a set that represented the band's own style while still being readily identifiable as Nirvana.

Night of Joy

Night of Joy was the next in line, and they performed a set of Nirvana covers that seemed straightforward and true to the originals at first, but were distinctively Night of Joy by the end of it all. To me, Night of Joy is an anti-pop/punk group whose usual repertoire includes songs that sound like deconstructed pop, put back together with post-punk attitude and scattered guitar work. They gave that same stylistic treatment to four Nirvana songs.

Night of Joy

They started off with "About A Girl", and it began like a pretty true-to-original cover, but then the vocals were delivered in Valerie Franz's it-doesn't-matter-if-it-sounds-like-I'm-drunk-this-is-some-artsy-shit vocal style coupled with guitar work that continually devolved into a lower than lo-fi aesthetic. That continued to be the case with "In Bloom", "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" and "Paper Cuts". It was an interesting way to present Nirvana songs, but I can't say I'm a fan of the deliberately sloppy vocals and guitar work. It works in the context of Night of Joy, and it was actually somewhat appropriate for "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter", but overall I was kind of expecting something else. EDIT: I understand now that it was a recreation of a prior Nirvana mistake-riddled live performance, and that's pretty cool. It still wasn't my cup of tea. I guess I'm just not that hardcore.

Hearts In Space

Hearts In Space was the next act up, and their set caught me completely off guard - not in a bad way, just not what I was expecting. Everything I've heard from them before suggested they'd deliver covers that were stylistically similar to the band's atmospheric, elevated dream-rock sound. Instead, they played high-energy versions of some of the more intense songs in the Nirvana catalog. Of the three they played, I could only recognize one of the songs. It seems they chose to dig deep into Nirvana's collection of songs and decided to play a couple lesser known B-Side tracks, demos, earlier Bleach songs or some stuff off Incesticide (which I admit I'm not the most familiar with), but whatever songs they were, I couldn't readily pick them out.

Hearts In Space

Despite not being able to pick out two out of the three songs they played, I do know their whole set was played with ferocious passion that ignited even more energy into the rabid crowd. The one song I could pick out, "Stay Away", was delivered with appropriate attitude and intensity, magnified with the assistance of Il Cattivo's Brain Hagman on vocals. I went into Hearts In Space's performance expecting to hear dream-rock versions of more mellow Nirvana songs like "Something In The Way", "All Apologies" or "Pennyroyal Tea", but I'm pleased with what they did instead, as it was a solid surprise.

Le Divorce

Le Divorce was up next, and I was definitely eager to see how they would cover Nirvana's songs, as the Le Divorce sound is deeply rooted in and influenced by '90s alternative rock. I wasn't sure if they would go for the more indie alt-rock/post-punk sound that they're known for or incorporate more grunge into their cover songs, but once they started to play, it became apparent they were really trying to stay true to the original versions of the songs, and they did an impeccable job.

Joe Grobelny of Le Divorce

They played four songs altogether, two Nirvana originals and two songs in the style of Nirvana. The first was a cut off Incesticide, "Son of A Gun", originally by The Vaselines. Le Divorce covered it in much the same way Nirvana did, complete with a heavy dose of punk. Next they performed a faithfully recreated version of "Polly". They then performed "Where Did You Sleep Last Night", a traditional song that Nirvana performed on MTV Unplugged In New York. Nirvana's arrangement was similar to the way Great Depression era blues-folk singer Lead Belly recorded the song in the '40s, and Le Divorce performed it in much the same way, although with the clever addition of harmonica. They ended their set with "Lithium", another faithful recreation, although delivered with the energy and dynamic stage presence characteristic of Le Divorce, complete with guitarist Joe Grobelny coming off stage and playing guitar in the midst of the crowd.

Le Divorce plus harmonica

Le Divorce's faithful cover versions proved just how important Nirvana is to this particular band. It's as if extra attention was spent to make sure they could pay tribute in their performance by trying to bring back the original feel and spirit of each song they played. Kitty Vincent did well to keep her vocal register close to Kurt Cobain's, despite, you know, her being female and all. I'd say Le Divorce did the best job in performing a true-to-the-original set, they did some things differently and the harmonica was a nice touch, but all the songs had an authentic feel.

The Swayback

The Swayback was responsible for closing out the show, and they closed it out with a bang. The Swayback is known for their garage rock meets post-punk sound, but the set of covers they played were straight energetic rock 'n' roll. They started off with the mosh-inducing song "Breed", played in a grunge rock meets punk garage fashion. Their version of "Drain You" seemed to have an extra burst of rock 'n' roll as well, although it was pretty true to the original. The Swayback had the honor of playing Nirvana's most signature song, and for this one they called up members from previous bands to help sing the song on stage.

The Swayback

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" is another one of Nirvana's songs that has extra special meaning to me. Of course, it was the very first Nirvana song I ever heard and of course it was the first song I'd blast off of Nevermind every time I popped the album into my CD player, but it was also the first song I played when I finally got an electric guitar. I plugged that baby into my amp, cranked up the distortion as high as it'd go, turned the volume as loud as my cheapo amp could stand, and had an out-of-body-like experience the first time my teen-aged self laid into that F power chord.

I pretty much relived that same feeling watching The Swayback bring back that song. Structurally, they kept the song true to the original, but somehow it felt like one of the most powerfully energetic performances of anything I'd ever seen. It had to be the combination of so many things creating a perfect situation so that everything would culminate beautifully in that moment. Not only were all the past memories of that particular song swimming through my head, but I was in a jam-packed room of people who were probably reminiscing the same way. The energy was unreal as everyone in the entire venue was singing along to every word. It was absolutely incredible.

The Swayback played one final song, a song I didn't recognize. But honestly, at that point I was still on an emotional high about the song that proceeded it, and I can barely remember that another song even happened. I'm sure for those that knew the final song, it was a good capping moment, but for me it was all about "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Come As You Are was an incredible tribute night, and it was made even more special because so many people came out to support it. I'm thankful so many good local bands took the time to put together renditions of songs for a one-off performance, because it was worth it. It was a great way to look back and pay homage to an incredibly influential band and reminisce about a previous time. It was truly a trip back in time, as not only did each band play Nirvana songs, but boyhollow kept the nostalgia going by playing a lot of other grunge and alt-rock from that era; Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and more. He also played some of Nirvana's influences and the originals of Nirvana covers like David Bowie and The Vaselines.

Although I will continue to move forward, trying to sort through the present and future of music, it was refreshing to look back in time for a night. It helped reinforce that all the music that exists today is in one way or another a product of something that was there before, and that it's always important to understand the history of music. I can't wait to experience something like this again, as there are so many other bands from the past that were highly influential to my appreciation of music, but until then, I'll keep heading out to shows to see if I can't find the next paradigm shifting band.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date.
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It's another pleasant Saturday in Denver and tonight there will be no shortage of live music options to check out. If you are looking to support local music tonight you'll have to make a few tough decisions, because there are many events happening that all include quality local talent. You could head to the Bluebird Theater and catch local indie rockers Mercuria and the Gem Stars open up for Low. You can go to the Meadowlark and see Gauntlet Hair, Force Publique, Tjujtuna and King Mob melt faces on the outdoor stage. The Walnut Room is hosting local blues rockers Woodrose along with Radical Knitting Circle and Slumgum. You can even go to the Soiled Dove Underground and see John Common and Blinding Flashes of Light, Eldren and Glowing House. But I'll be headed to the Hi-Dive, because tonight is the only night I'll be able to see seven local bands pay tribute to one of the most definitive bands in rock music, Nirvana, on the 20th anniversary of the release of the landmark Nevermind album.

20 years ago on this very same day, the world was introduced to an album that would prove highly influential for years to come and has been regarded as the album that introduced alternative rock and grunge to the world. I was only six years old when this album first came out, but I still remember how everyone couldn't stop talking about "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Just a few years later, Nevermind became one of the very first albums in my CD collection. Tonight, seven local bands will express their gratitude for the inspiration and influence garnered from this band by performing songs that span across the Nirvana catalog. Each band has chosen a few of their favorite Nirvana songs to be covered in each band's respective style.

There will be cover performances from; Hearts In Space, Il Cattivo, Night of Joy, Pacific Pride, Science Partner, The Swayback, and Le Divorce. These are local rock bands that span a wide range of styles, so it'll be especially interesting to see how these bands interpret each Nirvana song. It should be an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to witness this nostalgic show, so I am very excited to take part in this event.

The doors open at the Hi-Dive at 8:00PM. The show is 21+ and tickets are $8. As an added bonus, boyhollow will do DJ sets in between bands to keep the party going. If you remember how influential Nevermind was to you, this is a concert you're not going to want to miss.
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If you haven't heard about the funk scene at Cervantes' yet, well that's too bad, because the scene is pretty much full. OK, so maybe it isn't quite full, but it's getting there. I've been checking out funk shows at Cervantes' ever since I found out they existed - which was only a little over two months ago. In that time, I've seen larger and larger crowds come out to join in on the fun, and Thursday night had to be the most packed house I've seen yet. I made it to Cervantes' a little later than usual, and there was already a long line out the door to get into the box office. I figured many might be checking out what was going on in the Masterpiece Ballroom, but when I finally made it into the Other Side, I was pleased to see an already packed tight room with much of the crowd fervently dancing - and the opener still had an hour left to go.


Up first on stage was Zobomazé (Zō·bō·mah·zā), a local Denver/Boulder psychedelic jazz-funk band. They are made up of Zach Simms on saxophone/keyboards, Doug Litvak on guitar, Sean Dandurand on bass, and Nick Miller on drums. This quartet produced a similar sound to what I heard on their album Steadfast Giraffe, albeit without the polished intricacies I heard on their composed effort. It was still a good performance, and they got plenty of positive energy from the crowd, it just didn't exactly meet my expectations.

Zach Simms of Zobomazé

I was expecting something more along the lines of the funky progressive psychedelia they had on their album, where the sudden twists and turns in each song were akin to listening to multiple mini songs from a range of genres in one musical piece. Zobomazé's live performance didn't quite give me that same feel - each song just seemed like a lengthy jam session without as much sense of order, direction, or variety. Don't get me wrong, these guys are talented musicians and their performance proved they are skilled at their various instruments, but I thought I was going to see a psych-funk band, not a jam band with jazz-funk tendencies.

If you are into jam bands, you'll probably find that this band is on point. Otherwise, their sound can get a little out there and they just might leave you a bit lost. To be honest, it took several listens of Steadfast Giraffe before I could sort out what was going on and really appreciate the nuances in each song, so maybe I personally have trouble sorting through it all in a live performance. Overall, I think they did a great job to open up the show and they had much of the audience very engaged throughout their set - so maybe it's just me.

Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk

Next up was the main event, the representatives of New Orleans style funk, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. By the time Dumpstaphunk took the stage, Cervantes' Other Side was as full as I've ever seen. It seems people came out in droves to spend their Thursday night getting funky, and Dumpstaphunk was more than willing to deliver. With Ivan Neville on organ/backing vocals/guitar, Tony Hall on vocals/guitar/bass, Ian Neville on lead guitar, Nick Daniels III on bass/backing vocals, and Nikki Glaspie on drums/backing vocals, Dumpstaphunk was able to create an authentic funk sound that seemed like it came straight from the '70s but still fresh and modern. It was like they took the energy and funkiness of early Tower of Power and Earth, Wind & Fire, added a bit of The Meters and mixed it with that carefree, fun-loving New Orleans attitude, resulting in face-scrunching, head-nodding, body-moving funk perfectly fit to annihilate the dance floor.

Ian Neville of Dumpstaphunk

Nobody on the dance floor stood a chance, as from start to finish Dumpstaphunk delivered a set that was an all out funk assault. They started their attack with the soulful "Deeper", and it triggered the crowd into a dance marathon from the moment the first bass note escaped the speakers. From there it was more pure, unabated funk with standout songs like "Brit Knee", "Do Ya" and "Sheez Music". With the intensity already so high, I didn't think it was possible to incite more energy from the already frenzied crowd, but Dumpstaphunk managed to do just that when it came to perform "Standin' In Your Stuff". They called for seven ladies to join them up on stage and strut their stuff, and a eight ladies quickly made their way there up, with no one complaining about the plus one. With the energy on stage higher than ever before, the crowd followed suit by going absolutely wild.


Dumpstaphunk did well to keep the groove going all night, and when it came towards the end of their set, they even got the whole crowd involved. They saved their theme song until near the end, and the crowd shouted along in chorus to "Put It In The Dumpsta", a song about putting all bad nerves, feelings and "unneccessary-ness we walk around with on a day-to-day basis" into the trash so you can let loose and have a good time. It was like a heavy dose of feel good funky medicine, and it certainly did the trick.

Tony Hall of Dumpstaphunk

They closed their set with "Meanwhile...", a song that warned "there might not be a next time/just shake your booty baby". It seems the crowd took the warning to heart and danced as fiercely as ever - enough to bring Dumpstaphunk out for one more song, a cover of The Isley Brothers' protest song "Fight The Power". It was another song that had crowd participation, as everyone was pumping their fists and shouting along. The encore song brought the crowd to an absolute boil - an incredible way to end the night. If you are a fan of funk, Dumpstaphunk's combination of stage presence and jazz fused down-home funk is absolutely sure to please. Catch them the next time you can and give up the funk, but be quick because the crowds keep getting larger and if you sleep on it, you might miss your chance.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date!
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Denver funk fans, make note: If you haven't checked it out yet, there is quite the funk scene going on at Cervantes' Other Side. Lately, they been bringing in heavy hitters in the funk genre, supporting both local and national funk acts. Just in the past couple months they've brought in national names like Breakestra, Orgone, The Funk Ark, Empresarios, as well as local names like Filthy Children and HoneyComb. It seems that for at least one night a month, Cervantes' Other Side will bring bands that'll turn the place into a rhythm and groove dance party. Tonight, they're at it again.

The headliner tonight is New Orleans, LA southern funk band Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. Ivan Neville is the son of acclaimed soul and R&B artist Aaron Neville and is also related to members of The Neville Brothers. Because of that, Ivan has been involved in music for quite some time, and has been performing as a musician since the early '80s. In 2003, Ivan Neville formed Dumpstaphunk, a side project that eventually blossomed into a full band. The band is now five members strong, and they specialize in bringing that hard-hitting heavy '70s funk feel, but with a modern twist stemming from a combination of influences from both the street life and jazz scene of New Orleans. The result is high energy funk that mesmerizes dance floors. Check out "Deeper".
Deeper by Dumpstaphunk

Local funk band Zobomaze is responsible for getting the party started, and they'll get things going with their own unique representation of the genre. Zobomaze is a progressive funk group that plays epic songs that have a strong psychedelic jazz influence. Each song is a funkified journey through the expanses of sound, with plenty of twists and turns in the form of tempo changes, rhythmic breaks, and sweeping instrumental solos. It's like funk music for your next party on the moon. Check out "Dirk Grunwald".
01 Dirk Grunwald by Zobomazé

The doors open at Cervantes' Other Side tonight at 8:00PM, and the music starts at about 9:00PM. The show is all ages and tickets are $20 at the door. Come check out Denver's vibrant funk scene.
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I went back to the Hi-Dive again Monday night, this time to catch some local, national and international electronic music acts. This concert had been on my calendar for a while, and when the time finally came I figured some chillwave and dreampop on the more mellow side would be a good way to usher in a new week and spend an early autumn night. I wasn't sure what the turnout would be on a Monday night, but it was pretty good, as plenty of people chose to come out and see the show, even from the very beginning.

King Mob

Local experimental electro-pop group King Mob had the honors of opening up the night. I hadn't really heard their music beforehand, but I was excited to hear them based on their pedigree. The trio of Ben Martin, Sam Martin (of Flashlights) and Charles Kern (of Woodrose) form King Mob, and together they perform an eclectic mix of danceable yet dark electro synthpop that draws from a variety of different genres. Ben Martin handles the vocal duties, and his vocal style reminds me of '80s new wave frontmen (like Marc Almond of Soft Cell), but perhaps with a little more pleasant ghostliness. All three in the group split duties handling the instrumentals, and through various synths, filters and computer controllers, they create sounds that range from driving, synth-laden electro new wave, to glitchy, wompy, hard-hitting slow tempo industrial tech-step, to airy and atmospheric soundscapes matched with thumping syncopated rhythms and fluid bass.

Ben Martin of King Mob

On stage, it all came together in a package that could only be definitively described as King Mob. They started the show with an untitled work-in-progress introductory song that began with Ben Martin eerily oohing into the microphone. The peculiarity of the haunting sounds had the audience attentively listening in wonder, just in time for King Mob to pounce on the crowd's unexpectant ears with a filthy bass heavy beat. From there, King Mob performed "Take My Hand, I'm Changing", a song with an '80s inspired chillwave-esque beat and vocals to match, but mixed with synth lines that reminded me of Daft Punk's Discovery. "The Wasp" was another song with a delightfully bizarre beginning that became oh so awesome when the 2-step meets dubstep beat dropped in. "Moonchild" had the perfect balance of moodiness and attitude, giving the song an atmospherically epic quality.

Charles Kern and Sam Martin of King Mob

To wrap up their set, King Mob performed a new, untitled song that required crowd participation in the form of stomps. As the crowd stomped to the beat, Ben Martin would sing while stomping and clapping to the off beat, creating a final song that was a pleasure to see, hear and feel. King Mob's performance was great, and their style of music is quite unique - an unconventional blend of chillwave, gloomy electro, and synthpop. Their darkpop style is a fresh take on electronic music, and I found it exciting and catchy. It may not be for everyone, but I can't wait to see and hear it again.

Chad Valley

Next up was international chillwave artist Chad Valley, who came to us from Oxford, England. I am a really big fan of Chad Valley's music. I've listened to every single song and remix I could find, and I've had his new album Equatorial Ultravox on heavy repeat since it was released this summer. His recordings are a prime example of what defines the chillwave movement - danceable retro styled new wave rhythms, airy synths with simple yet catchy melodies, and lofty reverberated vocals. I had high expectations for his performance, so it pains me to say that they weren't met, and it wasn't even close.

Chad Valley is a talented producer, and the quality of his instrumentals didn't disappoint. Each song had that definitive laid back chillwave dance beat I was looking for. All his songs were sequenced well and whenever it came time to play sections on the keyboard, he performed them just fine. But when it came to performing the vocals, it seemed like he just wasn't all there. I don't know if he was already tired from touring, or that he just didn't expect people here to really know about him yet, but I could read on his face that he seemed reluctant to be performing, as if he didn't think anyone cared about him being there one way or the other.

Chad Valley

He did have his moments; his performance of "Up and Down" had plenty of passion and energy, and that transferred well to the crowd. As for everything else, he seemed to be holding back, and no matter how solid his instrumentals were, it kept the crowd tentative because Chad Valley was unable to project any sort of captivating energy. When it came to my favorite song, "Now That I'm Real (How Does It Feel?)", he performed it an octave lower (and sometimes a bit flat), and it just completely shattered the feel of the song, like watching someone sing a bad karaoke version. He seemed to be in a hurry to get off stage and his performance was very short. He left out many songs from Equatorial Ultravox, like "Shell Suite", "Reach Lines" and "Acker Bilk" - three of the songs I wanted to hear the most.

I'm still a huge fan of Chad Valley's music, but as of now, I can't quite recommend anyone to go see one of his live sets. I think he needs to work on his stage presence and on owning his role as a singer if he wants to do live performance. If he can do that, he'll be able to capture audiences with his awesome synthpop meets R&B style of chillwave. Otherwise, he may want to consider staying in a producer role and recruiting other musicians to help perform his music live, or he can perform his music as DJ sets, because he has a lot of awesome remixes under his belt too. Hopefully it was just an off night for Chad Valley and that isn't the norm, but I can only go with what I saw and felt in my gut.

Active Child

Finally, it was time for the headlining act, Active Child. Active Child's music is the product of Patrick Grossi, but he had the assistance of a live drummer and another person on keyboards/bass/backing vocals. Grossi was responsible for lead vocals, keyboard, and harp. Yes, you read correctly - harp - and I must admit, he certainly made playing the harp look badass. Together with these tools, Active Child creates their self-described "hymntronic" sound; a blend of choral vocals and atmospheric instrumentals that sound like they originated from a cathedral, matched with epic and explosive drumming reminiscent of Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight".

Patrick Grossi of Active Child

I did enjoy Active Child's performance, although the songs I enjoyed most were the songs that strayed a little bit away from the hymntronic style. The Active Child songs I like best are the ones that have a little R&B influence in them; "Hanging On", "Playing House" and "When Your Love Is Safe" to me have that hymtronic framework but with more soulful slow jam beats - like music for bumping and grinding in the clouds. The thing is, Active Child performed all those songs in the first half of his set, so I kind of feel like he went through all the good stuff too soon.

As for the rest of Active Child's songs, I think they are clever, I think they are different in a good way, but I don't think they are exactly anything I'd listen to regularly. But I think Active Child is completely fine with that, because judging by the makeup of the crowd, I don't think I'm Active Child's target demographic. Active Child had a good sized and passionate crowd, but it was made up mostly of young females, making me almost feel like I was at a boy band concert for hipster girls for the majority of the performance. From what I could tell, that hymntronic sound Active Child has played right into each and every one of those girls' hearts.

Patrick Grossi of Active Child

As long as Active Child makes more music in the vein that I like, I'd definitely check out one of his shows again. I can't imagine he'd abandon making songs that have that R&B twist considering "Playing House" is Active Child's first single. It was refreshing to hear a unique style of music, and it was performed with powerful conviction. Active Child's choral falsetto voice is quite amazing to witness live, and I think Active Child did a good job of convincing people they should learn how to play the harp. Give his new album, You Are All I See a listen, and if you like it, check out a live show, it won't disappoint. But if you are looking for something more like the danceable single "Playing House", you may come away from the experience like it was a mixed bag.

Overall, I'm glad I went to this concert. King Mob was refreshing and exciting and I can't wait to see what more they will do in the future. Plus, they pretty much made it onto every Halloween mix/playlist I will make this year. As disappointed as I was in Chad Valley's performance, I'm still glad I got to check it out. Most of my disappointment was because I felt he had the potential to be so much better of a performer but perhaps sold himself short. Plus, I don't think Chad Valley realized there are actually people on this side of the pond that dig his music. Active Child really was amazing to see but to get the most out of the experience, you have to like his whole repertoire, and most of it doesn't have the same feel as his single. But in the end, it was still a great concert experience as a whole.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay updated!
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