Friday night at the Marquis Theater, I never left Denver but I felt like I took a high-energy trip around the world through music. The Marquis Theater hosted three great local bands all playing music styles that originated from outside this country. The night offered a little bit of everything; Latin infused reggae, fast paced afrobeat, and high-energy ska. The bands all did well to be true to their respective genres while also infusing a bit of their own modern uniqueness to the various styles they were performing.
|Yuzo Nieto of Pink Hawks|
|Lannie Shelton rocking the afrobeat fiddle for Pink Hawks|
|Koffi Toudji of Pink Hawks ready to hear you scream|
|KBone Larsen of The Dendrites|
Just when I thought I'd seen one of the more energetic performances I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time, somehow there was more energy to be found. It was time for the headliners to perform, and another large ensemble stormed the stage, this time Denver's own The Dendrites. This ten piece band had two guitars, two percussionists, two saxophones, a trumpet, a trombone, a drummer and a bassists, and all together they produced vintage instrumental ska with incredible authenticity.
|Mont Brown of The Dendrites|
I've already exhausted the word energetic describing the two previous bands, but I'm going to have to reach into that bag one more time. The Dendrites were definitely energetic, although with this band, it was a little bit different. When a band can get an entire venue skanking so hard the floor shakes to every offbeat, I can only label that amount of energy dendritic. It's like this band is already well aware that their brand of music is like a shot of electricity directly to the brain.
|Squidds Madden of The Dendrites|
From start to finish, the Dendrites were absolutely phenomenal. They played a lot of upbeat, wall shaking ska with songs like "Flight School", "Gumbo Hustle" and "Sol Songo". They were able to keep the crowd engaged throughout every song, and at some points, were engulfed within the crowd itself. At one point, Dendrites trumpeter Squidds Madden left the stage and played among the crowd, joined by the trumpeters from Mono Verde and Pink Hawks. Of course when the crowd saw this they managed to find a way to go even wilder than they had all night. Even The Dendrites' slower, easier tempo songs like "Armed and Opposed" and "Sebsi" had the crowd hanging on to the groove and dancing all the way through. It was an incredible experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching not only the band perform, but the crowd dancing in reaction to the awesome music the band was producing.
I've been to a lot of shows, both where there was a ton of energy in the venue and also some where there was none to be found. Friday night at the Marquis Theater was an extreme case of the performers and crowd having ridiculous amounts of energy, and it made it one of the most memorable concert experiences I've had in a long time. If you are a fan of reggae, afrobeat and ska, I guarantee you will have an amazing time seeing one of these bands perform. Having all three put together in the same show? I don't know how they got away with it - putting a show together with three bands that were this much fun should border on being criminal.
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