Although I'd already been to the Larimer Lounge the night before, I headed straight back Wednesday night to check out a different scene. I already started the month off with music appropriate for the Halloween season, but the month is still young and I needed some more. I wanted another chance to see a local favorite, see a new local band, and check out another national band with a dark electro-pop sound. When it was time to leave the show, I'd say I got enough to hold me over for maybe a little while longer.

Matt McGuire of StaG

First up was StaG, a band I didn't know much about, but after hearing their album Rifle Meeker before the show, I was very curious to see their set and find out more. Matt McGuire (bass, sampler, vocals) and Will Walden (guitar, vocals) are from Los Angeles and have been friends and bandmates since high school. While in California, they had a full band, but about three years ago the pair moved to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since then they have continued on as a band, recruiting the services of Mac Welch (guitar, trombone, vocals). The trio produce a unique form of atmospheric indie rock with a string of apparent influences, and I must say they've got a very appealing sound.

From what I heard off of their album, I initially pegged the band as a moodier, stripped down version of chillwave. They have the emotive reverberated vocals, airy synths, and catchy melody driven songs that are characteristic of that genre, but they don't have the dancey new wave styled retro beat work in the background. But when I saw them live, I found that to be only part of what makes up this band's sound. There seemed to be a coastal influence in their music as well, as I noted a strong psychedelic meets surf rock texture to their sound. Everything blended together made for something atmospheric but strangely soothing, and definitely worth checking out if you're an indie rock fan or a chillwave fan looking for something to listen to as you wind down a night of dancing.

Will Walden of StaG

I noticed their set had a lot of new, unreleased material in it, which for me was both bad and good. It was bad, because I have no idea what songs I heard and can't exactly tell you which ones they were. But it was good because the songs were pretty solid, and that means the band still has a knack for coming up with quality material. I was able to pick out a few songs from Rifle Meeker; the rhythmically ethereal song "Everyone Is Plaster", the ghostly yet calm "Rifle", and the mysteriously uplifting emo-surf rockish song "Turn Away". My only complaint was that I thought a live drummer could have enhanced their sound, but the band told me that is in the works. Keep on the look out for this band, they're on to something.

James Wayne and Cassie McNeil of Force Publique

Next up was one of my local favorites, Force Publique. This band has a somewhat peculiar yet infectious sound that is driving and danceable but distinctively dark, and their Wednesday night performance was a testament to that. Cassie McNeil plays bass lines that are both funky yet ominous. James Wayne supplies industrial beats from a drum machine and layers in ghostly Moog keyboard synth lines. Alex Anderson brings the rhythm to life with his drumming. All together, it makes a moody soundscape that is as desirable as it is menacing, creating the perfect backdrop for Cassie's alluring intoned vocals.

Alex Anderson of Force Publique

Concerts are always best when there is a large, energetic crowd, and unfortunately Wednesday night's show wasn't the best example of that. Still, Force Publique performed as if they had the desired setting, and treated those who were there to all nine of the songs available on their self-titled EP. They started with their album opener, "Ache", played the distortion heavy "Absorbed", and went to the moody dance track "Tarnished". From there Force Publique slowed it down with "Fickle" before ratcheting it back up with "Still Falls Apart". The last time I saw Force Publique, they revealed a new song, "The Open Cold", and it'd blend of moody bass and distorted industrial synth was back again. Then they finished off their set with, "Fortified", "Kinetic" and "Distorted + Thin", three songs with the most mechanized feel.

For those seeking a soundtrack for the season, now that it grows colder and darker, try Force Publique. Their blend of distorted and industrialized new wave rhythms, minacious synths, and captivatingly nefarious vocals make for a great representation of the darkwave sound. Check out their music, and check them out live before the month is through; they've got a Hi-Dive show on October 26.

Brittany Terry of Kindest Lines

The last act was New Orleans based kindest lines. Justin Blaire Vial plays keyboards and handles the drum machine, Jack Champagne handles the guitar, and frontwoman Brittany Terry plays keyboard while lending a moody, breathy, low-register vocal style. With the addition of a touring bass player, they managed to create a full live sound that had driving danceable beats but created a mood of portending darkness.

Kindest Lines has an instrumental sound that is somewhere between industrial rock and electropop. The drum machine created a deliberately artificial and mechanized sound, keeping a steady robotic rhythm with its factory-like drum samples. The guitar, although not usually distorted, maintained that machined feel by the way Jack Champagne played his riffs off the template of the automated rhythm. The layers of keyboard synths by themselves would create a pleasantly ethereal sound, but paired with the other instruments it turned into something more villainous. Brittany Terry's vocal style united all the musical pieces, and her cobwebby vocals lightly and mysteriously draped over the sound.

Kindest Lines

Kindest Lines performed a selection of songs off of their album Covered in Dust. Their set was divided into two sub-styles. They had slower, airy and celestial songs like "Hazy Haze", "Baltimore" and "Dark Dream". They had more driving and uptempo yet still dark and moody songs like "Strange Birds", "Running Into Next Year", and "In Death Not to Part". Or there were songs that were a combination of the two like "Destructive Paths to Live Happily" and their set closer, "Prom Song". Their set showed a good range of song variation that could still identify with the overall dark feel they try to achieve. I like Kindest Line's instrumentation, but sometimes the vocals seemed a bit off to me, but if you like a dark sound with gossamer vocals, you may like Kindest Lines.

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

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