Tuesday night's concert at the Bluebird Theater really got me thinking about the potential pitfalls of music genre labels. In the broadest sense, I went to see an indie pop show, but that term is so general it can be very misleading, because there was definitely a lot more to the show than just seeing independent bands with a popular appeal. I realize the definition of both indie and pop have evolved, and that indie pop isn't quite either of what those individual labels mean, but I think the indie pop label barely scratches the surface when it comes to describing what I heard Tuesday night, because there was a lot of enjoyable stuff going on that needs more than just a simple label to really be understood.

Le Divorce

Le Divorce opened up the night, and I was happy to catch another set from this local Denver rock band. This four piece indie/alternative band consisting of Kitty Vincent (vocals/guitar), Ryan Stubbs (bass/vocals), Joe Grobelny (guitar) and Chris Durant (drums) was back in fine form, delivering more of their high energy post-punk, lo-fi, and grungy alternative influenced sound. Although I wouldn't consider this band indie pop, they have elements from time to time that could slot their music into that broad category, as some of their songs are a little more melodic, and their set was a good prelude for the bands to come.

Kitty Vincent of Le Divorce

Le Divorce started with "In The Waves", a moody polyrhythmic lo-fi track that's reminiscent of early '90s indie rock and is one of my favorites in the Le Divorce catalog. Le Divorce played a few songs that should appear on their upcoming CD, including "Shout", another song with a lo-fi aesthetic but balanced by Kitty Vincent's smooth vocals and honest lyrics. They wrapped up their set with the post-punk gem "6 Feet Under" and the slyly danceable rocker "Under the Boxcars". Check out Le Divorce at Hallowgoth Dance Party on Halloween. They'll have a new CD out and will be performing in some sweet costumes, an event lo-fi/alt-rock fans won't want to miss.

Twin Sister

Next up was Twin Sister from Long Island, NY. The blanket term indie pop does not really describe the multitude of stylistic things going on in this band's sound. Twin Sister is a five-piece band that features vocalist Andrea Estella, keyboardist Dev Gupta, bassist Gabe D'Amico, guitarist/vocalist Eric Cardona, and drummer Bryan Ujueta. Together they craft a unique dreamy pop-rock sound that sounds like a blend of styles both old and new. Sometimes synth-heavy while other times guitar driven, Twin Sister creates an instrumental sound that sounds like a combination of post-rock, dreampop, and dashes of pop-rock from the '60s, '70s and '80s, creating a constantly varying backdrop for the strangely powerful yet distinctively fragile vocal style of both Eric Cardona and especially Andrea Estella.

Eric Cardona of Twin Sister

Twin Sister performed an impressive mix of songs from all over their catalog - songs from their EPs Vampires With Dreaming Kids, and Color Your Life and from their recently released full length album In Heaven. They began their set with the nebulous song "Lady Daydream", its airy vocals and dreamy soundscape balanced by twangy guitar. From there they craftily transitioned into the wistful "Spain", a flow that happened so smoothly I didn't even realize the change at first. The retro dance-rock song "Gene Ciampi" came next, a song that I love because it reminds me of vintage Asian pop music.

Andrea Estella of Twin Sister

Twin Sister performed a song I've only seen available on the sampler Shaking Through Vol. 1 titled "Meet the Frownies", another modern song that sounds like it emerged from an old dusty vinyl crate. They played a few more songs from their new album including the dancey synth-pop disco-rock song "Bad Street". I was glad to hear the standout dreamy post-disco song "All Around and Away We Go" from their second EP, and especially glad to hear the solemn yet colorful "I Want a House" from their first release. I think if they ended the set there, it would have been perfect, but Twin Sister chose to end the set with a more abstract and atmospheric piece that just didn't seem to fit with everything else. Aside from that last song, their set offered just about everything I was looking for, and I absolutely loved all the varied sounds they have going on. Twin Sister has a fresh take on indie pop that really needs to be heard to truly understand it. Check them out, their sound is unlike anything else out right now.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Lastly was the headlining set from The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Kip Berman (vocals/guitar), Peggy Wang (keyboards/vocals), Alex Naidus (bass), Kurt Feldman (drums) and Christoph Hochheim (guitar) make up this New York based indie pop band. But once again, indie pop doesn't quite tell the whole story, as this band combines modern rock with elements of noise rock and shoegaze to create their indie brand of catchy pop rock. Their songs are usually upbeat with driving rhythms and simple melodies that are energetic and catchy without being glittery or exaggerated, allowing for a more genuine listening experience.

Peggy Wang of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart played a good mix of songs from their self-titled debut album and their newly released album Belong. They opened their set with the new album title track "Belong", a song with a danceable rhythm and a careful balance of noisey riffs versus soft vocal sections. From there The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's set was split roughly half and half between new album and debut album tracks. The single "Heart In Your Heartbreak" appeared early in the set and had much of the audience singing along. I felt "A Teenager In Love" was the strongest performed song from their debut album and elicited a solid response from the crowd.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's set was strong musically with great energetic stage presence, and Kip Berman was especially personable with the crowd. There was humorous banter between many songs and much of it had to do with their experiences in Denver and other local related topics. They kept the crowd engaged by mentioning on topic things like their time at Monolith Festival a couple years ago to tangents like Tim Tebow. They knew how to keep the banter short as to not be distracting but include enough that you could tell they really enjoyed being in Denver and interacting with the crowd. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart wrapped up their regular set with the title track off their first self-titled EP, a fitting closing song promising perseverance.

Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart performing solo

Of course, the audience wanted a little bit more and called The Pains of Being Pure At Heart back for an encore. Kip Berman came out on stage with just his guitar and began to play a stripped-down solo version of "Contender", really bringing out the emotional core and revelatory lyricism of that song with his performance. Then the rest of the band joined Kip Berman on stage to close the night with the alluding "Everything With You". The Pains of Being Pure At Heart delivers a good show very much like their album experience, so fans of shoegaze influenced indie-pop should definitely check them out.

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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