PBR sponsored a pretty successful showcase of local art and music Friday night at the Meadowlark and Larimer Lounge. Plenty of people decided to come out and take advantage of the free show, and the event organizers did a good job making sure there was a good variety of things to offer. This time, I kept my attention focused on one venue, so I did miss most of the art being exhibited and the DJ sets that were taking place at the Meadowlark. I focused my attention on the Larimer Lounge and was treated to four local acts all supplying four different styles of music.
Peter Black got things started with a house music DJ set. Peter Black knows how find new music that has that classic house feel, but has a distinctive modern touch. Friday night he was mixing a nice blend of UK style modern house tracks, disco influenced house, and post-dubstep that made for a very danceable set while maintaining an indie approach. Peter Black digs up great tracks from the genres he likes to mix with, and there were some many smooth, funky, and grooving tracks I could get down to but couldn't identify.
Still, I did notice he played some remixed Classixx, Girl Unit, and Gil Scott-Heron, along with some originals from Kingdom and Jamie xx. Jamie xx's "Far Nearer" was definitely my favorite track out of the whole set, and I was impressed with the way he blended that song seamlessly into his mix. Peter Black's mix was a good introduction to a night of various music, and I was glad to finally hear his smooth mixing style and choice song selection in person.
|Chön of Total Ghost|
Next up was the local parodical comedy synth-pop group, Total Ghost. Total Ghost is Chön (Randy Washington), Biktor (Adam Nix) and their DJ/helper Günther (Evan Nix). This hilarious group claims to be from Munich, Germany, and perform as if they are a major German pop sensation. Checking out their music prior to the show, I knew they had just the perfect balance of fun lyrics, danceability, and light-hearted attitude to be an entertaining live act, but nothing could really prepare me for just how much captivating stage presence these guys had.
|Biktor of Total Ghost|
Total Ghost has done a great job of defining the character roles of each band member. Chön is the frontman of the group, a short-statured megalomaniacal party animal that dresses flamboyantly and considers himself quite the womanizer. Biktor is a tall unassuming figure with dark slicked back hair and thick glasses that moves, speaks and feigns playing the keyboard with robotic German efficiency. Günther plays the assistant role, a lanky fellow responsible for providing beats and props while often being chastised for the poor quality in which his services are rendered. When the three take the stage to perform, hilarity ensues.
|Total Ghost and their "Gerlfreunds"|
The trio introduced themselves in character and began to perform their catchy, kitschy simple drum machine and synth driven techno-pop. It didn't take long before people caught on to what was going on. As Total Ghost started off with "Tour Life" and promised a party, the sizable crowd was ready to let themselves go and join in the fun. It was smiles all around as the crowd danced and laughed to the hilarious lyrics and antics of Total Ghost. People listened intently as Total Ghost spoke of their driving adventures on "Too Fast for the Autobahn". Girls joined the band on stage as they performed "Gerlfreund". The crowd was forced to succumb to the lascivious dance moves of Chön during "Engineering". It was one side-splitting moment after another as Total Ghost went from song to song, keeping the energy of the crowd sky high throughout their entire set. I'd never seen a non-headliner get a call for an encore, but with Total Ghost, expect the unexpected. If you are looking for an opportunity to laugh while you dance your ass off, check out a Total Ghost show. But be forewarned, as long as you don't take them too seriously, these guys are crazy fun.
Next up was the local electronic act ManCub. I've covered ManCub a handful of times on this blog already, but they keep me coming back to see them because they are always doing something new. ManCub brought out the usual setup; a table with pedals and knobs galore, a MNCB backdrop, a laser light machine, and Alex Anderson and James Wayne working their magic to deliver some hard-hitting but danceable and catchy electro noise-pop. It's the formula they usually use to slay crowds, and tonight was no exception, although this time they had a few new tricks up their sleeves to treat long-time listeners.
|James Wayne and Alex Anderson of ManCub|
The ManCub sound has been steadily evolving since Danny Stillman left the band and James Wayne came in his place. Alex and James have been writing new material and tweaking earlier songs, keeping the noise-pop footprint but refining and polishing their music. Friday night ManCub started with a few new work-in-progress untitled songs that are identifiably ManCub but also noticeably evolutionary. The new songs had a feel similar to the retro disco noise-pop gem "Summer Rain", which they also unleashed on the crowd. There were fewer selections in their set from the original 8 Bit Crush album than I've seen performed before, but they did break out "Made In Japan" and the title track "8 Bit Crush".
|Alex Anderson of ManCub|
The part I liked best was when they closed their set with a reworked version of "Sound". That song is already one of my favorite ManCub tracks, and somehow they have evolved it into something even better. It's a sure sign that more great things from ManCub are sure to follow, and I can't wait to see what else they have coming down the road. I heard that they have big things on the way and that ManCub will treat everyone to a new album release sometime earlier next year. Keep your eyes and ears open, and if you haven't yet, go see a ManCub show!
The Swayback came out to perform the headlining set, and I was excited to finally hear this band in their element. The first time I saw them was a week earlier when they were performing in the Come As You Are Nirvana tribute show, but because of the nature of that particular performance I didn't get to see them perform their own material. Friday night, they brought their garage influenced post-rock and their high-energy stage presence to the Larimer Lounge much to my delight. Adam Tymn and William Maline create the energetic guitar textures, Martijn Bolster layers in the drums, and Eric Halborg glues it all together with the bass and his vocal delivery.
They got the crowd rocking with a selections of songs that showcased their versatility. They performed riff driven songs like "What A Pity", "Concrete Blocks", and rhythm and drum driven songs like "Long Gone Lads" and "Meircats". I thought their whole set was really solid, but there were a few songs I thought stood out the most. "Vampires In The Mirror" and "Forewarned" have a sort of funky bass-driven danceability I really enjoyed, and the uptempo "All Bad News" is straight lovable high-energy punk rock.
The Swayback had an awesome performance that convinced me they are solid representatives of the spirit of rock 'n' roll. I would like to have seen them with a larger, rowdier crowd but they made do with what they were dealt. They proved to me that they have great stage presence and can really drive energy when I saw them perform last week. This weeks performance proved that not only do they have those qualities, but their original material is top-notch as well. If you are a fan of hard rock 'n' roll, check out The Swayback.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.