Day in, day out you wake up to the routine, the daily grind - sometimes without even thinking about it. But consider this: as we get older, and our routines and patterns become more intricately stained with responsibility and bills, the one word that stood out in our youth as a burning emblem becomes a burden of self reflection: "why". Why do I wake up? Why do I go to the 7-11? Why do I buy neon band-aids? Why do I look at pictures of cats on the internet? Why do I eat frozen yogurt? Why do I do anything that I am not forced to do out of bodily necessity or personal integrity? Well, I bet you weren’t expecting a concert review that doubles as an existential crisis - but Concerted Effort is not just a witty play on words describing the excellent live music coverage provided therein. Ok, that’s exactly what it is - but I will point out that we all could learn a lot by observing these musicians, aka those of us that choose to explore the “why’s” of life and make it something beautiful, or “art,” if you will.

Calling something art is so subjective, and raises many more questions than it does any answers to the “why” question, but when the “artist” is present the whole interaction turns into something different. For instance, when Marina Abramović was present during her exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, she had to deal with the direct scrutiny of the millions of visitors the MOMA sees every day. Literally. Her exhibit was the artist herself staring at anyone who would sit across from her eight hours a day, for four months. There is the type of person that would choose to sit there and delight in the opportunity to be in the presence of the artist, while others may choose instead to dismiss it because their aesthetic tastes require something different than a staring contest. But then there is the type of person who would wonder “why?,” and in doing so they may have found a reason to find life that much more enjoyable; a reason to find life beautiful.

The music of Neutral Milk Hotel, written and sung by Jeff Mangum, is a testament to the courage of art to find beauty in everyday life. His two albums are '90s pop-music at their core, with accents of unfamiliar instruments and words that seem to rebel against the very spine of the songs they are apart of. Mangum’s words are pure poetry: he sings about bodies and feelings like a teenager in love for the first time, but his subject is dark and he approaches it through complicated themes. His words resemble Leaves of Grass in the sense that his ode is grating and doesn’t hold back from the grit of what is dirty, deplorable and acidic in everyday life. For a lot of us, we can say where we were and what we were doing when we first listened to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. It leaves a mark - or in many cases it’s more of a scar because you will never get rid of that one memory. How many albums, musicians or “artists” can claim to have that effect on a person? And how often do we really take the time to appreciate that effect? For me, Jeff Mangum’s songs from Aeroplane will always remind me of the time in my life when I was 16 and had just gotten over the chicken pox. If being a teenager wasn’t awkward enough, try adding chicken pox to the mix, and a part-time job at TCBY, and then let’s make it Christmas time. I was given this album as a Christmas present from a friend and I will never forget that moment.

Two members of the popular '90s alternative band Elf Power and one man who can claim to be a member of Neutral Milk Hotel all came to the stage as Jeff Mangum’s opening act. On first glance of the threesome’s set up, you might have guessed the group’s tour van was raided: two guitars were plugged into amps the size of children’s lunchboxes, a bongo drum sat atop a stool with two wire brushes as drumsticks, and then there was a cello bow, a beer bottle, a (toy?) saxophone and an accordion. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I weren’t seeing it with my very own eyes. Unfortunately I can’t show you what I saw to corroborate my story. With a very strict no-photo policy at the show, I still tried to capture the beer-bottle-as-guitar-pick part of the performance by Laura Carter, Scott Spillane and Andrew Reiger but my lack of stealth and the determination of the stage crew left me empty-handed. These three musicians were given a unique opportunity by Mangum in the sense that they weren’t really expected to do anything other than what they wanted; there were no albums to sell and no merchandise to hawk. The group set out to impress us with unexpected sounds and songs.

The band covered Randy Newman’s “Germany Before the War” - which if you listen to the original song, you wouldn’t take it to be a crowd-pleaser to share with a massive audience on tour. Newman’s version is brooding, slow and full of tinkling piano chords that sound like the background music to a lonely walk in the park after your ice cream scoop fell off the cone. Reiger’s take on the song made it sound more like a sweet lullaby; it was endearing and an incredible choice to preface Mangum’s set which would include his Aeroplane songs about Germany during that war (the album is based on the life of Anne Frank). Another great cover featured Scott Spillane as he took on “Strangers Out of Blue” by St. Thomas - the vocals from the original and that night’s cover were equally matched, it was a great choice for the evening. The crowd was getting a little restless, and responded favorably as Spillane sang about taking a girl home and “biting her on the ear.” For the most part, the songs that Laura, Scott and Andrew performed that evening were 90s-era indie pop gems that were mostly identifiable by the quirky lyrics. I don’t know what it is - something about it just reminds me of Empire Records, or the Cranberries. This quality was most apparent in the closing song, “Glue”: “But I won’t die, the pain is so beautiful . . . it smells like glue.” When I hear these songs, part of me wants to laugh and part of me wants to scratch my head as I wonder if I’m missing some bigger theme, but all the while I’m still left enchanted by the catchy music and will recite the lyrics regardless of what they mean for days.

Jeff Mangum’s explicit request to not be photographed in any way should have been the featured guest cited on the Ogden’s marquee; a smooth, radio-dj voice came on the Ogden speakers to announce this request moments before Mangum approached the stage. His appearance and demeanor seemed to have not aged since the release of Aeroplane - himself remaining a treasure forever stuck in history marking the time he made the most impact.

Mangum’s setup included a humble stool with five acoustic guitars waiting beside it. Mangum tuned a guitar and mentioned to the crowd, “I’m sorry this is taking a while - this guitar is very old, it belonged to my grandfather.” Responding quickly to some banter from the crowd he went straight into “Song Against Sex” - in true grandfather-ly form. Mangum sang impeccably as he presented musical gems that had aged ten years, sometimes more. “Holland, 1945” is a completely different ode without the fuzzy, electric guitars and drums of the original album recording, and Mangum carried most of his performance with the zeal to compensate for an entire band. But, slowly an entire band began to join him on stage as the night progressed. Mangum took a moment to address the audience after a few songs, and tell us about how he lived in Denver for a few years and was glad to be back in the city where his two albums were recorded.

Laura and Scott came out with the brass accompaniment towards the end of “Oh, Comely,” marking the first appearance of any band members to join Mangum on stage. Mangum addressed the crowd to voice his appreciation for the positive reception he had that evening. “I’m so glad I decided to do this again. It’s been a while. But, you know . . . I need my people.” For “Two-headed Boy,” a single drum, and the two horns, with Laura doubling with the accordion once more, all came out to serenade Mangum as he prepared to leave the stage before his last encore song, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”. For these last two songs, the entire theater reverberated with the voices of all in attendance who most likely sang along to these songs a hundred times or more. One may have wondered if Mangum was performing for the people or, as he put it “[his] people” were performing for him.

Before his encore song and as he departed for the evening, Mangum did this thing where he rose from his stool, did a quick bow, a small wave and then he headed stage left, pausing for a moment to turn once more and give a last wave before he would exit. The way he carried himself off the stage reminded me of seeing a child get up and leave after a violin recital. Much more than a violin recital, but maybe not anything more, Mangum’s music that night at the Ogden was absolutely beautiful.
Read More …

Rest in peace chillwave. The genre that emerged just a few years ago and came to prominence over the last year has fallen out of favor. At least that's what some blogs would lead you to believe. With one of the most prominent names in the genre headlining a show in Denver, I went to see if these claims were true. The scene at the Bluebird Theater certainly didn't look like a funeral. There weren't scores of mourners dressed in black. There weren't boughs of flowers and other offerings placed about in memoriam. But there were a lot of people, and they seemed very excited to see what was up ahead.


The night began with an opening performance from Memoryhouse, an indie-pop group from Toronto. Although not necessarily chillwavers themselves, this dream pop and nu-gaze act certainly shared a bit in common with the headliner beyond just having the same record label, Sub Pop. Their somewhat laid-back yet lofty songs were carried by melodic vocals and a prominent but subdued wall of sound. Evan Abeele's guitar work brought about a shoegaze quality, while Denise Nouvion softened that textural sound with her charming and emotive voice. Denise Nouvion also handled a sampler/sequencer that provided further instrumental and ambient sound, while a drummer gave the band much more live presence.


Memoryhouse began their set with a selection of mellower songs from their catalog that shared the atmospheric and lo-fi aesthetic that was featured prominently on their first EP release, The Years. They gradually picked up the pace, playing some of the more '80s pop-rock inspired pieces off of their full length album The Slideshow Effect like "The Kids Were Wrong". The balance between the deliberate rhythms, noise-tinged guitar and soft melodic vocals presented a sort of more analog version of chillwave, especially with the performance of "All Our Wonder" - a good segue into the next act.

Washed Out

With much anticipation, Washed Out took the stage next. The chillwave project of Georgia-based Ernest Greene (lead vocals, keyboard/synth), Washed Out performed with three backing band members. A backup vocalist/keyboardist, bass/synth player, and live drummer rounded out the rest of the band. Together they created the characteristic chillwave sound; a blend of ethereal synth-heavy sound, heavily effected and reverberated vocals, and retro-esque new wave rhythms.

Washed Out

Washed Out's set began dramatically, with the lights in the Bluebird Theater going completely dark, and a synthesized wall of sound filling the dark void. As each band member took their places on stage, they were dimly lit by floor standing LED lights, creating multi-color celestial figures in the blank space. After the first few minutes of ambient sound and an introduction, the stage came to life with vivid light as the percussion came in. An impressive lighting rig with five evenly spaced towers framed the background, emitting bright flashes of light in ever changing colors, washing out eyes much like the constant wash of sound.

Washed Out

Their performance on this night seemed to have an extra emphasis on synth, as thick pads were just about as dominant as the heavily effected vocals. It had an entrancing effect on the crowd, as the audience seemed to bask in the abundance of warm sound. Although sometimes that meant songs stacked next to each other seemed very congruent, it kept the audience in a perpetual groove that was carried throughout the night. Standout songs like "Hold Out" and "Amor Fati" seemed to come towards the latter part of the set, which carefully built and grew the crowd's energy. It wasn't until the last song of the encore that Washed Out performed "Eyes Be Closed", which received an incredible roar from the crowd and was definitely the peak of the night.

Washed Out

By the look of Thursday's show, chillwave is alive and well. A crowd of both young and old came with much anticipation and seemed to leave the show satisfied. The carefully crafted combination of light and sound created an other-worldly atmosphere, allowing the crowd to dance the night away in a living dream. Perhaps naysayers are just a little bitter, or the genre just grew faster than they were ready for. They can continue to mourn, while everyone else will happily enjoy the ride.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay updated.
Read More …

For those who've been along for the ride, it probably seems like it was just yesterday that TheHundred, Denver's premier non-profit monthly house music dance party, filled the dance floor for the first time. Now six months later, TheHundred is here to stay, and is celebrating the only way TheHundred knows how - with another amazing party. Over the past half year, the TheHundred has thrown packed-out events at Beauty Bar by bringing in up and coming talent, along with presenting a handful of other wildly successful shows around town. In celebration of TheHundred's six month anniversary, the formula stays the same, which means people who come to this event are in for one incredible night.

This month's headliner is Bit Funk, a Brooklyn based producer and DJ brought to Denver for the first time by TheHundred. No stranger to the game, Bit Funk's handle of synth-laden disco and indie dance has taken his talents from coast to coast to various clubs and festival showcases and has had his tracks featured on major dance labels like Hed Kandi and Defected. His style is well suited to perpetuate the good vibe and groove atmosphere that has become synonymous with TheHundred. Check out Bit Funk's rework of Rachel Lamb's "Electricity".

TheHundred's founder and resident DJ at Lipgloss, Denver's "Best Dance Institution" (Westword) will lay down a couple sets to kick the party off and keep the heat going later in the night. At the beginning of the night, option4 will keep things smooth and sexy with an early deep house set to get the crowd in the mood. Then when the party is in full swing, option4 will put together a house set to keep the sweat flowing. Check out option4's latest mixtape, "The Movement Vol. 1".

TheHundred with Jacques Renault (Courtesy of Urban Human)

Not only does TheHundred import talent from across the country and beyond, TheHundred supports the local scene as well. Two of the local supporting acts are making return appearances to TheHundred, and as members of TheHundred themselves they know exactly what to deliver in their sets. Expect Jinro (who just may be writing this in the third person) and Collin McKenna to put together groovy house and nu-disco that'll get the crowd working the dance floor. Roger That, now back in Denver after a stint in Berlin, will get things going with a deep house set of his own. Check out mixes from each of these three down below.

The party starts at the Beauty Bar at 9:00PM and will go straight up to closing time. The event is 21+ and tickets are only $6 at the door. You'll want to get to this party early if you don't want to be stuck outside, because TheHundred is known to take the Beauty Bar to capacity.

Read More …

Indie music is a broad term that covers quite a bit under its umbrella in terms of specific sounds, making for bands that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and moods. Often times when a show is put together, especially among indie rock shows, very similar bands are put in the same lineup, which although logical can sometimes be redundant. At the Hi-Dive last night, the venue delivered a show with three indie bands similar enough to keep the show from seeming haphazard, but different enough from each other that there really were three distinct performances - a good balance that just isn't always achieved.

Ned Garthe

The night began with a performance from Ned Garthe, a relatively new four-piece band from Denver. Originally the solo project of the band's namesake, Ned Garthe (vocals/guitar), the lineup now includes Stuart Confer (drums), Aaron Holtzer (bass) and John Paul Groseclose (pedal steel). This hardened group performed a set of original songs that blended together Americana and alt-country with a hint of indie-pop. From the galloping opener "My Love", to the whistling in "No Choice", and the high-noon psychedelia of "Desert Song", their set was unified by a gritty, dusty, western aesthetic, especially the way Ned Garthe's vocals/guitar and the pedal steel intertwined. The band is still moving forward, working on releasing an album and performing more shows, but at this point they have a well established identity and should appeal to listeners seeking a saloon style sound.

Young Man

Young Man was the next band to perform, and seeing the fresh faces set up to play indicated that they were young men indeed. Young Man is a five-piece band from Chicago featuring Colin Caulfield (vocals/guitar), Emmett Conway (guitar), Joe Bailey (bass), Jeff Graupner (synth), and Darien Williams (drums). Although the band is full of youth, their sound seemed to stretch well beyond their years - a combination of '90s alt/college rock, '80s shoegaze, and '70s krautrock all glued together with Colin Caufield's immense but smooth voice. Their music easily could have been too mellow and too scattered to keep listeners' attention through their lengthy songs, but it wasn't that way at all. Instead, each song was a slowly but deliberately unraveling of well-crafted sound that had the ability to enthrall.

Young Man

They played only five songs in their set, but each piece clocked in over seven minutes long. They began with "Fate", which had a controlled chaotic introduction and a steadily building wall of sound which commanded attention, only to burst into a fast-paced rhythm before smoothing out with a slight '80s pop feel as the vocals came in. They continued to play more pieces off of their upcoming album Vol. 1 set to be released in May. Colin Caulfied revealed what they were playing live was quite a bit different from what would be on the album, as the live environment allowed them to expand on their songs. With that in mind and after hearing the incredible closing song "School", I just might have to see this band again when they return to the Hi-Dive on May 9th with Suckers and Raven & The Writing Desk - Young Man was really quite good and I highly recommend seeing them.


Next up, Oberhofer took the stage for their headlining performance. Oberhofer is originally from Tacoma, WA but now based out of New York. This four-piece band featured Brad Oberhofer (guitar/vocals), Ben Roth (bass), Matt Scheiner (guitar/glockenspiel) and Pete Sustarsic (drums). They took the audience on their third distinct journey, this time bringing a fast-paced, high-energy noise pop sound. Brad Oberhofer's voice lied somewhere in between indie-pop and vintage punk-garage, while crashing drums, speedy bass, and strum heavy guitars drove the overall sound.


Oberhofer opened with "Gotta Go", injecting immediate energy and exuberance into the crowd, before really  hitting the crowd with a noise heavy second piece. Things smoothed out a bit as Oberhofer "ooh-oohed" the crowd with the catchy melody of "I Could Go". Oberhofer's style seemed to be best suited for a hot summer night party, and with last night being such a warm night in Denver, Oberhofer seemed right at home. Oberhofer's stage presence was impeccable as Brad Oberhofer made sure to dash across the entire stage throughout the performance. Oberhofer's guitar was connected wirelessly for a reason, as he would spin about, jump around, and climb on top of anything/everything to the delight of the crowd.


Oberhofer treated the crowd to his "coincidental" pop songs, with the young crowd eagerly hanging on to each note - jumping and dancing the night away. They saved some of Oberhofer's most well known songs for the end, as if the band could sense the crowd's anticipation. By the time Oberhofer finally performed "oO0OoO0Oo" and "Away Frm U" the crowd was happily singing along. Oberhofer struck the perfect balance between injecting passion and maintaining a carefree feel - exactly what the crowd seemed to desire and could perhaps be something that could carry indie pop fans through the upcoming hot summer months.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay updated.
Read More …

Washed Out, the chillwave project of Ernest Greene from Georgia, is back in Denver. After gaining acclaim from his self-made EP Life of Leisure, rising to the spotlight after the release of his first full-length Within And Without on the Sub Pop record label, and making a stop in Denver late last year as an opener for what ended up being a phenomenal sold out show, Washed Out is back on tour to share his ethereal synth-pop with this city - this time in a headlining role. If Washed Out's last performance was any indication, there are already plenty of fans keen to this act's sound, so much so that Washed Out's relatively brief opening performance seemed very much like a tease. Now headlining the Bluebird, Washed Out should be able to fully satisfy listener's appetites. Check out "Eyes Be Closed".

Memoryhouse will join Washed Out on this tour as an opener. Memoryhouse is pop duo based out of Toronto. Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion create a lofty pop sound with a dreamy and gentle lounge character to it. Interestingly enough, the project originated with the intent of the two not creating a band, but instead a full-on multimedia project that would feature both music and visual art as a way to merge together poetry and photography, but the quality of the two's music led them to the Sup Pop record label and allowed them to release their full-length album The Slideshow Effect. Check out "All Our Wonder".

The Bluebird Theater doors open tonight at 8:00PM and the show starts at 9:00PM. The show is 16+ and tickets are $25. Tickets and more information are available online here.

Read More …

At last night's Rhinoceropolis show a friend of mine brought up a great point: at Rhinoceropolis conventional club/venue wisdom goes out the window. At just about any other venue anywhere else, there is a sort of code - a set of rules whether written or unwritten that everyone needs to follow to participate in any of that venue's events. But in that respect, Rhinoceropolis is not that kind of place, as this D.I.Y. venue has none of that at all. As long as people are generally considerate to each other everything else pretty much does not matter. People can be exactly who they want to be, and that is perhaps what creates the unique atmosphere of this particular setting - a setting that after this night one of its most beloved inhabitants would no longer call home.

It is not unusual for Rhinoceropolis to host a variety of different acts for a show and party on any given night, so Tuesday's party wasn't really all that out of the ordinary, but what set this night apart from others in the past was that it was a farewell party for Travis Egedy, the man behind Pictureplane. After spending years living and creating in the art space/venue, Pictureplane is making the move to New York, so Rhinoceropolis did what they know best - put on a show - as a farewell party.


Even with a late start on a Tuesday night, people came in steady streams, with a healthy crowd before the opening set from Alphabets. Alphabets is the solo electronic music project of Colin Ward, who creates a sound that is self described as "high altitude dance" and "tree-punk". His performance was a mixture of experimental noise, highly distorted vocals, and highly effective tribal-like beats. Upon seeing Alphabets' performance those self-descriptions made sense - a high energy combination of clunky sounds with an underlying savage attitude - a sort of wild and rebellious punk-rock form of electronic music. Check out Alphabets if you seek the complete opposite of the electronic music that exists in the majority of clubs.


Next up was a DJ set from another local experimental electronic group, Hollagramz. Hollogramz is the production/DJ duo of Cory Brown and Ron Cole, who create an electronic sound with a raw tropical aesthetic and heavy, sometimes grimey, world inspired beats. When they aren't sharing their original productions, the two collaboratively share their catalog of found sounds that inspire and/or embody the music they like to create. Tuesday night's performance was just that, as the duo took turns laying down two songs at a time, seeing what they could come up with to not only work the crowd, but feed energy off of each other. I'd say they were very successful at accomplishing those goals. Check out a Hollagramz set if you're looking for electronic music that's a little bit darker and a little bit funkier.

Narky Stares

Narky Stares followed next with a DJ set of her own. Narky Stares is Lauren Zwicky, best known for being a co-founder of the monthly all ages queer dance party Damn Gurl - a now award-winning party. Like any good DJ, Narky Stares understands being versatile and adaptable to any situation and can play a variety of sounds. On this night, she provided a set of what she does best - a mid to uptempo mix of high energy dance music that regularly causes sweat fests on the Damn Gurl dance floor that is just one door over from Rhinoceropolis.


Rapper ASiEL came on next, another artist with a Damn Gurl connection as he was a featured performer at the last Damn Gurl party. His performance on this night was very much a reprise of what occurred a couple weeks before - a captivating exhibition of his original songs about queer life driven by heavy beats, earnest presence, and undeniable pride that got the crowd hyped. Not even technical issues could cool down his performance, as he kept his composure and thus the audiences attention through his set.


If this were a conventional venue, it'd be about time for everyone to head home, but even on a Tuesday night, the party was still well under way at about 2:00AM when Pictureplane was ready for his farewell performance. The energy in the venue was still incredible, and there were still plenty in the crowd to witness Pictureplane's set. The lights went out, save for a pair of flashing tri-color LED light bands on the floor, as Pictureplane went into selections of songs from across his catalog.


Pictureplane's unique electronic sound consisted of a combination of dark wave, synth-pop, hip-hop, and trance house music that kept the crowd dancing while Pictureplane seemingly poured his all through the microphone. Even though songs would sometimes cut out due to a faulty wire, the party wouldn't stop, somehow growing with more energy as the music and lights came back on after the few brief interruptions. One sure sign of a good party is an audience sprayed with champagne, a trick Pictureplane kept up his sleeve until midway through his set. In between standout songs like "Trancegender" and "Post Physical", Pictureplane was sure to express his love for the crowd and his home, Rhinoceropolis, praising the place for being unlike anywhere he's seen in the world. He ended his set with a song he called the Rhinoceropolis anthem, "Day Glowwwed" from Turquiose Trail.


As much as I wanted to party deep into the morning hours, I wasn't able to stay for the closing set from DJ Dirt Girl, who likely kept the party as long as people could possibly stand. Still, I was able to see enough to really drive home the fact that Rhinoceropolis is a very unique place - a true departure from conventional club/venue environments. It is just as much a venue as it is a place for like minded do-it-yourself individuals to congregate and hang out. A place where you can watch artists throw amazing performances in the front and then lounge with those same people in the back while chatting by a fire pit. As much as people of Denver will miss Pictureplane, there is no doubt that this place is dear to his heart and he will miss Denver just as much if not even more.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.
Read More …

Fresh off the Coachella Ferris wheel in Indio, CA, Jeff Mangum is ending his North American leg of his tour with a stop in Denver at the Ogden Theater, before heading to Austin and then Europe for a handful of festival appearances. Mangum is the singer-songwriter behind Neutral Milk Hotel, whose In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is a critically acclaimed album which may be considered one of the top artistic accomplishments of the decade, and forever the staple of anyone’s top ten albums’ list who has appreciated solid pop music.

Mangum is no stranger to Denver; he recorded Neutral Milk Hotel’s On Avery Island with Apples in Stereo’s Rob Schneider in Denver. In a 1996 interview, Mangum described the peculiar recording environment: “It was January in Denver, freezing cold and snowing all over. I moved into a friend's house and was living in a closet and it was cold, not only because of the weather but because it was a haunted house. The closet I was living in was haunted.” Mangum’s relationship with Schneider’s band continued to grow as the songs that would become the second full-length release from Neutral Milk Hotel were honed in Athens, GA in the late 90’s. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was recorded in Denver in a makeshift studio that was demolished right after the album was released in 1998.

Mangum’s Denver appearance is also special in the sense that he has not done a proper tour since 2001; his appearances in general are rare. Mangum's website reports that a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales is going to support the Children of the Blue Sky charity, a nonprofit “on a mission to help abandoned Mongolian street kids rebuild their lives by placing them with foster families, providing them with livestock, and giving them a chance to go school” (as quoted from Mangum’s website). Elf Power’s website reports that members of the Gerbils and Elf Power will be performing songs from their own bands as well as some covers in support of Mangum’s set this Thursday.

The Ogden Theatre doors open at 7:30PM and the music starts at 9:00PM. The show is 16+ and tickets are $36 dollars at the door. Tickets and more information are available online here.

Read More …

Brass Tree Sessions have been produced for Denver’s audio-visual pleasure for over a year now in an unassuming Victorian rental in the Baker area. The idea and energy behind the Brass Tree house is refreshing: local music fans benefit from volunteers who put on a free show and local bands get a free video recording from the free show put together by those same volunteers. Given the historic setting, I couldn’t help but find the Brass Tree house to be best described as kind of “steampunk” -- the conventions and style of historic Denver lend itself to the conveniences and artistry afforded by modernity’s technological advances What if the future of musical artistry was a residency of sorts where you learned video and audio production by living and working in a venue such as this one? That’s just me daydreaming, but make no mistake the house’s current tenants are professionals who know what they’re doing as their real-life professions offer them the sound, camera and recording expertise that gets these sessions included amongst Rocky Mountain PBS programming.

It was a busy Saturday afternoon on South Broadway. The warm weather brought out the masses to enjoy the sales, sun and Sweet Action (that sweet, sweet, ice-creamy goodness!). Walking up to the house, I was aware that I had been a little late as it had been advertised as starting at 2 PM it was already 2:45. Lucky for me, the first band was still plugging in their equipment, and only two or three standers-by were in attendance so far. Unlucky for me was that I hadn't planned to be at the house past 6:30 and so couldn't actually catch the end of the session, and so am not able to report not the Rubedo performance.

The Marrow did well in fitting themselves into the tight space with a myriad of instruments; the band's arrangement was not typical, to say the least. Another cool idea spawned while enjoying the Brass Tree home: invite musical guests to perform in a setting that has a challenge of some sort. The challenge was overcome by the Marrow, who fit two drum kits, two keyboards, an accordion and a wind chime doodad all in the same standing space as floor amps and the viewing public. The mystical wind chime instrument seemed to be just as much a pleasant decoration as anything.

The Marrow had a psychedelic-pop sound with a rock-n-roll attitude, accentuated by the bright colors of the bands instruments (a neon orange drum set stood out in particular) and the bright and happy demeanor of the band's ensemble. April, one of the two drummers for the band, provided an ample amount of upbeat attitude (she was in charge of the wind chime doodad, after all) and mentioned that anyone who shared a birthday with her next Friday April 27 would get into their Hi-Dive show happening that very night for free. This group only played six songs, and I'm sure you'd be in for a treat as they perform new songs from their latest EP being released this summer if you catch them play with the Munly, the Lupercalians and Rowboat next Friday night. At least there would be more room for all of their instruments.

Go Star played a short set that was not unlike a polished explosion of sound. After the first pause in between songs, the trumpeter (Joshua Trinidad) asked the tenants if they were ready to start recording, seemingly unaware of the crowd that had amassed to see what this trumpet quartet was all about. It was loud; so loud that I couldn't help but wonder if any commotion was being stirred amongst the neighbors. The unpredictable nature of the band’s music gripped me in rapt attention.

The four members of Go Star are all professionals with a unique and deft ear for pure musicality. Timing was superb: the drummer (Sean Merell) and bassist (Enoc Terroca) were in sync for the duration of the performance but the transitions and rhythms were varied so that every song remained listenable in the midst of the fury of sound. Having Trujillo’s trumpet, equipped with it’s own sound effect pedal, gives the performance a jazz-y feel but in an unexpected way; there are no abundant trumpet solos, it just seems to fit perfectly with the structured pop-rock songs designed by the rest of the band.

106 Irvington is much more than a house with floor amps. The home’s tenants donate their time, their living space and basically work for free to make these shows a reality. I met Ben, Tyler and Leighton who live and run the Brass Tree operation and all of whom deserve some donation love. I myself plan to be prepared for the next recording I attend.
Read More …

There's a bittersweet occasion going tonight. The sweet part is easy, as it'll be a show featuring prominent names in the local Denver underground/D.I.Y. music scene and a set from a visiting DJ. The bitterness comes from the fact that this is a farewell show for someone has been incredibly important to Denver music. That person, producer and musician is none other than Pictureplane, who'll be journeying east to New York, hopefully bringing even more attention to Denver music as he continues to make waves across the nation.

Pictureplane is the project of Travis Egedy, who makes electronic music that incorporates a bit of dark wave with synth pop and even hints of trance and house, sometimes being labeled as witch house. It is a combination of sounds that definitely stands apart from anything else, which is why he has garnered so much attention for his craft. Check out "Real Is A Feeling" from his latest album, Thee Physical.

Joining the lineup are a host of local acts that have become important fixtures at the D.I.Y. capitol of denver, Rhinoceropolis; ASiEL, a queer rapper self-described as the king of hip-pop, Alphabets, an experimental electronic/dance group that plays what they call "treepunk", Hollagramz, an experimental electronic group that fuses a hint of dark wave influence with tropical and tribal rhythms, and Narky Stares, a Denver DJ best known as co-founder of the Damn Gurl monthly dance party.

DJ Dirt Girl is a special visiting guest from Santa Fe, NM. DJ Dirt Girl describes herself as an "intergalactic bounty hunter", so keep that in mind when you hear her set. Expect a fluid mix of spaced out sounds, like a zero gravity combination of grime, electro, dance-punk, house and more. Check out her "Summer of Dirt 2011" mix.

Come out to Rhinoceropolis tonight to bid farewell and party down at the same time. Things will get going around 10:00PM tonight.
Read More …

Denver, how lucky it is that you and I have a place like the Hi-Dive. Words can almost express the many things I appreciate about this priceless Denver venue, but nothing can compare to being there in the midst of everything. Take a night such as April 17, 2012, for example. Walking up to the corner of Ellsworth and Broadway, you’d notice a new coffee shop is prettifying the former Fancy Tiger space (what could be better than a cafe named Happy Coffee?). Across the street from the venue’s front door, you would see two construction workers a-bulldozing into the late hours of the evening (Denver road construction, there’s nothing like it anywhere else). And then you would see the bustling commotion of the Hi-Dive mere hours before Seattle-based Damien Jurado is scheduled to perform. Inside, the venue was already on its way to being half-filled before the first act had even taken the stage; granted the the quaint size of our Hi-Dive, I speak more to the impressive punctuality of the ticket-holders.

What can I say about the opener, Denver based The Whicker and Pine? I really enjoyed the band’s description and feel it deserves to be quoted: “...whatever it’s called when a group of friends get in a room with an acoustic guitar, and what ever other instruments… would that be alt-country? Would that be so bad?” The band had a sizable amount of fans in attendance, and looked like they were happy to be where they were. This Denver act has an E.P. available for free if you check out their Facebook page give them a listen. A friend of mine relayed a story about The Whicker and Pine opening for the Jealous Sound back in February; if you happen to be a member of this band, you might owe Craig a beer. Just saying.

Up next was Peter Wolf Crier: wow. The impact of their energy was impressive given that both members were seated for the entire performance. Peter Pisano and Brian Moen are mad scientists disguised as two dudes in a band; and in my opinion, their authenticity is corroborated by the fact that there is a real Peter behind Peter Wolf Crier.

Moen, the band’s drummer, was decked in a collared shirt and laboratory-style glasses, and while setting up his kit he carried a small black satchel which most likely included the secret ingredients that Peter Wolf Crier uses to blow our minds nightly. Pisano mans the axe, the pipes and had approximately fifteen effects pedals for various sound manipulations at his disposal. Sometimes the stage setup couldn’t even handle it, as Pisano’s mic fizzled out; rather than overloading faulty cables and plugs (which is most likely what was the case), I’d like to think the mic itself would “wince” before Pisano belted out some of his more powerful notes.

Song transitions were quick. Peter Wolf Crier may be the new iteration of indie-jam-band where you can hardly keep up with where a song starts and stops as Pisano and Moen kept a steady pace of full rhythms and amazing solos. I imagined these two practice in a setting like a World War II bunker, and the songs they perform on stage were unique testimonies of a time and place that most of us will never know. To make the performance a little more surreal, Pisano took a moment to apologize for the minor delay, and promised he would “land us in Denver on time” for the scheduled connection for Damien Jurado. The captain and co-pilot wrapped things up in a loud, fast crescendo of heartfelt sound.

What a special treat to see the mythical creature known as Damien Jurado. He is mythical not for his infrequent sightings, for Jurado wouldn’t ever be thought a stranger in Denver and elsewhere with over a decade of touring under his belt and twelve full-length albums to date; the fact that this man’s music is real to me and borderline legendary. The authenticity of his candidness, his singing, the execution from Jurado and his band all came together for a unique and special performance - and Jurado may have influenced me to possibly start exploring a new career as a tambourinist.

Jurado is touring with four accompanying band members all of which performed exceptionally, given the sixteen hour drive they underwent to get from San Diego to Denver just the day before. Sometimes we (myself most of all) should take a moment to remember that these bands we see are humans too: they have bills, they get sick, they need to sleep, etc. As a terminally broke individual, I think it’s unforgivable when a band puts on a show that they didn’t want to or really weren’t prepared to carry out; for those shows I wish the merch table carried shirts that read “I used the money I was planning to pay my Xcel bill with and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. Even so, Jurado was completely honest and still pulled off an energetic and full-force performance of his latest release Maraqopa.

Jurado and company opened the evening's set with “Cloudy Shoes” from the album St. Bartlett, and a barrage of cameras descended upon the stage - seriously, there were at least seven heavy-duty SLRs in the front row; it was like being at a presidential press junket. Jurado was right at home on stage at the hi-dive and performed all songs without shoes; there was nothing hippie about it, either - it seemed completely natural, especially for someone who just drove sixteen hours to be here.

Jurado disposed some sage advice on waylaying bacterial illness, and mentioned sometimes washing hands is not enough: “You ever kiss someone with a mask on? It’s hot.” As the crowd called out requests for "Ohio" - a seminal Jurado track from his album Rehearsals for Departure - a dialogue began between Jurado and the crowd in which he revealed part of his songwriting process. If you look at some of Jurado's track titles from St. Bartlett ("Arkansas," "Kansas City," "Wallingford," etc.) you'll notice a lot of names of places, and Jurado responded to the crowd's request for a song "about the midwest" by explaining these songs are usually not about the places they are named after, but merely need to be in a setting of some sort and so he picks a place and goes with it. Jurado quickly added that "Ohio" was written while he was high on codeine (the more you know!). Jurado's frank revelations were welcome and heartwarming, as if he were speaking to the crowd like we were a casual group of friends. As the band performed “Rachel and Cali” from St. Bartlett, I internally disagreed with Jurado when he sang, “I just don’t feel confident in crowds.”

Jurado danced as the band enthusiastically played through the evening until the supporting members departed and left Jurado himself to play the last three songs solo. Before the band left the stage, they played “Let Us All In” and it was as a bold performance, not only for the band but unexpectedly for me as well. During the end of the song, a bouncy Jurado suddenly turned to me (gasp) and handed over his tambourine. Sure, it seems fairly straightforward, being handed a tambourine, but I was just not expecting to be the one performing. I recall a time when I volunteered for my roommate’s co-ed softball team; not only was I not expecting to play, but when I went to bat I was also not expecting to hit the ball. But in both cases I hit the ground running, and at least during my brief stint playing tambourine for Damien Jurado I wasn’t seriously injured. I was pretty impressed with myself actually - I may just consider bringing my own tambourine to the next concert I review just in case the opportunity arises.

As Jurado prepared to play the last song of the evening, “Ohio,” he took a moment to express his gratitude for having his bandmates on this tour and explained that although he was happy to be playing these songs, he wasn’t the same Damien Jurado that represented the love-sick troubadour: “I’m moving on. I’m turning a new leaf. I like playing these acoustic songs and all but I don’t want to be sad anymore. And I’m not on Twitter anymore, either.” Twitter or no Twitter, Denver will eagerly anticipate Damien Jurado’s return.
Read More …

It may have been a Wednesday night, but at the Larimer Lounge it might as well have been a disco-worthy weekend night. Without even going into the strength of the lineup, the fact that the show was presented by both Holy Underground and TheHundred were immediate tip-offs that the night was going to be a party. Over the past six months, TheHundred has been making huge waves in the local house music scene, and rightly so thanks to some amazing parties. This may have been the first Holy Underground show, but judging by what they've got coming down the pipeline, they seem to know exactly what they are doing. Wednesday night featured a solid international act and some of the biggest names in the local scene. When it all came together - it was madness.

Peter Black

The night began with an opening DJ set from Peter Black. He's someone that has put in a lot of work into Denver's scene, both on stage and and in the background, and his qualities as a tastemaker tends to shine through in his sets. Tonight was no exception. Peter Black showed off the versatility of an experienced DJ by heating up the night with some smooth mid-tempo nu-disco tracks, allowing the early crowd to settle in and latch onto the groove as the venue started to fill in. It seems that pacing is becoming a lost art, but not under Peter Black's watch. That's what makes him a great act to see no matter where he is slotted in a lineup. He set the tone early and led the crowd smoothly into the next big local act.


Flashlights took the stage next, an electro/dream-pop duo whose infectiously danceable sound has begun to garner them attention well beyond just this city. Ethan Converse (lead vocals) and Alex Anderson (backing vocals) took their places on the darkened stage, each behind sequencers/controllers that they would use to manipulate their eventual barrage of ethereal dance songs. As their set began with "Glowing Eyes" off Flashlight's first EP, Hidden Behind Trees, the stage went aglow as well. A light mist of fog accentuated the colorful stage lights, while the added touch of a floor lights helped fill the venue with light and color from floor to ceiling and across the venue walls.


The pair played a solid set of songs both old and new. The dreamier, slightly more downtempo and chillwave-esque song "New Hampshire" came next, allowing the duo to work the crowd steadily into a full on dance party as their set progressed. Selections from their latest release, So Close To Midnight made up the middle of their set, where songs like "Fireworks" and "Ruby Sun" balanced the energy of electro-pop with a decidedly dreamy character, inciting the crowd to dance up a sweat but maintain a dose of cool. Flashlights also revealed a couple new songs, ending with "Haunting Me", a dream-pop piece with a healthy helping of disco-funk and monstrously delicious bass line. Flashlights proves time and time again why they are one of the best groups in Denver right now, and if you are a fan of electro/dream-pop or just plain like to dance, you need to see them if you haven't yet.

Tiger & Woods

Next up was the main event, the European nu-disco/future-boogie duo Tiger & Woods. The two have managed to keep mum about their identities and back story, instead choosing to let their music do the talking, and on Wednesday night, their music spoke loud and clear. Behind an impressive set up that contained a huge mixer, two laptops, and a pair of sequencer/controller/samplers, the duo unleashed their mid-tempo, snare heavy, disco inspired sound on the soon-to-be-drenched-in-sweat crowd.

Tiger & Woods

Using a blend of influences that stem from Italo disco, Minneapolis funk, boogie, Chicago house and Detroit techno, Tiger & Woods got the dance floor churning to their original productions. They kept a smooth flowing set of pieces available off their full-length release, Through The Green, as bodies became entranced to their catchy bass lines and their ability to emphasize the beat. I was expecting a straight forward DJ set, but the two were recreating their songs using their computer controllers right before the crowd. It meant that there were slight variations in their set that made hearing songs like "Don't Hesistate", "Dr. Burner" and "Love In Cambodgia" all that more contagious. If you want something a little more laid back but will still get you to boogie, check out Tiger & Woods.


Another seasoned local DJ, option4 joined the night's lineup, playing a closing set to keep the night's party going. Although it was a Wednesday night, much of the crowd still felt the itch to dance through the night, so option4 kept the party going for another hour as he laced together a seamless set of groovy and deep house. He also unleashed a couple of his own productions on the crowd. First, he hit the crowd with his newly released bass-heavy deep house version of Daft Punk's "One More Time", a rendition that gives the song a brand new attitude while still keeping what makes the song so recognizable. Then later, he dropped the single off his upcoming EP, an entirely original production called "Ride On". That tech-house meets western piece has a hook so good it gets crowds to sing along while they tear up the dance floor. If you love house music, option4 will supply a steady diet in his sets. Keep an eye out for his upcoming release, because his productions are on another level.

It is nights like these that make Denver such a great music scene. Promoters in the know like Holy Underground and TheHundred are great at giving people what they want - even if the people aren't sure who it is they want yet. Tiger & Woods is still pretty underground, and there aren't many cities in the country right now who are up enough on the cutting edge like that to support a show like the one Larimer Lounge had last night. But thanks to everyone in Denver's great scene and especially the fans that come out in support, we are all ahead of the curve.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.
Read More …

The Hi-Dive is at it again with another night to remember. This time, Concerted Effort is proud to present an indie pop-rock show that fans of the genre won't want to miss. On Wednesday, April 25th two national acts will be coming through town, turning the idea of pop music slightly on its head, while a relatively new Denver band will get the night started with some fun music of their own.

The headliner is Oberhofer, a band based out of New York by way of Tacoma, WA. The project of Brad Oberhofer, this four-piece band crafts indie-pop that seems to have a bit of garage/surf/noise influence to it, but also a young and energetic quality to it that sets it apart. Brad Oberhofer's distinct vocals seem to be spurred from a bit of youthful angst, yet balanced with a fun instrumental sound, catchy melodies, and plenty of "oh-ohs". Check out "Away Frm U".

Young Man joins the night's lineup, an indie-pop band from Chicago. This self-described "creative pop" five-piece band merges retro-esque indie rock with shades of folk to create a sound that isn't really either, but delightful nonetheless. They create a sort of soft coastal/tropical sound that is met with a pop-like danceability.
Check out "Fate".

Ned Garthe will open the show as local support. What began as a solo project eventually evolved into a four-piece band. As a solo project, Ned Garthe leaned toward the Americana sound, but as a full band they should combine psychedelic rock and a hint of pop in there as well. This band is still pretty new and haven't released any studio recordings yet, so come discover their sound first-hand!

The Hi-Dive doors open on Wednesday, April 25th at 8:00PM, and the music starts at 9:00PM. The show is 18+ and tickets are $10. Tickets and more information are available online here.
Read More …

It's been proven time and time again; Denver loves disco. Whenever house music and disco revival collide, people come from all around the city to boogie down on the dance floor. That was definitely the case the last time the Larimer Lounge hosted a disco party when Aeroplane came to town, and that looks likely to be the case again tonight when the Larimer Lounge hosts another excellent European nu-disco act. Tonight, TheHundred presents a surefire dance party when local heavyweights team up with Tiger & Woods.

Tiger & Woods is duo of DJ/producers that is shrouded in a bit of mystery. Somehow the two have been able to keep their backstory mostly under wraps, revealing little to the world about where they come from or what their identities are. What is known is that the pair come from Europe, and they started the project as a way to come up with some unique edits to play in DJ sets. The next thing they knew, the full length album Through The Green was born. A collection of mid-tempo disco gems that has been described as future boogie and disco-funk. Check out "Deflowered".

Flashlights will perform a set as one of the three solid local supporting acts for this show. The local duo will be performing their brand of electro/dream-pop that combines retro and contemporary influences to create a sound that is somewhere between ethereal and gilttery but engineered to be ripe for the dance floor. Their music has a glo-fi aesthetic but their passion for the party balances out any notion of 'chill'. Check out "Fireworks".

Peter Black is Denver DJ fixture who's known for continually making moves in the Denver scene. Along with  Analog Space, nowadays he just about books as many hot parties as he participates in. As a house music aficionado, he'll be sure to keep the crowd vibing hard in preparation for the full on disco party to come.

option4 is a resident Lipgloss DJ and founder of probably the hottest monthly house music night in Denver right now, TheHundred. This DJ works the crowd with ninja-like skills - he won't assault the dance floor all night long with abrasive 'bangers', instead using smooth grooves and deep house to incite dance parties - the perfect tactic to keep the dance floor packed all night long. Check out his bootleg of Daft Punk's "One More Time".

The Larimer Lounge doors open at 8:00PM and the party starts at 9:00PM. The show is 21+ and tickets are $15. Grab your ticket online here now or hope they'll still be available at the door, because these tickets won't last!
Read More …