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.

One Response so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    After countless show at the Hi-Dive, Wednesdays night blew my mind. The diverse line up had me there from begining to end keeping my eyes and ears glued to the stage. The opening band, Ned Garthe drew every person from the door straight to cneter stage before hitting the bar. AS the show continued Youngman and Oberhofer maintained the captivating sound. Overall, sick show and I will be sure to eye out for further events.

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