An eclectic mix, the bands playing together were all over the place. I like this - I think it’s a great way to expose different music to new fans who may otherwise never listen to this music. And certainly if you are in a band that sort of defies genres, or dips into many different types of music. It was a small audience, so it may have been in the best interest for the bands and venue alike to mix it up. So we had something for those of you like to wear black, a little singing saw if you’re into that, we had some euro-pop, tiny xylophones, birthday cake, a vocal imitation of the didgeridoo . . . I could go on, but that’s what this review is for so just keep reading.

Munly J. Munly, otherwise known as the leader of Munly & the Lupercalians, is a talented singer-songwriter who sings about dark and gloomy sorts of things. A voice with a wide range, he sings in a style that is folky and as a solo performer his voice really filled in for a lot of instruments - at one point mimicking the sound of a didgeridoo immaculately. Rebecca Vera was assisting with cello duties and was really impressive - cellists have a way of making it seem so cool to be playing the cello. The pair was dressed completely in black, but in a very well-groomed fashion so they definitely looked like they were coming from a funeral. Munly’s expression through the performance was akin to what it must look like when the grim reaper stares at your soul while he waits for you to cough it up. Munly had some fans who were definitely singing along, so the dedication is certainly there. And why not - his unique character is not something you could easily find in any other bands out there. It’s gothic in style, so sure you could go and find a Marilyn Manson or Tool if you so choose - but the folkiness, the sing-song-iness I think isn’t typical. I usually choose not to overly indulge in dark and depressing music because it is easy for me to let that sort of color my perspective if left unchecked, but the seriousness of Munly as a performer instantly struck me as enjoyable and not very depressing at all. He has a lot of instruments and gadgets, and sings eloquently. And if anything, he is more spooky than sad so it’s kind of cool to see him on stage and actually make the Hi-Dive’s black interior look blacker.

After Munly’s departure , the stage lights brightened and the handful of goths in attendance scattered; not really, but that would have been awesome. Three casually dressed Bostonians took the stage and immediately let the audience know that You Won’t rock. A loud and abrupt guitar riff from Josh Arnoudse like a steel-wire spunge scrubbing away the residue of what sounds were on the stage before. The loud guitar, yodel-y sweet vocals and clanging percussion was a striking contrast to the acoustic-folk-cello music of Munly J. Munly. You Won’t: an interesting enough name for a band. Like reverse psychology I almost want to say “I will” out of defiance, but for what I’m not sure. The band used every extra hand available to bring in additional instruments like the a melodica, the singing saw, keyboard and the harmonica, err - okay technically the harmonica was on a headset. Full of smiles and jocular quips, you could have closed your eyes and been at your best friend's BBQ, maybe in Louisiana.

You Won’t has a high-energy approach to their percussive indie-rock songs. Until it’s time to sing the birthday song: that’s when they turn the energy down, and turn the adorableness up. The group stepped down from the stage and asked the crowd to form a circle around them as they brought out the saw and unplugged the guitar. Strumming and sawing, Arnoudse and drummer Raky Sastri stood in the middle of the circle of folks while their bassist/multi-instrument extraordinaire brought in a birthday cake with a flaming Justin Beiber effigy atop. It turns out it was Alcoholic Faith Mission Kristine’s birthday, and bandmate Anders’ birthday just a few days before. Aww - You Won’t, you shouldn’t have!

The band returned to the stage after offering their tourmates the massive Beiber cake, and announced a cover of a New Zealand band called Tall Dwarves - “All My Hollowness To You”. The band played mostly songs from their recently released album Skeptic Goodbye, which is a collection of equal parts punchy and more slow and tender songs, all accompanied by wonderfully sweet-sounding vocals and a wide range of instruments.

The Danish sextet Alcoholic Faith Mission seems to be genuinely happy to be in a band together. Or maybe that's just how the Danish are - either way, the group was gushing with enthusiasm. Katrine opened the set by saying that it's a Danish tradition that whoever's birthday it is gets to make the decisions, and her decision is that everyone from the bar come down to the front of the stage. Well, I guess in this country there is still the self-determination that keeps butts on bar stools: to each his own.

Ask Me This was released on May 1, and Alcoholic Faith Mission was very excited to be playing their new songs which had been produced by Tom McFall, and the beautifully crafted songs came alive on stage. The first song they played, "Alaska", was thunderous and hypnotic. Lead singer Thorben Jensen and Katrine's voices are borderline heavenly, and it was really nice to hear them singing loud and clear, as the album mutes them a little in favor of focusing on the crescendo of instruments.

Having six band members means you have a lot more range and opportunities for great vocal experiments, and this was not lost on the Mission and certainly not by their bassist, Sune. Nearly every corner of the stage was equipped with a microphone - except for Sune's. Was this deliberate, I don't know - but lucky for us, Sune was relegated to visiting each of his bandmates to join them as they sang. Some were amenable to the idea, like Katrine for example. Others were not so taken by the rambunctious Sune's excitement to crowd into their performance bubble, if you will. It was a little too entertaining to watch the various reactions as Sune would jump next to the drum kit with Anders and attempt to sing in his microphone while barely being missed by flailing drum sticks, and then watch him retreat to instead help with crashing the cymbals. Or when Sune would go to the opposite end of the stage and bounce next to Gustav, with a goofy smile and acting like the Danish version of Flea, and Gustav would just shoot him this look that said, "Not again. . ." So much personality out of these guys, I tell you - it was so enjoyable to watch them all interact.

Katrine addressed the crowd and let us know that they were so happy to be in Denver, a sentiment that was supported by the dismal reaction to the drive to Salt Lake City the next day, and Anders' relief to have found an emergency dental appointment to aid in his recently chipped tooth (ouch!). As the band got ready to play "My Eyes to See", Katrine brought out the tiniest, cutest xylophone I have ever seen. It completed the night - I can't wait to see them here again soon.

There were a lot of captivating instruments used in the evening's musical ensemble - be sure to check out our online album from the show to see more from these great bands! Like the Concerted Effort page to stay updated.

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