College and bands are a match made in heaven: expanding minds crave to push boundaries. College music is the soundtrack to a bohemian lifestyle in which philosophy is discussed over a vegan potluck and all you need is a long board and a few dollars to see your friend’s band play. And it doesn’t hurt when your typical college band is being fostered by a liberal arts environment and supported by donations from parents or financial aid. StaG’s farewell show was an opportunity to see this college band play once more before parting ways, or heading back to Los Angeles where they were from originally.

Sunday night’s show was meant to be a night for well-wishers to send the young college kids off into the real world, and also a chance to spend a night with some of the musical acts that have supported them while they were here. A cold, rainy evening made for a bittersweet farewell at this Larimer Lounge show with a small audience able to brave the dismal Sunday night weather. Or maybe it was because no one likes to say ‘goodbye’.

Galaxies started the evening off with a synth-pop u-key-lele (a tricked out uke with keyboard attached) setup, something I’d like to call treehouse club. Can I make up my own genres here? Well the chosen description was zoowave on Galaxies’ Facebook page, which I also like, but seeing this one-man-band on stage play songs with sound bites of ocean waves and chirping birds really strikes me as needing a "treehouse". Frequently I wondered what parts I heard that night were him and which were the “invisible band” - so dubbed by Dillon Groeneman himself. It was very impressive to see Groeneman manage drumming the tom, adjusting laptop sounds and playing the uke while singing. If you haven’t heard of Galaxies, you might be more familiar with the previous iteration of the band which was called Moon Tides.

The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact is Denver’s answer to atmospheric performance art. The group plays with nobs and strings and huddles over their work table like they are playing a high stakes game of dice in the alley. As the group took the stage, they dedicated their set to StaG and then to the Denver Nuggets, who were playing game 4 against the Lakers in the NBA playoffs. At the bar there was a couple that was solely involved in watching the game; inexcusably they had voiced their allegiance to the Lakers. It was great to see a projection screen with a dedicated film strip operator collaborating with the performance on stage, or rather the interpretation of performance. Instead of facing the crowd, the four men on stage were busy crouching over sound effects pedals and various wires, every so often crouching to adjust something underneath the table or picking up a stringed instrument only to put it back down after a certain sound was detected.

The group would meet eachother’s eyes and make hushed conversation with one another while sipping their drinks, and the camera man was busy coloring and feeding film strips for the projector. We are used to looking and having a musician perform “at” us - the standing or sitting audience - but the sensation of looking over their shoulders has a unique voyeuristic quality to it that heightened the effect of the atmospheric sounds, as if your mind is more curious as to what is happening. In the psuedo-confusion, the projection screen is a nice distraction. Less noise and more calm, the whirring ambience of the Kevin Costner Suicide Pact is a gem of the Denver scene, and shouldn’t be missed live.

StaG took the stage and immediately created a strong presence with their moody, emotive vocals and rapping drum beats. Matt McGuire (bass, sampler, vocals) and Will Walden (guitar, vocals) have been friends and bandmates since high school. While in California, they had a full band, but about three years ago the pair moved to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. They were joined by their third bandmate Mac Welch on guitar and trombone, as well as a drummer who is not a band staple and unfortunately I could not identify before posting this review (I’m sorry, buddy!). The group was not about nostalgia or remembering the good times this evening, they had a job to do. And honestly must have been pretty worn out, what with finishing the semester and recording a new album due out this summer called When It Falls Apart.

McGuire and Walden have a musical chemistry on stage as they harmonize together on many songs and have a history of many years with eachother. The two would frequently look to eachother during the performance and discuss tidbits in between songs; given the low lighting in the Larimer Lounge you can’t expect a spotlight on everyone in the group, but unfortunately the lighting seemed to hide trombonist Welch as if he were apart of Galaxies’ invisible band. McGuire gave the smallest hint of a “looking back” moment as he mentioned that he had enjoyed playing with StaG over the years, and revealed that one of the main reasons they had continued to play past a battle of the bands was on the recommendation of their friends in the Kevin Costner Suicide Pact. In a room filled with mostly musical friends, the guys in StaG had an attentive audience as well as a stage to perform on, and I’m sure that as a college band there little else you could want at a farewell show. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears alert for their pending release, and hopefully we see these guys again soon.

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