Swans Show Review

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Venue: Gothic Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/10/16

Inebriation Level: Behaved Myself

Describe Swans music in one word: Ugly. Throughout their 34 year career, Michael Gira and crew have been hard to classify, ranging from Post-Rock to Experimental to Noise Rock. However one thing remains consistent: Take all the dissonance our ears hate and musicians are taught to avoid, and that ugliness is Swans.

I discovered Swans with their 2012 album The Seer, which ended up being hands down my favorite of the year. Their followup in 2014 To Be Kind was much more abrasive and punishing, yet I still had to agree with many in the music nerd community and call it one of the best of the year. Now with the recent release of The Glowing Man, I daresay those dudes have done it again.

Getting somebody to join me in a quest to hear some loud and ugly music was going to be a challenge, and I was prepared to fly solo and hope no one noticed that weirdo by himself like my last Post-Rock show catching Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Then I remembered I had a friend named Swan. No one would want to miss a show with their namesake, not even Swan, so away we went to the Gothic Theater in the one and only Englehood, Colorado.

We arrived to a maybe half-full venue, with a crowd that was disappointingly devoid of too many hipsters. Using my uncanny ability to scout out the best spot in the house, we posted up behind the ADA section with a clear view of the stage. Since I shared that sweet tip with you, make sure to use it anywhere but Denver. You’re welcome.

The band walked out on the stage and looked like a bunch of cranky old men ready to play Lynyrd Skynyrd covers at the local Elks Lodge. To say they were unassuming was an understatement with the onslaught of noise we were about to receive.

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Black Mountain Show Review

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Venue: Larimer Lounge

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 05/07/16

Inebriation Level: Buzzed (I may have woken up hungover that day)

The year was sometime in college. I was staying at my parent’s in boring I mean beautiful Castle Rock, Colorado for the summer. I went to the cultural hub of the city, which was the library (good for you Castle Rock). Back then, I would borrow CDs and burn them, the precursor to illegally downloading music. Aren’t I such a respectable music nerd? I was trying to complete my Black Sabbath collection, mainly because they’re really awesome, and in the ‘B’ section I picked up a CD with a mountain on it that said “Black Mountain” on the cover. It turned out to be their just released self-titled debut album. I figured I’d give it a try and threw it on the speakers later that day. The rest is history. Why do I remember that, yet still have to think for about four seconds anytime someone asks me my age? No idea.

They released a deluxe 10 year anniversary reissue of their debut back in 2015, and I got my hands on it a couple of months ago. I wondered, what ever happened to Black Mountain? I’d always wanted to see them live and had been patiently waiting for a new release after a six year hiatus. I kind of thought they had broken up. Then, just like that, a two day stint in Denver and the new album IV. Ask and you shall receive. I would like to ask for a million dollars. Worth a try, right?

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor Show Review

 

Venue: Ogden Theatre

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 02/08/16

Inebriation Level: Sober (cut me some slack, it was a Monday)

I’ve never seen or heard anything quite like it. My ears aren’t still ringing right now, they genuinely hurt. My mind is completely worn out, like I just took a three hour physics exam. Few bands challenge the listener like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Post-Rock kings from that friendly country to the North. If you value music as an art form and choose genuine music over entertainment like Pop and Rap, this is a concert you must see.

This was the first show I ventured to alone, and before you accuse me of not having any friends and being socially awkward, let me explain myself. If you’re trying to convince someone to go to a concert with you and they don’t know what Post-Rock is, you have to say “Experimental instrumental rock.” That probably scares them a little. Then they ask what the band is called and you say, “Godspeed You! Black Emperor.” Of course then they say, “What the Hell is wrong with you?” Finally, they ask when the show is, a reasonable question. You respond Monday, and well, by that point, you’re flying solo. Or maybe you just don’t have any friends. Crap.

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Billy Joel Show Review

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Venue: Pepsi Center

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/16/15

Inebriation Level: Too Sober For Comfort

For some reason, when I was a kid, the very first bands I jammed to were The Beatles and Billy Joel. I still have those cassette tapes (damn I feel old) in a box somewhere. My Dad was a huge Beatles fan, so that made sense. No idea where the Billy Joel thing came from, but Hell, I figured it was about time to see him live.

The Piano Man wasn’t on the top of my list like The Rolling Stones or Neil Young, but I’d heard rave reviews about his shows. I wasn’t expecting one of those epic jam kind of shows, but one of those play all the hits kind of shows.

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Neil Young Show Review

Neil Young, before he got really pissed off at Starbucks

Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheater

Location: Morrison, Colorado

Date: 07/09/15

Inebriation Level: Tasty Buzz

So seeing The Rolling Stones was number one on my list. Yet it just so happened that number two on my list was making his way to Red Rocks a couple of weeks after. Figured if I’d gone this far, no use turning around again. So I decided to bite the bullet and see Neil Young as he played a two night stint at the iconic venue in Morrison, Colorado.

My usual concert confidant Aaron and I snagged up some tickets for his second show on Thursday and I realized why I missed him on his last tour to Red Rocks. Dude was expensive. Of all the concerts I’ve been to at Red Rocks this was the most expensive one by like triple. I thought hippies didn’t believe in money?

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The Budos Band Show Review

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Venue: Bluebird Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 07/09/14

Inebriation Level: Party Time

Sometimes you just have to get funky. That right there is a fact of life. Look no further than the eight-piece instrumental band from NYC that call themselves The Budos Band.

I’d originally caught wind of the band back in my college days where they regularly took down the house at the Bluebird in Bloomington, IN. When I heard they were rolling into Denver, CO and hitting up the Bluebird here, it was a no question “let’s party” situation.

I brought the special lady along and we got to the venue a bit after the opening band finished their set. The Bluebird is a nice sized venue, halfway between the small do-they-make-any-money places and large i-can’t-see-a-damn-thing venues. I was in complete party time mode and ready to jam my ass off. We pushed our way right up to the stage and I noticed the roadies not touching the equipment, but just lugging beers. PBR after PBR until they even brought out a damn suitcase of burrs. Now everyone was ready to get into party time mode.

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Muse Show Review

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Venue: Pepsi Center

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/17/13

Inebriation Level: Sober

Every once in awhile, the tables turn, and I’ll have some of my peeps ask me to go to a concert with them. They know I don’t have the Bieber Fever, yet the keep on asking.

Anyway, my friend Aaron gave me a holler because he had heard the Muse concert experience was something to be had. Not being a fan myself, but always up for a rocking good time, I decided to join in on the rocktivities (I just made that word up).

In preparation for the show, I checked out reviews, and the band had gotten nearly unanimous praise. People were saying Muse was the best show they’d ever seen, so amidst the hype, I started to get pretty stoked. I decided to forgo familiarizing myself with any of their music, mainly because I thought it would add to the experience. It was a rare moment I’d be checking out a new band live and seeing their music from a different perspective, or something rational like that.

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Sigur Rós Show Review

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Venue: 1stBank Center 

Location: Broomfield, Colorado

Date: 04/06/13

Inebriation Level: Soberish

When my friend Wes first introduced me to Sigur Rós back in college, I thought I was the coolest guy ever for jamming to some crazy dudes that spoke Icelandic. Then I went to a near sold-out show at the 1stBank Center in the ‘burbs last Saturday and realized I’m not very cool. I have this realization quite a bit.

I’d been wanting to catch the band for years after hearing their shows were like nothing else out there. Considering their music is so uniquely awesome, it was an easy buy when the tickets went on sale about five months ago. And to think teachers used to tell me I procrastinate.

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The Black Angels Show Review

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Venue: The Bluebird Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 12/30/12

Inebriation Level: Soberish

“What a show.” That’s what I said after a two-hour psychedelic sonic assault that exasperated the effects of some sort of flu-like bug. In the end, only the music matters, or something inspirational like that.

I’d tried to catch The Black Angels a year before, not thinking anyone else knew of their awesomeness. I convinced my bud Brad to accompany me to the show and in an effort to save $5, buy tickets at the door. We were of course greeted by a big “sold out” sign at the ticket office, to my utter disbelief. So we wandered across the street to a Mexican place, enjoyed Taco Tuesday, had some laughs, some margs, etc. The first show was definitely a success.

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