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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Charles Bradley Show Review

Venue: Bluebird Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/12/15

Inebriation Level: 12 Hours Of Straight Drinking

The Screaming Eagle of Soul was coming to Denver and I wasn’t going to miss it. I’d been jamming since his 2011 debut and know he’s about as close as you’re going to get to old school Soul. I had finally just watched his documentary on Netflix (while chilling of course) to get all hyped up for the show. It was Soul time.

Convincing someone to come along proved to be damn difficult, which doesn’t make sense, because everyone needs a little Soul (I think that’s a song). Finally I convinced my man Brad to come along, but the problem was we had some other plans that day. With a volleyball tourney in the morning and a food/drink festival in the afternoon, we were quite liquored up come Saturday night. By the start of the concert we had a solid 12 hours of drinking under our belts, and because I was so drunk, I actually got to the concert on time. Pretty sure that has never happened ever.

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Tame Impala Show Review

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Venue: Ogden Theatre

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 10/27/13

Inebriation Level: Sober (Doesn’t anyone around here work on Monday?!)

Allow me sum up the Tame Impala show in three short words: far…out…man.

The Psychedelic geniuses from Australia finally made their way to Denver and you better believe I wasn’t going to miss the show. After rocking Boulder on Saturday, they rolled into Denver on a Sunday, and a very tired music nerd and his special lady dragged themselves very uninspired-like to the Ogden Theatre (hey we’re old).

We got there too late to hear Austin’s White Denim open up the show, but were greeted by a sold-out packed house. We worked our way through the crowd to a halfway decent spot on the side of the stage, but I kept thinking, “Don’t any of you people work tomorrow?” Man, I really am an old man. Did I mention I had a strong desire to sit down during the show? Next step is yelling at the band to “turn that damn racket down!” Oh no, now I’m worried.

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Gary Clark Jr Show Review

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Venue: Ogden Theatre

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 10/11/13

Inebriation Level: Mini-Bottle Fueled Buzz

There is hope for the Blues and Gary Clark Jr just may be the answer. Let me back up a bit.

Gary Clark Jr is the Austin based guitar slinger making waves in the popular music realm with a smooth mix of many different genres. He’s not just a Blues guitarist, but he pays homage to the R&B greats of the past, still with a contemporary sound. Being a fan of the Austin scene, the Blues, and you know, music, I made sure to get tickets to his Denver show well in advance.

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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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An Open Letter To The Rolling Stones

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Dear Band Members of the Rolling Stones,

Mick, how are you? Keith, how is your health? Charlie, I hope you’re well. Or do you go by Charles as I know many of you British folk do? Ronnie, how’s the hip? Again, is it Ronald, or maybe Mr. Wood? Bill, why aren’t you in the band, slacker?

It has come to my attention that you all will be touring the vast Planet Earth. Being that I broadcast a radio show to the same planet, I figured we at least have that in common. I also found five bucks in my coat pocket the other day, so I suppose we’re all pretty rich too.

Since I live in Denver, Colorado, I couldn’t help but notice that your scheduled tour of the vast Earth isn’t planning a stop in my fair city. I believe that should change, and here’s why:

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Show #13: A Wee Bit Wintry

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Brrrrr, it’s cold in here! Actually, it’s been pretty warm around the Denver area lately. Timing was never my thing. Well, it’s still cold in other places around the US and A, so that’s why today’s show was all about winter, snow, etc. Fear not, Planet Earth, it wasn’t a dreary show at all. We had tunes from all different genres to help you get through the cold winter days in style. You know TRR has style. Right, right?

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