Today is 1Love Playing for Change day, and the good people of Engine 7 Films and The Source are throwing a block party at The Source’s location at 3350 Brighton Blvd in Denver. Celebrated in 55 countries, musicians around the world come together to play for the worldwide non-profit charity that promotes creating positive change with music and arts. Lots of food and beverages will be sold, portions of their sales going to the charity, and entrance is completely free. Head on down between 3-9 p.m. for reggae and other roots music from JusGoodie, The Rob Drabkin Band, and special guests the Denver Nugget cheerleaders. Below is the link to Engine 7’s announcement with any other info you may need, bring your kids, the weather is BEAUTIFUL for a block party today.
Last night Muse stormed the house at Pepsi Center with a huge set production and far more sound and noise than I expected. These guys know how to be rock stars really well. The crowd was a total mix, and everyone was wearing brand new Muse t-shirts straight from merch. The band was giving all merch proceeds for the night over to Colorado flood relief, so by the looks of things they will be making a large donation. Above the stage were three men in lighting rig seats, hanging from the sky, and LED screens were all over the place. As the music began, a large pyramid of LED screens came down from the sky.
These guys are LOUD. I went in thinking they were a bombastic, less aggravating Radiohead type with more theatrics, but they are far more than that. Frontman Matt Bellamy is an obvious audiophile, constantly going back to his shiny metallic rotating amp and checking the sound. Live that theatrical sound is really huge and epic, and with the lights, political themes, and the crowd in unison punching their fists in their air, I almost caught a Pink Floyd vibe from the whole thing. The band and audience were on from the first note, and when they dropped into “Madness” you could feel the excitement bump up a notch. You could also see the lights bump up a notch, as suddenly tons of lasers were added to the already wild mix.
They played hit after hit, and the audience really had some precision handclapping down. Ending with a three song encore and pyrotechnic flumes that definitely gave me a Pink Floyd vibe now, these guys ended at 9:58 with a slightly stunned and very happy crowd standing open mouthed. Gotta give it to Bellamy, he really knows how to be a rock star without you wanting to smack his face. He changes guitars as fast as I’ve ever seen, and looked especially cool with one slung across his back as he played his see-through light-up baby grand piano. Some people have the life.
Opener Cage the Elephant played extremely well to a half empty giant stadium. The last time I saw them was opening for Stone Temple Pilots at Red Rocks, and it was empty there as well. They kill it with what they have though, and you can’t keep your eyes off lead singer Matt Schultz. At times invoking Mick Jagger and somehow making it totally work, he slinks and spasms all over the stage, eventually coming down into the crowd, managing to stand up on their hands, and then do a headstand. I’ve never seen crowd-surfing like it. The crowd got amped when they played their hit “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” and held the energy through to Muse, and their new material sounded great. All in all, a pretty bumping Tuesday.
ZZ Ward is absolutely soaring. In March I watched her play to a small but excited group of mostly industry folks at SXSW, then a couple months ago got to shoot her sold out show at the Gothic. Last night she was already back for another sold out show at the Ogden, and her charisma is so strong she could easily handle Red Rocks. Talent and chops galore, she kills the blues on guitar, harmonica and keys, and we haven’t even gotten to her vocals. One thing I have noticed with her very dedicated fanbase is that she has managed to grab a lot of the people that are into R&B, and with chops close to Christina Aguilera’s, she doesn’t dissapoint them either. Last night included a special guest appearance by DW, her blues musician father that got her into this whole mess. The show exceeded the recent Gothic show, and really showed that the sky is the limit for ZZ.
Fantastic Los Angeles indie pop band The Ruse just announced that they will be opening for Muse on their Mexico dates. HUGE for these guys, they are going to kill it out there on this rhyme-y tour. Check out the announcement over at Muse’s website:
I get called a dirty hippie a lot by friends that listen to different music than me. Despite the fact that I am a total yuppie and shower every day, incorrect stereotypes are placed because of a couple bands I love. Here’s an article I wrote about the Ten Biggest Stereotypes in the Jam Band Scene, it’s meant to be light hearted, enjoy:
After making it through the Chicago storms at the three day Phish run, many asked me to write an article to give to their friends going to Dick’s in case it rained. It’s since been reworked for the general concert goer, and is now published at the Westword, check it out!
Hypnotic garage bands from San Francisco absolutely do it for me. The Spyrals have risen above the rest with a more classic approach, tight drumming and dizzy guitar riffs. This trio is jangly, fuzzy, trippy, and lead singer Jeff Lewis has a great commanding presence and a perfect rock star voice, he can cry without whining the way Neil Young sings. Their album they released this summer, “Out of Sight”, is a great collection of tight, Bay Area sounding rock and roll. I know it’s a cheap cop out to say a band sounds like another, but these guys really do the early Rolling Stones sound well. Opener “Need Your Fire” sounds like it should be in a Quentin Tarantino movie, while “Such A Pain” makes you shimmy with the heavy use of tambourine and delicate repeated guitar riffs. The title track is exactly what you would think a San Francisco garage rock band would sound like, man they nail this sound.
Most of the songs clock in under three minutes, making this album very economical and great for running errands, you never have to sit in the parking lot for eleven more minutes til the song ends like you do with the Grateful Dead. While they have psychedelic tendencies live, at the end of the day this is a tight, concise garage rock band that needs to be played on everyone’s radio. The bassist Dylan Edrich has done time with Thee Oh Sees and Mikal Cronin, so fans of those should check these guys out. Future looks jangly and bright for these guys.
Listen to the album at their bandcamp: The Spyrals “Out of Sight”
This is definitely the cleanest album Man Man has recorded, and it’s radio friendliness makes me think that this one might be big. The experimental rockers from Philadelphia are about to release their fifth studio album, and it’s extremely accessible to listen to, while maintaining the flavor and spirit of their older material. This is one of those bands that you must see live, anything can happen. They are an eclectic group of musicians with various instruments and toys tossed around the stage in case they feel the need to add them to the noise, often bringing the audience into it.
The first thing you notice with the new album is the cleanness of the production. This is not the ramshackle, AM radio sound of the “The Man in the Turban” from 2004. The energy and spirit are there, but it’s glossy, there is precision, and it sounds amazing on the slower, more plaintive acoustic songs, like “Deep Cover”. While the album is missing that grittiness of previous recordings, it is full of very catchy hooks and well written pop songs that are really showcased by the cleaner production. “Head On” and “Sparks” have a sweet, almost 50’s style to them, and “Pyramids” is chock full of danceable rhythms. A few of the songs are not very memorable, but it ends with a short piano piece that bookends the album nicely.
Their darkness comes out in “Loot My Body”, synthesizers and heavy drum beats balancing nicely with a light guitar riff and post apocalyptic lyrics. At times, the lead singer Honus Honus sounds like Austin loverboy Bob Schneider, particularly on “Pink Wonton”, all raspy and full of confidence and swagger. He gets his growl on strong in “King Shiv”, a dub-tinged sexy march that is a highlight of the album. All in all, I think the album is a nice balance between dark and light, and look forward to hearing these nicely produced albums get completely destroyed and put back together live.
Check them out October 10th at the Gothic, and buy your tickets early.
And that’s a wrap, folks! My review of the final night of Phish at Dick’s is now live, and I never thought my first big published piece would be reviewing Dick’s for the freaking amazingly awesome Westword! What a blast. Section 119 you rule:
Last night’s review is now up at the Westword. We sold that place out, well done, everyone!