Couldn’t have asked for more at Phish NYE

PhishNYE

I was supposed to review String Cheese Incident in Denver for New Year’s Eve, but as is typical in the world of Phish, they started playing too well so we last second booked the last two seats flying out of Denver that morning. We stayed with wonderful friends in Williamsburg who had a view of the Empire Building from their fire escape, and even managed to get tickets for face value (one a shiny glittery lotto ticket!). It was fairly amusing that coming to NYE last second took way less planning and stress than if I had decided to go months ago, but isn’t that always the case? The city streets were absolutely electric with excitement, topped only by what Phish was about to pull off inside. My best moments of the NYE run article was published today at the Westword, read all my gushings here. It’s days later and I still spring little tears of joy and gratitude thinking about that Forbin’s.

Read here: http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2014/01/best_moments_phish_madison_square_garden_new_years_eve_2013.php

I could sit here for a lifetime:

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Muse and Cage the Elephant at Pepsi Center

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.

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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.

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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.

Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

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.

The Ruse is opening for Muse in Mexico

The Ruse

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:

Muse announcement about The Ruse opening for them on tour

Rastasaurus – PHOTOS – Bluebird

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Last night, local Denver favorites Rastasaurus played their first show at the Bluebird. They have a dedicated fanbase, as they went on promptly at 9:00 to around 25 people and within about two minutes the place filled up with happy people that all seemed to know each other. They have a reggae sound that is complimented by more psychedelic jamming, my interest certainly piqued when I saw all their pedals. A “Divided Sky” tease by lead guitarist Eric Ciccone followed by his twin brother Mark on bass playing Makisupa Policeman and noticing it was in the same key as the song they were about to play made the Phish fans of the audience get all excited, but this is no Phish cover band, and the teases were left at just that. Just as well, because their originals are great. Lead singer and guitarist Justus Lacewell is a huge guy and commands the stage well, they all do. All in all, it was a fantastic showing at Bluebird for these first timers, I’ve seen many touring acts absolutely bomb there in the opening slot, so kudos Rastasaurus.

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Cold War Kids – PHOTOS – Cultivate Fest

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Cultivate Fest by Chipotle in City Park proved to be wildly successful once again. The production coordinators really have the free festival logistics down, easy to get up close to the stage, tons of food options, celebrity chef tents, and you could bring your dog. Cold War Kids put on a note perfect set, mixing the setlist with old hits like “Hang Me Up to Dry” and new material from their latest release. The last few times I’ve seen them have been little SXSW shows, kind of forgot they are really, really popular, everyone knew every word. Expect to see more of Cultivate Fest here in the future, looks like a keeper.

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Don’t miss Robert Walter’s 20th Congress Tonight at Cervantes!

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Robert Walter’s 20th Congress is blowing their way through Colorado with a stop in Denver tonight at Cervantes. This Greyboy Allstars player is so talented, heavy funk just doppling out of the Leslie as it whirls around faster and faster. They are playing The Otherside, so get there a little early, it will probably sell out.

Music to See in Denver August 14-19th

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Music to See in Denver, August 14-19th

Wednesday, August 14th
Oberhofer – Hi Dive – seen Oberhofer open for many great bands in the past, somehow this is their first headlining show I’ll get to attend. Frontman Brad Oberhofer is a ball of energy, say hi to him after the show, nice guy, great band: live Oberhofer footage

Thursday, August 15th
Kurt Vile – Bluebird – FINALLY Kurt Vile Day comes to Denver, it’s been a second. “Wakin on a Pretty Daze” has been in heavy, heavy rotation in my iPod, heck, my whole family’s iPods. Been counting the days til this one: “Never Run Away” video

Gogol Bordello/ Queens of the Stone Age – Red Rocks – Gogol Bordello always have a hell of a good time onstage, and QOTSA rock hard every time, so I’m going to take a guess here, but I’m pretty sure this show will be a barnburner, go tear it up. The new QOTSA album is great, so expect new material that fits right in.

Friday, August 16th
Robert Walter’s 20th Congress – Cervantes’ Otherside – former Greyboy Allstars player brings his heavy jazz funk keyboards to town Friday. A recent move from New Orleans to Los Angeles has infused a new energy into the band: “Sweetie Pie” live video

Confluence – Hi Dive – math rock local band that has a little of a Band of Horses/ Rogue Wave sound. Just got into this band and looking forward to more: Confluence bandcamp with music here

Pretty Lights/ Talib Kweli – Red Rocks – local favorite represent. When I first moved here someone pointed out Pretty Lights to me in LoDo “that’s Pretty Lights”. Looked right past the guy and nodded approvingly of a neon sign behind him, had never heard of him in 09, but everyone else had. His music is sexy, and if you haven’t seen him at Red Rocks, GO: Red Rocks video

Saturday, August 17th
Cold War Kids – City Park – one of my favorite over enunciating bands for free in a Denver city park? Twist my arm. It’s actually some big Chipotle festival, bring some cash to try out all kinds of stuff from guest chefs: Cultivate Festival

Charles Bradley – Larimer – busy week of shooting for me! Hop over to Larimer after Cold War Kids for this Daptone Records singing legend. Not much needs to be said, the king’s in town: listen to him, fer crissakes!

Monday, August 19th
Wood & Wire – Appaloosa Grill – Austin brand bluegrass, the lead singer has a voice that rises this band above most, and they have some of the tightest harmonies I’ve heard around

My Bloody Valentine – Ogden – legendary Dublin band with fuzz galore. They are touring to support their new album that isn’t clicking with me at all, but maybe the material has more life live.

Said the Whale – Larimer – opening for Kopecky Family Band, this Vancouver heavy pop band is my current favorite. I reviewed their album that’s being released in October yesterday, it’s such a great collection of very well put together songs, they finally made the US crossover, I hope for big things for them: “We Are 1980” video

Kris Kristofferson/ Lyle Lovett – Red Rocks – enough said. If you have never seen Lyle Lovett, by God, go go go.