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I arrived at the Summit Music Hall last Friday night a little to early, Tennis System was scheduled play around 9. . . or maybe it turns out 9:45; for a minute I honestly had doubts about my evening with the abandoned dance floor staring back at me emptily. I scanned desperately for a seat, got my Gin and Tonic and rucked up the cash for a HUGE slice of Marquis Pizza that reassured me the night could and would be a success. The audience at Summit that night was a jumbled medley of folks of all ages, from all over the place.
The conversations with good people occupied me until I heard the sonorous and powerful wall of noise that is LA punkgaze band, Tennis Systems’ “LAKLUSTER” from their Spring 2017 album PAIN. I was drawn to front of the crowd, accompanied by a few fellow drunk punks, I allowed this band’s electric stage presence to let it all loose; I feel that Tennis System’s neatly packaged grimy bass riffs and nostalgic lyrics could have been more successful with a younger crowd. Despite this everyone had a great time, “Coming Down”, was a beautiful way to send the set out, their live performance and raw talent reflected the emotion and pain in their recently debuted music video. I can’t recommend seeing Tennis System live enough, they’re stage presence and innately intense instrumentals add up to an amazing punkgaze experience. You can get to know the band, watch they’re new video and watch out for more US tours on bandcamp and stream on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal!
November 1st, 2017
Wednesday November 1st, it was a quiet ride into the city with my good friend Frances as we had no idea of what we could encounter that night at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. What we came to find was an eccentric duo, each based in different taste but equipt with a collaborative and unselfish mindset; all the sounds mesh together in a melodically facile way. Leslie Scott and Andrew Valenti mold together, forming Holy Golden, self described as a “euphoric dream-pop with lo-fi garage rock” sound that focuses on the experience of music and less of a formulaic structure to their music, which allow for their audience to genuinely connect to Holy Golden’s music in a personal way. This concept was exemplified in their concert on a compact stage surrounded by fellow musicians and local bar/ music lovers. Ophelia’s amplified the intimacy felt in their songs by how, quite literally, you felt the music; they began with a ditty called “The Movie”, a beautifully personal song off their new EP The Licking River. The bass shook the two-tiered seating, the guitar and complexly layered pedal work danced through my head for days to come and with a full view of the band, the show felt like a personal screening from each angle, I’ve never had a concert experience so personal and neatly presented.
Holy Golden is a diverse duo, Scott hails from Detroit, Michigan while Valenti grew up in Martha’s Vineyard, where the two would end up meeting later in their careers. Denver was only the band’s second stop on their second US tour. The most exceptional aspect of Holy Golden is their fully-developed and versatile branding; equipped with an excellent website, at least seven music videos and two albums on their website and bandcamp, Holy Golden markets and brands themselves with effortless taste. Keep an eye out for this experienced and versatile duo, I can only expect more to come as Holy Golden continues to both define and defy expectations.
This past Tuesday, fellow krcx'er Kyle and I made our way to the Hi-Dive to witness something that seems to be somewhat of a dying breed: a guitar driven indie rock band. In an age where the most prominent indie rock artists identify as solo artist, the college indie rock scene has strayed away from the collaborative groups that were leading the charge in the late 2000’s: Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Radiohead, etc. This trend has become even more noticeable this year, with nearly all critically acclaimed indie rock albums being released by solo artists. So when we heard Lvl Up would be in town, we could not miss it.
Lvl Up is made up of Mike Caridi, Greg Rutkin, Dave Benton, and Nick Corbo, who all met at SUNY Purchase. Touring in support of their September release, Return To Love, the newly signed Sub-Pop group opened with the track, “The Closing Door”, and I was immediately impressed with how good their sound was. You can tell they have been playing together for some time now, with demos dating back to 2012 on their bandcamp page. Their set grew in energy, and reached its peak when they played “Pain”, also off Return To Love. The song builds behind guitarist Mike Caridi’s lyrics, but remains playful until it bursts open to Caridi’s guitar solo. The fact the Lvl Up does not rely on a frontman further contributes to their cohesion, and makes them even more enjoyable to watch. They are an all around talented group that continue to be on the rise.
Summer always flies by so quickly! With school back in session, KRCX is here to alleviate any of your stresses with awesome events like last spring's Tie Dye Day to the newest and coolest music that you probably haven't heard yet. Keep it here on our website to read up on all the rad concerts going on in and around the Denver area!
This weekend some of our staff will be covering Denver Riot Fest! With a lineup like that, you know it'll be a good time! Like our Facebook and we'll keep you up to date on all the shows with photographs from our excellent photographers on staff.
LCD Soundsystem has just announced two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheater on August 2 & 3. After playing a final Madison Square Garden Show, the band disbanded in 2011. This year, the band released a christmas single, and played their first reunion show last Sunday at Webster Hall in NYC. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 1st at 10:00 am.
Opening for the co-headliners, Porches. and Alex G, Your Friend took the stage at Lost Lake this past Monday to a full crowd. Your Friend released an album last month titled, Gumption, after recently signing to Domino Records. Using a multitude of pedals and electronics, Your Friend’s set was full of tension and layers of sound that transitioned seamlessly from one song to the next while lead singer Taryn Miller’s wistful vocals blanketed over the instrumentals. At some points, however, the technology seemed to be too much for the Lost Lake to handle, creating a muddy mix hiding the complexity that you hear on record.
Porches. took the stage next, playing mostly tracks off their new record, Pool, which was featured as our Album Spotlight this past January. The album strays away from the indie-rock guitar sound of their 2013 release, Slow Dance In The Cosmos. With its strategic electric snare and cowbell hits, the album has one goal: to get you dancing. Lead singer Aaron Maine made this clear throughout their set with various requests for the audience to “let the booty do what the booty want to” and leading by example on stage. Songs like “Mood” and “Glow” were even reminiscent of early Dev Hynes, which I didn’t hear while listening to them on record. Closing their set, Maine asked the crowd to lie down on the floor for their last song. After a few awkward seconds of wondering if he was serious, everyone was horizontal. It was a unique experience, and apparently the first time everyone actually complied.
Following Porches., Alex G took the stage with his three-piece band to end the Domino Records showcase. Alex’s performance style varied drastically from the bands that preceded him on stage. For most of his set, Alex had his back to the crowd, only turning to face the crowd to deliver his vocals that have been frequently compared to Elliott Smith. However, I think his live performance differs from Smith's in that he is much more aggressive. He replaces many of his softer lyrics with ad-libbed screaming that gives you no choice but to feel a bit uncomfortable. With the most extensive library of the three artists, Alex played songs off his past four releases, dating back to his 2012 release Rules. After gaining his following by releasing several self-mastered bedroom tapes on BandCamp, Alex proved that his signing with Domino has not compromised his artistic integrity and gave his fans at Lost Lake exactly what they came for.
By Connor McNeir
Common Core, a professor-alumni rock band, made their second appearance last night in Walker’s Pub. The set began with a tenor saxophone solo by Dr. David Hicks. As the cool sound of brass filled the air, spectators took to their seats for the performance. When the solo dimmed to a softer volume, the remaining five members of the band approached the stage. Slinging their guitars around their necks and manning their drum kit and keyboard thrones, the full band exploded into song in congruence with the saxophone solo. In the background, a steady click of a hi-hat combined with grounding low tones from a bass to form the foundation of the music. Two guitars and keyboard layered the song with strumming and soulful licks between the break of the saxophone. As the saxophone solo declined into longer notes, Scott Hauck and Dr. Fabrice Usman let loose a stream of alternating guitar solos. The combination of a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster fused the sounds of two classic guitars; the Les Paul providing a heavier, earthier sound and the Fender producing brighter and more vibrant tones. In the midst of the soloing the ascending melody of the bass line, maintained by Dr. Tim Trenary, cued me in on the song they were performing. The ensuing lyrics solidified my guess. The instruments cut out for an opening in the lyrics: Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone. Immediately after, the rest of band followed in beat with their parts of the song.
The Common Core rendition of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was covered 45 years after its original release in 1971. Despite adding a few instruments and solos to the songs structure, Common Core’s cover was still played with the groove and soul intended for its performance four and a half decades prior. After concluding the song, the band continued their set.
The band's flexibility and multi-talented instrumentalists showed off their skills throughout the rest of the performance. In a cover of Van Morrison’s “Domino,” drummer Sujata Fretz and Fabrice Usman switched roles to provide a freestyle rap verse for the audience. Shortly afterward, slave spiritual “O Mary Don’t You Weep” was introduced with a four part vocal harmony from different members of the band. Lastly, Common Core played The Weight, composed in 1968 by The Band. The cover was performed in spirit of guitarist Scott Hauck who would soon be leaving the band for life in Wisconsin. In celebration of the show’s conclusion, The Weight was sung by multiple members of Common Core. Dr. Eric Fretz left his seat at the keyboard for the microphone at main stage to start the song. The rest of the band then met Fretz at the chorus before dividing each ensuing verse to another band member. Having successfully performed their first set in Walker’s pub, Common Core will enter a small hiatus in absence of guitarist and vocalist Scott Hauck. Having established themselves as a refined cover band, the members now look to experiment with their own writing for upcoming productions. Stay tuned to KRCX for further updates on concerts, shows and performances. Until then, thanks for reading at KRCX.