Blog Archives

Mumford & Sons

9/29/16
Englewood, CO
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater
Map of Colorado, USA
3.5 Stars
In transition, happily. This show marked the second time Aida and I have seen the expanded, electrified Mumford & Sons touring lineup and it’s growing on me. The folk-steeped acoustic qualities that drew us to the band in the first place are still there, but now they’ve expanded their bag of tricks for getting a crowd to dance; now it includes more than just foot-stomping and fast-strumming. The new bombast a drummer and some electric gear bring makes their live show, simply, more interesting to watch, and I love it. I hear more texture in the songs. I see a renewed energy in the faces of the players. And, no matter whether the guitars are plugged in or acoustic, the most profound instrument remains Marcus’ charm: with one off-the-cuff joke he wins over everyone from the front row to the cheap seats. The band and crew — from the fiddle player and the horn section, to the amazing light rig in a constant state of transformation — was in top form. Bonus points to the boys for delivering one our favorite new songs, “Monster,” and for the acoustic micro-set where they sang old-timey harmonies around a single microphone; demerits to the douchebags sitting behind us that wouldn’t stop talking during any of it. Setlist

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Band Of Skulls

9/13/16
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
Map of Colorado, USA
3 Stars
Rawk, with charm. Like fellow Brits Led Zeppelin before them, this group ably straddles the line between Sabbath-level heft and foot-tapping melodics, and does it in a way, again like Zeppelin, that balances the masculine and feminine energies fueling the best tunes on rock radio. Having an actual female in the band helps here, and bass-player Emma Richardson brings a cool and competent swagger you never realized your favorite music was missing. It was all on full display this night at the tiny Gothic Theatre: thick, bluesy guitar riffs, drumming at once nuanced and propulsive, and <em>that bass</em>, like arteries of subterranean oil keeping everything at the surface sliding to the rhythm. The aggression in their best songs’ themes (the price of ignorance, the inevitability of retribution) belies their charming modesty on stage: it’s a no-frills set-up with a straightforward light show. And frontman Russell Marsden, while eager to share stories behind the songs, apologizes for talking too much, concerning himself with the audience’s good time. He needn’t have worried; we were lapping it up. The set was worthy of our non-stop head-banging, and was heavy on the just-released material they were touring. Still, they managed early on to sneak in a slower and older one, “Cold Flame,” that’s an all-time favorite of mine. The huge grin it put on my face stayed put all night. Setlist

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Warpaint

10/2/14
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
Map of Colorado, USA
5 Stars
Trip to space. Holy shit, this was a game-changer for me. By the time I got to see this band play live I had listened to every note they recorded a bazillion times and still couldn’t get enough. The show was in serious danger of getting crushed under the weight of the expectations in my mind. Did they deliver? Yes, and then some. The four ladies of Warpaint have such a groovy chemistry — they’re constantly cracking each other up, stealing smiles during songs, reading one another’s minds — that they make the room nice ‘n small, and you feel like you’re hanging out with them in their apartment while they goof off together. While that laid back attitude is all over the performance, the playing is all business, rhythms tight and harmonies tone perfect. Stella is one of my favorite drummers. The group gets the music swirling all around the place like a dream; its some crazy good stuff. The next time I get to see them play won’t get here soon enough, and I’ll be recruiting every music fan I know to join me in experiencing it. Setlist

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James Blunt

5/12/14
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
Map of Colorado, USA
3 Stars
Boy rocks gently. It’s hard to take a rock star seriously when he arrives onstage wearing an astronaut uniform. But James Blunt does have some good songs — and some monster hits — and he played them all at this undersold show attended predominantly by screaming girls calling for “You’re Beautiful.” His voice held up admirably, he brought some funny banter and he was genuinely happy to be playing for us. I wouldn’t need to see him again, but he was entertaining … for an astronaut. Setlist

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Doves

5/26/09
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
Map of Denver, Colorado
2 Stars
Earth-bound disappointment. The thing I admire about Doves’ music, like the best psychedelic indie rock being made today, is its ability to envelope you and take you to extraordinary worlds outside your imagination. It surprises you. There was nothing surprising or otherworldly about this show: not the stage set, not the weak projected visuals, and certainly not the performances. The bassist, the primary vocalist on the best songs of their catalog, could barely be bothered to acknowledge the crowd or the fact he had a stage to work with beyond his mike stand. And the live vocals by the other two in the band, brothers, were god-awful. I’ve pored over every note these guys have committed to tape … but their live show just didn’t measure up. Setlist

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