Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Cribs

When the Cribs play live, they don't hold back. Seriously. The trio of brothers from the UK played with Ra Ra Riot at the Larimer Lounge last night in a show that was free for bunches of friends of the Monolith Festival. As you may remember, Ra Ra Riot played at the inaugural festival last September. (The violin and cello sounded great with the drums and guitars, although the backing vocals sounded a bit off to me.) Anyways once the Cribs got started, Mr. Jarman No. 1 started screaming into the mic and didn't let up. He started the show with a jacket on, stripped down to his white shirt, and by the end, not only was that undershirt sopping, I mean sopping, with sweat, he had lost so much weight that his skinny skinny skinny jeans actually had room to breathe in the thighs. The first three songs sounded almost the same, with the wocka wocka guitar creating a wall of noise that didn't let you hear anything. Only a different bass line and slight variations in the vocals told you it was a different song. Towards the middle, we moved to the back of the room, where actually the sound was better and it seemed the band "mellowed" out, by that I mean you could discern the melodies and lyrics to "Mirror Kissers." Just a few more U.S. dates left. 3/31 at Chop Suey in Seattle; 4/2 in Portland; 4/3 in San Fran; 4/4 in LA.

The Cribs' song "I'm a Realist" is pretty good but download this Postal Service remix.

Bruch violin concerto, Colorado Symphony

Hallelujah for student tickets! The Colorado Symphony performed the Bruch violin concerto with guest soloist Nicola Benedetti last night (the program will be repeated tonight and Sunday afternoon). I like to say, "it's always cool to hear an orchestra live" rather than hear it on CD or iPod all the time, but I should add at the end, "from front and center!" From there you can hear the concertmaster's violin and vibrato, not just the velvety violin section, you can get the full plumpness of a pizzicato, rather than if you sit in the mezzanine sections (which are good seats for the money, but wow, so much better sitting down front).

Anyhow, Carlos Miguel Prieto of Mexico was the guest conductor. He led Haydn's Symphony No. 60 from memory. When people clapped after the first moment, he gave a funny smile of amusement to the orchestra. They clapped again after the second, although more people were kinda catching on that no, you don't do that. After the third movement, (Presto! it was so lively, and yet no immediate clapping!) Prieto kind of arched his eyebrow and looked back slightly at the audience, some of whom started clapping. Then he actually turned around and said to the audience, "some people are getting absent-minded. Two more!) After the next movement finished, he held up a finger. Then in the final movement, he definitely played up that section where the strings have to tune. And finally, applause applause applause.

Next Nicola came out. Buttery, silky sound in the piano sections, passionate third movement, it was cool being up close to be able to hear a harmonic now and then. You're going to have to hear it yourself.

After the intermission, the orchestra played La Noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revueltas of Mexico. Music written for a movie which Prieto described as "very bad." The music, he said, was something we would love or hate. But it was interesting ... 13 percussionists. 13! During the section where each is featured, Prieto leaned back and let them keep track of their own time together. It's the hardest I've ever seen a timpanist whale. There was a conch, a piano, a few preHispanic drums (or the modern versions of them). In one part, the percussion section was so loud, I saw the strings moving their bows but couldn't hear it. Overall, a fun fun show and even better because I could afford to sit up front. By the way, if you can get a gig selling tickets for the symphony, you can sit up front all the time for something like $2.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Here's a peep show: celebrating the ever-gooey snack, the Peep

and apparently the easter bunny made it to Pillow Fight Day at Cheesman Park. See

Music news

James Townes Earle (son of Steve) will be in Denver when his new album comes out Tuesday, 3/25. He'll be playing at Twist and Shout FREE @ 6:30 p.m.

Sons and Daughters had to cancel their Denver show at the Hi-Dive on 3/31.

The Little Ones are touring with Ra Ra Riot on a bunch of dates right now. Word is they're trying to drop by Denver for a show in May in between some of those dates.

The Larimer Lounge has some great shows coming up. Cut Copy and Mobius Band are on the same bill 5/3. Cloud Cult comes 5/17 and then will play an LL BBQ show the next evening.

Eric Avery (started Jane's Addiction with Perry Farrell) has a new album out April 8 on Dangerbird Records, home of Silversun Pickups. Have a listen to All Remote and No Control. Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters plays drums on that song and a few others. The album has a lot of guest appearances from his friends. Shirley Manson of Garbage contributes vocals and Flea plays trumpet on "Song in the Silence." These are songs for when you step off your spaceship onto the moon. He labels some of the songs with the subtitle, The Man Who Could Fly, pt. 5 (or 7 or 2, etc), with lyrics of a rock star's lament of a reputation and lifestyle that's just rocketed out of control off the planet.

For new metal fans, The Sword has a new album, "Gods of the Earth." They're in Denver at the Bluebird on 4/26.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gabriela Montero

Gabriela Montero is back for another night with the Colorado Symphony tonight, 3/22. Last night she played Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, with Marin Alsop making a return to conduct the orchestra. The woodwinds sounded good. It looked like someone in the violin section might have broken a string. Anyway the piece ended with a great flourish led by Alsop that got the whole place on their feet. Montero (she has long blonde hair these days) came out for a second bow and the orchestra started leaving the stage. The lights came up and people were still on their feet and clapping. Montero came out for another bow and one of her trademark encores. She asked the audience, (or some of the people in the orchestra who hadn't made it offstage and so took their seats again), to shout out a theme. One suggested Beethoven's Fifth. So she pounded out a few bars of the trademark theme then paused for a moment before going into a fleshed out, whimsical improvisation using the theme. Tickets aren't cheap. My seat was above the bass section; we could see Alsop's face. The piano lid blocked view of Montero's hands, and in some forte parts, the piano couldn't be heard with the orchestra. The seat was $33.50. That's affordable for indie rock fans, but a better seat would have been alost 2x as much, which makes it harder to decide to go to the symphony more often than once every few months. Nicola Benedetti plays the Bruch violin concerto with the symphony next week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Say Hi interview!

Eric Elbogen's Say Hi (to Your Mom) played a bunch of songs from the new album "The Wishes and the Glitch" at the Hi-Dive last night. It started out with "Zero to Love," with Eric singing and playing guitar, his Mac playing the bass and keyboard parts, and Westin Glass helping out on drums. Also played "Northwestern Girls," "Spiders," among others. Then, since the Hi-Dive has no place for bands to duck while crowds sweatily clamor for an encore, they stayed on stage and just said the next two songs would be the encore. (Although Eric told the crowd Say Hi doesn't believe in encores and was just going to play the next two songs and go happily into the night). With that, they played "These Fangs," then Westin left the stage as Eric played a beautiful solo version of "Let's Talk About Spaceships."

Elbogen, who grew up in L.A., spent seven years in New York before moving to Seattle in December '06. While previous albums focused on vampires and androids, the new one is a little more grown up, even if there is a song referencing Ms. Pacman.

"Moving to a different city gives you a fresh perspective. The intention of the new record was to make a record about fresh starts," Elbogen said before the show.

The former freelance music writer has been making music full time for the last three years. Besides writing all Say Hi's songs and playing most all the parts on the new album, he's also behind his own record label, which started because no one else would put his music out. He's his own roadie and driver, etc, etc, etc.

"You work a lot of the time. Going on tour isn't the easiest thing in the world. You're driving a lot, then hanging out in the venue waiting to play. Then you have to carry out all your equipment, find a place to stay, then do it all over again. But I'm not sitting in a cubicle doing mindless tedious things."

Before Denver, Elbogen was in Texas and played shows at SXSW. Just a few more dates and he'll be back home in Seattle.

"As un-rock and roll as it sounds, a priority is trying to get enough sleep, which sometimes my tourmates are not too happy about. They may not have toured before or are younger, so they're upset when we have to go to the hotel and go directly to bed!"

"A lot of times you have to act a little bit younger when you're in this business. I'm not working 9 to 5, go out and driving city to city, playing rock music: It forces you to be as youthful as possible."

The new album again features songs written and recorded by Elbogen, but friends provide guest vocals (David Bazan / Pedro the Lion and John Roderick from the Long Winters) and input on some of the songs.

Elbogen started playing guitar around 13.

"I never wanted to be a singer. I started writing songs, and the band I was with was looking for a singer. We didn't find one for the longest time, so my bandmates said 'you wrote the songs, why don't you sing.' So I became the singer by default."
In college he got a bass, then started tinkering on keyboards through the course of the Say Hi records. "I'm still not technically phenomenal at all the auxiliary instruments but I can find my way around," he says then smiles. "Especially where you can use computers to tweak the imperfections."

RANDOM QUESTION: Have you kept up with the presidential race?
EE: Unfortunately no. I feel really guilty about it. I've been really out of touch with politics. Leading up to the tour, I was working on the tour, preparing the record. I was working 12 hours a day. so I didn't get a chance. Which is embarrassing. When I get back, I'll retroactively do all my homework to prepare by November.

Action Packed Thrill Ride of Denver opened and lived up to their name. Fantastic. They'll be back 4/18 at the Hi-Dive. Then Kevin Devine, who played the Hi-Dive not so long ago with Manchester Orchestra and Annuals, took the stage. May have been more people to see him than Say Hi.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Contests and other stuff

_ The St. Patty's celebration gets started early tomorrow morning at LoDo's. Kegs and eggs with 93.3 FM. Doors open 7 a.m. Goldfinger and The Flobots are part of the entertainment.

_ Speaking of St. Patty's, doesn't that day always make you think of drunken antics? And what band is better for drunken antics than The Giraffes? They're at Larimer Lounge on Monday (3/17) with Black Lamb and Love Me Destroyer for $8

_ The Skye boutique on 15th and Blake is having a closing sale, so you can pick up designer duds for way below normal prices. Some of the stuff is 80 percent off. As a side note, this block has had a tough time attracting people who want to buy unique items. Composition used to be there but ended up moving to Belmar.

_ Here's your chance to go to London free. United Airlines is having a suitcase party for the creative: Bring a bag packed for London to Pints Pub at 221 W. 13th Ave (13th and Bannock) between noon and 1:30 p.m. on March 30. Whoever designed the best Denver-themed suitcase (as judged by a panel of Denver people) will get a trip for two from Denver International Airport to London-Heathrow THAT NIGHT, returning April 2. They'll put you up in a hotel for the two nights.

_ If you're a fan of Jesse Ledoux, just thought we'd let you know you can get Critter Splitters that he designed from Kidrobot for a mere dollar. That's right, $1. Click here

_ Don't forget, Say Hi is at the Hi-Dive on Tuesday (3/18)