I’d be lying if I said the principle motivating factor for this night’s lineup was not Deerhunter. But that might also infer that I wasn’t excited for Micachu and the Shapes, which would be a lie upon a lie. The fact that Spoon was the headliner, anchoring a night of stellar musical programming, well that just sealed the deal in an unexpected way. As Spoon’s Britt Daniel said, “pretty good lineup.” Yes, Mr. Daniels, not bad. I attended the 2nd night of a 2-night sold out run at the Ogden Theater.
Words & many more pics….
Micachu and the Shapes
As usual I arrived too late to see all of Micachu’s set. I tire myself in repeating this same story, really. I was able to see enough of the end for a satisfying taste of live Micachu. The sound from the Mica Levi led trio had a coarsely sanded sheen that was both louder and more rough sounding than on record. With post-show listens to Jewellery the unpolished finish should not have come as a surprise. Either way, what I heard was expectedly enchanting.
The stage set up displayed a menagerie of instrumentation, electronic boards, keys, percussion and an array of found items positioned at arms reach. I especially enjoyed how professionally mounted the bottles appeared. Using individual stands for propping them upside down, as if they were just another standard instrument array.
Micachu’s frontlady, Mica Levi possesses one of rock music’s best snarls ever. Evident through observing the fierce in her face and intense body language when performing. Undeniable is a word to describe the determined focus lavished on her craft. You could tell the entire band shared in this zealous desire, clearly witnessed through entertaining interplay among the three.
This was my first time seeing Deerhunter. Despite wading for almost three years in the spooky preciousness of densely layered noise pop created by the Atlanta band. Not counting a visit as opener for Nine Inch Nails, the group has avoided Colorado completely. The long wait for a first hand look of Deerhunter simultaneously satiated a previously uncommunicated thirst for heavy guitar-driven rock and roll. Deep from within I was ignoring the needs of my soul to hear loud, structurally sound brilliance, played by a band unafraid to blur past the lines when painting musical soundscapes.
Deerhunter was nothing if not deliberate and coolly focused. Even after charismatic, contemporary rock hero Bradford Cox spent over ten minutes taking the piss via comedy routines based on cultural word association, the band plugged right back into the music, without skipping a beat. Badass. Like a counterweight to the terrifically stacked guitars, with their shredding, pulsing and melodic maze plowing, the gents’ cucumber coolness appeared less ominous than the music. Like quiet assailants presiding over a soft strike.
It sounded really, really good. I was happy. It was all loudly satisfying. Moments of bright clarity shined effortlessly through phases of gauzy distortion. You had to consciously think about dynamic transitions as they passed you by to realize how successful the changes of mood resulted. Speaking of conscious awareness, visually, the shifting of lead and rhythm guitar responsibilities between Cox and Lockett Pundt was something you don’t often see. Before risking full-on guitar fetishizing (too late?), I’m happy to end awash in air molecules embedded with the guitar manipulation sounds of Deerhunter.
My personal plea to Deerhunter: please come back to Denver, often.
Closing out the acclaimed triple bill was Spoon. Apparent from tightly packed humanity, the Ogden turned cozy like a sardine can. The principle draw for the majority of the sold out crowd had finally arrived. Walking on the stage to the welcoming roar of fans can never get old, can it? No way. The all business looking four-piece looked refreshed, clear-eyed and comfortable right from the beginning. For all the romanticism surrounding the touring band lifestyle, there’s much to be said for waking up in the same city as the day before. A palpable energy from the crowd ricocheted around the Ogden theater and it didn’t take a genius to immediately realize the boys in Spoon were feeling the love. Especially prominent was the female contingent’s frenzied reaction to the opening notes as the show signaled a proper beginning. Britt Daniel has the kind of magnetic, raspy voice that pleases. It sounds good and is well received by most standards.
Spoon played a long, spanning show for the Denver crowd. The intelligently constructed setlist bounced from highlight to highlight. “The Ghost of You Lingers” was awesome. Dark foreboding lights hit the visual marks and amplified the feel of massive bass drum blasts punctuating the anxious piano staccato. One of many exquisitely played and visually arresting songs. Played with a checked swagger, never veering into self-indulgence. Not through modesty per se, but from an even keeled stance that serves as an example of the antitheses to rockstar posing, posturing, etc. Spoon is a legit band, with far too many legit songs. In all other ways the universe can replay the history of music, it would include Spoon as a massively popular Rock band. Instead they live and die as one of the biggest Indie Rock bands in America. Lovable for sure, and deservedly so. A working formula for all involved.
Having seen Spoon a few times over the years I can attest to the mainline whispered consensus that Spoon is not the most exciting band to see live. No matter the city, the knock is always the same. I hate to even mention it since the act itself does more to further propagate. I couldn’t agree less with the so called conventional “wisdom”. Far from it. Though since I cannot attest to every aspect of Spoon, band for entertainment hire, I can at least speak to one April evening, year 2010 in Denver where Spoon was the opposite of boring. Loud, comfortable, colorful and fun.