PAPA makes the kind of music that makes you want to sing along to. The Los Angeles based four-piece kicked off a string of dates opening for Lord Huron at The Bluebird in Denver on Wednesday, and although most of the crowd may not have known the words, the band easily won them over by then end of a set rife with passion and energy.

I affirm that Kishi Bashi is synonymous with wonder. So much more, but let’s start with wonder. With a stage transformed into forest, these lovely wild things proceeded to charm, engage, and amaze a transfixed audience. A smiling audience that forgot for a couple hours that cell phones or February or a real world existed and bestowed attention where it ought.

Has it really been almost 6 years since Bloc Party played in Denver? Thankfully the rumor a few years back about the band's potential break up proved to be false, and the U.K. band returned with a new album Four in 2012.

Japandroids returned to Denver on Monday, November 18, this time to throw down at the Bluebird with Phili's Swearin' in tow. It was only a few years ago when lead singer, Brian King, stated that the duo, including drummer David Prowse, performed at the Hi-Dive to 10 people. With time, dedication, "crappy gear" (complete with bright green tape on the guitar, which required tuning between each song) and tenacity you can sell out Larimer and come back a few months later to pack out the Bluebird.

Saturday night, The Gothic was filled with sounds of funk and hip-shakin’ fans in celebration of Bop Skizzum’s latest album, Coloradical, hitting stores on Oct. 9th. Joining in on the party were supporting acts Rachel and the Kings, Rebel Tongue, In the Whale and Dakar.

Two Door Cinema Club returned to Denver after two long years to perform last night at the Ogden Theatre. It was Halloween night, 2010 at the Bluebird, so one year and 50 weeks to be more exact, when Funeral Party opened for TD Cinema, and if you were there you knew what a fest that was. Everyone, including the bands, were dressed for the freaky night, and from beginning to end, people all over the venue and on stage were in full dance mode.

The first stop on a 22-date tour across the U.S., Nick Waterhouse and The Tarots played the Larimer Lounge with their fellow L.A. musicians, Allah-las. The songs Nick performed for the enthusiastic, dancing crowd were two years in the making, as was this massive tour. Bringing his buds from the Allah-las on to the stage for the last song, the culmination of this night was “the realization of my dreams."

Elliott, Alex and Daniel from Ringo Deathstarr played the Lions Lair in Denver as part of the band's headlining North American Tour. Read the Kaffeine Buzz interview with Elliott, where he discusses the making of Ringo Deathstarr's new album, Mauve.

In the equivalent of the sweat tent that threw James Ray into the slammer, the Shacklewell Arms in London’s East End, Captured Tracks darlings Dignan Porch and DIIV performed to a packed sardine house. When Shacklewell sells out, they mean it. I’m seriously talking no-room-to-spare, made possible by the emphatic splash these bands are making across the pond (and the U.S., for that matter).



It was two years ago at SXSW 2010 when I first laid ears on Band of Skulls, just after the release of the band’s first album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. Within the studios of Austin City Limits at the NPR SXSW Party, Band of Skulls more than wow’d the attendees, the group from Southhampton launched their way into the hearts of American music lovers. In 2012, Skulls returned with a new album, Sweet Sour, to continue that love affair through a series of gigs, including the annual Filter SXSW Showdown party at Cedar Street.

Wednesday night I arrived at The Haven, which was more than packed with close strangers and some fine friends from Denver. Slinking to the side stage I found a spot of breathing room just as the instruments were tuned and ready for Russell Marsden (guitar,vocals), Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums) to take the stage.

Plucking songs from the new album, including the sultry title track, “Sweet Sour,” and the single “The Devil Takes Care of Its Own,” the trio worked the heads in the crowd like a puppeteer, making them shake to and fro. And when the fan favorites from Baby Darling… arrived off the set list – “Death By Diamonds and Pearls” and “I Know What I Am” – smiles and sing-a-longs ensued.

In the light of day within Cedar Street, Filter continued their Showdown tradition in the same spot with yet another stellar line up for the three days. This being the first day, and as this party’s reputation had grown over the years, Cedar was at capacity an hour before Band of Skulls was set to perform.

With a slightly shorter set the band made the most of their time, and again, fans in the crowd hung onto and sung along with every word and note.

Band of Skulls, as many other bands plan to do post-SXSW, stay on the road to tour the U.S. This includes a stop in Denver on Friday, April 6 at the Bluebird Theatre (update: was moved from the Ogden), and I’m crossing fingers that more tracks from the new album will be part of the set list; songs that twinkle with a more reflective side of the Skulls’ sound, including “Hometowns,” "Close to Nowhere," and “Navigate,” along with alternative leanings of “Wanderluster” and “Bruises.”

Either way, expect “the show as packed” to be part of any post-show conversation relating to those who venture to see Band of Skulls. And rightly so.


UPCOMING SHOWS
03/16/12 - Houston at Fitzgeralds
03/17/12 - Dallas at Granada Theater
03/19/12 - Atlanta at Variety Playhouse
03/20/12 - Nashville at Cannery Ballroom
03/22/12 - Webster Hall at New York
03/23/12 - Philadelphia at Union Transfer
03/24/12 - Washington, D.C. at 9:30 Club
03/26/12 - Boston at Paradise Rock Club
03/27/12 - Brooklyn at Music Hall of Williamsburg
03/28/12 - Pawtucket at The Met
03/30/12 - Toronto at The Phoenix Concert Theatre
04/02/12 - Detroit at Saint Andrews Hall
04/03/12 - Chicago at House of Blues Chicago
04/04/12 - Minneapolis at Fine Line Music Cafe
04/06/12 - Denver at Bluebird
04/07/12 - Salt Lake City at The Complex (Grand Room)
04/09/12 - Seattle at Neptune
04/10/12 - Vancouver at Commodore Ballroom - SOLD OUT
04/11/12 - Portland at Dante’s - SOLD OUT
04/12/12 - San Francisco at The Fillmore
04/15/12 - Indio at Coachella
04/16/12 - Los Angeles at El Rey - SOLD OUT
04/18/12 - San Diego at The Griffin
04/22/12 - Indio at Coachella
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