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Black Gold – Benders

Black Gold is the release that makes you hiss, gape and sing with us,” says the band’s bio. On this Saturday night, my brain was doing the hissing and gaping as a monster headache set in about an hour before I was to arrive at Bender’s to check out Black Gold’s show. The wine and beer combo I had earlier certainly didn’t help. But went I did, and I was glad that desire won over logic. And that the audience picked up on the sing-along task.

After Eric Ronick (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Than Luu (drums, vocals) formed the group in 2006, three years later their debut album, Rush, arrived in February of 2009. Irony? Not sure. But they were now on the road with Shiben (bass) and Alister Paxton (guitar, vocals) to put some miles on their latest creations.

Aside from the throbbing behind my eyes, my timing was perfect. The Brooklyn band was just setting up and soon after, broke into “Plans & Reveries,” setting a bouncing, dancing, amp’d vibe that would carry on for the next hour.

Shiben seemed to be having as much or more fun than those watching him, out throwing big grins, kicking and throwing his whole body into his performance. Alister multi-tasked between a tom-tom and his guitar, adding vocals to Eric’s passionate lead, including on the harmonic and orchestral “Detroit.”

Eric was not new to Denver (and thankfully, didn’t mention the altitude once…kudos and bonus points to him), having friends in the audience for whom he dedicated, “Idols,” which got the kids jumping and singing along.

But then what really threw them into a frenzy was “Shine,” the sunny, pop song that lives up to its name with a 50’s love induced innocence; a perfect complement to a “Scrubs” episode dance number.

Black Gold wrapped up this set in Denver with a big red bow, “Breakdown” had the heads and arms moving in unison, leaving smiling faces and sweaty brows all the way ‘round the club.

Black Gold continues to tour with Girl in a Coma (would have loved to stay for their set, but the noggin’ was screaming at that point) through November 3, jumps on an opening slot with the Pixies for a few gigs in Oakland and Los Angeles on November 5 and 10, and then heads to the U.K. to tour with The Brookhouse Boys through December.


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