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Underground Music Showcase – Day 2 – Friday, July 23, 2009


Day 2. Hopefully you’re not too hungover from last night to make it out tonight. Pace yourself. After this, there’s two more days to go. Grab a Kumbacha at Whole Foods. Get two more for Saturday and Sunday. It works wonders.


Ryan Auffenberg (6pm at Michelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar) describes sound as “driving music.” I would agree, but would venture to go a few miles further. You’re sitting in stop and stop traffic, the kind that make Peter Gibbons and Samir want to tear their dashboards apart with their bare hands. And although your air-conditioning’s broken and it’s topping 100 degrees, the cool fog of the San Francisco bay pours over your sweaty brow within the first few notes of Affenberg’s “Alright Okay.” Ahhh.


Gangcharger’s (6:30 PM on the Evergroove Stage @ 3 Kings Tavern) “Kathy in the Quarry” has a definite Kim /Sonic Youth vibe thanks to former co-vocalist Kylah (she moved to California); the off kilter vocals and submerged guitar lines swirl, as if to hold the listener by the hand to enter the dank, dark streets from “The Crow.” The haunting textures of “Soaking Quiet” weave tightly with glimmers of sun after a blasting rainstorm, leaving an aftermath of broken limbs and leaves strewn like snow. Like the weather of our 2009 summer.

Gritch (6:30 PM on Fri, Jul 24 at Floyd’s 99 Stage @ Hi-Dive, powered by Airshow Mastering) bridges the gap between indie pop and electro rock. Not a huge chasm by any means, but the bounce between the two give one a giddie up in their step, a bit of light hearted energy to keep going from venue to venue.

What makes me love the guys in Oblio Duo (6:30pm on the Gigbot Stage @ the Skylark Lounge) goes beyond music and talent. They’re just having a f-ing good time and it’s infectious. You can’t help but feel the need to get a Jameson and sip (or guzzle it) during their entire set. It’s the antithesis of hipster, girl-pants Denver rock. It’s spicy and raw, just the way I like my sushi.

Julie Davis of Bela Karoli (7pm at Michelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar, Bela Karoli plays Hi-Dive at 9:30pm) has bar none, one of the most captivating, enchanting and uniquely beautiful voices of any female vocalist in Denver (and beyond). She pulls this off while portraying a slight quirkiness and slice of humor. Her performance at Michelangelo’s will be a fab opportunity to experience her song in a small, intimate atmosphere. I suggest getting there early so you don’t have to listen from outside.


Singer-songwriter’s are often storytellers, some good, some yawners. And then there’s Molly Cherington (7:45pm at Michelangelo’s Coffee & Wine Bar) who takes this art form into a whole new level. Anyone who can take the experience of a nightmare bus crash and turn it into a lively, comedic, musical number is one charismatic chick who sets herself apart from the soloist crowd.

For some time now, there has been this exchange of talent and residents between Denver and San Francisco. But as of late, it feels like that connection is also brewing between Denver and Portland, as we lose some peeps to the Northwest urban spot, and as some return to Denver. DJ E Cycle (8pm at Sputnik), a gal from Portland, is just starting out of the gate with a bevy of hot lick tracks that will no doubt get the kids seat dancing or taking over the tiny dancefloor on their way to the head.

Holding on fiercely to the coveted 120th spot in the Denver’s top favorite bands, PANAL S.A. DE C.V. (8:00pm on the Evergroove Stage @ 3 Kings Tavern) hace música encantadora, a complement to the end of a summer day as you’re sipping an ice cold margarita from the deck at Lola’s. But you’ll be at 3 Kings. Almost the same, but without the striped shirt blow hards.

Time to arrange a con-call office mates! PowerPoint (8:45pm on the Indie 101.5 Stage @ the Rule Gallery, powered by FM Magazine) is on the move, taking no prisoners and filling up that pipeline. Putting the core in corporate, they’re leveraging their punk rock skills and getting granular in their take on the white-collar culture. So put your Microsoft Outlook to good use and send an email blast out to your distribution list, “Hey Fuckers! I don’t give a damn about my weak-ass paycheck or if there’s not an “I” in team. You can take this job and shove it up your backend database! And by the way, WHO TOOK MY STAPLER!??!!”

Vitamins (10:00pm at the Sound Structure Stage @ Indy Ink) are not a common component of the town of Greely, whose staples typically revolve around meat and potatoes. So it only made sense that this foursome took their talents elsewhere, and now called Denver home. A much more fitting place for the graceful textures and intricate soundscapes of “Fear of Rattles” and “Dark Matter.” Guessing that “Brontosaurus” is both an ode to their old livestock town and to the Flintstones. Whatever the case, it’s time to take your Vitamins.


The Get Down! (8:45pm on the Evergroove Stage @ 3 Kings Tavern) is comprised of sweat, hair, manly aromas, guitar strings, sticks and vocal chords. Oh, and beer, and not necessarily cold beer. This is not your mother’s rock ‘n roll, unless you’re momma’s Joan Jett.

So Overcasters (10:15pm on Fri, Jul 24 at Evergroove Stage @ 3 Kings Tavern). I’m tired, hot, a bit cranky and the brain-ola is hurting, like a side-ache when you’re running and out of shape. So I’m going to cheat here and refer to a quote from the UMS website that says all I could say about the band at this point in the day, “In the textured guitar sparkle and roil, you can hear hints of Will Sergeant’s arresting tones, the House of Love’s impeccable sense of phrasing and Catherine Wheel’s swirling exorcisms, while the sinuous and forceful rhythm section accents and directs the music.” Not sure who wrote it, but he/she hit the 9-inch nail on the head.

Aptly named, Houses (11:55 PM on Fri, Jul 24 at Floyd’s 99 Stage @ Hi-Dive, powered by Airshow Mastering) is filled with more voices and heartbeats than the Walton’s humble abode. One of a growing number of Super Groups in Denver, the member’s talents are woven tightly, leaving room for expression and improvisation that has more in common with a bar brawl than an opportunity to break out the hippie hacky sack. Raucous to say the least, and this was during the day to a seated audience during during Westword Music Showcase. At midnight within the Hi-Dive home, things could get a little nutty.

(Previews for Days 3 and 4 to come…)


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