May 21, 2008

"Life is Like ... Mario Brothers 1 ... Because You Can't Go Back"

(I've discovered I prefer the way blurry pictures look over how regular pictures look.)

I love Denver during the beginning of the summer, which is possibly caused by the fact that I love both Denver and the beginning of the summer, regardless of whether or not the two are attached. Why do I love the beginning of the summer? because it's hot, and after all that cold, one yearns for some heat. The only thing that could've made this trip I took to Denver, during the beginning of the summer, better would be if I had gone to a show. Well shoot, I happened to have done just that.

Down at the Larimer Lounge 3 bands were fixin to make this night quite the evening (especially since they had to compete with M.I.A. at the Fillmore [which, in my mind, was no competition, because I hate the sound system the Fillmore has]). Between each act (and during the first one), a spoken word artist, Ken Arkind, said a SLAM poem or two, and I personally think it was a nice addition. He and I actually talked for a little bit, but seeming how I'm hella awkward when I'm alone at shows, it was like a 2 seconds encounter ... haha ... yeah ... anyway...

Local act Achille Lauro started off the night. Now, one must understand that I have a certain affinity towards local bands (granted, sometimes this affinity stretches to bands that are local to places where I don't live, but that's beside the current point). That said, I liked Achille Lauro. Sometimes I think the guitar was a little too loud, sometimes the vocals were nearly imperceivable, sometimes the only thing one could truly make out was the drums. Maybe this was the sound they were going for, maybe the sound man didn't understand what the band would have wanted to sound like, I don't know. When the band did shine through, I caught glimpses of The Fray, which scared me, because I hate the Fray, and I didn't want to hate these guys. Achille Lauro did however play some fairly interesting instrumentals and did, a few times, remind me a bit of Explosions in the Sky, which certainly did not scare me, because I love me some Explosions in the sky. Over all, I don't think I'd pay to just see them, but I would see their presence on a lineup of other bands that I would pay to see as a good thing, and listen hopefully. I think they're on their way to making a good sound. (drop the fray sound though).

Up next was Kid Dakota, the band I was most anxious to see. Ian Prince, drummer, and I talked for a little while prior to Achille Lauro taking the stage, and from that short conversation I can tell you he's a rad, genuine person. This got me even more stoked for their performance. I'd only ever heard their studio recordings, so I was anxious to see how it translated into live material, and, truthfully, I was a little ... not bored ... not let down ... just ... mediocre-d. The first two or so songs were really light with the drumming and for some reason Darren Jackson's voice didn't reach through my sternum and shake me up like it did on the albums. I began to think that maybe this was just how they were live. I didn't give up hope that it was going to be stupendous though. And, after a little bit, I was rewarded for my faith. The powers that be must have been sleeping for a moment, but they were certainly on top of things by the 3rd or so song, because the energy shot from the duo like nerve gas (what am I even babbling on about?). What I mean to say is that they really kicked it up a notch, and from then on in it was just magnificent. No, not the loudest duo, not the fastest or most distorted or most dancy, but certainly being full of soul and talent makes up for those things. I think it does. I find it interesting, and non-coincidental, that Ian is a Battles fan (he was wearing one of their shirts), because his drumming reminded me a lot of the intelligent but well fitting beats that Battles' drummer, John Stanier, tends to throw at us (we're talking Hi-Lo here, not Atlas). Darren actually reminded me a lot of Jeff Mangum during the last half of the set. Granted, only because of how he sounded, because I've not been lucky enough to actually see Jeff Mangum perform. Anyway, I have to say these guys, for me, stole the show.

How could they steal the show when Cloud Cult played after them? I have to start here: When I saw Cloud Cult at the Monolith Music festival last year, it was the first time I'd seen them. Having fallen in love with their album The Meaning of 8 just 8 or 9 months prior, I was rather stoked to see them. So when they took the stage and played and I didn't feel as overcome with pure unadulterated joy as I had hoped I would (regardless of what I may or may not have said in my post on their performance), I made excuses. I told myself it was because the Flaming Lips were playing at the same time and the sound was just mixing very awkwardly. I told myself that it was because it was an outside performance on a huge stage, 2 things I've very much not used to when it comes to seeing bands. I had hoped that was true. This night, after they took the stage, I could tell things weren't going to be as good as I hoped. Cloud Cult played their freaking hearts and souls out, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Larimer Lounge is not known for their epic sound system. There are just so many things to think about and consider when I remember this show. All I can say is that I love their music. LOVE it. And they perform their songs well. I just know that I didn't leave with the feeling I was hoping for. See them live though, I really do encourage it, because everyone else was just doubled over in bliss.

I was not too upset though, because I was to see them again the next day. I'll tell you how that went in a few days. In the mean time, here is the live recording of the show:

Artist: Ken Arkind, Kid Dakota, and Cloud Cult
Date: 2008-05-17
Venue: Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO

Ken Arkind - Maggie
Kid Dakota - Smokestack
Kid Dakota - (why do you think we need)
Kid Dakota - Crossin' Fingers
Kid Dakota - Winterkill
Kid Dakota - Transfusion
Kid Dakota - So Pretty
Kid Dakota - Lungs That Try To Breathe
Kid Dakota - Ivan
Kid Dakota - Pilgrim
Ken Arkind - (A Love Poem)
Ken Arkind - (A Short Pop Song About Videogames)
Cloud Cult - intro
Cloud Cult - Hope
Cloud Cult - No One Said It Would Be Easy
Cloud Cult - Pretty Voice
Cloud Cult - We Made Up Your Mind For You
Cloud Cult - Please Remain Calm
Cloud Cult - Chain Reaction
Cloud Cult - Story of the Grandson of Jesus
Cloud Cult - Happy Hippo
Cloud Cult - The Ghost Inside Our House
Cloud Cult - A Girl Underground
Cloud Cult - Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide
Cloud Cult - Everybody Here Is a Cloud
Cloud Cult - Take Your Medicine
Cloud Cult - Chemicals Collide
Cloud Cult - (Instrumental)
Cloud Cult - The Tornado Lessons
Cloud Cult - Love You All (encore)

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