(photo: Live Letters)
Last Wednesday, I was invited to see Ivan & Alyosha, a self described "indie-rock, folk-pop, indie-pop" quintet from Seattle, Washington. Being that the majority of the new music I come across sits a little further from center than a band like Ivan & Alyosha, I hadn't heard of them until I received the invitation.
They had a laundry list of accolades from a variety of reliable sources, and I liked the song in their newest video, so I decided to take my best friend out for the night and hit up the Hi-Dive, a venue which rarely disappoints.
Terminally early, I found myself at the Hi-Dive roughly an hour before the music started. As the crowd formed around me, the people-watching portion of the evening began. It great to see so many people so excited, unironically, for a show, that there were "whoops" and "yahoos" well prior to the first band even taking the stage. Denver is an excitable town, true, but it was ready for a show.
Arc Life, a newly formed local super-group-of-sorts, with Denver's own man-about-town Ben Desoto, and, I believe, Jesse Elliott and Anna Morsett from These United States. They did a sort of Van Morrison meets Mid-2000's alt-country/indie rock set that more than proved that, if they stick it out, they're bound to become a Denver staple in matter of months. They currently have no online presence, so, I guess, just keep your eyes peeled for posters with their name on it. By the end of the year, it'll probably be the one on the top.
Second was Austin, Tx's Dana Falconberry and her band. Another alt-country style set, this time peppered with Dirty Projectors style backing vocals; staccato rhythms backing up more poppy, driven melodies. They forgo DP's adventurousness and head straight for nostalgia inducing, saccharine sweet lead vocals. Not precisely taking a page out of the Smithsonian Anthology of American Folk Music, their folk leanings tending more toward more recent incarnations, their knowledge of how to use the lessons learned over a hundred years ago doesn't go unnoticed. The played my best friend's favorite set that night.
Ivan & Alyosha were the last to take the stage. The bar emptied, filling the floor as the five fellas took the stage. A few quick "hello's" later, guitars clutched at the ready, they started casting their spell on the Hi-Dive. People started going crazy around me. Stomping along, spilling drinks, echoing the words emanating from the stage. It wasn't a frenzy so much as it was a controlled, internal burst of excitement shining through. While not precisely my kind of thing, their charming smiles and enthusiastic performance of charging poppy rock songs would be more than enough to grasp the attention of anyone with ears.
The Hi-Dive continued running on internal combustion power well into the night, the energy finally dissipating once the Ivan & Alyosha played their final song. With large straight pearly-whites, they bid us a good night, and immediately entered the crowd, greeting their adoring fans, giving each of them much more than the time of day.
Walking to my car, I reflected on the show. Music is a funny thing. The same sounds that can mildly enthuse a person can drive another person to tears. There were people going through the whole range of emotions at the show that night. It's an encouraging thing, that. I was glad to see a room so filled with so many happy people having a dang good time. If Ivan & Alyosha makes music that you think you'd like to see live, I'd have to say I witnessed more than a few testimonials in favor of you doing just that. They're on tour for a few more months. Maybe they're coming to your town:
Mar 09 The Prophet Bar - Dallas, TX
Mar 10 Lustre Pearl - Austin, TX
Mar 11 Whole Foods - Austin, TX
Mar 12 The Hype Hotel - Austin, TX
Mar 13 AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER - Austin, TX
Mar 14 Papa Tinos - Austin, TX
Mar 16 Ten Oak - Austin, TX
Mar 17 The Green Room - Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 18 Soda Bar And Lounge - San Diego, CA
Mar 19 The Echo - Los Angeles, CA
Mar 20 Brick & Mortar Music Hall - San Francisco, CA
Mar 22 Sophia's Thai Kitchen - Davis, CA
Mar 23 sam bonds garage - Eugene, OR
Mar 24 Bunk Bar - Portland, OR
Apr 03 Neurolux Lounge - Boise, ID
Apr 04 Kilby Court - Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 06 Barleycorn's - Wichita, KS
Apr 07 Firebird - St Louis, MO
Apr 08 A Schwab Downtown - Memphis, TN
Apr 09 One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA
Apr 10 Alabama Music Box - Mobile, AL
Apr 11 Bottletree Cafe - Birmingham, AL
Apr 12 The High Watt - Nashville, TN
Apr 13 JJ Bohemia - Chattanooga, TN
Apr 14 Emerald Lounge - Asheville, NC
Apr 15 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
Apr 16 Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA
Apr 17 DC9 - Washington, DC
Apr 18 Santos Party House - New York, NY
Apr 20 Brighton Music Hall - Boston, MA
Apr 21 Cafe Dekcuf - Ottawa, Canada
Apr 22 The Drake - Toronto, Canada
Apr 23 The Club at Stage AE - Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 24 The Basement - Columbus, OH
Apr 25 Mayday - Cincinnati, OH
Apr 26 Radio Radio - Indianapolis, IN
Apr 27 Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
Apr 28 The Frequency - Madison, WI
Apr 29 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
Apr 30 Pyramid Cabaret - Winnipeg, Canada
May 02 AMIGOS CANTINA - Saskatoon, Canada
May 03 Pawn Shop - Edmonton, Canada
May 04 The Hi Fi Club - Calgary, Canada
May 05 Carrs corner - Spokane, WA
May 06 Caffè Mela - Wenatchee, WA
May 07 The Wild Buffalo -Bellingham, WA
May 09 The Media Club - Vancouver, Canada