by John Wenzel on September 19, 2007
The Arcade Fire at Red Rocks on Monday. Photo by Laurie Scavo.
– ARCADE FIRE —
It was possibly the best show of the summer, when the Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem took over Red Rocks on Monday. It was hardly full, but there was enough love in the amphitheater to fill three arenas. LCD’s set was harried and strong, furious dance-punk that never stalled. “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” was, of course, fun, but it didn’t touch the punch-to-the-gut excitement of “Tribulations.”
James Murphy’s group was the ideal opener for the Arcade Fire, who threw down new songs “Black Mirror” and “Keep the Car Running” early and closed with an exuberant “Rebellion (Lies).” The energy exchange between the nine-piece band and the audience had the momentum of a runaway train, and it was immediately obvious that this band and its music are special.
- Ricardo Baca
– BRIGHT EYES —
It’s rare that Bright Eyes plays a bad set. The main complaints I’ve heard in eight or nine times seeing the Omaha band center on the difficult set lists chosen by singer-multi-instrumentalist Conor Oberst.
But Oberst played a set for the fans Sept. 13 at the Ogden. Opening with the great oldie “An Attempt to Tip the Scales” and plowing through crowd favorites “Old Soul Song,” “Another Travelin’ Song,” “Poison Oak,” “Arc of Time” and others, Oberst played a varied and accessible set that also brightened up some his new material from “Cassadaga,” including a beautifully sunny “Four Winds,” which came early in the set.
The crowd was unfortunately fratty — with Chads shouting for “Conor!” — but the band is practiced at acting aloof to obnoxious fans by now, and the show was an example of the power of a proper set list.
- Ricardo Baca
– THE NATIONAL —
Patience and reserve are not virtues one thinks of in visceral rock bands, but the National has them in spades. Granted, the New York indie act brings the noise when inspired (see “Mr. November,” which closed the band’s excellent Ogden Theatre set on Tuesday) but for the most part it speaks in hushed tones, unafraid to explore sonic textures amid clanging guitar notes and muted percussion.
Lilting violin often turned to banshee wails Tuesday, and delicious feedback closed out more than a couple of songs. But for the most part the sextet stuck to faithful versions of tracks from
- John Wenzel
– MISHKA SHUBALY —
When this New York singer-songwriter played to a criminally sparse crowd at Capsule Gallery on Sept. 12, he started with “The Only One Drinking Tonight,” the first song on his new record, “How to Make a Bad Situation Worse.” It’s a humorous song of desperation where he’ll “settle for a tall glass of anything” and confesses “if I’m a bad drunk then it’s not for lack of practice.”
Forty minutes and several beers later, the former Denverite closed with the heartbreaker “Home.” And by that point, it was impossible not to laugh at and applaud Shubaly’s ability to cloak tragedy in pretty laments accented by straightforward blues electric guitar. Shame on Denver for missing this talent, but he’ll be back Oct. 3 at the Larimer Lounge.
- Ricardo Baca