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So Much JOY!

SHOW #4: Jenny Owen Youngs with New Empire and Woodrose at The Larimer Lounge 2/15/12

Wednesday. Wednesday is not a great night for a show at The Larimer Lounge. This has nothing to do with the people playing or even venue itself. It has to do with the ridiculous time that I have to get up for work and the fact that they tend to start their shows a bit on the later side. What I am saying is that I am tired. The things I do for you internet.

The first band to hit the stage was Woodrose a local group based out of Boulder. They were already playing when I walked in the door, which was odd since I arrived about ten minutes before the show was supposed to start. The first few songs they played had a traditional electric blues feel to them that I really liked and their lead singer has a voice that was made to wail the blues. It’s gruff, soulful, and passionate. He’s not going to win any pretty singing competitions but he’ll make you feel shit. In my opinion that’s more important than singing pretty.

Eventually they shifted from blues songs into more straight alternative rock and I didn’t feel like that was a successful. Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t as good. Their Alt-Rock stuff felt a little more generic than the blues stuff and I didn’t feel like it fit the singer’s voice quite as well. Though that could all just be personal bias on my part since I love the blues. They kind of switched back and forth after that from more alt-rock songs to blues/southern rock. Overall they brought it well and I’d definitely see them again. Maybe you should do the same.

Sadly it looks like Woodrose recently underwent a shift from acoustic folk music to this harder edge rock which means that there isn’t any decent online footage of them so I won’t be able to share any footage with you. You can listen to their studio stuff on the link at the top of the post though. If you’re so inclined.

The second band that took the stage was New Empire which is an Australian quartet. Only half of the quartet was present though with the remainder of the group staying home in Sydney. I can’t help but wonder if the lack of their entire group hindered what they were able to do.

There are totally two people in this pic. The lighting is terrible. I need to invest in a real camera.

Overall I’d have to say that New Empire isn’t really for me, at least not in large doses. Every song they played fell into the category of melodic love song and after a while it all kind of started to feel the same. The singer’s voice is good and both of the members present were great guitar players but overall it was repetitive, just very pretty and sweeping and you just need more than that. Just a few shifts in tone can do wonders for a show.

I don’t know know that I’d go out of my way to see these guys again. They weren’t bad, I just wasn’t feeling it. I think they might have benefited from an open air venue with chairs, and maybe coffee. The divey vibe of The Larimer Lounge just didn’t fit them.

I think there is a reason that Jenny Owen Youngs initials spell out joy. Because that is what she brings to you when you watch her perform and she brings it in spades. I actually wasn’t that sure what to expect going into this show. I own one of her albums, Transmitter Failure, which I love and I’ve also listened to a bunch of her music on Grooveshark. Some of it is acoustic and quiet and pretty and some of it is just down right rocking. So really, this show could have gone either way.

The way that it went was rocking and it was incredible. The performance was fraught with frenetic energy that just swept you away. Driving drum beats, smooth bass lines and powerful guitar licks. It was all there. From the very first moments of the show, which started with no words, no introduction, just a straight launch into a great song, she and her band made it clear that they were there to rock and rock hard.

I was really blown away but what I saw. It would have been easy for he voice to get lost among the driving drums and bass but it rose above all that always taking command of the songs. Her voice is sort of subtle and sweet but powerful as well. They played a lot of songs that I recognized from Transmitter Failure as well a several cuts from their new album that I wasn’t familiar with but loved all the same. She also played Fuck Was I, which as well as being the song that introduced her to me when it was featured over on Digital Mumbles is, I think, the that song she is most well known for. It wasn’t as quiet and soft as the original but it was still beautifully done. They closed out the show with her cover of Hot In Herre by Nelly which I had really hoped they would play because I’ve always been a fan of different takes on hip-hop songs.

I didn’t purchase their new album before I left, mostly due to merch lines and HOLY GOD IT’S LATE syndrome, but the performance sold me on it and I’ll certainly purchase it shortly. I guess what I’m saying is if this woman is anywhere near you go see her. She is worth the price of admission, she is worth staying up late on a week night, in short she is incredible and I can’t wait until she comes to town again.


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