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Westword Music Showcase Part Two

SHOW #30: Achille Lauro with Ian Cooke and a. Tom Collins

Now on to part two. I’m going to try not to pad these posts with long opening paragraphs as everything I needed to say I said back in part one obviously the best way to avoid passing these posts with long opening paragraphs is to write a long opening paragraph about how I’m not going to write long opening paragraphs. So I won’t do that, because really, that would be absurd. And I do not condone absurdity in any of its many forms on this blog. So I certainly hope you weren’t expecting any.

Achille Lauro

A while back Mumbles wrote about these fine gentlemen on her musics blog. She knew they were based in Denver and (kind of) asked that I go see them to see if they could pull off live what they did on their record. I told her I would and because I always keep promises made via twitter seeing them was kind of my number one priority when I arrived at the Westword Music Showcase. So see them I did and what can I say except, Mumbles really knows how to pick them. These guys were just exceptionally good, the crowd was rocking and for a show that happened at about 2 in the afternoon they brought so much energy to the room. This is actually saying a lot because the room had been sightly deadened by the act that was on before them but man, these guys took the stage and just came flying out of the gate without looking back. Their vocals are loud and hectic and kind of amazing, their guitars sing and mix beautifully with the occasional keys and the electronic stuff that they had coming out of their laptops. Their bass player was just a live wire bounding all over the stage driving the beat and giving everything he had. Their sound was hectic, eclectic, and loud and it worked wonderfully. I don’t know that their sound was as clean as it is on their album but it was unique they never really slowed down and they never went mellow and maybe that was a fault of the short set (everyone at the WMS played a 30 minute set) or if all of their live shows are that up all the time. It would have been nice to see a tonal shift of two but even without them it was a hell of a set and I’d definitely like to see them again when they aren’t under such strict time constraints.

Ian Cooke

This was yet another unique cello based act. This time instead of two cellos it was just one singing cellist fronting what would otherwise be a normal rock band. Ian Cook managed to have a lot of energy for someone constrained by a cello (which is not one of musics most mobile instruments) and he really threw all of that energy into his performance. His voice was very good, I might even say it was dulcet or that it had dulcet tones or what have you. Regardless he has a good singing voice that’s very smooth and soothing which lends a very chill atmosphere to his songs. Despite all of these good things I’m saying his music wasn’t really my thing. It was unique and enjoyable but it’s not the kind of music I’d seek out to listen to again. That is in no way meant as a knock to him or his music it is really just a matter of taste and it speaks something to his talent that I enjoyed the set despite the fact that it’s not really my style of music. So I’d say give him a listen and decide for yourself, if you like what you hear you should probably go and see him.

Actually, I’ve just been looking for videos of him online and most of what I see if just him and his cello and I’ve got to say I think the full band took something away from his performance because I really like what I’m seeing of his solo stuff. So maybe it was just that he had the band backing him and usually doesn’t? I’m not sure, I suppose it’s a bit late to say that it’s really hard to fully judge some artists based on a thirty minute set, but that is true sometimes. Anyway here is a video of him doing his thing that I actually think is pretty damn good.

a. Tom Collins

So I was all ready to just say that I said everything I ever needed to say about the greatness of a. Tom Collins in my two previous posts about them on this blog. Then I saw them perform again and I felt like I needed to repeat myself. I don’t care if I’ve used every superlative to describe them I could probably use them all again. Seriously this band brings it and brings it hard every single time the perform. They played at 3:45 in the afternoon on a 100 degree day and they still got everyone out of their seat dancing. The music compels it, the performance compels it, every damn thing they do compels it. They are just so so damn good. They had the biggest and liveliest crowd of anyone I saw and for the first time all day the heat just didn’t matter because the good time and the music just overpowered all. Really, if I hadn’t already seen these guys they might have qualified as my best of the Showcase but I’m reserving that spot for someone I’d never seen before.

It’s also worth noting that A. Tom Collins is a goddamned rock star. Not because he fronts a rock band, simply because he is a rock star. He leapt to the balcony from the stage. That’s rock star. He was wearing women’s underwear which either means he was so out of it that morning he put on the first thing he could grab or he just wears women’s underwear and doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about it. Either way, rock star. I really can’t implore you enough to see these guys if you get a chance you will not be disappointed.


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