I didn’t think this was going to happen. The Underground Music Showcase sounded like a great time but it was $40 at a time when I just didn’t have $40 to spend on a festival. On top of that was the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to all four days. Really I was only able to make it to Saturday and Sunday so it was hardly worth it. Then a friend of mine who is in a band that was performing told me that they had an extra wristband that I could have if I wanted it. Suddenly it went from too much to free and I couldn’t pass it up even if it meant walking around on a bum knee for the better part of two days.
I’m doing this one differently than the last one in that I’ll be talking about each day and making that a post. I don’t think either day will go much over a thousand words and it’s just easier for me to organize it like that.
I have written about Miss America once before, all the way back on February 25th, when they opened for a. Tom Collins. I wasn’t familiar enough with Denver music at the time to realize that I’d seen one half of this duo before. That being Julie Davis who sings for Fairchildren who I saw at the Westword Music Showcase. Interestingly I saw a lot of her and other musicians I recognized from the first half of my concert laden year and it became strangely apparent that the Denver music community, or at least some portion of it, is very tightly knit with a large amount of crossover between bands and many people working on several projects at a time. It was interesting to see.
I loved what I saw from Miss America the first time I saw them and that held true again this time though what I witnessed was a different iteration of the band. They had no keyboards and they had Nathaniel Rateliff standing in on percussion and background vocals. It was a much more stripped down sound that what I remember from the first time that I saw them but I think that it’s kind of obvious that that is what I prefer in my music. Simple, lyrically driven music. That is what I got from this performance. The performance was painfully short, partially because I arrived after they started and partially because most of what I saw day one at the UMS was a rooftop show that seemed set up to promote an album by Joe Sampson in which a bunch of local artists did no more than a couple of songs each. It felt unstructured, which was nice, because it kind of came across as musicians just playing music rather than putting on a structured show.
Miss America has no web presence though I think that’s largely because they are a bit of a side project. As such I don’t have much of them I can share with you. So I’d suggest that, if you’re in Denver, you just keep and eye out for them and check them out because they are making some good music.
Sadly Rachael Pollard only played two songs when I saw her. I’m not sure if she was performing elsewhere at the UMS but if she was I didn’t get a chance to see it which I quite sad because she was seriously good. Great guitar work and beautiful vocals. I was seriously sad when she announced that her second song was also her last song. I really wanted to hear more but it just wasn’t in the cards. I’m not sure how often she plays around town but I really hope I get a chance to see her again.
This whole rooftop shindig seemed to be in honor of Joe and the release of his album entitled Kill Our Friends. Sampson’s music is simple straightforward singer songwriter fare. The kind of music that relies as heavily on the words being sung as the music being played. I am a lyrical music listener, and as such, this is my favorite type of music and he does it very well.
The songs, which are lyrically complex, were delivered with feeling and conviction. Really, this is just music I love done exceptionally well, such good songwriting, such honest delivery. It’s always refreshing to see. This is one of those guys that I can’t believe I didn’t know about before seeing him here. I definitely want to pick up his album and I really hope to see more from him in the future. Though again, this is an artist with now web presence so I feel like seeing him again will prove more difficult than it should.
So I guess everything can’t be sunshine and lollipops all the time and I guess every band can’t be great. It’s interesting because I’ve heard an excessive amount of great things about Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. Several people have told me that they are very good and that I simple had to see them. So see them I did and I simply was not wowed.
It’s not that they were terrible, because they weren’t, it was just that they were kind of okay. Part of this was the sound mix, as the bass was turned up so loud that at times it was all you could hear. At first I wasn’t that put off by that because their bass player is pretty good but over the course of their set it really started to get to me as every song seemed to have a similar feel to it. The vocals were washed out by the bass and everything else, to the point where you could barely hear her singing. They were just a pretty average rock band and that’s it. Overall the entire thing was really mediocre and that mediocrity was increased by the fact that my expectations had been set so high. I may be willing to give them another chance because in another venue they just might shine but I won’t be rushing to do it.
I went into the Overcasters set unsure of what to expect. I was basically going to see them because a couple of the people I know on facebook and yet never ever talk to really like them and post about them all the time so I figured what the hell.
I wasn’t blown away by what I saw but I liked them more than I did Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. Their sound just felt more genuine to me. There was more conviction and more honesty in what they were doing. These were rockers, honest to god rockers and they were rocking pretty damn hard. I think that my biggest issue with what I heard from them was that it wasn’t really my thing. I’ve just never been that much into hard rock but I can’t hold that against them because as hard rock goes this was good.
I don’t know that I’d see them again, partially because I just don’t listen to this kind of music very often and the scene doesn’t really speak to me but I’d say that if you like honest hard rock you should give Overcasters a shot.
That concludes day one, which was cut short for me due to knee pain being exacerbated by lots and lots of standing and walking. It just got to the point where if I wanted to do anything music listening on Sunday I was going to have to call it and so I did. Sadly this means that I missed another look at the Kentucky Street Parlor Pickers and yet another show by a. Tom Collins. You guys probably don’t mind that though because it means less repetitive reviews and more new things.