Instead of the usual list of our favorite albums, we decided to write about our favorite concerts in 2007. In this age where copies of albums can be had for free the real value proposition is the live performance. Here in Denver the live music scene is growing like crazy. More venues host live shows and it seems there are more shows than ever before. Independent musicians (not associated with a major music label) have proliferated as more of these artists have a large enough audience to tour because it is easier than ever to disco er them through the internet. One of the benefits of all these shows and venues is that many of our local bands have improved as well.
My Top Shows – by Mystic Spiral
10 (tie) – Dr. Dog @ Larimer Lounge (3/20) & Man Man @ Larimer Lounge (3/27) Two amazing shows by two of the greatest live bands out there today. Dr. Dog is 100% energy and the 5 Man Man men play oodles of instruments; both are a complete joy to watch. I actually ended up seeing both bands twice this year, but an obnoxious crowd ruined my second Man Man show and Dr. Dog seemed a bit weary when I saw them back at the Larimer in October.
09 – Dan Deacon @ Hi-Dive (6/28)Even though I missed almost half of it, this was one crazy performance. Dan plays on the floor amid the crowd, and definitely encourages audience participation. So much fun.
08 – White Rabbits @ Larimer Lounge (10/13) This was just a really fun night. They played most of their brilliant album Fort Nightly plus a couple of great new songs and even a Bob Dylan cover!
07 – Menomena @ Hi-Dive (4/7) Menomena is another hip, energetic, fun new(ish) band. Between their new album and their live show it’s hard to believe there are only three guys in the band.
06 – The National @ Ogden Theatre (9/18) Not only are their albums superb, but The National is a captivating live band. Word has it that this was only their second Denver appearance, let’s hope they don’t wait too long to come back through town.
05 – Okkervil River @ Marquis Theater (9/13) This one was a long time coming for me. Okkervil River was really the first indie band I fell in love with and I’d been aching to see them for ages. Brilliant show.
04 – The Thermals @ Hi-Dive (3/22) This show was insane – the Hi-Dive was packed and The Thermals were energetic and LOUD (thank god for ear plugs!). Their second Denver appearance this year unfortunately didn’t hold a candle to the first. It was no fault of the band, they were great, but the leap from the Hi-Dive to the Gothic proved to be a bit much as the Gothic was just way, way too big for them.
03 – Cloud Cult @ Larimer Lounge (5/10)I have seen Cloud Cult twice now, and each time was a borderline religious experience. Cloud Cult is so powerful live, and the onstage painters add a unique touch to the performances.
02 – Monolith Festival @ Red Rocks (9/14-15) Despite all the stair climbing, Monolith was a great success; I hope the festival continues next year. Best of the best for me include:
Everything Absent Or Distorted – these guys are my favorite local band and it was awesome seeing them play the Red Rocks main stage.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – we ended up seeing this trio because we couldn’t decide what to do next. Yay for indecision because this turned out to be the best surprise of the weekend. They’re playing the Bluebird on January 4th and the Fox Theatre on the 5th – don’t miss it!
Matt And Kim – it was the second time I’d seen them in four days. Their genuine gratitude and wonder at playing Red Rocks was very endearing, and their set was very rockin’!
William Whitmore – William was the only set I saw at the small acoustic stage. He and his banjo were a lot of fun.
Cloud Cult – I’ve concluded that the top of Red Rocks is the perfect venue for this band.
YACHT – well, it was me and maybe a couple dozen others who witnessed Jona’s set, while the thousands of other festivarians were at the main stage with the
Flaming Lips. I made the right choice.
01 – The Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem @ Red Rocks (9/17) The announcement of this tour sent the indie music world into a complete frenzy, and with such high expectations came the fear of a letdown. Fortunately, both bands delivered mind-blowing performances. This was not only the best show I saw in 2007, but the best show I’ve seen in years.
My Favorite Concerts of 2007 – by Mark Tatum
I saw about 120 bands play this year and was continually overwhelmed by the list of upcoming shows. There were at least that many more bands that I wish I had seen. While I attended the Monolith Festival and the local Denver Underground Music Showcase, it was the small venues that I liked the best. Often I made the choice to go see a less popular band in a small venue instead of heading to Red Rocks or the Fillmore for better-known bands. I’m happy with those choices.This was the year that I was addicted to bands with women lead singers. They just seemed more interesting and creative than the same old four-guys-in-tennis-shoes bands I normally encounter.
10. The Randies @ Surfside 7 (January 25) It was a cold January night in Ft. Collins and one of my favorite bands, The Randies, dragged their equipment into a tiny bar and set up on the floor in front of some booths. There wasn’t even a stage, but that didn’t keep them from giving am energetic performance of some of their best pop-punk songs.
9. Great Northern & The Comas @ Hi-Dive (August 6) Don’t you love surprises? I went to see the Comas, who didn’t disappoint me. But I went away talking about Great Northern, who enveloped me in their dark and moody music.
8. The Dollyrots @ Lions Lair (August 3) All three members of The Dollyrots are tremendously talented. On top of that, Kelly Ogden’s peppiness puts their on-stage performance over the top. Every song has a pop hook but is delivered with a punk sensibility. Lots of fun.
7. The New Pornographers and Emma Pollock @ the Gothic Theater (November 5) The amount of talent on stage this night was probably the best Denver saw all year, at any venue. Emma Pollock was simple and perfect. The New Pornographers were confident and practiced. So many great songs.
6. The Raveonettes @ The Bluebird (October 31) Before the show I wondered how they would create their huge sound with only two guitars and a couple of drums. They didn’t disappoint me.
5. The Gore Gore Girls @ Hi-Dive (September 20) Whoa! Somebody made the Gore Gore Girls really angry. Or was that just an act? Great rock songs with big hooks, giant guitar sound and short skirts. What a combination. It was refreshing to see a band that really thought about their performance.
4. Silversun Pickups @ The Ogden (July 30) I knew they were good but seeing them live surprised me. This was a really fun night that left me smiling for a long time.
3. The Donnas and Donita Sparks @ The Marquis (September 25) One of the biggest surprises of my year. Donita Sparks, formerly of L7, gave one of the best individual performances I saw all year. Then the Donnas came on the stage. I had seen them several years ago but was totally unprepared for a performance that went off the confidence scale. Their mastery of the songs and the audience was awe-inspiring. I am forever a Donnaholic now.
2. The Thermals @ Hi-Dive (March 22) The Thermals are really a punk band. They bring all the energy associated with early punk shows to today’s issues. This sold-out show had more sweat and jumping than any other I attended.
1. Dan Deacon @ Hi-Dive (June 28) Even though he was obviously exhausted from constant touring and not adapting very well to the altitude, Dan Deacon put on a one-man show that had the crowd of 100 or so dancing like teenagers around his card table control-center. Okay, about half the crowd WERE teenagers, but his energy and unselfconsciousness was infectious. Also the best light show I saw all year.