Around Christmas, many big things happen in the Denver music scene: Cheers Battle of the Bands, Locals Only Xmas, big concerts like those. I chose the Gothic instead, where Lotus Gait was headlining with support from No More Excuses, Parasite Core, Scavenger, and 100 Shots. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these bands, maybe you haven’t, but now you have, and next time any of them have a show, I’d recommend going.
No More Excuses: No More Excuses opened the show. I don’t know if it’s my sudden obsession with Volbeat or what, but I was instantly hooked to their music. When I mention Volbeat, I don’t mean they played rock power chords with a southern, rednecky tinge to them; they played straight up hard rock, but it wasn’t overwhelming or too “in your face”, like Volbeat is too me. Anyways, their sound is both calm but still driving and catchy. It’s metal enough to where you can bang your head, but not hard enough to where you have to break your neck; simple enough to keep you listening, but complex enough to keep you interested. O.K., enough with the poetry: they just have a unique, awesome sound, plain and simple, that a wide audience could enjoy. Good singing, unique riffs, and the ability to branch out their songs in interesting fashion.
As far as their show, they aren’t a bad live band. Especially for an opening band, they showed enough energy to get the crowd ready for the next act. Usually, the crowd doesn’t start getting into it until a couple of bands, but by the middle of their set, people were getting out of their chairs; people were going up to the stage; people were getting involved. They moved around on stage, interacted, the whole thing you’d expect from a live show. They might not have been crazy, but they definitely weren’t boring. And it’s hard to be crazy when you’re opening the show: you have to pump up the crowd instead of feeding of their energy.
Parasite Core: Before this trio started playing, all I saw was an electronic drum pad by the drum set, a keyboard, and amps. Nice, some electro-metal. While they did have some metal aspects to their songs, Parasite Core was the fish out of water at this show. While every other band played more of a heavy, riff driven rock/metal style, Parasite Core played a more long, ambient, electronic type of metal, akin to NIN I’d say, though I don’t listen to Trent Reznor much; I don’t have any depressing sorrows burning at my soul right now. Just because they didn’t quite fit the bill, or my personal musical tastes, doesn’t mean they didn’t execute their style of music well: they did. It’s easy to make a big clusterfuck of noise when you have so many electronic instruments, but they managed to blend that potential clusterfuck into music that, if you’re into more electronic/techno/ballad ambience with electric guitars occasionally thrown in to spice up the night, you’ll enjoy. The songs were long with slow vocals, but would then erupt into a quick metal frenzy before calming down again.
As a trio that had a total of 6 instruments (guitar, drum, bass, double keyboard, drum pad, and of course, the mics), they did well. Maybe a little nervous due to being a new band, they were able to entertain the audience without a laser light show reminiscent of their type of sound. Juggling twice as many instruments as band members doesn’t leave much time to go crazy on stage, but they found time to; impressive considering everything going on to make their music, from holding chords on multiple instruments to hitting the correct, tiny squares on a tiny box. And though they were the only electro band at a metal show, they still put on a good show, especially if you’re into NIN-type music.
Scavenger: In your face rock. Comparable to when you’re listening to internet radio and all of a sudden hear something that’s really good and not recycled crap! Combining growling and singing with powerful riffs and tight grooves, the only bad thing really is the difficulty of finding this band. They have catchy songs that don’t sound cliché, that combine every aspect of hard rock in a way you want to hear, but when you Google “Scavenger”, an apparently shitty movie comes up instead of the band. Unfortunate, but their linked name does work on this page.
As a middle act, everyone was already pumped up and dancing, so they were able to both give and take from the crowd, and they did. They delivered a cool, collected performance that wasn’t really calm, but it was under control. They didn’t light anything on fire, but they weren’t statues either. You could tell they enjoyed what they were doing.
100 Shots: Fusing rap and metal, it seems like 100 Shots didn’t know what kind of sound they wanted and said “fuck it, let’s pick straws and see”. Actually, I love this type of sound, mostly because I love metal but can’t sing . . . I rap . . . I’m white and nerdy and rap. But I digress. When this style is done correctly, it’s awesome, and it was done correctly. A DJ, two emcees, two guitars, a bass and drummer with a big ol’ kit: perfect. The songs were enjoyable, the rapping spot on, and the metal riffs were, well, metal as fuck. They knew how to fuse the two genres together in an enjoyable way.
I should dock them some points on their performance for hitting me with a drumstick, but I guess when a drumstick gets that much distance, it’s a good thing. Rappers typical are good performers, but when there’s two, and there’s distorted guitar behind them, they get even crazier. Combine that with a bassist that does whatever the hell he wants, and the equation works (I don’t know how getting on your knees and hitting your bass helps your sound, but keep at it). Two rappers getting people to mosh, flying drumsticks, and one jolly bassist: a perfect combo. That’s really all to be said.
Their guitarist also deserves a special mention here. How do you play a right handed guitar upside-down and left handed? As a guitarist, I’m impressed.
Lotus Gait: Finishing off the night was Lotus Gait, a good ol’ fashioned, new hard rock punk band. Catchy songs, impressive solos, and all around good musicianship. Their self-description is pretty spot on: “A menacing merger of punk and metal, Lotus Gait nicked its name from Propagandhi and its game from a lifetime love of Slayer riffs.” Punk style that merges into classic metal backings. If you’re a mosher, you could make a pit no problem; if you’re not into that, you could still listen without feeling the need to punch another human. I felt myself out of breath listening to them as I was moving around the stage, capturing photos; I was unintentionally running from side to side (don’t worry: once I realized it, I stopped running). An enjoyable sound from an up-and-coming Denver band.
Lotus Gait conquered the stage. They knew that one last great performance had to be done before the night ended, so they did it. Starting off with a cool video intro, they utilized the entire stage and smashed a guitar. Yeah, smashed a guitar. After putting on an energetic show, they decided to shock everyone and smash a guitar on stage. The guitar stood no chance, but it was an exciting end to the show. And did I mention it was (apparently) their second gig? I didn’t believe it, but if it was true, there’s no where to go but to the top now.
With a lot of good shows going on the same night, the Gothic was surprisingly packed. For a show with a bunch of new bands and bands I didn’t know, I was impressed. It was great, and I found myself continually going back to each bands’ Facebook page just to listen to them some more. It might seem like a gushy review here, but it was an impressive show with impressive music. There wasn’t a band that didn’t want to be there, and they all had songs you’d want on your iPod.
by Curt Dennis