For my next installment of Halloween weekend celebration, I made my way to the Larimer Lounge to check out a Halloween bash presented by Analog Space. The Larimer Lounge was hosting local groups all featuring moody sounds that would make the perfect soundtrack to an awesome Halloween party, so I made my way down to both have a good time and support great local music. It may not have been the largest party in town that night, but that just gave it a feeling of exclusivity, and by the end of it all I was glad to have been part of the experience.
The night began with an opening DJ set from Analog Space's own Peter Black. He got the night started with a smooth mix featuring new tracks from the best artists in the underground tech house scene. He kept the speakers pumping out bass and snappy drums by lacing together house tracks that featured a multitude of different but related styles; 2-step, bassline, juke, UK garage, post-dubstep, grime, and more. Peter Black showcased the ability to lay down a continuous bass-heavy dance mix that sounded completely fresh and never relied on the mainstream. Fans of indie dance music should definitely check out Peter Black's style.
Up next was local experimental electronic trio King Mob. When I first saw this band, I thought their peculiar blend of dark electro, dream-pop and almost retro influences would work perfectly for Halloween, so I was excited to catch this band again on this particular weekend. King Mob is Ben Martin, Charles Kern, and Sam Martin - all three handle different electronics controllers and synths to create their unique sound while Ben Martin also handles the vocal duties.
King Mob started with the hypnotizing "U Remember", followed by the atmospheric "Moonchild". "Take My Hand, I'm Changing" was next, a song that sounds like a dark experimental version of new wave. They then performed a trio of songs soon to be released on a new EP that really balance out their dark, moody sound with captivating danceability. They finished with a slightly tweaked version of "The Wasp", enhancing the usually slow-building intro with a more driving uptempo beat before the song led into a slower funky 2-step garage-like bass section. I got what I wanted - King Mob for Halloween - and now I can't wait for them to release their new EP. If you are a fan of dark but dancey electro, check out King Mob's unique style.
Next up was a DJ set from local electronic duo Hollagramz. The duo of Ron Cole and Cory Brown laid down a continuous mix of mostly their own brand of tropical influenced indie dance music. Their style of indie electro included heavy bass at a steady mid-tempo, combining world influenced rhythmic styles like calypso, raggaeton, and UK garage with techno influences from glitch, house and rave. All together, it makes for futuristic sounding dance music that is dark but not macabre. A couple standouts from their set were "Serpent Magnetism" and when they threw in N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police" and got people to dance with them up on stage. Check out Hollagramz if you are looking for indie dance music that hits but isn't just straight up hard house or dubstep.
Flashlights took the stage next to give the crowd a dose of their ethereal dream-pop. Sam Martin provided the dreamy synths and other-worldly beat work that gives Flashlights its electro-pop sound that is never glittery, but instead a fresh combination of chill and danceable. Ethan Converse provides the emotive vocals that are slightly more melodic than that of modern chillwave groups. Together, the instrumental and vocal package is incredibly catchy and sounds unlike anything out there - an abstract sound that is welcoming and accessible due to its peculiarity. The whole live experience is enhanced by the lighting used in their stage production, really making their performances seem like a pleasant dream.
I'd seen Flashlights a couple times before, so I thought I knew what to expect song-wise this time around. Flashlights started with one of my favorites, the strangely hard hitting but moody song "Glowing Eyes". Then they performed the atmospheric deep-in-a-dream dance song "New Hampshire". The last time I heard them, they revealed a new song, "New Hampshire Part II", and on this night they transitioned smoothly into that piece, keeping the dreamy feel of the original but really emphasizing the dance beat. But after that, Flashlights took the audience into uncharted territory, performing three new awesome songs to finish up their set. I can't wait for a Flashlights full-length album just so I can get my hands on these new delicious dream-pop songs. The new songs really kept the Flashlights signature feel but somehow got even more dance energy out of the crowd. If you are into dream-pop and/or chillwave, you better know Flashlights by now, but if you don't, get on it!
Headliners ManCub came out last to close out the Halloween bash, and like I've become accustomed to seeing them do, they had a few new tricks up their sleeve to set this performance apart from any other one of theirs that I've seen before. The duo of Alex Anderson and James Wayne delivered another night of their hard hitting, face melting electro noise-pop, but they did so a little bit differently this time. Donning bear masks, the two took their places behind their circuit-board like rig while enveloped in a cloud of smoke. They had their back-lit 'MNCB' fabric backdrop and red and green laser show, but they pulled out a couple more stops by adding extra colored lighting to each side of the stage. It's never enough for ManCub to hit the crowd with their dance-party noise-pop, they have to provide an immersive show.
ManCub's stage production set the mood up right, and they started the show with a couple more surprises - two brand new songs with ManCub's signature blend of dance beats, analog synths and filtered vocals, making for a style of electro-pop that almost sounded like a dance-punk version of chillwave. They brought out two older favorites, "8-Bit Crush" and "Made In Japan" before playing another newer song I've heard before but still believe has not been named. They then played a cover/remix of Queens of the Stone Age's "Feel Good", using the guitar riff from the song to turn ManCub's version into a dance-punk banger. Summer may be gone, but they made the crowd wet with "Summer Rain".
Of course, since it was Halloween weekend, we had to hear ManCub's awesome electro version of "Ghostbusters". They finished with "The New Sound", a reworking of the original "Sound" that was even more dancey than it was before. That was supposed to be the last song, but the crowd wouldn't let them end it there, and since it was still just shy of closing time, ManCub treated the audience with an encore presentation of "Mt. Rushmore" - it sounded like they may have been reworking that one a little bit as well. I've seen many ManCub shows, and they're always constantly changing for the better, and that's what keeps me coming back. ManCub was the perfect way to end the Halloween bash on a high note, putting a cap on a great night of local music.
There are a lot of wonderful things going on in the local Denver music scene, all driven by dedicated musicians and an ever-growing number of supportive fans. If you didn't check out Saturday night's show, keep your eyes open for the next event featuring all local talent. Our local musicians work hard to make great music and provide a good time for those who support it, and that's what makes the local scene so great. Check out the scene if you haven't already, but be careful, because it'll keep you coming back.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date!