Not only was it beautiful spring-like weather on Saturday, it also happened to be St. Patrick's Day, so the city of Denver was bustling with activity at every corner. There was a seemingly endless supply of activities to partake in - options overflowing like pint glasses of green beer. The Hi-Dive was one of those options, offering a folk based show that would cover a range of moods and styles. The palette of sounds offered by the three bands that night was able to paint a satisfying show.
|Story & Clark|
The night began with a performance from local band Story & Clark. Story & Clark had five members with a multitude of instruments at their disposal; guitar, drums, keyboards, cello, ukulele and euphonium (yeah I had to look it up). Together, the quintet created a chamber-pop sound, blending subtle orchestral influences with piano-rock, vocal pop and beat-heavy drums.
|Story & Clark|
They performed a handful of pieces that opened up the night in a lively mood. Their blend of folk-chamber-pop was a unique combination - catchy melodies floating on top of a sea of instrumentals, propelled by heavy, almost hip-hop inspired beats at times. They even played a couple pieces appropriate to the occasion - a cover of "Danny Boy" and a tribute to redheads called "Bricks".
|You Me & Apollo|
Next up was You Me & Apollo, a five piece folk-rock band from Fort Collins. The band consists of Brent Cowles (vocals, guitar), Morgan Travis (lead guitar), Jonathan Alonzo (rhythm guitar), Shawn Keefer (bass), and Tyler Kellogg (drums). Together, the quintet injects the fury of rock 'n' roll and the heartfelt spirit of blues into a folk/Americana sound that really comes alive in their live performances.
|You Me & Apollo|
I've seen You Me & Apollo in a couple different iterations before - first as Brent Cowles solo and then as a full band. Singer Brent Cowles has amazing energy on his own, and having a full band behind him just augments his intensity. Their performance began like a firework with a long fuse with "Opener", a song that starts slowly and beautifully but explodes into an intense display of colorful sound. The following songs continue to explode in succession - a sequence of powerful beauty. It is a power that truly comes through best in the live setting - vivid presence in concert with beautiful sound that needs to be seen with the naked eye and heard through your own ears - a display so amazing you can feel it. They performed mostly songs of the album Cards With Cheats, but also treated the audience to a couple as yet unreleased songs that were incredibly amazing. This is easily one of the best bands in the state right now, and I highly recommend you see this band live.
Next, Alameda came out to perform their headlining set. Alameda is a Portland based band, although lead singer/acoustic guitarist Stirling Myles has Colorado ties. He was joined by four other band members Jessie Dettwiler (cello/vocals), Jennifer Woodall (bass clarinet), Kate O'Brien-Clarke (violin/vocals) and Tim Grimes (electric guitar). Together, the band creates a hybrid orchestral-folk sound that combines heartfelt/emotive singer-songwriter style with the majesty of chamber music.
Alameda's performance was another powerful one, but one that transmitted its power in a more subtle, and crafty way. Their sound didn't explode straight into the audience's ears, but instead worked its way in patiently through strong songwriting, transmitted emotion, and instrumental grandeur. The symbiosis of Alameda's guitar/vocal backbone and the symphonic addition of strings and woodwinds set the band apart, giving a presence to contemporary folk not found in other examples. They performed selections off of the album Seasons/Spectres, taking the audience an a sweeping aural journey. Whether you appreciate folk or chamber music, Alameda's sound creates the perfect bridge between both worlds.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.