What better way to celebrate the completion of your first music video than to put on a kick ass show? That had to be what crossed Le Divorce's mind when they put together their video release party at the Hi-Dive, and I couldn't agree more with the thought. Not only would Le Divorce unveil their brand new video and play a set afterwards, they brought in two other Denver bands to turn the night into a full blown event. Anyone with a craving for indie rock got a taste of it Neapolitan ice cream style that night - in three distinct flavors.
The night began with a short set from Rowboat. Rowboat usually performs as a four-piece band, but on this night the audience got to see a pared down version sans the rhythm section. Sam McNitt was on vocals and acoustic guitar joined by Daniel White on electric guitar. As a duo, they managed to effectively convey the Rowboat sound - a testament to the strength of Rowboat's songwriting. Through their six-song opening set, they created a moody sound, both sparse and spaced out, that carefully balanced solemnity, darkness, and heart crafted from folk-like acoustic guitar, atmospheric electric guitar, and a gruff, barrel-aged bourbon voice. It was a good set that stood out on its own, but now I want to see the band again in it's full configuration. If you're into the mellow indie-folk kind of sound, definitely give this band a listen.
Up next was an indie rock band with a quite different complexion, Varlet. Varlet performed as a five piece band featuring Lilly Scott (vocals, guitar), Will Duncan (drums), David Scott (bass), Cole Rudy (guitar, lap steel), and Vaughn McPherson (piano, organ). Together the band created a whiskey fueled concoction of psychedelic western rock 'n' roll - the kind that would ring out of the seediest of saloons or perhaps wouldfit the soundtrack of Tarantino's From Dusk 'Til Dawn. The instrumentation filled the room like a desert dust storm, covering the audience with a layer of rustic grit. Lilly Scott's dainty voice is paired with a stage presence that is anything but, hinting that she could pull a derringer out at any moment and pull the trigger without so much as a thought should she so please.
Varlet's set began with "Drifter", establishing the western motif right away. The slide guitar came in slowly like a tumbleweed, but then as all the instruments rang in, an infectious energy permeated from their sound. Lilly Scott's vocals came in next, grappling the attention of the crowd. Whether Varlet performed fast paced folk-tinged western pieces, or slow ballads like "Lady Lie", the strength of this band was undeniable. Their songs are well written enough to garner multiple listens through recordings, but they really shine in live performance. The band was so cohesive, they were a joy to watch together - be sure to catch this band live.
Next up was the main event, Le Divorce. Before the band took the stage and delivered a set of their own, they treated the audience to a screening of their brand new music video for "Under The Boxcars". If you haven't had the chance to check it out yet, check out the video above.
The video ended and the projector screen was set aside to reveal Le Divorce ready to rock out on stage. They performed in their current four-piece configuration featuring Kitty Vincent (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Grobelny (guitar, backing vocals), Michael King (guitar) and Kim Baxter (drums). Together they performed their modern indie post-punk/alt-rock with the raw spirit and grunge that was characteristic of bands of the early to mid nineties. Uptempo, pounding rhythms layered under loud, lo-fi, strum-heavy guitars, creating a driving force of sound full of energy and attitude. Kitty Vincent's voice propelled the sound forward, delivered with a careful balance between restraint and emotion - a powerful tension.
Their set began with a couple selections from their newly released EP, The Sting And The Light - "Splinter Song" and "Shout". "Splinter Song" crept the band's post-punk aesthetic in, building up the energy and coming full bore in the performance of "Shout". Le Divorce showed a more reserved, emotive side not usually seen in live performances with "Make Up Your Mind" - a post-punk ballad with an enthralling melody that ended up being a stand-out, powerful piece in their set that night.
Le Divorce played one song from their Pull Yourself Together EP, "In The Waves", my favorite off of that record because of the juxtaposition of the fluidity in that songs instrumentation against a constant lo-fi aesthetic. Then came "6 Feet Under", the opening song on their new EP that features great use of loud-soft and call-and-response vocals. Their regular set ended with a performance of "Under The Boxcars", bringing the evening full circle with a live reprise of the video. Before the night ended, Le Divorce treated the audience to an encore piece, a post-punked version of Talking Head's "Psycho Killer" that got the crowd to fa-fa-fa until the end. Le Divorce's performance showed that their energetic sound is alive and well, and that they continue to be this city's premier representatives of the post-punk/alt-rock genre. Look for a Le Divorce show if you need to satisfy your rock appetite.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.