It's close to midnight on Friday night, and the crowd at the Bluebird is enraptured by the singer on stage. There's something of Buddy Holly in him, and he's tearing through a cover of "Valerie" that would make Amy Winehouse proud. The singer is Brent Cowles, here for the CD-release party for the band he fronts, You, Me and Apollo.
Denver has more music venues then Austin, including the iconic Red Rocks, and it's a must-stop for most touring bands. But to hear some fantastic live music on a Friday night, a Denverite doesn't need to find an out-of-towner. Riding the energy from the release of its new album, Sweet Honey, You, Me & Apollo put on a driven and celebratory show. Its members were enthusiastic from the first notes, putting on a clinic in roots rock mixed with old-school swing and blues. Cowles's truly dynamic vocals echoed off the walls, and his performance was matched by the rest of the band.
The thoughtfully constructed songs were brought to life in a visceral, heartfelt manner. The guitar riffs and vocals rambled along, searching for a sweet spot or building up to a moment where the music seemed to take on a life of its own. Sometimes it seemed like there were more than five musicians on stage.
This kind of performance -- and display of talent -- exists on the stages of Denver every week. You, Me and Apollo's inspired show wasn't to be missed. But it was also a reminder that many of the "can't miss" of any given week or month might not be the arena band at the Pepsi Center.
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