Critic's Choice

Two things never fail: Only the good die young, and all the great Denver bands break up before their time. Add Manalive! to the latter. The stalwart local trio will be packing it in this Friday, August 27, at Pancho's Villa (3428 Downing Street), with Bailer, Call Sign Cobra, Murder Scene Clean Up Team and Shootuporshutup. The reason? Bassist Charles vonRosenberg is taking off to France to live the life of a jet-setting expatriate. Which is kind of funny, considering the Manalive! sound: a sloppy melting pot of folk, punk and rock and roll that's about as all-American as the Boss. In fact, strains of Bruce Springsteen's gruff rusticity can be heard in Roots Rock Rebel, the group's second and final full-length, as can bits of everything from Against Me! to the Minutemen to the Clash. Accordingly, vonRosenberg and guitarist Mike Neff have been moonlighting lately in the folk duo Los Dos, while drummer Brooks Miller lends his kick to the country-rock combo Out on Bail. With their bassist gone, though, Neff and Miller plan on regrouping as -- believe it or not -- a dub outfit. But if "Flow Through the Third World," a reggae-addled track on Roots, is any indication, their new project will be every bit as gritty, sincere and soulful as its predecessor. To tide you over till then, come on down this Friday and watch Manalive! burn out before it fades away.


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