Last Tuesday night's headliner at the Larimer Lounge was the amazing Dub Trio. I was absolutely astounded by the outfit's instrumental collage of math rock, Jamaican dub and progressive metal. If you missed that show, or the next night's set at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, kick yourself.
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The real heroes of the night, however, were two Denver bands I'd never seen before: Murder Ranks (FKA Russian Bones and Soft Touch) and Identity Pusher. The former includes folks associated with Warlock Pinchers, Ghost Buffalo, Nightshark and goP@riot. With this bizarre collection of disturbed souls, the quartet rocks a ridiculous-yet-rockin blend of dancehall reggae, hip-hop and punk, with a splash of PIL thrown in to truly confuse you. While bassist Ben Williams and guitarist Mike Buckley add their unique and memorable touches to the sauce, the standout sickos are definitely hyperkinetic drummer Nate Weaver and compulsively loquacious frontman King Scratchie. The gang doesn't currently have any future shows scheduled, but is recording its debut, so keep an ear out.
Identity Pusher pulled the crowd in a very different direction with its straightforward death metal. The band, which includes the Larimer's own Chase Wessel on bass, doesn't necessarily have a lot new to say in its genre - hell, who does? - but played its set with passion and fervor. Vocalist Wes screeched and growled his way through the crowd, adding an arresting immediacy and menace to the performance. Though the band seemed to overwhelm the Larimer's sound system and, to my ears, could have used a second guitarist, I still found myself grinning like an imbecile at the raw power and simplicity of Identity Pusher's metallic rage. If you're up for it, you can catch these dangerous dudes on a metalicious bill at the Gothic Theatre on Thursday, December 18, or at the Toad Tavern on Saturday, January 3.
-- Eryc Eyl