Over the Weekend: Hot Congress house party
Whitney Van Cleave
Square Rot Hot Congress Prevue House Show Night of Joy, Fissure Mystic, The Jim Jims, Old Radio, Lil' Slugger, Vitamins Friday, October 16, 2009 Patrick Kelly's Crib Better Than: Paying mucho dinero for parking, tickets, and beer at a standard venue.
Nothing screams house show quite like a porch full of smokers throwing back forties like it's nobody's business, especially if said porch is attached to a recently foreclosed apartment building in Capitol Hill.
Friday's show, dubbed the Squat Rot Hot Congress Prevue by creator and host Patrick Kelly, proved to be the most successful house show I've seen to date. Here's why: throngs of indie-vidualists packed tighter than an American Spirit into a tiny apartment listening to some of the best music Denver has to offer while, of course, drinking aforementioned forties. Shows like these are few and far between, often only existing in drunken conversations in then land of "we shoulds" and "wouldn't it be rads."
After struggling through the hordes to actually enter the apartment, we were hit first by the twenty-degree spike in temperature and next by Night of Joy blasting out of a nearby room. Valerie Franz captivated the all-too-cozy crowd with her fiercely defiant voice and her, um, interesting makeup. Kicking it up a notch with anime projections to accompany the room's twinkling Christmas lights proved to be a pseudo-sensory overload crowd pleaser.
Fissure Mystic ditched the 'toons in favor of pure, unadulterated head-shaking rock. While lead singer Taylor Rice's vocals were spot on, the real show-stopper was the incredible drumming of Fez Garcia. At times his limbs were flailing in so many directions, we couldn't tell if he was playing, dancing, or in the midst of an epileptic seizure.
By the time Fissure Mystic wrapped up its set, we were nearly deaf and at the mercy of the Jims Jims. If there was a band on the bill that knows how to blow up a house show (not in a meth lab sorta way), it's the post-punk-loving boys of The Jim Jims. They pounded out the tightest and most raucous set of the evening, a set that hopped up the crowd up so much that it nearly swallowed the lead singer on multiple occasions.
In a slight change of pace, the man of the house, Patrick Kelly, took to the mike with Old Radio. The set proved to be one of the most popular of the evening. Old Radio didn't disappoint with a stellar cover of The National's "Apartment Story" and an ending that left the band members in a heap on the floor amidst broken guitars and mic stands.
Having sparked the idea of destruction, it was no surprise then that all hell broke loose during Lil' Slugger's set, as the small room turned itself into a mosh-pit that spared no one. We were too busy trying not to get our ass kicked to pay careful attention to the set list. On that note, we threw in the towel just before Vitamins played what we assumed would be without a doubt an amazing set (this was later confirmed by some friends with a stronger disposition than us).
The night proved to be a far greater success than Kelly had hoped with more people, no cops, and the palpable energy that only happens when good people and great music come together. CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK PERSONAL BIAS: Most of the night's bands are high on my list of local favorites. RANDOM DETAIL: The house was wedged between a McDonald's and a crematorium on Colfax and Pearl. BY THE WAY: Action Packed Thrill Ride was supposed to play an acoustic set but canceled due to Mark Cawthray having the crud.
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