Signal Path at Bluebird Theater, 5/25/12
If a change of pace, geographic location, home life and hiatus are all a band needs to find itself smack-dab in the middle of its prime, then let Signal Path be the bearer of the torch. Last night, the trio showed Denver what band chemistry looks like. With Damon Metzner situated dead-center on the stage at the drums, and both Ryan Burnett and Matt Schumaker flanking him, the members of Signal Path looked right at home for the release of their latest effort, mixtaEP. Coming out strong in the beginning, it was apparent that we wouldn't be let down in any way -- like this was some sort of coming out party, again -- and the band just had something to prove.
Signal Path is no stranger to a hiatus, or the struggles of developing music through file sharing and telecommunication. Last night, we were reintroduced to the sounds of a decade-old act, and the reintroduction was strong: "In Your Nature," a remixed track off the new EP that features a Zola Jesus vocal against the Skrillex/Ellie Goulding track "Summit," then combined with live elements, was delivered with significantly more enthusiasm live than on the album.
Granted, this is the case with nearly every song, but the ability to present a feeling on an album, then completely change the energy live, is amazing. Granted, when Metzner and Burnett toured as a duo -- Signal Path: Live PA -- they were still able to ignite a room full of people, it just seems they've found the formula to be able to enjoy it completely now.
Love and Light, a rapturous combination of two producers who performed prior to Signal Path, obviously has a following. These two have rolled through Denver several times in the past year, and always seem to up the ante in terms of their showmanship. Sure, like every producer that comes through Denver, we heard "new music," but Love and Light also gave us "new, new music," which, to be completely honest, was kind of cool.
The duo looked like they were having equally as much fun as the filling Bluebird. At every drop and transition, the two would have everyone instantly moving, and they looked happy doing it. Attitude isn't the biggest thing in the world, but when artists are clearly enjoying their production, that energy is transmitted through both the music and the stage presence. Love and Light has the disease that we all wanted last night.
Fisk, who kicked things off, welcomed everyone with a soft opening full of hip-hop samples and throwback cuts. Granted, he's a producer -- meaning his electronic dance music is produced by him -- but that doesn't mean there is any shortage of great samples. As an opener -- the act tasked with setting the tone for the night -- Fisk absolutely played the part.
He always seems to read a crowd well, rather than just play his songs regardless of the feedback, and last night he read it perfectly. When more people filed in, he would dial back the down-tempo and speed things up with Biggie cuts and other throwback rap hooks. If you get the chance to catch a Fisk set, don't sleep, because I'm sure that within a year you'll be kicking yourself for doing so.
Personal Bias: After interviewing the members of Signal Path and hearing their history, I was very excited to see the results of ten years and a lot of practice.
By The Way: My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two people who were shot yesterday in broad daylight in Denver.
Random Detail: Love and Light, regardless of that heart shape they make with their fingers during the sets, are totally awesome.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.