The best punk shows in Denver in November
In a just world, John Brannon would be as hallowed a punk icon as anyone out of early '80s and D.C. Hardcore. As the frontman for the Detroit-based Negative Approach, Brannon was involved in making some of the most confrontational and pointed music of the era. Negative Approach's music captured post-industrial Midwest alienation and hopelessness with stark accuracy and shot it through with a befittingly dark and seething emotional intensity. Though the band broke up in 1984, and Brannon went on to other truly noteworthy projects, like Laughing Hyenas and Easy Action, Negative Approach got back together in 2006 and has been touring ever since. Seeing the commanding Brannon in any band is something unforgettable, but this show, which also features MDC, the Casualties and the Swellers, should be fantastic.
WEDS | MISFITS at SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 11/20/13
During its first run with original singer Glenn Danzig from 1977-1983, Misfits established one of the most enduring influential bodies of work in the history of punk that made an indelible impact on the development and trajectory of not only punk but also goth rock and even metal. After years and years of legal battles, interpersonal acrimony and now with only bassist Jerry Only remaining from the original band, Misfits continues as a live band. If you're expecting the Danzig thing, don't go, but if you'd like to hear those classic songs done by someone who was there, Misfits still put on an entertaining show.
Formed in 1988 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anti-Flag has never minced words in its denouncement of war, generally, the imperial ambitions of its home country, specifically, and the usual social ills that are perpetually neglected by the power elite of the United States. But Anti-Flag delivers that message with an upbeat tunefulness that doesn't sugar-coat the message, so much as make it accessible. It could be claimed the band can get polemical and that that undermines its impact, but there's no doubt these guys, by the sheer momentum of their longevity and ability to write good songs to go along with the lyrics, have changed the thinking of at least one section of America's youth, and that has to count for something.
Formed in 1980 in Wiltshire, England, Subhumans were not the first anarcho-punk (that distinction probably belongs to either Crass or Poison Girls), but they were certainly one of the most important bands of that movement. The band's 1983 album, The Day the Country Died, released on its own Bluurg imprint, is one of the landmarks of anarcho/crust-punk. Though informed by humor, it is also one of the most pointed denouncements of war -- both internationally, as well as the class war waged by the rich, as represented by arch '80s punk villain Margaret Thatcher and everything she stood for. The band continues to throw musical poison darts at the Ayn Randian monster that refuses to die worldwide.
Dr. Neptune is celebrating its reunion with a two-night shindig whose name, Punx Not Dead...We're All Just Really Fucking Old, makes no bones about the vintage of the bands on the bill. No one's a teenager here. In addition to Dr. Neptune, you can expect to see some of Denver's finest punk bands, including Boldtype, Red Stinger, Potato Pirates, King Rat, Frontside 5, Stuntdoubles, The A-OKs, The Pitch Invasion, Allout Helter, Dead Ringer, Straight Outta Luck, False Colours, Plan B Rejects, Holley 750 -- all worthy stalwarts of a broad swathe of the punk scene in Denver.
Formed circa 2001 in Fort Collins, Colorado, Monofog was a five-piece band that combined the headlong urgency of hardcore with more experimental noise rock. Having seemingly come from out of nowhere, Monofog was a bit of a secret band for a handful of years that just seemed to embody all the power, passion and intelligence you'd want to see in a punk band, or any band. Its dark, slashing, seething songs seemed dangerous both sonically and physically as evidenced by the band's off the chain performances. Its pace became less hectic in the mid-2000s but the songs still had a bite and thankfully didn't retread its earlier material. The act broke up before the 2010s and both frontwoman Hailey Helmericks and guitarist Doug Spencer went on to form the more moodily post-punk Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. This is a rare chance to see Monofog on the occasion of the Hi-Dive's 10th Anniversary celebration, which also features Red Cloud and Machine Gun Blues, two other celebrated bygone Denver bands.
Chop up members of Scott Baio Army, Machine Gun Blues, Trees and Dirty Few and put them together in some random order and you'll get this shambolic punk rock monster, one that sounds like like its collective membership is well-versed in English street punk from the '80s -- bratty yet tuneful and so irreverent it's difficult to tell where the humor ends and the serious content begins. As if there is any need to tell the difference. Anyway you slice it, Zebroids are almost as pure a punk band as there exists in Denver, and its' one that doesn't take itself too seriously with the kind of dumb humor that only smart people could concoct and actually pull off. A joke band? Nay, punk prophets.
This four-piece from Syracuse, New York, is definitely within the realm of the recent resurgence of pop punk in the American underground. Sure, the themes are the same sort of thing -- bemoaning every day losses, picking yourself up from the dumps but not pretending you didn't feel the hurt and the ups and downs of relationships -- but really, these guys are more in the vein of melodic hardcore bordering on '90s emo, with lyrics that aren't something they're going to be embarrassed to look back on later in life. The group recently put out a split 7-inch with the Traditional on Panic Records.
Seemingly drawing inspiration from bands like Hot Water Music, the Descendents and Jawbreaker, Burbank, California's the Shell Corporation has a knack for crafting fuzzy melodies and solid hooks. The group's energetic performance is honed by extensive touring. The in-joke about being an actual corporation does little to mask the group's obvious disregard for corporate malfeasance and the "culture" that spawns it. The band's 2011 album, Force Majeure was a nice return to sarcasm in punk.
Formed in 2009 in Portland, Oregon, New York Rifles sound like they're freely associating influences. Listen closely and you can hear a bit of Them, plenty of the Wailers (not the reggae band, naturally), a lot of Hüsker Dü in the rhythms, and no small bit of Guy Piciotto in the vocals. But mainly, the Rifles specialize in stripped down, rock and roll in a punk vein. Although the band more or less got its name from a suggestion by Courtney Taylor Taylor of The Dandy Warhols, these guys are no bandwagon psych rock outfit. Rather they're one of the most promising of the new breed of punks to have emerged in the last few years.
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