KTCL 93.3’s Not So Silent Night is an interesting show: basically a mini music festival, featuring five well-known bands, any of which could easily headline of a large room in Denver. This year Amzy, The Wombats, Airborne Toxic Event, Cold War Kids, and Bastille all took to the stage at the 1st Bank Center to wow the sold out crowd. However, what makes Not So Silent Night compelling is not the five bands all playing 30-minute sets full of hits and radio favorites, but the crowd.
It’s an all-ages show, a rarity these days when most shows are at minimum 18 and up. The early start time, Saturday night slot and all-ages combination means that much of the crowd was made up of kids and youth under sixteen. Though this young demographic is often overlooked in concert coverage, kids have radios and Spotify and love music with often more intensity than adults. While they may not pack the hi-dive or Bluebird on the weekends, they were out in droves Saturday night to see the bands they hear daily on 93.3.
As we listened to the bands, all of whom put on lively, engaging sets, we chatted with some younger fans in attendance.
Liverpool-based The Wombats, who played after local band Amzy, were a crowd favorite. Despite the short set and the lead singer admitting he was “very, very ill,” every song was packed with energy and the audience clapped and cheered along. For Oliver Martin, age 9, this was his first concert, and he was loving it.
“It’s been fun, I really like it,” Martin says. “I liked the Wombats. The first song they played (“Give Me A Try”) was great.”
The Wombats was also a highlight for Sam Adams, 14, who came with a few friends. “I love The Wombats, I just love their music.”
In between the brooding indie rock of Airborne Toxic Event and Cold War Kids, who pounded the piano and blasted through hit after hit, boldly starting with “Hang Me Out To Dry,” the song that made them famous almost a decade ago, we chatted with 14-year-old Morgan Jewell. She and her mother decided to come because all the bands were ones she hears regularly on the radio.
“It’s today’s hits,” Jewell said. “It’s all songs I know or new bands I can experience.”
She didn’t have an opinion on Airborne Toxic Event, a band that, like a few on the roster, were big five or so years ago, disappeared, and are now having a second act in the spotlight. Autumn Roberts, 16, who was standing nearby, said, “They weren’t what I expected, but in a good way,” Roberts says.
Headliners Bastille were the stars of the night, silencing the sometimes chatty crowd and leading them in chants and singalongs. Before the U.K. band hit the stage, we asked a few kids who they were most excited for, and the answer was overwhelmingly, “Bastille.”
“I haven’t been to very many concerts, but I know all of these bands, especially Bastille,” said 14-year-old John Teas.
If you like big bands, set lists full of chart-toppers and a concert that ends before 11 p.m., No So Silent Night is a can’t-miss of the year. It’s one of the few shows where parents, kids, hipsters and couples all experience music together. Yes, all of them were dancing along to every band, especially Bastille.
But you can’t please everyone, and one music nerd in the making, Jude Tauer, 14, had some choice words for 93.3 on their artist choices.
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“Bastille shouldn’t be headlining,” Tauer says. “I don’t think they fit the 93.3 family. They haven’t had a good new song in a while. I think they should’ve chosen Cold War Kids to headline.”