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Why the Denver metal scene should be proud of last night's Meshuggah and BTBAM show

Why the Denver metal scene should be proud of last night's Meshuggah and BTBAM show
Brandon Marshall

It may not be unusual for a metal show to push the Ogden Theatre to full capacity, but any promoter is facing an uphill task in selling a Monday-night show. Still, Denver metal fans rallied together for Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me with no concern for work, bedtimes or curfews. How did this show become so immensely successful on such a notoriously hard-to-sell night?

Why the Denver metal scene should be proud of last night's Meshuggah and BTBAM show
Brandon Marshall

Meshuggah and BTBAM are both bands who carry the loyalty from people outside of the metal scene. The former is considered the forefather of the djent movement, closely tied to progressive metal, which has enjoyed recent popularity thanks to bands like BTBAM. Any random sample of ten fans last night would have included three or four non-metal veterans; people who may not enjoy screaming in music but make an exception for BTBAM's harmonies and eclectic change-ups (one song briefly delved into some form of bluegrass) or Meshuggah's polyrhythmic chugging.

It also helped that Monday's show included only the two bands listed on the bill, so there was no confusion about the times of doors, show, and when the large-font, bold-type bands would play. Doors were at 7 p.m., BTBAM played at 8 p.m., then Meshuggah had almost an hour and a half to destroy the Ogden. It was as straightforward as anyone can expect from a metal show.

Why the Denver metal scene should be proud of last night's Meshuggah and BTBAM show
Brandon Marshall

This tour represents Meshuggah's 25th year as a band, while BTBAM has sold out both Summit Music Hall and the Ogden in previous Denver stops. It also features two bands that could potentially headline. At least 1,500 Denver metal heads will pass along tales about this lineup to future generations, and it all happened on a Monday night.

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Why the Denver metal scene should be proud of last night's Meshuggah and BTBAM show
Brandon Marshall

As bands that are used to headlining their own tours, each was prepared with dazzling visuals. BTBAM's lighting effects brought more sophistication to an already complex sound, while Meshuggah played its entire set backlit, so the bandmembers were only silhouettes against strobe effects and dancing spotlights more reminiscent of a rave than a metal show -- but in a good way. They also shared the stage with massive panels of artwork that recalled the late science-fiction artist H.R. Giger.

Denver may host a few shows every year at which weapons are an issue among fans, but Meshuggah/BTBAM was not one of them. That was a major relief for stoners who still worry about having their one-hitters and joints confiscated or risk getting denied entry altogether. For the record, Ogden staff still doesn't tolerate smoking inside the venue, and the signs that say "no smoking of any kind" are hardly subtle.

None of these factors are exclusive only to Mondays, and it goes without saying that this show benefited from its summer date. Regardless, Denver's metal community should feel a certain sense of pride in coming together for this show. Even if Tuesday morning is a little rough.

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