Tom Murphy

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2014

    The Underground Bands of Denver Music's Dark Ages: Part Two

    Editor: Please see the Author's note on this new photo-driven series at the end of this article. In this second part (read part one here) of the Underground Bands of Denver Music's Dark Ages, we're going to use a few bands of the era to spotlight some of the important venues. Not every band played ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 30, 2014

    The Perfect Way to Experience Fall in Colorado Is a Hot Rize Show at Chautauqua

    . In recent years, fall has come on with a vengeance: with uncharacteristically heavy rains and early snow, and winter has refused to leave. But this year it has felt more like we've been given a reprieve. That climate, that natural ambiance perfectly suited a place like Chautauqua Auditorium and a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 30, 2014

    Denver's Ten Best Small Venues

    It's no secret that Denver is blessed with an overwhelming amount of music venues, places boasting calendars packed full of local and national acts every night of the week. We wanted to highlight some of the best of the little guys -- venues that can hold crowds under 500 people. There are some old ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2014

    Overheard at Riot Fest 2014

    Maybe it's the punk rock origins of Riot Fest that brought out the funny and the ridiculous in various performers and attendees at Riot Fest. It was mostly the usual self-deprecating and/or sarcastic commentary one expects out of musicians but there were a handful of gems both inspired and just funn ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2014

    50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community

    The way a do-it-yourself music community/scene works is exactly like it sounds: by doing it yourself. DIY is an ethos that transcends genre. Regardless of what your music sounds like, you can create it, perform it and essentially sell it, through your own channels and own means without the hand or m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 25, 2014

    Remember Black Kids? They're Amazing Now.

    When Black Kids seemed to disappear from the popular music landscape in the .mp3-blog heydey of 2009, it looked like another example of too much hype, too soon. If the pressure of impossible expectations is weighing on the band's members still, it sure wasn't present at Larimer Lounge, because every ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 19, 2014

    Denver Psych Fest Proved the Diversity of Denver's Modern Psychedelic Music Scene

    Spread across two venues two blocks apart, four stages between them, Denver Psych Fest, in its second year, proved a memorable experience. The walk between the Larimer Lounge and the Savoy Events Center -- as well as the Big Wonderful Sustainability Park between them -- was easy to navigate, and th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2014

    Holy crap, Great White was incredible at the Buffalo Rose this weekend

    There were no gimmicks over the weekend at the Buffalo Rose, beyond some rock theater, and none were needed. Great White, of all bands, gave us a startlingly strong rock and roll show, the likes of which isn't often seen these days. When the band came on stage, it looked like what it is: a veteran ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 23, 2014

    Deep Club's secret parties bring adventure (and excellent sound) to Denver's electronic scene

    Going to a Deep Club event is a bit of an adventure. The label and host of "DIY Parties" hides the addresses of its shows until you RSVP. They're always at a place well off the beaten path, and you never find out the exact location until the day of the show. The sound system is always pretty solid a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2014

    Last night's Royalty Free Haiti benefit proved the venue potential of Dryer Plug Studios

    The neighborhood surrounding Dryer Plug Studios, along a strip of current and former light industrial buildings on 43rd Avenue, isn't exactly quiet. Freight trains run at semi-regular intervals less than two blocks away. Next door is a church, and across the street are some houses. The entrance is o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2014

    Thug Entrancer show at secret rave proves there's still mystery left in scene

    These days, shows are rarely difficult to find out about if you want to and relatively easy to get to. There is rarely true mystique surrounding a concert. But over the weekend, Thug Entrancer played a show at a secret location, and it felt like something from the '90s, when not everything was on th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2014

    Noise music can be accessible and inclusive, as Denver Noise Fest proved

    Denver Noise Fest is now one of the biggest of its kind in the country. And it isn't just harsh noise. The lineup did not just feature circuit-bending academics. The Festival was a celebration of a love for weird noises, by a wide-ranging group of generous artists.

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2014

    Ten ways Communikey was a music festival done right

    Most music festivals don't have a specific conceptual guiding principal behind them. But for Communikey 2014, the phrase "Take Time," which was featured in the well-designed schedule and map. As they explained it, the demands of the modern world have created a climate of artificial boredom, overtaxe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2014

    You'll probably never see The Joy Formidable in a venue as small as 3 Kings again

    The latest installment in the nascent Red Bull Sound Select Series probably could have happened at a venue three times the size of 3 Kings. And The Joy Formidable kicked up a glorious racket that was big enough for a stadium rock event. Before getting on stage, the trio seems like such a charming, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 27, 2014

    Eyehategod at Bluebird Theater, 1/26/14

    EYEHATEGOD at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 1/26/14 A couple of people tried to heckle Eyehategod, but Mike Williams was took the flak deftly and turned it into comedy; you had to hand it to him. Someone yelled out, "I'm bored." Williams told the guy to come down front where there was lots of free cocaine. He ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2014

    Review: Sleep at Gothic Theatre, 1/3/14

    SLEEP at THE GOTHIC THEATRE | 1/3/14 Cannabis is legalized here in the same week Sleep comes back to Colorado to play a show. Coincidence? Whatever the case, this show surpassed the last time the outfit played at the Gothic in September 2009. Something just seemed more coherent and focused this time ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2013

    Guitar Wolf at Marquis Theater, 10/6/13

    GUITAR WOLF @ MARQUIS THEATER | 10/06/13 After Bass Wolf more or less stumbled into place and Drum Wolf sat down behind the kit, Guitar Wolf himself strode on stage and smashed down any unnecessary walls between punk, garage rock, noise rock, R&B, the blues, soul and rockabilly song after song. If ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2013

    Animal Collective at Ogden Theater, 9/9/13

    ANIMAL COLLECTIVE @ OGDEN THEATER | 9/9/13 There were some "gremlins" last night that plagued the stage for Animal Collective at the Ogden, but it didn't hamper the performance. If anything it heightened it. In one moment of perfect synergy during "My Girls," the power dropped out for one of the cho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2013

    Titwrench Night at Glob, 9/6/13

    TITWRENCH 2013 at GLOB | 9/6/13 As if embodying a bit of the spirit of the event, Dangerous Nonsense donned costumes that evoked Russian punk band Pussy Riot. And like the latter, the former outfit performs with an intensity that elevates what some might see as pure theatrics. But then you could har ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2013

    No Age at Glob, 8/28/13

    NO AGE @ GLOB | 8/28/13 When No Age kicked into "Fever Dreaming," during a show that had already maintained a hyperkinetic momentum from jump, the title of the song was such a metaphor for the entire performance that you had to wonder if its placement was intentional. The song brought out an even mo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2013

    The Outfit at Larimer Lounge, 8/24/13

    THE OUTFIT @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 8/24/13 The Outfit saved one of its best songs for late in the set, and the sparkling urgency at the beginning of "What Happened To You?" perfectly framed the song's poignant lyrics, which were inspired by a chance encounter Eric Johnston had at a school library a few y ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2013

    Peter Murphy at Summit Music Hall, 7/16/13

    Tom MurphyPeter Murphy at The Summit Music Hall PETER MURPHY @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 7/16/13 Near the end of his set last night, Peter Murphy paused a moment as the last echo of "She's In Parties" rang out and the repetitive yet urgent bass line for "Stigmata Martyr" rolled in for a measure or two. T ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2013

    Ghost B.C. at Ogden Theatre, 4/18/13

    Ghost @ OGDEN THEATRE | 4/18/12 As is customary at this point, before Ghost took the stage, Jocelyn Pook's haunting "Masked Ball" from Eyes Wide Shut came through the P.A. and perfectly set the mood for what was to follow. At first, the Nameless Ghouls took their places and started off with "Per As ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2013

    The Gathering of the Clouds at the Walnut Room, 3/8/13 (review and photos)

    GATHERING OF THE CLOUDS @ WALNUT ROOM |3/8/13 Despite Victoria Cecilia's illness, Gliss managed to put in a solid performance at Gathering of the Clouds last night at the Walnut Room. If she indeed needed the cough drop she had half-jokingly solicited from the audience, you couldn't tell from her s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 25, 2013

    Mouse on Mars at Summit Music Hall, 2/23/13

    MOUSE ON MARS @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL |2/23/13 As visuals flashed, streamed, scrolled, blinked, increased in luminosity and otherwise conspired to reflect the jittery, glitchy, sometimes manic and always dynamic flow of sounds being produced by Mouse on Mars, Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner stood behind a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2013

    The Photo Atlas at the hi-dive, 2/8/13

    THE PHOTO ATLAS @ HI-DIVE | 2/8/13 The wide-ranging sounds of "Memory Like a Sinking Ship" was one of the high points of this set from the Photo Atlas. The way the band's usual wiry energy was threaded together with colorful, incandescent moody passages and hanging melodies around confessional, sel ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 21, 2013

    dead prez at The Oriental Theatre, 1/18/13

    DEAD PREZ @ THE ORIENTAL THEATER |1/18/13 There was a salient theme throughout the night, across the sets of most of the acts, and that was a message of being healthy, both physically and mentally. "Healthy is the new gangsta," said of dead prez near the middle part of the show, just befor ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 18, 2013

    Dirty Few at 3 Kings Tavern, 1/17/12

    DIRTY FEW @ 3 KINGS TAVERN |1/17/12 Earlier in the night, you wouldn't have guessed that so many people would have shown up so enthusiastic for a local band, many of them knowing the words to all the songs. But Dirty Few from the beginning hyped people up with its own antics to pump itself up for t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2012

    A Place to Bury Strangers at Larimer, 11/11/12

    A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS @ LARIMER LOUNGE |11/11/12 It's never boring when you go see A Place to Bury Strangers play, and last night at the Larimer was no exception. The band overwhelmed the senses for the bulk of the set. A tasteful layer of fog drifted around the stage, sliced through with strea ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 9, 2012

    The Faint at the Ogden Theatre, 11/8/12

    THE FAINT @ OGDEN THEATRE |11/8/12 Even though this was a tour in support of the reissue of Danse Macabre, late in the set, the Faint treated us to a rare cover of "Mote" by Sonic Youth from that band's 1990 album Goo. The haunted vocal delivery was in the spirit of Lee Ranaldo's own but there were ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2012

    Dan Deacon at Bluebird Theater, 10/31/12

    DAN DEACON @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 10/31/12 Before going into "Guilford Avenue Bridge," Dan Deacon told us to gather as much to the west side of the theater as possible to create a pathway on the left side stage ramp to the back of the theater. He then told us to make this a tunnel where two people an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 19, 2012

    Crime and the City Solution at the Oriental Theater, with the Howling Hex, 10/18/12

    CRIME AND THE CITY SOLUTION @ ORIENTAL THEATER | 10/18/12 From the beginning of its set, Crime and the City Solution created an intimate, sensory immersive environment with a flood of atmospheric sounds built from what seemed like Persian music. The instruments interacted with each other as though ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2012

    Saint Vitus at Bluebird Theater, 10/03/12

    SAINT VITUS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 10/03/12 When Saint Vitus came on stage, the quartet went right into "Blessed Night," with Dave Chandler letting out a wail or siren sound with wah and distortion from his guitar. From there, guitar and bass rumbled together like a high idling engine, as Mark Vasque ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2012

    Swans at the Gothic Theatre, with Xiu Xiu, 9/24/12

    SWANS @ GOTHIC THEATRE | 9/24/12 "I know it's a Monday night, can you tolerate one more?" Michael Gira asked the crowd more than two hours into the show. It wasn't really even a question because Gira already knew the answer. Swans then played its final song: the sprawling, apocalypse-eclipsing "The ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 8, 2012

    Review: Twin Shadow at Bluebird Theater, 9/7/12

    TWIN SHADOW @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 9/07/12Before ending the set, after a show full of enthusiastic responses from his audience, George Lewis Jr. said, "Denver, you're amazing. Who was here last time we came?" A few people claimed to have been. He complimented the crowd on being honest because he had e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 5, 2012

    Hank 3 at Boulder Theater, 9/4/12

    HANK 3 @ BOULDER THEATER | 9/04/12 Hank 3 outlasted most of his audience last night at the Boulder Theater. Exceeding even the expectations he himself set, he played more than the three and a half hours he said he's playing on this tour. By the time he launched into the third and final set of the e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2012

    SummerGrind at Gothic Theatre, 9/1/12

    The final performance on the outdoor stage was moved inside the Gothic Theatre -- presumably due to volume complaints -- which pushed the night's lineup back an hour, but this did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm for Leftöver Crack. Early in the set, Stza (aka Scott Sturgeon) dedicated a song in se ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2012

    Joy Subtraction at The Hi-Dive, 8/4/12

    JOY SUBTRACTION @ HI-DIVE | 8/4/12 See Also: - Joy Subtraction? Its members just enjoy screwing with Joy Division. "This is the first song on our new album," Joy Subtraction's Abe Brennan announced last at the hi-dive, goofing on Cheap Trick after the first couple of songs of the set. Then the ban ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2012

    Titwrench 2012 at Glob and Mercury Cafe, 7/27/12 and 7/28/12

    TITWRENCH 2012 @ GLOB | 7/27/12 It felt like the summer broke just in time for Titwrench 2012, and when things got kicked off a bit after 8 p.m. on Friday night, the climate inside Glob suited the music of opening act, Cardinal Veil. Julie Slater has played violin solo before and used the instrume ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2012

    UMS 2012: Bad Weather California delivers an old-fashioned rock show

    See Also: People of UMS 2011 Kicked off the first day of UMS by catching Bad Weather California in a very humid 3 Kings Tavern. People were packed in pretty tight in the middle of the room and mostly on the flanks. BWC played a loose, relaxed set like the guys had a group meeting beforehand and all ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2012

    #WMS 2012 recap: Bar Standard

    Every year, for the Westword Music Showcase, we enlist our army of Backbeat wordsmiths to host various stages, and in addition to their emcee obligations, we ask them to pull double duty (or triple-duty in some cases) and also write up the acts that appear on their individual stages. Tom Murphy host ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2012
  • Blogs

    June 9, 2012

    Review: The Say So at The Hi-Dive, 6/9/12

    THE SAY SO @ HI-DIVE | 6/9/12The Say So ended its release for show for The Romantic last night at the hi-dive with one of the best songs from its previous release, Something Like Wild. "Fools" was replete with the melodic, triumphal tone that is part of the band's overall sound, but also with what s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2012

    Rubedo at Unit E, with Achille Lauro, CougarPants and Hindershot, 5/4/12

    RUBEDO @ UNIT E | 5/4/12 See more photos in Rubedo at Unit E slide show In a show of sustained enthusiasm, Rubedo ended its set with one of its most visceral and dynamic numbers: "Give My Heart a Break." The song began with feedback created by Kyle Gray as he held his small, acoustic guitar to his ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2012

    M83 at Ogden Theatre, 4/30/12

    M83 @ OGDEN THEATRE | 4/30/12 See Also: Q&A with Maria Linden of I Break Horses The familiar strains of "Intro" from 2011's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming probably should have been our clue that the band was coming on. But instead someone dressed up as the creature from the album insert walked on like a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2012

    Communikey 2012 travelogue

    COMMUNIKEY FESTIVAL @ BOULDER, CO | 4/26/12 -4/29/12 See Also: • Laurie Anderson at Boulder Theater, 4/25/12 • Q&A Cameron Stallones of Sun Araw • Q&A with Brian Williams of Lustmord • Q&A with Nick Zammuto • Q&A with Morton Subtonick For the lucky few who got to Communikey HQ in time to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2012

    Pierced Arrows at Hi-Dive, 4/21/12

    PIERCED ARROWS @ HI-DIVE | 4/21/12As the last notes of "The Wait" ended, they blended into the Toody Cole's familiar bass pulse that introduced Pierced Arrows' epic, and much beloved, "Paranoia." Fred Cole tapped the Bigsby on his Guild Polara to modulate the feedback before heading into one of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2012

    Review: Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso UFO at Larimer Lounge, 4/8/12

    ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 4/8/12 It would be a tough to pinpoint a specific climax of this show, but a true high point of feeling for the band -- and probably the crowd -- came with the last number of the set when Kawabata Makoto used some kind of white, plastic object that looked lik ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 26, 2012

    Review: Gathering of the Clouds at City Hall, 2/24/12

    Gathering of the Clouds Day 2 @ City Hall | 2/24/12One of the main reasons for the festival was the release of the new Overcasters album, Curses/Prayers and as usual, Overcasters delivered a solid set of music. Bathed in various shades and hues of shifting light over the course of the show, with hig ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 17, 2012

    Review: Tennis at Bluebird Theater, 2/16/12

    Tom MurphyTennis at The Bluebird Theater TENNIS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 2/2/12 For a band whose music is so bright and sunny, the tinge of melancholia that swirled around "Waterbirds" gave this Tennis performance an otherworldly feel. The breakdown section in the middle was one of the most evocative ... More >>

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